51 F. average high on April 6.
40 F. high on April 6, 2015.
29.1" of snow so far this winter season at KSTC. That's 14.5" below average, to date.
April 7, 1857: A cold snap hits the United States, with snow reported in every state.
April 7: National No Housework Day. Who knew?
Spring Takes a Temporary Time-Out into Saturday
After a climate talk in Mahtomedi Tuesday a woman shared something her 5-year old had said about me. "Why doesn't the weatherman ever get a time out? All he does is fib!" I've been accused of worse.
The accuracy of a 24-hour "Tomorrow" forecast is about 88 percent. It hasn't improved much in 30 years, in spite of better models and Doppler radar. Sadly consumers remember the 12 percent of the time we blow it. The accuracy of the 7-Day has improved, and we can sometimes detect trends months in advance - but we still have a long way to.
Looking backwards is much easier. NOAA NCDC reports March was the 4th warmest since 1895 in Minnesota. Much of the USA enjoyed one of the warmest Marches on record. NOAA's CFSv2 climate model predicted that months in advance.
And now comes the inevitable payback; jacket weather spills over into early next week with temperatures 10-15F cooler than average. A ragged sky leaks showers today; an inch or two of slush up north tonight.
Showers Sunday give way to another cool swipe, then temperatures moderate. Expect more 50s, maybe 60F by late next week.
4th Warmest March on Record for Minnesota. NOAA NCDC data was just released, showing the 4th warmest March since 1895 for Minnesota - in the top 2-5 warmest Marches on record for a vast stretch of the USA.
Photo credit above: "Neil Jacobs, chief atmospheric scientist with Panasonic Weather Solutions, talks about his global weather model." Panasonic Weather Solutions
Graphic credit: Climate Central; the full report is available here (PDF).
When the Sun Brings Darkness and Chaos. God help us if and when an X-class EMT solar storm reaches the USA. Odds are we won't be reading about it on the internet - because the grid will be down. Here's an excerpt from NPR: "...Once in a while, an instability will cause an explosive release of energy, most of it outside the visible spectrum. Particles are accelerated outwards at near the speed of light. We see a solar flare, with energies reaching some 150 billion megatons of TNT. For comparison, the most powerful H-bomb ever detonated, the Tsar bomba, reached 50 megatons of TNT, about 3,300 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. So, we are talking 3-billion-record-breaking H-bombs blowing up at the same time. And that's not unusual. Such events happen every few days in the sun — speeding up to three a day during so-called solar maxima, periods of maximum solar activity that happen every 11 years..."
Image credit above: "A single plume of plasma, many times taller than the diameter of Earth, rose up from the Sun, twisted and spun around, while spewing streams of particles for two days — Aug. 17-19, 2015 — before breaking apart." NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory.
10 Things You Didn't Know About Tornadoes. Discovery News has an interesting infographic; here's an excerpt: "The biggest tornado in history was the Hallam, Neb., tornado of May 22, 2004, which had a peak width of nearly 2.5 miles. Above, the wreckage it left behind." NOAA, via Wikimedia Commons.
What Counties See The Most Tornado Watches? Southern Alabama sees more tornado watches (on average) than Texas and Oklahoma? Here's an excerpt of an interesting post at The Weather Channel: "...The first map below shows the number of tornado watches issued by county in the United States during the 20-year period 1993-2012. During that time, ten or more tornado watches were issued each year from parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and north Texas to portions of Alabama, west Georgia and the Florida panhandle. Counties near the Gulf Coast typically see the most tornado watches each year. Washington County, Alabama, tops the list with 17 tornado watches annually..." (Map source: NOAA SPC).
Talking About The Weather - and 2016 Outlook. I'm looking forward to chatting up the weather with Vineeta Sawkar at The Star Tribune in downtown Minneapolis on April 13. Will El Nino flip-flop into a La Nina pattern? What are the implications for spring severe weather and possible drought later this year? This is Vineeta's final appearance at The Star Tribune. I hope you can come out, wish her well (and win a new umbrella?) What a deal. More details on the April 13 event here.
In Cold Weather, NFL Players Have a 2-Fold Greater Risk for Concussions. Medical Daily has a summary of recent research; here's an excerpt: "Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada collected and analyzed data collected for each week over the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 sports seasons for all 32 National Football League (NFL) teams. They found that NFL players had a two-fold greater risk of concussions and a 1.5 times higher risk for ankle injuries when they played in colder weather. According to the study, the higher rates of concussions and injuries occurred when during games played in 50 degrees Fahrenheit or colder when compared with games played in temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and higher..."
File photo: Pixabay.
Springtime in D.C. Means Mosquitoes - and Zika. There's a comforting thought; here's an excerpt from Foreign Policy: "...Recently, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) published a probability map for the potential spread of Zika, based on U.S. rain and mosquito patterns. Not surprisingly, the cities at highest risk were identified as those in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas, where summers are hot, wet, and mosquito-dense. Using the weather-based projections, we (Research Associate Gabriella Meltzer and myself at the Council on Foreign Relations) examined recent histories of mosquito-borne disease, net budgets for insect control, and estimated per capita spending on abatement in each high-risk area..."
What Happens When You Combine Satellite Imagery and Artificial Intelligence. Fortune has an interesting story - here's a link and excerpt: "...Orbital Insight, another Silicon Valley geospatial data company, tracks national and global trends as well as more esoteric indicators, such as where all the world’s surface water is at any given time, which holds significant interest for scientists and the global insurance industry. Descartes Labs, of Los Alamos, N.M., uses satellite data to predict the yield of U.S. corn harvests, often more accurately than the Department of Agriculture. And where logging companies previously used samples to estimate the number of trees in an area of forest, DigitalGlobe taps its software to count trees, one by one, across millions of acres of forest..." (Image credit: Digital Globe).
Graphic credit above: "Investment in Power Capacity, 2008-2015." Source: BNEF, UNEP.
Photo credit above: Cypress Creek Renewables/AP. "A commercial solar farm has been built on farmland by Cypress Creek Renewables in Catawba County, N.C. The solar industry is courting landowners for energy production."
Photo credit above: "SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant, located near Tonopah, Nev., features an array of 10,347 mirrors arranged in a circle 1.75 miles across. A 640-foot-tall tower glows when the sun's energy is concentrated and directed to the top." SolarReserve.
TODAY: Showers likely, still fairly raw. Mix possible up north. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 44
THURSDAY NIGHT: Showers mix with a little wet snow. Low: 30
FRIDAY: What April? Feels like low 20s with more clouds than sun, gusty. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 38
SATURDAY: Frosty start. Bright sun, still cool. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 42
SUNDAY: Milder, few showers around. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 34. High: 55
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, colder breeze. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 35. High: 43.
TUESDAY: More sun, winds ease up. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 44
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, temperatures mellow. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 51
One Fact About Climate Change That's Worth Repeating. ThinkProgress has the story; here's the intro: "The overwhelming majority of climate scientists — over 97 percent — understand that humans are the primary cause of climate change. This is one of the central facts about human-caused climate change that any climate communicator needs to keep repeating, for several reasons. First, it’s true, as Politifact detailed on Monday. The scientific literature is clear on this. Second, the ongoing disinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry (together with false balance by the media) has left the public with the impression that there is considerable scientific debate on a subject where there isn’t..."
One of Our Best Agricultural Weapons Against Climate Change is Sorely Lacking. Modern Farmer has the story - here's a snippet: "...The idea of cross-breeding with crop wild relatives is not new; for millennia farmers have planted these plants near their own crops in order to promote healthy interchange. But, this study finds, they’re disappearing. Like basically any other wild plant (or animal!), development, deforestation, and various other human-related causes are proving to be huge threats to crop wild relatives. One solution to that would be to save their seeds in the gene banks and seed banks set up for that purpose: If we have the seeds, we have the genetic material, and thus we have the tools. This study, published in the journal, Nature Plants, examined 1,076 crop wild relatives, comprising the wild versions of 81 of the world’s most important crops, including grains, fruits, and vegetables..."
File photo: Andre Penner, AP.
What's Your Biggest Frustration With How Climate Change is Communicated? Tamino asks the question at Open Mind - here's an excerpt of one, of many, illuminating answers: "...The first is that climate change risks tend to be communicated in isolation from one another: we get descriptions of species at risk, OR sea level rise, OR drought, OR the ‘equally evil twin’ (per Elizabeth Kolbert) of ocean acidification, et cetera, et cetera. We don’t so often get the notion that it’s all of the above, mutually reinforcing each others’ impacts, and progressively worsening in proportion to how long as we allow something like BAU to continue. Synergy isn’t always our friend..."
Which Countries Are Most At Risk of Climate Change and How Can We Help? Here's the intro to a story at IRIN: "The countries most vulnerable to climate change are among the poorest and least able to respond. How to resolve that dilemma and help these places adapt to a warming world remains among the knottiest problems facing climate financing. The good news is that identifying those most in need – step one – is now a good deal easier thanks to a global league table developed by the University of Notre Dame. The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) measures a country’s vulnerability in relation to its ability to cope with climate change..."