Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Fever Alert on Wednesday (first 70F - first T-storms by Saturday?)

60 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
53 F. average high on April 7.
48 F. high on April 7, 2013.

First 70 F. high of 2014 tomorrow?

Wet snow may mix in with a cold rain by Sunday.

Hope Springs Eternal

Sinclair Lewis said it best. "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." 69.5 inches of snow, 17 inches above average, to date. The Polar Vortex is getting its own reality TV show. I'm relieved that spring has regained its bounce.

Expect another unsettling neighborhood diaspora as pale, pasty neighbors emerge from hibernation, shielding their eyes from a foreign, lukewarm sun.

Weather zombies in our midst.

Tomorrow may be the day you've been daydreaming about for 4 months; even milder than Sunday. Pacific air, a sun angle as high in the sky as it was on September 8, and dwindling piles of gritty snow should result in a high near 70F. Note to self: ask for that raise Wednesday when your boss may be delirious, temporarily drugged by a warm front. Worth a shot.

A puff of cooler air sets off light rain showers early Thursday; a few heavier T-storms may sprout Saturday, the milder day of the weekend.

A Canadian relapse is still on tap early next week; highs in the 40s Sunday & Monday, but no more accumulating snow is brewing.

Thank. God.

I feel like I was just pistol-whipped by Old Man Winter. Maybe we should start a support group? Oh yeah, we already have one.

It's called "Minnesota".

* photo courtesy of KARE-11.

On Again Off Again Spring Is On Again. Today will be a few degrees cooler, but the sun should be out. Tomorrow will be a good excuse for a comp day, or sleeping in until the crack of noon. A shower is possible ahead of a weak cool front early Thursday; heavier showers and T-storms Saturday before temperatures tumble early next week. Graphic: Weatherspark.

A Buckling Jet Stream. Although I still see a cool bias through the end of April, a sudden northward shift of the jet stream will pump warm air across the Plains; Wednesday the mildest day in sight with highs near 70F. 2-meter NAM temperatures courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Are You Minnesota Enough? - Winter Sucks - TPT Rewire. I like the snow and even the cold some days, but this past winter really was the acid test for many of us. Do you like winter, or tolerate it? Here's a very cool YouTube segment from TPT: "Winters in Minnesota can be hard. Like, really hard. So why do we do it? This video will remind you. In this episode of "Are You MN Enough?" Producer Eve Daniels takes a look at just how much Minnesota Winters suck."

Forest Fires Arrive Early As Siberia Sees Record High Temperatures. We experienced a pioneer winter, but much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere experienced an unusually mild winter. Here's a clip from The Siberian Times: "The past week saw record warm weather in western Siberian cities including Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul and Gorno-Altaisk. Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi warned a conference chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: 'The forest fire situation is tense in Russia this year. Due to a shortage of precipitation the forest fire season has begun almost one and a half months ahead of the norm.' By 2 April, 17 forest fires had been registered across 2,000 hectares. Among the areas now at risk after a faster-than-usual snow melt are the south of Siberia to the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District, to Baikal and the Amur regions..."

Image credit above: "Some parts of Russia have shown even more extreme warming - in the Arctic, south Chukotka and Kamchatka regions temperatures rose 150 to 200 per cent more than in the rest of the country." Picture: Alexander Lesnyanskiy.

Nagging Drought Concerns. The Central Valley of California requires a theoretical 15-17" rain to pull out of the drought, which seems exceedingly unlikely, now that the alleged wet season is history. Folks out west may wind up praying for an El Nino in the coming months. The drought is pushing back into the Great Plains; that's the subject of today's Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the continuing dangerous drought occurring across the western US. Some places need over a foot of rain just to break even! Is there any relief in sight?"

California Reservoir Levels. In the Central Valley levels are running anywhere from 23% to 54% of normal. California never had a real wet season, just a couple of teaser storms. That may set the stage for water shortages and a more intense wildfire season later in 2014, even if El Nino materializes (which tends to energize the southern branch of the jet stream, increasing the potential for wet storms pushing into the west coast). Map: California Department of Water Resources.

The Capitalism of Catastrophe. Will civilization as we know it break down at some point in the future? No idea, but you can bet there's someone ready and willing to make a buck off low-grade paranoia. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "...Ever since Isaiah, someone somewhere has been talking about the imminent demise of civilized society. Still, one could argue that today’s connected world of globalized supply chains and multinational banks is especially susceptible to a catastrophic failure. This is not the exclusive opinion of the fringe groups of society: Just last month, a study financed by NASA found that, because of financial inequality and environmental problems, the industrial world could suffer “a precipitous collapse” within decades..."

Photo credit above: "Brian Howard of PrepareNow Outfitters drank dirty water with a purification straw at the National Preppers and Survivalists Expo in Tulsa, Okla." Credit Steve Hebert for The New York Times.

Apple's "Holy War" With Google. Steve Jobs was pretty upset (uber-pissed) with the search giant before his death, as reported by Quartz; here's the introduction: "In 2010, a year before his death, Steve Jobs outlined Apple’s strategy in an email to the company’s 100 most senior employees. He heralded the “Post PC era,” vowed “Holy War with Google,” promised to “further lock customers into our ecosystem,” and warned that Apple was “in danger of hanging on to old paradigm too long.” The email was an agenda for Apple’s annual “top 100″ meeting later that year. It was released this week as part of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over smartphone patents..." (Image:

An Electric Concept Car That Floats? Because you never know when you'll need to cross a flooded river or creek. Come to think of it I need one of these. Here's more information from "There are electric cars and (a few) amphibious cars, but what about electric amphibious cars? In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, there have been a few attempts to use electric cars for emergency power--but now this newest concept takes things a step further. The Fomm Concept One (via Inhabitat) is an electric car that floats like a boat in emergencies. Japan-based Fomm believes this wacky plug-in car could be useful in such flood-prone areas as Southeast Asia, where it could theoretically keep people mobile during natural disasters..."

Google Glass Lets You "Livestream" Events. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, some better than others. What, exactly, would you stream? Here's a clip from "Friends missing a concert? Sister can't make it to your baby shower? Just strap on a pair of Google Glass and livestream the event. Livestream today launched its first piece of Glass software: Just a tap of the headset and a simple "OK Glass, Livestream" voice command will put online viewers in your shoes..."

Your Reality Is 15 Seconds In The Making. Yes, "real-time" may be a bit overrated. Quartz has the story; here's a clip: "...His research, published with his co-author David Whitney, suggests that when we focus on something, the image we perceive isn’t a snapshot of it at that moment, but rather a sort of composite—a product mostly of what we’re seeing now, but also influenced by what we’ve been seeing for the previous 15 seconds or so. They call this ephemeral boundary the “continuity field”, and it could explain a lot about how we pay attention..." (Image:

TODAY: Plenty of sun, breezy and a bit cooler. Winds: NW 15. High: 54
TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 38
WEDNESDAY: Too nice to work (much). Sunny and beautiful. High: near 70
THURSDAY: Showers early, then clearing. Wake-up: 48. High: 60
FRIDAY: Sunny start, clouds increase. Wake-up: 40. High: 62
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy and humid, a few showers, heavier T-storms? Wake-up: 48. High: 68
SUNDAY: Cloudy and colder, chance of a cold rain, possibly mixed with a few snowflakes. Wake-up: 42. High: 48
MONDAY: More clouds than sun, windy. Feels like early March. Wake-up: 32. High: 44

Climate Stories....

Climate Trends In The Arctic As Observed From Space. It's Melting. Fast. Minnesota climate scientist Greg Laden has the story, a recap of new NASA research on the rate of Arctic ice melt at Here are a few bullet points from the report:

                * Warming in the region has been amplified ... with the rate of warming observed to be ~0.60±0.07 o C per decade in the Arctic (>64 oN) compared to ~0.2C per decade globally during the last three decades.
                * sea ice extent has been declining at the rate of ~3.8% per decade,
                * while the perennial ice (represented by summer ice minimum) is declining at a much greater rate of ~11.5% per decade.
                * Spring snow cover [is] declining by -2.12 % per decade for the period 1967 to 2012.
                * The Greenland ice sheet has been losing mass at the rate of ~123 Gt per year (sea level equivalence of 0.34 mm per year) during the period from 1993 to 2010
                * for the period 2005 to 2010, a higher rate of [Greenland ice sheet] mass loss of ~228 Gt per year has been observed.
                * the average area of mountain glaciers has declined by as much as 10% per decade during the period from 1960 to 2000.
                * Increases in permafrost temperature have also been measured in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere while a thickening of the active layer that overlies permafrost and a thinning of seasonally-frozen ground has also been reported...."

Climate Change Needs The Politics Of The Impossible. Can the current, fractured two-party system work with industry to devise solutions and technologies to mitigate climate change, or will be forced to play defense, throwing all our resources at adaptation? Or will a viable third party arise, with the vision, means and grass root support necessary to turn words into action? Here's a clip from a story at The Daily Beast: "...So the age of climate change doesn’t just need climate scientists, or even technologists, and adaptation engineers.  They are essential, but if we just rely on them, we’re likely to drift further into passivity and pessimism.  We also need, in incremental and experimental ways, to keep building up a real politics of climate change.  That politics will be both environmentalist and human-oriented, because there’s no separating the two in the age of climate change.  It will have to ask how the peoples of the world are going to live together and share its benefits and dangers, and also how we are going to use, preserve, and transform the world itself.  Braiding together human rights and distributive justice with environmental ethics and the human relation to the natural world isn’t just a nice-sounding, if daunting idea.  It’s quite simply the only way forward..."

Photo credit above: Andres Forza/Reuters.

Science or Spin. Assessing The Accuracy of Cable News Coverage of Climate Science. Here's an excerpt of a recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists: "...To gauge how accurately these networks inform their audiences about climate change, UCS analyzed the networks' climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently. Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements. CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements..."

More Than 100 Scientists and Economists Call For Rejection of Keystone XL Tar Sands Project. Here's a late update from NRCD, the National Resources Defense Council: "Today, more than 100 scientists and economists called on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would bring some of the world’s dirtiest fuel from under Canada’s Boreal forest to the Gulf Coast mainly for export. They write in the letter, “The world is looking to the United States to lead through strong climate action at home. This includes rejecting projects that will make climate change worse such as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline...”

Ag Groups Can't Ignore Perils of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from in Bloomington, Illinois: "...Currently, Takle and ISU colleague Jerry Hatfield, director of the National Lab for Agriculture and Environment, are lead authors of the ag chapter of the mandated 2014 National Climate Assessment. The report, due later this month, “will paint a sobering picture of climate change globally and its impacts on the U.S.,” Takle related when interviewed last fall for a campus publication. “One of the key messages of the report,” Takle said “is that the incidence of weather extremes will continue and will have increasingly negative effects on crop and livestock productivity because critical thresholds are already being exceeded.” At least someone at a respected American agricultural institution believes climate change will be the 21st century farm and ranch game changer. Too bad it’s not an actual farm or ranch group." (File photo: Ashley Poling, Nashville office of the National Weather Service).

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