30 F. average high on February 19.
9 F. high on February 19, 2015 - after waking up to -11 F.
.37" rain fell yesterday at KMSP.
February 20, 1981: Due to the long spell of warm weather in the 60s, a farmer near Le Center is plowing some alfalfa ground.
Odds of Thunder in mid-February? Cooler Next Week
The symptoms of a warmer, more volatile climate will be harder to dismiss or deny as time goes on. This is just the tip of the (mushy) iceberg.
Like shorter, easier winters. Not every winter, but most. Erratic snows, more midwinter rain and ice events. Even thunder and lightning, when you least expect it.
Friday's cracks of thunder were unusual. Pete Boulay, at the Minnesota State Climate Office, told me it was the first February thunder since Feb. 25, 2000. It happens about once a decade, but earlier springs could make for a confusing March. Tournament snows or tornadoes?
We dry out today with less wind, peeks of sun and low 40s. The pattern favors big storms detouring across the Deep South, turning up the East Coast. Nothing but a few ornamental flurries here Tuesday.
Weather forecasters like it when (scores) of models agree. I think that happened once. NOAA's GFS predicts a quick shot of arctic air next Friday; maybe one night below zero. But the ECMWF (European) shows a brief, glancing blow of chilly air, with a shot at 50F a week from tomorrow.
Winter is fading fast.
"At first I was thinking that February thunderstorms aren't that rare. However, Looking at the past 68 years or so a thunderstorm happens at the Twin Cities International Airport about 1 in 10 years.
The last time that a February thunderstorm was reported at the Twin Cities International Airport was on February 25, 2000. I'm not sure if a thunderstorm was reported at the Twin Cities International Airport today, although at 10am there was a thunderstorm reported at the South St. Paul and Lake Elmo Airports."
Graphic showing monthly frequency of thunder at MSP courtesy of Iowa State University.
March temperature anomaly credit: NOAA CFSv2 and WeatherBell.
Photo credit above: "A heat wave in India killed 2,000 people and was followed by flooding that killed hundreds more." (Photo via EPA).
Composite radar loop: Fiji Weather Service.
Graphic credit: "The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of February 3, 2016, along with daily ice extent data for four previous years. 2015 to 2016 is shown in blue, 2014 to 2015 in green, 2013 to 2014 in orange, 2012 to 2011 in brown, and 2011 to 2012 in purple. The 1981 to 2010 average is in dark gray. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data." Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.
More Than 5 Million People Will Die From a Frightening Cause: Breathing. Some staggering statistics from The Washington Post; we've gone from second-hand smoke to second-hand CO2; here's an excerpt: "About 5.5 million people around the world die prematurely every year from breathing polluted air, and the majority of those deaths are occurring in China and India, where factories and coal-fired power plants are fueling economic growth, according to a report released Friday. The authors said the findings show that disease from air and household pollution ranks as the number two cause of death worldwide. It comes in right behind smoking, which the World Health Organization says kills 6 million people annually..."
4 Billion People Face Severe Water Scarcity, New Research Finds. Water, not oil or natural gas, will be the most precious natural resource of the 21st century. Here's an excerpt at The Guardian: "At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, according to a major new analysis. The revelation shows water shortages, one of the most dangerous challenges the world faces, is far worse previously than thought. The new research also reveals that 500m people live in places where water consumption is double the amount replenished by rain for the entire year, leaving them extremely vulnerable as underground aquifers run down..."
Map credit: "This map shows trends in total land water storage, as measured by NASA's GRACE satellites, between April 2002 to November 2014. The map, which was published in the journal Science, shows regions that grew wetter in blue and regions that grew drier in red. The map excludes glaciers and ice sheets." (Photo: Source: J.T. Reager and Jay Famiglietti, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Photo credit: "Interior of the nuclear fusion reactor JET." Photo: EFDA
Electric Vehicles Will Triumph Because They're Better, GM Veteran Says. Here's an excerpt from Forbes: "...Set aside all the motivations with climate change, oil dependence—it’s just a better way to do a car. It’s simple.” Electric vehicle sales have been tepid and may remain tepid in the short term. Internal combustion engines will continue to dominate until 2025, Burns predicted, as the nation’s automotive fleet slowly turns over. “It’s just arithmetic.” But as automakers strive to meet the 2025 fuel economy standard—54.5 miles per gallon—they will come to realize that reengineering traditional vehicles is more expensive and difficult than adopting an electric drive train that emits no carbon..."
How Weather, and an "Interstate of Renewable Energy" Could Save The Climate by 2030. Meteorologist and uber-weather-geek (and I say that with all admiration) Dr. Marshall Shepherd takes a look at how we can wean ourselves off of fossil fuels sooner than most skeptics believe. Here's an excerpt at Forbes: "Stanford expert Mark Jacobson, who was not involved in the study, wrote an editorial to Nature Climate Change saying,
This study pushes the envelope…….It shows that intermittent renewables plus transmission can eliminate most fossil-fuel electricity while matching power demand at lower cost than a fossil fuel-based grid – even before storage is consideredImage credit above: "A snapshot of wind energy potential across the United States in 2012. (via Chris Clack/CIRES)." Source: NOAA Press Release.
Photo credit above: Elizabeth Flores. “While the Court’s temporary stay is a disappointing, it does nothing to diminish our resolve in Minnesota to keep moving forward on clean energy initiatives.” Gov. Mark Dayton."
What If We Don't Need Advertising At All? Project VRM at Harvard has an intriguing story - here's an excerpt: "...The fact is, we are now in a digital world as well as an analog one. That alone rewrites the future in a huge way. Digital itself is the only medium, and the whole environment. It’s also us, whether we like it or not. We are digital as well as cellular. In the past we put up with being annoyed and yelled at by advertising. And now we’re putting up with being spied on and guessed at, personally, as well. But we don’t have to put up with any of it any more. That’s another thing digital life makes possible, even if we haven’t taken the measures yet..."
Photo credit courtesy Jason Liebig
TODAY: Sunny peeks, still mild. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 41
SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 29
SUNDAY: Cooler, few flurries or sprinkles. Winds: N 10-15. High: 38
MONDAY: More clouds than sun, quiet. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 23. High: 33
TUESDAY: Unsettled, light mix possible. Wake-up: 28. High: 36
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, drying out. Wake-up: 29. High: 34
THURSDAY: Cloudy and colder, few flurries. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 26. High: 28
FRIDAY: Partly sunny and chilly. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 12. High: 23
Image credit above: "January 2016 was Earth's hottest month yet, with the most unusually warm temperatures concentrated in the Arctic." NASA.
Meet the Continental U.S.'s First Official Climate Refugees. People have already been dislocated from coastal sections of Alaska, now it's showing up in Louisiana. Next up, Florida? Here's an excerpt from Atlas Obscura: "A slow-motion disaster is unfolding on the Isle de Jean Charles, deep in the Louisiana bayou, where a group of residents just received $48 million in federal funding to relocate. These are the first official climate refugees in the lower 48 states. The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians have lived in southern Louisiana for centuries, and, since 1880, a band of them inhabited the Isle. But several factors, including climate change, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and a series of destructive hurricanes have meant that the Isle de Jean Charles has lost 98 percent of its land since 1955..."
Photo credit above: "
Photo credit above: "An oil and gas well flaring gas in northeast Colorado." Credit: WildEarth Guardians/flickr.
* This isn't a great time to be in the snowboarding industry. Quartz has details.
Graphic credit: "John Christy’s chart, annotated to detail its problems." Illustration: Dana Nuccitelli.