March 5, 1966: A powerful blizzard finally ends in the Upper Midwest. Some wind gusts from the storm topped 100 mph.
Stumbling Into Spring - 50s Likely by Sunday
If you're not just a little bit paranoid it could mean you're not paying attention. My driveway stakes are still in the ground, heavy jackets in the closet, trusty snow shovel lurking in the garage, just in case. Old Man Winter is waving the white flag of surrender - but beware of (big) March surprises.
I predict, with unusually high confidence, thoughts will turn to spring in the coming days with a streak of 50s, starting Sunday. 60F isn't out of the question by Tuesday with a few rumbles of thunder. Cue the chirping birds in your yard. No daffodils yet. I don't think we'll see flowers blooming in late March, like we did in 2012, but there's little doubt in my mind that ice will come off area lakes a few weeks earlier than usual.
With puny amounts of snow on the ground and a shallow frost layer the risk of spring flooding is very low.
A warm bias spills into June. Right now I don't see a drought signal until maybe late summer, when El Nino flip-flops into a La Nina cool phase.
Disclaimer: The GFS model prints out a snowstorm in 2 weeks. Who knows, but let's not get cocky.
Sunday, 3 PM. Today feels like mid-March, tomorrow will feel like late March with highs in the mid-50s, a few 60s over west central Minnesota. 2-meter NAM temperatures: NOAA and AerisWeather.
Map credit: Climate Reanalyzer.
Map credit: Midwest Regional Climate Center.
Hell and High Water. ProPublic and the Texas Tribune have a remarkable (and visual) story focused on how Houston dodged a bullet with Ike; at some point the law of averages will catch up and a devastating hurricane will push into Galveston and Houston. Is the city ready? Here's an excerpt: "They called Ike “the monster hurricane.” Hundreds of miles wide. Winds at more than 100 mph. And — deadliest of all — the power to push a massive wall of water into the upper Texas coast, killing thousands and shutting down a major international port and industrial hub. That was what scientists, public officials, economists and weather forecasters thought they were dealing with on Sept. 11, 2008, as Hurricane Ike barreled toward Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States and home to its largest refining and petrochemical complex. And so at 8:19 p.m., the National Weather Service issued an unusually dire warning.
“ALL NEIGHBORHOODS, AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES, WILL BE INUNDATED,” the alert read. “PERSONS NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY HOMES WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH.”
Rising Seas Pull Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Building Boomtown, Toward a Bust. Alarmist hype? If so I have a water-front home in Ft. Lauderdale I'd like to sell you. Here's an excerpt from InsideClimate News: "...But as the coastal city's skyline climbs upward, Fort Lauderdale—nicknamed the Venice of America for its 165 miles of canals—is slowly becoming an edifice of risk as climate change lays siege to its shores. Already, water regularly creeps over sea walls, lapping against foundations every few weeks. When the earth, moon and sun align to drive waters as much as 18 inches above normal, the resulting King Tides inundate whole streets and neighborhoods. The city is racing to put climate resiliency measures in place, but they face a nearly impossible foe. Mayor Seiler and his city typify the imminent risks much of South Florida faces from global warming..."
Photo credit above: "
Photo credit: "Dr. Ellen Williams (right), Arpa-E director: ‘We want power to be easy.’ Photograph: ARPA-E.
Almost 100 Million Homes May Run Only on Solar by 2020. Bloomberg Business has the story - here's a link and excerpt: "Almost 100 million households worldwide may be powered by solar panels by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The off-grid solar market has grown to $700 million now from non-existent less than a decade ago, according to a report Thursday from the London-based research company and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global. They expect that to swell to $3.1 billion by the end of the decade..."
Photo credit above: "Workers secure solar panels to a rooftop in Albuquerque, New Mexico." Photographer: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg.
Solar Fight Turns to Presidential-Style Bare-Knuckle Campaign Tactics. Fading industries are doing anything to maintain market share; here are a few mind-boggling examples in an Op-Ed at Utility Dive: "It’s the time of the presidential campaign cycle where some of the dirtiest political tricks in the country are covered daily in the news. But this type of campaigning isn’t limited to the presidential race. Some utilities across the country have been using similar tactics for years in their attempts to eliminate rooftop solar competition. A few of their startling tactics: In Arizona, a political group supported by APS ran attack ads in 2013 suggesting that net metering prevents parents from affording toys for their children. Another ad from the same group compared rooftop solar companies to middle-aged men stealing ice cream sprinkles from children..."
Photo credit above: "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a news conference following the First Ministers Meeting in Vancouver." Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , The Canadian Press.
Photo credit above:
TODAY: Becoming partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 40
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 31
SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, feels like spring! Winds: S 15-25. High: 55
MONDAY: Fading sun as clouds increase, nighttime thunder? Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 57
TUESDAY: Few showers, possible T-shower. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 56
WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, a bit cooler. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 36. High: 45
THURSDAY: Some sun, stray shower possible. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 30. High: 44
FRIDAY: Sunny peeks, feeling feverish again. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 53
Image credit above: "A daily analysis of global temperatures shows that the Northern Hemisphere likely exceeded 2 degree Celsius above "normal" levels on March 3, 2016." Ryan Maue/Weatherbell Analytics.
Revamped Satellite Data Shows No Pause in Global Warming. Here's an excerpt from ABC News: "Climate change doubters may have lost one of their key talking points: a particular satellite temperature dataset that had seemed to show no warming for the past 18 years. The Remote Sensing System temperature data, promoted by many who reject mainstream climate science and especially most recently by Sen. Ted Cruz, now shows a slight warming of about 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit since 1998. Ground temperature measurements, which many scientists call more accurate, all show warming in the past 18 years. "There are people that like to claim there was no warming; they really can't claim that anymore," said Carl Mears, the scientist who runs the Remote Sensing System temperature data tracking..."
Graphic credit: Dr. Roy Spencer.
Intense Heatwaves Could Become "Annual Events" by 2075. Climate Home has the analysis; here's the intro: "Heatwaves that used to arrive once every 20 years or so could become annual events by 2075 across almost two-thirds of the planet’s land surface – if humans go on burning ever more fossil fuels and releasing ever more greenhouse gases. Claudia Tebaldi, visiting scientist at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, and Michael Wehner, senior staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, report in Climatic Change journal that stringent emissions reductions could reduce the risk of such extreme heat events. But, even so, by 2075, an estimated 18% of the Earth’s surface could still experience those once-rare extreme heat events every year..."
Photo credit above: Frank Neulichedl/Flickr.
Why We Need to Stop Fake Claims that Global Warming Paused. Here's an excerpt of an article from climate scientist Michael Mann at New Scientist: "...What the deniers fail to disclose is that there is sufficient variation in the details drawn on by studies of the period – including which version of the temperature record is used and precisely what time intervals are being compared – that different researchers can come to different honestly held conclusions about what the data show. Respectable news outlets have accurately noted that. And there is broad consensus among all the researchers involved on key points. First, there was no pause in global warming. Indeed, I have mocked such a notion as the “faux pause”. There was at most a temporary slowdown. With the record-setting temperatures of the past two years, that slowdown is almost certainly over now..."
Image credit: "For January 2012, brown shades show the decrease in water storage from the 2002-2015 average in the Mediterranean region. Units in centimeters. The data is from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites, a joint mission of NASA and the German space agency."
Credit: NASA/ Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio. Details at the American Geophysical Union.
Climate Scientists Worry About the Costs of Sea Level Rise. Here's an excerpt of a post at The Guardian from University of St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham: "...A paper was just published by Drs. Boettle, Rybski and Kropp that dealt with this question. The authors of this study note that if you are concerned about societal and economic costs, the rate of sea rise isn’t the entire story. Much of the damage is caused by extreme events that are superimposed on a rising ocean. Damage is highly nonlinear with sea rise. To explain this, let’s think about flooding. Consider a river that has a dike system capable of confining a rise of water up to six feet. Such a system would have little or no economic/societal damage for “floods” up to six feet, but just one more foot of water rise would put the waters over the dike and could cause significant losses..."
Photo credit above: "The remnants of the Jet Star roller coaster is pictured in the ocean, almost five months after Superstorm Sandy, in Seaside Heights, New Jersey March 21, 2013." Photograph: Lucas Jackson/REUTERS.
More details and a link to the new research at The Lancet. Photo credit: Tim McCabe, USDA.
Justice Department Refers Exxon Investigation Request to FBI. InsideClimate News has more details: "The U.S. Justice Department has forwarded a request from two congressmen seeking a federal probe of ExxonMobil to the FBI's criminal division. U.S. Representatives Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier sought the probe last year to determine whether the oil giant violated federal laws by "failing to disclose truthful information" about climate change. In response, the Justice Department deferred to the FBI, saying it is that agency's responsibility to conduct an initial assessment of facts that prompted the congressmen's request. Such action is considered standard procedure, according to former federal prosecutors who say the response appears ambiguous as to what action may be taken by the FBI..."
Photo credit: "California Rep. Ted Lieu, along with fellow Democrat Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, issued the request that the Justice Department investigate Exxon for its climate research and denial."