Monday, January 11, 2016

Wind Chill Advisory Today - Dangerous Cold Brewing For The Weekend

6 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
23 F. average high on January 11.
14 F. high on January 11 2015

4/10ths of an inch of snow fell yesterday at KMSP.

January 12, 2000: Snow falls in a narrow band over the Twin Cities. Maplewood receives 5.5 inches, while Chanhassen gets 12.
January 12, 1888: The infamous 'Blizzard of '88' occurs. It hit during a mild day when many children were heading home from school. They made up the majority of the 200 people that died. At the end of the storm the thermometer at St. Paul read -37.

"Ice Station Zebra": Even Colder Shot Next Weekend

It's so cold I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets. It was so cold we huddled in a walk-in freezer to stay warm. It's so cold Caribou is selling Latte-On-A-Stick.

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During Sunday's Vikings game NBC announcers referred to TCF Stadium as 1). Ice Station Zebra and 2). Jupiter. All for -4F. Really? Wussified weather wimps. Readers reminded me that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing choices.

You may need one less layer later this week as temperatures rebound into the 20s. A coating of flurries is possible Wednesday and Thursday, but any big storms pinwheel south of Minnesota. Too cold to snow (much).

The rumors are true: expect another punch to the polar region in 4 days. The mercury may not climb much above 0F from late Friday night into Tuesday morning. Not record-setting, just annoyingly cold with a chill factor as low as -30F Sunday into Monday, possibly the coldest day of the winter.

The last week of January brings moderating temperatures and a better chance of real snow.

Wind Chill Advisory. The entire state of Minnesota and much of Wisconsin is under a Wind Chill Advisory, which means a heightened risk of frostbite and hypothermia, a gradual drop in body temperature that can be fatal if not caught in time. Take the cold seriously. Here's more information from NOAA:






Serious Wind Chills This Upcoming Weekend. Here is ECMWF guidance, valid 7 AM Sunday,  showing metro wind chills in the -30 to -35F range; as low as -40F for southwestern Minnesota. There's little doubt in my mind that factoring air temperature and wind chill this weekend will be the coldest of winter. Source: WeatherBell.

Scraping Bottom Sunday Morning. European guidance shows wake-up temperatures Sunday and Monday in the -15F range both Sunday and Monday morning. That's air temperature. Time to cash in those frequent flier miles, or just suffer in dignified silence.

Fast-Moving Clipper. Here's a radar lapse (from my smartphone) yesterday evening, showing 3-5 hour swirl of light snow that iced up roads. It wasn't much snow, but with single-digit temperatures roads quickly became slick. Screen shot: AerisWeather Pulse.

Real-Time Road Conditions. Here is what our internal maps looked like yesterday around 5:30 PM, all those blue lines interstates and major county roads where our models detected snow-covered and slippery conditions. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Cold Storms = White Knuckle Commutes. Keep in mind that MnDOT's cocktail of sand and chemicals doesn't work very well at surface temperatures below 15F; melting snow and ice becomes much more probability. In fact I would argue that half an inch at 5F is far more slippery and dangerous than 5" at 28F, when snow-removal technologies work much better. 5:30 PM traffic map on Monday: Google.

Welcome to the Tundra. Minnesota will live up to its forbidding reputation over the next week, with the coldest stretch Friday night into Tuesday morning, when air temperatures may not rise above 0F in the metro, wind chills dipping into the danger zone much of Saturday and Sunday. Some recovery is likely by the middle of next week. Map: WeatherSpark.

Model Agreement. GFS is very close to ECMWF solutions for minimum wind chills, coming monday morning, in the -30 to -35F range. You too may have a rare, fleeting "where am I living?" moment. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Reason To Keep On Going. Models show a temperature recovery by the middle of next week, back into the 20s, probably a few 30s by the last week of January, as winds aloft become more westerly.

Circle Your Calendars. Does anyone have calendars anymore? Odds are it's on your phone, but no problem. GFS guidance hints at 30F by the end of next week, a better chance of a thaw around January 26. I predict it will be a welcome "warm front".

Too Cold For (much) Snow. GFS guidance from NOAA hints at a couple inches  of snow Friday as bitter air approaches, but the really impressive (12-24") amounts are forecast downwind of the Great Lakes as subzero air flows over relatively mild lake waters (with little ice cover).  Expect Cleveland and Buffalo to see a potentially paralyzing snowy dumping. 10-Day snowfall potential: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Scotland Hit By Further Flooding and Transportation Disruption. Here's the latest from The BBC on the wave of extreme, in some cases historic flooding gripping the UK: "Flooding chaos returned to Scotland on Friday, forcing people to flee their homes and causing major disruption to transport networks. Villages in Aberdeenshire were left assessing the damage after the river Don rose to record levels and overtopped its banks. Homes were evacuated in Inverurie, Port Elphinstone and Ellon overnight as the swollen river sent flood waters racing down the streets. The heavy rain closed roads, and trains and flights were cancelled in Aberdeen and the surrounding region as water levels reached record highs..."

Winter Surprise: Rare Tropical Cyclones Form in January. It's a mixed-up weather map, and "Pali" may be the earliest tropical storm to form in the central Pacific. Here's an excerpt from WXshift: "...The official hurricane season for both the Atlantic and the central and northeastern Pacific basins ends on Nov. 30. Historically, there is very little activity after this period because of cooling ocean waters and unfavorable atmospheric conditions. Only three have ever been recorded in the central Pacific in the January to March timeframe. But storms can, and have, formed in the traditional off-season when the right factors come together to give them a push. Tropical Storm Pali formed on Jan. 7 way out in the middle of the Pacific, more than 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii (so it is not a threat to anyone on land). The timing of its formation wasn’t the only thing notable about it: It also formed unusually close to the equator, just south of the 5 degree latitude mark. It is the southernmost storm ever to form in that region..."

Image credit:

16 Nations Set All-Time Heat Records in 2015. Here's an excerpt from Weather Underground's Jeff Masters - a full post is coming on the long list of jaw-dropping records: "...In addition to being the warmest year on record when averaged over the entire globe, 2015 was also notable for all-time extreme heat records. Sixteen nations or territories tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history in 2015, and two (Israel and Cyprus) set all-time cold temperature records. For comparison, only two nations or territories set all-time heat records in 2014, and nine did in 2013. The most all-time national heat records held by any year is nineteen in 2010. Most nations do not maintain official databases of extreme temperature records, so the national temperature records reported here are in many cases not official. I use as my source for international weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, one of the world's top climatologists, who maintains a comprehensive list of extreme temperature records for every nation in the world on his website..."

Map and data courtesy of Weather Underground and climate researcher Maximiliano Herrera.

El Chapo Speaks. Here is a clip from the already-infamous Sean Penn story at RollingStone: "...This would be the second prison escape of the world's most notorious drug lord, the first being 13 years earlier, from Puente Grande prison, where he was smuggled out under the sheets of a laundry cart. Since he joined the drug trade as a teenager, Chapo swiftly rose through the ranks, building an almost mythic reputation: First, as a cold pragmatist known to deliver a single shot to the head for any mistakes made in a shipment, and later, as he began to establish the Sinaloa cartel, as a Robin Hood-like figure who provided much-needed services in the Sinaloa mountains, funding everything from food and roads to medical relief. By the time of his second escape from federal prison, he had become a figure entrenched in Mexican folklore..."

8 Things You Should Always Do on a Plane. has the article; here's an excerpt: "...Speaking of germs, if you're trapped in an enclosed space with someone who has a contagious disease, you've got a pretty good chance of catching the virus. If you want to really freak yourself out, read about your chances of catching something form a sick passenger—like TB, which you can catch if you're within two rows of patient zero; or SARS, which can transmit to flyers as far of seven rows away. Save yourself by blowing away the germs via the air vent above your head. Set the ventilation to low or medium and position it directly in front of your head, blowing straight down. If you can feel the air flow on your lap, you've done it right..."

Illumina's Bid to Beat Cancer with DNA Tests. Watch the price drop to less than $100 within a few years; here's an excerpt from MIT Technology Review: "The world’s largest DNA sequencing company says it will form a new company to develop blood tests that cost $1,000 or less and can detect many types of cancer before symptoms arise. Illumina, based in San Diego, said its blood tests should reach the market by 2019, and would be offered through doctors’ offices or possibly a network of testing centers..."

How GM Beat Tesla to the First True, Mass-Market Electric Car. 30K is the sweet spot, especially if it can go 200-300 miles on a charge. Here's an excerpt of an encouraging story at WIRED: "...General Motors first unveiled the Chevy Bolt as a concept car in January 2015, billing it as a vehicle that would offer 200 miles of range for just $30,000 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit). Barring any unforeseen delays, the first Bolts will roll off the production line at GM’s Orion Assembly facility in Michigan by the end of 2016. As Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, recently put it to me with a confident grin: “Who wants to be second?” For GM, the Bolt stands to offer a head start in a new kind of market for electric cars. But for the rest of us, there’s a broader significance to this news..."

Musk Predicts Your Car Will Be Able To Drive You Cross-Country Soon. But will it pay my parking tickets and help me come up with a believable excuse for the state trooper who pulls me over. "It wasn't me - I was on AutoPilot!" Here's a clip from Bloomberg Business: "Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said within two years a customer would be able to summon an electric car to drive autonomously from Los Angeles to New York. "I might be slightly optimistic on that, but I don’t think significantly optimistic that we can do that in two years," Musk said in a press conference on Sunday. He added that it should be technically feasible to have fully autonomous vehicles within 24 to 36 months..."

69 Facts about the late, great David Bowie, courtesy of BBC.

Meet You At The Dinosaur Dance? It turns out dinosaurs danced to attract a mate. Who knew? Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Predatory dinosaurs performed a ritual, bird-like dance to woo their mates, according to paleontologists who have studied huge scrape marks left behind by the animals in western Colorado. Paleobiologists have long speculated that dinosaurs had mating rituals like those of their descendants, modern birds, but the scrapes would be the first physical evidence of “dinosaur foreplay”, lead scientist Martin Lockley said..."

Image credit above: "This illustration shows theropods engaged in scrape ceremony display activity, based on trace fossil evidence from Colorado." Photograph: Lida Xing/AP.

Playboy Mansion Listed for $200 Million, Hef Included. That's no joke, shell out big bucks and get to hang out with Hugh Hefner, whether you want to or not. Here's a link to video with an excerpt from CNN Money: "...The mansion "is one of a select few private residences in L.A. with a zoo license," according to the property's realtors. Hugh Hefner, famous for his in-house bunny harem and wild celebrity-studded parties, will remain a resident. The elderly founder of Playboy Magazine must be allowed to live at the mansion for the rest of his life, according to the sale terms..." (Image:

TODAY: Numb with more clouds than sun and a cold wind. Feels like -25F. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 2

TUESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, still chilly. Low: -6

WEDNESDAY: More clouds, few flurries. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 14

THURSDAY: Milder, a nuisance snow event possible.  Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 12.  High: 28

FRIDAY:  Overcast & windy, turning colder. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 14. High: 17

SATURDAY: Mosquito-free! Glimmers of sun, arctic. Winds: NW 10-20. Feels like -25F. Wake-up: -8. High: -2

SUNDAY: Burst of flurries, feels like -30F. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: -8. High: 2

MONDAY: Last day of Siberian fun? Polar. Chill factor: -20 to -30F. Wake-up: -13. High: -2

Climate Stories...

Global Warming Threatens the Backyard Rink. If nothing else the outdoor skating season will be shortened - in fact it already is. Here's an excerpt from CBC News: "A Canadian tradition, the backyard rink, may be in trouble in the coming years in much of the country, including P.E.I. That's the conclusion of a group of geographers at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, which has been studying ice conditions in rinks since 2012. They're the founders of Rink Watch, a website that allows people to pin their rinks on a map, and then update ice conditions all winter. They've just crunched the first two years of data, along with global climate models, and they say the number of skating days will drop by 20 to 30 per cent in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary by the end of the century..."

Photo credit above: "Volunteers send in ice conditions from backyard rinks across the country to Rink Watch." (Submitted by Donna Cassell).

Surface Temperature or Satellite Brightness. Right now there's a fair amount of manufactured misinformation about the veracity of surface records vs. satellite records for measuring trends  in temperature over time. Here's an excerpt of an explainer at Skeptical Science: "There are several ways to take the temperature of the earth. We can use direct measurements by thermometers to measure air or sea surface temperatures. We can measure the temperature of the surface itself using infrared cameras, either from the ground or from space. Or we can use satellites to measure the microwave brightness of different layers of the atmosphere. In a recent senate subcommittee hearing the claim was made that microwave brightness temperatures provide a more reliable measure of temperature change than thermometers. There are two issues with this claim:
  1. Microwaves do not measure the temperature of the surface, where we live. They measure the warm glow from different layers of the atmosphere.
  2. The claim that microwave temperature estimates are more accurate is backed by many arguments but no data..."

Pope Inspires Clergy to Join Environmental Movement. Stewardship, Creation Care, taking responsibility for our actions and dealing with the symptoms of "free will" are all relevant to people of faith; here's an excerpt from The Buffalo News: "Look at any environmental gathering in the Buffalo Niagara region, and you’ll see the usuals: the bird-watchers, hikers, pollution fighters, neighborhood activists and even the granola-eating tree-huggers. But now others show up in greater numbers, too. You can thank God for that. Or Yahweh. Even Allah or the Great Spirit. Environmentalists are making room for priests, nuns, rabbis, imams and others of faith who care about the environment and want to play a role in protecting our water, air and land..."

How Climate Change Became a Civil Rights Issue. Here's a clip from The Des Moines Register: "...The potential health consequences of climate change are outlined in a sobering 2014 National Climate Assessment Report produced by The U.S. Global Change Research Program. The report attributes dramatic increases in deaths in some major U.S. cities to heat waves causing strokes, cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney diseases. It predicts these will increase, and especially harm children and older adults. Poor people are at greater risk of diminished lung functioning from smog and air pollution resulting from ground level ozone concentrations that can be kicked up by wild fires. Floods move contaminated water and disease-carrying insects. And a rise in food prices due to bad weather or shortages falls hardest on the low-income..."

The Climate Change Book the GOP Needs To Read. Here's an excerpt from The Daily Beast: "...The reluctance of the American right to take action against climate change in the face of such overwhelming evidence over so many years will be questioned frequently by historians. The data hasn’t always been as voluminous as it is now, of course, but it’s existed for decades. Romm cites studies from as far back as the mid-’70s warning of the dangers of carbon emissions and global warming. ExxonMobil, as we learned recently, became aware of the hazards of carbon emissions in 1977, yet they funded climate denial until just a few years ago. Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries, meanwhile, continue to spread misinformation, and they have pledged almost $1 billion to influence the 2016 presidential contest. When I interviewed Romm in 2010, he asserted that the key figures pushing climate denial will be judged very harshly by history, “in the category of Neville Chamberlain or people who were shills for the tobacco industry...”

Heartland Institute Distorts Truth About How Climate is Changing. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "...The truth is, just as Haynes said, climate change is real, and humans are responsible. This poses many real risks to our interconnected world. As the National Academies of Science of the United States and 12 other countries put it, "The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable." Many "skeptics" of climate change are driven at root by skepticism of government. Fortunately, there are outlets for conservatives who respect science and take risks seriously. This September, 12 House Republicans sponsored a resolution urging conservative environmental stewardship. Nonprofits working to support these efforts include RepublicEn, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, the libertarian Niskanen Center and Citizens' Climate Lobby. Avoiding serious climate change will require some big changes. We need ideas from across the political spectrum on how to make those changes fairly and efficiently..."

Rethinking the Airplane,  for Climate's Sake. Electric-powered planes in the not-too-distant future? Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "It will never soar into the wild blue yonder, but the dusty Peterbilt truck parked outside a hangar at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center here may represent the future of low-carbon aviation. Perched on steel supports behind the truck’s cab is a 30-foot airplane wing, the kind found on a small plane. Instead of a fossil-fuel-burning engine or two, however, the wing is outfitted with 18 electric motors along its leading edge, each with a small red propeller. The truck-plane mash-up, a NASA project called LeapTech, is meant to test a new approach to powering flight..."

Image credit above: "Engineers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California study whether a wing outfitted with 18 electric fans can reduce aircraft emissions." By NASA on Publish Date January 11, 2016. Photo by Emily Berl for The New York Times.
Swiss financial services major UBS has said the climate change inflicted a whopping USD 1.5 trillion loss on the middle-class across the globe between 1980 and 2014, and another USD 32 billion in the first six months of 2015 which was the hottest year on record.

"Consumption patterns of those living in cities which are most at risk for climate change significantly....A whopping USD 1.5 trillion of wealth of the middle class has been lost to climate change across the globe between 198 ..

Huckabee: Katrina Warnings Ignored Because Climate Change Activists Cried Wolf. Head-vice warning. Buzzfeed News has the story; here's a clip: "I can’t help thinking, one reason they ignored warnings of dangerous weather from real experts is that they’ve heard from so many self-proclaimed experts who were exaggerating to advance their own agendas,” Huckabee continued. “If they didn’t learn in kindergarten that it’s bad to cry wolf, you’d think at least they’d know that with great power comes great responsibility. That they could have learned from reading Spiderman comics.” Earlier in the interview, Huckabee compared climate change activists to the Jim Jones cult. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Huckabee called climate change “a moral issue” and advocated for a cap and trade system..."

Image credit: NOAA.

El Nino Making Snow Now, But Climate Change "Loads the Dice" for Warmer, Future Winters. The Reno Gazette-Journal has the story; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Caldeira said that while neither a single storm nor even a single season of weather can be directly attributed to human-caused climate change, the rapid warming of the planet can create conditions that make warmer winters with less snow a greater likelihood. He contrasted the winter of 2014-15, which was considered the worst snowpack in hundreds of years, with the strong start to the winter of 2015-16 and said climate change essentially loads the dice in favor of warmer scenarios. "As it gets warmer and warmer the likelihood of last year's snowpack gets more and more likely," Caldeira said. "This year's snowpack gets less likely..."

Why Climate Change is an Ethical Problem. I've heard it described as the perfect problem: global, we're all contributing, and there's no obvious (easy) solution. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "Climate change presents a severe ethical challenge, forcing us to confront difficult questions as individual moral agents, and even more so as members of larger political systems. It is genuinely global and seriously intergenerational, and crosses species boundaries. It also takes place in a setting where existing institutions and theories are weak, proving little ethical guidance. The critical question as we seek to address climate change will be which moral framework is in play when we make decisions..."

A Warning for Coastal Residents. Minnesota's lakes, however frozen, are looking better and better with each passing year. Alarmist hype? Stay tuned. Here's a clip from CBSPhilly: "A Florida-based geologist has some dire warnings about climate change. Among them, many of the barrier islands along the Jersey shore could be under water in as little as 50 years. Professor Harold Wanless chairs the Geological Sciences Department at the University of Miami. He suggests the feds are grossly underestimating the rate at which sea levels are rising because the polar ice caps are melting so rapidly. His advice? Towns along the shore should start preparing now..." (File image: Andrew Demp, Yale).

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