22 F. average high on January 28.
31 F. high on January 28, 2015.
4" snow on the ground at KSTC.
January 29, 1977: Due to the extreme cold, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is held indoors for the first time.
Who Are You Calling Paranoid? A Drippy Thaw into Sunday
Great, one more thing to obsess about. Zika virus? Probably not a problem, here in the Mosquito Capital of the Free World.
It's easy to lapse into gloom and doom, but I was encouraged after Thursday's 3rd Annual Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference in Minneapolis. Minnesota cities, Fortune 500 companies, state agencies and non-profits are already spinning up solutions that will leave us more resilient, no matter what Mother Nature hurls at us - technologies, services and products we'll export to the rest of the world.
John Lenters at LimnoTech presented a paper showing Lake Superior warming 6 times faster than the global average. Ice thickness this winter is half the average amount, comparable to 2012 and 1998, the last time we came out of a major El Nino.
A sloppy mix may fall tonight, even a few hours of rain or drizzle by Sunday. Odd for late January.
Models still point to a plowable snow Tuesday PM into early Wednesday. It won't be Snowzilla or Snowmageddon, but it may be just enough powder to cheer up snow lovers.
Within 8-10 days it should feel like winter again.
16 National/Territorial All-Time Extreme Heat Records Set in 2015. Meteorologist Jeff Masters at Weather Underground has a very interesting post; here's the intro: "In addition to being the warmest year on record when averaged over the entire globe, 2015 was also notable for all-time extreme heat records. Sixteen nations or territories tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history in 2015, and two (Israel and Cyprus) set all-time cold temperature records. For comparison, only two nations or territories set all-time heat records in 2014, and nine did in 2013. The most all-time national heat records held by any year is nineteen in 2010. Most nations do not maintain official databases of extreme temperature records, so the national temperature records reported here are in many cases not official...."
Map and data credit: Maximiliano Herrera.
El Nino Parches Asia Pacific, Destroying Crops and Drying Up Water Supplies. Reuters has the story; here's the intro: "Severe El Niño-linked drought has destroyed crops, killed farm animals and dried up water sources across East Asia and the Pacific, aid workers said, and UNICEF appealed for $62 million to assist children impacted by various crises in the region. Humanitarian agencies are monitoring and responding to droughts and food insecurity in an area from Indonesia and the Philippines, southeast to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. "El Niño is peaking at the moment, and we expect the impacts to come up after the peak," said Krishna Krishnamurthy, a regional climate risk analyst for the World Food Programme..."
Photo credit above: "A father with his children walk over the cracked soil of a 1.5 hectare dried up fishery at the Novaleta town in Cavite province, south of Manila May 26, 2015." Reuters/Romeo Ranoco.
Mother Nature's Sidekick: El Nino or Global Warming? Or both. There's a growing body of science suggesting that warmer oceans may increase the magnitude, possibly even the frequency of El Nino warmm phases in the Pacific. Here's an excerpt of a story at The International Falls Journal: "...According to scientists who study Earth’s climate, the extreme and often bizarre weather Minnesotans have been experiencing in the last few years is an expected consequence of global warming or climate change. The climate - determined by the average of many years of weather events and influenced by major global forces, such as the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - is undeniably warming. Since 1970, winters have warmed by at least 4 degrees in the top five fastest-warming states: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Vermont..." (Graphic: Minnesota DNR, State Climate Office).
More Extreme Weather Power Outages. In light of the weekend blizzard knocking out power to so many people (especially the Carolinas with severe glaze icing) I dug up a recent Climate Central, showing an increase in weather-related blackouts since 1984. Aging infrastructure, more weather extremes, or a combination of both factors?
Photo credit above: "
• Trees pull more water from the ground than grass or other short vegetation and release it into the atmosphere via needles or leaves.
• Tree roots are much larger and deeper than grass roots, opening up the soil structure and allowing water to percolate into soil more quickly and deeply.
• Rain falling into woodland is intercepted by hundreds of branches, leaves and needles, taking much longer to reach the ground..."
Recycled and sustainable building materials wherever possible. This means maximum reuse of flooring, doors, transoms, hardware and recycled materials from elsewhere. Also non-toxic refinishes and use of recycled/sustainable materials, such as bamboo, compressed paper, butcher block for countertops, shelving and desks.
● Photovoltaic panels. Installing a solar array gives you the most demonstrable added value because it can be measured in electricity savings and possibly other incentives such as Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Solar panels installed for owners may qualify for 30 percent federal tax credit plus local or state energy incentives. Solar is often the most expensive component, but it may pay for itself relatively quickly as well.
● Sustainable landscaping. Maximum use of hardy, drought-resistant Chesapeake-area native bushes and grasses, plus storm water management systems to prevent roof runoff from flowing into municipal sewage system.... (File photo: Shutterstock).
Map credit above: "The interconnection map shows more room for improvement than net metering. Many states don’t have any interconnection policy, which leads to a failing grade." (IREC / Vote Solar).
Photo credit above: "
TODAY: Cloudy skies, a light mix possible. Winds: S 10-15. High: 34
FRIDAY NIGHT: Slushy mix, major roads mainly wet - icy secondary roads. Low: 30
SATURDAY: Overcast, mild for late January. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 38
SUNDAY: A little rain and drizzle potential. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 31. High: 36
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, no travel headaches yet. Wake-up: 25. High: 29
TUESDAY: Enough PM snow to shovel & plow? Winds: NE 15-25. Wake-up: 20. High: 25
WEDNESDAY: Snow tapers to flurries. Slow AM Rush? Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 13. High: 17
THURSDAY: Blue sky returns, looks like winter. Wake-up: 2. High: 14
The Zika Virus Foreshadows Our Dystopian Climate Future. Climate activist Bill McKibbon has an Op-Ed at The Guardian, here's a clip: "...And now think about the larger, less intimate consequences: this is one more step in the division of the world into relative safe and dangerous zones, an emerging epidemiological apartheid. The CDC has already told those Americans thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid travel to 20 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Eventually, of course, the disease will reach these shores – at least 10 Americans have come back from overseas with the infection, and one microcephalic baby has already been born in Hawaii to a mother exposed in Brazil early in her pregnancy. But America is rich enough to avoid the worst of the mess its fossil fuel habits have helped create..."
Map credit: CDC.
Graphic credit above: "Historical Northern Hemisphere mean-temperatures (black solid line) along with the estimated natural component alone (black dashed line) and five of the surrogates (colored curves) for the natural component. Temperature departures are defined relative to the long-term 1880 to 2015 average."
Photo credit above: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson.
Graphic credit above: " " Smith & Leiserowitz, 2012.
The Inexact (But Crucial!) Science of Climate Economics. Pacific Standard takes a look at pricing carbon risk; here's the story intro: "In climate justice circles, there are few policy proposals dreamier than a universal carbon tax—a fee on polluters that would encourage corporations and consumers to reduce their carbon footprint, while making green-energy sources less expensive relative to dirty fuels like coal and natural gas. The carbon tax is in a pickle, though, and not just because of climate change skeptics in Congress. The problem: In order to set an efficient market price on carbon emissions, it’s helpful to know the social cost of those emissions (i.e. the scale of the externality being priced). But climate economists don’t agree on that cost. In fact, they’re not even close..."
Graphic credit above: "Top NYC snowstorms over the years, showing the clustering toward recent years (top right)." Image: Weather5280