Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy May - Touch of June by Next Weekend

58 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
65 F. average high on April 30.
68 F. high on April 30, 2015.

May 1, 1966: Winter makes a last stab at Minnesota with a low of 5 at Cook. A widespread freeze hits the rest of the state.
May 1, 1935: An unusually late snow and ice storm hits east central Minnesota. The heaviest ice accumulations are between St. Paul and Forest Lake and westward to Buffalo in Wright County, with accumulations of 1 to 1.5 inches on wires. The downtown Minneapolis weather bureau records 3 inches of snow.

Getting Better This Week - 80F Next Weekend?

"There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people" wrote Bill Bowerman. Over my 40 year career I can't help but notice that bad weather is more easily tolerated on a weekday. Weekends? Even when the forecast is right (and the weather is foul) we get blamed.

Does Frank Santaniello at 'CCO get dirty looks when he reports bad news? Does KARE's Eric Perkins get the stink-eye when the Twins lose? We don't make the weather. We're just dumb enough to try and predict it.

The last week has been cool and gray with a runny sky, but meteorological spring is 4F warmer than average, to date. Rainfall has been close to average. No mega-storms, slushy ordeals, river flooding or tornado watches (yet). It can always be worse.

After Saturday's rainy near-miss skies brighten today with a high near 60F. A clipper-like swipe of cool air sparks a shower Tuesday night but dry weather prevails into the weekend as temperatures mellow. Plan on a streak of 60s, but ECMWF guidance hints at 80F next weekend.

The first warm, muggy kiss of summer may leave you wanting to go jump in a lake within 6-7 days.

Go for it.

A Better Week. A few friends freaked out on me over last week's clouds, rain and cool breezes. I gently reminded them it's "spring" in Minnesota, and such relapses aren't all that unusual. The sun breaks out today with 60s most of the week; 70s by Friday with a shot at 80F next weekend. An instability shower may sprout late Tuesday; a better chance of more widespread T-storms early next week. Graphic: WeatherSpark.

Warm Ridge Building over Central USA. 2-meter forecast temperatures (GFS model) show a bubble of warm air pushing across the Plains into central Canada; the core of the warmest temperatures arriving next weekend as afternoon temperatures approach 80F. Map: AerisWeather.

Meteorological Spring Precipitation Departures from Average. No sign of emerging drought patterns, at least not yet. Our soaking earlier in the week came at a good time. Since March 1 rainfall is a little above average in the MSP metro, significantly wetter closer to Duluth.

Warm Signal Continues. El Nino is weakening rapidly, but a warm signal remains. Since March 1 temperatures are about 4F warmer than average in the Twin Cities, factoring in an abnormally mild March. April is about 1F warmer than average for KMSP,  to date.

Supersized Growing Season for Minnesota Farmers. Here are a couple of timely, relevant nuggets in this week's installment of Mark Seeley's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...A brief tornado touchdown occurred in Faribault County on April 24th near Bricelyn with no reported damage. As a result of no snow cover, absence of soil frost, and warm temperatures during mid-month Minnesota farmers accomplished earliest-ever planting of sugar beets, and a very early planting of corn, with over half of the 7 million acre crop planted by the last week of April..." (Graphic: USDA and AerisWeather).

7 Things You Should Never Forget When Tornadoes Strike. Some useful advice and reminders at; here's an excerpt: "...Regardless of where you're hunkering down, it should be as far away from windows as possible. Even if a tornado doesn't hit, wind or hail could shatter windows, and if you're nearby, you could get hurt. You should make every attempt to get underground during a severe storm, either in a basement or storm shelter. If neither is possible, head to the innermost room or hallway on the lowest floor of your home. The goal is to put as many walls between yourself and the outside world. The image below, taken following the 2011 EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, shows why this method could save your life. In many of those homes, the outer walls have been destroyed, but a few inner rooms are somewhat intact..." (Image credit: Office of Homeland Security).

Is Houston America's Flood Capital? The Weather Channel has the analysis.

IRI ENSO Forecast. Models show a rapid transition from El Nino warm phase to a (weak) La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific in the months to come. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society: "...The first plot (above) shows the ensemble mean predictions of each of the individual models, and also the average of the individual model predictions (the NMME). Here, the NMME average is not weighted by the number of ensemble members in the individual models. This plot is intended to provide some idea of the disagreement among the individual models. Corrections for systematic biases are not done. Predictions of ENSO are probabilistic. The ensemble mean prediction it is only a best single guess. On either side of that prediction, there is a substantial uncertainty distribution, or error tolerance..."

2016 Blizzard Was NYC's Biggest Snowstorm On Record, NOAA Report Finds. Summer rainfall intensity rates are increasing - so are winter snowfall amounts, especially along the East Coast. Here's more perspective on the new record from NBC in New York: "...Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable, a problem compounded by strong winds and compaction during a long duration event," National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini, said in a statement. "Still, it's important that we scrutinize questionable measurements and reject those that scientists deem invalid to ensure the public's continued confidence in the U.S. climate record." NOAA said the discrepancy in New York City stemmed from a miscommunication between the weather service's New York forecast office and the Central Park Conservancy, which correctly measured the snowfall..."

Image credit of road conditions from January 28, 2016: Aeris Enterprise.

Nothing to Sneeze At: More CO2 = More Pollen. Here's an excerpt of a story at Climate Central: "...In a previous report, we illustrated how ragweed pollen production increases with CO2 levels. New research continues to shed light on the relationship between pollen and climate change. While ragweed studies give one example of how pollen is impacted by higher levels of CO2, other plants have also been subsequently examined. In this report, we highlight a new study that looks at Timothy Grass pollen, a major cause of allergies during the early summer. Researchers investigated the amount of pollen produced at CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm, which is near current levels, and 800 ppm, which we would pass before the end of the century if current emissions trends continue. Not surprisingly, the grass produced about twice as much pollen at 800 ppm..."

Why You Should Take Elon Musk's 2018 Mars Shot Seriously. A lot of people have lost a lot of money underestimating Elon Musk. Here's a clip from a story at TIME:  "....That’s the problem when a government agency is in charge of your space program. You can go only as far as the people in Congress and the person in the Oval Office let you go—which hasn’t been very far since the last Apollo astronaut left the moon. For that reason and more, you should pay attention to the April 27 announcement from Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, that he intends to launch his first unmanned Mars mission in just two years and will beat NASA’s goal of putting astronauts on the surface in the 2030s by up to a decade..."

Photo credit: Space X.

Lutsen Still Open for Skiing! If you need one more snowy fix you're in luck. Here's an excerpt from Bring Me The News: "A brief surge of warm weather in March pretty much ended the ski and snowboard season in Minnesota. Of the 17 hills on the Minnesota Ski Areas Association report, almost all reported closing dates that month. But one is still chugging along, and will actually be open this weekend. Lutsen Mountains will have one chairlift operating, with eight to ten runs available for use, it announced in a news release Thursday..." (Photo credit: Lutsen).

TODAY: More sun, stiff breeze. Winds: NE 10-20. High: near 60

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 44

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, less wind. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 67

TUESDAY: Lukewarm sun, late PM shower? Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 50. High: near 70

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, cooler breeze. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

THURSDAY: Blue sky, just about perfect. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 66

FRIDAY: Sunny skies, trending milder. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 44. High: 72

SATURDAY: Warm sun, a taste of June. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 52. High: near 80

Climate Stories...

Republican Attitudes on Climate Change Thaw. Here's the intro to a story at MIT Technology Review: "Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent. These Republican voters disagree with the party's likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change...."
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.

The Top 10 Reasons to be Hopeful on Climate Change. Thanks to Jeff Masters at WunderBlog for an uplifting post; here's an excerpt: "...My favorite talk today: “Barrier Busting: Leapfrogging Zombie Science Arguments to Get to Solutions," by my favorite communications expert, Susan Hassol of She argued that emphasizing the solutions to climate change rather than talking about the science, is a better way to communicate to the public. Talking about the science of climate change often leads to confusion, due to long-discredited arguments by climate change deniers that rise from the dead like zombies. But people are very supportive of actions to take action on climate change, regardless of their views on the science. For example, 72% of Republicans and 68% of conservative Republicans support efforts to develop clean energy, even though far fewer than half of them believe that the climate is warming and humans are responsible. Susan presented her top list of reasons to be hopeful about climate change:

10) President Obama has put climate change at the top of his agenda.

9) The Pope has framed climate change as a moral issue.

8) China has become highly motivated and engaged, and naysayers can no longer claim that we shouldn’t do anything because China is not.

Syria and Climate Change: Did The Media Get It Right? Can you connect the dots with a high degree of confidence? Did the worst drought in 800 years have a clear climate-related signal, and how did this fan the flames of civil war? Here's an overview of an in-depth report from The Climate and Migration Coalition: "During 2015 the media started connecting climate change with the conflict in Syria and subsequent refugee movements across Europe. Many reports were in direct response to new research making this connection. Other reports mentioned this research while examining other major events such as the drownings in the Mediterranean, the refugee camp in Calais and the terrorist attacks in November 2015. But did those media reports accurately represent the research they referenced?.."

Climate Change to Widen Range of Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes. Here's the intro of a summary at Carbon Brief: "Infectious diseases, such as dengue and the Zika virus, could spread to new parts of the world as mosquitoes expand their habitats in a warmer, wetter world, a new study suggests. By 2061-80, an additional half a billion people could be at risk from diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the study says – and could even rise to more than five billion under a scenario of high population growth. There are roughly 3,500 species of mosquito buzzing about on the Earth. One of the most common is the Aedes aegypti..."

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Has Started Early. Here's a snippet of a report at The Sydney Morning Herald: "...Greenland is really the big show when it comes to ice melt," said Matt King, Professor of Polar Geodesy and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Tasmania. "It's probably losing as much ice as all the small glaciers around the world combined, and probably more than Antarctica. "Greenland is being eaten away from away from above and from the edges." Arctic air temperatures have risen about two degrees since the 1960s. Ocean temperatures are also warming, thawing Greenland glaciers in contact with surrounding seas. Since satellite records date only from the 1970s, some natural fluctuations may be in play, he said. Still, Greenland's early April warmth was consistent with other signals of a warming planet..."

I'm Ready to Evangelize...About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a powerful Op-Ed from Jayce Hafner at Sojourners: "I'm a Christian, but I'm not a natural evangelizer. Talking about my faith has never come easily to me, and I prefer to quietly live my beliefs rather than speak about them. Even as a legislative advocate for the Episcopal Church, I am more at ease discussing policy ramifications than quoting scripture. Still, one urgent policy issue in particular has forced me to reconsider my distate for religious language and challenged me to voice my faith. Galvanized by the urgency of this challenge, I'm ready to evangelize about climate change...."

We're Over Being Bummed About Climate Change and Ready for Solutions. Amen to that. Here's an excerpt of an encouraging blog post at NASA: "...Look, I know it’s really hard to be optimistic when you’re down. So the best antidote to fight off the climate blues, according to Hassol, is to take action. “I do more work, give more talks, work with more scientists, get out there, and give people real hope. I also balance my reading,” she continued. “For every couple of articles I read in science journals about the melting poles, the hottest year on record, the worst fire season on record, the flooding, I try to look at what’s happening on the solutions side: the growth in solar and wind, the improvements in the economics of renewable energy, the ambitious action taking place in cities, states and countries around the world...”

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