56 F. average high on April 11.
44 F. high on April 11, 2016.
April 12, 1931: July-like temperatures are felt across the area with 90 degrees at Beardsley in west central Minnesota.
At the risk of being insensitive, undiplomatic and not-quite-politically-correct, I'd like to go on the record thanking Old Man Winter for Monday's slushy display. The worst driving of the winter, a half-baked winter at that, came on April 10 around the Twin Cities with 1-3 inches falling on some skating-rink roads.
Image credit: "North of Los Padres National Forest on December 3, 2016. After The same location on March 27, 2017." Images provided by Planet Labs.
America's Flood Insurance System is Sinking. CBS News has the details: "Here’s some bad news for the 5 million Americans who have flood insurance policies: Premiums will rise an average 6.3 percent this year, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). But this could be followed by even worse news when rates rise as much as 25 percent a year until the NFIP -- now $24 billion underwater and in debt -- becomes “actuarily sound.” It’s up to Congress to throw policyholders a life raft, which it has to do by Sept. 30, when the current program expires. Flooding nationwide caused by torrential downpours and tornadoes, has brought home to millions of Americans the need for flood insurance, many of whom were surprised to learn they didn’t have it. An estimated 43 percent thought it was included in their homeowners’ policies. It’s not..."
File image: David Gatley, FEMA.
Staying Safe in a Tornado. You've heard it before, but now would be a very good time to review safety tips with family, friends and colleagues. The more walls between you and the tornado, the better, and getting below grade, below ground, increases your odds of surviving even an extreme tornado. Here's an excerpt from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "...Falling and flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.
- Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
- Avoid windows.
- For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
- Do not stay in a mobile home.
Palm Sunday 1965: Southern Great Lakes Ravaged by One of the Worst Tornado Outbreaks on Record. U.S. Tornadoes has a very good recap of that horrific day: "On April 11, 1965, and over a time span of approximately 12 hours, one of the most infamous tornado events in United States history took place across the Southern Great Lakes region. Commonly known as the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak (more precisely, the second Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak, following one in 1920 and preceding another in 1994), numerous fast-moving tornadoes were unleashed upon the states of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The twisters claimed over 260 lives, injuring thousands of others and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. It was the worst tornado outbreak in Indiana’s history with nearly 140 killed in the state alone. In modern tornado history, this ranks second to the Super Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974 in terms of violent tornado count in a single North American outbreak, with 17 F4+ tornadoes..."
Photo credit: "Famous picture of F4 tornado with two distinct funnels destroying the Midway Trailer Park near Dunlap, Indiana. Photo by Paul Huffman." (NWS Indianapolis, Indiana)
Most Billion Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters in Q1 on Record. Here are a few interesting nuggets from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information that provide perspective on the severity of Q1 weather and climate events in the first 3 months of 2017 across the USA:
- "In the first three months of 2017 there have been five weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a flooding event, a freeze event, and three severe storm events collectively causing 37 fatalities.
- The number of billion-dollar events for January–March (five) is the largest number of first-quarter events in the 1980–present period of record and doubles the average number of events for January–March over the last 5 years (2.4 events).
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was the highest value on record at more than double the average..."
Dissecting Climate Trends in Minnesota Month by Month. I knew that winter temperatures were seeing the biggest increase across Minnesota, but Dr. Mark Seeley just published a post at Minnesota WeatherTalk that provides more detail on the magnitude of this warming signal: "...For temperature, the biggest change has occurred in January with the monthly mean value now (most recent decade) that is 3.7°F higher than it was a century ago. This is a 57 percent increase relative to the 100 year mean monthly value for January temperature of 6.5°F (from a statewide calculation). By most statistical criteria this is a significant change in mean monthly temperature. Another example is the change in average February temperature. It is now 5.8°F greater than it was a century ago, and this represents 48 percent of the 100-year mean value for the month of 12.1°F. Some other months with significant changes in mean temperature are:
December: +3.0°F increase
March: +4.2°F increase
November: +2.9°F increase..."
Today's Hurricanes Kill Way Fewer Americans, and NOAA's Satellites Are The Reason Why. Popular Science has a good overview: "...A crucial difference in modern storm forecasting is NOAAs fleet of sophisticated weather satellites. With such advanced storm-tracking systems, it might seem obvious to expect that hurricanes kill less Americans than they did decades ago, but “It’s not an easy number to estimate,” says Franklin. After all, hurricanes are still deadly, and every storm is different. But evidence does exist. In a 2007 study published in Natural Hazards Review, scientists demonstrated that improved storm forecasting prevented up to 90 percent of deaths that would have occurred should satellite-less, error-prone technology still have been used used to predict hurricanes. The researchers found that between 1970 and 2004, an average of around 20 people died from hurricanes each year. But if forecasts were as faulty as they were in the 1950s, they estimated that 200 people would have died each year, simply because significantly more people had settled into the path of destructive cyclones..."
Image credit: NOAA. "Hurricane Katrina at its peak intensity. With advanced warnings, most New Orleans residents evacuated before the storm hit."
Photo credit: Joel Sartore, NatGeo.
“I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy.
TODAY: Fading sun, PM showers likely. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 59
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Showers taper to sprinkles. Low: 45
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, springy again. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 63
FRIDAY: Showers arrive, heavier T-storms late? Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 50. High: 62
SATURDAY: Unsettled, a few more showers possible. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 65
SUNDAY: More sun, drier and a bit cooler. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: near 60
MONDAY: Early sun, more showers arrive late. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 39. High: 56
TUESDAY: Showery rains likely. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 57
Photo credit above: Praedictix meteorologist Susie Moore.
Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat for Corn. Here's an excerpt from NPR: "...North Dakota's assistant state climatologist, Daryl Ritchison, says on average, rainfall has been two to three inches greater in the past two decades. "And of course, that's the average over that time period. There's been years where, of course, we've had literally eight or 10 inches above average," Ritchison says. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a big change from the semi-arid conditions that prevailed in the previous 60 years. Because of a warming trend, the growing season here has also increased two to three days a year in the last couple of decades, and by two weeks over the past century. Ritchison says the added warmth and moisture have helped make corn a successful crop in North Dakota..."
Photo credit: "Corn is loaded onto a truck on Larry Slaubaugh's farm in Wolford, N.D. He's seen a big shift from wheat to corn in recent years." John Ydstie/NPR.
Climate Change Will Make American Farmers' Lives More Difficult. A longer growing season sounds good at first blush, but dig a little deeper and you start to understand how a more volatile climate system may not be a positive development for America's agriculture economy. Here's a clip from Truthdig: "...We’re predicting warmer and wetter springs, and drier, hotter summers,” Dr Davis says. “The season fragments and we start to see an early-early season, so that March starts looking like a good target for planting in the future. In the past, March has been the bleeding edge; nobody in their right mind would have planted then. But we’ve already seen the trend for early planting. It’s going to keep trending in that direction for summer annuals.” Worldwide, scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change driven by human dependence on fossil fuels presents serious problems for farmers: many crops are vulnerable to extremes of heat, and climate change presents a hazard for harvests in Africa, Asia and Europe. America in particular could face substantial losses, and, at the most basic level, the grasses – almost all the world’s staple foods are provided by the grass family – may not be able to adapt to rapidly changing climates..."
Photo credit: "America’s farmers may have to adapt to climate change by planting new hybrids—or new crops altogether." (Rich/Flickr)
How Climate Change Could Make Air Travel Even More Unpleasant. It's all about the configuration and strength of the jet stream, according to a story at The Washington Post: "...Williams focused on an area in the North Atlantic known for heavy air traffic, particularly between Europe and North America, and limited his simulations to winter, when turbulence is known to be at its highest. He examined 21 different wind-related characteristics known to be indicators of air turbulence levels, including wind speed and changes in air flow direction. The study found an increase in turbulence across the spectrum. Light turbulence was projected to increase by an average of 59 percent, light-to-moderate by 75 percent, moderate by 94 percent, moderate-to-severe by 127 percent and severe by 149 percent, although there’s substantial uncertainty associated with the more severe categories..."
File photo credit: "
So, scientists really want to know what affects these undulations – both their magnitudes and their persistence. We also want to know whether these undulations will change in a warming planet. This is precisely where the new study comes in. The researchers used both weather observations and climate models to answer these questions. What they found was very interesting. Using measurements, the authors documented what conditions led to extreme weather patterns that persisted for extended durations. They found that many occur when the jet stream becomes stationary with the undulations stuck in place. They also saw that under certain situations, the jet stream undulations do not dissipate in time; they become trapped in a wave guide..." (Image: NASA GSFC)
Climate Change is a National Security Issue, Says the Military. Here's an excerpt from Nevada Public Radio: "Climate change is not a partisan issue. It’s a national and global security issue. When people are forced from their homes because of drought, they end up as refugees in other areas. This puts a strain on the systems of those who take in refugees. The new people feel marginalized as the old residents feel threatened. That may lead to anger and the susceptibility to radicalization of the refugees. All because they didn't have enough rain to grow food. Retired Brigadier General Dr. Stephen Xenakis says that's one scenario that makes climate change a threat to national security. War plays a part in the displacement of refugees, as we have seen in Syria. Any disruption that leads to personal insecurity will lead to global insecurity..."
Photo credit: "The solar array at Nellis Air Force Base."
Guess Who's For a Carbon Tax Now. It turns out a number of prominent executives at fossil fuel companies are advocating for a carbon tax, removing potential uncertainty from their business models. The New York Times has details.