February 11, 1932: Mizpah picks up 13 inches of snow in a storm.
Minnesota: A State of Hardy Winter Weather Warriors
Welcome to Minnesota. Yes, we have running water, electricity and cable. You don't have to plug in your vehicle, but most winters you can drive on the lakes, if you get the urge.
To put things into perspective a friend, Dan Lilledahl, told me about the freeway message that greeted drivers in Atlanta on Tuesday. "Winter Weather Alert. Snow Flurries. Use Extreme Caution." Alerts for flurries?
To be fair southern states see more ice than snow, creating one giant skating rink. But still.
Minnesota and the Dakotas see the biggest swings in temperature and moisture in North America; the most extreme weather whips up near the center of continents, well away from the moderating influence of oceans.
A reinforcing shot of bug-free air arrives Friday; after starting out near -10F in the suburbs highs creep into single digits Sunday under a bright, ineffective sun.
A couple inches of snow may fall on Sunday, but next week will feel like early March with a string of 30s; maybe 40s within a week.
All things considered it's been a fairly easy winter. What can possibly go wrong?
Bottoming Out Saturday Morning - Then Thawing Out. European guidance shows a cold start Saturday as the center of Canadian high pressure drifts right over Minnesota. A return southerly flow on the backside of this fair-weather bubble, coupled with a weak clipper, may spark a couple inches of snow on Sunday. By midweek it may be mild enough aloft for a sloppy mix with a chance of 40s within a week.
S-S-Saturday Chill. Models are in amazingly good agreement showing a wake-up temperature (6 AM) Saturday close to -10F. The urban heat island will keep the downtowns and close-in suburbs a few degrees milder, with outlying suburbs dipping into the -10 to -15F air temperature range. Thankfully winds will be light so wind chills won't be much colder. Source: Aeris Enterprise.
Atmospheric Correction. Goosebumps linger into Saturday, but next week will feel more like late February or early March, with a streak of days in the 30s. The GFS solution isn't quite as mild as ECMWF, but there's little doubt that many Minnesotans will be breathing a collective sigh of relief, especially the latter half of next week.
Predicted Snowfall by Sunday Evening. NOAA's GFS model brings some 6" amounts into far southern Minnesota Saturday night into Sunday with the best chance of a plowable snowfall south and west of the Minnesota River. Metro? Maybe a couple inches. Keep expectations low. Map: AerisWeather.
Wobbles and Dips. This is still a pale imitation of the "Polar Vortex" we enjoyed 2 years ago, but subzero weather (hot pink color above) rotates across Minnesota Friday night and early Saturday, before a shift in the pattern pulls milder, Pacific air east of the Rockies next week.
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.”
Newest Homes Built to Stand Up To Nature's Fiercest Outbursts. I find this fascinating, how with smart design and materials you can, in fact, build a home that is more storm-resistant as well as energy-efficient. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...According to the Resilient Design Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Vermont, resilient design is “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities and regions in order to respond to natural and man-made disasters and disturbances as well as long-term changes resulting from climate change, including sea-level rise, increased frequency of heat waves and regional drought.” There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a resilient home — solutions vary from region to region. For example, siding could be formulated to be resistant to moisture and freeze-thaw in the North or for resisting hail and flying storm debris in the South..."
Photo credit above: " "
Solar energy is ballooning across the United States with California and Massachusetts leading the way, according to a Solar Foundation report unveiled Wednesday. The U.S. solar industry now employs slightly over 200,000 workers, representing a growth of 20 percent since November of 2014. What’s more, last year the industry added workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy..."
Photo credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson.
Photo credit: "Boeing's reversible solid oxide fuel cell system in operation in Huntington Beach, California." (Credit: Boeing)
File photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Image credit: Blacklegged ticks, Minnesota Department of Health.
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: "
TODAY: Partly sunny, chilly. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 17
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and cold. Low: 8
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun with a cold wind, feels like -10F. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 11
SATURDAY: Cold start, bright blue sky. Wake-up: -9. Winds: SE 3-8. High: 9
SUNDAY: Couple inches of snow possible. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 7. High: 24
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy. Hooray for "average". Wake-up: 16. High: 31
TUESDAY: Flurries or light mix? Milder. Wake-up: 19. High: 33
WEDNESDAY: Slow clearing, not bad at all. Wake-up: 25. High: 31
...Introduced by the president last August, the plan set carbon reduction goals for each state and it was up to the states themselves to come up with proposals to meet those goals. A group of 27 states, utilities and coal miners sought to block the proposal in the courts. They argued that the plan was an infringement on states' rights. An initial attempt to halt the implementation of the plan until legal challenges were heard was thrown out by a US appeals court in Washington in January. However the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to suspend the plan pending the outcome of the litigation..."
Photo credit above: "
Supreme Court's Blow to Emission Efforts May Emperil Paris Climate Accord. Here's the intro to an analysis at The New York Times: "The Supreme Court’s surprise decision Tuesday to halt President Obama’s climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats said. The Paris Agreement, the first accord to commit every country to combating climate change, had as a cornerstone Mr. Obama’s assurance that the United States would carry out strong, legally sound policies to significantly cut carbon emissions. Over history, the United States is the largest greenhouse gas polluter, although its annual emissions have been overtaken by China’s..."
Photo credit above: " Credit Robert Galbraith/Reuters."
Graphic credit: "The average monthly temperature anomalies (deviations from an average) from 2004–2015. The new station readings are in green; the old ones using the correction are in orange.
Image credit: ClimateTruth.org/Youtube.
Image credit above: "Climate change is increasing the speed of the jet stream, which blows west-east across the Atlantic." Photograph: Andrei Orlov/Alamy.
Photo credit above: "Michael Bloomberg, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, speaks at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk." (Pic: UN Photos).
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..."