Monday, March 14, 2016

Tuesday Soaker - February was the 5th "Hottest Month in a Row"

54 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
40 F. average high on March 13.
62 F. high on March 13, 2015.

March 14, 1943: Snow, sleet and ice cripple parts of Minnesota south of a line from Duluth through St. Cloud and Ortonville. The heaviest ice was in the vicinities of Lake Benton, Springfield and Windom. Ice thickness was 1/2 to 3/4 inch around St. Cloud to 3/4 to 2 inches in the Pipestone, Ruthton, Lake Wilson, Slayton and Tracy. A good description of the ice was submitted in one report: '…ice was 2 inches across and 1 3/4 inch deep on wire. A little frost ice near the wire with the outside solid ice. The ice was irregular in shape.' Duluth had 6 inches of snowfall at the city office with 13 inches at the airport. The ice was confined to Moose Lake and south.
March 14, 1870: A severe snow and wind storm moves across Minnesota and Iowa. The 'Northern Vindicator' of Estherville, Iowa becomes the first newspaper to use the term 'blizzard' on this date.

Premature April Showers - Slow Temperature Slide

"Hi, my name is Paul. I'm addicted to my smartphone." Like Gollum huddled over his "Precious" I can't look away. I need a steady dopamine drip of digital distractions. It gives me the illusion of being informed and in control.

One-size-fits all weather is going the way of rotary phones, cassette tapes and Duran Duran. GPS-aware phones, supercomputers in our pockets, can now pinpoint severe storm warnings and forecasts for our precise locations. I may be biased but I suspect it will change the way most of us get personalized weather info. Everyone sees something different.

In spite of a cooling trend this week your lawn may green up a month ahead of schedule. Light showers today give way to heavier rain Tuesday as a storm spins up overhead; 1-inch amounts possible. By Wednesday PM it's cold enough for wet snow; a slushy coating can't be ruled out. After Saturday's euphoric 70F high mere "average" may feel like a cool slap across the face. We've been spoiled.

Sorry, I have to answer 78 e-mails, tweet something inspirational & gawk at my Facebook feed.

Where's the off-switch on this thing?

A Healthy Dousing. The 00z NAM prints out .83" of rain by Wednesday; our internal model ensemble hints at some 1"+ rainfall amounts by 6 PM Wednesday. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Warm Enough for Rain. Although the atmosphere cools as the week goes on temperatures in the lowest mile of the column of air overhead should remain above 32F through midweek, meaning rain vs. snow for the bulk of this next storm. Amounts range from .72" to 1.04".

Dry Break This Afternoon - Next Surge of Moisture Arrives Tuesday. We may wake up to puddles but NOAA's 12 km NAM dries us out by afternoon as temperatures approach 60F. A surge of heavier rain arrives from the south tomorrow as a strong storm intensifies almost directly over MSP - mixing with a little wet snow over far northern Minnesota by Wednesday morning. 2-meter precipitation type and future radar: NOAA and AerisWeather.

1-3"  Rainfall Amounts West Central Minnesota? High-resolution NAM guidance prints out a smear of heavy rain from  near Alexandria north to Detroit Lakes and portions of the Red River Valley by Wednesday morning, closer to .5" to 1" for the Twin Cities metro.

March Relapse. My calendar insists that it's mid-March, and it will feel more like March out there by Thursday as Canadian air sloshes south behind Tuesday's storm. Highs hold in the upper 30s and low 40s from late week into the weekend before a slight recovery next week. Source: WeatherSpark.

Jacket-Worthy. No, this won't be an arctic outbreak, no sign of the dreaded Polar Vortex, more of a polite slap across the face vs. a punch of Canadian air. You know you've been spoiled when "average" is communicated as a "cold front".

February Smashes Earth's All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin. Dr. Jeff Masters has a  must-read post at WunderBlog; here's the intro: "On Saturday, NASA dropped a bombshell of a climate report. February 2016 has soared past all rivals as the warmest seasonally adjusted month in more than a century of global recordkeeping. NASA’s analysis showed that February ran 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 1951-1980 global average for the month, as can be seen in the list of monthly anomalies going back to 1880. The previous record was set just last month, as January 2016 came in 1.14°C above the 1951-1980 average for the month. In other words, February has dispensed with this one-month-old record by a full 0.21°C (0.38°F)--an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by. Perhaps even more remarkable is that February 2015 crushed the previous February record--set in 1998 during the peak atmospheric influence of the 1997-98 “super” El NiƱo that’s comparable in strength to the current one--by a massive 0.47°C (0.85°F)..."

Map credit: "Anomalies (departures from average) in surface temperature across the globe for February 2016, in degrees Centigrade, as analyzed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies." Image credit: NASA/GISS.

Nearly 5,000 Homes Flooded During Historic Flood Event. Here's an excerpt from KSLA News 12 in Shreveport, Louisiana: "The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has released a statement about this week's floods across the state of Louisiana.  GOHSEP stated that initial reports from parishes around the state indicate that nearly 5000 homes have received flood damage and thousands of people have been forced from their homes. So far, Governor John Bel Edwards, as well as key cabinet members and FEMA representatives, have toured the damage of many of the hardest hit areas of the state..."

Photo credit above: "This is a road in French Settlement. It's hard to tell where the line of separation is between it and the Amite River." Source: Gerron Jordan.

The Fuel Behind Louisiana's Torrential Rains, Floods. Here's a clip from Climate Central: "...In general, climate scientists expect heavy downpours to increase over the U.S. and elsewhere, as a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, making more of it available to fall as rain. Observations have already shown an increase, though the amount varies from region to region. The Southeast as a whole has seen a 27 percent increase in the amount of rain falling in the heaviest events since 1958. Baton Rouge ranks among the top 20 cities in terms of the increase in heavy downpours it has seen, with a 120 percent increase since the 1950s, according to a Climate Central analysis..."

Animation credit above: "Animation rains measured by NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement satellite." Credit: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce.

22 Amazing Renewable Energy Projects That Pave The Way to a Cleaner Future. Gizmodo has the photo essay; here's an excerpt: "There’s a growing demand for greener, safer renewable energy sources. Sun, wind, water, biomass, waves and tides, and the heat of the soil, all provide alternatives to non-renewable energy. The following collection showcases some of the most amazing renewable energy projects and prototypes from the past few decades, including quite a few you’ve probably never heard of before..."

Photo credit above: "Here’s an aerial view of the solar plant of Ouarzazate, in central Morocco. The world’s biggest solar plant using photovoltaics (PV), it takes advantage of the Sahara sunshine." Photo: Abdeljahil Bounhar/AP.

Tackling Climate Change is a Profitable Opportunity, Rather Than an Expensive Problem. America has a long, storied history of turning negatives into positives. Here's a clip at Huffington Post: "...Looking at how we consume energy and in particular the resulting waste will go a long way in helping us better understand the real issues at stake. The technologies we use today are 100 years old! They present a complete lack of efficiency compared to the clean technologies available: our combustion engines are three times less efficient than electrical ones; light bulbs create more heat than light and in turn require cooling devices; poor insulation of buildings and single glazed windows continue to run up our monthly electricity bills; and, heating and cooling systems, as well as industrial processes produce more losses than efficiency. Why are we so demanding about modern information technology and so relaxed about energy efficiency?..."

Here's Why Consumers Are Increasingly Turning to Streaming Media Devices to View Content. It's all about convenience and control, and paying for what you're actually watching. Here's a clip from Business Insider: "...As streaming media device uptake rises, stakeholders throughout the larger media ecosystem will need to adapt to consumers' changing habits. Legacy TV providers will likely need to offer skinny bundles or their own OTT subscriptions to stay relevant, while advertisers will want to capitalize on the opportunities available in targeting streaming viewers using demographic and behavioral data. App developers, platform creators, and game makers will also have a stake in where and how streaming activity develops..."

The "AT&T Spokesperson" is a Political Refugee. Unless you have Apache, Cheyenne or Sioux blood chances are you're the offspring of an immigrant. So is the gal who shows up in those ubiquitous AT&T ads on TV, a political refugee who came to the USA from Uzbekistan when she was 2 years old. Here's an excerpt at "...Life in the USSR wasn't exactly sunshine and rainbows for Vayntrub's family, especially because they faced persistent religious persecution for being Jewish in a country that was officially atheist. When Vayntrub was just two years old, her family fled Uzbekistan in hopes of finding religious freedom and political asylum in America. The process was long and grueling, with the family stranded in both Austria and Italy for a while. Luckily, the Vayntrubs made it to America and settled in California, which sounds like a wonderful step up to us..."

Trump's Rebel Yell: How The Tech Revolution Is Setting Up Another Civil War. Disruption is hard, yet inevitable. My thanks to Newsweek for cheering me up on a Monday morning; here are a  couple clips from an interesting, if not unsettling story: "A technological revolution killed the Whig Party in 1850. A new one is blasting the GOP into splinters in 2016. Amazingly, none of the presidential candidates talk much about technology, yet our software-eats-the-world whirlwind drives everything that’s cleaving the country and throwing its politics into chaos. The parallels to the dynamics of the 1850s are a little scary. After all, the Whigs’ self-destruction was a prelude to the Civil War...The current rift in America isn’t going to mend if Trump wins, or loses. Look at what’s coming. Autonomous vehicles will eat driving jobs of every kind. Artificial intelligence will eat rules-based white-collar jobs like accounting. Block-chain technology will result in software-based contracts that eliminate the need for mortgage brokers and lots of lawyers. Factory work will be diminished by 3-D printing. The total disruption of the 20th-century way of life is inevitable and far from over..."

File photo credit: "A group of men sit near a railroad junction near City Point, Virginia, circa 1861. The increased access to information and ability to move people and services provided by railroads fundamentally changed the country and its politics; the Whig Party tried to hold on to old ways, but lost supporters to politicians embracing technology." Andrew J. Russell/Library of Congress.

Computers Will Overtake Us When They Learn to Love, Says Futurist Ray Kurzweil. I'll be happy if I can get my computer to work - without pleading, swearing and shrugging. CNN Money has an interesting story; here's a clip: "Ray Kurzweil, the celebrated American inventor who keeps predicting the future with scary accuracy, says computers will match -- and possibly beat -- human intelligence by 2029. Here's the trick: By then, computers will possess emotions and personality. "When I talk about computers reaching human levels of intelligence, I'm not talking about logical intelligence," Kurzweil said at an event in New York on Monday night. "It is being funny, and expressing a loving sentiment... That is the cutting edge of human intelligence..." (File image: CNN).

5 Ways You Can Build a Great Company Culture. An article at Fortune rings true; here's an excerpt: "...Organizations that manage people well outperform their peers. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 research has found five keys to success in building a thriving organization today. They are the following: Goals are clear and people are rewarded for results. People want to know what they’re responsible for and how they’re being evaluated. High performing organizations set clear goals, assign responsibility, and define what success looks like. People are rewarded for results, not their position. If a company’s culture rewards success, people will focus on how to get things done and worry less about what to do..."

Batnado! Just when you thought you saw everything, along comes this post at Tech Insider: "When dusk falls, 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats swoop out of Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas. After spending the winter in Mexico, the bats fly north to procreate. By August, the pups can fly and the colony size reaches its peak. Each night, the Bracken bat colony can eat 200 tons of moths, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Feel what it's like to stand at the cave's entrance in this awesome video from National Geographic..."

TODAY: Damp, few showers - still mild. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 58

MONDAY NIGHT: A shower or two. Low: 49

TUESDAY: Heavier, steadier rain likely - winds increase. Winds: W 15-25+ High: 55

WEDNESDAY: Cold rain mixes with wet snow. Raw. Wet roads. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: 39

THURSDAY: Chilly with flurries, slushy coating? Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 32. High: 36

FRIDAY: Mostly gray, few flakes. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 31. High: 42

SATURDAY: Heavier jackets required, more flurries. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 29. High: 37

SUNDAY: More sun, not as chilling. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 28. High: 41

Climate Stories....

The Coincidences Keep Piling Up. The warmth in February was historic; here's an excerpt from HotWhopper: "...Last month, February, the global mean surface temperature was a whopping 1.35 °C (2.43 °F) above the 1951-1980 mean. That smashes previous records, and is the hottest February on record by 0.47 °C. The previous hottest February's were in 1998 at 0.88 °C and 2015 at 0.87 °C. It's also the highest ever anomaly for any month,with the previous highest anomaly being the previous month, January 2016, when the temperature was 1.14 °C above the 1951-1980 mean. There've now been five "hottest months on record" in a row, starting in October last year..."

Scientists Predicted Jump in Temperatures. Is El Nino turbocharing global warming? It turns out Dr. Kevin Trenberth predicted this scenario some time ago; here's a link to a video interview and reposted story at Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "...Dr. Trenberth spoke about large cycles in the Pacific that are part of natural variability, and how the ocean has tended in recent years to take more heat into greater depths, where it can not show up on surface temperature measurements. Dr. Trenberth further predicted, starting at about 9:00 above, that a new El Nino event, if strong enough, like the one we are seeing now, would jumpstart the kind of warming trend that we saw between the mid-70s and 1998..."

Why Young Americans are Suing Obama Over Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Rolling Stone: "...People should be enraged," says attorney Julia Olson, who argued the plaintiffs' case Wednesday and spoke to Rolling Stone last week. Olson is executive director of Our Children's Trust, the Oregon non-profit that's brought nearly two dozen climate cases around the country using the emerging legal strategy called Atmospheric Trust Litigation. "This is the part of democracy that people don't see, but when you watch government lawyers, side by side with industry lawyers, stand up in front a judge and say these kids don't have a right to be protected against catastrophic climate change, and the U.S. Constitution doesn't protect that right, that's powerful..."

Miami Beach Mayor Rips Rubio: He "100 Percent" Sounds Like a Climate Change Denier. Here's an excerpt at Raw Story: "...Philip Levine, mayor of neighboring Miami Beach, said Rubio was “100 percent using the language of a climate change denier” and has overlooked the escalating problem of sea level increases for south Florida. Miami Beach has already spent $100 million on new sea defenses to curb the regular flooding of its western half. Sea levels are expected to rise in south-east Florida by six to 10 inches by 2030, with ever increasing levels throughout the century unless greenhouse gases are severely cut. These increases risk inundating large areas of the region, with 2.4 million people living within 4ft of the local high tide line..."

Racism and the Effects of Climate Change. Those with the least are first to be impacted by a more volatile climate, making this the civil rights movement of the 21st century. Here's an excerpt at The Philadelphia Tribune: "...Fifty percent of people of color live within two miles of areas of pollution,” said Beverly Wright, executive director of Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. “There need to be buffers. We need a special distribution of polluting facilities. The people least responsible are the most affected.” Wright said those involved in environmental justice have a tough job fighting against corporations, utilities and government officials who are intent on decimating the environment. The professor said race is a predominant indicator that determines the exposure some communities receive to assorted toxins, chemicals and pollutants. “Climate change is a threat multiplier for the Black community,” said Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental and Community Partnership Programs. “Our children have asthma, miss school, fall behind and end up in the school-to-prison pipeline. African Americans are disproportionately affected by climate change and are demanding action..."

File photo: Tim Wimborne, Reuters.

How Climate Change Challenged, Then Strengthened My Faith. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Religion News Service: "...When I was younger, God’s presence in nature was affirmation of this. When it dawned on me that creation itself was actually being destroyed, my faith faltered. Now, I realize that God is revealed to us not only through creation, but even more so through the suffering we feel on account of our love for it. I feel the Holy Spirit within me when I advocate for climate justice, and 10 times more strongly when I see the millions of others doing the same. I see Christ in the faces of those putting themselves on the line to preserve this planet for our children, and I know that God has not abandoned us, but is very much with us."

Truth in Advertising. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article from EnergyDesk at Greenpeace: "...Across the Atlantic and in complete contrast, North Vancouver is implementing compulsory anti-smoking-style warning stickers for fuel pumps at petrol (or ‘gas’) stations. These ads will use text and images to remind customers of the climate impact of the fuel they’re buying, in the hopes that drivers will consider their fuel consumption more carefully and perhaps drive more fuel-efficiently. Or just drive less. Do it for the moose, Canada."

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