Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An Early November: Rain/Snow Mix Possible by Friday Night


Sloppy Miracle

The Talmud says "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." Someone once told me there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

You may have serious doubts about alleged miracles as you slog home from work later today. Rain annoys commuters but look at the bright side: Minnesota is now drought-free. And this early October soaking is recharging soil moisture after a late summer dry spell, setting the stage for more agricultural miracles in 2015. And it's not snowing.

If anyone asks, last year the first flurries came October 19; the first inch of slush November 5-6. Pretty close to average, yet winter was anything but average. Let's take it one day at a time.

A second surge of rain clips the metro later today and tonight; more windblown showers tomorrow as a taste of early November arrives. Daytime highs hold near 50F tomorrow into Monday, before 60s return the middle of next week. Flurries are possible up north by tomorrow night; a metro frost can't be ruled out Sunday morning.

In defense of this wet, gloomy spell gray, soggy days are good for business.

Fewer distractions. Less time staring out the window.

Early Snow Red River Valley? Model guidance is hinting at an inch or two of slush Friday night near Bemidji and Hallock, although warm ground temperatures may trigger melting on contact. A coating of slush up north by Saturday morning? Very possible, and a few stray flakes may reach the MSP metro area late Friday night. North of Lake Superior over a foot of snow may fall as a cut-off low lingers, drawing in enough cold air for what may turn out to be a very significant snowfall. Insert gasp here. Map: Weatherbell.

More Early November Than Early October. A few models are hinting at a little wet snow reaching the Twin Cities by Friday night and early Saturday. Even if you spy a few flakes outside your window relatively mild ground temperatures should prevent anything from sticking.

An Early November - October Returns Next Week. Daytime highs may not climb out of the 40s Friday into Monday; if skies clear and winds ease frost may settle over many suburbs Sunday morning. Milder Pacific air returns next week with a good chance of highs topping 60F by midweek. Source: Weatherspark.

First Whiff of Winter. The leading edge of cooler air pushes a band of heavy rain from Kansas City into Chicago and Milwaukee today; a colder, second surge of Canadian air sweeping across the Dakotas into the Upper Mississippi Valley on Friday. 60-hour accumulated 4 km NAM rainfall product: NOAA and HAMweather.

California Has Already Burned Through $209 Million Wildfire Budget, and SoCal's Fire Season Has Just Begun. Here are a few excepts of a story at The Los Angeles Times: "California has burned through its wildfire-fighting budget -- $209 million -- just as it faces what is historically the worst of the fire season. And the state already has tapped into its reserves, pulling out $70 million more to combat drought-fueled blazes...Some of the costs of fighting state wildfires will be reimbursed by the federal government. But those funds are running low. Wildfires cost the U.S. about $125 billion annually. Earlier this month, state officials requested that Congress set up an emergency reserve, like California's, to help pay for extreme fires..."

Weather Service Storm Forecasts Get More Localized. I've been showing you examples of NOAA's new HRRR (3 km) model, but earlier this week they made it official, going from beta to a more general release. Here's an excerpt of a story from AP and 8 News NOW: "The next time some nasty storms are heading your way, the National Weather Service says it will have a better forecast of just how close they could come to you. The weather service on Tuesday started using a new high resolution computer model that officials say will dramatically improve forecasts for storms up to 15 hours in advance. It should better pinpoint where and when tornadoes, thunderstorms and blizzards are expected, so people could take cover..." (HRRR model guidance above: NOAA and HAMweather.)

Weather Report: Forecasts Improving As Climate Gets Wilder. Here are a few interesting nuggets, courtesy of The BBC: "...The UK's Met Office says its four-day forecast is now as accurate as its one-day forecast was 30 years ago. And Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, part of the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says: "We can now predict extreme weather events five to seven days in advance. "Twenty years ago we would only have been able to look one day ahead." These improvements have only come about after investing billions in better satellites, weather stations and supercomputers..."

Earth Lost 50% Of It's Wildlife In The Past 40 Years, Says WWF. Some grim news from the World Wildlife Federation - here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing..."

Photo credit above: "Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world heritage site." Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon.

Wind, Solar Generation Capacity Catching Up With Nuclear Power. Here's an excerpt of an interesting (and encouraging) article at Vital Signs Online, courtesy of The Worldwatch Institute: "Nuclear’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.  Hydropower was the leading source of renewable electricity (16.5 percent of global power in 2012), while wind contributed 3.4 percent and solar, 0.6 percent.  But wind and solar energy are the fastest growing electricity technologies worldwide. Between 2000 and 2012, wind power grew nearly 16-fold and solar jumped 49-fold..."

FCC Considering Move To Ban Washington Redskins Name. Interesting times for the NFL and many team owners. I vote for Washington Lobbyists. Has a nice ring. Here's an excerpt from Reuters and Huffington Post: "The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to punish broadcasters for using the moniker of the Washington NFL team, the Redskins, a word many consider a slur to Native Americans, the agency's chairman indicated on Tuesday. The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name "Redskins..."

Caffeine-Infused Underwear Probably Doesn't Help You Lose Weight. That may come as a shock to some of you, but this story excerpt from Reuters explains in more detail: "Bras, girdles and leggings infused with caffeine and sold as weight loss aids were more decaf than espresso, and the companies that sold them have agreed to refund money to customers and pull their ads, U.S. regulators said on Monday. The Federal Trade Commission said Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters, which owns Sahalie and others, were accused of deceptive advertising that claimed their caffeine-impregnated clothing would cause the wearer to lose weight and have less cellulite..."

59 F. high in St. Cloud Wednesday.
64 F. average high on October 1.
73 F. high on October 1, 2013.
.01" rain fell at St. Cloud yesterday as of 7 PM.
.69" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

October 1, 1953: A record high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the St. Cloud area was recorded in 1953 (and later tied in 1992). Minneapolis also set a record that same day in 1953 with a high of 89 degrees.
October 1, 1849: Persistent rain at Ft. Snelling leaves 4 inches in a day-and-a half.


TODAY: Clouds increase, more showers later in the day. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 61
THURSDAY NIGHT: A few showers possible. Low: 40
FRIDAY: Colder wind, passing PM showers. Heavy jackets/blankets for evening football games. A few flurries may mix in by Friday night. High: 47
SATURDAY: Fine November day. Mostly cloudy and brisk. Wake-up: 33. High: 47
SUNDAY: Metro frost possible. Dry, chilly Twin Cities Marathon with intervals of sun. Wake-up: 30. High: 48
MONDAY: Mostly gray, still raw for early October. Wake-up: 34. High: 47
TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, a bit better. Wake-up: 36. High: 52
WEDNESDAY: Milder, few PM showers up north. Wake-up: 43. High: 62


Climate Stories...

How Will Climate Change Affect Fall Foliage? Modern Farmer takes a look at how shifting seasons are impacting the timing and intensity of peak fall color; here's the introduction: "Researchers at Princeton University recently took a deep dive into the lovely autumnal colors of the Northeast and Midwest with an eye on climate change. They found that as the planet heats up, fall foliage will respond in messy, unpredictable ways — and that as a whole, leaves will begin changing color later and the period in which bright orange, red and yellow leaves stay on trees will last longer. But even though tourists in Vermont may celebrate, it’s important to note that the researchers’ findings indicate changes that could extend beyond fall photo ops. Trees, as it turns out, are the canary in the coal mine..."

Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice To Cause A Measurable Shift in Gravity. Here's a clip from a story at Slate and WIRED: "...The biggest implication is the new measurements confirm global warming is changing the Antarctic in fundamental ways. Earlier this year, a separate team of scientists announced that major West Antarctic glaciers have begun an “unstoppable” “collapse,” committing global sea levels to a rise of several meters over the next few hundred years. Though we all learned in high-school physics that gravity is a constant, it actually varies slightly depending on where you are on the Earth’s surface and the density of the rock (or, in this case, ice) beneath your feet..."

This One Photo Perfectly Sums Up Why Climate Change is Real. Buzzfeed has the story and explanation; here's an excerpt: "...It's another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss," said World Wildlife Fund Arctic program director Margaret Williams. “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change...”

Image credit above: AP Photo/NOAA, Corey Accardo.

Japanese Scientists Think Climate Change Could Alter Human Male-to-Female Birth Ratio. How on Earth could there be a link with extreme weather events? Here's an excerpt from The Mary Sue: "...After lining up monthly temperature data from the Japan Meteorological agency and fetal death data from the Vital Statistics of Japan database, Fukuda and a team of researchers believe that there is an association (though not causation that they can successfully pin down, of course) between extreme weather fluctuations and a decrease in male babies. They note in their findings, which were published this month in Fertility and Sterility journal, that two very intense seasonal shifts caught their attention in particular; a very hot summer in 2010 and a very cold winter in 2011, both of which correlate to an increase in fetal deaths and an eventual decrease in male babies being born..."

Thinner Too, Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest on Record. Science 2.0 has an update on what's happening at the top of the world; here's a clip: "Arctic sea ice coverage declined to its annual minimum on September 17th and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder find that this year's minimum extent is similar to last year's and below the 1981-2010 average of 2.40 million square miles. Over the 2014 summer, Arctic sea ice melted back from its maximum extent reached in March to a coverage area of 1.94 million square miles, according to analysis from NASA and NSIDC scientists..."

Image credit above: "Arctic sea ice hit its annual minimum on Sept. 17, 2014. The red line in this image shows the 1981-2010 average minimum extent. Data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency GCOM-W1 satellite." Image: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.


How Global Warming Affected Extreme Weather Events in 2013 - Interactive. Following up on yesterday's posts here's an effective interactive infographic from The Guardian: "From Australia’s off-the-charts heat wave to Colorado’s biblical deluge, Europe’s scorching summer, and Britain’s miserable spring, nine events were caused at least in part by climate change, scientists conclude in a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on Monday. Overseen by the US Noaa and the UK Met Office, 92 scientists from 14 countries looked at how climate change affected 16 of the biggest weather events of 2013."

Growing, And Growing Vulnerable. Barrier islands are at special risk from warming/rising seas. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...But the barrier islands that line the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, from Cape Cod to the Mexican border, are a special case. A new report from the National Research Council finds that the effect of climate change is especially harsh on these islands. Population growth in much of this long coast “is nearly twice the national average,” the report said. Meanwhile, “these same coasts are subject to impact by some of the most powerful storms on earth and the destruction potential of these events is increasing due to climate change and relative sea-level rise...”

Photo credit above: "An aerial view of a breach in the Fire Island National Seashore caused by Hurricane Sandy." Credit National Park Service.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Atmosphere Shifting Gears: Showery - Heaviest Rains Set Up East of St. Cloud Area


Risk of October

Summer is a fading memory, a buggy, thundery mirage on the distant horizon. The sun is slipping ever lower into the southern sky now; longer nights chilling the Canadian prairie, sparking a parade of increasingly cold puffs. Nature's way of saying "do I have your attention yet?"

October is a fiendishly fickle month, capable of 90-degree heat, isolated tornadoes and Halloween Superstorms. The first frost in the metro usually arrives the first week of October - first flakes by mid-October; average snowfall for the month about a half inch or so.

Large north-south temperature contrasts whip up powerful storms. Unlike summer when precipitation is "convective" (thunderstorms 3-5 miles wide) smears of "stratiform" rain in October produce widespread puddles. Less hit or miss. By the end of the month the average high is a crisp 51F, give or take 20 degrees.

Today is the wettest day of the week; up to an inch of rain turning I-35 into a perpetual parking lot. Another surge of rain comes Thursday. Cold exhaust behind this storm has us groping for jackets by Friday, when temperatures hold near 50F with flurries over the Arrowhead.

60s return next week; I suspect we'll see a few more 70s before winter does its thing.

Potentially Significant Rain Next 36-48 Hours. Models show anywhere from .8" to 1.8" of rain by Thursday night as colder air approaches. The National Weather Service official prediction is roughly 1" of rain by Friday morning.
Narrow Band of Moderate to Heavy Rain. NOAA's 4 km NAM model shows some 2.5"+ amounts just east of the St. Croix River by Friday morning; heaviest amounts over the southern and eastern suburbs, but many towns in the MSP metro area should pick up at least 1" of rain from two separate surges of rain, spiked with a few T-storms. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: HAMweather.

Cooling Down. Enjoy low 60s today and Thursday because Friday and Saturday may feel more like early November than early October with temperatures holding in the 40s, and a definite whiff of wind chill. Heaviest rains come today and Thursday; the approach of milder air setting off a few spotty showers on Sunday. The best chance of a metro-wide frost: Monday morning. Source: Weatherspark.

MSP Metro Still Largely Frost-Free. Data from the Minnesota Climatology Working Group shows that much of Minnesota has already experienced a frost or freeze, with the exception of the immediate Twin Cities metro area, where the urban heat island has kept temperatures above 32F so far. The growing season may finally end within the 494/694 freeway system by Monday morning.

Weather Report: Forecasts Improving As Climate Gets Wilder. Here are a few interesting nuggets, courtesy of The BBC: "...The UK's Met Office says its four-day forecast is now as accurate as its one-day forecast was 30 years ago. And Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, part of the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says: "We can now predict extreme weather events five to seven days in advance. "Twenty years ago we would only have been able to look one day ahead." These improvements have only come about after investing billions in better satellites, weather stations and supercomputers..."

Mystery Solved. Suspicious Radar Echoes Were Probably Migrating Monarch Butterflies. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang takes a look at what was producing those strange Doppler returns on a perfectly clear day in St. Louis; here's an excerpt: "...From the radar echoes, it might seem as if there was quite a swarm of butterflies heading south on Friday. However, it doesn’t take much for the radar to light up when it’s dry out. “In dry conditions, the radar is very sensitive to something like insects,” said Kanofsky. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of insects to create a high return.” As a meteorologist, you don’t picture yourself spending time digging for information on migrating bugs on the internet, trying to figure out why the radar is glowing when there’s not a cloud in the sky..."

Image credit above: "A screenshot taken by NWS meteorologists, capturing the odd radar reflectivity that appeared east of St. Louis, Mo. on Friday morning." (NWS St. Louis via Facebook)

Earth Lost 50% Of It's Wildlife In The Past 40 Years, Says WWF. Some grim news from the World Wildlife Federation - here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing..."

Photo credit above: "Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world heritage site." Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon.

Wind, Solar Generation Capacity Catching Up With Nuclear Power. Here's an excerpt of an interesting (and encouraging) article at Vital Signs Online, courtesy of The Worldwatch Institute: "Nuclear’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.  Hydropower was the leading source of renewable electricity (16.5 percent of global power in 2012), while wind contributed 3.4 percent and solar, 0.6 percent.  But wind and solar energy are the fastest growing electricity technologies worldwide. Between 2000 and 2012, wind power grew nearly 16-fold and solar jumped 49-fold..."

Why Do So Many People Watch HGTV? I admit I'm a "Love it or List it" addict. It's like Jeopardy for homeowners. Pacific Standard Magazine looks at the formula that keeps many of us coming back for more; here's an excerpt: "...A few months ago, Jen Doll wrote about the tireless appeal of House Hunters in particular. For Doll, the show is all about the “underlying theme of unbridled domestic aspiration paired with the reality of compromise, the appearance versus the actuality of what we want and what we can have.” Much of the network’s marquee programming beyond House Hunters is about trading up, re-investment, buying, and selling. HGTV, as we might expect, is so watchable because it features attainably realistic ritual re-enactments of the American Dream every half-hour..."

New Coffee Drip System Takes 4 Hours To Brew The Perfect Cup. I love my coffee, but I'm not sure I'd have the patience. Here's an excerpt from Gizmag: "...The Imperial Proper Coffee Drip uses a peristaltic pump to draw the water out of the brewing vessel and through the ground coffee one drip at a time. The speed of the pump can be adjusted for a lighter brew to be produced in an hour or for a stronger cup of joe in up to four hours. Proper Coffee recommends a speed of 40 to 45 drips per minute, which will result in a strong flavorsome beverage.."

59 F. high in St. Cloud Tuesday.
64 F. average high on September 30.
77 F. high on September 30, 2013.

September 30 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:
1999: One of the earliest significant snowfalls fell in a narrow track across southern Minnesota. Reported snowfall totals included 4.0 inches in Montgomery (LeSeur County) and Northfield (Rice County), 3.8 inches in Springfield (Brown County), 3.0 inches in Vesta (Redwood county), and 2.8 inches in Mankato (Blue Earth County).

1989: Temperatures across central and southern Minnesota were in the 80's. A cold front came through and dropped the mercury to the 40's.


TODAY: Rain, heavy at times. A few T-storms. Winds: SE 10. High: 62
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: More showers, possible thunder. Low: 54
THURSDAY: Another surge of rain likely. High: 60
FRIDAY: Cold and raw. Lingering showers, especially PM hours. Wake-up: 41. High: 49
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, jacket-worthy. Wake-up: 33. High: 47
SUNDAY: Lot's of clouds, still chilly. Wake-up: 38. High: 48
MONDAY: Metro frost. Plenty of sun. Wake-up: 31. High: near 50
TUESDAY: Early shower, then slightly milder with some PM sun. Wake-up: 40. High: 58


Climate Stories...

Thinner Too, Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest on Record. Science 2.0 has an update on what's happening at the top of the world; here's a clip: "Arctic sea ice coverage declined to its annual minimum on September 17th and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder find that this year's minimum extent is similar to last year's and below the 1981-2010 average of 2.40 million square miles. Over the 2014 summer, Arctic sea ice melted back from its maximum extent reached in March to a coverage area of 1.94 million square miles, according to analysis from NASA and NSIDC scientists..."

Image credit above: "Arctic sea ice hit its annual minimum on Sept. 17, 2014. The red line in this image shows the 1981-2010 average minimum extent. Data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency GCOM-W1 satellite." Image: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.


How Global Warming Affected Extreme Weather Events in 2013 - Interactive. Following up on yesterday's posts here's an effective interactive infographic from The Guardian: "From Australia’s off-the-charts heat wave to Colorado’s biblical deluge, Europe’s scorching summer, and Britain’s miserable spring, nine events were caused at least in part by climate change, scientists conclude in a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on Monday. Overseen by the US Noaa and the UK Met Office, 92 scientists from 14 countries looked at how climate change affected 16 of the biggest weather events of 2013."

Growing, And Growing Vulnerable. Barrier islands are at special risk from warming/rising seas. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...But the barrier islands that line the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, from Cape Cod to the Mexican border, are a special case. A new report from the National Research Council finds that the effect of climate change is especially harsh on these islands. Population growth in much of this long coast “is nearly twice the national average,” the report said. Meanwhile, “these same coasts are subject to impact by some of the most powerful storms on earth and the destruction potential of these events is increasing due to climate change and relative sea-level rise...”

Photo credit above: "An aerial view of a breach in the Fire Island National Seashore caused by Hurricane Sandy." Credit National Park Service.

Lyme Disease Surges North, And Canada Moves Out of Denial. The Daily Climate has the latest on trends north of the border; here's an excerpt: "...Canada should have seen this coming. In the United States, reported cases of Lyme disease have increased from fewer than 10,000 reported cases in 1991 to more than 27,000 cases by 2013. Canada was well-positioned to be affected by the spread of the disease. As early as 2005, modeling published by researcher Nicholas Ogden, then at the University of Montreal, indicated that the geographic range of the Lyme-carrying tick could expand northward significantly due to climate change in this century..."

Despite The U.N. Climate Summit, Fossil Fuel Firms Are Still In For The Long Term. Trillions of dollars at stake, climate change represents a potential existential crisis for companies that rely on future reserves of coal, oil and gas to be brought to market, as reported by The Guardian. Here's a snippet: "...Fossil fuel companies are still in it for the long term. As the Financial Times and Guardian has reported, this year ExxonMobil and Shell both wrote to investors to say that their fossil fuel businesses would stay strong for decades, even if governments take action on climate change. Investing in fossil fuels not only perpetuates existing high-carbon infrastructure, but it uses up money and attention that could have been directed to low-carbon ends..."

Photo credit above: "U.S. president Barack Obama at the UN climate summit in New York." Photograph: Mark Garten//UN Photo/Sipa/SI/Rex.

Will Global Warming Drown Your Hometown? Not something we have to worry about anytime soon here in Minnesota, but for coastal residents worldwide it's a more urgent calculation. Here's an excerpt from a blog at Scientific American: "...In this week’s Map Monday, I’d like to share a new mapping technology which helps answer the question: will global warming drown your hometown? Actually, it’s not a new technology, it’s a “repurposed” technology if you will, namely Lidar, or Light Detection and Ranging, which gives you detail on elevation mapping by location. Have a look at Surging Seas and #DrownYourTown. It makes for scary gamification of climate change, but perhaps it’s a needed wake-up call for some?..."

Image credit above: "Istanbul after GIS modeling of climate change." Image courtesy of #DrownYourTown.

The Climate Denier's Newest Argument. Here's a clip from an Op-Ed by Jeffrey Kluger at Time Magazine: "...Koonin then ticks off the usual right-wing talking points: The computer models are imperfect; the oceans’ role in warming has not been studied fully; the history of Earth’s climate is poorly understood; there has been a slowing of warming over the past 15 years. Stipulated, stipulated, stipulated and stipulated. Again and again, climate scientists acknowledge every single one of these x-factors and again and again they come back to the fact that the planet is sick and we’re playing a role. Knowing that cigarettes can kill you is not the same as pretending to predict which fatal illness—if any—you’re going to contract or just when and how severely that disease is going to strike. But you can surely tell when you’re beginning to cough, and if you don’t quit smoking straightaway you’re a fool..."

Big Surprise: Maps Look Like October


Perspective

It is our God-given right to complain about the weather. It may even be in the founding father's Bill of Rights, but my history is a bit hazy. Don't quote me.

Locals were complaining in 1961 when a coating of snow fell at MSP on September 30. A far cry from 1897, when the mercury soared to 87F on today's date.

Cathy Larson wrote me a note, asking me to start a campaign to stop readers from griping about the weather. She has a chronic illness and would gladly endure another Polar Vortex if she was healthy again. "Being aware of the weather is important, but people complaining that it's too hot or too cold - really??" she said.

Cathy has a very good point, and I'll be drafting a bill for the legislature, right after my rodeo career fades. Stop whining about the weather?

Not. Likely.

The approach of a reinforcing cool front sparks showers tonight & Wednesday; a rumble of thunder is possible with slower commute times tomorrow. By Friday it'll feel like early November: raw and windy with showers for evening football games. Take a heavy jacket.

We may avoid a frost next weekend; 40s to low 50s with ragged clouds for the Twin Cities Marathon.

A bit chilly, yes, but I'm not complaining.

Looks Like October. Enjoy low 60s, because by Friday it may feel more like early November than early October with temperatures stuck in the 40s, a raw wind and PM showers that will make evening football anything but pleasant. The best chance of rain comes tonight and Wednesday - long range guidance hinting at a few 60s returning next week. That may be it for the 80s, although I suspect a good chance of a few more days above 70F later in October. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Second Surge. A reinforcing cool frontal passage arrives with more showers from the Dakotas tonight and Wednesday; the atmosphere aloft marginally unstable enough for a few thunderclaps at no extra charge. We dry out Thursday before a stronger push of cold air arrives on Friday. By the end of the week there will be no doubt in your mind that it's October. 4 KM NAM accumulated rain map: NOAA and HAMweather.

Shifting Gears. With a sun angle as high in the sky as it was in mid-March coupled with longer nights brewing up colder air over Canada, it's little surprise that cold fronts are venturing farther south, whipping up a band of showers stretching from the Plains into the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes over the next 36 hours. The west coast stays mainly dry; storms capable of flash flooding for portions of the southeast.

Flash Flood Potential. Our in-house Alerts Broadcaster model guidance show a risk of some 5-6" rains from near Miami to Orlando, westward to Baton Rouge over the next 48 hours.

70 Years Ago Hurricane Hunters Got Their Start In The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. You have to wonder how that first conversation went. "Hey, we could FLY into hurricanes to learn more about them!" Was this guy promoted or institutionalized? Here's an excerpt of a good recap of how far we've come from Jack Williams at Capital Weather Gang: "Seventy years ago, four U.S. Army Air Forces crews made seven flights into the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, proving the value of direct reports from inside tropical cyclones for forecasting purposes. Since then, air crews who have flown into hurricanes continue to help the National Hurricane Center make better, life-saving forecasts. Even with our advanced satellites and computer models, National Hurricane Center forecasters consider the information collected by airplanes flying directly through hurricanes invaluable for predictions..."

Photo credit above: "The Air Force flies WC-130 planes to study active hurricanes." (NOAA)


Offshore Wind Turbines Could Tame Hurricanes. I'm a little skeptical about this idea, especially for larger hurricanes, since hurricanes get their strength from warm ocean water - not sure what a necklace of wind turbines will do to change that dynamic. Here's a clip from The Wall Street Journal: "Could an armada of giant windmills reduce damage from the next big hurricane? A study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of Delaware suggests that U.S. coastal cities could be spared by installing tens of thousands of gigantic wind turbines offshore in arrays up to 20 miles long. The scientists say the turbines, as high as a football field is long, would suck much of the energy out of storms and pay for themselves with the clean electrical power they produce..." (Hurricane Sandy file image: NASA).

MIT's New Cement Recipe Could Cut Carbon Emissions By More Than Half. Gizmag has the scoop - here's the introduction: "As one of our most relied upon construction materials, concrete makes a significant contribution to our overall carbon emissions. Calcium-based substances are heated at high temperatures to form the cement, a process that produces carbon dioxide. But by slightly altering the quantities of materials used, scientists from MIT have uncovered a new method of concrete mixing that could reduce these emissions by more than half..."

At CIA Starbucks Even The Baristas Are Covert. This one was just too good to pass up, courtesy of The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...The baristas go through rigorous interviews and background checks and need to be escorted by agency “minders” to leave their work area. There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents..."

Pepperoni Pizza Cake? It comes with a heart surgeon on the side. That said, maybe I need to sample it at least once, just to make sure I don't like it. Buzzfeed has the details.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Abbey Road". Ultimateclassicrock.com has the details, including how the title got its name because the Beatles were feeling lazy at the time; here's a clip: "...The album's working title was "Everest", an inside joke about the brand of cigarettes smoked by engineer Geoff Emerick. They had intended to shoot the cover photo at Mount Everest, but none of them wanted to make the long journey. Instead, McCartney suggested naming it after the street on which EMI Studios was located. That meant they could photograph themselves in the nearest crosswalk, which took about 30 minutes total..."
The album's working title was 'Everest,' an inside joke about the brand of cigarettes smoked by engineer Geoff Emerick. They had intended to shoot the cover photo at Mount Everest, but none of them wanted to make the long journey. Instead, McCartney suggested naming it after the street on which EMI Studios was located. That meant they could photograph themselves in the nearest crosswalk, which took about 30 minutes total.

Read More: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'Abbey Road' | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/abbey-road-facts/?trackback=fbshare&trackback=tsmclip

Band Names for Aging Rockers. Thanks to Dave Pell and Medium for brightening an otherwise blah day.

63 F. high in St. Cloud Monday.
65 F. average high on September 29.
75 F. high on September 29, 2013.
.11" rain fell Monday at St. Cloud.

September 30, 1995: Lightning started a house on fire in Washington County.
September 30, 1985: 4 inches of snow fell in Ely, with just a trace at the Twin Cities.


TODAY: Fading sun, late PM showers. Winds: E 10-15. High: 61
TUESDAY NIGHT: Showers likely. Low: 53
WEDNESDAY: Unsettled with showers, few T-showers. High: 60
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, drying out. Wake-up: 51. High: 65
FRIDAY: Windy & raw. PM showers likely. Wake-up: 42. High: 50 (chill factor dipping into the 30s)
SATURDAY: Slight frost risk early. Chilled sunshine. Wake-up: 33. High: 55
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and brisk. Wake-up: 40. High: near 60
MONDAY: Plenty of sun, less wind. Wake-up: 38. High: 57


Climate Stories...

Scientists See Climate Change Behind Incidents of Wild Weather. Here's the introduction to a story from CBS News: "Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on more than half of them. Researchers found that climate change increased the odds of nine extremes: Heat waves in Australia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, intense rain in parts of the United States and India, and severe droughts in California and New Zealand. Scientists couldn't find a global warming link to an early South Dakota blizzard, freak storms in Germany and the Pyrenees, heavy rain in Colorado, southern and central Europe, and a cold British spring..."

Photo credit above: "The Hindu holy town of Kedarnath, India is seen from a helicopter after severe flooding in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013. Torrential monsoon rains caused havoc in northern India leading to flash floods and landslides." Source: AP.

Source Of The Sizzle: Climate Change Fueled Heat Waves. Following up on the NOAA report referenced above; here's an excerpt of a slightly different perspective from USA TODAY: "...Extreme events are often complex and influenced by multiple factors, said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and report co-author at a press briefing on Monday. Natural variability is always part of any weather and climate extreme, and pinpointing the human influence for an event is not always found in these studies, he said. "It's a granted that climate change is influencing all manner of weather," according to NOAA research meteorologist Martin Hoerling. "This report looks not if climate change influenced weather, but how it did – trying to quantify the influence," Hoerling said at the press briefing..."

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From A Climate Perspective. A recent NOAA NCDC report suggests that climate change acted as an accelerant, making some extreme events (that would have happened anyway) even more extreme, especially heat waves. Credit: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Global Warming: There's No "Planet B". Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Star Tribune Editorial Board: "...Already, the real momentum is coming from local political leaders, enlightened corporate executives and, frankly, people in the streets. Among the states, Minnesota has emerged as a leader thanks to the foresight of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others who, in 2007, committed the state to a timetable for reducing emissions. California and several northeastern states have gone further by forging cap-and-trade agreements that raise the cost of polluting. Meanwhile, the Rockefellers, a family that amassed a mega-fortune on oil, have joined a movement to disinvest in fossil fuels. And the Norwegian petroleum giant Statoil has courageously embraced the idea of a global carbon tax..."

Is Global Warming Really Paused? Here's a clip from a story at Decoded Science: "...Based on the most recent work, it appears that the oceans are a more likely explanation for the pause than aerosols, since the amount of missing heat is too large to be explained by a decrease in incoming solar radiation alone. It is more likely that the ocean is storing the bulk of the excess heat, since water has a much greater capacity to store heat than the air. Although there is agreement (for the most part) among atmospheric scientists that the ocean is responsible for the global warming pause, there is disagreement as to whether the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean plays a greater role. In early August, research was published that pointed to a trade wind anomaly in the Pacific Ocean as the cause of suppressed atmospheric warming..."

Image credit above: "Is global warming really paused?" Image courtesy of Lesserland, modified by Elizabeth Klusinske.

Floods, Forest Fires, Expanding Deserts: The Future Has Arrived. We've gone from theory to reality, according to this article at The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "...Perhaps most alarming of all the forecasts that concern the future warming of our planet is the work of Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii. His research – which involved using a range of climate models to predict temperatures on a grid that covered the globe – suggests that by 2047 the planet's climate systems will have changed to such an extent that the coldest years then will be warmer than even the hottest years that were experienced at any time in the 20th century. "Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced," Mora said in an interview with the New York Times recently. "What we are saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm..."

How Melty Was The Arctic Sea Ice This Year? It looks like the 6th greatest loss of polar ice. Science writer Greg Laden puts things into perspective at scienceblogs.com: "...Looking at JUST surface area, which is one indicator of how warm the Arctic has become with Global Warming, we can see (above) that this years march of melting has been extreme, hugging the two standard deviation limit for all of the data from 1979 to 2010 (almost the present). Here you can see that 2014 is distinctly different, with much more surface area loss, than the first ten years of this data set, from here..."

How Big Business Can Help Fight Climate Change. When going green puts more green back into consumer and company pockets - and we're pretty much there, as Bob McDonald at CBC News explains; here's an excerpt: "...For decades, the business community has known that going green usually makes money. It’s already been demonstrated at the simplest level, with examples such as hotels that have installed low-flush toilets and efficient shower heads, and then recouped those costs through savings in a very short time. The same is true for investments in better building design and more public transit. The changes were not just to save energy and reduce emissions; it was because it made good business sense..."

Climate Change Threat: As Global Leaders Stall, Cities Move To Cut Emissions, Boost Efficiency. Here's the intro to a story at International Business Times: "In the face of global and federal paralysis on climate-change policy, local officials in the U.S. are already moving to cut their cities’ emissions and make their infrastructures less vulnerable to environmental threats. In Dubuque, Iowa, municipal leaders are rolling out data technology to help residents use less water and electricity. In Philadelphia, city experts are restoring watersheds and planting gardens to soak up the residue of heavier rains and rising sea levels, both effects related to global warming. However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg..."

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However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.
Climate Change Linked To Spread of Lyme Disease. Here's an excerpt from EcoWatch: "As if we needed another reason to deplore the impacts of climate change, its warming effects are encouraging the northward spread of Lyme disease, carried by the black-legged tick which rides on deer, rodents and dogs, the Daily Climate reports. While common in the U.S., it was rare in Canada until recently. Because of that, Canadians eventually diagnosed with the disease were delayed in getting appropriate treatment..."

Image credit above: "The range of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is expanding north due to the warming effects of climate change." Photo credit: Shutterstock.

U.S. and Climate Change: Here Are The Top 10 Greenest Cities in America. No sign of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester or Duluth yet, at least according to this analysis from International Business Times; here's an excerpt: "... The number of so-called LEED-certified buildings (i.e., structures designed with minimal nonrenewable energy use and reduced water consumption) is also a good gauge of a city’s ecological consciousness. Cities with high proportions of green space also get two (green) thumbs up. Based on these and other criteria, below are the 10 greenest cities in the U.S., in no particular order:

1. San Francisco. The city’s curbside compost pickup program is just one of its many eco-friendly features. It was also the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags.
2. Chicago. Chicago has more green roofs (i.e., roofs partially or completely covered in vegetation) than does any other city in the U.S. Green roofs help cut the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool a building, while also improving air quality..."