Surprising Statistics on Severe Weather Risk
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics" Mark Twain said. He may have been overly optimistic. Statistics help when gauging relative risk. For example, you're almost 7 times more likely to drown in a bathtub than be struck by lightning.
NOAA statistics since 1986 show you're almost twice as likely to die from complications of extreme heat than tornadoes in the USA. River and flash flooding has claimed almost twice as many U.S. lives as hurricanes.
Tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards get the air time, the local and national media attention, but flooding and extreme heat takes more lives across America. Vaguely interesting; hopefully the subject of inspired small talk at your next book club.
Meteorologists are at a rare and welcome loss for words: no drama for Minnesota anytime soon; the atmosphere too stable and dry for severe storm outbreaks. A lack of snow means a minimal river flood risk this year. Showers brush southern counties by tonight. Dry weather prevails Thursday PM into Sunday; highs in the 50s into early next week.
Keep a heavy jacket handy. A few more chilly relapses are all but inevitable.
Graphic credit above: NOAA.
3 Storm Chasers Die in Texas Car Crash. ABC News has the details of this tragic story.
No Rest For the Weather-Weary. The same storm that spawned tornadoes and baseball-size hail across Texas and Oklahoma Tuesday will spread a pinwheel of rain across the Upper Midest and Ohio Valley, eventually pushing heavy wet snow into much of New England by Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile the rains just don't want to quit for the Pacific Northwest with more snow for the intermountain west in the coming days. 12 KM NAM Future Radar product: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
A Bad Meteorological April Fool's Day Joke? We'll see how this unfolds, but models bring a (very) plowable snowfall across central Michigan into upstate New York and much of interior New England. A foot from Albany to Worcester? We'll see, but travel north and west of New York City and Boston may be extremely tricky Friday night into Saturday. 12 KM NAM guidance above.
Forecasts For This Past Winter Were Mostly Awful. Blame the Fickle Pacific Ocean. We were supposed to slide into a La Nina cooling phase, but in recent months the pattern has resembled a severe El Nino pattern with wave after wave of Pacific moisture slamming the west coast. Here's an excerpt of an explainer from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "Predicting the weather for winter many weeks before it begins is hard. If any season proved there is a long ways to go in perfecting such long-term outlooks, this winter was it. I am not aware of any outlet in the government, media or private sector which nailed the 2016-17 winter outlook. In fact, some forecasts predicted the opposite of what happened. The National Weather Service and The Weather Company probably had the best outlooks of those I reviewed although they were far from perfect. Across all of the various outlooks, the forecast errors were linked to a Pacific Ocean that did not behave as expected. Storms traveling across it were supposed to mostly pass to California’s north. Instead, time and time again they hit the Golden State head-on, unloading historic amounts of rain and snow, while flooding much of the rest of the nation with abnormally warm air..."
Photo credit: "
Great American Eclipse. Check out this amazing web site for everything you need to know for the total solar eclipse coming up on August 21: "On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see nature's most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the Sun. It is a scene of unimaginable beauty; the Moon completely blocks the Sun, daytime becomes a deep twilight, and the Sun’s corona shimmers in the darkened sky. This is your guide to understand, prepare for, and view this rare celestial event. A total solar eclipse is unlike anything you've seen in your life. As totality approaches, you will see the astonishing sight of day turning to night and the Sun's corona blazing in the sky. This is truly a great American eclipse because totality will sweep the nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Nearly everyone in the US can reach this total solar eclipse within one day's drive. An eclipse is a cosmic billiard shot — the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up to reveal the Sun's atmosphere, it's corona. Eclipses on Earth occur only because of an amazing celestial coincidence..."
Photo credit: "There's a reason we put a scientist on our $100 bill."
File photo: Zuma Press.
Clean Energy Employs More People Than Fossil Fuels in Nearly Every U.S. State. Here's a clip from ThinkProgress: "Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1. “Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement..."
Photo credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin.
Photo credit: " " Photograph by Grant Cornett for The New Yorker.
THURSDAY: Damp start, then slow clearing. Winds: E 8-13. High: near 50
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, mostly springy. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 36. High: 55
SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, pleasant. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 41. High: 58
SUNDAY: Sunny spells, liking April so far. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 59
MONDAY: Unsettled with showery rains. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 54
TUESDAY: Rain lingers, cool and soggy. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 45. High: 52
Image credit: "Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee said they plan to "fight back" against President Trump's environmental rollbacks." KING5 TV, Seattle.
When Is It Time to Retreat from Climate Change? America already has its first climate refugees, due to rising seas, land subsidence and coastal beach erosion in Alaska and Louisiana. This is a question that will be asked with greater frequency and urgency in the years to come. Here's an excerpt at The New Yorker: "...In a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, a trio of Stanford researchers examined twenty-seven recent cases of managed retreat affecting twenty-two countries and 1.3 million people. They found that, regardless of a country’s wealth and level of development, relocations are most likely to happen when a government and its citizens are in accord. In the early two-thousands, for instance, the Dutch farming community of De Noordwaard was “de-poldered”; its seventy-five households were moved, its protective dikes were lowered, and its land was allowed to flood. Residents who initially opposed the retreat came around after repeated inundations, and the government’s initiative helped not only them but also many thousands of others downstream. Likewise, after the Australian state of Queensland suffered a series of catastrophic floods in late 2010 and early 2011, more than two hundred and fifty people in the Lockyer Valley chose to leave, first with local government support and later with assistance from the state and national governments..."
Photo credit: "" Photograph by William Widmer, REDUX.
CO2 Spike. NASA has more details on carbon dioxide measurement and trends.
The new research on planetary waves and climate change referenced above is here.
20 Common Myths That Climate Scientists Often Hear. Dr. Marshall Shepherd has done a public service by organizing the 20 biggest (whoppers). Here's an excerpt of a recent post at Forbes:
1. The climate always changes naturally, and we always had extreme weather. This is an accurate statement but misses the point that natural cycles can be altered by anthropogenic processes (Natural growing grass+fertilizer and Major League Baseball-home runs in the steroid era). Natural processes have always and will continue to affect climate. We just have to figure out how this relatively new anthropogenic "ingredient" is modifying the recipe.
2. Ok, the climate is changing but how do we know humans are contributing? There are a couple of good public-focused resources to answer this. One, from Bloomberg, provides a visual graphic to explain relative contributors to climate warming, and the other, from The Economist, explains it with text. For science background, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is a good source....
Image credit: NASA.
Image credit: "This animation shows changes in the polar jet stream from June 1, 2015 to July 31, 2015. The jet stream is approximated by crosses. The northerly shift of the jet stream may be linked to a warming arctic, and record melt of the Greenland ice sheet in 2015." (Marco Tedesco/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)
More Warm Spring Days. Not every day, but the trend is more warmth earlier in the warm season, according to Climate Central: "...Spring is getting warmer, on average, as the globe heats up from the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As a result, the number of spring days with above-normal temperatures is increasing in many places in the U.S. In an unchanging climate, the number of days above normal and below normal should be relatively balanced and constant through the years. For meteorological spring, that number would be 46 out of the 92 days. In the majority of these cites, the number of days above normal has risen sharply. In some cases, there are more than 10 additional above-normal days than there were a few decades ago..."
What You Can Do About Climate Change. There are lots of things you can do, including voting for pro-science politicians running for local, state and national offices. An article at The New York Times argues that the most important thing you can do is drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle: "...The simple fact is that American drivers are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas pollution, so having a vehicle fleet that burns less fuel can have an outsize impact on total emissions. Though the United States has just 4 percent of the world's population, it is responsible for 14 percent of man-made greenhouse gases that end up in the atmosphere. Transportation accounts for 27 percent of those emissions. And 60 percent result from driving personal vehicles..."