30 F. average high on February 25.
13 F. high on February 25, 2015.
February 26, 1996: A bolt of lightning from a snowstorm causes an explosion at a fireworks storage site in Milaca. One employee was injured and several homes in the area were damaged. An eight foot crater was all that remained where the storage site had been.
February 26, 1971: Extremely low pressure moves across Minnesota. The Twin Cities had a barometer reading of 28.77 inches and Duluth beat that with 28.75. Freezing rain and snow hit northern Minnesota, dumping up to 18 inches of snow in some areas. Areas around Virginia, MN were without power for 5 days.
February 26, 1896: A balmy high of 60 degrees is reported at Maple Plain. The warm weather hampered the annual ice cutting on Lake Independence to store for summer use.
Here's a New One: Spring Fever in February?
May you live in interesting times. A year ago who could have predicted that oil would drop to $27/barrel - or Donald Trump would be on top of the GOP ticket? Predicting the future is hard work.
Just when you think it can't get any weirder...it does. We've enjoyed a pretty tame winter, all things considered. A couple of minor cold smacks, one authentic "snowstorm". Remember those? And we've
gotten the better end of El Nino. Kansas-size tornadoes have terrorized the Gulf Coast and Florida; damaging twisters as far north as Pennsylvania Wednesday. Odd for February.
More evidence of a jumbo El Nino. This warm bias pushes the mercury to 40F today. Mid-50s are likely Saturday (the all-time record at MSP is 54F). Grilling weather in late February? Why not.
Don't take the fishing boat out of cold storage just yet. A light mix is expected Sunday; NOAA models hinting at snow next Tuesday, but the ECMWF (European) isn't buying it yet. I see a few days in the 20s the middle of next week.
An early spring? Probably. Earlier warmth and more severe T-storms than we've seen in recent years.
Photo credit above: "Wreckage covers the grounds of a mobile home park on Wednesday in Convent, Louisiana, a day after it was hit by a tornado." Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness/Handout via Reuters.
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.
* 2-meter temperature anomaly (F) courtesy of WeatherBell.
Not Just a Western Problem, Drought Threatens Forests Across U.S. Here's an excerpt from a story at CSMonitor.com: "...While eastern forests have not experienced the types of changes seen in western forests in recent decades, they too are vulnerable to drought and could experience significant changes with increased severity, frequency, or duration in drought,” scientists from 14 institutions, including Duke University, US Department of Agriculture and US Geological Survey, wrote in a paper published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology. The climate is changing too quickly for trees to adapt to the dry conditions, scientists say..."
Photo credit above: "Many tree species may not be able to expand into more favorable habitats fast enough." Courtesy of USGS
To Prevent Another Dust Bowl, The U.S. Must Sow The Right Seeds. LiveScience and Yahoo Finance have an interesting story - here's a link and excerpt: "...Climate is more important than geography when predicting how well seeds will grow and establish themselves. Seeds don't care where their parents lived if the temperature suits them and if they get the right amount of sunshine and precipitation.
- Timing of seed planting makes a big difference. Year to year, even week to week, variation in weather patterns can affect the restoration success of a burned site.
- The method of planting matters. Blowing seeds from a plane may be a fast way to cover a lot of territory, but it's not that effective. The seeds, dropped from large drums attached to the planes, scatter in the wind, sparsely covering the ground below. Their contact with the earth is also less secure than for seeds planted in furrows by a tractor. As a result, many of the seeds fail to establish themselves, and those few individuals that do will not compete as well in nature as will the densely planted seeds..."
National Geographic ScienceBlogs: Water, Security and Conflict. Violence Over Water in 2015. Is there a connection to what's happening in Syria and Libya? Here's an excerpt from Pacific Institute that raised a few eyebrows: "...Over the past century there has been an increase in the number of reported conflicts over water resources. Part of this increase is certainly due to better reporting in recent years, but growing populations, rising demands for water in water-scarce regions, and weak governance structures and institutions for reducing conflicts at the local and regional level may also be contributing to an increase. In the coming years, far more effort is need to both understand the nature of these risks and to develop diplomatic, economic, and institutional tools for reducing conflicts over water resources. The Pacific Institute will continue to be the leading source for collecting and analyzing information on these challenges..."
Chart credit: "Water conflict chronology events per year, 1930 to 2015." From the Pacific Institute.
EPA's McCarthy: "The Clean Energy Train Has Left The Station". Fuel Fix has the story - here's the intro: "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy warned the world’s energy leaders Wednesday they would need to adapt, shifting away from fossil fuels towards cleaner burning sources like wind and solar power. “The clean energy train has left the station, folks,” McCarthy said at the IHS Energy CERAWeek conference in Houston. “We are really hitting the ground running in 2016. The energy market is shifting and we anticipate taking meaningful climate action.” In December close to 200 countries, including the United States, agreed to begin taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions towards keeping the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius..."
Image credit above: "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks during the Opening Plenary during the third day of IHS CERAWeek at the Hilton Americas Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016." (Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle).
Let's Keep Moving Minnesota's Clean-Energy Vision Forward. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at MinnPost from arctic explorer (and dear friend) Will Steger and KentraRoedl: "...We envision a goal of zero emissions and 100 percent clean energy in Minnesota by 2050, a goal that echoes the call from the youth who gathered in Paris to demand a strong climate agreement that safeguarded their future. We know what’s at stake. We’ve seen climate change alter the Arctic as well as our winters here in Minnesota. The recent news of 2015’s record-setting heat is a sobering reminder that climate change is not slowing down. We need to chart a path to a clean-energy future that is faster than the path to climate catastrophe. We don’t have time for pauses or delay. The good news is, the clean-energy industry is not pausing either. In Minnesota, solar jobs have increased 131 percent since 2013, according to the newly released Solar Jobs Census, and the industry expects another 20 percent increase this year..."
Photo credit above: CC/Flickr/Sebastian Celis. "We envision farmers putting up wind turbines and solar panels among their cornfields as new and profitable crops to harvest."
Map credit: Tesla Motors.
TODAY: Blue sky, very nice. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 41
FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, mild for late February. It is still February right? Low: 33
SATURDAY: Blue sky with record warmth, typical for early April. Winds: SW 10-20. High: 54
SUNDAY: Cooling off, light mix possible. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: near 40 (falling)
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, still above average. Wake-up: 29. High: 44
TUESDAY: Colder, slight chance of snow. Wake-up: 22. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: Chilled sunshine, jacket-worthy again. Wake-up: 16. High: 28
THURSDAY: Chance of a little wet snow. Wake-up: 23. High: 33
Earth's Warming is 50x Faster Than When It Comes Out Of An Ice Age. We've already committed to a sea level rise of 5.5 feet, based on the (additional) greenhouse gases we've already pumped into the atmosphere? The rate of warming is one (of many) factors that concern scientists; here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Recently, The Guardian reported on a significant new study published in Nature Climate Change, finding that even if we meet our carbon reduction targets and stay below the 2°C global warming threshold, sea level rise will eventually inundate many major coastal cities around the world.
The authors looked at past climate change events and model simulations of the future..." 20% 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.
Photo credit above: "A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, NJ. So far we’re already committed to about 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) of eventual sea level rise." Photograph: Charles Sykes/AP.
Photo credit above: "Edison Dardar, an American Indian, tosses a cast net for shrimp in Isle de Jean Charles, La., Friday, Sept. 23, 2011." Image: Gerald Herbert/AP.
* More perspective and analysis on the forced migration due to rising seas and submerged wetlands along Louisiana's coastline from WDSU.
Photo credit above: " Ricardo Moraes / Reuters.