Saturday, September 13, 2014

Warming Trend. Minnesota: Natural Hazard Risk 10th Lowest in USA

39 F. low Saturday morning at MSP International.
60 F. high yesterday afternoon.
73 F. average high on September 13.
70 F. high on September 13, 2013.

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

2099: The next total solar eclipse will take place over Minnesota. It will be visible in the Twin Cites, depending on the weather.
1964: Earliest official measurable snowfall in Minnesota with 0.3 inches at International Falls.
1952: Early frost hits Ft. Snelling and ends the growing season.


I would surmise that Minnesota's weather has always been...odd. Jaw-dropping at times. Remember, the most extreme weather is routinely found near the center of continents, well away from moderating influences of mild ocean water.

Rory Groves at Swift Weather was incredulous with the recent frost (2-3 weeks ahead of schedule for many towns). "Much has been written about warming, but what causes cooling? Is this just a sun-cycle thing? I don’t recall anything like it in 30 years" he wrote.

We're seeing more volatility in the weather system, more extremes in general from a higher amplitude jet stream pattern. The arctic is warming twice as fast as Minnesota, and this may be impacting the configuration and stability of the jet stream. The truth: we're in uncharted waters.

No frost in the extended outlook, in fact there's a chance you may be complaining about the humidity by late week as temperatures climb toward 80F. Long-range models hint at 70s and a few 80s into late September.

Dry weather lingers for the next 5 days, a few late-week T-showers. No snow, ice, earthquakes, sandstorms or volcanic eruptions either.

The September you've been waiting for is still on the way.

Warm Ridge Expands East. GFS data shows the cold wrinkle of air that sparked premature frost lifting north in the coming days; there's growing evidence that the heat pump ridge of high pressure over the western USA will expand eastward, sparking a mild bias from later this week into much of late September. We'll see more 70s, probably a few more 80-degree highs. 500 mb animation: NOAA.

Slow Warming Trend. Expect 60s today, a slight cool-down tomorrow as showery rains pass just south of MSP. And then temperatures mellow into the 70s by late week, European guidance hinting at 80F on Saturday. Showers are possible Sunday night, otherwise dry weather prevails from most of Monday into Thursday.

Gulf Coast Soakers - Soggy Sunday for New England. 4 KM NAM guidance from NOAA shows rain tapering over northern New England while heavy thunderstorms spark rains capable of flash flooding from south Texas to Pensacola and Raleigh. A ripple of low pressure pushes a shield of light rain across southern Minnesota tonight and early Monday. 60-hour accumulated rainfall product: HAMweather.

Pockets of Color. Here's the latest Minnesota fall color map, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR. We're still at least 1-2 weeks away from peak color up north, probably 3 weeks away for the Twin Cities metro.

Minnesota Towns Still In the Running for Wettest Calendar Year on Record. Chaska, you still have a shot. Dr. Mark Seeley answers a question from a reader in this week's edition of Minnesota Weathertalk; here's an excerpt: "... For the most part the frequency and quantity of precipitation has diminished during the second half of 2014 and few if any observers are expected to set any new annual precipitation records. Those who still have a shot at setting by year's end include: Mora with 36.03" (currently ranked 9th wettest year); Rushford with 36.26" (currently ranked 8th wettest year); Kabetogama with 28.70" (currently ranked 5th wettest year); Chaska with 39.63" (currently ranked 4th wettest year); and Little Falls with 34.16" (currently ranked 3rd wettest year). Normal or above normal monthly precipitation for the rest of this year would likely establish new annual records at these locations..."

August and Summer Recap. Here's an excerpt from NOAA NCDC:
  • Persisting and intensifying drought in parts of the West: Despite beneficial precipitation in parts of the drought-stricken West during August, long-term drought conditions will continue to impact water resources and agriculture and increase wildfire risk. More information is available from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • El Niño still probable later this year: According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there is a 60-65 percent chance of at least a weak El Niño developing this upcoming autumn or winter. El Niño conditions could have impacts on temperature and precipitation patterns across the U.S. More information is available from the Climate Prediction Center.

40th Warmest August on record for Minnesota. According to NOAA NCDC Minnesota's August was the 40th warmest in the last 120 years of record-keeping; while Florida and the Pacific Northwest sizzled.

There Are Seven Riskier Places To Live Than In Oklahoma. Tornadoes get a lot of well-deserved airtime, but when it comes to overall risk Florida still tops the list. A few of the Top 5 states were surprising. Here's an excerpt from a story at "...CoreLogic ranked Florida as the state with the highest level of exposure due to multiple natural hazards — Florida has it all. “Florida’s high level of risk is driven by the potential for hurricane winds and storm surge damage along its extensive Atlantic and Gulf coastline, as well as the added potential for sinkholes, flooding and wildfires,” said Dr. Howard Botts, vice president and chief scientist for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions. Michigan was ranked last. The Rust Belt gets a break..."

We are # 40! Out of 49 states analyzed by CoreLogic, so this is actually a positive development for Minnesota. Note how the risk drops off as you head into far northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, where (large) tornadoes are relatively rare, at least for now. The map above shows risk from (all) natural hazards; here's an excerpt from a recent CoreLogic report: "...For every geocoded location across the U.S, the CoreLogic HRS is compiled using data representing nine natural hazards: flood, wildfire, tornado, storm surge, earthquake, straight-line wind, hurricane wind, hail and sinkhole. Locations with higher risk levels are exposed to multiple hazard risks and will, therefore, receive higher scores when the risk analysis is aggregated. Subsequently, locations with minimal risk levels have lower exposure and receive lower scores. Geocoded locations are generated at the property-address level using latitude and longitude coordinates and include both residential and commercial properties..."

Steve Jobs Was A Low-Tech Parent. All-you-can-eat tech is good for you? Maybe not. Moderation is key, according to a surprising story at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends. I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night. Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t..."

Yep, That's a Jetpack For Runners. I could use one of these just to get around the office. Add inline skates and cue the fun (and lawyers!) Here's a clip from Gizmodo: "...Called the 4MM because the ultimate goal is to propel a soldier fast enough to run a four-minute mile, the jetpack is being developed by Jason Kerestes with funding from DARPA, because the military always gets the coolest toys first. The prototype weighs in at eleven pounds which by itself isn't particularly heavy, but in addition to everything else a soldier has to carry it certainly adds up..."

TODAY: Partly sunny, fewer bugs. Winds: West 10. High: 65
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, showers late over far southern MN. Low: 47
MONDAY: Gray start, some PM sun. High: 61
TUESDAY: Plenty of sun, milder. Wake-up: 44. High: 68
WEDNESDAY: Lot's of sun. An early spring? Wake-up: 49. High: near 70
THURSDAY: Increasing clouds and winds. Wake-up: 51. High: 72
FRIDAY: Sticky, few T-showers. DP: 60. Wake-up: 58. High: 75
SATURDAY: Hints of August. Early thunder, some PM sunshine. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80

Climate Stories...

The Good and Bad Climate News from Permafrost Melt. Climate Central has an update; here's the introduction: "Earth’s subterranean carbon blisters are starting to pop. Carbon inside now-melting permafrost is oozing out, leaving scientists scrambling to figure out just how much of it is ending up in the atmosphere. Whether recent findings from research that attempted to help answer this question are good or bad climate news might depend on whether you see an Arctic river basin as half full of mud — or half empty. Frozen soils known as permafrosts can be found across the planet, and they’re concentrated heavily in the Arctic, which has been warming since the 1980s at twice the global rate. Taken together, permafrosts contain more carbon than is already in the atmosphere..."

Photo credit above: "Coastal permafrost eroding in Alaska." Credit: USGS

Naomi Klein: The Hypocrisy Behind The Big Business Climate Change Battle. Here's an excerpt of a Guardian book review that resonated: "...A great many of us engage in this kind of denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or maybe we do really look, but then we forget. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right. If we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas; our children will spend much of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. Yet we continue all the same..."

Warmer Air Caused Huge Ice Shelf to Collapse Off Antarctica, Scientists Say. Details from Reuters and Huffington Post: "Warmer air triggered the collapse of a huge ice shelf off Antarctica in 2002, according to a report on Thursday that may help scientists predict future break-ups around the frozen continent. Antarctica is a key to sea level rise, which threatens coastal areas around the world.. It has enough ice to raise seas by 57 meters (190 feet) if it ever all melted, meaning that even a tiny thaw at the fringes is a concern. Until now, the exact cause of the collapse of the Larsen-B ice shelf, a floating mass of ice bigger than Luxembourg at the end of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula, had been unknown..."

United Nations Predicts Climate Hell in 2015 With Imagined Weather Forecasts. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: "The United Nations is warning of floods, storms and searing heat from Arizona to Zambia within four decades, as part of a series of imagined weather forecasts released on Monday for a campaign publicising a UN climate summit. "Miami South Beach is under water," one forecaster says in a first edition of "weather reports from the future", a series set in 2050 and produced by companies including Japan's NHK, the US Weather Channel and ARD in Germany. The UN World Meteorological Organization, which invited well-known television presenters to make videos to be issued before the summit on 23 September, said the scenarios were imaginary but realistic for a warming world..."

Weather Patterns Show Climate is Changing in U.S. Wet areas are trending wetter, historically dry regions are becoming even drier. No theory, not computer models into the distant future, but happening today. Here's a clip from Climate News Network: "The climate is changing . . . and America’s heartland and southwest are changing with it. In the southwestern state of Arizona, the streams may be drying up − and that could mean that native fish species will die out. In the midwest states that citizens call Tornado Alley, the evidence is that there are fewer tornado days per year, but the density and strength of those tornadoes that do form is growing as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. And in the west, which is in the grip of a prolonged drought, things are looking up − but not in a good way. Relieved of the weight of water they normally bear – the 240 billion tonnes of snow and rain that have not fallen since the drought began – the land is starting to rise, with mountains as much as 15 millimetres higher..."

Photo credit above: "Streams feeding the Verde River in Arizona may be drying up." Image: Jennifer Horn via Wikimedia Commons.

Cato Climate Change Skeptic: Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels a Sign of "Human Progress". The ultimate spin. Here's a clip from an explanation of this head-vice-of-a-statement at The Washington Post: "Economically literate libertarians can’t deny that, if climate change is a major risk, the rational thing to do is put a tax on greenhouse emissions. Therefore, in order to oppose that sort of government action, they have to deny that climate change is a major risk. And that’s how we get this mind-bending piece from the Cato Foundation. Last year’s sharp rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Cato’s Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger concludes, is cause for celebration...”

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