25 F. average high on December 21.
39 F. high on December 21, 2014.
December 22, 2000: A chilly day in Minnesota, with a high of zero degrees in Minneapolis, and a low of 14 below.
Glancing Blows of Cold Air
"Oh the weather outside is frightful..." Not so much. Old Man Winter has joined the witness protection program, hunkering down somewhere in the Yukon. The odds of a white Christmas in the MSP metro are slim to nil. That won't stop Santa, but kids of all ages are flummoxed at the thought of the second brown Christmas in a row at MSP.
Yes, the lack of ice has helped commuters, and MnDOT is going to throw a huge statewide party with the money they're not using to plow metro roads, but a snowy no-show at Christmas just seems...off.
If we're lucky we might wind up with a shoe-full of slush by Christmas Eve. Today looks dry;
Wednesday's anemic storm starts as rain and changes to a coating of slush by nightfall, but the brunt of the "storm" stays east over Wisconsin. If you squint and pretend - there may be Tulsa-like smear of white on your lawn Christmas Eve, but I suspect this will be a brown Christmas in the Twin Cities.
Another inch or so of slush is possible on Saturday but no problems getting home on Sunday. The remnants of a big, southern storm may push a swirl of rain into town next Tuesday.
No polar plunges, just dribs and drabs of snow - and an occasional, obligatory cold front.
Waiting for Winter. Models show highs in the upper 60s and low 70s as far north as New York City on Christmas Eve. Or is it Halloween? Labor Day? Winter is still missing in action. Graphic: Aeris Enterprise.
A Stunning New Photo from the Moon: Earthrise. Phil Plait takes a look at what made this remarkable photo possible at Slate; here's an excerpt: "Holy sweet mother of Earth. This incredible photo was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been mapping the Moon since it achieved orbit in 2009. Its cameras are usually pointed straight down (what’s called nadir viewing), but sometimes the whole spacecraft is rotated to point them toward the horizon, or even up into space, to measure the Moon’s incredibly thin atmosphere (called an exosphere, which, c’mon, is an extremely cool word) or to take calibration measurements..." (Photo credit: NASA).
Climate Change and El Nino Fueled 2015's Record Heat. Here's an excerpt from Climate Nexus: "...While the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is responsible for a large part of the variation in weather we see in the global climate from one year to the next, a study conducted by scientists with the World Weather Attribution (WWA) initiative finds that climate change is the dominant cause of 2015’s record warmth. Using well-established techniques from peer-reviewed literature, the scientists estimated 2015’s global temperature anomaly to be 1.89°F (1.05°C) above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial baseline and determined that roughly 1.8°F (1.0°C) of 2015’s temperature anomaly was due to human-caused climate change. The WWA analysis found that El Niño was responsible for 0.09°F to 0.18°F (0.05°C to 0.1°C) of 2015’s record warmth. This means, El Niño caused at most 10 percent of the warming, with the other 90 percent being due to climate change..."
2015: The Hottest Year on Record. Climate Nexus produced a companion video and excellent overview with more detail on the record-warm anomalies and the additional heat manifested itself with record heat, drought and severe storms. This is 1C of warming, imagine what 3C warming might do: "2015 will be the hottest year on record - and the impacts related to warming have been devastating."
Graphic credit above: Andrew Umentum, NG Staff. Source: Climate Central; Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
2015: The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being. News tends to focus on the negative, but the overall picture for much of the planet is positive, argues this story at The Atlantic. Here's an excerpt: "From Paris to Syria through San Bernardino to Afghanistan, the world witnessed obscene and unsufferable tragedy in 2015. That was on top of the ongoing misery of hundreds of millions who are literally stunted by poverty, living lives shortened by preventable disease and malnutrition. But for all of that, 2015 also saw continued progress toward better quality of life for the considerable majority of the planet, alongside technological breakthroughs and political agreements that suggest the good news might continue next year and beyond. Tragedy and misery are rarer than they were before 2015—and there is every reason to hope they will be even less prevalent in 2016..."
Image credit: NJ.com, which has more details. "A Boy Scouts leader was attacked by a bear while he was with three scouts in the woods near Splitrock Reservoir, Mayor Mike Dachisen confirmed." (Marisa Iati | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
My favorite headline comes from Dave Pell at Nextdraft:
Image credit: radaronline.com.
TODAY: Gray skies, dry roads. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 39
TUESDAY NIGHT: Overcast, a little ice possible by daybreak Wednesday. Low: 33
WEDNESDAY: Rain ends as a little slushy snow. High: 37
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, dry Christmas Eve. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 31
CHRISTMAS DAY: Overcast, light mix possible Friday night. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 26. High: 36
SATURDAY: Period of wet snow, a little slush? Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 33
SUNDAY: Sunny breaks, better travel day. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 21. High: near 30
MONDAY: Clouds thicken, dry roads. Wake-up: 19. High: 32
* Photo credit here.
Graphic credit: NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. 2015 temperature trend in green.
Why We Shouldn't Confuse Climate and Weather. Here's a snippet from The Guardian: "...We have always been baffled by the weather and have often used strange arguments to explain its unexpected behaviour. More than 2,000 years ago, one hapless Roman citizen was so worried that unusual gales and storms might be due to the impiety of the nation that he asked the gods for guidance via a carved lead tablet which he left at a local oracle. Today we have a better idea of the factors that influence our weather, though we still struggle to make sense of the reams of data – wind, pressure, sunshine, temperature, moisture levels, and other factors – that we now know influence the daily regimes of rain and sun that we experience..."