Monday, August 26, 2013

This Is What Climate Change Looks Like (heat spike today: near 100F; Excessive Heat Warning In Effect)

97 F. highs reported at Blaine and South St. Paul yesterday.
96 F. record high on Sunday, breaking the old record of 94 set in 1948.
79 F. average high for August 25.
76 F. high on August 25, 2012.

Excessive Heat Warning in effect again today; highs will range from 95-100F, with a heat index as high as 103 - 108F by late afternoon.

94 F. today's record high (set in 1948). We should break that by 1-2 PM.


90 million tons of CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere, worldwide, every 24 hours.

Heat Storm

This is what climate change looks like. Did a warmer, wetter atmosphere trigger this record-setting, late-season heat wave? No. It would have warmed up either way. But there's growing evidence that a warmer, wetter atmosphere is intensifying the hot weather which occurs naturally.

We're witnessing more "3-sigma" events, 3 standard deviations from the mean. Record heat in China. Russia's killer heat wave of 2010. "Sandy" & Duluth's record 2012 flood may have been 3-sigma events. Scientists predict a doubling of extreme heat waves by 2020, a quadrupling by 2040.

The heat is coming on suddenly now. Local media labeled the deadly 1995 heat that killed 800 people in Chicago a "heat storm" because it came on quickly. Mortality was linked with 80F+ nighttime lows. People simply couldn't get any relief at night.

A swarm of early T-storms (best chance north of MSP) may keep us from 100F today, but it'll be close. Heat Warnings remain posted - take it easy out there.

A puff of slightly cooler air drops the mercury to near 90 midweek. Some cool front. We heat up again on Labor Day Weekend, sparking Sunday T-storms and more 95-100F heat on Labor Day.

A real cool front? 2 weeks away.

4 PM Today. The 12km NAM model overestimated high temperatures yesterday - not sure southwest Minnesota will see 100F today, but mid to upper 90s are imminent - thus the Excessive Heat Warning.

Excessive Heat Warning. Once again today the combination of 90s + dew points near 70 will create oppressive heat indices, possibly topping 100-105F later today. The only wildcard is convection: any morning storms would slow the heat spike, meaning low to mid 90s instead of mid to upper 90s. Early storms would also add additional moisture to the air, making up for in humidity what we lose in PM heat. Source: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Predicted Highs. Yesterday the RAP seemed to do the best job, overall, predicting a high of 96F in the Twin Cities. Today that same model is predicting a high above 100F. With convection staying north of MSP, bright sun and gusty south/southwest winds that scenario isn't impossible. We'll see upper 90s, with at least a 1 in 3 shot at 100F by late afternoon in the metro area. Graphic: Ham Weather and Smart Energy.

Monday Severe Threat. SPC has much of central and east central Minnesota, and roughly the northern half of Wisconsin, in a slight risk for severe storms - convection firing along a stalled frontal boundary. Right now i suspect that front will stay north of MSP, keeping us on the hot (mostly-dry) side of the front.

Low-Grade Fever. Here are the European numbers for heat this week - 96F today and Tuesday, then cooling off slightly by Wednesday and Thursday, before warming up again on Labor Day Weekend; the "Euro" predicting 98F on Labor Day. We'll see - but there's little question dew points will be in the oh-zone much of the week, peaking in the mid-70s Thursday, low 70s next Sunday. That will make for a very noticeable heat index in the days to come. Temperature trend up top, dew point trend below. Source: WeatherSpark.

Hints Of A Cooler Front. Not exactly jacket weather, but the GFS model predicts a nice dip in temperature after Labor Day, highs in the 70s and low 80s from September 4-10.

Yosemite Fire One Of The Largest In California History. Here's an update on the Rim Blaze threatening Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas - a fire so vast it's making it's own weather, complicating fire-fighting efforts. The Los Angeles Times reports: "One of the largest wildfires in recent California history burned out of control in and around Yosemite National Park on Saturday, charring more than 125,000 acres, briefly threatening San Francisco’s power supply and frustrating firefighters' efforts to contain it. The fast-moving Rim fire has doubled in size since Thursday night and remains only 5% contained, with steep terrain, warm weather and low humidity hampering firefighting efforts. Adding to the difficulty is the blaze's tendency to burn the tops of trees, creating a “crown fire” with long, intense flames that skip across forested land faster than a wildfire that creeps along near the ground..."

Photo credit above: "Inmate firefighters walk along state Highway 120 as firefighters continue to battle the Rim fire near Yosemite National Park on Sunday. Fire crews are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a massive week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of the park." PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press.

Tracking One Of California's Largest Wildfires From Space. The smoke plume from the Rim Fire is very apparent on NASA's MODIS satellite image, taken midday Sunday, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.

Facebook Makes Us Sadder And Less Satisfied, Study Finds. OK, it's one study. Do you agree? To compare and contrast is human, but sometimes when we compare our lives with others (online) it can leave us anxious, and bummed out, or so the study implies. NPR has the story; here's the introduction: "Facebook's mission "to make the world more open and connected" is a familiar refrain among company leaders. But the latest research shows connecting 1.1 billion users around the world may come at a psychological cost. A new on college-aged adults finds that the more they used Facebook, the worse they felt. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found Facebook use led to declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction. "There's a huge amount of interest ... because Facebook is so widespread," says research co-author , a University of Michigan cognitive neuroscientist. "With something like half a billion people who use Facebook every day, understanding the consequences of that use on our well being is of critical importance..."

Image credit above: "Researchers say Facebook use can lead to a decline in happiness and satisfaction." Joerg Koch/AP

Sunday Numbers. Note the wake-up temperature in the Twin Cities Sunday morning was 80 F. which is one degree warmer than the average LOW for August 25. Much of the area saw highs in the mid 90s, with a heat index ranging from 103 to 106F.

Supercell. Check out the roster of amazing weather and volcano-related images and animations at The Chive.

TODAY: Early T-storm north. Hot sun - another record high likely. Heat Warning. Heat index: 103-108. High: 98

MONDAY NIGHT: Warm and sultry. Low: 79

TUESDAY: AM storms up north, sizzling PM sun. High: 96

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, less jungle-like. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 75. High: 94

THURSDAY: Scattered T-storms may provide temporary relief. Dew point: 68. Wake-up: 74. High: near 90

FRIDAY: Sunnier, drier. Stinking hot. Wake-up: 73. High: 93

SATURDAY: Sunny, still tropical. Dew point: 71. Wake-up: 74. High: 95

SUNDAY: Few T-storms. Feels like Manila. Wake-up: 75. High: 94

Climate Stories...

Rising Ocean Acidity Will Exacerbate Global Warming. Microscopic marine life releases sulfur-based chemicals into the atmosphere, which has a cooling effect. But a 30% increase in ocean acidity threatens these phytoplankton, and that may accelerate atmospheric warming, according to the study quoted in Nature Magazine: "The slow and inexorable increase in the oceans’ acidity as they soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could itself have an effect on climate and amplify global warming, according to a new study. Acidification would lead certain marine organisms to emit less of the sulphur compounds that help to seed the formation of clouds and so keep the planet cool. Atmospheric sulphur, most of which comes from the sea, is a check against global warming. Phytoplankton — photosynthetic microbes that drift in sunlit water — produces a compound called dimethylsulphide (DMS). Some of this enters the atmosphere and reacts to make sulphuric acid, which clumps into aerosols, or microscopic airborne particles. Aerosols seed the formation of clouds, which help cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight..."

Photo credit above: "Marine phytoplankton releases sulphur compounds into the atmosphere that contribute to cooling the planet. But ocean acidification could hinder this process." Wim van Egmond/Visuals Unlimited/SPL.

Where Sand Is Gold The Reserves Are Running Dry. There's a razor-thin band of sand protecting Miami and Fort Lauderdale from the Atlantic, sand which continues to erode as sea level rises and storms superimposed on those higher seas sweep precious sand out to sea. Is the answer man-made sand, composed of manufactured glass? No option is too crazy, including mooching sand from neighbors 30-70 miles to the north. The New York Times has the story; here's a clip (subscription may be required to read full text): "...As it turns out, though, sand is not forever. Constant erosion from storms and tides and a rising sea level continue to swallow up chunks of beach along Florida’s Atlantic coastline. Communities have spent the last few decades replenishing their beaches with dredged-up sand. But in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties — concerns over erosion and the quest for sand are particularly urgent for one reason: there is almost no sand left offshore to replenish the beaches. In these communities, sand is far from disposable; it is a precious commodity. So precious, in fact, that it has set off skirmishes among counties and has unleashed an intense hunt for more offshore sand by federal, state and local officials who are already fretting over the next big storm..."

Photo credit above: Angel Valentin for The New York Times. "Erosion at Haulover Beach Park in Miami-Dade County."

Global Warming Is Cooking The Planet Now - Not In Some Far-Off Future. Here's an excerpt from a story at The San Diego Free Press: "As Bill McKibben, founder of, states in his book, Eaarth, global warming is not some far-off event that we will have to prepare for sometime in the future; it is here today and the effects of global warming are being manifested here today. Yet the oil and gas industry is pulling out all the stops to convince people that global warming is just a myth perpetrated by fuzzy headed liberals. Extreme weather events, billion dollar weather events, are happening with increasing frequency just as Wall Street analysts are computing Big Oil’s stock price based on all the assets yet in the ground and which the industry is bound and determined to pump out on its way to becoming part of the atmosphere..."


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