24 F. average high on January 27.
36 F. high on January 27, 2015.
4" snow on the ground at MSP.
January 28, 1914: A very rare thunderstorm (for this time of year) is observed at Maple Plain during the evening. Heavy thunder and vivid lightning was observed.
January 28, 1846: Temperatures are not too shabby for a January day. The high in the Twin Cities was 50, which is the normal high for the beginning of March.
A Happy King Boreas - Numbing Start to February
Some Minnesotans tolerate winter, comparing it to a dark, near-death experience. Many embrace the snow and cold - and today marks the kick-off of St. Paul's (amazing) Winter Carnival. It's a good opportunity to thumb our collective noses at Old Man Winter and eat, drink and play in the snow.
I expect only minor melting of ice sculptures in Rice Park into Sunday with afternoon temperatures in the 30s. The mercury nudges 40F on Saturday; a heat wave for Minnesota in late January.
Soak up the relative warmth because King Boreas gets the last laugh next week. Although not as bitter as 10-13 days ago I expect single digit highs by late next week; a few more nights dipping below zero. Hardly record territory, but cold enough for most folks.
Models still spin up a storm next week; loaded with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico a plowable snowfall is still possible Tuesday, but it's still much too early for specifics. That will depend on the final track - but snow lovers should be cautiously optimistic.
Dripping icicles this weekend give way to a reality check within one week.
Map credit above: "A snowfall map and RSI score for this weekend's bizzard." Credit: National Centers for Environmental Information
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.
Study: Man-Made Heat Put in Oceans Has Doubled Since 1997. Here's the intro to an Associated Press story: "The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the seas has doubled since 1997, a new study says. Scientists have long known that more than 90 percent of the heat energy from man-made global warming goes into the world's oceans instead of the ground. And they've seen ocean heat content rise in recent years. But the new study, using ocean-observing data that goes back to the British research ship Challenger in the 1870s and including high-tech modern underwater monitors and computer models, tracked how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans in the past 150 years..."
Image credit: earth.nullschool.net.
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).
How Much Did El Nino Boost Global Temperature in 2015? Carbon Brief takes a look at new research that tries to provide perspective; here's an excerpt: "Almost as soon as the news broke that 2015 was the hottest year in the modern record, the conversation quickly turned to how much of the record-breaking warmth was down to climate change and how much to the Pacific weather phenomenon known as El Niño. Carbon Brief has spoken to climate scientists working on this question, who all seem to agree El Niño was responsible for somewhere in the region of 10% of the record warmth in 2015. But while the science seems pretty clear, these numbers got somewhat lost in the media coverage..."
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?
Image credit above: "Screenshot of CarbonScanner during the 2013 Boulder floods showing filtered and geolocated tweets captured by scanning application in real time (a), and the alert box generated for which remote-sensing data collection was tasked."
Photo credit above: "A local worker disinfects the famous Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 26 January 2016 in an effort to protect next month’s Carnival parades Zika-carrying mosquitoes." Photograph: Marecelo Sayao/EPA.
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).
Image sources: Nebraska Department of Roads.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, "mild" for late January. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 35
THURSDAY NIGHT: Still overcast. Low: 27
FRIDAY: Light mix possible, mainly wet roads. Winds: S 10-20. High: 36
SATURDAY: Gray skies, a little drizzle. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 33. High: 38
SUNDAY: Light mix possible, still fairly mild. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 31. High: 33
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 23. High: 29
TUESDAY: Potential for a plowable snow. Winds: NE 15-30. Wake-up: 22. High: 26
WEDNESDAY: Slow AM Rush. Flurries taper, still windy. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 11. High: 17
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
Yes, Actually, Global Warming Probably Helped Supersize This Weekend's Blizzard. Here's a clip from Vice News: "...We expect the Atlantic to continue to warm as we continue to increase greenhouse gas concentrations through fossil fuel burning and other activities," Mann said. "Peer-reviewed scientific studies suggest we are likely to see more of these sorts of coastal storms in the future because of human-caused climate change." In addition to the El Niño, the warm coastal waters may be influenced by a mass of cold water in the North Atlantic. This icy patch south of Greenland contrasts what has otherwise been the warmest year on record and may be the result of freshwater run-off from the country's melting glaciers..."
Graphic credit above: "Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies for Sunday, January 24 showing very warm water off the East Coast and a cold blob of water south of Greenland. Recent climate research connects the two."
Record Warmth "Almost Certainly" Due To Humans, Scientists Say. Here's a snippet from a Bloomberg Business story: "The odds are “vanishingly small” that recent years of record warmth aren’t due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers in the U.S. and Germany said, adding to pressure on world governments to cut back on fossil fuel use. Thirteen of the 15 warmest years ever recorded were registered through 2014, the researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, or PIK, said Monday in the journal Nature. The odds of that occurring naturally range from one in 5,000 to one in 170,000, they wrote. Data showing 2015 is the warmest year ever were published after their study was completed, and would make the odds even slimmer, PIK said in an e-mailed statement..."