January 21, 1936: Warroad drops to a bone-chilling 55 below zero.
January 21, 1922: The barometer at Collegeville hits 31.11 inches, a record high pressure reading for the state.
"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together" wrote Vesta Kelly. According to the Michigan Science Center every winter at least one septillion (1 followed by 24 zeroes) snowflakes fall from the sky.
Animation credit: "Forecast storm surge from this weekend's winter storm." Credit: Ocean Prediction Center.
Timing the storm. Here is a sequence of future radar maps from Aeris Weather, showing the progression of snow (heaviest snow is shaded in purple, light snow in blue):
Map credit: MPCA.
10 Billion Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters in 2015. Here's an excerpt from NOAA: "...The U.S. has sustained 188 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2015). The total cost of these 188 events exceeds $1 trillion. In 2015, there were 10 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a drought event, 2 flooding events, 5 severe storm events, a wildfire event, and a winter storm event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 155 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2015 annual average is 5.2 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2011–2015) is 10.8 events (CPI-adjusted). Further cost figures on individual events in 2015 will be updated when data are finalized..."
15 Before-And-After Images That Show How We're Transforming the Planet. Vox has a terrific photo-essay; here's an excerpt: "...One of the most dramatic ways we're transforming the planet is through global warming. And a great place to see its effects is through the melting of glaciers and ice sheets around the world. The images above show the Columbia Glacier in Alaska, which flows directly into the sea. The glacier had stayed more or less fixed in place between its discovery in 1794 and 1980, but then suddenly began shrinking. Between 1986 and 2014, its nose had retreated 12 miles north, making it one of the fastest-receding glaciers in the world..."
Image credit above: "Alaska's Columbia Glacier, seen on July 28, 1986 and July 2, 2014." (NASA, Images of Change)
Photo credit: National Geographic, which has more background on the global spread of algal blooms here.
How the "Perfect Storm" Became the Perfect Cop-Out. Here's a link to the New York Times Magazine.
Amidst Drop in Oil Prices, U.S. Navy Deploys "Great Green Fleet". Reuters reports: "The U.S. Navy will formally deploy its so-called "Great Green Fleet" on Wednesday, sending warships to sea on biofuels even though oil prices have dropped 70 percent since congressional Republicans first criticized the high cost of alternative fuels. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told Reuters the deployment is the next step in a fleet-wide effort that has seen the Navy cut its oil consumption by 15 percent since he took charge in 2009 and the Marine Corps curb its use by 60 percent. A focus on energy and energy-saving technology gives the U.S. Navy a military advantage, Mabus said..."
Photo credit above: "A cyclist rides his bicycle during “No Car Day” in Bogota, 2015. The event was organized to encourage residents to use other modes of public transportation to help reduce the amount of pollution." Photograph: Jose Gomez/Reuters
Map credit above: "
TODAY: Gray, coating of snow. Winds: NW 3-8. High: 23
THURSDAY NIGHT: Flurries taper. Low: 12
FRIDAY: Sunshine returns, still chilly. Winds: N 7-12. High: 20
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, a bit milder. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 8. High: 27
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels pretty good. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 20. High: 31
MONDAY: Light snow, coating to 1" possible. Wake-up: 22. High: 27
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, no travel worries. Wake-up: 14. High: 23
WEDNESDAY: Milder, few flurries around. Wake-up: 17. High: 31
22-degree halo photo above courtesy of Steve Burns.
Photo credit above: "Wildfires devastated large parts of California and the West, which has been suffering from a historic drought." Max Whittaker/Reuters.
Photo credit above: "Exxon Mobil, which operates a refinery in Torrance, above, has issued statements denying news reports that it suppressed climate-change research." (Christina House / For The Times).
Pentagon Ordered to Address Climate Change. Here's the intro to story at The Washington Free Beacon: "A new directive issued by Pentagon leaders mandates that the agency work to “assess and manage risks associated with the impacts of climate change,” according to a copy of the Jan. 14 directive issued by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. As the Obama administration focuses on a larger effort to push its climate change agenda, the Pentagon will now “address the impacts of climate change.” This includes engaging in “deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning” to “improve climate preparedness and resilience,” according to the directive..." (File photo: Wikipedia).
Climate Change and Minnesota Agribusiness: a Reason for Hope. I've personally witnessed much more attention being paid to climate volatility from General Mills, Cargill and other Minnesota-based companies. Here's another perspective in an Op-Ed at Minnpost: "Too often big business is written off as an environmental problem, without exploring its potential as a tool for progress. Agribusiness must be part of the solution for climate-change adaptation, especially for smallholder farmers in the global south. Right now, the fields in Minnesota may be covered with snow, but according to social responsibility reports, corporations like Cargill and General Mills are helping farmers in developing countries improve their livelihoods. Conscious consumers should demand more information about these programs to determine if they are creating the social impact they claim to generate..."
Photo credit above: CC/Flickr/David Wright. "Agribusiness is a leading contributor to climate change. The industry and lawmakers should do more to address this issue and support the farmers most affected by our carbon-intensive lifestyles."
3rd Annual Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference on January 28. If your state agency or business is already seeing impacts from a more volatile climate you should consider attending - a few spots are still available. Here's more information on who, what, where and why from Dr. Mark Seeley:
"We are trying to nurture an educated community of practitioners when it comes to climate adaptation and sustainability, and we are slowly succeeding. In past statewide conferences we have heard from a number of academic researchers and government practitioners concerning sustainability strategies and procedures that give consideration to climate change, but this year we will hear more from the business and corporate community (morning plenary session on climate adaptation and sustainability), as well as a panel of city mayors in the afternoon plenary session.
The CAP Conference will take place on January 28, 2016 at the Doubletree Hotel in Brooklyn Center, MN. Many of the presentations and discussions will center on the need for sustainability as an underlying principle when it comes to considerations of climate change and how it will affect management of our natural resources, our societal infrastructure, and the future of products and services from the highly competitive corporate world This would be a valuable discussion for our wider community to hear, and perhaps even foster some closer working relationships among the partnerships of practitioners we are trying to build."
More information and a link to online registration is here.
Church of England and New York State Fund to Press Exxon on Climate Change. Here's the intro to a Wall Street Journal story: "New York’s state pension fund and the Church of England, both investors in Exxon Mobil Corp. , plan to file a shareholder resolution demanding the largest U.S. oil company assess the impact on its business of climate change policy. The shareholder resolution would require Exxon to conduct an assessment of how its business would fare in the event governments take various actions to limit global warming. Government attempts to tax or put a price on carbon, for example, could affect the viability of some of Exxon’s long-term investment plans, said Edward Mason, head of responsible investing for the Church of England, which has a portfolio of about £10 billion ($14.44 billion)..."
Photo credit above: " " Photo: Reuters.
Illustration credit above: "Pacific and Atlantic meridional sections showing upper-ocean warming for the most recent complete decade. Red colors indicate a warming (positive) anomaly and blue colors indicate a cooling (negative) anomaly." (Source: Timo Bremer/LLNL)
* More perspective on the massive amounts of heat going into the world's oceans at Discovery News.
A team of scientists from the University of Leuven in Belgium have found that clouds are raising the temperature of the Greenland Ice Sheet by up to 3 degrees, contributing to almost 30 percent of the sheet’s melting, according a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications..."