Thursday, November 6, 2014

Polar Whispers Next Week - More January than November

44 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
47 F. average high on November 6.
40 F. high on November 6, 2013.

November 6, 1844: A large prairie fire at Fort Snelling occurs, followed by more fires later on in the week.

Blame Nuri

It wouldn't be so bad if I got thanked for the good days as often as I get blamed for the bad ones. When in doubt blame the weather guy. People love to remind me when the weather is inconvenient.
Weather modification? Any company dumb enough to try to engineer the weather (or climate) would be composed of one mad scientist and 50 lawyers. Because you can't keep all the people happy all the time.

Forget the calendar, January makes an early appearance next week with highs in the 20s, single digit lows, a wind chill in the oh-zone. And ex-Typhoon Nuri may be responsible.

Scientists at UCAR in Boulder confirm that re-curving typhoons in the Pacific can energize the jet stream, resulting in a higher amplitude pattern and a spike in weather extremes downwind, over the USA. The soggy, windy remains of Nuri spinning off the coast of Alaska will pull bitter air southward into America.

In my experience: air that's 20-30F colder than average is usually preceded by accumulating snow.
No problems today; the atmosphere mild enough for rain showers. No travel problems are expected over the weekend but a storm tracking south of Minnesota may drop a few inches of slushy snow on Monday.

Extra-Tropical Typhoon Nuri May Challenge All-Time Pressure Record. Although the storm has lost it's warm-core tropical characteristics it's still a monster, and forecast to intensify further. Here's an excerpt from WGCU: "...The National Weather Service in Anchorage says that during that so-called "bombogenesis" the storm's central pressure — an important measure of intensity — will deepen from 970 MB late Thursday to between 918 to 922 MB late Friday. "That would create a significant event, as the current record lowest pressure observed in the Bering Sea is 925 MB, measured at Dutch Harbor on October 25, 1977," the NWS writes in its advisory..."

* more details on this potentially record-setting storm from Mashable.

How Typhoon Nuri Is Changing The Weather Forecast in North America. Ex-typhoons in the Pacific that recurve to the northeast can have a profound impact on North American weather 3-5 days later, according to recent research. Here's an excerpt of a good summary at Mashable: "...She told Mashable in an interview that Typhoon Nuri (as of Tuesday morning it's no longer a super typhoon) is a classic case in which a recurving storm in the Northwest Pacific energizes the jet stream and results in a faster and wavier upper air flow, and hence stormier conditions, thousands of miles downstream. Recurving refers to a directional change in the path of the storm, in this case from an original bearing of west/northwest, to its current past of northeast. Archambault says that recurving typhoons like Nuri “increase the chance of having extreme weather across North America” about three to five days later, because the air flowing out of the typhoon gets funneled into the North Pacific jet stream. This adds energy to the jet, which “perturbs” it, she says..."

Image credit above: "Super Typhoon Nuri seen at night via the VIIRS imager on board the Suomi NPP satellite." Image: University of Wisconsin/CIMSS.

About 16 Days With An Inch or More of Snow Every Winter. That's during an "average winter", which of course is a made-up statistic that never quite materializes as we swing from one extreme to the next. Data above based on the 30-year averages; more information here, courtesy of NOAA in the Twin Cities.

2014 Will Go Down As Hottest in California's History. Here's a clip from a story at Climate Central: "Book it: This year will go down as the hottest in California’s history. With just two months left in the year, there’s a better than 99 percent chance that 2014 will be the warmest year on record for California, according to National Weather Service meteorologists. The state has been baking in above-average temperatures all year — setting a record for the warmest first six months of any year this June — thanks to a persistent atmospheric pattern that has also mired California in a major drought..."

National Hurricane Center Highlights Storm Surge Risk. Here's an excerpt from a story at "...Approximately 22 million people in the U.S. are vulnerable to storm surge. It’s responsible for about half the deaths in the United States due to tropical cyclones, and many evacuation routes become inundated in a variety of scenarios. This map makes it clear that storm surge is not just a beachfront problem, with the risk of storm surge extending several miles from the immediate coastline in some areas. Florida has a particularly large vulnerable population, with about 40 percent of its residents at risk to storm surge flooding..."

The Break-Off Effect. What happens to the human brain at the upper reaches of the troposphere, where all "weather" takes place? Some handle it better than others. And for some it's a nothing short of a religious experience. Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at Fast Company: "...Higher than that, at roughly 70,000 feet, some pilots and engineers say you can grasp the curvature of the earth. Strange things have happened to the human mind at those heights. A year after the commander reported his symptoms, a Navy medical officer and a psychologist published a study on a dissociative anomaly pilots experienced while flying at high altitudes. Brant Clark and Captain Ashton Graybiel interviewed 137 Navy and Marine pilots who had come up with a term for it themselves. The “break-off" phenomenon, they called it..." (Image: NASA).

A Photo That Left Me Speechless. This has to be one of the most remarkable examples of a supercell thunderstorm I've ever seen, courtesy of Bob Larson Photography. Bob writes via Facebook: "I'm the photographer that took this picture and just to clear some things up. This is a series of 16 shots taken with a wide angle lens in order to fit in the entire storm. The shots were taken on Oct 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm. The location is Willow Lake in Prescott, Arizona, not Watson Lake as many people seem to have assumed.  They were taken from the top of a Granite cliff. The storm was very real and there are about a bajillion other photos of this storm from many other photographers posted on the internet and in our local newspaper. I have many other shots from that evening on my website and facebook page if you're interested."

The War of the Words. Amazon is in a perpetual fight with established, legacy publishers. How did we get here and what does this mean for the future of the printed (or digital) word? Vanity Fair takes a look; here's the introduction: "Amazon’s war with publishing giant Hachette over e-book pricing has earned it a black eye in the media, with the likes of Philip Roth, James Patterson, and Stephen Colbert demanding that the online mega-store stand down. How did Amazon—which was once seen as the book industry’s savior—end up as Literary Enemy Number One? And how much of this fight is even about money? Keith Gessen reports..."

Robotic Bartenders? The robots are coming, and not even bartending is immune, especially if you're on the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship. Here's an excerpt from Gizmag: "...With its RFID passenger bracelets, virtual concierge, and "virtual balcony" staterooms where flat screens take the place of portholes, the Quantum is already a high-tech vessel with an emphasis on connectivity that extends to the ship's Bionic Bar and Two70 multimedia theater. In the former, instead of a human cocktail jockey, there are a pair of robotic arms capable of mixing two drinks per minute or 1,000 per day, while the latter is host to a troupe of robotic performers..."

TODAY: Clouds increase, few PM showers. Winds: S 15. High: 49
FRIDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with light rain. Low: 35
SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, windy and chilly. High: near 40
SUNDAY: Fading sun, good travel day. Wake-up: 31. High: 39
MONDAY: Potential for accumulating snow. Wake-up: 29. High: 35
TUESDAY: Light snow tapers, bitter winds. Wake-up: 23. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: Some sun, wind chill near zero. Wake-up: 13. High: 26
THURSDAY: Some sun, still feels like January. Wake-up: 8. High: 24

Climate Stories...

Long Range Outlook: 200% Increase in Pollen? Here's a snippet of some new research available online at PLOS, the Public Library of Science: "...Using quantitative estimates of increased pollen production and number of flowering plants per treatment, we estimated that airborne grass pollen concentrations will increase in the future up to ~200%. Due to the widespread existence of grasses and the particular importance of P. pratense in eliciting allergic responses, our findings provide evidence for significant impacts on human health worldwide as a result of future climate change..."

The Biggest Loser In This Election is the Climate. Vox takes a look; here's an excerpt: "...In the short term, the election's impact might seem negligible. After all, the action in Washington over the next few years will center on the Environmental Protection Agency, which is crafting rules to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from US power plants. These rules don't need congressional approval (they're being done under the existing Clean Air Act), and President Obama is expected to veto any attempts by Congress to block them. But congressional indifference is a huge problem for future climate policy. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global greenhouse-gas emissions need to fall 42 to 71 percent below 2010 levels by mid-century if we wanted to fend off the worst impacts of global warming and prevent average temperatures rising more than 2°C (or 3.6°F)..." (Image: USGS/Flickr).

Ever More Cities Divesting From Fossil Fuels. Here's a clip from Deutsche Welle: "...Since it began on US university campuses in 2011, Fossil Free has spread to New Zealand, Australia and - last year - to Europe, with cities, towns, religious institutions, universities, and recently the heirs to Rockefeller oil fortune all pledging to divest from fossil fuels. The group behind the movement,, says its aim in encouraging and supporting local divestment campaigns is to raise awareness about the role of coal and oil in fueling climate change, and make investment in fossil fuels socially unacceptable..."

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