February 10, 1965: A snowstorm dumps 15 inches of snow at Duluth over two days.
February 10, 1861: An ice storm impacts Elk River. Coatings of 1/2 inch of ice are reported. The ice broke off many large branches and saplings were bent to the ground.
February 10, 1857: Extreme cold at Fort Ripley. E.J. Baily, Assistant Surgeon notes: 'Spirit thermometer -50 at 6am. Mercury frozen in charcoal cup. Spirit thermometer at Little Falls 16 miles from the fort -56 at 6am. The lowest degree of cold on record in the territory'.
Goosebump Alert - Whiff of Spring Next Week?
My Navy son is stationed in San Diego, a palm tree-studded oasis of warmth and sanity in southern California, a city with the distinction of having the best climate in the USA. "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful!" the text read.
Some days I fantasize about predicting the weather in a sunny, warm (boring) city. It might be fun for a couple of weeks, but I'd be climbing the walls before long. The variability, the seasons, the weather-specific traditions, the ebb and flow of the weather? Those are the things I would miss.
And it's not like we're having a "Polar Vortex" winter - now we gripe when it gets below zero. In the 70s we had consecutive WEEKS below zero. This is still a pale imitation of the winters your grandparents muddled through.
A clipper brushes far southwest MN with snow today. I could see an inch or 2 Sunday, followed by a sweeping thaw next week as Pacific air charges east. 30s and a few 40s are likely.
Is this the last significant cold shot of winter? Probably. Cold waves are possible in March, but fairly rare. Spring is coming. Trust me.
Animation credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.
Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies: earth.nullschool.net
Is Climate Change Making El Ninos Worse? That Remains a Scientific Mystery. The jury is still out. Here's an excerpt at Texas Climate News: "...But what about the deadly Texas downpours of last May, when the ENSO was developing? Was global warming partly to blame? Utah State University researchers assert that it was. They said greenhouse gas emissions brought a “significant increase” in abnormal rainfall in Texas and Oklahoma. Others aren’t convinced. Even if global warming is strengthening the atmosphere’s response to El Niños – unproven, Nielsen-Gammon said – the current one needed little help..."
Graphic credit above: "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides this summary description of the phenomenon that produces El Niño and La Niña conditions: “El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific—the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ‘ENSO’ for short. The pattern can shift back and forth irregularly every two to seven years, and each phase triggers predictable disruptions of temperature, precipitation, and winds. These changes disrupt the large-scale air movements in the tropics, triggering a cascade of global side effects.”
Drought Remains "Very Serious" in California. Recent rains and heavy snows are putting a dent in the drought, but the long term implications are still uncertain. Here's a clip from Capital Public Radio: "...January brought above-average precipitation to California, but the narrative says more is needed to end the state’s historic four-year drought. "Despite heavy rainfall in January, an above-average snowpack and rising reservoirs in many areas, the California State Water Resources Control Board recently approved an 8-month extension of existing drought-related emergency regulations," the report says. "This is a reminder that although El Niño-related precipitation has been bountiful so far this winter, the drought situation in California remains very serious..."
Photo credit above: "The second snowpack measurement of the winter Feb. 2 was 130 percent of average at Phillips Station off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road." California Department of Water Resources / Courtesy.
Image credit: Blacklegged ticks, Minnesota Department of Health.
File photo: Alamy.
Photo credit: "China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak reactor." (Credit: IPP)
Economists Keep Saying We Should Put a Price on Nature. Now They've Finally Done It. Factoring in the real (socialized) costs is essential in any discussion of costs and benefits; here's an excerpt at The Washington Post: "Putting a price on nature may seem like an impossible task, but economists believe that finding a way to calculate the value of natural resources is crucial when it comes to deciding whether our use of a resource is sustainable. Natural resources are capital assets, economists have argued, in the same way that land, buildings and stocks are considered assets — and spending money to protect these resources should be viewed as an investment in the future rather than just another cost. The problem is that, so far, no one has developed a good way to estimate the monetary value of natural resources. But now, a group of scholars may have finally come up with a solution..."
54 Million Americans Incorrectly Labeled as Unhealthy. This vaguely reassuring article is courtesy of Quartz; here's an excerpt: "Body Mass Index is used by everyone from insurers to health professionals to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight. According to the index, which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height, someone with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is “healthy,” whereas a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is classed as “overweight” and a BMI of 30 or higher is categorized as “obese.” But these numbers do not directly correlate with physical health, according to a study of 40,420 people published this week in the International Journal of Obesity..."
U.S. Military: Robot Wars. Financial Times has a must-read story focused on the future role of the military and the use of robotics; here's an excerpt: "...The underlying objective of the new strategy is to find weapons and technologies to ensure US forces “can fight their way to the fight” as one official puts it — to evade the layered missile defences both China and Russia can erect, to defend bases against attack from precision-guided missiles and to be able to operate carrier fleets at a much greater distance from an enemy. For some Pentagon planners, the long-term answers will be found in robotics — be they unmanned, autonomous planes or submarines that can surprise an enemy or robot soldiers that can reduce the risk to humans by launching attacks. Mr Work, who once co-wrote a paper called “Preparing for War in the Robotic Age”, said in December: “Ten years from now, if the first person through a breach isn’t a fricking robot, then shame on us...”
Photo credit: "
Photo credit above: "
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase. Chilly. Winds: N 5-10. High: 11
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold. Low: 0
THURSDAY: More sun, comfortably numb. Winds: W 5-10. High: 16
FRIDAY: Next shot, feels like 0 to -10F with some sun. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 9. High: 12
SATURDAY: Cobalt-blue sky, light winds. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: -6. High: 9
SUNDAY: Couple inches of snow? Slick. Wake-up: 4. High: 20
MONDAY: Overcast, above average again. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 15. High: 31
TUESDAY: Early flurries, slow clearing. Wake-up: 28. High: 35
* 40s are likely the latter half of next week.
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has embarked upon a witch-hunt against climate scientists at NOAA, accusing them of conspiring to fudge global temperature data. However, a new study has found that the adjustments NOAA makes to the raw temperature data bring them closer to measurements from a reference network of pristinely-located temperature stations. Before delving into the new study, it’s worthwhile to revisit the temperature adjustments that Lamar Smith disputes. Volunteers have been logging measurements from weather stations around the world for over 150 years, and climate scientists use that data to estimate the Earth’s average surface temperature..."
Photo credit above: "The U.S. Climate Reference Network consists of 114 stations, including this one in Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey, Utah." Photograph: NOAA.
- Cruz claimed “none of the alarmists say ‘global warming’ anymore — now it’s ‘climate change.’ ” That’s inaccurate. Scientists still use both terms, but tend to use “climate change” more often because, in addition to warming, it refers to phenomena such as sea-level rise and changes in precipitation patterns.
- Cruz also said “climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory because it can never, ever, ever be disproven.” This is false. It could be, but the chances are slim. Climate change rests on the veracity of the greenhouse effect, a theory which has been repeatedly verified since it was first proposed in 1824..."
U.S. Military to War Game Climate Change Threats. Concern grows about climate volatility and weather/water/crop disruption as a "threat multiplier", accelerating global challenges and conflicts, many of which invariably blow back on the USA. Here's an excerpt at Climate Home: "US military planners have been ordered to war game climate change scenarios, focusing on “geopolitical and socioeconomic instability” linked to extreme weather. A new directive says forces need to undertake joint training exercises with allies to “enhance capacity” and “improve tactics” for tackling impacts linked to global warming. “Mission planning and execution must include identification and assessment of the effects of climate change on the DoD [department of defence] mission,” it reads..." (Image source: U.S. Military, Flickr).
A bit over a year after identifying climate change as a "significant challenge" for the US military, the US Department of Defense has given its top officials orders for handling the hazards posed by a warming world. The boring-but-important 12-page document issued in January tells the armed service chiefs and top civilian officials to identify how climate change will affect their missions, figure out how to manage any risks it poses, and factor those into their planning. It gives specific tasks to various Defense Department offices and regional commands, from determining how higher sea levels or longer droughts affect US bases to what new gear might be needed to work in a thawing Arctic..."
File photo credit: "This is not a Google data center. It's one at the University of Hertfordshire. Data centers use a fair amount of electricity." Credit wikieditor243 / wikimedia/commons.
Weakening Ice Shelves Raise Sea Level Rise Conncerns. It's the "unknown unknowns" that keep climate scientists up at night. Here's an excerpt at Climate Central: "...The findings, published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, show that West Antarctica — long an area of scientific concern when it comes to sea level rise — has some of the weakest areas of defense protecting its ice. Researchers analyzed the tongues of ice — known as ice shelves — to see how much ground each ice shelf could lose before processes began to speed up, sending more inland ice to the sea. “When they break-up, it is like pulling the plug in the bathtub for the adjacent tributary glaciers,” Johannes Fürst, an ice expert at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and leader of the new study, said. “For our article, we just wondered how far we can cut into the existing ice-shelf geometries before a notable and instant dynamic effect becomes apparent.”
Map credit: "Map showing the percentage area of "passive" ice in all of Antarctica's ice shelves. Passive ice can be lost without dramatically changing glacier and ice sheet dynamics." Credit: Fürst et al., 2016.
What The Earth Will Be Like in 10,000 Years. Chris Mooney delves into the latest science for a very long-range outlook. Chances are our distant ancestors won't be amused. Here's an excerpt at The Washington Post: "...In hundreds of years from now, people will look back and say, ‘yeah, the sea level is rising, it will continue to rise, we live with a constant rise of sea level because of these people 200 years ago that used coal, and oil, and gas,’ ” said Anders Levermann, a sea-level-rise expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the paper’s authors. “If you just look at this, it’s stunning that we can make such a long-lasting impact that has the same magnitude as the ice ages...”
Image credit: "
Sea Level Rise Will Last Twice as Long as Human History. With perspective on the new research highlighted above, here's the intro to a story at Newsweek: "Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilization to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically. Even if global warming is capped at governments’ target of 2 degrees Celsius — which is already seen as difficult — 20 percent of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged..."
Graphic credit: Guardian, source: Nature Climate Change.