February 29, 1962: The icy grip of winter continues with a low of -32 in the Twin Cities.
The Death of Winter Predictability: Snow or 60F?
"Paul, if you predicted snow maybe it would snow" a forlorn snowmobiler grumbled. Thanks for the vote of confidence but it doesn't work like that. "I remember when it would snow in October and snow would STAY on the ground until April" he sighed. I remember bell-bottom jeans, but they're not coming back, either.
When I tell people there's more volatility, more instability in the climate system they look at me like I just ate a bug. Say what? More crazy swings, and as winters trend warmer it's harder to keep snow on the ground. That's not a theory - that's looking out the window.
A coating for deer hunting, ice on our lakes after Thanksgiving, snow on the ground for Christmas? It's not a given anymore. And yes, it bums me out too.
A couple of chilly days give way to "average" by late week, 50s on Sunday, even a clap of thunder one week from today. The pattern looks like something out of late March. The west coast will get clobbered by a parade of soaking storms, keeping a fire-hose of Pacific air aimed at Minnesota.
A snowy March? Uh, can I interest you in a gently-used snowmobile?
Deadly "Dixie Alley" Focus of New Tornado-Chasing Campaigns. Many of the tornadoes that strike the Deep South and southeastern USA strike at night, or are rain-wrapped, making them much harder to track and warn on in some cases. Here's an excerpt from USA TODAY: "...Known as VORTEX-SE — a clever acronym for "Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment, Southeast" — the project follows in the footsteps of large research campaigns that began 22 years ago in the “Tornado Alley” of the Great Plains and sparked the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster. The impetus for the venture — allocated a $5 million budget from Congress — stems from a violent tornado outbreak in April 2011 that left hundreds dead, mainly in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee..."
Photo credit above: "A University of Massachusetts radar truck observes a Wyoming tornado on June 5, 2009, during the VORTEX-2 campaign." (Photo: Robin Tanamachi).
Study Reveals Stunning Acceleration of Sea Level Rise. Minnesota's lakes will look even better in the years to come; here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...A report published by Climate Central on Monday, the result of an analysis based in part on the findings in Monday’s paper, concluded that climate change was to blame for three quarters of the coastal floods recorded in the U.S. from 2005 to 2014, mostly high tide floods. That was up from less than half of floods in the 1950s. “I think this is really a first placing of human fingerprints on coastal floods, and thousands of them,” said Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central. Strauss led the analysis, which also involved government and academic researchers..."
St. Paul to Bar Itself From Investing in Fossil-Fuel Companies. Here's an excerpt from twincities.com: "The city of St. Paul won’t be investing in oil companies in the near future. Expressing concern about climate change, the St. Paul City Council voted Wednesday on a resolution barring the city from investing pension funds and other public money directly into fossil-fuel companies. The divestment decision is mostly symbolic, as the city’s public employee pensions are managed by the Minnesota State Board of Investment and not invested by the city itself..." (Photo credit: Dan Anderson at Flickr).
Electric Car Batteries Used To Be Ineffective and Pricy. That Era is Over. Although Moore's Law doesn't apply innovation has been steady; resulting in more power and range per dollar. Here's an excerpt from Slate: "...But the cost of that battery is another story. Thanks to continuous improvement, General Motors last year said the new lithium-ion packs now cost it about $145 per kilowatt-hour—about 70 percent cheaper than they did in 2012. Put another away, the battery pack in the 2017 Volt will cost less than 10 percent more than the one in the 2012 Volt. But it will be more than four times more powerful..."
Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster, AP.
Image credit: Beatles Source.
TODAY: Partly to mostly cloudy, cold wind. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 34
MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold. Low: 16
TUESDAY: More sunshine, less wind. Chilly. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 26
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase again. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 17. High: 32
THURSDAY: Overcast, few flurries possible. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 33
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, trending milder. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 27. High: 37
SATURDAY: Early mix, warming trend continues. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 29. High: 43
SUNDAY: More subtle hints of spring fever under partly sunny skies. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 24. High:
Photo credit above: "Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was not satisfied with NOAA's response to his last request for documents." Charles Dharapak/AP file photo.
Photo credit above: " David Mercado, Reuters.
Graphic credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.