Thursday, July 21, 2016

Last Day of Dangerous Heat - Severe Storm Risk Saturday - Close to 130F in Kuwait and Iraq

95 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
.16" of rain fell at KMSP yesterday.
84 F. average high on July 21.
81 F. high on July 21, 2015.

July 22, 1972: Copious amounts of rain fall in parts of Minnesota, with 10.84 inches of rainfall in 24 hours at Ft. Ripley. 14 inches of rain is measured at a farm in Morrison County.

Still Stinking Hot - Breathing Easier by Sunday

Yesterday wasn't quite as oppressive as predicted: a heat index of 100-105F, instead of 110F. It's a little like winter wind chill. Can you feel colder than numb? But high dew points can result in heat ailments setting in faster this time of year. Thunderstorms sprouted, in spite of a strong cap, or inversion, and this kept things a bit more tolerable.

Expect mid 90s again today, with a heat index of 100-105F. I may use a trick my 86-year old father taught me years ago. Buy a cold can of pop, but don't drink it - just hang on to it. The cold can in the palm of your hand cools your entire body. Not perfect, but it helps. Thanks Dad.

T-storms bubbling up along the leading edge of Canadian relief may turn severe Saturday. If you have weekend plans Sunday looks like the drier, more comfortable day of the weekend as dew points sink into the 60s. Next week looks seasonably warm; highs in the 80s with midweek thunder. Typical for late July.

Football is almost here. Back To School Sales are now popping up. Forgive me for not bad-mouthing the heat.

We EARNED this hot front.

Last Day of Significant Discomfort? Our internal model ensemble predicts mid-90s by 4 pm today, with a heat index of 100F. By Sunday highs will be in the mid 80s with dew points dropping into the 60s, a bit closer to average for late July. Warm, not get-me-out-of-here torrid. Graphics: Aeris Enterprise.

Eastern Hemisphere's All-Time Temperature Record: Kuwait Fries in 54C (129.2F) Heat. Our heat wave, however irritating, is small potatoes compared to what's happening in the Middle East. So explains Jeff Masters at WunderBlog: "It was a historic day in the annals of meteorology on Thursday, July 21, 2016 in the Middle East, where the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait soared to an astonishing 54°C (129.2°F). If verified, this would be Earth's hottest temperature ever reliably measured outside of Death Valley, California, according to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt and world weather extremes expert Maximiliano Herrera. The temperature is likely to be verified, since Thursday's incredible heat also extended into Iraq, which set their all-time heat record: 128°F (53.4°C) at Basrah..."

Slight Severe Storm Threat Saturday. If you have a choice in the matter schedule outdoor plans for Sunday, because conditions are ripe for a few rough T-storms Saturday. Dew points will still be in the low 70s, and cooling temperatures aloft may set the stage for a squall line or two during the day. NOAA SPC has the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota and western Wisconsin in a slight risk on Saturday.

Cooling Trend Next Week. Today may be the last hot slap across the face for some time; by Sunday you'll feel a welcome dip in dew point; highs in the 80s next week, even a few 70s possible by late week, according to ECMWF guidance. Source: WeatherBell.

First Half of 2016 Blows Away Temperature Records. Andrea Thompson reports at Climate Central: "The monthly numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts the planet on track to surpass 2015 as the hottest on record. “2016 has really blown that out of the water,” Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. While 2016 has gotten a boost from an exceptionally strong El NiƱo, the record temps are mostly the result of the excess heat that has built up in Earth’s atmosphere due to accumulating greenhouse gases. That heat is raising global sea levels, disrupting ecosystems and leading to more extreme weather events. Every month this year has been record warm globally..."

Graphic credit: "The running average of global temperatures during 2016."

* More perspective on the record-setting first half of 2016 from Ars Technica and ThinkProgress.

Wildfires Have Burned More Than 2.6 Million Acres So Far This Year. Here's a clip from Popular Science: "...Already, more than 29,000 wildfires have burned over 2.6 million acres in 2016, increasing concerns that we could see yet another busy, dangerous and costly fire season. Last year was the most severe on record, with more than 10 million acres burned. That’s more than twice the size of the state of Massachusetts. It was also the costliest at $2.1 billion...."

Graphic credit: Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. "Climate Change and Wildfire. An infographic explaining the relationship of climate change and wildfire."

Hailstorms Grow Less Predictable and More Expensive. I found a story at Risk & Insurance interesting; here's a clip: "...Between 2000 and 2013, U.S. insurers paid out almost $54 billion in claims from hail losses, and 70 percent of the losses occurred in just the last six years, said a report by Verisk Insurance Solutions. The average claim severity was also 65 percent higher during that period, than from 2000 to 2007, the report said. Most losses were from broken windows and roof damage. Added to that, hailstorms are increasingly harder to forecast and are occurring in unlikely places, with reports of hail this year in warmer climates such as South Florida..."

The Master Plan, Part Deaux. Many people have lost significant money betting against Elon Musk at Tesla. For this reason I pay attention to what he has to say; for the most part he's been right. Here's the intro to his latest prediction: "The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn't all that complicated and basically consisted of:
  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
  4. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
  5. The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn't want to risk anyone's funds in the beginning but my own..."
* More perspective on Musk's announcement and vision for a clean energy future at

Conservative Approaches to Clean Energy: Innovative Solutions for the 21st Century. I'm looking forward to participating in this conference next Monday in Minneapolis, courtesy of Citizens League. Where is the common ground? Can we all agree we want more energy, at less cost, with fewer unpleasant or unhealthy side effects? We want choice, resilience and alternatives. We hope to see you there: "You don’t often hear the terms “clean energy” and “conservative” in the same sentence, but that hides the fact that a new generation of conservative policy thinkers have turned their attention to the economics of the energy marketplace. Both nationally and here in Minnesota conservatives have been putting some meat on the bones of their “all of the above” strategy, coming up with innovative solutions to building a 21st century energy marketplace. 

On July 25th the Citizens League will be joining with the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum to host an event featuring both national and state policy thinkers to explore the growing movement of conservatives embracing both technological and marketplace innovations in delivering energy to consumers. Join us for what will prove to be a surprising and interesting conversation...." (Photo: Michael Nagle, Bloomberg).

Consumers Have a Troubling Internet Habit That Is Threatening Digital Media. Business Insider has the story; here's the intro: "Digital media has an attention problem. New research from Andre Boik at the University of California at Davis, Shane Greenstein at Harvard Business School, and Jeffrey Prince at Indiana University about the internet use of households and how much attention online media demands paints a grim picture for those in the digital media business. In short, the paper finds that households allocate a set amount of time to online consumption on the home's primary device and that the amount of time won't change just because more publishers are pushing more news stories, videos, blog posts, or infographics in their direction..."

America's Only Floating Post Office Delivers More Than Mail to Detroit's Ships. take THAT Amazon! Here's an excerpt of a fascinating tale at Atlas Obscura: "...It’s a warm day on the river, and as the tugboat passes underneath the traffic-filled Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Canada before it’s docked, it won’t be long before Buchanan is out moving with the rhythm of the water again. But Buchanan is no ordinary riverboat operator: He’s captain of the world’s only floating post office, one that delivers mail to ships at sea. For over 140 years, this method has not changed.."

Photo credit: "Captain Sam Buchanan prepares to take a mail parcel on board for a delivery to a passing freighter as traffic backs up on the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor, Canada." (Photo: Liana Aghajanian).

Hotels vs. Airbnb: Let The Battle Begin. No industry is immune from disruption and reinvention. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Phocuswright, the travel research firm, noted that one in three leisure travelers in 2015 used private accommodations, up from one in 10 in 2011, and that 31 percent of travelers who used Airbnb in the last two years had used it for business. “This is a more challenging event in the history of the lodging industry than almost any other,” said Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University. How — and even whether — hotels are responding to the competition is a matter of debate..."

TODAY: Excessive Heat Warning. Hot sunshine; feels like 100-105F later. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 95

FRIDAY NIGHT: Still warm and sultry. Low: 74

SATURDAY: Sticky, T-storms may turn severe. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 87

SUNDAY: Warm sun, slight drop in humidity. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 88

MONDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 68. High: 86

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, T-showers far west. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Showers & T-storms, some heavy. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 69. High: 82

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, cooler and drier. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 66. High: 79

Climate Stories...

Tobacco and Oil Industries Used Same Researchers to Sway Public. The fine art of manufactured misinformation. Here's the intro to a story at Scientific American: "Organizations worried about climate change have long drawn comparisons between the petroleum and tobacco industries, arguing that each has minimized public health damages of its products to operate unchecked. Some have urged federal regulators to prosecute oil companies under racketeering charges, as the Department of Justice did in 1999 in a case against Philip Morris and other major tobacco brands. Oil companies bristle at the comparison. But overlap between both industries existed as early as the 1950s, new research details. Documents housed at the University of California, San Francisco, and analyzed in recent months by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, show that the oil and tobacco industries have been linked for decades..."

The Climate That Most Of Us Grew Up With Is Gone For Good. Here's a snippet from Mashable: "On Tuesday, two government science agencies announced that the first six months of 2016 were the warmest first half of any year on record. The data confirms what climate scientists have been startled to see during the past several years — the Earth's climate has made a step jump into a new, hotter era with more intense and frequent extreme events. One way to look at the recent climate trends is to take the past 60 years of temperature data and break them into 20-year periods..."

Graphic credit: "Global temperature anomalies since 1956, broken up into 20-year averages compared to the 20th century baseline."

NASA Scientists: Do You See Change? If So, Share It. Here's a clip from an explainer at EcoWatch: "In January, Judy Donnelly noticed that maple syrup collection was starting much earlier than usual near her Connecticut home. "I've noticed tubing being strung to collect maple sap in neighboring towns," she wrote. "This doesn't usually happen until mid-February." Like others who post observations to, Donnelly is aware of changes in the weather and climate in her area. "I've lived in eastern Connecticut for 40 years and have noticed changes in the blooming time for plants; for example dogwoods are blooming about two weeks earlier than they did in the late 70's. My daughter mentioned the website to me and I thought it was a good way to track what I see..."

5 Charts on Climate Change. WRAL-TV in Raleigh explains the science and trends; here's an excerpt: "...In 2002, NASA began using satellite images to research Greenland's ice sheet, and in those past 14 years, 3,540 gigatonnes of the ice sheet has melted (the equivalent of nearly 10.7 million Empire State Buildings).Antarctica is losing an average of 118 gigatonnes of ice per year, while the Arctic ice sheet is shrinking by 13.4 percent annually. According to NASA, "the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year..."

How Markets Can Help Us Adapt to Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from an article at The New York Times: "...Markets have helped society conquer countless challenges, including the discovery of drugs to protect against new diseases, innovations to solve communications problems, and more. But we’re probably forestalling adaptation if we don’t allow markets to accurately and freely price the risks caused by climate change. Climate change is projected to bring more frequent damaging storms, with high winds and flooding. Successful adaptation probably requires the construction of sea walls and the building of sturdier homes — perhaps even less coastal development. But these changes are unlikely to occur without clear incentives. Insurance markets provide such incentives by communicating where adaptation is needed. But in too many states, well-intentioned regulations aren’t letting the market properly price climate risk..."

Meet a Republican Mayor and Convention Delegate Who Takes Climate Change Seriously. Grist reports: "....There are multiple paths to the same result. Conserve is the root of the word conservative. We ought to be preserving our fossil fuels if they’re needed in a future emergency. We wouldn’t have to be involved in as many of the wars we’ve been involved in if we weren’t protecting our flow of oil. Whether one chooses to believe the scientists or not, there are many reasons to reduce our use of fossil fuels. In terms of science, a conservative ought to err on the possibility that [scientists] might be right..."

Photo credit: TownePost Network

Why This Summer Is So Hot, And Why The Future Will Be So Much Hotter. Here's an excerpt from TIME: "...The coming warm spell is just a taste of future summers when heat waves will be stronger and more frequent. Recent research has shown that average summer temperatures post-2050 will regularly top today’s records, unless there are efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. “Extremely hot summers always pose a challenge to society,” said Flavio Lehner, a researcher at National Center for Atmospheric Research, following the release of a study on summer heat. “Such summers are a true test of our adaptability to rising temperatures...” (Image credit:

Greenland Lost a Staggering 1 Trillion Tons of Ice In Just Four Years. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Washington Post: "It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble — but now, new research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the Greenland ice sheet lost a whopping 1 trillion tons of ice between the years 2011 and 2014 alone. And a big portion of it came from just five glaciers, about which scientists now have more cause to worry than ever..."

Image credit: "Greenland ice loss has recently contributed to twice as much sea-level rise than in the preceding two decades." (Reuters).

Greenland Melt-Down. A link to the research referenced in the article above is here.

Increased Asthma Attacks Tied To Exposure to Natural Gas Production. InsideClimate News has the story; here's the intro: "Exposure to more intense shale gas development correlates with a higher risk of asthma attacks among asthma patients, according to a new study of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, one of the nation's largest and most active fracking regions. The paper, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association, didn't examine the exact cause of the trend. But lead author Sara Rasmussen, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said air pollution and stress are both plausible explanations..."

Photo credit: "Natural gas operations in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region were studied for ties to increased asthma attacks." Credit: Wikimedia.

All About The Bass. Ask trout fishermen in Montana if things are warming up. Here's an excerpt from The Economist: "...For these fine fishing conditions—with the water running clear after months of turbid flows from spring snowmelt, and the temperature at 65°F (18.3°C)—have arrived too early, by some weeks. The water should be ten degrees cooler, frowns Mr Vermillion, and data retrieved by his smartphone from a nearby measuring station shows flows at less than half their historical median level. All rivers vary from year to year. What worries federal wildlife officials, state biologists and a growing number of devoted anglers across the mountain West, is that, for the past 15 years, some of America’s finest fishing rivers keep breaking records for early snowmelts, too-warm water and low flows..."

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