Sunday, July 13, 2014

More Evidence of Climate Volatility: Wind Chill in Mid-July

78 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
84 F. average high on July 13.
80 F. high on July 13, 2013.

July 13 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities NWS:

2003: At least eleven tornadoes hit Minnesota. Damage was relatively light. Baseball-sized hail is reported at Indus in Koochiching County.
1936: The hottest day ever in the Twin Cities with 108 degrees at the downtown Minneapolis office. 71 people died due to the extreme heat in one day in the Twin Cities.
1916: Cloudburst at New Ulm dumps over seven inches of rain in seven hours.

An Early October

Yes, we got our weather boasting rights back. There are a few Minnesota townships where I could be jailed for mumbling 'wind chill' under my breath in mid-July. That's why I'm in my weather bunker, wondering out loud exactly when our weather went off the rails.

The terminology we've been using is all wrong. Global warming suggests everyone warms up, simultaneously. Climate change? Our climate has always changed, although this time we're the ones stepping on the accelerator.

Climate volatility is a better descriptor. From a record warm 2012 to last winter's Polar Vortex. From "flash drought" last summer to June, 2014, the wettest month in Minnesota history. That's what we're seeing in the data and on the maps.

Exhibit A: today, perfectly average for early October. A few instability showers pop up this afternoon; highs stuck in the low to mid 60s - probably the coolest July 14 on record for MSP. Meanwhile highs will soar to 90F near the Arctic Circle, topping 100F over British Columbia.

Extremes right out of some fictional, hard-to-believe Hollywood blockbuster.

Tuesday's big game looks brisk but dry (I still expect a few snarky comments about the chill from TV announcers). Summer heat returns next week as highs approach 90F.

Strap yourself in!

Coolest High Temperatures on Record in the Twin Cities:

Today: 68 F. (1884)
Tuesday: 63 F. (1962)

Today's Predicted Highs. A 40-50F difference in maximum temperatures between northern Wisconsin and British Columbia? I can't remember ever seeing that before in July. Much of North America is simmering in the 90s (or hotter), but temperatures from Minnesota to the U.P. of Michigan will be 20-25F cooler than average. Whatever that is. 00z GFS forecast high temperatures: NOAA and Weather Bell.

Coolest MLB All-Star Game? It'll Be Close. If the first-pitch temperature is cooler than 68 F then from everything I've seen we may set another record for the chilliest All-Star Game on record, at least since 1980. Details: Since 1980, there have been 4 games with documented starting weather that had a gametime temp of 68°
  • 1990 - Wrigley Field (Chicago)
  • 1999 - Fenway Park (Boston)
  • 2002 - Miller Park (Milwaukee)
  • 2007 - AT&T Park (San Francisco)
Since 1980, there have been no documented games with a gametime temp of below 68°.

Tuesday Temperature Trend. The model I trust shows a 7 PM Tuesday temperature of 66F, falling to 60F by 11 PM. Take a sweatshirt or light jacket if you're lucky enough to be holding tickets. It'll feel more like football weather than baseball weather.

Driest Week of Summer So Far? We may go the better part of 5 days without a drop of rain. Quite an accomplishment, considering how wet the last few weeks have been, statewide. Today will feel like early October, tomorrow more like mid-September with less wind and more sun. I think we'll top 80 by the end of the week with a possible streak of 80s next week. Dew points will reach potentially historic levels for mid-July, dipping into the low and mid 40s - incredibly dry air for mid summer. Soak it up, because sticky levels of humidity return by the weekend; the best chance of T-storms Saturday night. Graph: Weatherspark.

60 Hour Rainfall Potential. NOAA's 4 km WRF model shows potentially heavy showers and T-storms flaring up from northern Missouri and southern Iowa into the Chicago area, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, along the leading edge of record-setting chill. Orographic storms capable of flash flooding bubble up over Colorado's Front Range - while the tropics stay quiet, for now. Loop: HAMweather.

Four Weather Events in History Mistaken For The Apocalypse. One of them, according to this interesting story at, was 1816, the "Year Without a Summer". Here's an excerpt: "...As the weeks continued, the icy winter spell would linger for the remainder of the summer, causing an immense burden on farmers across the country. "On July 4, water froze in cisterns and snow fell again, with Independence Day celebrants moving inside churches where hearth fires warmed things a mite," Virginia resident Pharaoh Chesney is quoted by the Smithsonian Magazine. "Thomas Jefferson, having retired to Monticello after completing his second term as President, had such a poor corn crop that year that he applied for a $1,000 loan," the article reported..."

Car Insurance Companies Want to Track Your Every Move - And You're Going to Let Them. If you want the lowest possible rate you give up a little more of your privacy (and soul) right? Here's the intro to a story at Quartz: "The proposition is simple: Install a device in your car and allow your insurance company to monitor your driving—how fast you drive, how hard you brake, how sharply you corner, and so on. In exchange, it will give you a discount on your premiums.  That might sound alarming, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Considering internet users already happily trade data on every online move they make in exchange for free services, the only surprise is tracking-based insurance isn’t already more widespread..."

It's So Hot in Yellowstone That a Road Literally Melted. While we set records for early October-like chill here in Minnesota, Wyoming is sizzling. Here's an excerpt from Gizmodo: "...Yellowstone National Park is riddled with constantly changing geothermal hot spots—it's part of the reason for the park's famous geysers. But this past Thursday, the area around one section of road got so hot that asphalt literally started melting. The soupy mess of a road forced park officials to close off access to some of the park's biggest tourist attractions. What's more, visitors have been warned against even attempting to hike in the area—the spiking temperatures have created hidden pockets of boiling hot water..."

World Cup: Viewers Upset after TV Station Interrupts Game to Cover Tornado Warning. Some days you just can't win. Details from The Hollywood Reporter: "Some World Cup fans in areas of New York and Pennsylvania were irate at a local TV station Sunday for cutting into the last few minutes of Sunday's World Cup final to cover a tornado warning..."

TODAY: Coolest July 14 since 1871. Showery, windy and raw. Winds: NW 15-25+ High: 63
MONDAY NIGHT: Furnace-worthy. Unusually cool. Low: 53 (40s well outside the metro area late)
TUESDAY: Free A/C for MLB All-Stars. Brisk under a partly sunny sky. High: 69
WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, light winds. Dew point: 43. Wake-up: 53. High: 73
THURSDAY: Sunny and milder. No complaints. Wake-up: 56. High: 76
FRIDAY: Sunny, feels like July again. Wake-up: 60. High: 81
SATURDAY: Sticky sun, T-storms at night. Wake-up: 64. High: 82
SUNDAY: Unstable, stray T-shower. Dew point: 63. Wake-up: 65. High: 79

Climate Stories....

Climate Change for Dummies. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at the Concord Monitor: "...I distinctly remember my professor Richard Bopp, researcher at Goddard Institute for Space Studies, telling us that the only thing he knew was that you could not overload such a delicately balanced system like our atmosphere and not have something change. The idea that everything in the world would gradually and evenly rise in temperature was unlikely, but he and his colleagues could not offer an alternative at that time. Well, 25 years later, we have a better idea. Thanks to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a voluntary 2,000-member group of scientists committed to understanding climate change, we can verify that we are experiencing more severe weather and increases of ocean levels, glacial melting and average temperature..."

Orwellian Newspeak and the Oil Industry's Fake Abundance Story. Here's a clip from a post at Resource Insights that caught my eye, regarding the (perception) that we can frack our way to indefinite oil and gas supplies: "...Growth in world oil production (defined as crude plus lease condensate) in the eight years from the end of 1997 to the end of 2005 was 10.1 percent according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). During the eight-year period from the end of 2005 (an important inflection point) through 2013 that growth was 3.0 percent. The dramatic slowdown in the rate of growth occurred despite the wide deployment of new technology (such as high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing), record average daily prices (based on the world benchmark Brent Crude) and record oil industry spending on exploration and development. All of these things would have dramatically increased production if we weren't facing limits on what is cost-effective to extract..." (Image: Clean Technica).

Adapting to Climate Change: Let Us Consider the Ways. Breaking news: we're already being forced to adapt to a warmer, more volatile climate. ScienceNews has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...The title of the report, “Climate Change Adaptation,” sounded familiar. That’s because it was very similar to the working title of this issue’s cover story. And although our article deals with the feathered and flowered worlds of plants, animals and other creatures — and not military infrastructure — biologists are similarly concerned with how natural populations might respond to the consequences of climate change. The feature “Quick change artists” tells an important story about some of the ways that vulnerable organisms might adapt to a changing world..." (Image: Shutterstock).

North Carolina's Outer Banks "Ban" Rising Seas. Many people in Europe think we've lost our minds on this side of the pond, at least when it comes to science. Here's a clip from a story at a radio station in the U.K. that caught my eye: "...An overwhelming majority of scientists predict sea levels will rise by at least a metre up and down the coast of the US by 2100.   One of them is Professor Orrin Pilkey, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at Duke University in North Carolina. He says the people of the Outer Banks and their politicians are living in denial. It is impossible, he says, for politicians simply to legislate that a scientific prediction should be ignored. "All up and down the East Coast, Gulf Coast and West Coast it's all the same and still they stick their heads in the sands," he says..."

No Magic Bullet for Climate Change, Swiss Scientist Says. No silver bullet, but plenty of silver buckshot. The Boston Globe has the article; here's an excerpt: "...The lesson, says Lino Guzzella, president-elect of the renowned Swiss university known as ETH Zurich, is we cannot expect technological discoveries like those conceived by Einstein to save us from the pain of climate change. “We cannot sit and fold our hands waiting for a new technology. If we have to wait until the next Einstein comes, it won’t do,” says Guzzella. “The problems we are talking about need to be tackled with the existing tools we have...”

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