33 F. average high on February 27.
15 F. high on February 27, 2015, after waking up to -6 F.
February 28, 1981: Ice is out on Lake Minnetonka. Boats are enjoying the early thaw.
Faulty Calendars: We May Skip a Month This Spring
"Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush" wrote Doug Larson. Were you whistling yesterday? Near 60F in late February; record-smashing warmth typical of mid-April? It felt great but at the risk of channeling Debby Downer - was I the only one scratching my head? "This isn't natural."
El Nino, possibly the biggest on record, has combined with background warming to prime the pump for more frequent and vigorous warm fronts.
Long-range guidance for mid-March looks like something out of mid-April. We could almost skip a month this spring; GFS guidance hinting at 60F and a few random T-showers next week. Huh?
Canada won't go quietly into the night. Cooler air drains south today, sparking a few light rain showers. Under a sputtering sun highs hold in the 20s by midweek, before 40s return by Saturday.
Is that it for winter? I don't see any more subzero nights, but a few slushy slop-storms may still surprise us in March. That said, the trends are just as obvious as the new Al Roker tattoo on my forehead: a warm bias continues as far ahead as I can see.
Mid-March or Mid-April? I pulled up this map and immediately thought I dialed in the wrong data. This is the 2-week outlook for 500mb winds from NOAA's GFS model, showing any vestiges of cold, Canadian air lifting into northern Canada; a mild, springline zonal flow keeping most of the lower 48 states as much as 15-25F warmer than average.
A Minor Correction - Then Back to Spring. ECMWF (European) guidance suggests highs returning to near 60F within about 8-9 days; the GFS model doesn't warm us back to 60F until the end of next week. What happened to March? Temperature outlook: NOAA and Aeris Enterprise.
Photo credit above: "
The Tornado Formula. Why is the USA the tornado capital of the planet? It's complicated. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer at The Atlantic: "...The U.S. gets so many tornadoes because, in large part, the presence of the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico,” Harold Brooks, a scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, told me in an email. Those features create the conditions for the three key ingredients necessary for the kind of severe thunderstorm that can produce tornadoes:
1. Warm, moist air at low levels
2. Cool, dry air aloft
3. Horizontal winds that increase with height from the ground-up—and change direction, so that they blow from the equator at low levels, and from the west aloft.
The United States sees all three of those ingredients..."
Photo credit above: "Richard Rowe / Reuters.
St. Paul to Bar Itself From Investing in Fossil-Fuel Companies. Here's an excerpt from twincities.com: "The city of St. Paul won’t be investing in oil companies in the near future. Expressing concern about climate change, the St. Paul City Council voted Wednesday on a resolution barring the city from investing pension funds and other public money directly into fossil-fuel companies. The divestment decision is mostly symbolic, as the city’s public employee pensions are managed by the Minnesota State Board of Investment and not invested by the city itself..." (Photo credit: Dan Anderson at Flickr).
Image credit above: Jonas de Ro // CC BY-SA 3.0
Electric Car Batteries Used To Be Ineffective and Pricy. That Era is Over. Although Moore's Law doesn't apply innovation has been steady; resulting in more power and range per dollar. Here's an excerpt from Slate: "...But the cost of that battery is another story. Thanks to continuous improvement, General Motors last year said the new lithium-ion packs now cost it about $145 per kilowatt-hour—about 70 percent cheaper than they did in 2012. Put another away, the battery pack in the 2017 Volt will cost less than 10 percent more than the one in the 2012 Volt. But it will be more than four times more powerful..."
Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster, AP.
Image credit: Beatles Source.
TODAY: Light PM mix, cooler wind kicking in. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 40 (falling)
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Low: 29
MONDAY: Mild start, PM flurries possible. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 40
TUESDAY: Chilled sunshine, jacket-worthy. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 19. High: 27
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, late mix? Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 22. High: 36
THURSDAY: Storm tracks south, few flakes here. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 18. High: 26
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, seasonably cool. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 20. High: 35
SATURDAY: Patchy clouds, warming up again. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 42
Photo credit above: " David Mercado, Reuters.
Graphic credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Scientists Are More Confident Than Ever in Troubling Sea Level Rise Projections. A confidence level of 95% that seas are rising faster now than anytime in the last 27 centuries? Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "...That’s not to say the scientific community was unsure sea level rise is happening, and that greenhouse gases are behind it. It means that the certainty surrounding sea level rise projections needed to improve, according to the IPCC. Now, however, two separate studies developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and Rutgers University in the United States, say modeling techniques are agreeing like never before in their conclusions. Most importantly, while the Potsdam study found that sea level rise will likely be as much as 50 inches by the end of the century unless greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly reduced, the Rutgers study found that global sea levels rose faster in the last century than in the last 3,000 years. Both studies were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton).
Sources and credits: Climate Central, EPA, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dino Kordopitoulas, Justin Peebles, Frank Pompa and Jim Lenahan, USA TODAY Network.
What's The Best Way to Cut Your Carbon Emissions? Here's an excerpt from CityLab: "...If Americans aren’t interested in buying dramatically more efficient vehicles, they could instead try an across-the-board approach, piling up little actions in different sectors. For instance, you could reduce driving by 6 percent, buy a car that’s 22.8 mpg instead of 21.4, replace any remaining incandescent bulbs with LEDS, eat 35 percent less meat, and cut 67 percent of personal food waste. Each of those piecemeal choices makes a 1 percent cut in overall emissions. “If you want to do things on several fronts and combine the benefits that way because it’s easier for you, you would have to do a lot of different small things to equal the benefit of a large increase in fuel economy,” Sivak tells CityLab..." (Photo credit: AP / Jae C. Hong).