Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Snow Up North - Saturday Frost - What Happened to September?

68 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

74 F. average high on September 10.

81 F. high on September 10, 2013.

September 10 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:
1980: 3.35 inches of rain fell in the St. Cloud Area.
1942: A line of thunderstorms raced across Minnesota at 70 mph, destroying 651 barns in a 30 mile wide, 180 mile long path.
1931: Summer still had its grip on Minnesota with 111 degrees at Beardsley.
1931: The daytime high in St. Cloud was 96 degrees.
1900: The soggy remains of the Galveston Hurricane brings 6.65 inches of rain to St. Paul over two days.
1807: Thick smoky weather noted at Pembina.

Instant October

I'm afraid to check the news. Between ISIS, Ebola and Ray Rice it's no wonder the heart monitor on my new Apple Watch sounds like a bongo drum on fast-forward.

In a perfect world (it ain't) the weather report would be an antidote to all the darkness lurking out there. At least we can do something about the weather, prepare ourselves for whatever comes next.
At the risk of burying the lead, this premature shot of October does not mean that another harsh winter is imminent. A stubborn polar vortex in early 2014 resulted in the most extreme winter in 30 years for Minnesota. The odds of an identically-brutal winter, statistically, are small.

That said, the same upper level feature (hot, dry ridge of high pressure in the west - frequent shots of Canadian air east of the Rockies) has been remarkably persistent, and sweatshirt weather spills over into Saturday.

The sun peeks out today; a reinforcing front sparks more rain showers Friday. A light frost can't be ruled out Saturday morning outside the Twin Cities metro but 60s return next week. Plenty of September left to go.

Tell that to residents of Grand Marais, where it snowed yesterday.

Um, maybe it's time to tune in CNN, just to catch my breath.

9 AM Wednesday Observations. I did a triple-take when I checked in yesterday morning, with mixed rain and snow reported at Grand Marais, a surface temperature of 37F with winds gusting to 35 mph. Ouch.

Chilly Spell - September Rerun Next Week. Plan on 50s today and Friday, when a southern system may brush southern Minnesota with a few showers. Skies clear Friday night, and if winds subside a light frost can't be ruled out over parts of central and southern Minnesota, although probably not in the immediate metro. 60s return next week, maybe 70s by the end of the week. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Premature Smack. Yes, it's early to be tracking a cold front, the first real spasm of chilly, Canadian air. Heavy showers and T-storms push across the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes into New England today; a second system pushes a cold rain into the Dakotas with a few rain showers possible south of the Minnesota River by Friday. 4 KM NAM 60-hour accumulated precipitation: NOAA and HAMweather.

Hope For A Strong El Nino Fade in Parched California. Because it's the intense El Nino warming events in the Pacific that often divert wet storms into central and southern California. More details in this clip from a New York Times story: "...Long-term weather forecasters say it is now unlikely that a strong El Niño will develop this fall, dimming hopes in California for heavy rains that might bring relief from a severe drought. In its latest monthly forecast, the federal Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md., said that while there was still about a two in three chance that El Niño would develop, perhaps in the next two months, it would most likely be weak..."

Photo credit above: "Volunteers appeal to community members for donation Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 at the Porterville Water Challenge on Olive Street in Porterville, Calif. Several locals started their own water challenges to help East Porterville area residents whose well went dry for months." (AP Photo/The Porterville Recorder, Chieko Hara).

No Named Storms First Times Since 1992 at Hurricane Peak. September 10 is the day when a hurricane is most likely, statistically, to come ashore over the USA. Not this year. Here's the intro to a story at Bloomberg: "The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season has arrived and for the first time since 1992 there isn’t a named storm in the basin. While forecasters are watching a pair of potential systems, neither is likely to grow into a tropical storm by the end of today. So far, four storms have gotten names in the Atlantic this year. In records going back to 1851, Sept. 10 is the day when the odds are greatest there will be at least one tropical storm or hurricane somewhere in the Atlantic. Still, it would be a mistake for everyone to let their guard down, said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland..."

Peak of Hurricane Season Comes Quietly This Year. Brian McNoldy has a good summary of what drives peak hurricane season and why it's been so quiet so far in 2014; here's an excerpt from his blog: "Although the Atlantic is fairly calm today, if you average activity over the whole 163 years of records, September 9 is actually the climatological peak! There are numerous ways to define "activity" of course, and there are numerous time periods one could use to create the average.  But for this claim, I'm using a standard metric called Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), and the full 1851-2013 period..."

Tornado of Hot Gas Caught Emerging from Fiery Volcano. Here's a clip from an interesting piece at New Scientist: "This is pretty hot stuff. A swirling 1-kilometre-high tornado of gas has been caught emerging from the lava pouring out of a fissure on Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano. The image was captured on 3 September by an infrared camera designed for aircraft, to let pilots see volcanic ash clouds. It is not entirely clear what is causing the tornado, says Fred Prata, inventor of the ash camera at Nicarnica Aviation in Kjeller, Norway..."

Image credit: nicarnicaaviation.

The Most Beautiful Wildfire Photos You'll Ever See. I know "beautiful wildfire" is right up there with "jumbo shrimp" and "Senate Intelligence Committee". Serious oxymoron. But here's a clip from a story at Time that's worth a look: "...At first, you don’t see the fire and smoke raging near the most beautiful section of America’s most beautiful national park. Instead, the blaze that’s burned through 4,500 acres of Yosemite blends almost seamlessly into its natural features: the fire looking an extension of the sunset; the smoke appearing nothing more than a layer of fog above the valley floor. Photographer Stuart Palley captured the wildfire when it first began spreading early this week..."

Photo credit: Stuart Palley. "The Meadow Fire burns overnight near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park early Monday September 8, 2014. As of Wednesday the fire had burned over 4,500 acres and was 10% contained."

"Tornado Shield" Helps Protect Against Storm-Flung Debris. Let's hope it's an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado, but any chance you have to protect yourself against flying debris is a good thing. Details on this new contraption via Gizmag: "...After zipping yourself into the Tornado Shield, you then lie down on the floor in the safest place you can find (such as a bathtub). While it won't keep you from being crushed, its ballistic nylon construction is intended to protect against lacerations caused by flying bits of debris – such injuries are the most common type suffered by tornado victims. Steve has tested the material against various glass, metal and wooden objects, of the type that might be whizzing through the air in a building being demolished by a tornado..."

Apple Watch is the Long-Rumored iWatch. Gizmag has a good rundown on what you may or may not be wearing on your wrist in 2015; here's a clip: "...We’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. Apple also introduced something called "Glimpses" for the watch that are essentially the same as the cards that Android Wear users are familiar with that show useful information like location, weather and upcoming appointments. Siri is also accessible and the Apple Watch allows you to respond to texts via dictation..."

Here's How Apple Will Convince You To Buy a Smartwatch. New York Magazine has the article; here's an excerpt: "...For all the hemming and hawing about the devices Apple released yesterday — the tech specs, the dimensions, the informed analysis of How It Will All Work Together — the most overlooked aspect of the entire day was that Apple gadgets have always been, and will always be, pure fetish objects. Our iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Air purchases may end up helping us be productive at work, or saving us time on the go, but our decision to buy them always starts with the same thought: This looks cool and I want one."

Buy Condo, Then Add Parking Spot for $1 Million. I smell another bubble coming. Here's an excerpt of a head-scratching tale at The New York Times: "What will $1 million buy in New York City? A diamond-encrusted Cartier men’s watch. A small fleet of 2014 Bentley Continentals. Or maybe your very own parking spot in SoHo. A new development, 42 Crosby Street, is pushing the limits of New York City real estate to new heights with 10 underground parking spots that will cost more per square foot than the apartments being sold upstairs..."

Photo credit above: "A rendering of an apartment building in SoHo that will offer buyers parking spots at $1 million apiece." Credit Vuw + Moso.

Baseball Caught Looking As Fouls Injure 1,750 A Year. I had no idea. Here's a snippet from a story at Bloomberg: "...About 1,750 spectators get hurt each year by batted balls, mostly fouls, at major-league games, or at least twice every three games, a first-of-its-kind analysis by Bloomberg News has found. That’s more often than a batter is hit by a pitch, which happened 1,536 times last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau Inc. The 8-year-old boy was one of four fans injured at the May 20 game, according to a “foul-ball log” and other first-aid records at the Braves’ Turner Field..."

Photo credit above: Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram via AP. "An usher, upper center, gives first aid to a fan after he was hit in the face by a foul ball during a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Oakland Athletics in Arlington in July 2011."

TODAY: Partly sunny & brisk. Dew point: 37. Winds: N 10. High: 57
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 43
FRIDAY: Raw with clouds, few showers. High: 54
SATURDAY: Slight frost risk outside the metro early. Bright sun. Wake-up: 36. High: near 60
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, pleasant. Wake-up: 42. High: 63
MONDAY: Some sun, still cooler than average. Wake-up: 44. High: 59
TUESDAY: Bright sunshine, very nice. Wake-up: 40. High: 64
WEDNESDAY: Sunny intervals, a bit milder. Wake-up: 48. High: 66

Climate Stories....

Here's How Global Warming Is Already Worsening Extreme Deluges In The U.S. ThinkProgress has the story which all comes down to basic physics. By increasing water and air temperatures we are pumping more water vapor into the atmosphere, loading the dice in favor of more extreme rain (and snow) events; here's an excerpt: "One of the most robust scientific findings is the direct connection between global warming and more extreme deluges. Scientists have observed a sharp jump in monster one- and two-day rainstorms in this country. The 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA), which is the definitive statement of current and future U.S. climate impacts, notes, “The mechanism driving these changes is well understood.” The congressionally-mandated report by 300 leading climate scientists and experts, which was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, explains: Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has in fact increased due to human-caused warming…. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls..."

Graphic credit above: "Decadal index of two-day precipitation totals that are exceeded on average only once in a 5-year period. Changes are compared to the period 1901-1960. As data show, such once-in-five-year events have become much more common (via NCA.)"

Houston Professor Says South Most Heavily-Affected by Climate Change Disasters. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Houston Chronicle that caught my eye: "...Robert Bullard, dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, said disasters in the South have outnumbered those in other regions by a ratio of almost 4-to-1 in the decade between 2000 and 2010. He cited an article published in 2011 in the online journal of the American Meteorological Society. In the 32-year period between 1980 and 2012, the southeastern United States had more billion-dollar disasters than the rest of the country combined, Bullard stated in an opinion piece on"

Map credit: NOAA NCDC.

97%, 97 Hours, 97 Climate Scientists. There may not be a consensus among politicians or a broad sweep of Americans, but there is a consensus that climate change is not only real, but underway, among scientists. Here's an excerpt from Slate: "Global warming is real. Climate change is occurring faster than any time in recorded history. Humans dumping carbon dioxide into the air is to blame. In the scientific community, those statements are not controversial at all. A solid 97% of climate scientists doing active research into the matter agree on them. Politically, though, it’s a different story. Only about half the American public understand global warming is man-made, and only a fraction of them know that there is overwhelming scientific consensus on it..."

Cartoon credit above: The Consensus Project.

Scientists Say Large Wildfires Are Likely Here to Stay. Jefferson Public Radio has the article; here's a clip: "Megafires could be the new normal if climate models are on target. John Abatzoglou, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Idaho, presented findings from a review of 20 different climate models at the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, held at the University of Washington this week. The models looked at weekly temperature and wildfire data over time. “The models all tend to show increases in the probability of very large fires and an extension of the window over which these fires might be expected to occur,” Abatzoglou said..."

Photo credit above: "Scientists at the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference in Seattle said modeling suggests large wildfires are increasingly likely to occur going forward." Flickr/Washington DNR.

Climate Change Affecting Water Supply. Stewardship and Creation Care resonate with people of many faiths, as explained in this Op-Ed at The Californian; here's an excerpt: "...Water has deep resonance with Christians. That includes the spiritual “living water” of Christ as well as the actual stuff, which many missionary travelers help secure through well-digging in less developed countries. Fish likewise feature in the Bible – and in today’s climate analyses. Warmer ocean waters, in tandem with overfishing and seawater acidification, threaten this important source of food. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the changes will likely “increase the vulnerability of human societies, by affecting income, employment and food security.” When the weather goes wild, people die..."

Prophetic Visions Can Rouse Politicians from Complacency to Save the Planet. Here's an excerpt of a Guardian Op-Ed that caught my eye: "...The moral case for action is clear. It is those suffering the most who carry the least historic responsibility for our situation. The wealthier industrialised nations have the power to act and secure a safe world for today’s poorest and tomorrow’s children. Christian Aid is soon to publish a report by Susan Durber examining the links between theology and climate change, in which it will be made very plain that the call for climate justice is something that echoes clearly the challenges found in the biblical prophets to a complacent and short-sighted society. As Durber says: “Prophets are sometimes unpopular and can be ridiculed by those who have much to lose if people really were to open their eyes. But they are those who consistently, and without fear, speak what they believe to be the truth...”

Greenhouse Gas Leves Rising At Fastest Rate Since 1984. Here's an excerpt from an update by The BBC: "...About half of all emissions are taken up by the seas, trees and living things. According to the bulletin, the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year. "The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years," said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO..."

Photo credit above: "Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere rose rapidly in 2013." Source: SPL.

Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says. Here's an excerpt from a sobering article at The New York Times: "...Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change is likely to so alter the bird population of North America that about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live, feed and breed over the next 65 years. If they do not — and for several dozen it will be very difficult — they could become extinct..."

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