Friday, June 9, 2017

Heat Index Reaches Danger Zone This Afternoon - Minnesota Joins U.S. Climate Alliance

86 F. Twin Cities maximum temperature yesterday.
77 F. average high on June 9.
84 F. high on June 9, 2016.

June 10, 1926: An intense downpour falls on Mahoning. 3.05 inches fell in 45 minutes.

If Anyone Asks: "Yes, It's Hot Enough For Me"

At least one forecast will verify. Most of us will gripe as we dart from one air-conditioned space to the next. Such tough, first-world problems.

How on Earth did our ancestors keep their cool before 1902, when Willis Carrier invented a contraption that would "condition the air"? A Mental Floss story explains how people coped, when they weren't wading into their favorite lakes. They slept on porches, used ceiling fans, only staying in upper rooms at night. They slept in their basements, which stayed comfortable.

A few tormented souls slept in refrigerated sheets and kept underwear in the freezer. I have to try that, and hope my wife doesn't freak out.

Expect mid-90s today with a heat index near 100F. Heavy T-storms sprout Sunday, keeping us noticeably cooler. I see another surge of 90s Tuesday before midweek T-storms mark the approach of cooler, less humid air.

A heat wave builds across the USA in the coming weeks, but a series of cool puffs from the Canadian Provinces will take the edge off our heat.

A free Minnesota cool front by late June? Frozen undies optional.

Life Before Air Conditioning. Here's an excerpt of the Mental Floss story I referenced in today's column. Our ancestors were tough - no question. I fear we've gotten soft: "...Ceiling fans accentuate the effect by pulling air up during the summer, and pushing warmer air down in the winter. Older homes with more than one story took advantage of the stack effect, as open stairwells vented heat upstairs. That's why upper floors were only used at night, with the windows open. Some houses even had a tower or turret to act as a windcatcher or heat exhaust vent. Shade trees planted on the east and west sides of a home block the summer sun before it warms the home exterior. They also cool down breezes slightly before they enter the porch area. Awnings and window overhangs provide the same effect, and let more sunshine in during the winter, when the sun hangs lower..."

Heat Advisory Posted. The combination of heat + humidity will create a heat index close to 100F by mid-afternoon. Take it easy out there. Details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service.

100-Degree Heat Index Today? It doesn't seem like much of a stretch if the sun stays out most of the day, meaning at least mid-90s with a dew point well up into the 60s, making it feel like 100F from the Twin Cities metro to Mankato and Fairmont/Albert Lea by 3 pm or so.

Excessive Heat Predicted for the Coming Week Could Affect Your Medication. Not only the heat, but sunlight can impact the efficacy of certain medications. Dr. Marshall Shepherd explains at Forbes: "...According to information on the Baystate Health organization website, there are standards for storing medications that have been set by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. The guidance on the website
One of the standards established by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention is to keep medications stored at room temperature, which is defined as between 68 to 77 degrees F. However, most pharmacists will agree that they are still safe between 58 to 86 degrees F.
Medications can also be affected by direct sunlight. Excessive heat or direct sunlight can render some medications less potent. Baystate Health organization experts suggest that medications taken for diabetes and heart disease are particularly vulnerable...Other particularly heat sensitive medications include those used to treat the thyroid and for birth control. Medications with hormones, albuterol inhalers, diazepam, and lorazepam are also listed..."

Hot Start to June. After a minor cooling correction in May June is trending warmer than average again. Here's a clip from this week's Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "After a cooler than normal May, June has begun much warmer than normal, with most southern and western communities reporting multiple daytime highs in the 90s F so far. Places like Browns Valley and Milan have already reported highs of 96 degrees F, and temperatures will go higher than that this weekend in many places. Observers across the state are reporting average temperatures for the month so far that are from 5 to 8 degrees F warmer than normal. Also unlike last month, bright sunny skies are dominant, and the landscape has dried out quite a bit. Many areas are in need of a good rain. In fact portions of northwestern and north-central Minnesota have seen deficits in precipitation since March 1st. Some are as much as 5-7 inches below normal in precipitation since that date. As a result the Drought Monitor shows these parts of the state to be in moderate drought..."

Dress for Hot Weather Success. Although survival is probably a good place to start. Thanks to HealthTalkUMN at the University of Minnesota.

Avoid a Heat-Related Vehicle Disaster. Keep in mind your vehicle quickly becomes an oven, a hyper-local greenhouse effect during the summer months. According to NOAA studies an outside air temperature of only 80F can translate into 99F after only 10 minutes; 109F within 20 minutes. Don't even think about leaving a child (or pet) in a car or truck.

Pitchers More Likely to Hit Batters in Hot Weather. Yes, hot weather seems to have all of us on edge, according to a post at Yale Climate Connections: "...That’s Rick Larrick of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He studies decision-making, and says hot weather has been linked to more aggressive behavior. He studied baseball statistics and found that pitchers are slightly more likely to retaliate when it’s hot. He speculates it’s because people are already on edge. Larrick: “Once you are uncomfortable and irritable, you are just more easily agitated, and the same kind of insult or offense seems bigger...”

Photo credit: "Rick Larrick at the Cardinals Hall of Fame in St. Louis."

Spring Was 8th Warmest, 11th Wettest. NOAA NCEI has details on spring weather across the USA in relation to a 123 year weather record: "The spring (March–May) average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 53.5°F, 2.6°F above the 20th century average, driven in large part by warmth during the early and middle part of the season. Much-above-average spring temperatures were observed in the Rockies, Southern Plains, Midwest, and Southeast. The May average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 60.6°F, 0.4°F above average, and ranked near the middle of the 123-year period of record. Parts of the West and Southeast were warmer than average with near- to below-average temperatures in parts of the central and eastern U.S..."

Starting Hurricane Season Without Leaders of NOAA and FEMA Should "Scare the Hell Out of Everbody". has details: "...The two agencies that protect the country's coast lines and its residents, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are still without leaders -- positions that must be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate. "That should scare the hell out of everybody," retired US Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN. "These positions help save lives." Honoré knows all too well the value that leadership plays during a crisis, as he commanded Joint Task Force Katrina. He coordinated military relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré talks to his soldiers at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on September 8, 2005. Despite concerns, FEMA and NOAA say they are prepared for the hurricane season and the aftermath of any storms that make landfall and cause damage..." (File image of Hurricane Dennis: NASA).

2016 State of U.S. High Tide Flooding. With slowly rising seas many cities no longer require a major storm for storm surge flooding as reported by NOAA NCDC: "...This month's State of the Climate report includes an annual update of the state of coastal high tide flooding. Sometimes called nuisance or sunny day flooding, this type of flooding occurs when water levels measured at a NOAA tide gauges exceed locally established heights associated with minor impacts, such as water on low-lying streets or infiltration into storm-water systems. Such coastal flooding is increasing in frequency, depth and extent in many areas of the U.S. due to on-going increases in local relative sea level. Decades ago, coastal flooding mostly occurred during strong storms. Today, it occurs more frequently during high-tide cycles and calmer weather. Though high tide flooding today is rarely life threatening, it is a serious concern in several communities, such as Norfolk, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina and Miami, that are not protected by flood control structures that cities like New Orleans have in place.
  1. Several cities experienced more than a month (30 days) of daily flooding in 2016: Wilmington, NC (84 days); Charleston, SC (50 days); Honolulu, HI (45 days); Annapolis, MD (42 days); Savannah, GA (38 days); Washington D.C. (33 days); and Port Isabel, TX (31 days) due to a combination of low-lying coastal topography and high sea levels during 2016..."

U.S. Coastal Cities Will Flood More Often and More Severely, Study Warns. More perspective at InsideClimate News: "...Oppenheimer says he's most concerned about chronic, but less-extreme flooding along the East Coast, including the south shore of New York's Long Island, the low country around Charleston, S.C., and south Florida, where tidal flooding already has become an everyday occurrence. "These areas have terrain that's gently sloped," Oppenheimer said. "South Florida is really in trouble. Not only are they having a lot of nuisance flooding, but they sit on limestone, which makes it extremely difficult to build coastal defenses. These places really have to get on the ball and decide what they have to protect." But adapting for the risk takes time, political will and money..."

Map credit: Nature Climate Change.

Science Says: Weather Forecasts Improve, Under the Radar. It's far from perfect, but the weather forecast continues to improve over time, according to new data highlighted in an Associated Press story: "Make fun of the weatherman if you want but modern forecasts have quietly, by degrees, become much better. Meteorologists are now as good with their five-day forecasts as they were with their three-day forecasts in 2005. Both government and private weather forecasting companies are approaching the point where they get tomorrow’s high temperature right nearly 80 percent of the time. It was 66 percent 11 years ago, according to ForecastWatch , a private firm that rates accuracy of weather forecasts..."

Report: National Weather Service Meteorologists "Fatigued" and "Demoralized" by Understaffing. Just in case you missed this from Angela Fritz at Capital Weather Gang: "The employees of the National Weather Service are demoralized, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office. They are understaffed and spread thin, covering shifts and positions beyond what they were hired to fill. The weather never sleeps, and apparently neither does the Weather Service. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of vacant staff meteorologist positions increased 57 percent. In the same time, management vacancies decreased by 29 percent. The mission of the Weather Service — to protect lives and property — is critical, so the employees are completing the tasks. But it comes at a cost. The GAO used some pretty gloomy language to describe the employees’ current state of mind..."

Florida Tech Study Confirms Lightning More Powerful Over Water. Here's a clip of another article that caught my eye, courtesy of Florida Tech: "...Nag and Cummins found that with strikes over water in western Florida, the median stepped-leader duration was 17 percent shorter over ocean than over land, and in eastern Florida the median durations were 21 and 39 percent shorter over two oceanic regions than over land. Using a relationship between leader duration and lightning peak current derived in this study, the authors estimate that lightning with peak currents over 50 kilo amperes is twice as likely to occur in oceanic thunderstorms. These findings suggest that people living on or near the ocean may be at greater risk for lightning damage if storms develop over oceans and move on-shore. This new understanding of the nature of lightning could inform how off-shore infrastructure and vessels are to be built to minimize the risk of super-powerful lightning bolts from thunderstorms formed over the sea..."

The Forecast for D-Day and the Weatherman Behind Ike's Greatest Gamble. James Martin Stagg. Not exactly a household name in the USA. But he should be. A fascinating article at HuffPost explains what may be the most consequential weather forecast in history: "...When Royal Navy and Met Office forecasters predicted stormy weather for the date originally set for D-day, USSTAF meteorologists adamantly disagreed. Circumventing Stagg, they pressed their case with General Carl Spaatz, U.S. Army Air Force commander in England, who attempted to bring their views to Ike’s attention. Had Ike listened to his countrymen’s predictions and launched D-day on June 5, it would have failed with catastrophic consequences for the Western Allies and world history. Instead, he held the invasion in abeyance for 24 hours, and as rain and high wind pounded his advanced headquarters on the night of June 4, just as Stagg had predicted, he listened to his chief meteorologist report that the weather would clear, and gave the word to “go” for June 6, 1944." (File image:

Intense Storms May Diminish Protective Ozone in Central U.S. Are super-sized thunderstorms doing more than increasing flash flood risk? Here's a clip from Daily Climate: "More frequent, powerful storms in the Great Plains are penetrating deep into the atmosphere, risking ozone loss and increased dangerous UV radiation, scientists warn...Harvard researchers found that this stratospheric ozone layer above the central U.S. gets depleted during the summer, most likely as intense storms send water vapor into the atmosphere. The vapor can cause the types of chemical reactions that have spurred ozone loss in Arctic and Antarctic regions.  The stratosphere, which extends from about 7 miles above the surface to nearly 30 miles above the ground, is one of the most “delicate aspects of habitability on the planet,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. The Great Plains' more frequent and violent storms get that extra energy in large part from warming waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The Harvard study shows that, in addition to storm damage, the loss of ozone threatens food security and human health..."

Photo credit: Kelly DeLay/flickr

Mapping Man-Made Fracking-Related Quake Risk Across the USA. Here's an excerpt of a press release from Risk Management Solutions: "...A key insight of the updated RMS model is that it captures what is now understood to be the potential for larger and more correlated seismic events in California, as well as new views of risk across all the regions of the U.S. The model now includes induced seismicity, making it the first available tool on the market for analyzing property risks from man-made earthquakes across Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Alabama. This functionality will allow clients of RMS to consider risks from earthquakes linked to oil and gas extraction..."

Louisiana Coast Loses a Football Field of Land Every 38 Minutes. A number of converging factors are in play, as explained at Plaquemines Parish Coastal Erosion: "Louisiana contains 30% of the total marshland within the lower 48 U.S. states, but unfortunately leads in coastal erosion and wetland loss, making up 90% of coastal marsh loss. Currently Louisiana has lost 1,900 square miles since the 1930's and continues to lose an estimated 70 square kilometers/year, or a football field of land every 38 minutes, due to a combination of natural processes, such as storms, sea-level rise, and subsidence, as well as man made alterations to the Mississippi River and wetlands over the past 200 years, i.e. the construction of levees and canals, and the development of the oil and natural gas industry..."

"Coal is Dead" and Oil Faces "Peak Demand", Says World's Largest Investment Group. ThinkProgress has the story: "Coal is dead,” Jim Barry, the global head of BlackRock’s infrastructure investment group, explained in a recent interview. BlackRock, the world’s largest investment group, with $5 trillion in assets — more than the world’s largest banks — has begun to bet on clean energy. Why? “The thing that has changed fundamentally the whole picture is that renewables have gotten so cheap,” said Barry. No, the world’s coal plants are not going to all down shut tomorrow, Barry noted to The Australian Financial Review (subscription required). “But anyone who’s looking to take beyond a 10-year view on coal is gambling very significantly...”

Graphic: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Minnesota Moving Up in Rankings for Solar Energy. Star Tribune reports: "Minnesota’s national ranking for solar energy capacity has climbed significantly after a flurry of new projects have come online. During the first quarter, the state ranked fourth nationally for new solar power installations compared with the same period a year ago, according to data released Thursday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group. The state added 140 megawatts of solar power capacity in the quarter, continuing a growth spurt that started in last year’s fourth quarter and reflects long-planned developments being switched on..."

Photo credit: "Minnesota has added 140 megawatts of solar power capacity during the first quarter of 2017." (AARON LAVINSKY/Star Tribune file photo).

Boeing Is Studying Pilotless Jets. Say what? Speaking of job disruption. Here's an excerpt of an artlce at Fortune that made me do a double-take: "Boeing is looking ahead to a brave new world where jetliners fly without pilots and aims to test some of the technology next year, the world's biggest plane maker said in a briefing ahead of the Paris Airshow. The idea may seem far-fetched but with self-flying drones available for less than $1,000, "the basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available," said Mike Sinnett, Boeing's vice president of product development. Jetliners can already take off, cruise and land using their onboard flight computers and the number of pilots on a standard passenger plane has dropped to two from three over the years..."

India's First Solar Satellite Television Service Brings "Magic" to Villages. Reuters reports: "An Indian social business has launched the country's first solar satellite television service, bringing clean energy powered entertainment to households and businesses through a pay-as-you-go payment scheme. Simpa Networks, which began operations in 2011, is one of thousands of social enterprises in India tapping into the renewable energy market in a country where one-fifth of the 1.3 billion population has no access to electricity. With the majority of those without power from poor communities in countryside, the company focuses on selling solar powered products such as LED lights, phone charging points and fans on financing to rural homes and shops in northern India..."

Even Tesla's Elon Musk Makes Mistakes. Here's a clip from an article at Fortune: "...The CEO said he made the decision to significantly pare down the configurations for the Model 3—Tesla's most affordable vehicle yet, starting at $35,000—after learning from mistakes he made with Tesla's SUV known as the Model X, which Musk called "hubris extraordinaire." "The big mistake we made with the X, which primarily was my responsibility, was having way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish," Musk said. "It had way too many cool things in it that really should have been rolled in with version 2, version 3," he continued. "We got overconfident and created something great that probably will never be made again, and perhaps should not be..."

How to Fall To Your Death and Live to Tell the Tale. It's not the snow and ice - it's the slipping, sliding and falling that strikes fear into people, especially older Americans. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at Mosaic: "...Falls are one of life’s great overlooked perils. We fear terror attacks, shark bites, Ebola outbreaks and other minutely remote dangers, yet over 420,000 people die worldwide each year after falling. Falls are the second leading cause of death by injury, after car accidents. In the United States, falls cause 32,000 fatalities a year (more than four times the number caused by drowning or fires combined). Nearly three times as many people die in the US after falling as are murdered by firearms. Falls are even more significant as a cause of injury. More patients go to emergency rooms in the US after falling than from any other form of mishap, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly triple the number injured by car accidents. The cost is enormous..."

Fortune 500 CEOs Still Optimistic About the Future. The greatest concern? The pace of technological disruption and AI, artificial intelligence. Here's an excerpt of a post at Fortune: "...Only a few chief executives see the global economy turning worse next year. More than one-third anticipate that it will improve, and over half are expecting things to be about the same. The good news for workers? A strong majority of CEOs say they expect to boost hiring over the next couple of years. As for the Trump effect: not much so far..."

Tornado Hits House As Kids Make First Video. Dan Mitchinson at NewsRadio KFBK in Sacramento posted this video clip; not exactly sure where this took place - but what are the odds? "Kids are making their first YouTube video and tornado hits house that tears off roof and deck during the video. No siren went off and it came on all the sudden with no notice. Everyone in house was safe but entire house has to be demolished and reconstructed..."

TODAY: Sunny, windy and hot. Heat Index near 100F. Winds: SW 15-30. High: 96

SATURDAY NIGHT: Sultry and very warm, isolated T-storm. Low: 70

SUNDAY: Sticky, not as hot. Few T-storms likely. Winds: E 7-12. High: 85

MONDAY: Humid, unsettled. Risk of a storm or two. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 87

TUESDAY: Another hot front. Windy. Late storm? Winds: S 15-30. Wake-up: 71. High: 92

WEDNESDAY: T-storms give way to some partial clearing. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 72. High: 86

THURSDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Less humid. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 83

FRIDAY: Few T-storms possible early? Then better. Breathing easier. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 62. High: 81

Climate Stories...

Dayton Signs Into States' Climate Goal Alliance. Rochester's Post Bulletin has details: "Minnesota's governor is committing the state to upholding the Paris climate change accord by joining an alliance set up by other states with the same goal. Gov. Mark Dayton says he signed onto the U.S. Climate Alliance which was formed after President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement reached by 195 countries last year. California, New York and Washington started the alliance. Minnesota, Puerto Rico and eight other states signed on Monday. Alliance members pledge to reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels..."

File photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Pittsburgh and Paris Join Over 200 Cities and States Rejecting Trump on Climate. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Yesterday, the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris co-authored a New York Times editorial rejecting Trump’s efforts to pin the two cities against each other on climate change. Additionally, 12 states (California, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) plus Puerto Rico created the US Climate Alliance, committed to upholding the Paris accord. These states represent 97 million Americans – 30% of the national population. More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, investors, universities, and companies joined the “We Are Still In” campaign, pledging to meet the goals of the Paris agreement..."

Map credit: "States joining the US Climate Alliance shown in green." Illustration: Dana Nuccitelli.

Remembering Pittsburgh's Polluted Past. I remember going on business trips to Pittsburgh with my dad, and white dress shirts turning orange from all the grit in the air. Street lights were often turned on at high noon. Sometimes we fail to grasp how far we've come. Here's a clip from Atlas Obscura: "...Conditions were so bad, white-collar workers often had extra pairs of shirts to change into during the day. And when Frank Lloyd Wright was asked how to fix the city, he glibly said, “Raze it and start over.” In 1946, the newly elected mayor proposed a less extreme plan to clean up the city and improve the standard of living. Over the next two decades, the surfaces of buildings were cleaned, new, cleaner industries slowly came up, and the level of pollution dropped by nearly 90 percent. But some buildings wanted to keep a reminder of the city’s smoky past to warn future generations about the consequences of filthy air, and the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was one of them..."

Photo credit: CMU, Thomas Harper.

American's "Under Siege" From Climate Disinformation - Former NASA Chief Scientist. No kidding. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "Americans are “under siege” from disinformation designed to confuse the public about the threat of climate change, Nasa’s former chief scientist has said. Speaking to the Guardian, Ellen Stofan, who left the US space agency in December, said that a constant barrage of half-truths had left many Americans oblivious to the potentially dire consequences of continued carbon emissions, despite the science being unequivocal. “We are under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by people who have a profit motive,” she said, citing oil and coal companies as culprits. “Fake news is so harmful because once people take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it...”

Why Conservatives Have Always Distrusted Science. Not all conservatives. And there's a place for both, faith in absolutes and the scientific method; they are not mutually exclusive. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg View: "...If "technology becomes the god by which we live," warned the National Review columnist Frank Meyer, then the Communists would win, because their system pursued "to its logical conclusion the positivistic glorification of control and power as the end of man’s existence." To go down that route was to worship the false god of "scientism," the philosopher Eric Voegelin wrote, and to make mathematics and physics "substitute for the religious order of the soul." After all, it was the scientific method, what Friedrich Hayek called the "religion of the engineers," that had created the gas chambers in Nazi Germany and the planned economy and labor camps in Stalin’s Russia..."

File image: Catholic World Report.

Politics, Culture or Theology? Why Evangelicals Back Trump on Global Warming. Here's a snippet from Religion News Service: "...In an interview with RNS, Schwadel explained that on environmental concerns, party affiliation played as large a role in influencing the views of Americans overall as did their religious beliefs, and both those factors outstripped every other variable, such as education, sex, income, race and geography. But when comparing evangelicals to some other religious groups, the evidence indicated that religious views were far more important for evangelicals than for other Christians. The chief theological marker of their beliefs, he said, is that evangelicals tend to have a literal view of the Bible – they believe that in Genesis the “earth was given to them to do as humans will” and that the prophecy at the end of the New Testament that Jesus will return in glory to rapture his followers is soon to be fulfilled..."

Your Country is Flooding? Tough Luck. There will be blowback. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg: "...The irony of U.S. antipathy to funding climate projects overseas is that withdrawing from those efforts hurts Americans. Matthew Kotchen, a Yale economics professor who represented the U.S. on the fund’s board under Obama, says that higher emissions overseas mean worse storms, floods, and wildfires at home. Just as important, natural disasters in poor countries, caused or amplified by climate change, lead to increased conflict and migration. “Trump himself, and maybe many of his supporters, believe that focusing on just your own national interest is sufficient,” Kotchen says. “There isn’t a recognition that we actually depend on other countries and other people for our security, stability, and prosperity.” While that debate continues, the problems that the climate fund is meant to address get worse. A recent study found that the number of people exposed to storm surges has increased more than 20 percent since 2000, to 162 million. More than 1 billion people are exposed to floods, the vast majority of them in the developing world..."

Photo credit: "In Tuvalu, $36 million will fund protection of the coastline after a 2015 cyclone displaced half the population." Photographer: Sokhin/UNICEF/Zuma Press.

Extreme Warmth Has Dominated U.S. Weather Records Since 2010. This Is Climate Change. Jason Samenow reports at Capital Weather Gang: "If it seems as if America’s record heat is in the news much more so than record cold in recent years, it is not a media conspiracy to ignore extremely cold weather. There is a simple and scientifically sound reason for it: Record warmth is happening much more often. Record-warm weather has occurred five times as frequently as record cold in U.S. cities since 2010, according to a new analysis. The imbalance represents a striking example of climate change affecting the nation’s extreme weather in a clear and tangible way..."

Map credit: "Temperature difference from normal over Lower 48, January to April 2017." (NOAA).

A Farm Journalist Tells Farmers What They'd Rather Not Hear About Climate Change. The farmers I've talked to may not want to mention "climate change", but almost to a person they describe big changes in their fields over the last generation. Here's a clip from NPR: "...Clayton is a Midwesterner and agricultural policy editor at DTN/The Progressive Farmer. He's also the author of The Elephant in the Cornfield: The Politics of Agriculture and Climate Change, which describes in detail how farmers and farm lobbyists have dealt — or, more often, refused to deal — with a changing climate. It has sometimes put Clayton in an awkward spot, as he acknowledged when I reached him this week in his office in Omaha, Neb. Does it make you nervous, as a reporter at a farm publication, talking about climate change? All the time. I feel like the guy who has to tell people things they don't want to hear. But if I simply ignore the topic or ignore the issues, am I doing anybody any favors?..."

Photo credit: "Journalist Chris Clayton writes for an audience filled with climate skeptics: farmers and leaders of agricultural businesses. He's telling them that a changing climate will disrupt their lives." Courtesy of Chris Clayton.

Military Still Fretting Climate Change Despite Trump's Global Actions. Federal News Radio has details: "...The Defense Department is revising its unified facilities code to adjust to climate change issues. In addition, the Navy is writing into its policies and construction code that all new buildings take into account the possibility of sea level rise, said Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics Vice. Adm. Dixon Smith during the June 6 hearing. “We are taking sea level rise into consideration in our projects. We started this a few years ago as we realized it is changing. So now whenever we design any project that’s within the 100 year flood plain we look at it and analyze ‘Do we need to make adjustments to a standard project to accommodate for [sea level rise],’ said Smith said. Dixon said the Navy’s fueling depot on Craney Island in Norfolk, Virginia was built 10 feet higher to account for climate change effects..." (File image: AP).

Climate Change is Here to Stay - So Deal With It. We're already dealing with it - and there's no question that adaptation has to be part of the equation. Here's an excerpt from Axios: "Everyone who wants to keep pushing climate policies in the vacuum of Washington leadership should start thinking more about how to adapt to a warmer world instead of focusing most political will on ways to stop it. Why it matters: The chances of reversing climate change are slim regardless of U.S. involvement in the Paris agreement. Countries, companies, U.S. states and cities and non-governmental organizations pursuing policies to address climate change should refocus their high-level political efforts on ways to prepare for the impacts that are already here and those still to come..."

Graphic credit: Lazaro Gamio / Axios.

Unfriendly Climate. Kudos to climate scientists (and evangelical Christian) Katharine Hayhoe for swimming upstream and trying to frame climate volatility in a way that resonates with a more conservative audience. Here's a clip from Texas Monthly: "...But the most revealing part of her talk centered on why Christians should care about climate change. To lead into this subject, Hayhoe flipped to a slide with a quote from John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser: “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, or suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.” Suffering, Hayhoe said, is not a word often deployed by scientists. “As scientists we don’t know a lot about suffering, but as Christians we do. And we know that part of the reason we’re here in this world is to help people who are suffering.” And that suffering will not be meted out proportionally: if global warming continues unchecked, the poor—whether they’re in Houston’s Fifth Ward or in low-lying areas of Bangladesh—who have contributed least to carbon emissions will feel the most pain, from enduring more-intense heat waves to paying the higher food prices that will accompany failed crops..."

Photo credit: Randal Ford.

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