Friday, July 1, 2016

Amazingly Nice Holiday Weekend - May Was 13th Consecutive Month of Global Temperature Records

79 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
83 F. average high on June 30.
77 F. high temperature reported on June 30, 2015.
.10" rain fell at KMSP yesterday.

July 1, 1964: Tyler picks up over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours.

It's a Miracle: A 4th of July Weekend To Remember

Talk about great timing: a fresh transfusion of cool, comfortable Canadian air sets the stage for an amazing stretch of weather into Monday. About as good as it gets at this latitude.

Good news for humanoids, but chances are your favorite canine friend will be very stressed into next week. A recent New York Times article suggested at least 40 percent of dogs suffer from "noise anxiety". They run away, hide, jump into laps - in a desperate attempt to get away from flashing lights and noise. A worst-case scenario is fireworks AND thunder.

It seems dogs may be extra-sensitive to winds and electrical fields within a T-storm. Make sure they have a "safe spot", as shielded as possible from booming explosions.

I'm happy (and somewhat amazed) to be able to predict a lack of atmospheric firecrackers into Monday, with the possible exception of the Red River Valley. Comfortable September-like air today gives way to slow warming over the weekend; just warm enough for the lake, beach or pool. Mid 80s are expected on the 4th; maybe 90F by midweek.

A dry pleasant 4th of July weekend? Miraculous!

Slow Warming Trend Into Next Week. Plan on 70s today and Saturday, with 80s returning Sunday and the 4th of July. By the middle of next week it will feel like prime-time summertime again, according to both NOAA and ECMWF guidance (above). Graphic: WeatherBell.

Accumulated Precipitation by 1 PM Sunday. NOAA models continue to hint at a few spotty, convective showers and T-showers over the Red River Valley Saturday and Sunday PM, and a few of these could, in theory, drift into the Brainerd Lakes area. Most towns and lakes should stay dry into Monday thought, which is nothing short of Divine Intervention. 4 KM NAM (WRF) precipitation outlook: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Light Winds into Sunday. Sustained, surface-level winds generally remain under 10 mph into Monday morning, picking up from the south to southeast a bit on the 4th of July. Light winds, sunshine, low humidityh, lukewarm temperatures - what's not to like? Graphic: Aeris Enterprise.

Steamy Heat Levels Return Next Week. Although I still don't see an extended streak of 90s for Minnesota, the combination of heat + dew points in the 70s may push the heat index to or above 100F by the middle of next week.

One Graph Reveals How Much Global Temperatures Have Spiked Since 1880. Science.Mic has the details; here's the intro: "Every single month this year has broken a temperature record, and it's putting 2016 on track to be the hottest year on record since the National Climatic Data Center started keeping track in 1880. Bloomberg has created an incredible animation that shows how global temperatures have risen above the pre-Industrial Age average. It's similar to the "doom spiral" that climate scientists created in May. You can see how the spikes in temperature get bigger and bigger over time..."

Graphic credit: Bloomberg.

2016 Will Be a Record-Breaker, And Not In a Cool Way. Here's an excerpt of a summary at GOOD: "...This May was the hottest on record since recordkeeping began 137 years ago, according to a newly released report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But that’s not all. The report also notes, “May 2016 marks the 13th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.” Overall, this puts 2016 on pace to be the hottest year ever..."

The Mysterious "Cold Blob" in the North Atlantic Ocean Is Starting To Give Up Its Secrets. Is this the result  of accelerating melting of Greenland or just natural variability. Chris Mooney digs deeper at The Washington Post: "For some time, scientists have been worried that something odd may be happening in the North Atlantic Ocean. The reason is that in the past several years, amid record warm global temperatures (2014, 2015 and 2016 seem likely to be the third-hottest, second-hottest and hottest years on record, respectively), ocean temperatures to the southeast of Greenland have often been quite cold. Sometimes, according to temperature maps provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they have even shown record-cold temperature anomalies in and around a region known as the Irminger Sea..."

Greenbrier Resort Opens Doors to West Virginia Flood Victims. Here's an excerpt of a story at Golf Digest: "The Greenbrier Resort was suppose to host the world's best golfers next week. Instead, the White Sulphur Springs estate is serving as home to victims of the deadly West Virginia floods. Though the resort is officially closed, the hotel has opened a limited number of rooms to those who have lost their homes. "Due to all of the damage we received from the storm, we aren't able to provide The Greenbrier experience that our guests expect," said Jim Justice, owner of the resort. "But we can certainly provide a comfortable room for those who are hurting and need a place to go..."

100 Severe Storm Warnings Issued by MPX Office. The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service has issued 100 severe storm warnings for its coverage area so far in 2016. That compares to 548 warnings for the Oklahoma City Office, and no warnings whatsoever in the Anchorage and Honolulu offices. Map credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

Millions of Caterpillars Are Decimating The Trees in New England. Angela Fritz reports at Capital Weather Gang: "When the European gypsy moth hatches, it is born as a furry little caterpillar. They emerge from their eggs in the spring and proceed to feed mercilessly on the surrounding foliage. Tree leaves and coniferous needles are the primary target of this tiny scourge, and if you happen to live in the middle of an infestation, you may feel as if the plague has descended on your own home. This is what’s happening in New England. Caterpillars are everywhere, trees are decimated, and the skyline looks like the middle of winter..."

Photo credit: "This photo was taken on June 28. In other words, these trees should have leaves." (Phil Burt/

Satellite Images Show Glacier Park's Ice Fields Shrinking. Billings Gazette in Montana has the story and interactive (before/after) visuals; here's the intro: "To be a glacier, a field of ice must move. Seen from space, they also appear to breathe. A pair of new animations from NASA’s Earth Observatory compile three decades of satellite images that show Glacier National Park’s landmarks shrinking as climate conditions change. But seen in sequence, the alpine glaciers seem to inhale and exhale as occasional big-snow years occur..." (Image: NASA).

Hubble Captures Vivid Auroras in Jupiter's Atmosphere. NASA has the amazing details: "Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is best known for its colorful storms, the most famous being the Great Red Spot. Now astronomers have focused on another beautiful feature of the planet, using Hubble's ultraviolet capabilities. The extraordinary vivid glows shown in the new observations are known as auroras. They are created when high-energy particles enter a planet’s atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas. As well as producing beautiful images, this program aims to determine how various components of Jupiter’s auroras respond to different conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun..."

Image credit: "Astronomers are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras — stunning light shows in a planet's atmosphere — on the poles of the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter." Credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester).

Report: With Planning Grid Can Handle More Electric Vehicles. Midwest Energy News has the story: "Much of the nation’s vehicle fleet could be converted to run on electricity with hardly a ripple felt by the power grid, according to recent findings by the Rocky Mountain Institute. But a key factor is whether utilities and other developers locate charging stations in places that tap into the excess capacity now readily available on the grid. Converting all of the nation’s “light” vehicles from gasoline to electricity likely would hike the demand for power by about 25 percent nationwide, according to Chris Nelder, a manager with the Institute’s electricity practice. He is one of three authors of the study assessing the probable impact of vehicle charging on the grid..."

Photo credit: "Researchers say the power grid could handle the increased demand by electrifying the U.S. vehicle fleet, though it would take utility planning."

Stem CTO: Lithium-Ion Battery Prices Fell 70% in the Last 18 Months. Here's a clip from a post at Greentech Media: "...But a few other large producers -- LG Chem, Panasonic and Samsung -- are already making batteries at unprecedented scale. There are numerous giga-scale factories producing cells and battery packs for electric cars and stationary applications throughout Asia. And the recent wave of capacity is already impacting pricing in a big way. According to Larsh Johnson, the chief technology officer of Stem, the company is paying 70 percent less for lithium-ion batteries than it was 18 months ago. "It’s happening. The capacity is out there," said Johnson in an interview. "The momentum continues..."

How Wearable Technology Could Change The Way We Think About Air Pollution. If your sport coat turns black that's probably a bad sign. Here's a snippet from The Washington Post: "...While activists lobby for more stringent pollution-cutting measures around the world, and policymakers grapple with how to write them, some scientists and designers have turned to the power of innovative technology to raise awareness and save lives with the help of wearable pollution sensors. These sensors, while mostly not yet proven or available on a mass scale, may be coming sooner than you think..."

Photo credit: "Artist Kasia Molga’s “Human Sensor” project changes color and pattern in response to the wearer’s breathing and the surrounding air quality." (Nick Harrison).

Americans Are Watching More TV and Working Less, New Federal Data Shows. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...The typical American spends nearly as much time watching TV (2 hours 46 minutes) as working (3 hours 31 minutes) on any given day. Americans spend nearly twice as much time buying stuff (45 minutes) as on child care (24 minutes). I can't stress enough that these numbers are statistical averages. There are very few, if any, actual people whose day looks like the one above. But, if you took literally every single person in America age 15 or older, including students and retirees and workers and the like, asked them how they spent their time in a typical day, and averaged all of those numbers together, that's what that mythical "average day" would look like..."

Facebook, a News Giant That Would Rather Show Us Baby Pictures. Ironic - FB has morphed into the largest news site on the planet, but it appears news is not much of a priority, according to a New York Times story: "...Though it is couched in the anodyne language of a corporate news release, the document’s message should come as a shock to everyone in the media business. According to these values, Facebook has a single overriding purpose, and it isn’t news. Facebook is mainly for telling you what’s up with your friends and family. Adam Mosseri, the Facebook manager in charge of the news feed, said in a recent interview that informing and entertaining users was also part of the company’s mission. But he made clear that news and entertainment were secondary pursuits..."

Apps To Make Your 4th of July Travel a Breeze. A post at The New York Times had some helpful app-advice; here's an excerpt: "...Gas Buddy is a staple on best travel app lists, and that's because it works really well. As you can probably guess from the name, this app acts as your guide to finding gas stations near you and at a price you're willing to pay. Prices are user-submitted, which means you can submit them, too, and tend to be fairly reliable. It's certainly worth a download if you're the kind of driver who likes to go until you're running on fumes, or just like to grab the best deal. Free, for iOS and Android. iExit is designed to prevent some of the most infuriating road trip moments — "Which exit!?" "Uh, the one we just passed." — by letting you know what's coming up just off the highway ahead of you..."

Who Needs a Weather App When You Can Get This Weather Stick? Sticks don't take vacations or demand pay increases. Uh oh. Atlas Obscura has details: "A thin twig that can predict the weather. Seems unlikely. But that’s exactly the shtick behind the weather stick, a natural barometer of sorts that you can nail to the side of your house, garage, or teepee. Around 16 inches long, the spindly stick will smile upwards in anticipation of good weather (clear skies and sun), and deflect downwards before rain or snow. No batteries required—and yes! “They Really Work”. But how, exactly? Not just any stick, it turns out, can serve as a weather stick..."

Image credit: "If the stick is deflecting upwards, the weather ought to be good." (Photo: Courtesy of Davis Hill).

Thursday Climate Data:

TODAY: Hello September! Bright sunshine, light winds. Winds: N 3-8. High: 74

FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortably cool. Low: 57 (40s up north!)

SATURDAY: Sunny, still spectacular. Risk of a shower or T-shower Brainerd Lakes into the Red River Valley. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 79

SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, lake-worthy weather. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 81

4TH OF JULY: Sticky sunshine, probably dry. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 84

TUESDAY: Humid, scattered T-storms. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: 88

WEDNESDAY: Hot and sweaty, isolated storm. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 69. High: 90

THURSDAY: Steamy, more numerous T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 87

Climate Stories...

Are West Virginia's Floods The Result of Climate Change? Did an increase in water vapor increase the odds of another 1-in-1,000-year flood? Here's an excerpt from Forbes: "For a state that has been racked with recession and unemployment, the flash floods that have ravaged West Virginia don’t help much. But the key question to ask — no matter how unpleasant — is whether the coal sector there shares some of the blame. At issue is the concept of climate change and whether the warmer atmosphere is holding more water and therefore intensifying the storms. To that end, West Virginia’s prime industry has been coal, a fuel that when burned is responsible for a third of all human-induced carbon emissions.  Even more, the surface mining that has occurred is lopping off whole mountaintops and removing the vegetation, leaving the landscape vulnerable to erosion..."

File photo credit: "In this June 25, 2016, file photo, West Virginia State Trooper C.S. Hartman, left, and Bridgeport W. Va., fireman, Ryan Moran, wade through flooded streets as they search homes in Rainelle. A rainstorm that seemed no big deal at first turned into a catastrophe for the small town in West Virginia, trapping dozens of people whose screams would echo all night." (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File).

The Paradox of American Farmers and Climate Change. Many farmers I've talked to acknowledge the changes taking place in their fields; some are hesitant to call it climate change - but I've run into few farmers who deny that something is going on. Here's an excerpt from Fortune: "There’s a strange paradox in the world of agriculture: farmers are perhaps the segment of the population most affected by climate change, and yet a significant number of them don’t believe in it—especially the notion that it’s man-made. I encountered this phenomenon as I reported a feature for Fortune on how agricultural giant Monsanto is attempting to help farmers both mitigate their impact on the environment and adapt to climate change. All the farmers I talked to readily acknowledged that the weather patterns governing growing seasons had been turned upside down in recent years, but I was on the receiving end of a lot of eye rolls whenever I brought up climate change..."

Photo credit: Ryan Donnell for Fortune Magazine.

Combating Climate Change Crucial to Global Security. This Op-Ed at the San Diego Union-Tribune resonated; here's an excerpt: "...Even more, let's honor their mission by preventing the very conflicts that they could be called upon to fight. To do so, we must combat climate change. It’s not just an environmental issue; it’s a global security crisis. The Department of Defense, in its long-term planning documents, has identified climate change as an “urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources.” As a “threat multiplier,” climate change increases the likelihood of conflict while also hindering military readiness. Like gas on a fire, it inflames smoldering conflicts in regions least able to extinguish them. That often means putting American service members in harm’s way...."

Science Groups to Congress: Climate Change is Real Threat. Here's the intro to a story at AP: "Thirty-one of the country's top science organizations are telling Congress that global warming is a real problem and something needs to be done about it. The groups, which represent millions of scientists, sent the letter Tuesday, saying the severity of climate change is increasing and will worsen faster in coming decades. Eighteen groups sent a similar letter in 2009. But Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the climate problem has increased and scientists are even more confident about the harm..." (a PDF of the letter is here).

Louisiana's Vanishing Island: America's First Climate Refugees. Actually that dubious honor may go to Native Americans living in coastal Alaska, where beach erosion has forced some towns to resettle farther inland. Here's a clip from EcoWatch: "Residents of a Louisiana island are among the first American climate refugees. Encroaching water is forcing them off the land they have lived on for generations. Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, has been inhabited by tribal communities since the Trail of Tears era. The island, which used to be the size of Manhattan, has lost 98 percent of its land over the last 60 years, MSNBC reported..."

How One Virginia City is Re-Framing Sea-Level Rise as an Opportunity. Threat, and opportunity? Borrow a page from the Dutch? Here's an excerpt from PRI: "...Globally, a 2014 study found the cost of protecting the world’s shoreline could reach into the tens of billion of dollars a year by the end of the century. And in Norfolk, Vernon isn’t the only one who sees climate change as an opportunity. The region’s universities are trying to position themselves as experts in dealing with sea level rise. The city’s 2015 resilience plan includes an economic strategy. “The half-empty glass is we’ve got the highest sea-level rise on the east coast and we’re soggy,” said Skip Stiles, head of the Norfolk-based conservation group Wetlands Watch. “The half full glass is if we fix it, we can make money off of it...”

Photo credit: "Hurricane Sandy sent 8-year-old Avery Solan out to play in the flooded streets of Norfolk, Virginia, in October 2012. The city is trying to prevent worse flooding as sea levels rise, and at the same time grow new industry in a region currently dependent on military jobs." Credit: Rich-Joseph Facun/Reuters.

Son of Famed Sherpa, Experts: Climate Change Rapidly Melting Everest. VOA, Voice of America, has the story; here's an excerpt: "...Although six climbers, including one Sherpa, died during the 2016 season, experts say the string of deadly avalanches and earthquakes that forced repeated evacuations of the mountain, which claimed at least 40 lives over the past 48 months, may not be a thing of the past. “It is shrinking,” Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa, an Everest expedition organizer, told VOA’s Tibetan Service via satellite phone from the Nepal-side Everest base camp.“It's melting every year...”

Photo credit: AP. "Trekkers make their way to Dingboche, a popular Mount Everest base camp, in Pangboche, Nepal, Feb. 19, 2016."

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