Sunday, July 6, 2014

More Showers & Storms Later Today - Climate Change Poses a Risk to National Security

90 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday, first 90 F. high of 2014.
84 F. average high for July 6.
92 F. high on July 6, 2013.
.13" rain fell in the Twin Cities Sunday.

July 6 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:
2000: Torrential rains douse the south metro of the Twin Cities with 8 inches in a three to five hour span in a small part of northern Dakota county. The hardest hit was the city of Eagan. Many homes were flooded.
1955: Tornado hits Marshall, leaving one dead and 13 injured. Hail causes one million dollars in damage.

Blowing in the Wind

Hibbing's own superstar poet Bob Dylan said it best. "You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing." Yes sir.

With smartphone apps and thousands of web sites anyone can troll the Internet for Doppler radar, even weather models. But ask any farmer, pilot or fishing enthusiast - with a keen knowledge of cloud types, wind direction and barometric pressure you can make a pretty accurate 12-24 hour forecast.

"Are we getting severe storms?" my wife quizzed me yesterday afternoon. Winds had already swung to the west-northwest, and it's rare to get severe weather behind a cool frontal passage. Most T-storms pop up with a south or southeast breeze. Our heaviest rains and winter snows often come with a northeast breeze at the surface.

The atmosphere moistens up from top to bottom: a ring around the moon (22 degree halo) is often a tip-off of precipitation to come.

Yesterday's 90F high was the first of 2014; and about as hot as it's going to get looking out 10 days. T-storms drop up to half an inch later today and tonight; dew points in the 40s by Wednesday night will mean half as much water in the air. A thundery Friday gives way to sunny 80s next weekend.

.42" rain predicted from this afternoon into tonight in the Twin Cities (00z NAM model).

Cool Bias Northern USA This Week. A clipper-like systems sparks another wave of showers and T-storms across the Upper Midwest later today and tonight, pushing into the Northeast and New England by Wednesday. Afternoon convection flares up across the Rockies, scattered T-storms along a southward sagging cool front across the Southeast.

Cooling Trend. After peaking at 90 F. Sunday temperatures top 80 F. today before the next round of showers and storms arrive; highs holding in the 70s Tuesday, Wednesday and possibly Friday as well. Dew points drop into the comfortable 40s by late Wednesday and early Thursday before warmer, stickier air returns in time for next weekend. The next chance of T-storms: Friday, as the next sloppy warm front approaches. Meteogram: Weatherspark.

High Water, Heavy Rain Slow Boating across Minnesota. It's a slow-motion summer on many Minnesota lakes as high water has forced no-wake zones. A boom for kayakers and paddleboarders but many businesses are suffering. Here's a video and story clip from The Star Tribune: "The July 4th holiday weekend usually is the busiest of the year on Lake Minnetonka and many other Minnesota lakes and rivers. Not this year. After the state’s second-wettest June ever, record-high water levels have restricted boating, littered rivers with debris and made creeks too fast and dangerous for paddling. That’s affected everything from swimming to canoeing and boating, turning normally raucous lakes full of jet skiers, wake boarders and water tubers into tranquil lakes dotted with a few slow-moving sailboats and fishing boats..."

Early Flood Prediction Gets a Boost from Space. Live Science has an interesting story about new satellite-based flood prediction techniques; here's the introduction: "Researchers have figured out a new way to predict which rivers are most at risk of dangerous flooding. To do so, they measured how much water was stored in a river basin months ahead of the spring flood season. "Just like a bucket can only hold so much water, the same concept applies to river basins," said lead study author J.T. Reager, an earth scientist at the University of California, Irvine..."

Image credit above: "Missouri River flooding in 2011". Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon.

Hurricane Arthur Makes History With Its Landfall. NPR and KQED have the interview; here's an excerpt: "Hurricane Arthur is dampening the July Fourth weekend along the eastern seaboard. It's the earliest hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since records began in the mid-19th century. For more, Robert Siegel speaks with Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for the Weather Underground."

They Have Seen The Future of the Internet, and It Is Dark. How will the 'Net grow and mature? Empowering tool or ultimate privacy nightmare? Here's an excerpt of a sobering read from The New York Times: "...Pew’s Internet Project, in collaboration with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, surveyed 1,400 high-profile technology thinkers. Collectively, the experts posited new government crackdowns on online freedoms, greater surveillance and less trust online, and the squelching of individual creativity through control by big companies. There are even dangers from the personalization of content: That customization, a way of limiting information overload, was also seen as a threat to healthy serendipity in what we read, watch and think about..." (photo credit: LinkedIn).

3 Things Everyone Should Know Before Growing Up. This essay at NPR struck a nerve; here's a clip: "...Is a person's intelligence a fixed quantity they're born with? Or is it something malleable, something that can change throughout the lifespan? The answer is probably a bit of both. But a large body of research suggests you're better off thinking of intelligence as something that can grow — a skill you can develop — and not as something set in stone. Psychologist Carol Dweck and her colleagues have been studying implicit theories or "" about intelligence for decades, and they find that mindset really matters. People who have a "growth mindset" typically do better in school and beyond than those with a "fixed mindset..."

The Longevity Gap. Costly new longevity drugs could help the wealthy live 120 years or more – but will everyone else die young? Aeon Magazine has a fascinating article that explores the ability to live longer, if the price is right; here's a clip: "...What will happen when new scientific discoveries extend potential human lifespan and intensify these inequities on a more massive scale? It looks like the ultimate war between the haves and have-nots won’t be fought over the issue of money, per se, but over living to age 60 versus living to 120 or more. Will anyone just accept that the haves get two lives while the have-nots barely get one?.."

TODAY: Sunny start. Clouds increase. PM showers & T-showers. Winds: W 10. High: 82
MONDAY NIGHT: Showers and possible T-storms. Low: 62
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, breezy & cooler. High: 76
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, comfortable. Dew point: 52. Wake-up: 59. High: 77
THURSDAY: Plenty of sunshine, a bit milder. Wake-up: 58. High: 81
FRIDAY: Unsettled. Showers & T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 79
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, sunburn potential. Wake-up: 64. High: 83
SUNDAY: Hazy sun, humid. Just warm enough. Wake-up: 67. High: 86

Climate Stories...

Climate Change Threatens National Security. Not my headline, but from retired Rear Admiral of the Navy David Titley; here's an excerpt from The Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "...I used to be something of a skeptic about climate change. I have a Ph.D in meteorology. I know how complicated the weather system is and how difficult it is to predict accurately the weather even a few days in advance. But climate is not about predictions of a specific day’s weather months or years in the future. It’s understanding the trends: hotter or colder, wetter or drier, trends in sea level rise and in severe storms. Over the years, scientific findings on climate change have built to the point where we simply cannot afford to ignore them. And this is true no matter what your politics might be. The climate doesn’t care about politics..."

U.K., U.S. Militaries Prepare for Severe Global Warming Consequences? Unwarranted alarmism? I hope so, but are we prepared to live with the consequences in case the 97-98% of climate scientists are right? Here's an excerpt from DeSmogBlog: "Two new reports prepared for the U.K. and the U.S. militaries suggest that the consequences of climate change are immense in scope and will create severe, sustained challenges for the world and its growing population. The fifth edition of Global Strategic Trends, prepared for the U.K. Ministry of Defence, says climate change will likely create a lengthy list of defence and security implications in the next three decades..." (photo credit above: U.S. Navy).
Dark Snow: From the Arctic to the Himalayas, The Phenonemon That Is Accelerating Glacier Melting. The only thing worse than yellow snow is dirty snow - shades of gray decrease albedo and increase the rate of melting, as described at The Guardian. Here's an excerpt: "...The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world's snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates..."

Photo credit above: "Dark deposits on icefields in Greenland, which absorb more sunlight and lead to faster glacial melting." Photograph: Henrik Egede Lassen/Alpha Film.

Two Approaches to Tidal Politics. Maybe we can pass a law preventing seas from rising, at least if we live in North Carolina. Here's an excerpt of a Sunday Op-Ed from the Editorial Board at The New York Times: "...The politics of climate change are veering in starkly different directions in the neighboring states of North Carolina and Virginia. Foolhardy denial about the severity of rising seas is underway in North Carolina, where the Republican Legislature, prodded by tourism-dependent coastal counties and alarmed homeowners, ordered a state commission of experts to soften its estimate that coastal waters could rise 39 inches by the end of the century. The commission was told to revise its outlook, take into account dissenting views of climate change and produce a forecast of no more than 30 years — in hopes of keeping the estimated sea-level rise to no more than eight inches..." (photo credit: NOAA).

When Beliefs and Facts Collide. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...Mr. Kahan’s study suggests that more people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views. This finding helps us understand why my colleagues and I have found that factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines. With science as with politics, identity often trumps the facts..."

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