Sunday, July 2, 2017

Thunder Threat on 4th of July - Flashes of Heat Next 2 Weeks - Climate Injustice

80 F. maximum temperature in the Twin Cities Sunday.
83 F. average high on July 3.
79 F. high on July 3, 2016.

July 3, 1947: Tornadoes hit Marshall and Polk Counties.

Potentially Thundery 4th - Hotter Late Next Week

"It's too cool for the lake Paul" my relatives complained. The sun was out, bald eagles circling overhead with a northerly breeze that would feel right at home in September. "Uh, would you like any cheese with that fine whine?"

While we enjoy free Canadian A/C much of America is baking under a July sun. I called one of my oldest buddies, Paul Magers, who just retired from WCBS-TV in Los Angeles, to see how he was coping with real heat out in his new home in Palm Springs. "It's forecast to be 115F in a few days. So you walk around thinking - hey - 107F doesn't feel so bad!" he laughed. I reminded him he was living in a desert. "Look, 80F is considered good sleeping weather out here."

The thing is, no matter where we live, we all tend to rationalize our weather, no matter how good or bad it is on a regular basis. "Hey, it's not THAT bad!" I think it may be part of the human condition.

Serious question: would you rather freeze or fry? Something in-between would be nice.

Today looks terrific: blue sky, highs near 80F with low humidity. The normally reliable ECMWF (European) model brings a few T-storms in Tuesday. No, I can't rule out old fashioned atmospheric firecrackers. Sticky air follows with low 90s by Thursday. But a cooler front provides timely relief by Saturday.

Soak it up, because oppressive western heat arrives here late next week.

Reverse Lake Effect. Lake water temperatures are still relatively cool; temperatures over land a good 10F warmer than over the water. Cumulus clouds sprouted over warmer land areas Sunday afternoon, but plumes of cooler, cloud-free weather extended as much as 150 miles downwind (toward the south), showing up clearly on NOAA's GOES satellite.

Flashes of Heat. The heat wave gripping much of the western USA will surge east later this week; Thursday the only truly uncomfortable day of the week with highs topping 90F across much of central and southern Minnesota. ECMWF guidance hints at another cool-down by Friday and Saturday. Twin Cities data: WeatherBell.

Deja Vu All Over Again. Another day, another (almost identical) weather forecast map. NOAA's 12 KM Future Radar forecast shows dry weather over roughly the western half of the USA; the best chance of showers and T-storms from Little Rock to Charlotte, another risk of puddles across Wisconsin. 4th of July weather? T-storms flare up across the Upper Midwest and from the central Plains to Nashville and the Carolinas. Model data:

Monday Flash Flood Threat. NOAA guidance shows the best chance of "training" thunderstorms (redeveloping over the same counties) from central Kansas and northern Oklahoma to near Joplin, Missouri.

84-Hour Rainfall Potential. This is total rainfall accumulations predicted between now and Thursday morning. Southern Minnesota may pick up an inch or more of rain from showers and T-storms, but some 2-5" amounts are possible from Iowa into the Midwest and Mid South.

Heat Wave Centered on Western USA. GFS guidance is consistently printing out a sprawling heat-pump high pressure system over the western third of the USA with more excessive heat; although the southeast and Mid Atlantic will simmer in the 90s the next couple of weeks. The 500mb map above is valid Sunday evening, July 16.

Day 3-7 Weather Hazards. NOAA CPC has a summary of the various weather risks facing the USA in the coming days:
  • Periods of heavy rain for parts of the Florida Peninsula, Mon-Fri, Jul 3-7.
  • Heavy rain for parts of the southeast, Wed-Thu, Jul 5-6.
  • Periods of heavy rain for parts of the central Great Plains, and Middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, Mon-Thu, Jul 3-6.
  • Much above-normal temperatures for parts of the Pacific Northwest, Intermountain West, Northern Rockies, and northern and central Great Plains, Mon-Fri, Jul 3-7.
  • Much above-normal temperatures for the upper Yukon Valley of Alaska, Mon, Jul 3.
  • Excessive heat for parts of the southeast and lower Mississippi Valley, Mon-Wed, Jul 3-5.
  • Slight risk of much above-normal temperatures for much of the western and north-central U.S., Sat-Fri, Jul 8-14.
  • Moderate risk of much above-normal temperatures for parts of the Intermoutain West, Northern and central Rockies, and Northern Great Plains, Sat-Mon, Jul 8-10.
  • High risk of much above-normal temperatures for parts of the Northern Intermountain west and Northern Rockies, Sat, Jul 8.
  • Slight risk of much above-normal temperatures for parts of the Southern Great Plains, Sat-Mon, Jul 8-10.
  • Slight risk of much above-normal temperatures for parts of central mainland Alaska, Sat-Fri, Jul 8-14.
  • Flooding possible or likely for parts of the middle Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes.
  • Severe Drought across southern California, Hawaii, and the Northern and southern Plains.

June Numbers. Twin Cities temperatures were 2.5F warmer than average last month with rainfall close to normal. Details from the MPX National Weather Service: "For temperatures June was a tale of two halves, with the first half of the month dominated by above normal temperatures, while the second half of the month was below normal. In the end, the warmth outweighed the cold by a little bit."

911 Calls "Off the Charts" During Widespread Flooding. T-storms triggered serious flash flooding in Utica, New York; details from The Observer-Dispatch: "The volume of calls handled by the Oneida County 911 Center was “off the charts” Saturday as flood waters washed over local roadways, stranding residents and damaging area infrastructure. Oneida County 911 and Emergency Services Director Kevin Revere said the call center received 1,490 calls between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Overall, he said he could not recall a past instance of widespread flooding at the level that occurred Saturday, when the surge of water caused significant damage to several areas. The examples of that damage were numerous: On the Arterial, which was closed from Oriskany Street to Burrstone Road in Utica, cars were seen floating in several feet of water. In Kirkland, part of one road simply collapsed. And flooded basements, car accidents and other flooding-related problems were reported in multiple locations throughout the region..."

I Can't Remember Ever Seeing This Before. 7 separate tornado warnings in New Hampshire and Maine on Saturday? Wow.

At Least 2 Tornadoes Confirmed in Maine Saturday. Details via "The National Weather Service confirms at least two tornades occurred in Maine on Saturday. Another possible tornado occurred near Harrison. Meteorologists say a high-end EF-1 tornado hit Bridgton. Several structures and vehicles were damaged by snapped trees on the west shore of Long Lake in the vicinity of Obelazy Lane. The tornado began on the southeast shore of Highland Lake before crossing through Bridgton..."

Photo credit: Jackson Witherill, Sebago Lake in Sebago, Maine July 1, 2017.

Air Force Launches Investigation Into Tornado Damage of Jets at Offutt. Here's an excerpt from "...The lack of information has fueled discussion about the events leading up to the June 16 tornado. Some people have wondered whether the commanders of the 55th and the 595th should have ordered the jets flown out of the path of danger. That’s common practice when a hurricane threatens a military airfield, several retired military officers said. But tropical systems usually cover a wide area and come with a day or more of warning. “You can’t evacuate every time there’s a thunderstorm,” said retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Keck, a former 55th Wing and 8th Air Force commander. “You’re spending a lot of money and effort and time. I would never try to judge a sitting (wing) commander...”

Photo credit: "Six of the eight damaged RC-135 surveillance planes had been returned to s ervice a week after the storm." U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Total Solar Eclipse Sparks Spectator Excitement. It's very tempting to make a road trip to Missouri - or Wyoming - or Oregon. Reuters says the hype may be warranted: "The first total solar eclipse across the continental United States in a century is expected to spark watching parties and traffic jams as it darkens skies from Oregon to South Carolina, authorities said on Wednesday. During the Aug. 21 eclipse, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun and leaving only its outer atmosphere, or corona, visible in the sky. It is the first coast-to-coast total eclipse since 1918. Weather permitting, people can watch as the moon's 70-mile (113-km) wide shadow crosses through 14 states from 10:15 a.m. PDT (1715 GMT) around Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to 2:49 p.m. EDT (1849 GMT) in McClellanville, South Carolina..."

Map credit: Eclipse2017.

Tsunami: An Underrated Hazard. David Bressan provides perspective at Forbes: "...Modern databases list more than 2,000 historic tsunamis. Most of these were recorded in historic documents, chronicles or even myths. The database shows that coastlines in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indonesian Sea are among the most vulnerable areas. Tsunamis can be triggered by movements along the seafloor, which are typically caused by earthquakes or underwater landslides. A tsunami that killed 40,000 people in December 1908 on Sicily, was probably not caused by the preceding earthquake, but rather a large landslide off the coast of Sicily (which likely had been triggered by the quake)..."

NOAA has more background information on tsunamis here.

Unseasonable Winter Weather Takes a Bite Out of Georgia's Peach Crop. Unusual winter warmth, coupled with a late-winter freeze, wreaked havoc across the Carolinas. NPR reports: "...Certainly the climate is changing. For whatever reason, we won't get into that," Sanchez said. In fact, the last couple of years have been too warm, he said. "But two years don't make a trend," he added. Climate data kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, go back much further than that. NOAA statistics put Georgia's average winter temperature at 45 degrees Fahrenheit in 1895. The most recent average, from 2015, puts that at 47 degrees. Still, even given the terrible season, Sanchez said there are plenty of peaches for Southern markets. Just don't look for them outside the South..."

Photo credit: "Peaches ready for packing and shipping at Lane Packing, a peach farm in Fort Valley, Ga." Grant Blankenship/Georgia Public Broadcasting.

As Sea Levels Rise, NOAA Scientists Work Toward Seasonal Tidal Flooding Forecasts. It no longer takes a storm (although that makes things far worse). As ocean levels rise all it takes today is a new or full moon, reports The Virginian-Pilot: "...A team of NOAA scientists recently began working toward a goal: to predict tidal flooding for Norfolk and coastal communities all over the country on a quarterly basis. They’re hoping that the seasonal forecasts will help everybody from emergency planners to homeowners be more attuned to the problem – and to the many conditions that can drive tides higher. “I think this is going to be an emerging thing,” William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer who’s helping lead the three-year project, said in a recent interview. “As sea level rise is continuing and impacts are growing and expected to become much worse, there’s going to be a need to say how often, when, where and how deep the water is expected to be...”

Krakow's Essential Accessory: A Smog Mask. Bloomberg reports: "Ewa Zelenska-Olczak was nine months pregnant when this photo was shot in March. The 23-year-old master’s student at AGH University of Science & Technology in Krakow, Poland, says she’s almost never without a mask outdoors, especially from October to April. That’s when the city’s air is at its worst, heavy with smog, much of it caused by household stoves that burn coal, wood, and trash to generate heat. Local coal-fired power plants add to the problem. According to the World Health Organization, Krakow’s particulate-matter pollution, a mix of small particles in the air that may affect the heart and lungs, can reach six times the levels considered safe on high-smog-alert days..."

Photo credit: "Grzegorz Swiech models the latest streetwear in Krakow, Poland, a city plagued by particulate pollution." Photographer: Tomer Ifrah for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Solar Has Become the World's Cheapest Form of New Electricity. That was fast. Fortune explains: "Solar power is becoming the world's cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests. According to Bloomberg's analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas. In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels..."

File photo credit: Reed Saxon, AP.

Elon Musk Teases Sunday Announcement About Tesla Model 3 Timing. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Chief Executive Elon Musk teased on his Twitter account that an announcement about the timing of the coming Model 3 sedan will come on Sunday. Production of the $35,000 car is scheduled to begin next month and investor enthusiasm has helped push the company’s shares to record highs, giving the Silicon Valley auto maker a market capitalization higher than General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co..."

Photo credit: "A prototype of the Tesla Model 3 on display at a factory in Sparks, Nev. The Model 3 is part of Elon Musk’s strategy to boost production next year to 500,000 from about 84,000 last year." Photo: James Glover II/Reuters.

Forget the Blood of Teens. "Metformin" Promises To Extend Life For a Nickel a Pill. Too good to be true? has the story: "...And Barzilai knows about the science of aging. He is, after all, the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. And, as such, he usually talks about his plan with the caution of a seasoned researcher. Usually. Truth is, Barzilai is known among his colleagues for his excitability—one author says he could pass as the older brother of Austin Powers—and sometimes he can’t help himself. Like the time he referred to his plan—which, among other things, would demonstrate that human aging can be slowed with a cheap pill—as “history-making.” In 2015, he stood outside of the offices of the Federal Drug Administration, flanked by a number of distinguished researchers on aging, and likened the plan to a journey to “the promised land...”

Photo credit: Metformin pills. Will Warasila for WIRED.

The Epic Untold Story of Nike's (Almost) Perfect Marathon. has the remarkable story: "...In the past 20 years, as the world record continued to inch downward, the debate over whether a sub-two might actually happen became more and more contentious. A parlor game arose among physiologists and statisticians, arguing when we might see the first sub-two: in 10 years, 25 years, 70 years, never. The game found its way to the retreat in Sisters, where Nurse tasked the NSRL team to imagine how they could make a two-hour marathon a reality. “We keep talking about the sub-two,” Nurse remembers saying. It was time to stop talking and actually do it.Sandy Bodecker, a Nike employee for nearly four decades and the vice president of special projects, heard the call. He lobbied executives for funding and started a secret two-hour-marathon task force that was dubbed Project Able after one of the first monkeys to survive being sent into space...."

Photo credit: "Seconds into the sub-two marathon attempt in Italy, Eliud Kipchoge (in orange) trails Zersenay Tadese (in light blue) and Lelisa Desisa (in white)." Cait Oppermann.

The Slow, Secret Death of the Electric Guitar. And Why You Should Care. The Washington Post has an interesting story: "...The numbers back him up. In the past decade, electric guitar sales have plummeted, from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million. The two biggest companies, Gibson and Fender, are in debt, and a third, PRS Guitars, had to cut staff and expand production of cheaper guitars. In April, Moody’s downgraded Guitar Center, the largest chain retailer, as it faces $1.6 billion in debt. And at, the online retailer, a brand-new, interest-free Fender can be had for as little as $8 a month. What worries Gruhn is not simply that profits are down. That happens in business. He’s concerned by the “why” behind the sales decline..."

Image credit: "Vernon Reid found the music of Jimi Hendrix after he discovered Carlos Santana. He talks with The Post's Geoff Edgers about how the two guitar icons influenced his playing style." (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)

Happy Birthday Canada! Details on Canada Day rom Wikipedia: "A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada..."

TODAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 81

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 63

4TH OF JULY: Humid, few T-storms in the area. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: Some sticky sun, isolated T-storm. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 83

THURSDAY: Hot, steamy sun. Late thunder? Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 91

FRIDAY: Blue sky, breezy & less humid. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 67. High: 83

SATURDAY: Sunny and comfortable with less wind. Winds: NW 5-10. Beautiful. Wake-up: 60. High: 78

SUNDAY: Sunny start, risk of PM T-storms. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 84

Climate Stories...

EPA Chief Pushing Governmentwide Effort to Question Climate Change Science. The Washington Post reports: "The Trump administration is debating whether to launch a governmentwide effort to question the science of climate change, an effort that critics say is an attempt to undermine the long-established consensus human activity is fueling the Earth’s rising temperatures. The move, driven by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, has sparked a debate among top Trump administration officials over whether to pursue such a strategy. A senior White House official, who asked for anonymity because no final decision has been made, said that while Pruitt has expressed interest in the idea, “there are no formal plans within the administration to do anything about it at this time...”

Photo credit: "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is a driving force behind an effort to reevaluate climate science in numerous federal agencies." (Associated Press/Susan Walsh).

Secretary Perry, Let's Have That Climate Change Conversation. Here's an excerpt of an Op-ed from the San Antonio Express-News: "...Check out the department’s website where faculty have posted a unanimous statement about climate change. Here’s the quick version: Between 1880 and 2012, the average global surface temperature warmed about 1.5 degrees. These scientists say “it is extremely likely” humans caused more than half of that warming between 1951 and 2012. If we don’t do anything to limit emissions, the Earth will warm between 2.5 and 7 degrees. Our hearts sunk a bit when you said carbon dioxide is not the primary driver of global warming. That was a real “oops” moment, sir. Carbon emissions are the biggest driver of climate change..."

In Atlantic City, Residents Feel Injustice of Climate Change. The 1% will build walls or move to a more hospitable area; they have the money, the means to adapt. But the poorest among us? Here's a clip and video link from PBS NewsHour: "...The Climate Central scientists actually conducted analysis. They looked at hundreds of U.S. coastal cities and examined the increases that are expected in the flooding risks in each of those. They identified about 90 that face vey sharp increases in flooding risks. A lot of these cities tend to be built along bays, along rivers, near the massive estuaries. So, they have a very low topography and the highest risk ones tend to be along the mid-Atlantic and Atlantic City simply showed up as being one of the cities that faces the greatest risks. But in addition to that, it is also has great inequity among the rich and poor, it’s a city in economic decline right now. So, I want to examine (ph) how they’re adapting to the changes in sea level there..."

Some international perspective:

Satellite Data Show Global Warming Worse Than Thought. Financial Tribune explains: "Climate change deniers have long pointed to satellite data showing lower temperatures than those recorded on the ground. However, new research has found an explanation for this apparent discrepancy, The Independent reported. The orbit of satellites around the Earth gradually decays over time due to friction in the Earth’s atmosphere and this gradually changes the time they pass over any one spot and this obviously has a significant effect on the temperature. Using information from the satellites, the scientists, Carl Mears and Frank Wentz, of Remote Sensing Systems, a California-based research company, developed a new method of correcting for the changes. And what they found was startling. The rate of warming was about a third higher at 0.174 degrees Celsius per decade between 1976 and 2016, compared to 0.134°C per decade..."

"Long, Slow, Horrible". Former Defense Officers Warn of Climate Impacts on National Security. The worry extends to Australia, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald: "...I think the climate change threat is pretty damn serious and we have fiddled around in terms of getting in place the right systems to head off the worst outcomes," he told Fairfax Media, calling for measured adaptation by the military and other sectors and rapid global reduction of emissions. "The military have been working on it but their perspective is limited to responses to natural disasters and protecting bases. They are not at the forefront of heading off the challenge. That is the responsibility of the leadership at the very top and the community..."

The Pope's Moral Case for Taking On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers.”It is a statement of fact, an intellectual premise, a gentle claim of territory. In his new encyclical on environmental degradation, Laudato Si, Pope Francis is not just addressing the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. He’s tagging God into the global conversation on climate change. The document, which was leaked on Monday by an Italian newspaper and officially released by the Vatican on Thursday, bitterly condemns the human failures that have eroded much of the environment. The pope rattles off fact after fact about the pitiful state of the earth: Pesticides have contaminated farmers’ soil. Air pollution has poisoned cities. Man-made waste checkers landscapes. There’s not enough clean water for people to drink or tropical forests to regulate carbon in the atmosphere. Whole species of animals are dying out..."

Image credit: Gregorio Borgia / AP.

A Room Full of Republicans Just Addressed Climate Change, Here's Why. Federal News Radio has the post: "Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) did something this week  that many Democrats in Congress have been unable to do. He got Republicans to act on climate change.  With an amendment to the House 2018 Defense Authorization Bill, Langevin got his Republican and Democratic colleagues to address the national security implications of rising sea levels, desertification and  nother nasty effects of global warming. The amendment, which made it to the final version of the bill, explicitly states that climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States. It requires the Defense Secretary to make a list of the 10 military installations most threatened by climate change and to explain how threats to those installations can be mitigated..."

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