December 23, 1983: The Twin Cities experience a bitterly cold high of 17 degrees below zero.
December 23, 1833: A 'warm spell' is reported at Ft. Snelling. The temperature reached 45 degrees.
Parade of "Slop-Storms". Record Warmth Brewing Out East
"Paul, what the Sam Hill is going on?" People want answers. "You have access to Doppler, weather satellites and supercomputers!" I shrug and tell them what experts are telling me. A majority of the warming we're now observing is part of a broader, longer-term trend, worldwide. The World Weather Attribution Initiative estimates only 10 percent of the warming is coming from El Nino.
Hundreds of records will be set out east Christmas Eve, possibly the warmest ever recorded from Georgia to Maine. A string of 70s - in some cases 30-40F warmer than average? Remarkable.
While the rain-snow line wobbles above the Twin Cities - on December 23. A cold rain mixes with snow later today as temperatures cool. If we get more than a slushy coating on lawns, fields and confused robins tonight I'll be shocked.
I expect dry travel Christmas Eve and Day; maybe another slushy coating Saturday. Another icy mix is possible next Monday as a mild bias continues.
I'm just a bewildered spectator, trying to connect the dots.
And with all due apologies to Charles Dickens, is this the ghost of Christmas yet to come?
* 2,800 (warm) temperature records have already been broken so far in December.
Image credit above: "Migrating birds seen on radar." Source: National Weather Service.
Florida's Record Warm 2015 an Outlier in U.S. East. 2015 has been unusually toasty across the USA, the 11th warmest since 1895 in Minnesota, according to NOAA data. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...The reasons for Florida’s out-of-sync warmth could be myriad and have likely varied with the seasons, experts said. Drought, incredibly warm ocean waters and natural climate cycles may all have contributed to the likely record. While no studies have been done to look for any role of global warming in the state’s warm year, one of the clearest trends of a warming world is for record highs to outpace record lows. That background warming due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the major reason for the record warm year the planet as a whole will see for 2015..."
Map credit above: "Year-to-date temperatures for each state in the contiguous U.S. through November 2015." Credit: NOAA
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."
Every Breath of Polluted Air in Childhood Decreases Your Salary When You Grow Up. Here's an excerpt of a good summary of new research at Quartz: "... In a new study, researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara worked with the US Treasury to study data on 5.7 million individuals born just before and after the 1970 amendments came in to action, to understand these effects. They find that, for every 10% decrease in exposure to suspended particles in the year of birth, a person’s earnings increased by at least 1% at age 30 (and vice-versa). The results stand even after controlling for factors such as race and gender..."
Photo credit above: "Killing me softly with your smog." (EPA/Rolex Dela Pena).
Photo credit above: Courtesy SUSTAIN/University of Miami. "The lab's tank and air duct house 37 permanent sensors. Dozens more can be added to collect different data sets."
Costa Rica at 99% Renewables; Are Others on the Same Path? CSMonitor.com has the details; here's an excerpt: "...The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said in a statement Friday that it achieved "99 percent renewable electricity generation" so far this year, AFP reports. Early this year, the Costa Rican government announced that the country had been running fully on renewable energy for the first 75 days of 2015. At the time, it set a target to run 97.1 percent on geothermal, wind, biomass and solar sources for the rest of the year..."
Photo credit above: "An ornamental windmill spins in front of wind turbines near Steele City, Neb on Nov. 3, 2015. 99 percent of electricity in Costa Rica came from renewable energy in 2015." Nati Harnik/AP.
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..."
TODAY: Rain mixes with snow, slushy late? Winds: NW 7-12. High: 37
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Slushy coating possible as flurries taper. Low: 23
CHRISTMAS EVE: Mostly cloudy, drier. Santa sightings late. Winds: W 8-13. High: 32
CHRISTMAS DAY: Clouds increase, icy mix at night? Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 21. High: 35
SATURDAY: Another slushy coating possible. A few greasy roads, especially AM hours. Wake-up: 29. High:
SUNDAY: Few sunny breaks, better travel. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 21. High: near 30
MONDAY: Rain or icy mix arrives late. Wake-up: 19. High: 32
TUESDAY: Snow tapers, drying out PM hours. Wake-up: 28. High: 33
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).
Scientists Say Climate Change Could Cause a "Massive" Tree Die-Off in the U.S. Southwest. Here's the intro to a story at The Washington Post: "In a troubling new study just out in Nature Climate Change, a group of researchers says that a warming climate could trigger a “massive” dieoff of coniferous trees, such as junipers and piñon pines, in the U.S. southwest sometime this century. The study is based on both global and regional simulations — which show “consistent predictions of widespread mortality,” the paper says — and also an experiment on three large tree plots in New Mexico. The work was led by Nate McDowell of the Los Alamos National Laboratory who conducted the research along with 18 other authors from a diverse group of universities and federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey..."
Photo credit above: "
Graphic credit: NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. 2015 temperature trend in green.