Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mild Bias into Late October - What is a "Bogus Skeptic"?

31 F. low Saturday morning, first sub-freezing temperature since April 18 in the Twin Cities.
57 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
61 F. average high on October 11.
75 F. high on October 11, 2013.

October 11 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:
1969: Snow accumulated in several locations. Minneapolis received 2 inches, while St. Cloud record 3.6 inches, Redwood Falls had 1.7 inches, and Springfield recorded 1.5 inches.
1918: Dry fall weather set the stage for a dangerous fire threat. Several fires roared through large area of Carlton and St. Louis County. Hardest hit were the towns of Cloquet, Moose Lake and Brookston. The Carlton County Vidette called it a "Hurricane of burning leaves and smoke." At least 453 people died, possibly as many as 1,000. Over 11,000 people were homeless.

No Drama October

If only we could bottle this magic weather elixir and the view out the window. Trees are wearing their rainbow jackets, posing for pictures. A stubble of frost has ended the growing season, and the sneezing season. Allergy-suffers can breathe easier - and all the mosquitoes have died and gone to bug heaven. RIP.

A preliminary scan of NOAA data suggests October sees the fewest watches and warnings of any month. Big storms can spin up, with only a small risk of extremes that can get you in serious trouble like tornadoes, flash floods, ice storms or blizzards. It's the in-between season.

Patterns can be similar, but never identical. Odds don't favor another 30-year winter like we had last year. I'm seeing cues that suggest winter snow and cold closer to average, even a bit milder than normal.

Winds and clouds slowly increase today, any showers holding off until after the Vikings game. Rain spills into Monday, and a southern storm may push more showers back into Minnesota by Thursday. A minor puff of Canadian air arrives late week, but what really caught my eye was ECMWF (European) guidance for next week. A massive ridge of high pressure sparks a string of 60s, even 70F.

Yes, I'm smitten.

* photo credit: Mike Hall Photography.

Technicolor Rainbow. Actually it was a double rainbow (notice how the colors reverse as white light is refracted twice within prism-like raindrops). Photo taken in Missoula, Montana courtesy of grantr44.

Eastern Pacific Trough - Modified Zonal Flow for USA. Watch for the uber-persistent ridge of high pressure over the west coast to begin weakening in the weeks ahead, with at least the possibility of some precious rains pushing into California. If this pattern emerges it would push a warm ridge east of the Rockies, meaning a mild bias into at least the end of October. 500 mb winds aloft forecast for October 17-21 courtesy of NOAA.

Full-Latitude October Storm. NAM guidance shows a significant surge of Gulf moisture pushing across the Plains and Mississippi River Valley into the Midwest Monday and Tuesday, with a few showers rotating into the Great Lakes, even Minnesota and Wisconsin by late Wednesday and Thursday. Short-term a trailing front pushes a few rain showers across Minnesota later today and Monday, but the heaviest rains this week fall to our south and east. Some 3 inch amounts are predicted from near Des Moines to Nashville and Little Rock. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: HAMweather.

A Fairly Nice Couple of Weeks. Last week was remarkable, and the next 10-14 days promises to be pretty nice, especially next week. The metro area brushes 60F today, again Tuesday, with a better chance of a streak of 60s emerging next week as a ridge of high pressure builds north. I expect dry weather for the Vikes game; a period of rain tomorrow and a possibilty of showers by Thursday as a pinwheel of southern moisture brushes the Upper Midwest. MSP Meteogram: WeatherSpark.

Peaking Fall Color. This will be the weekend to check out ripening leaves from Alexandria Lakes to the Brainerd Lakes area, much of northern Minnesota and the Red River Valley already past peak. My hunch is that metro trees will peak in the next 7-8 days, peak color along the Mississippi River is still 1-2 weeks away. Source: Minnesota DNR.

Changing Day Length Effects on Daily Temperature. Here's a clip from the latest installment of Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "...As we continue to lose daylight hours this month, you may notice an increase in the daily temperature range. Though the sun will heat the dry landscape substantially during the day (as we have seen this week), the longer nights allow for more cooling to occur, dropping the overnight lows to a greater degree than just a month ago. This produces a larger daily temperature range in the absence of significant cloud cover (note many observers reported a 30-35 degrees F temperature rise on Monday, October 6th)..."

University of Miami's New Research Tank May Hold Key to Hurricane Forecasts. A monstrous aquarium that can simulate Category 5 hurricane winds and waves? You could sell tickets to this experience (life insurance policies too). Here's the intro to a story at The Miami Herald: "When hurricanes sweep across the ocean’s surface, they whip up a foamy mix of sea and air, swapping energy in a loop that can crank up the force of powerful storms. The physics of that exchange — nearly impossible to measure in the dangerous swirl of a real storm — has remained largely a mystery, vexing meteorologists who have struggled to improve intensity predictions even as they bettered forecast tracks. Now scientists have a shot at solving that puzzle with a new 38,000-gallon research tank unveiled this month at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami..."

Read more here:

Read more here:

Study Says Gulf and East Coasts May See Tripling of Flood Events By 2030. Rising seas are compounding coastal flood potential; here's an excerpt from VICE News: "...Over the next 30 years, King Tide-like conditions might become the "new normal" as "more tidal flooding is virtually guaranteed," according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). UCS analyzed flooding in 52 coastal communities, from Maine to Texas, and found that many of these areas now experience dozens of tidal floods per year, up to four times the number of tidal flooding days as occurred in 1970. By 2030, two-thirds of these communities are likely to see at least triple the number of high tide floods annually, says UCS..."

File photo: Virginia Department of Transportation.

Decade of Destruction: The Wrath of 15 Hurricanes In One Infographic. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story (and terrific infographic) from Capital Weather Gang: "...The Master of Public Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill created the infographic below that summarizes the overwhelming toll of these storms which collectively claimed over 2,000 lives, destroyed millions of homes, and cost $310 billion. Incredibly, the last “major” hurricane – ranked category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale – to make landfall in this stretch was Wilma in 2005. The storms thereafter were “only” category 1 and 2s, yet still left damages in the billions of dollars..."

Wisconsin City Votes To Get Rid of Tornado Sirens. I know sirens are expensive to maintain, and a switchover to text alerts sure sounds like a good idea, assuming everyone is walking around Antigo, WI with a smart phone and everyone has the capacity to receive text alerts. Until that day comes I'm not sure about this one; here's an excerpt from "The Antigo City Countil voted Thursday night to do away with its two traditional tornado sirens and switch to a text alert system. The Langade County Emergency Management Director says the warning system needs at least $35,000 worth of upgrades to continue functioning, in addition to adding another one..."

The Suicide Crisis. Kudos to USA Today for running a series on America's silent epidemic, the second greatest cause of death for young people. Here's an excerpt from Part 1 of 4 painful, yet critically important chapters within the larger narrative. It's worth a read: "...Americans are far more likely to kill themselves than each other. Homicides have fallen by half since 1991, but the U.S. suicide rate keeps climbing. The nearly 40,000 American lives lost each year make suicide the nation's 10th-leading cause of death, and the second-leading killer for those ages 15-34. Each suicide costs society about $1 million in medical and lost-work expenses and emotionally victimizes an average of 10 other people. Yet a national effort to stem this raging river of self-destruction — 90% of which occurs among Americans suffering mental illness — is in disarray..."

Our Sun In A Halloween Mood? Check out this article from Tech Times: "...Scientists at NASA got this ghoulish image by combining several images of active regions on the sun. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona," according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center...."

Image credit above: NASA / GSFC / SDO.

TODAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Late showers. WInds: S 20. High: 60
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds, a few showers. Low: 50
COLUMBUS DAY: Damp, periods of rain. High: 56
TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, pleasant. Wake-up: 43. High: 61
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase. Wake-up: 41. High: 58
THURSDAY: Unsettled, chance of a few showers. Wake-up: 48. High: 57
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 45. High: 56
SATURDAY: Fading sun, showers at night. Wake-up: 38. High: 57

Climate Stories...

"...Bogus scepticism does not centre on an impartial search for the truth, but on a no-holds-barred defence of a preconceived ideological position. The bogus sceptic is thus, in reality, a disguised dogmatist, made all the more dangerous for his success in appropriating the mantle of the unbiased and open-minded inquirer..." - Richard Wilson in an article at NewStatesman; details below.

The Gathering Storm. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Secretary of State John Kerry at Huffington Post that got my attention: "...Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command, said climate change "will cripple the security environment." Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret.), the president of the American Security Project, wrote that "addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth's climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers. Climate change is a threat to our national security. Taking it head on is about preserving our way of life." General Gordon R. Sullivan (Ret.) -- the former Army chief of staff -- said that "climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world..." (File photo: AP).

These 14 States Have a Climate Action Plan - The Rest Of You Are Screwed. Possibly my favorite headline of the week. Minnesota is catching up, the state seems to be taking adaptation and resilience seriously. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic CityLab: "...Researchers at the center, a D.C. policy research group based at Georgetown University's law school, surveyed states' climate adaptation policies—plans to build sea walls, for example, or to shift hazardous waste facilities out of flood zones. They found that only a minority of states—14 right now—have fully fledged adaptation plans with specific goals in place. Nine more have adaptation plans in the works. The rest have not developed statewide adaptation plans (though a number of these states do have plans in place at the local or regional level)..."

Against The Evidence. What's the critical difference between doubt and dogmatism? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at NewStatesman: "...In a sceptical age, even those disseminating wholly bogus ideas - from corporate pseudo-science to 9/11 conspiracy theories - will often seek to appropriate the language of rational inquiry. But there is a meaningful difference between being a "sceptic" and being in denial. The genuine sceptic forms his beliefs through a balanced evaluation of the evidence. The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself "sceptical" of any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it..."

A Glimpse Of A New, Emerging Clean Energy Economy. Check out how many jobs Massachusetts has added focused on clean energy; this clip courtesy of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center: "...Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come..."

Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.
In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come.
- See more at:
"The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself  "scepticalof any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it. Such an approach has become typical of those who deny the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change and devolve quickly into conspiracies instead."

Our Planet Is Going to Blow Past The "Two Degrees" Climate Limit. Here's a clip from a story at New Republic: "...This call to nix the two-degrees metric has spurred a backlash from the climate-science establishment, and, more importantly, it raises big financial questions for companies and consumers worldwide. If the two-degrees goal changes, then so might the many climate policies framed around itpolicies that translate into costs for polluters and profitable markets for clean-energy providers. At stake in this fight over a couple of degrees is potentially billions of dollars..."

The $9.7 Trillion Problem: Cyclones and Climate Change. An estimated 35 percent of the world's 7 billion people live in the potential path of cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons, etc). Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "You can do a lot with $9.7 trillion: buy all the real estate in Manhattan 12 times over, purchase 22 carbon copies of Apple, or an absurd quantity of apples. It’s also the amount of money that tropical cyclones could cost the global economy over the next century, especially if climate projections of fewer but more intense cyclones are accurate. In comparison to those losses, the cost of action to reduce emissions and beef up coastal preparedness is relatively cheap say researchers..."

Why Climate Change Litigation Could Soon Go Global. Canada's Globe and Mail has an intriguing story, one that should give trial lawyers a cheap thrill. Class action lawsuits down the road? Count on it. Here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Canadian oil and gas companies could soon find themselves on the hook for at least part of the damage. For as climate change costs increase, a global debate has begun about who should pay. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu recently called on global leaders to hold those responsible for climate damages accountable. “Just 90 corporations – the so-called carbon majors – are responsible for 63 per cent of CO2 emissions since the industrial revolution,” Tutu said. “It is time to change the profit incentive by demanding legal liability for unsustainable environmental practices...”

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