23 F. average high on January 7.
-1 F. high on January 7, 2015.
7.6 F. The first 6 days of January ran 7.6 F. warmer than average in the Twin Cities.
January 8, 1902: A January Thaw occurs across Minnesota. The Twin Cities experience a high of 46 degrees.
A Little Perspective on the Upcoming Arctic Chill
Wait, you live in Minnesota and you're surprised it's going to get cold? "Paul, I thought El Nino and global warming would keep us mild all winter long!" Winter will be shorter and milder overall, but a few Siberian slaps at this latitude are like gravity, taxes and soul-sucking commutes: inevitable.
According to the Minnesota DNR there has never been a winter where MSP hasn't gone below zero at least twice. On average the first subzero low in the Twin Cities comes December 8; the latest was January 18, 2012. By my calculations we'll finally dip below zero Saturday night, January 9th, the 8th latest subzero low since 1872.
On average we pick up 23 subzero nights every winter. We'll enjoy 3 next week, but I'd bet a stale State Fair corn dog we'll experience fewer than 10 for the entire winter.
1-2 inches of slushy snow may fall today. Temperatures tumble through the teens Saturday; staying below zero most of Sunday, with a wind chill dipping to -25F during the morning. Tuesday looks just as cold - but you'll be amazed how good +30F feels next Thursday.
Time to get our Winter Mojo back!
8th Latest Subzero Low at MSP Since 1872? It's unusual that we haven't enjoyed negative numbers yet in the Twin Cities, but that's about to change. The Minnesota DNR helps to put this winter's (late) first subzero low into perspective: "So far at the Twin Cities there has not been a minimum temperature of zero or colder for the winter of 2015-16. How rare is it to go so late in the season without a minimum of zero or colder? In 143 years of record keeping in the Twin Cities, the official temperature has always fallen below zero sometime during the winter. There has never been a Twin Cities winter where the temperature has not dipped to zero or colder at least twice. The long term average for the first below-zero reading in the Twin Cities is December 8. The earliest below-zero temperature recorded in the Twin Cities was November 4, 1991..."
Saturday Cold Front. Temperatures will fall from tonight into Saturday, maybe recovering a couple of degrees around midday, but falling through the teens, dropping below zero after midnight Saturday night. The 1 PM Saturday temperature prediction is from NOAA's NAM model and AerisWeather.
Freak Snow Streak. Similar to a line of summer T-storms that stalls in place, individual cells repeatedly passing over the same county like a "train-echo" event, an unusual jet streak feature aloft sparked a very persistent band of snow over the Red River Valley, squeezing out as much as 14" of new snow at Georgetown, Minnesota. Doppler radar snowfall estimates courtesy of the Grand Forks National Weather Service.
Map credit above: "Annual acreage burned by wildfires in the U.S. since 1970."
Map credit above: Max Galka / Metrocosm
Despite the CES Hype It's Better to Wait on that 4K TV. Here's an excerpt of a review at The New York Times: "...But after interviewing several technology companies and testing a premium Samsung 4K TV for more than a week, I was less than convinced that 2016 would be a good year to buy one of the sets. Televisions with the 4K feature remain expensive, ranging from $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars. More important, the content available in the new 4K video resolution is sparse. And while images encoded in 4K do look better than normal high-definition ones, the differences aren’t jaw-dropping..."
Photo credit: " Credit John Locher/Associated Press.
TODAY: 1-2" of slushy snow; mainly wet roads up until late afternoon. Winds: N 8-13. High: 33
FRIDAY NIGHT: Light snow tapers to flurries - slick roads. Low: 15
SATURDAY: Few flakes, tumbling temperatures. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 17 (falling)
SUNDAY: Colder than Seattle with more clouds than sun. Winds: NW 10-15. Feels like -20F. Wake-up: -10. High: near 0F
MONDAY: Still chilly, burst of flurries possible. Wake-up: -5. High: 12
TUESDAY: Reinforcing shot of numbing air. Feels like -25F. Wake-up: -6. High: 1
WEDNESDAY: Nippy start. A period of snow possible. Wake-up: -11. High: 12
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, feeling better. Wake-up: 10. High: 29
Amplification of El Nino by Cloud Longwave Coupling to Atmospheric Circulation. Which is an impressive way of saying global warming seems to make El Nino worse. Here's an excerpt of the paper's abstract at Nature Publishing Group: "...Here we present numerical experiments with an Earth system model, with and without coupling of cloud radiative effects to the circulation, suggesting that clouds enhance ENSO variability by a factor of two or more. Clouds induce heating in the mid and upper troposphere associated with enhanced high-level cloudiness12 over the El Niño region, and low-level clouds cool the lower troposphere in the surrounding regions13. Together, these effects enhance the coupling of the atmospheric circulation to El Niño surface temperature anomalies, and thus strengthen the positive Bjerknes feedback mechanism14 between west Pacific zonal wind stress and sea surface temperature gradients..."
Climate Change is Indeed a Cause of Social Conflict. When people ask me if climate volatility is a bigger threat than ISIS I tell them the truth: we have multiple challenges and threats at any given point in time. Did perpetual drought in Syria help to create the conditions that allowed ISIS to flourish? As is often the case it's a combination of factors, a perfect storm of variables. Here's an excerpt from The Goldman School of Public Policy at The University of California, Berkeley: "...Another caveat: We can’t predict that a particular conflict will or will not happen. Instead, we can assess the risk that violence might occur in response to changes in the climate. The situation is similar to assessing the risk of a car accident. Nobody ever says, “If you drive to the store now, you will get into an accident.” Instead, we might say, “If you drive to the store during this rainstorm, you are more likely to get into an accident than if you wait until the rain stops.” We have studied many types of violence — including sports violence, murder, gang violence, riots and civil wars. What we find time and again, around the world and throughout human history, is that climatic events are a cause of social conflict. They are not the only cause, but in places where there is a risk of violence because of non-climate factors, climate changes can amplify this risk..."
Photo credit above: Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème
Global temperature anomalies valid 12z this morning, courtesy of Climate Reanalyzer.