Friday, September 5, 2014

Free A/C - New Study Links Polar Vortex with Climate Change

86 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
73 F. maximum dew point in the metro area yesterday.
76 F. average high on September 4.
88 F. high on September 4, 2013.

September 4 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1990: Nine inches of rain fell over the next two days in Duluth, washing out a million dollars worth in roads.
1982: 77 mph winds were reported in Anoka County.

All or Nothing

The haves have more, the have-nots have less!

A socialist screed?

No, I'm talking about moisture. Dry areas are getting drier, wet regions are getting even wetter, with rain falling harder & faster. Yesterday over 4 inches of rain soaked Onamia, Minnesota; nearly 5 inches in Price, Wisconsin. Typical for June, but early September? The simple fact: there's more water vapor floating overhead, priming the pump for more intense summer rains, which are now spilling over into meteorological autumn.

While we navigate lush greenery and jungle-like humidity California is beyond parched.In today's blog below: a link to a USA Today article claiming that more of the west has been in persistent drought for the last 15 years than any time since the 1150s and 1160s - about 850 years ago. Crazy extremes.

Canadian exhaust whips up behind yesterday's thundery front, dropping temperatures into the 60s today. Football weather. Winds ease over the weekend under a flawless-blue sky with highs poking into the mid-70s and half as much water in the air than we endured yesterday.

Soak up any lukewarm breezes, maybe take another dip in a favorite lake, because ECMWF (European) data hints at highs in the 50s late next week. Oh boy.

Fewest 90-Degree Days Since 1993. Only 2 days above 90F so far in 2014, and although there's a slight chance of hitting 90F later this month, odds are against it. That's the fewest days at or above 90F in 11 years, according to the Twin Cities National Weather Service: "A message from the Minnesota State Climatologist toda got us wondering what does the chart look like for these. The message said "It appears quite possible that we'll complete 2014 with only two days where the MSP max temp => 90F. Summertime temperature data for the MSP threaded record reaches back to 1873. In those 142 years there are nine years where the number of 90-degree days is two or less..."

AAA Weekend - HInts of October Late Next Week? Long-range European guidance shows mid-70s this weekend with brilliant sunshine both days and reasonable humidity levels. The best chance of rain comes Wednesday, followed by serious sweatshirt weather late next week. 50s for highs? Lows near 40F. Not ready for this. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

September Monsoons. It was a June flashback, dew points surging into the 70s, fueling severe storms rippling along a slow-moving warm front. Doppler radar estimates suggest 4-5" rains northeast of Brainerd; 3"+ amounts fro near Wadena to Aitkin and Sandstone.

60-Hour Rainfall Potential. Flash flooding is possible near South Bend, New Orleans and Savannah, based on 4 KM NAM guidance. Graphic: NOAA and HAMweather.

Umbrella Optional. NAM guidance shows showers and T-storms pushing across Wisconsin and Iowa today, but with the exception of instability rain showers over the Arrowhead Minnesota dries out today with a BIG drop in dew point, tumbling from 70s into the 40s, a whiff of what's to come. Guidance: HAMweather.

August Weather Recap. Here's a clip from a good summary of recent weather trends, courtesy of The Minnesota DNR:
  • August precipitation totals were highly variable across Minnesota. Rainfall totals were below historical averages in far northern Minnesota and some central Minnesota counties. Conversely, monthly rainfall totals were well above average in portions of west central, north central Minnesota, and some southeastern Minnesota locations.
  • Average monthly temperatures for August in Minnesota were very near historical averages. As was the case throughout the summer, 90-degree temperatures were infrequent during the month of August.
  • In spite of the dry July and early August, seasonal precipitation totals since April 1 remain above historical averages nearly everywhere in Minnesota. For large portions of the state, season-to-date precipitation totals rank above the 95th percentile when compared with the historical database for the April-through-August time period.

Hail Lashes Orchard, Central Minnesota Crops. Wednesday's severe storms were especially severe across central Minnesota, accompanied by flash flooding and 1-2"+ diameter hail. Typical for June, but early September. A bit odd. Here's an excerpt and video from The Star Tribune: "A 10-minute hailstorm Wednesday lashed hundreds of acres of farmland in central Minnesota, pummeling apple trees and decimating crops including zucchini and pumpkins destined for the Twin Cities. “It was a nasty hailstorm, one that I’ve never seen in my lifetime and hopefully won’t have to see again,” said Paul Nelson, who works on his father-in-law’s farm — Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm, north of Waverly. “It’s your baby. You’re just about ready to see the fruits of your labor, and then they’re gone...”

Interactive Storm Reports. The Star Tribune has a handy online tool that allows you to see all severe reports, for Minnesota or the nation, for the last 24 hours.

* Wind damage brings back memories of 2010 Wadena tornado. Details at Valley News Live, which also reports on a possible tornado in Rothsay, Minnesota.

In The Parching West, It's Beginning To Feel Like 1159. Here's a clip from an Andrew Revkin story at The New York Time's Dot Earth: "Doyle Rice has an invaluable piece in USA Today placing California’s persistent and exceptional* drought in the broader context of a very dry West — and the even broader context of the last 1,000 years or so. Here’s the core point in Rice’s story: The dryness in California is only part of a longer-term, 15-year drought across most of the Western USA, one that bioclimatologist Park Williams said is notable because “more area in the West has persistently been in drought during the past 15 years than in any other 15-year period since the 1150s and 1160s” — that’s more than 850 years ago..."

Water Wars: Californians Stealing from Hydrants Amid Drought. It's come to this, and you haven't seen anything yet. Here's a clip from ABC News: "...Water theft is a big concern, so we’re doing public announcements and have a line to call for reports to the Sheriff’s Department,” Carre Brown, a Mendocino County supervisor, told The Associated Press in February, shortly after the county declared a drought emergency. “All deputies are on the watch.” Brazen thieves swiped thousands of gallons of water last month from a fire department in North San Juan, California, ABC affiliate KXTV reported, by hooking their truck up to a valve..."

See It: Powerful Tornado Passes Through Russian Home. With webcams, dashcams and security cameras we have a nearly continuous visual record that didn't exist 5-10 years ago. Here's a link to some remarkable footage from 2013, courtesy of The New York Daily News: "An amazing dash-cam video shows a destructive tornado passing through a Russian community last year. The one-minute-long online video shows the calmness before the storm begins to pick up its power. The footage was taken from inside a vehicle that was parked in the Russian community of Baschkirien and was captured on March 1, 2013..."

Outdoor Ad Makes People Think They're About to be Destroyed by a Tornado. Every day we get closer to the scary-personalized advertising showcased in "Minority Report". Here's an excerpt from Adweek: "You're trudging down a busy sidewalk, minding your own business, when suddenly the sky is torn apart by lightning, cars and lampposts are hurled across the street by the wind, and a tornado starts heading your way. If you're guessing it's only an ad—you're right. Augmented reality shop Grand Visual created the stunt in Sydney, Australia, to promote a tornado-themed disaster film called Into the Storm..."

A Storm Worse Than Superstorm Sandy? Although rare, Category 3-4 strength hurricanes have been observed as far north as the New York City area, according to a story at The Asbury Park Press; here's the intro: "What could be worse than superstorm Sandy? Try the September 1821 hurricane, which hit Cape May and headed north - close to the route of today's Garden State Parkway - before striking New York, according to our archives. The Category 3 or 4 hurricane packed top sustained winds of 135 mph, according to estimates by the National Weather Service office in Upton, N.Y..." (Image: NASA).

6 Things The Happiest Families All Have In Common. The Week takes a crack at exploring what happy, generally contented families seem to share; here's an excerpt: "...Research shows whether a kid knows their family history was the number one predictor of a child's emotional well-being. Here's Bruce:
…researchers at Emory did this study that showed that the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was the number one predictor of a child's emotional well-being.

And research confirms that meaning in life is all about the stories we tell ourselves..."

New Roku and TiVo Devices Make Cutting The Cable Cord Plausible. Here's a snippet of an interesting story at The New York Times: "...Get out from under that ugly cable bill by watching movies and television shows streamed over the Internet straight to your TV? Gladly. Deal with a tangle of tricky technology and give up a few programs that are on the personal must-watch list? No thanks. But I recently tested some promising new devices — two Roku smart televisions and a specialized TiVo made specifically for cord-cutters — that make life without cable possible and even easy. After years of complex Internet-to-TV setups and multiple streaming boxes, it seems the technology has finally caught up with the dream..."

Apple Nears Introduction of Smartwatch and Bigger iPhones. Apple fanboys are starting to salivate; here's a clip from The New York Times: "...The so-called smartwatch will be the first brand-new product unveiled under Apple’s new chief, Timothy D. Cook, who took the helm after Mr. Jobs died nearly three years ago. It is expected to come in two sizes and combine functions like health and fitness monitoring with mobile computing tasks like displaying maps, said people knowledgeable about the product. It will have a unique, flexible screen and, like the new phones, will support technology that allows people to pay for things wirelessly..."

Mysterious Phony Cell Towers Could Be Intercepting Your Calls. Well here's more good news. I'm going back to writing letters, maybe crank the fax machine back up. Popular Science has the story; here's a clip that captured my full attention: "...Who is running these interceptors and what are they doing with the calls?  Goldsmith says we can’t be sure, but he has his suspicions. “What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases.  So we begin to wonder – are some of them U.S. government interceptors?  Or are some of them Chinese interceptors?” says Goldsmith.  “Whose interceptor is it?  Who are they, that's listening to calls around military bases?  Is it just the U.S. military, or are they foreign governments doing it?  The point is: we don't really know whose they are...”

* Sufficiently paranoid? For a mere $3500 you can purchase an Android-compatible Cryptophone 500 that will eliminate unwanted eavesdropping.

An Off-Roading Mobile Home Monster. For the person who has everything (but common sense). Gizmag has the gasp-worthy details: "The monstrous mobile home is based on Mercedes' standard Zetros platform and takes advantage of permanent all-wheel drive with a two-stage transfer case and three differential locks to provide rugged, go anywhere capability. Mercedes isn't overstating the Zetros' off-road ability: it will ford rivers up to 1.19 meters (3.9 feet) deep, climb gradients of 80 percent and is capable of axle articulation of 2 x 500mm (19.7 inches)..."

TODAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Dew point: 46. Winds: NW 10+ High: 68
FRIDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 50
SATURDAY: Sunny, beautiful. Dew point: 45. Winds: NW 8. High: 75
SUNDAY: Sunny, still postcard-worthy. Wake-up: 53. High: 77
MONDAY: More clouds, isolated shower possible south. Wake-up: 55. High: 75
TUESDAY: Some sun, clouds increase. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
WEDNESDAY: Showers, possible T-storms. Wake-up: 58. High: 69
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, risk of sweatshirts. Wake-up: 49. High: 59

Shelf Cloud. Thanks to Russ Latimer, who captured an impressive shelf cloud sparked by rain-cooled downdrafts in a strong thunderstorm. When you see a cloud formation like this it might be a good day to get off the beach. Just saying...

Climate Stories...

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed".  ~Mohandas K. Gandhi

New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change. So maybe it hasn't been my imagination, after all. Here's new research suggesting rapid warming of the arctic and far northern latitudes may be impacting the speed and configuration of the jet stream, which in turn impacts weather patterns below, courtesy of Slate's Future Tense: "...New research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications attempts to track the polar vortex disturbances back to their source. The study, written by a team of Korean and American scientists, is the latest (and perhaps most comprehensive) attempt to answer a question that’s as hot as any in climate science right now: What’s the impact of melting Arctic sea ice on extreme weather? Through a blend of statistical analysis of recent weather and computer modeling of a world in which rapid Arctic ice loss hadn’t occurred, the study establishes a link between the warming ocean, melting ice, and weakened polar vortex.."

99.999% Certainty Humans Are Driving Global Warming: New Study. Here's an excerpt from The Conversation: "There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows. Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques..."

Image credit above: "A new study finds overwhelming odds that humans have contributed to higher global temperatures – so how much are we willing to gamble that it’s wrong?" Kraevski Vitaly/Shutterstock

How Global Warming is Changing Wine. A fine Scottish wine? At the rate we're going don't be surprised if 10-15 years from now great wines are being produced from Canada to Norway. Here's an excerpt from Yahoo Food: "Ever since a massive heat wave hit Europe’s vineyards in 2003, winegrowers there have been racing to fend off the effects of global warming. Yet even they were stunned by a report last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which predicted that by 2050— well within many of our lifetimes—most of the great wine regions of Europe will have totally lost their charms. Call it “Grapocalypse Now.” Is the future of wine really in jeopardy or is this all a bunch of needless doomsday scrambling?..."

Yale Asks Managers to Weight Climate Change Risks. The Wall Street Journal has the story - here's an excerpt: "...Mr. Swensen is now urging managers to take into account “the effects of climate change on the businesses in which they are or might be investing,” according to a statement from Yale President Peter Salovey. The endowment office is also asking managers to “anticipate possible future regulatory actions in response to the externalities produced by the combustion of fossil fuels...”

Photo credit above: Reuters/Michaela Rehle.

Innovation Key to Climate Change Swerve. Here's a snippet of a worthy-read at Huffington Post: "...Innovators, businesses, governments and public opinion come together to create adaptations that will shift a trend away from disaster. As described in an excellent New York Times op-ed piece by Robert Jay Lifton, this shift or "swerve" is a "major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly." Lifton compares the climate change swerve that's happening now to the nuclear swerve that shifted us during the Reagan era from a nuclear build-up to the non-proliferation treaty of 1986..."

Photo credit: BrightSource.

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