February 23, 1981: Warmth returns to Minnesota with a high of 55 at Pipestone and a high of 52 at Luverne.
Why We Call It Winter. Light Mix Today
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn" wrote Hal Borland. According to the UK Met Office the word winters comes from the Germanic "wintar", which in turn is derived from the root wed, meaning 'wet' or water', signifying a wet season. Anglo Saxon ancestors measured the passage of time not in years, but winters.
As in "How many winters have you survived?"
Every winter is slightly different; the patterns are never identical. This randomness: interaction between land, air, water and the cryosphere/arctic makes it challenging to predict the state of the atmosphere at any point in the future. That's why the 7-Day is often a bust, in spite of supercomputers, satellites and bright, shiny Dopplers.
Our models can't account for all the variables in play,some we're not even aware of. It's a little like trying to predict a presidential election 9 months in advance.
A slushy coating is possible today; maybe a couple inches Sunday, as a numbing shot of air brushes the state. Highs may hold in the teens next Monday, but as a rule daytime highs top freezing into early March.
It's a slow-motion winter fizzle.
* Photo credit above: Bryan Hansel Photography.
8 Interesting Facts About Winter. The information in today's column about the origin of "winter" came from a story at the UK Met Office, which adds: "...You might surprised to know that in the northern hemisphere the earth is closest to the sun during winter. On January 2 2016 the Earth will reach perihelion (peri meaning 'near' and helion meaning 'sun') and the earth is 3.1 million miles closer to the sun than at aphelion (around July 5 when the earth is furthest from the sun). Earth's distance from the sun is not what causes the seasons (it is the tilt of the earth's axis) but it does affect the length of them. Around perihelion the earth is moving around 1 kilometre per second faster than at aphelion which results in winter being 5 days shorter than summer..."
Map credit: Climate Reanalyzer.
Latest Moose Count Provides Little Good News. Here's an excerpt from The Star Tribune: "Minnesota’s moose continued their long decline in 2015. The state’s annual aerial survey, taken in January, estimated the state’s moose population at 4,020, up slightly from the previous year. But the change was not significant enough to signal a shift in the long downward trend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Tuesday. The population has dropped by more than half since 2006. Offering a glimmer of hope, moose numbers have stabilized somewhat in recent years, and the number of calves that survived their first year doubled compared to an earlier count..."
Peak Oil Returns: Why Demand Will Likely Peak by 2030. Here's a clip from an analysis at ThinkProgress: "...If China gets moving on electric cars then that would automatically lower prices and have a favorable ripple effect across the whole world,” as Ernst and Young auto expert Jean-Francois Belorgey has said. That is precisely what happened in the solar photovoltaics industry, which led to the exponential explosion in solar power worldwide this decade. We appear near the same kind of inflection point in batteries and electric cars that we were in PV. Yes, oil prices are low, but even at these prices, EVs still have a much lower per-mile fueling cost than gasoline cars..."
What's Next in Computing? Medium has a long and interesting article about AI, drones, virtual reality, mobile intelligence and IoT; a worthy read. Here's an excerpt: "...I tend to think we are on the cusp of not one but multiple new eras. The “peace dividend of the smartphone war” created a Cambrian explosion of new devices, and developments in software, especially AI, will make those devices smart and useful. Many of the futuristic technologies discussed above exist today, and will be broadly accessible in the near future. Observers have noted that many of these new devices are in their “awkward adolescence.” That is because they are in their gestation phase. Like PCs in the 70s, the internet in the 80s, and smartphones in the early 2000s, we are seeing pieces of a future that isn’t quite here. But the future is coming: markets go up and down, and excitement ebbs and flows, but computing technology marches steadily forward."
Video credit: The Terminator (1984)
Photo credit above: "Pelts and roses at the Igloo Hotel." Photo by arcticroute.com on Flickr | Copyright: Creative Commons.
Photo credit above: "
TODAY: Light mix, wet roads. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 38
TUESDAY NIGHT: Sprinkles and flurries taper. Low: 25
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, seasonably cool for late February. Winds: N 8-13. High: 36
THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, a dry sky. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 22. High: 33
FRIDAY: Some sun, turning milder. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 24. High: 38
SATURDAY: Thaw continues, better travel day. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 33. High: 44
SUNDAY: Couple inches of snow? Colder wind. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 27. High: 29 (falling rapidly)
MONDAY: So this is what winter feels like! Bright sunshine. Wake-up: 4. High: 17
Seas Are Rising at the Fastest Rate in the Last 28 Centuries. Climate change will more than a minor inconvenience for residents of Miami Beach, Norfolk or coastal Louisiana. It already is. Here's the intro to a story from Justin Gillis at The New York Times: "The oceans are rising faster than at any point in the last 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday. They added that the flooding that is starting to make life miserable in many coastal towns — like Miami Beach; Norfolk, Va.; and Charleston, S.C. — was largely a consequence of those emissions, and that it is likely to grow worse in coming years. The scientists confirmed previous estimates, but with a larger data set, that if global emissions continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100, as ocean water expands and the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica begin to collapse..."
Photo credit above: " Credit Juan Herrero/European Pressphoto Agency
That Sinking Feeling. Keep an eye on South Florida in the coming years - and think twice before purchasing beachfront property. Here's an excerpt from American Prospect: "...In Southeast Florida, the sea could rise three feet by 2060, and that doesn’t count temporary storm surges from increasingly intense hurricanes. Seventy-five percent of Florida’s population lives in coastal counties that generate 79 percent of the state’s total annual economy. The infrastructure in these coastal counties had a replacement value of $2 trillion in 2010 and is estimated to increase to $3 trillion by 2030. Of the 2.6 million people who live in Miami-Dade County, nearly 129,000 of them are living less than three feet above sea level. The county alone has more people living less than four feet above sea level than in any other state except Louisiana. The county’s estimated beachfront property value is more than $14.7 billion—not including infrastructure..."
Photo credit above: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky. "A cyclist and vehicles negotiate heavily flooded streets as rain falls, Tuesday, September 23, 2014, in Miami Beach, Fla. Certain neighborhoods regularly experience flooding during heavy rains and extreme high tides. New storm water pumps are currently being installed along the bay front in Miami Beach."
Temperature anomaly map valid 12z this morning courtesy of Climate Reanalyzer.