Friday, April 28, 2017

Meteorological Mayday! Monday Slush - Near 70F In One Week

52 F. high temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
63 F. average high on April 28.
45 F. high temperature on April 28, 2016.

April 29, 1984: Late season heavy snow blankets the Twin Cities with 6.6 inches.
April 29, 1940: Heavy rain falls in Duluth, with a daily total of 3.25 inches.



When Slush Falls On Freshly-Mowed Lawns on May 1: Mayday!

Don't look now but Mother Nature is having another nervous breakdown. A loopy jet stream is helping to spawn jaw-dropping extremes: record 80s and 90s out east, while Denver picks up half foot of slushy snow.

An atmospheric tug-of-war over the central USA may produce life-threatening flooding from the Ozarks into the Ohio Valley. Over 10 inches of rain may fall by Wednesday; a tropical storm's worth of moisture.

For the record, weather impacts about a third of America's GDP; roughly $6 TRILLION worth of economic activity is at the mercy of the elements. And there's mounting evidence that weather extremes are trending even more extreme over time.

Expect glimmers of sun and 50s today, the better day to mow the lawn or go for a walk. An impressive, almost March-like storm pushes a cold rain into town Sunday. The column of air overhead cools Monday as rain mixes with slushy snow. Lawns may get slushed up in the metro, but the best chance of plowable (3-inch-plus) amounts may set up from Alexandria to Bemidji, Brainerd and Hibbing.

The best part of a freak May snow? A higher sun angle should melt whatever falls within 24 hours.


ECMWF Snowfall Potential. As good as the European model is - it is not infallible. No weather model is. So look at the trends, not specific amounts, not yet. The metro area may pick up an inch of slush on lawns Monday, but the greatest potential for a "few inches" will be from eastern South Dakota to Alexandria, Bemidji, Brainerd and the Minnesota Arrowhead. Confidence levels are low, but some towns in Minnesota may break records for May snowfall. Good grief. Map: WeatherBell.


NAM Model Solution. The most extreme snowfall amounts are forecast to fall on southeastern Coloado and western Kansas, where some 2 foot amounts are predicted. Impressive for late April. The 12 KM NAM has the same general idea as the European, with the heaviest amounts of slush setting up north and west of the Twin Cities Monday and Monday night. Stay tuned. Make sure there's fresh Kodacolor film in your camera - nothing more enchanting than snow clinging to green tree branches! Ugh...

Animation credit: Tropicaltidbits.com

Most Likely Snowfall by Monday Evening. I want so badly to stop borrowing these maps from the local National Weather Service Office. Then again, I am vaguely amused by the fact that the snowfall scale goes up to 100". Wow. A little slush is possible in the metro Monday, but the farther north and west you go the better the odds of a few inches of wet snow. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.

Another Slug of Serious Moisture. Latest NAM guidance brings amounts under 1", and most of that should fall as (liquid) rain Sunday and Sunday night, before a cooling trend aloft sparks a changeover to a rain/snow mix on Monday. Heaviest snow bands should, in theory, set up well north and west of MSP.

April Snowfall in the Twin Cities. We pick up an average of 2.4" in the Twin Cities during April; so far only half an inch of slush has fallen. A far cry from 2013, when nearly 18" of snow piled up in April (as I recall the locals were not happy that spring). We may add to that number Sunday.


Historical May Snow Events in the Twin Cities. Yes, it may snow again late Sunday into Monday, May 1. Big gulp. Deep sigh. How unusual? The Minnesota DNR provides perspective: "...The most recent measureable Twin Cities snow event was 0.5 inches on May 3, 2013. About once every 30 years or so, there is a snow event that is enough to cover newly greened lawns and coat budding leaves. The last time there was a snow event in May greater than an inch in the Twin Cities was on May 2, 1976 with 1.2 inches. The most that it has snowed in May in a single event for the Twin Cities is three inches. This has happened on three occasions: May 20, 1892, May 1, 1935 and May 11-12, 1946."



Praedictix Severe Weather Briefing: Issued Friday afternoon, April 28, 2017.

* Two major weather risks unfolding over the next 48+ hours.
* Potential for life-threatening amounts of rain over the midsection of the USA into early next week, as waves of heavy showers and T-storms redevelop over the same saturated, waterlogged counties, from the Ozarks to the Ohio Valley. Some 10"+ rainfall amounts are possible, roughly a tropical storm's worth of rain.
* Other significant risk is heavy snow and sleet from Denver into the central Plains and Upper Midwest by Sunday and Monday. We may be sliding into May, but as far as the atmosphere is concerned it's still early March over the central USA.

A Wet and Wild Storm Brewing. GOES-16 imagery shows an impressive-looking, comma-shaped swirl as a storm deepens over the southern Plains, pumping moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward. The slow forward movement of this sprawling area of low pressure, combined with a "train-echo effect" (thunderstorms forming over the same counties) will result in excessive amounts of rain for the Mississippi Valley. Farther west, deep in the cold air, precipitation will fall as heavy, wet snow capable of disrupting land and air transportation from Colorado to Minnesota. Non-operational GOES-16 data: College of Dupage.

Current Watches and Warnings. NOAA has issued a Flash Flood Watch for an extensive part of America's heartland, stretching from Tulsa and Little Rock to St. Louis, Champaign/Urbana, Louisville and Cincinnati, calling for the potential for extensive flooding in the coming days. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for much of Wyoming and the Front Range of Colorado, extending as far south as Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Map: Aeris AMP.

Potential for a Tropical Storm's Worth of Rain. NOAA models print out as much as 10" of rain between now and the middle of next week. It's important to note that the ground is already waterlogged from recent rains. Any additional rain will almost immediately run off into streets, streams and rivers. For some communities from Tulsa to Joplin, St. Louis and Peoria, flooding may rival what we saw in Raleigh, North Carolina earlier this week. NOAA WPC data: WeatherBell.

Excessive Rainfall Potential. Model ensembles suggest that the greatest risk of extreme (5-10"+) rains will be over northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, but people from Texarkana and the Ozarks to Chicago and Louisville need to monitor local conditions. Facilities that have flooded in the recent past may experience problems over the next 3-5 days. Graphic: NOAA.

No Sign of Spring in Denver. Watches have just been upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings for metro Denver, where a half foot of heavy, wet, slushy snow may snarl traffic (and air travel) later tonight into Saturday night. The worst conditions may set up south of I-70, where near-blizzard conditions can't be ruled out. Yes, this is odd for late April. Map: NOAA.

Winter's Last Snarl? I may have said something similar a month ago, but the same jet stream configuration that will result in record heat for much of the eastern USA this weekend (80s and 90s) will create conditions more typical of late February or early March from the Rockies into the Plains and Upper Midwest. But unlike a March snow, whatever falls should melt within 24 hours. The sun is too high in the sky for snow to stay on the ground for long. Map: Tropicaltidbits.com.

Summary: the pattern remains extreme, and right now we are most concerned about 1). flooding rains and 2). heavy snowfall. The greatest risk to life and property will be river flooding and urban flooding over the central USA from a convergence of factors. Stay alert and listen to local authorities should evacuations become necessary. From Denver to Omaha and the Twin Cities (Sunday) the only saving grace will be the fact that this enormous slush-storm is coming on a weekend. More updates over the weekend as conditions warrant.

Paul Douglas, Senior Meteorologist, Praedictix



East Coast Braces for Record Heat. While residents from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest wrap their brains around more slushy snow in the forecast, the eastern USA will simmer on Saturay witih a string of record-breaking 80s and 90s. Serious weather-whiplash.

Unusually Cold and Wet for the Plains and Upper Midwest. NOAA teamed up with USDA to release a special update on how March-like conditions may impact agriculture and livestock in the coming days.




Fake Spring. Parts of the High Plains and Upper Midwest will pay a steep price for 60s in mid-February. Temperatures will run as much as 30F colder than average early next week before rapidly recovering. The risk of slush, frosts and freezes will linger into the first few days of next week, setting back farmers a full week or two.

Cold-Cocked by Old Man Winter - Spring Afterglow Next Weekend. A few raw days, then improvement as the week goes on with a shot at 70 degrees next weekend, as Mother Nature attempts to repair the damage to our fragile weather-psyche. Oh well, it gives us all something to talk about other than politics. ECMWF numbers for the Twin Cities: WeatherBell.


Why the Federal Flood Insurance Program is $24.6 Under Water. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening update from Yahoo Finance: "...Despite repeated efforts to contain the cost of disaster response and encourage individuals and businesses to build outside of flood plains, government-subsidized insurance premiums haven’t kept up with the government’s risks. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) – the manager of the program – has gone deeper and deeper into debt.  Since 1996, federal debt incurred by the flood insurance program has increased 16-fold and has directly added to the national debt. As of last month, FEMA owed the Treasury $24.6 billion for money borrowed to pay claims that exceeded premiums collected, a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) states. Those funds include $1.6 billion that FEMA borrowed following a series of floods in 2016. “FEMA is unlikely to collect enough in premiums to repay this debt,” GAO said in its report, the most recent in a series of critical reviews..."

Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Study Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Too. An article at WHNT.com in Huntsville caught my eye: "...On the ground, you are committed to a location and you just hope the storms will come close to you. And so what we’re measuring with the radars [on the airplane] is basically very similar things [compared to radars on the ground]," Jorgensen states. “By using the aircraft, we can get close and we can fly patterns that will enable us to do these analysis and get the wind flow very accurately. And ground based radars can do the same thing, but you gotta be lucky and have the storms go to you," Jorgensen elaborated. And unlike ground-based single truck radars, the P-3 is equipped with three separate radar systems, all used to research storms from about a mile and a half above the ground..."
Photo credit: "Fuselage radar located under the WP-3D Orion." (Photo: WHNT News 19)

Early Look at 2017 Hurricane Season. Praedictix meteorologist Todd Nelson takes a look at some of the things we're watching: "...Despite the early start to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Colorado State University is forecasting a slightly below average season this year. Here's a look at the numbers, which was released on Thursday, April 6th:

Named Storms: Forecast (11) - Average (12)
Hurricanes: Forecast (4) - Average (6-7)
Major Hurricanes: Forecast (2) - Average (2)

The reasoning behind the slightly below average hurricane forecast is due to the development of a weak to moderate El Nino likely developing in the Pacific Basin (According to NOAA). When an El Nino develops, wind shear in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere increases in the Atlantic, which leads to less favorable weather conditions for tropical development there. There is also some assumption by forecasters that water temperatures in the Atlantic will be trending cooler than average this year, which will may also help to keep tropical formation lower..."

Alabama and U.S. Both Above Average for Tornadoes So Far in 2017. A post at AL.com reminds readers how to dress for potential tornadoes and wind damage - which makes sense, since the greatest cause for concern is flying debris and blunt head trauma: "...De Block again highlighted the need for Alabamians to be prepared for all kinds of severe weather -- and that includes having a helmet on hand for everyone in the family. "If you haven't heard that you need to have a helmet during a tornado warned event, then you haven't been listening because it's been preached now for probably for six years," he said. "And I like to advise people to dress like you're going to go biking through the woods. You don't want to get scraped by the brush when you're driving through the woods ... you don't want to be exiting a damaged building in your pajamas and your bare feet..."

Graphic credit: "According to NOAA the U.S. has had about 100 more tornadoes than average so far in 2017, but that doesn't mean the rest of the year will follow the same trend." (NOAA)

The Aftermath: Hackleburg, Alabama. I don't think any of us can fathom the aftermath of an EF-5 tornado. Chris Allred put together a video that captures the horror and resilience of one community in the aftermath of 2011's horrific tornado outbreak. Check it out on Vimeo: "A view of the aftermath of an EF5 tornado that devastated Hackleburg, Alabama on April 27, 2011. I drove around Hackleburg to gather footage for the Red Cross. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been effected from the April 27th storms. Shot with a Panasonic HPX170 in DVCPro 1080i. Most of the shots have a image stabilization effect done in Apple Motion. Color treated in Apple Color. The song is "Gideon" by Jason Upton from his "Live From Dublin" Album. The pad is from "Ascend" Instrumental by Tyler England."


Republicans and Democrats Agree On One Thing: Solar Panels. Here's a clip from Yale Climate Connections: "In Washington D.C., solar energy is sometimes seen as a political issue. But research suggests constituents – both Democrats and Republicans – feel differently. A solar consulting company called PowerScout pulled the addresses of one-and-a-half million political donors. Then, they used satellite images to identify which of their homes had solar panels. Attila Toth is CEO and Founder of PowerScout. Toth: “Across the twenty states that we looked at, Democratic and Republican party donors installed residential solar systems at very comparable rates...”


Why We Can't Just Leave Environmental Protection to the States. That's the funny thing about pollution - it doesn't respect state boundaries. Here's an excerpt at Grist: "...First, states often don’t enforce the laws within their own borders when the people primarily harmed live downwind or downriver in another state. States don’t want to spend their money or their political capital to benefit other states. The federal government has the responsibility to protect everyone — like the millions of people on the East Coast who suffer the effects from large air polluters in the Midwest. Second, many significant violators are national companies that operate in many states. Individual states can’t effectively take on nationwide operations. Filing cases one state at a time is inefficient and leads to inconsistent results..."

File photo: Gene Daniels, U.S. National Archives.


Flexible Working is Making Us Work Longer. Really? Here's a story at Quartz highlighting new research: "...Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not. These were the findings of research my colleague Yvonne Lott and I recently carried out, published in the European Sociological Review. We examined data that followed workers across a number of years in Germany to see what happened to the amount of overtime they did once they started having more control over their working hours..."

TED 2017: The Mind-Scrambling Talk I Won't Stop Talking About. Here's an excerpt from a writer at WIRED who had something of an epiphany with one specific talk focused on consciousness: "...That said, Seth argued that human consciousness is likely just one form of consciousness in the universe. From Copernicus showing that the sun doesn’t literally revolve around the Earth to Darwin demonstrating humans are merely part of the larger movement of evolution through time, Seth said humans stand as part of—and not apart from—the rest of nature. In that sense, he said, we have nothing to fear from death—the end of consciousness, which is just one way of being in the universe. “Nothing at all,” he said. Not all of Seth’s ideas are new in his field, but that didn’t matter to me. I left the theater and raved about the talk with anyone who would listen. I could tell you more about why it resonated with me personally as someone who’s struggled with and tried to learn as much as I could about anxiety, whose close friends have struggled with anxiety, too..."

Photo credit: Anil Seth speaks at TED2017Marla Aufmuth/TED.

Using NASA Data to Make an Insanely Detailed Map of U.S. Racial Diversity. Check out the story at Quartz: "Tomasz Stepinski used to be focused on Mars, mapping its craters algorithmically. Now the astrophysicist and mathematician is into his home planet, Earth. His latest project is an incredibly detailed map of the US that shows shifting racial diversity down to the neighborhood. The free map tracks racial diversity spatio-temporally by laying census data from 1990 to 2010 over detailed grids from NASA satellite maps. The method was recently publicized in the journal Plos One, and on April 27, Stepinski will present his work at the annual Population Association of America conference in Chicago..."


Science Has Outgrown the Human Mind and Its Limited Capacities. Will really smart computers be pushing science forward in years to come - will AI (artificial intelligence) be making the big discoveries? Here's an excerpt from Aeon Ideas: "Science is in the midst of a data crisis. Last year, there were more than 1.2 million new papers published in the biomedical sciences alone, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed biomedical papers to over 26 million. However, the average scientist reads only about 250 papers a year. Meanwhile, the quality of the scientific literature has been in decline. Some recent studies found that the majority of biomedical papers were irreproducible. The twin challenges of too much quantity and too little quality are rooted in the finite neurological capacity of the human mind. Scientists are deriving hypotheses from a smaller and smaller fraction of our collective knowledge and consequently, more and more, asking the wrong questions, or asking ones that have already been answered..."

Image credit: Future of Life Institute.

Why Getting Fired Is Worse Than Divorce. A story at Bloomberg raised a few eyebrows: "It’s just not working out” may be some of the most heartbreaking words in the English language, leading to months of anguish, self-questioning and sleepless nights. Even worse: when they come from your boss. Fired employees never quite recover to the same level of well-being, a measure that includes mental health, self-esteem and satisfaction with life, according to data provided to Bloomberg this week from a review of more than 4,000 research papers. Losing a job can be a sharp blow, one that causes a bigger drop in life satisfaction than being widowed or getting divorced, according to the review conducted by the University of East Anglia and the What Works Center for Wellbeing, an independent body set up by the U.K. government..."

Battery-Boosted Mountain Bikes Charge Onto the Trails. But is it still bicycling? CNET.com has the story; here's a clip: "...Mountain bike innovation has been ceaseless over the decades: lightweight aluminum or carbon-fiber frames, super-low gears to crawl up steep hills, cushy suspension to float over bumps, disk brakes that stop you in a moment and super-fat tires that offer a better grip. But electric bikes don't just make riding easier, they actually do some of the work for you. That raises the question of whether it's even biking anymore. "I don't think it's cheating," said Monterey cyclist Chris Toplarski. "It opens up an avenue for people who wouldn't ordinarily ride a bike. They can go places they normally wouldn't go..."




TODAY: Some sun, a dry sky - nicer day of the weekend. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 55

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken, rain by daybreak. Low: 38

SUNDAY: A cold, windswept rain. Winds: NE 15-30. High: 43

MONDAY: Wintry mix of rain and snow. Coating to inch or 2 of slush on lawns by Monday night? Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 41

TUESDAY: Lingering clouds and sprinkles. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 35. High: 49

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, risk of spring. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: near 60

THURSDAY: Unsettled, few showers around. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

FRIDAY: Blue sky returns, milder. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 45. High: 63


Climate Stories....

New Study: Global Warming Keeps On Keeping On. If anything the warming of Earth's systems (atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere) may be accelerating, according to new data highlighted at The Guardian: "...What was incredibly powerful is that the authors show that it would have been statistically significant to have not found an interval with as a slow warming as actually measured. What this analysis shows us is that the Earth continues to warm apace. Furthermore, we shouldn’t get excited about any given year that is cold or warm, or think it’s showing that global warming is slowing down or speeding up. Rather, this paper reminds us that long-term trends are what matters. And the long-term trends are speaking loudly. This latest study is just another nail in the coffin of the lie that global warming ended."

Graphic credit: "Trends in global temperatures, using a a change-point analysis for five different data sets. Illustration: Rahmstorf et al. (2017), Environmental Research Letters."

Science and Faith a Natural Fit for Climate Change Marchers. A story at National Catholic Reporter caught my eye: "...That explains why, in part, women religious, volunteers and other community associates are traveling to Washington, D.C., for the People's Climate March on April 29 or already took part in the March for Science there a week earlier. Many are participating in local marches, too. "Science helps us understand the world around us," says Sr. Barbara Battista, a member of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. "Faith in general can help us understand that there is so much we'll never understand about this journey in life. Science helps us get little glimpses of … the immensity and therefore the potential for life. We are all connected. … What happens to one happens to all of us..."

Photo credit: "Mercy Sisters joined an estimated 310,000 demonstrators in the People's Climate March in New York Sept. 21, 2014." CNS photo/Jim West.

Climate Change: What Do The Scientists Really Say? Huffington Post interviews Dr. Kevin Trenberth at NCAR; here's an excerpt: "...We’re way behind in terms of what is needed because if you start really trying to take serious action on this, there’s a built-in delay of 20 or 30 years because of the infrastructure that you have in order to change that around. Then there’s another 20-year delay because the oceans respond very, very slowly. If you start making major changes now, you end up experiencing the effects of those changes maybe 40 years from now or something like that. You’ve really got to get ahead of this. The atmosphere is a global commons. It belongs to everyone. The air that’s over the US, a week later is over in Europe, and a week later it’s over China, and then a week later it’s back over the U.S. again. If we dump stuff into the atmosphere, it gets shared among all of the nations..." (File image: NASA).




Linking Extreme Weather Events To Our Changing Climate. How strong is the case for attribution? Correlations are very high for extreme heat events, followed by a tendency for heavier rain events and intense floods. Here's an excerpt of an interview with a climate scientist at Standford University at Michigan Radio: "...What is new in this paper we have out this week is we’ve taken a look across the globe at multiple different kinds of extreme events: hot, wet, dry,” he explains. And they looked at whether specific record-setting events were influenced by the global warming that’s already happened. “What we find is that the hottest events have been made more likely by global warming at more than 80% of the area we’ve been able to look at,” he says. He says climate change has increased the odds for the wettest and driest events in about half the places they looked."
Quantifying the Influence of Global Warming on Unprecedented Extreme Climate Events. A link to the paper referenced above is available here, courtesy of pnas.org.




Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected. Climate Central has the latest: "Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost. A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights. The findings, released Monday in the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment, come after a winter of extreme discontent for the region. Sea ice receded a bit in November, a rare occurrence, and hit a record-low maximum for the third year in a row. Temperatures averaged 11°F above normal, driven by sustained mild weather that was punctured by periods of almost unheard of heat when temperatures reached up to 50°F above normal..."

Photo credit: "An iceberg collapses, Disko Bay, West Greenland." Credit: Carsten Egevang/arc-pic.com.



The Republicans Who Care About Climate Change: "They Are Done With the Denial". Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...But amid climate activists’ despair, there are fresh shoots of hope that, as a party, Republicans’ climate intransigence is shifting. A growing group of Republicans in Congress are newly emboldened and are speaking out in favor of finally addressing a crisis that is starting to bite their constituents. The Climate Solutions Caucus, set up just last year, now has 38 members, half of them Republicans. The congressional group, which is crafting bipartisan action on climate change, is bolstered by a new chorus of big business, faith groups and young college-based Republicans that are demanding the GOP drops the climate skepticism that has become a key part of its identity over the past decade..."

Photo credit: "The March for Science in Washington DC. Members of the caucus say their goal is to depoliticize environmental policy in the US." Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA


Worrisome Figures For Canadian Methane. Climate Nexus has a collection of media reports on methane releases to our north: "Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Canada could far exceed official estimates, according to two new reports. A new study from the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds methane emissions from industry activity in British Columbia could be 2.5 times higher than previous estimates. Meanwhile, a separate report released from a Canadian nonprofit today estimates that methane emissions in Alberta could be up to 60 percent higher than official figures. The Canadian government announced last week that it would delay planned methane reduction regulations by up to three years, garnering fierce criticism from environmental advocates." (Studies: Toronto Star, Motherboard, Vancouver SunGlobe and Mail. Regulation delay: CBC, Toronto Star).

Image credit: Environmental Defense Fund.


The Policy Weapon Climate Activists Need. Buy out the fossil fuel companies to keep carbon in the ground? A nice idea, but probably a fairy-tale. Here's a clip from The Nation: "... The most straightforward way to accomplish this is for the government to take direct ownership of fossil-fuel companies. The price tag to purchase outright the top 25 largest US-based publicly traded oil and gas companies, along with most of the remaining publicly traded coal companies, is in the region of $1.15 trillion.  That sounds like a lot of money, but spread out over seven years, the cost would be less than $200 billion a year, a far from impossible amount—and less than the annual cost of our string of recent wars. By way of comparison, paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost somewhere in the range of $4-7 trillion when future costs for veterans are factored in. Surely, radically reducing the threat of climate catastrophe is a better use of the US government’s financial power than was the disastrous invasion of Iraq..."

Photo credit: " A coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kansas, in 2007." (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel).

Thursday, April 27, 2017

March in May: Potential for Plowable Slush Sunday PM into Monday AM

32 F. "high" temperature yesterday in St. Cloud. A new record for coldest maximum temperature.
63 F. average high on April 27.
52 F. maximum temperature on April 27, 2016.

April 28, 1994: Heavy snow falls over parts of Minnesota with 7.5 inches at Tower and 4.5 inches in the Twin Cities.
April 28, 1966: A heavy snowstorm leaves 10 inches of snow on the ground across a wide chunk of northern Minnesota.



Stumbling Into Spring - Slushy Lawns on May 1?

The weather never moves in a neat, straight line. At this latitude we rarely "stroll into spring" It's more of a drunken stagger. Two steps forward, one step back.

We pick up an average of 2.4 inches of snow in April, a trace of flakes in May. The last time we picked up more than an inch of snow in May was 1976. The reason I'm telling you this? May 2017 may start out with an inch or two of slushy snow on lawns, fields and dazed robins.

The details are very much up in the air, but there's a potential for a plowable, 3-inch-plus snowfall from Alexandria to Bemidji to Hibbing, based on the latest ECMWF (European) model run. Oh boy.

No big worries today: the sun peeks out with highs topping 50 degrees. Progress. Saturday still looks like the nicer, drier, sunnier day of the weekend with mid 50s.

Models spin up a big, sloppy southern storm Sunday, and a cold rain slowly mixes with wet snow. Monday may illicit a chorus of primal screams. Please resist the urge to dial 911

We are paying a very steep price for lukewarm 60s back in mid-February. Atmospheric payback is a pain.



Historical May Snow Events in the Twin Cities. Yes, it may snow again late Sunday into Monday, May 1. Big gulp. Deep sigh. How unusual? The Minnesota DNR provides perspective: "...The most recent measureable Twin Cities snow event was 0.5 inches on May 3, 2013. About once every 30 years or so, there is a snow event that is enough to cover newly greened lawns and coat budding leaves. The last time there was a snow event in May greater than an inch in the Twin Cities was on May 2, 1976 with 1.2 inches. The most that it has snowed in May in a single event for the Twin Cities is three inches. This has happened on three occasions: May 20, 1892, May 1, 1935 and May 11-12, 1946."

Photo credit: "Snow at Cross Lutheran Church, (Present Day Maplewood) May 12, 1946." Courtesy the Maplewood Area Historical Society.

European Solution. This is from the 12z Thursday run, showing a bias toward heaviest snowfall amounts over far western and northern Minnesota, with plowable amounts from near Alexandria and Detroit Lakes to Bemidji and International Falls. Place your bets. ECMWF model: WeatherBell.

NOAA GFS Solution. The GFS model has a solution that is vaguely similar to ECMWF, but the axis of heaviest snow is situated over central Minnesota, not far northern counties. Again, it's WAY EARLY to speculate about amounts, but there's now little doubt that significant snow is shaping up for Sunday and Monday. Mayday! Mayday!

March Is Coming Late This Year. The maps really do look like something out of mid or late March, especially Upper Midwest, where a storm approaching from the south, brimming with Gulf moisture, may spark a cold rain changing to wet snow. Plowable amounts of slush on May 1? Isn't this a great country! 12 KM NAM solution: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.




Don't Plant Annuals Until After Mother's Day. It's tempting to get them in earlier - but don't. Here's the average date of the last freeze (May 1-10 for much of the MSP metro), courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

Spring Is Coming. Really. After a harsh relapse Sunday and Monday, complete with snow, sleet and a freaky February flashback, temperatures recover later next week with 60s for highs the first full weekend of May. Thank God. ECMWF numbers for the Twin Cities: WeatherBell.

Increasingly Severe Northern USA by Mid-May. I may be overthinking this, but if the GFS solution above verifies it would imply a sharp temperature gradient with a series of storms rippling along a frontal zone separating chilly air to the north from hot, steamy air to the south. I could envision the first widespread severe outbreaks of 2017 from the Dakotas and Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes by the second week of May.


The Climate Context for Raleigh's Rains and Florida's Fires. Here's perspective from Andrea Thompson at WXshift: "...The number of heavy events has continued to be well above average over the last couple of years, maintaining the upward trend,” Ken Kunkel, a climate scientist with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies and N.C. State University, said in an email. A Climate Central analysis shows that by mid-century, heavy runoff from rain-driven inland flooding will increase between 20 and 40 percent. Of course, climate change isn’t the only thing that impacts flooding, as the built environment, such as impermeable pavement, exacerbates flooding in urban areas like Raleigh. While this area of North Carolina has seen about 400 percent of what would normally fall over the past two weeks, mostly from this storm, much of Florida has been left thirsting for storms to quench the dry conditions that are helping to fuel wildfires. The blazes have burned the largest area of the state since 2011, some 115,000 acres, and will likely cost millions of dollars in damage and fire fighting costs..."

Early Look at 2017 Hurricane Season. Praedictix meteorologist Todd Nelson takes a look at some of the things we're watching: "...Despite the early start to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Colorado State University is forecasting a slightly below average season this year. Here's a look at the numbers, which was released on Thursday, April 6th:

Named Storms: Forecast (11) - Average (12)
Hurricanes: Forecast (4) - Average (6-7)
Major Hurricanes: Forecast (2) - Average (2)

The reasoning behind the slightly below average hurricane forecast is due to the development of a weak to moderate El Nino likely developing in the Pacific Basin (According to NOAA). When an El Nino develops, wind shear in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere increases in the Atlantic, which leads to less favorable weather conditions for tropical development there. There is also some assumption by forecasters that water temperatures in the Atlantic will be trending cooler than average this year, which will may also help to keep tropical formation lower..."

Alabama and U.S. Both Above Average for Tornadoes So Far in 2017. A post at AL.com reminds readers how to dress for potential tornadoes and wind damage - which makes sense, since the greatest cause for concern is flying debris and blunt head trauma: "...De Block again highlighted the need for Alabamians to be prepared for all kinds of severe weather -- and that includes having a helmet on hand for everyone in the family. "If you haven't heard that you need to have a helmet during a tornado warned event, then you haven't been listening because it's been preached now for probably for six years," he said. "And I like to advise people to dress like you're going to go biking through the woods. You don't want to get scraped by the brush when you're driving through the woods ... you don't want to be exiting a damaged building in your pajamas and your bare feet..."

Graphic credit: "According to NOAA the U.S. has had about 100 more tornadoes than average so far in 2017, but that doesn't mean the rest of the year will follow the same trend." (NOAA)

Remembering the "Super-Outbreak" of April, 2011. U.S. Tornadoes recaps those fateful, deadly days in late April, 6 years ago: "Some 350 or so tornadoes — roughly 25 percent of which were strong/violent — scarred the landscape from April 25-28, 2011, in what has been dubbed the Super Outbreak of 2011. There were 321 people killed during this period, with 316 of those deaths coming on April 27 alone. On April 27, 15 violent tornadoes rated EF-4 or higher (including four EF-5s) struck the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Alabama was the hardest hit, with 9 violent tornadoes touching down there, and 11 total crossing within its boundaries. The top two deadliest tornadoes in April since modern records began hit that day. It was well advertised that an event of an unusual magnitude was on its way, with forecasters and hobbyists taking notice about a week out, and the alarm growing stronger by the day..."

Map credit: "Tornado touchdowns in the U.S. from April 25-28, 2011." Map by Katie Wheatley.

The Aftermath: Hackleburg, Alabama. I don't think any of us can fathom the aftermath of an EF-5 tornado. Chris Allred put together a video that captures the horror and resilience of one community in the aftermath of 2011's horrific tornado outbreak. Check it out on Vimeo: "A view of the aftermath of an EF5 tornado that devastated Hackleburg, Alabama on April 27, 2011. I drove around Hackleburg to gather footage for the Red Cross. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been effected from the April 27th storms. Shot with a Panasonic HPX170 in DVCPro 1080i. Most of the shots have a image stabilization effect done in Apple Motion. Color treated in Apple Color. The song is "Gideon" by Jason Upton from his "Live From Dublin" Album. The pad is from "Ascend" Instrumental by Tyler England."

Why 1-Hour Lead Time May Be "Too Much" for a Tornado Warning. Because the warning may lack the same sense of urgency, because people may be tempted to drive to a 'safer' part of the county, with resulting traffic jams. Dr. Marshall Shepherd takes a closer look at Forbes: "...The survey revealed that the average preferred lead time was about 34.3 minutes. This is interesting because it means that we do have some work to do in order to get to the "sweet spot" the public wants. It is also interesting because respondents indicate that lead times in the 1 hour range may make them less likely to respond with the same sense of urgency. Dr. Gina Eosco, a Risk Communication Expert at Eastern Research Group, told me by direct message
The utility of it depends on the context. Hospitals will use it. Forecasters will use it. But the average person? My fear is they will find something else to do. I don’t see anyone sitting in a shelter for an hour. Perhaps we’re thinking about the purpose all wrong though. A one hour heads up may spark awareness and more attention to the 10 minute warning....”

What's the Arctic Doing to Midlatitude Weather, and Vice Versa? What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. Rapid melting and historic warming may already be impacting jet stream wind speeds and amplitude over the Northern Hemisphere. Here's an excerpt of a post from Bob Henson at Category 6, courtesy of Weather Underground: "...One thing that’s clear from the meeting is that Arctic-midlatitude linkage is no longer a topic easily dismissed, if indeed it ever was. As human-produced greenhouse gases heat up the planet, high latitudes have been warming more than twice as quickly than midlatitudes and the tropics. This phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification (AA), has been well predicted by models. There’s also been a dramatic decrease in sea ice extent across the Arctic, with the peak loss areas shifting in location from winter to winter but often showing up in the seas north of Eurasia, including the Barents and Kara. These trends were more obvious than ever this past winter, as Arctic surface temperatures smashed records and sea ice extent hit its lowest yearly maximum on record. But do scientists have a solid handle on how AA itself operates? That’s one of several basic questions that made their way into the workshop discussion. After all, heat can get into the Arctic atmosphere in a variety of ways..."

Map credit: "Surface temperatures during winter (Dec – Feb) showed an increasing trend across the Arctic Ocean and most of Canada from 1989 to 2016, but they dropped markedly across most of northern Asia, with minor decreases over the southeast U.S. and northern Europe." Image credit: Courtesy James Screen, adapted from “Far-flung effects of Arctic warming,” Nature Geoscience, published online March 20, 2017.


Republicans and Democrats Agree On One Thing: Solar Panels. Here's a clip from Yale Climate Connections: "In Washington D.C., solar energy is sometimes seen as a political issue. But research suggests constituents – both Democrats and Republicans – feel differently. A solar consulting company called PowerScout pulled the addresses of one-and-a-half million political donors. Then, they used satellite images to identify which of their homes had solar panels. Attila Toth is CEO and Founder of PowerScout. Toth: “Across the twenty states that we looked at, Democratic and Republican party donors installed residential solar systems at very comparable rates...”


Why We Can't Just Leave Environmental Protection to the States. That's the funny thing about pollution - it doesn't respect state boundaries. Here's an excerpt at Grist: "...First, states often don’t enforce the laws within their own borders when the people primarily harmed live downwind or downriver in another state. States don’t want to spend their money or their political capital to benefit other states. The federal government has the responsibility to protect everyone — like the millions of people on the East Coast who suffer the effects from large air polluters in the Midwest. Second, many significant violators are national companies that operate in many states. Individual states can’t effectively take on nationwide operations. Filing cases one state at a time is inefficient and leads to inconsistent results..."

File photo: Gene Daniels, U.S. National Archives.

The Electric-Car Boom is So Real Even Oil Companies Say It's Coming. Here's a clip from Bloomberg: "Electric cars are coming fast -- and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade. The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline...”

Graphic credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


Flexible Working is Making Us Work Longer. Really? Here's a story at Quartz highlighting new research: "...Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not. These were the findings of research my colleague Yvonne Lott and I recently carried out, published in the European Sociological Review. We examined data that followed workers across a number of years in Germany to see what happened to the amount of overtime they did once they started having more control over their working hours..."

Watch It While It Lasts: Our Golden Age of Television. Financial Times takes a look at why there's so much (amazingly good) television out there right now: "...We used to complain that there was never anything good on TV. Now we complain about the opposite. Spoilt for choice as we may be, we should not forget to be astonished that an industry once regarded as an artistic wasteland has turned itself into the world’s most prolific source of new stories. Whether we are in the middle or nearing the end of television’s golden age is hard to tell. Our sense of being overwhelmed by new shows is not illusory. According to FX Networks research, in 2016 there were 455 original series in TV, up from 182 in 2002. Yet we haven’t necessarily reached what John Landgraf has called “peak TV”. “We’re not seeing any slowdown in the appetite for new content, from all kinds of buyers,” says Laura Kennedy..."

Now THAT Was Music. Why does new music (sometimes) get on our nerves? Hey, I'm a classic rock guy, but I just discovered a new band I really like (The 1975), but I have to agree with the premise of an article at Aeon: "...For one thing, it doesn’t happen to everyone. Musicians seem particularly immune, for obvious reasons, and so do certain types of journalists, for reasons touched on in the paragraph above. Still, it’s a very real phenomenon, as real as anything that transpires in the mind. Famously, something similar happens to us with sports, particularly spectator sports, and at a much younger age. But no one really feels too badly about that, because of the inherent meaninglessness of watching other humans engage in physical activity. It’s like ruing the day you ever stopped liking porn. But music is different. Denounce the music of the present day, and you’ve instantly become a walking, talking, (barely) breathing cliché, ripe for ridicule, a classic figure of parody and invective. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it could certainly happen to you..."

Why Getting Fired Is Worse Than Divorce. A story at Bloomberg raised a few eyebrows: "It’s just not working out” may be some of the most heartbreaking words in the English language, leading to months of anguish, self-questioning and sleepless nights. Even worse: when they come from your boss. Fired employees never quite recover to the same level of well-being, a measure that includes mental health, self-esteem and satisfaction with life, according to data provided to Bloomberg this week from a review of more than 4,000 research papers. Losing a job can be a sharp blow, one that causes a bigger drop in life satisfaction than being widowed or getting divorced, according to the review conducted by the University of East Anglia and the What Works Center for Wellbeing, an independent body set up by the U.K. government..."

Battery-Boosted Mountain Bikes Charge Onto the Trails. But is it still bicycling? CNET.com has the story; here's a clip: "...Mountain bike innovation has been ceaseless over the decades: lightweight aluminum or carbon-fiber frames, super-low gears to crawl up steep hills, cushy suspension to float over bumps, disk brakes that stop you in a moment and super-fat tires that offer a better grip. But electric bikes don't just make riding easier, they actually do some of the work for you. That raises the question of whether it's even biking anymore. "I don't think it's cheating," said Monterey cyclist Chris Toplarski. "It opens up an avenue for people who wouldn't ordinarily ride a bike. They can go places they normally wouldn't go..."


Meet "Steve", a Mysterious Type of Aurora Spied Over Canada. The Weather Network has the curious details: "The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is known for putting on a different light show pretty much every time it shows up in the night sky. It's one of the amazing features of this spectacular phenomenon. Sometimes, though, something really different shows up, and it takes the combined efforts of citizen scientists over social media, and scientists with access to specialized satellites in orbit, to figure it out. This is what happened with a special kind of aurora feature, which some have been calling 'Steve'. Here is 'Steve', shown in the image below, as the purple stream stretching across the sky, captured by photographer Dave Markel in 2016..."


TODAY: Some sun, better. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 52

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, more frost outlying suburbs. Low: 33

SATURDAY: Clouds increase, get errands done. Nicer day. Winds: NE 8-13. High: 54

SUNDAY: Cold rain, snow mixes in late. Winds: NE 15-25. Wake-up: 38. High: 44

MONDAY: Rain/snow mix slowly tapers. Few inches of slush? Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 40

TUESDAY: Still gray, sprinkles or flurries. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 35. High: 46

WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun, still cool. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: 55

THURSDAY: Unsettled, passing shower or two. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 43. High: 58


Climate Stories....


Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected. Climate Central has the latest: "Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost. A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights. The findings, released Monday in the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment, come after a winter of extreme discontent for the region. Sea ice receded a bit in November, a rare occurrence, and hit a record-low maximum for the third year in a row. Temperatures averaged 11°F above normal, driven by sustained mild weather that was punctured by periods of almost unheard of heat when temperatures reached up to 50°F above normal..."

Photo credit: "An iceberg collapses, Disko Bay, West Greenland." Credit: Carsten Egevang/arc-pic.com.

The Republicans Who Care About Climate Change: "They Are Done With the Denial". Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...But amid climate activists’ despair, there are fresh shoots of hope that, as a party, Republicans’ climate intransigence is shifting. A growing group of Republicans in Congress are newly emboldened and are speaking out in favor of finally addressing a crisis that is starting to bite their constituents. The Climate Solutions Caucus, set up just last year, now has 38 members, half of them Republicans. The congressional group, which is crafting bipartisan action on climate change, is bolstered by a new chorus of big business, faith groups and young college-based Republicans that are demanding the GOP drops the climate skepticism that has become a key part of its identity over the past decade..."

Photo credit: "The March for Science in Washington DC. Members of the caucus say their goal is to depoliticize environmental policy in the US." Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA


Worrisome Figures For Canadian Methane. Climate Nexus has a collection of media reports on methane releases to our north: "Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Canada could far exceed official estimates, according to two new reports. A new study from the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds methane emissions from industry activity in British Columbia could be 2.5 times higher than previous estimates. Meanwhile, a separate report released from a Canadian nonprofit today estimates that methane emissions in Alberta could be up to 60 percent higher than official figures. The Canadian government announced last week that it would delay planned methane reduction regulations by up to three years, garnering fierce criticism from environmental advocates." (Studies: Toronto Star, Motherboard, Vancouver SunGlobe and Mail. Regulation delay: CBC, Toronto Star).

Image credit: Environmental Defense Fund.


The Policy Weapon Climate Activists Need. Buy out the fossil fuel companies to keep carbon in the ground? A nice idea, but probably a fairy-tale. Here's a clip from The Nation: "... The most straightforward way to accomplish this is for the government to take direct ownership of fossil-fuel companies. The price tag to purchase outright the top 25 largest US-based publicly traded oil and gas companies, along with most of the remaining publicly traded coal companies, is in the region of $1.15 trillion.  That sounds like a lot of money, but spread out over seven years, the cost would be less than $200 billion a year, a far from impossible amount—and less than the annual cost of our string of recent wars. By way of comparison, paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost somewhere in the range of $4-7 trillion when future costs for veterans are factored in. Surely, radically reducing the threat of climate catastrophe is a better use of the US government’s financial power than was the disastrous invasion of Iraq..."

Photo credit: " A coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kansas, in 2007." (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel).

How Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast. Eric Roston at Bloomberg reports: "...This American reluctance to embrace scientific evidence hasn’t often been counteracted by broadcast meteorologists—who are, in fact, no more likely than the average citizen to agree that climate change is caused by humans.  There are plenty of possible explanations for this outcome, including a shortage of climatology education within meteorological training programs. Part of meteorologists’ reluctance to talk about the climate stems from the treacherous tools of their trade. Meteorologists learn very quickly that weather models are messy. Some no doubt sour on finicky climate models because of this experience. If short-term weather models make mistakes, it may seem reasonable to assume that a model projecting into the next century is ridiculous. “Meteorologists are used to looking at models and being burned,” says Paul Douglas, a former TV weatherman-turned-serial entrepreneur, who recently published a book on climate change and faith..."

Image credit: Amber Sullins. Photographer: Ali Withers/Bloomberg.

U.S. Vulnerable to Worst of Extreme Sea Rise. Keep in mind that the much-maligned climate models have done a fairly good job predicting the warming that has already taken place, but if anything these models have underestimated the rate of ice melt and sea level rise. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "The beginning of a collapse this century of sections of the Antarctic ice sheet would disproportionately inundate coasts circling the U.S. — the country that has done more than any other to pollute the climate. While such a cataclysmic outcome of warming temperatures from greenhouse gas pollution is considered unlikely, recent studies have shown it’s more plausible than previously thought. Based on that research, the federal government increased its worst-case scenario for the rise of the seas worldwide by a quarter in January compared with 2014 findings, up to an average of more than 8 feet by 2100. The impact would be even worse around the U.S. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report warned that regional effects of gravity and ocean current changes triggered by the start of the ice sheet’s collapse could lead to more than 12 feet of sea level rise engulfing some coastlines in the Lower 48. That’s about the height of a one-story house..."

Graphic credit: "Projections for an extreme sea level scenario for New York City under NOAA's new guidelines."

Extreme Sea Level Rise and the Stakes for America. With more perspective here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "Should a newly published sea level rise scenario come to pass, hundreds of American landmarks, neighborhoods, towns and cities would be submerged this century, at least in the absence of engineering massive, costly and unprecedented defenses and relocating major infrastructure. Ocean waters would cover land currently home to more than 12 million Americans and $2 trillion in property. This extreme rise scenario, considered unlikely but increasingly plausible, was published together with other projections in a technical report by the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in January. NOAA added “extreme” as a new sea level category in the publication, supplementing high, intermediate and low categories that have also been used in past reports. The new term reflects recent research suggesting that some parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may begin to collapse much sooner than scientists had previously anticipated, particularly if ongoing emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane remain high..."

80% of Heat Records Worldwide Linked to Climate Change. Increase the baseline temperature and extreme events become more common. Here's a clip at EcoWatch: "...Most scientific research examines the links between climate change and specific weather events, but a first-of-its-kind study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences used a new framework to take a comprehensive look at climate measurements worldwide. The study found that over 80 percent of heat records worldwide were linked to climate change, while climate change influenced 57 percent of driest-year records and 41 percent of five-day precipitation records..."

Most of the World's Largest Investors Taking Climate Risk Action. Bloomberg reports: "Most of the world’s largest asset owners have gotten the message that climate change poses a risk to their portfolios and are pivoting toward greener investments. Funds worth $27 trillion that comprise 60 percent of the world’s biggest investors are considering climate change when making investment decisions, according to the Asset Owners Disclosure Project. Funds listing climate as an investment criteria rose 18 percent from last year. “The Paris Agreement sent a clear message of global commitment to tackle climate change,” said Julian Poulter, chief executive officer at AOPD..."

Climate Denial in Schools. Keep an eye on attempts to question climate science in America's schools, according to a summary at VICE News: "...Currently, six states have legislative measures pending or already on the books that would allow anti-science rhetoric, including the rejection of global warming, to seep its way into schools’ curricula. While these types of proposals have become fairly routine in certain states, some of the most recent crop have advanced farther than in the past. Senate Bill 393 in Oklahoma, for example, would permit teachers to paint established science on both evolution and climate change as “controversial.” The “controversy,” however, doesn’t really exist — more than 97 percent of actively publishing, accredited climate scientists agree that global warming trends over the past century are directly attributable to human activity. And some teachers might already be misleading students..."


El Nino and the End of the Global Warming Hiatus. Here's an excerpt from Yale News: "...A new climate model developed by Yale scientists puts the “global warming hiatus” into a broader historical context and offers a new method for predicting global mean temperature. Research by professor Alexey Fedorov and graduate student Shineng Hu indicates that weak El Niño activity from 1998 until 2013, rather than a pause in long-term global warming, was the root cause for slower rates of increased surface temperature. The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, also finds that volcanic activity played only a minor role. “Our main conclusion is that global warming never went away, as one might imply from the term ‘global warming hiatus,’” said Fedorov, who has conducted extensive research on the oceans’ role in climate. “The warming can be masked by inter-annual and decadal natural climate variability, but then it comes back with a vengeance...”

Graphic credit: "Pacific Ocean sea surface height anomalies during the 1997-98 El Nino (left) are compared with 2015 Pacific conditions (right). The 1997 data are from the NASA/CNES Topex/Poseidon mission; the 2015 data are from the NASA/CNES/NOAA/EUMETSAT Jason-2 mission. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)."