31 F. average high on December 4.
32 F. high on December 4, 2014.
2" of dirty snow on the ground at MSP International Friday evening at 7 PM. My yard? Not so much.
December 5, 2001: An unseasonably warm December day occurs, with a high of 63 degrees at the Twin Cities. Summer-like thunderstorms developed and dropped quarter-sized hail at the Eyota Post Office in Olmsted County.
December 5, 1979: Mild air moves in to Minnesota, with highs of 52 at St. Cloud and 54 at Browns Valley.
December 5, 1928: Canby receives three inches of snow or greater for the third consecutive day.
An El Nino December - Freakishly Mild Spell Continues Into Next Week
Welcome to the season of long shadows, a lazy sun scraping the tree tops on the southern horizon. Today the sun will shine only 8 hours and 58 minutes. That compares to 15 hours of daylight in June.
In spite of a low sun angle highs reach the 40s into next week. As snow melts the sun's energy will go into heating up the air vs. melting slush. The result may be 50 degrees by next Thursday, as an almost springlike surge of Pacific air pushes east of the Rockies.
Typical for late March, not a couple weeks away from the Winter Solstice. Truly remarkable.
Stating the obvious (which I've turned into a career) if you like snow get out and play in it soon, because most of it will be gone within 48 to 72 hours.
A powerful El Nino signal continues to howl from the Pacific, hijacking jet stream winds - no polar air is brewing the next few weeks. In fact ECMWF (Euro) guidance suggests a major (rain) storm spinning up by next weekend. Within 8 days it may be cold enough for snow - if we can muster up some moisture.
How strange to be talking about "cold enough for snow" in Minnesota, in mid-December.
Graphic credit: Climate Reanalyzer.
- November monthly precipitation totals were much above average across nearly all of Minnesota. In many locations, November monthly precipitation totals exceeded the long-term mean by more than one inch. Preliminary data indicate that the state-averaged precipitation total (nearly three inches) for November 2015 will rank among the ten wettest November totals on record.
- Four significant rainfall or snowfall events occurred in Minnesota during November. Heavy rainfall was reported on November 11 and again November 16-19. Heavy snowfall fell in some locales November 19-20 and again on November 30.
- Average monthly temperatures for November were well above historical averages across Minnesota, ranging from five to seven degrees above normal. Preliminary data indicate that November 2015 will rank among the three warmest Novembers of the modern record. Preliminary data also reveal that the "meteorological autumn" (September through November) of 2015 will rank among the warmest ever. Extremes for November ranged from a high of 78 degrees F at Madison (Lac qui Parle County) on the 2nd, to a low of -7 degrees F at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods County) on the 28th. A number of warm minimum temperature records were set on November 16 and 17.
Map credit above: "November snow and temperature departures from normal in the Northeast." Credit: NERCC
Image credit above: "A woman uses a cloth to cover her face from pollutants as she walks past a construction building on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Beijing on Sunday, Nov. 29 issued its highest smog alert of the year following air pollution in capital city reached hazardous levels as smog engulfed large parts of the country despite efforts to clean up the foul air." (AP Photo/Andy Wong).
Graphic credit above: "Tornado deaths are far below the levels observed prior to the advent of the National Weather Service watch/warning system in the 1950s, although the catastrophic tornadoes of 2011 produced the biggest spike in fatalities in more than 80 years." Data provided courtesy Harold Brooks, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory; data sources are NWS (1950 – 2015) and Thomas Grazulis (1875 – 1949).
Alarming Research Finds Humans Are Using Up Far More of Earth's Water than Previously Thought. Here's an overview and summary of a new research study at The Washington Post: "Freshwater is one of the planet’s most precious resources — and as the global population grows and our demand for water rises, so does the need to carefully monitor its use and availability. Numerous studies have attempted to calculate the amount of freshwater humans consume globally from year to year. But in a worrying new study in the journal Science, scientists argue that we’ve been significantly underestimating our water footprint — in fact, their research raises the estimate of our global water consumption by nearly 20 percent and suggests that we may have crossed an unsustainable threshold in our water use..."
Photo credit above:
Wind and Solar Now Leading Texas in Power Growth. The story comes from mysanantonio.com; here's the intro: "Most new electricity generation in Texas will come from wind power, and next year solar power growth is expected to exceed natural gas-fired power plants in terms of new capacity added to the grid, according to a new report Tuesday from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The capacity, demand and reserves report from ERCOT, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s grid load, shows that Texas is upping its share of renewable power and that growth of solar farms will begin to pick up next year in the state. No new coal plants have received permits, and ERCOT expects companies will retire more coal-fired power plants in coming years..."
Photo credit above: "Wind turbines and oil pumpjack in action Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, north of Stanton, Texas." (James Durbin/Reporter-Telegram).
Photo credit above: "A build rate of 61 new reactors per year could entirely replace current fossil fuel electricity generation by 2050." Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAPIMAGE.
Photo credit above: Associated Press. "In June 13, 2014 photo, two men work at the construction site of a new reactor at Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga."
TODAY: Sunny start - clouds increase, stray shower? Winds: S 10-20. High: 45
SATURDAY NIGHT: Few sprinkles, clouds linger. Low: 32
SUNDAY: Clouds give way to some sunshine. Winds: W 5-10. High: 43
MONDAY: Partly sunny, still mild, Wake-up: 29. High: 44
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, quiet. Wake-up: 32. High: 42
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun. March in December. Wake-up: 31. High: 45
THURSDAY: Dim sun, mildest day in sight. Wake-up: 33. High: 48
FRIDAY: Period of light rain possible. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: near 40
There is No Planet B. The impacts on Canada are even more pronounced; here's an excerpt from Pique Newsmagazine in Whistler, BC: "...But were you aware that between 1948 and 2013, the average annual temperature in Canada has warmed by 1.6 °C (relative to the 1961-1990 average) — a higher rate of warming than in most other regions of the world? As the temperature continues to climb we will see changes in rainfall and its distribution, snow, and ice and a heightened risk of extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy rainfalls and related flooding, dry spells and/or droughts, and forest fires. Eight of our 10 provinces, and all three territories, border ocean waters (including Hudson Bay), so there is no escaping the fact that we will be affected by changing ocean environments, including changes in average and extreme sea level, wave regimes, and ice conditions..." (File image credit: NASA).
Graphic credit above: "Time series of annual values of global mean temperature anomalies (red and blue bars) in degrees Celsius, and carbon dioxide concentrations at Mauna Loa, both from NOAA, relative to a baseline of the 20th Century values. Also given as dashed values are the pre-industrial estimated values, with the scale in orange at right for carbon dioxide, where the value is 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The latest October 2015 values exceed 400 ppmv. For temperature, the 2015 value is based on observations through October 2015 and estimated for November and December based on the October anomaly. Values are more than 1 C above pre-industrial levels." (Thanks to John Fasullo who helped with this figure).
David Koch file photo: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack.