Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Slow Summer Fade - PR Firms Rejecting Climate Skeptics?

Slow Summer Fade

The reptilian, attracted-to-shiny-objects part of my brain doesn't want summer to end. I look forward to changing into my scruffy after-work uniform of shorts, t-shirt & flip flops.

But I also realize that a full, stomach-churning cycle of the seasons is required for replenishment and renewal of nature. Minnesota wouldn't be home to Great White Pines, walleye navigating crystal-clear lakes or bumper crop harvests without a reliable annual winter smack.

Even so, Back To School sales, State Fair jingles & football on the tube all leave me feeling nostalgic; like coming to the end of a great novel you never want to put down.

Vonnegut said it best. "And so it goes".

Heavy T-storms slosh across southwest Minnesota into Thursday, but the metro area on up to the Brainerd Lakes may stay dry into Saturday. Highs push into the low 80s with sticky dew points - warm enough for the lake or that favorite adult beverage out on the deck. T-storms push in Sunday - a slight cooling trend by late next week.

Both Iselle and Julio should reach Hawaii as tropical storms later this week; a wet 1-2 punch. The remains of Bertha may break a heat wave in the U.K.

Oh, only 141 days until Christmas!

Close Encounter of the Soggy Kind. Heavy showers and T-storms capable of 2-3"+ rains will track fro South Dakota into Iowa, brushing southwestern Minnesota with a potential for flash flooding today and tonight. Additional flash flooding is possible over Missouri Thursday into Friday; potentially severe T-storms from near Lake Tahoe to the Wasatch Range. 4 KM WRF Accumulated Rainfall: NOAA and HAMweather.

Sign of the Times. We've lost about 1 hour of daylight; nights are longer - giving the temperature more time to reach the dew point, sparking lazy clouds: fog. On the high-res 1 KM visible loop you can see stratus clouds and fog over southwest Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota warming up in response to surface heating. Loop: HAMweather.

Double Trouble for Hawaii: Iselle and Julio. Discover Magazine has more information on the tropical systems pushing toward Hawaii later this week, forecast to arrive as tropical storms; here's a clip: "Heads up Hawaii: Double trouble is headed your way in the form of two tropical cyclones. The image above, acquired Monday (Aug. 4) by NASA’s Terra satellite, shows the situation: Hurricane Iselle to the left, and Tropical Storm Julio to the right. Both are expected to affect the Hawaiian Islands in the coming week..."

To Save Lives, Scientists Probe the Secrets of Towering Wildfire Clouds. Also known as "pyrocumulus"; Mashable has a fascinating article with some remarkable photos; here's an excerpt: "...As of Tuesday, about 490,000 acres were burning across the U.S., with 12 large fires burning in California, 11 in Oregon and four in Washington, according to the National Fire Information Center in Boise, Idaho. Some of these fires have launched plumes of smoke up into the jet stream, where it has been carried eastward, obscuring the sky across Minnesota and Wisconsin. The clouds associated with these fires can resemble volcanic eruptions and sometimes they even generate their own lightning and thunder, in which case they are renamed “pyrocumulonimbus.” (Pyro is the Latin word meaning “fire.”)..."

Photo credit above: Oregon National Guard. "Pyrocumulus cloud observed by Oregon National Guard F-15 fighter jets."

An "Extreme Weather" Bill? H.R. 5314 — the Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience Act of 2014, is a bi-partison effort to better prepare the United States for extreme weather events. Here's an excerpt from Republican Herald: "...Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced 151 weather-related disasters costing more than $1 billion each, with cumulative costs more than $1 trillion, the bill states. The federal government spent $100 billion in 2012 alone dealing with droughts, storms, floods and forest fires. “The changes that I’m proposing should help the government save billions of dollars in the long-run,” Cartwright said. The bill references a 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office stating federal efforts to prepare for extreme weather events are uncoordinated, including its cooperation with tribal, state and local governments..."

Pentagon Weather Satellites Raise Hacking Vulnerability, Watchdog Finds. Roll Call has the intriguing and worrying details; here's a snippet: "No one has ever done a security assessment of a Defense Department weather satellite program used by the Pentagon to monitor potential battlefield conditions, according to an inspector general report. There might not even ever be a security assessment to make sure it meets DOD’s standards, in fact. And because that system is interwoven with another program by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, it makes that one more vulnerable to hacking..."

The Is The Equation for Happiness. Who knew you could come up with math to predict your state of happiness? Time Magazine has more details: "...The researchers were not surprised by how much rewards influenced happiness, but they were surprised by how much expectations could. The researchers say their findings do support the theory that if you have low expectations, you can never be disappointed, but they also found that the positive expectations you have for something—like going to your favorite restaurant with a friend—is a large part of what develops your happiness..." (image credit: Robb Rutledge, UCL).

At What Age Are We The Most Popular We'll Ever Be? Assuming we were ever popular in the first place? I would get 6 months old, diapers, cute smile. But new data suggests the magic age for maximum number of friends may be closer to 29. First: define what a friend really is. Do Facebook "friends" count? The Independent has more details; here's an excerpt: "...The reason for this is because we apparently share the strains of working in high-pressured environments and spend more hours in the office than ever before. The data also found that those working in marketing have the most friends at work, just ahead of chefs, servicemen and women, artists and designers, and finally those in HR..."

Image credit above: "Study says the most friends we're ever going to have at any given point is 80."

The Greatest Documentaries of All Time. That's a tall order, but the British Film Institute has a pretty good start on this project; here's a clip: "What are the greatest documentaries ever made? We polled 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers in the search for authoritative answers. Nick James introduces our poll while, below, we list the critics’ top 56 documentaries. Across the page, you can see the filmmakers’ top 35 films. Individual lists and comments from a sample 50 critics and 50 filmmakers can be found in our September 2014 issue, while full versions of all the entries will be posted online on 14 August..."

TODAY: Partly sunny, a dry sky. Dew point: 59 Winds: SE 10. High: 80
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, touch of ground fog. Low: 64
THURSDAY: Some sun, T-storms flare up over southwest MN. High: 82
FRIDAY: Hazy sun, a bit sticky. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 65. High: 83
SATURDAY: Murky sun, T-storms rumble in late. Wake-up: 66. High: 82
SUNDAY: More clouds and humidity with more widespread T-storms. Wake-up: 68. High: 81
MONDAY: Clearing skies, less humid. Dew point: 54. Wake-up: 65. High: near 80
TUESDAY: Sunny and beautiful. Low humidity. Wake-up: 63. High: 80

Climate Stories...

Climate Change May Increase The Number of Hawaiian Hurricanes. Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground reviews recent research suggesting a 2-3X increase in hurricanes impacting the Hawaiian Island Chain by the end of the century as waters warm and patterns shift north; here's an excerpt: "...But with two hurricanes potentially threatening the islands in the coming week, and Tropical Storm Flossie having passed with 100 miles of the islands in 2013, it is fair to ask, could climate change be increasing the odds of tropical storms and hurricanes affecting the Hawaiian Islands? A 2013 modeling study published in Nature Climate Change, "Projected increase in tropical cyclones near Hawaii", found that global warming is expected to increase the incidence of tropical storms and hurricanes in Hawaii..."

This is Climate Change: Ohio's Water Crisis was a Man-Made Disaster. It's a combination of factors: heavier summer rains sparking more run-off, coupled with warming water on the Great Lakes. Here's a clip from Salon: "...Welcome to life — weird, chaotic, scary, disruptive — in a changing climate. The direct cause of Ohio’s water problems, according to city officials, was likely an algae bloom in Lake Erie. The cause of the algae bloom? In a word: Us. The lake, the world’s largest freshwater system, has been increasingly overwhelmed by an influx of phosphorus: runoff from industrial agriculture and from urban sewage treatment plants. Meanwhile, summer has been becoming hotter and longer, conditions that promote the algae’s spread..."

Image credit above: "Satellite image of 2011 Lake Erie bloom (the most severe in decades)." (Credit: MERIS/NASA).

Lake Erie Algae Bloom Matches Climate Change Projections. More details from Scientific American; here's an excerpt: "...It’s a combo of more rainfall; that climate change is predicted to cause more severe rain events. And more rainfall means more nutrients and higher nutrients mean more toxicity,” Timothy Davis, an ecologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said. An increase in heavy rainfall is already being seen throughout the U.S. The Midwest has seen a 37 percent increase in the amount of rain falling in heavy precipitation events since the late 1950s, the second-highest increase in the U.S. over that period..."

Photo credit above: "A sample glass of Lake Erie water is photographed near the City of Toledo water intake crib, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. More tests are needed to ensure that toxins are out of Toledo's water supply, the mayor said Sunday, instructing the 400,000 people in the region to avoid drinking tap water for a second day. Toledo officials issued the warning early Saturday after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microcystin above the standard for consumption, possibly because of algae on Lake Erie." (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

Climate Change Skeptics Rejected By PR Firms. Here's an excerpt of an interesting development from Headlines and Global News: "A handful of the world's top public relations companies declared they will not represent clients who say man-made climate change doesn't exist, The Guardian reported. In what is bound to be a game-changing decision in the global warming debate, ten PR firms said they will not work with anyone who denies climate change or tries to block policies meant to check air pollution by limiting carbon emissions..."

Photo credit: "The world's top PR firms- which are often accused of playing a role against environmental protection, announced they will not take clients who deny climate change exists." (Photo : Reuters).

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