December 13, 1821: An extended cold snap begins at Ft. Snelling. Highs were below zero for all but one day of a 19-day stretch.
Freakish December: 1 in 30 Year Heavy Rain Event?
Take a good, long look at your supernaturally-green lawn, because I suspect we'll have a couple inches of slush on the ground by midweek. We may still salvage a white Christmas, by the skin of our teeth.
Any other December the upcoming storm might drop 1 to 2 FEET of snow. Not this year. There's simply too much warm air around.
One symptom of a warming atmosphere: more water vapor floating overhead, capable of fueling (spiking) rain storms. One such heavy rain event is brewing tonight and Monday as a jolt of southern moisture combines with historic levels of water vapor. The local NWS (graphic above) estimates this may be a 1 in 30 year December rain event. Some 1-2 inch rainfall amounts give way to a burst of slush at the tail-end of the storm Monday, but this will be mainly rain.
A second, colder storm Wednesday could drop a couple inches of snow, followed by a few days in the 20s by late week. But NOAA's GFS guidance hints at 40F early next week and 30s on Christmas Day.
At the rate we're going this winter heavy snow and bitter cold may be the exception, not the rule.
Poor Ice Fishing on Pelican Lake. I snapped this up at our cabin on Pelican Lake (not far from Breezy Point) yesterday, a few ice cubs along the lakeshore, but open water as far as the eye can see. It looked more like mid-October than mid-December.
Twin Cities: Now Firmly in USDA Zone 5? My friend (and prize-winning rose gardener) Jack Falker takes a look at the trends and implications in his blog, The Minnesota Rose Gardener. In an e-mail he said: "We've been running 20 degrees above average but you also have to remember how much that average has been pulled warmer over the last 50-plus years, right along the trend line in my charts. So there is a compounding effect, with above average temps pulling the average ever higher..."
Here's an excerpt of Jack's blog post that caught my eye: "...For several years now I have been doing 50-plus year statistical analysis on Minneapolis-St. Paul winters and comparing them with winters in other upper-Midwest cities. The results are pretty amazing in that we can see very distinct warming trends developing. And it has become much easier to predict that these trends will continue and that we will see warmer winters going forward. The meteorological winter of 2015-16 began on December 1st and what we are now seeing is exactly what the trend line shows we should expect: temperatures are much warmer than average, an average which itself has been pulled significantly upward over the last 55 years. (Above) is my chart for the 55 winters beginning in 1961, through 2015, in the Twin Cities. What it shows is that since year 2000, all but three of our winters have been in USDA Zone 5 or higher, even though the USDA continues to rate MSP as Zone 4 (based on data that is now 10 years old). What's most important here is the upward slope of the trend-line, which, as mentioned above, is predictive. What the trend-line shows, if you extend it, is that MSP will be firmly in Zone 6 within the next three or four years. Right now, based on what we are seeing, I believe we will see a Zone 6 winter in 2016, for the second time in history, and there is a distinct possibility that it could be Zone 7, i.e. not below zero at all, which would be a first...."
* The graphic above shows the coldest nighttime low temperatures at Twin Cities International Airport since 1961.
Photo credit: Brian Gustafson.
30-Day Doppler Radar Precipitation Amounts: NOAA.
Coast Guard Closes all Maritime Entrances to Washington and Oregon. The concern? Flood-related debris and very high seas. Oregonlive.com has the details.
The US Social Security System
The hard drive
SABRE global travel reservation system
The Apollo Program’s computers to land the first humans on the moon
The mainframe computer
The magnetic strip on credit cards
The personal computer
LASIK laser eye surgical tool
The floppy disk
MONDAY: Rain ends as a burst of snow; slush possible by midday. Winds: NW 20-35+ High: 37 (falling)
TUESDAY: Overcast and damp. Wake-up: 31. High: 38
WEDNESDAY: Couple inches of slushy snow possible. Wake-up: 33. High: 36
THURSDAY: Colder wind, few flurries. Wake-up: 25. High: 29
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like 5-10F. Wake-up: 16. High: 22
SATURDAY: Sunny, not as harsh. Wake-up: 11. High: 26
The Paris outcome has two documents.
- The all-important, 12-page document “Paris Agreement”, which sets out new commitments for climate action beyond 2020, and potentially through this century.
- An accompanying, 19-page “Decision” which adds the legwork that countries will have to undertake before the Agreement enters into force in 2020.
* Digg.com has an overview of the summit agreement here.
Photo credit above: "French President Francois Hollande (L) takes his seat at a plenary session with Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (C), President-designate of COP21, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget" Photo: Reuters/Stephane Mahe.
Failure to Address Global Warming Will Cost Many Lives. The Economist has the article; here's a clip: "CLIMATE change kills. In 2005 the World Health Organisation estimated that climate change caused by human activity claims more than 150,000 lives annually. More recently, the Climate Vulnerability Monitor placed the death toll at around 400,000. Using the Value of Statistical Life proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, this represents a cost of more than $3 trillion. Independent of the source, inaction on climate change is expected to increase death and suffering..." (Image: 123RF).
James Hanson, Father of Climate Change Awareness, Calls Paris Talks "A Fraud". The Guardian reports; here's an excerpt: "...Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax. But those running for president are hamstrung by the fact they think they can’t get the nomination if they say this is an issue. They wouldn’t get money from the fossil fuel industry.” There is a positive note to end on, however. Global emissions have somewhat stalled and Hansen believes China, the world’s largest emitter, will now step up to provide the leadership lacking from the US. A submerged Fifth Avenue and deadly heatwaves aren’t an inevitability. “I think we will get there because China is rational,” Hansen says. “Their leaders are mostly trained in engineering and such things, they don’t deny climate change and they have a huge incentive, which is air pollution. It’s so bad in their cities they need to move to clean energies. They realise it’s not a hoax. But they will need co-operation.”
Photo credit above: "Flooded roads are seen as waters along the river Shannon are expected to exceed severe flood levels, with up to 80mm of rain forecast to hit already devastated counties this weekend, in Banagher Co Offaly, Ireland, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015." (Niall Carson/PA via AP).