65 F. average high on May 3.
79 F. high on May 3, 2015.
May 4, 1926: Morris goes from winter to summer temperatures in one day. The morning low was 32, followed by a high of 89.
Question: Will Spring "Stick" This Time Around?
People never ask me about the Twins, foreign policy or existential truth. But they're not shy about quizzing me about the state of the atmosphere.
Here are but a handful of the questions I've received recently. "Paul, are we done with snow?" What snow? We picked up 36.7 inches last winter. Average is 54.4 inches. Flurries could still brush the Minnesota Arrowhead - but accumulating snow is behind us now.
"Paul, is it safe to plant annuals?" Yes it is. GFS guidance hints at upper 30s by late next week but the odds of a widespread metro frost are less than 1 in 10. The old adage "wait until after Mother's Day to plant tender plants" rings true this year.
We cool off into the low 60s today with a stiff north breeze, but 70s return Thursday - low 80s will spark an outbreak of shorts and T-shirts Friday. A taste of sultry summer days to come.
A stray T-shower may bubble up late Friday ahead of a cooler front, but skies clear during the day Saturday; Sunday brings peeks of sun and highs near 70.
Enjoy the dry spell; cooler, showery weather returns for much of next week.
Map credit above: "Flood deaths by state, January 2015 - April 2016." Please note that this data is preliminary."
Weather Keeps Killing, But Experts Say Deaths Preventable. Here's a clip from a USA TODAY article: "...Floods, rip currents, lightning and heat kill hundreds of people each year, but experts say almost every one of those deaths is preventable. Heat is the nation's biggest killer, striking down about 130 people each year, according to data from the National Weather Service. Rip currents sweep about 100 people out to sea annually and floods take another 100 people, the data shows. Lightning strikes kill about 25 people a year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control, which uses broader criteria for calculating cause of death, says the numbers are even worse, attributing several hundred deaths to heat and cold..."
Crude Oil is Flooding Texas Rivers. Here's the intro to a story at Grist: "Dramatic, deadly flooding is the new normal for parts of Texas and Louisiana this past year. This weekend, a single flash flood killed six people. But the damage often doesn’t end when the skies are finally clear. In Texas — a state dotted with oil wells — extreme flooding can also mean contaminated water. According to El Paso Times, chemicals and oil from overfilled wells and fracking sites have flushed into majors rivers. Texas officials have reportedly taken dozens of images of waterways polluted with crude oil and fracking chemicals, which show the “sheens and plumes spreading from tipped tanks and flooded production sites.” Affected waterways include the Sabine River on the Texas-Louisiana border, which flooded in March, and the Trinity, Red, and Colorado rivers, which flooded last year..."
Photo credit above: "Flooding in Brookshire, Texas, U.S. April 20, 2016." Handout via REUTERS TPX IMAGES.
Early May Tends to be Feast or Famine for Tornadoes. U.S. Tornadoes has some interesting nuggets and statistics; here's an excerpt: "...tornado climatology is an interesting thing to look at but sometimes averages can be misleading, as tornadoes do tend to come in bunches. It is not until late May and early June that consistent and often day-to-day tornado activity becomes common around the entire country. By June, the potential for a major outbreak starts to decline as the jet stream slows and becomes less variable. However, the frequency of tornado days make this a prime choice for storm chasers who are looking to play the odds for chase prospects. This also serves as a reminder not to let your guard down after the peak of outbreak season passes, especially in the northern tier of the U.S..."
Earth's New Lightning Capital in the World: 233 Flashes Per Square Kilometer A Year. Move over Congo, we have a new, electrifying winner, according to NASA and a story at Space Coast Daily: "Earth has a new lightning capital, according to a recent study using observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor onboard NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission. Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela earned the top spot receiving an average rate of about 233 flashes per square kilometer per year, according to the study.Researchers had previously identified Africa’s Congo Basin as the location of maximum lightning activity..."
Image credit above: "Earth has a new lightning capital, according to a recent study using observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor onboard NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission." (NASA Image).
Image credit above: "Radar on May 31, 1998. This line of storms generated a meteotsunami at White Lake Harbor, south of Ludington, MI." (NOAA).
File photo credit: Michael Nagle, Bloomberg.
The Awe-Inspiring Growth of the U.S. Solar Industry. A few very interesting and encouraging statistical nuggets in a Huffington Post story; here's an excerpt: "...Solar’s costs have come down to the point that we regularly see contracts for utility-scale solar power under 5 cents per kilowatt-hour – making solar, in many cases, a cost-competitive option for utilities. Last year our country added more solar than new natural gas capacity for the first time ever – and you can bet it won’t be the last. In fact, there have been times this year when California, one of the world’s largest economies, has gotten third of its power from the sun. It hasn’t always been sunny on the road to a million solar installations. Although there is sustained double-digit market and job growth, there have also been naysayers, big-moneyed opposition, nasty electoral politics, and stumbles from an industry in its early stages..." (Image credit: Solar City).
Photo credit above: " Credit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times.
Across many different kinds of behavior: voting, cooperation, smoking, weight loss and weight gain, happiness, cooperative behavior, public health behaviors, we and others have been able to show that people are very meaningfully affected by the behaviors of other people to whom they’re connected..."
TODAY: Sunny, comfortable breeze. Winds: N 10-15. High: 63
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 44
THURSDAY: Sunny - serious case of spring fever returns. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 74
FRIDAY: Hazy sun, almost hot, late-day T-shower? Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 54. High: 82
SATURDAY: AM shower possible, then gradual clearing. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 56. High: 67
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, fine spring day. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: near 70
MONDAY: More clouds, chance of showers. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 66
TUESDAY: More showers, possible thunder. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 53. High: 63
Resettling the First American "Climate Refugees". Here's an excerpt from an analysis by The New York Times: "...In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees..."
Image credit above: "" Credit Josh Haner/The New York Times.
Editorial: A Climate Plan for Conservatives. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at TheLedger.com: "Our planet is now setting records for setting records about the heat. Earth has set monthly heat records for 11 months in a row, a record in itself, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week. As global warming causes such changes, researchers told the Associated Press that they're worried the public is become desensitized to the drumbeat of broken records. The same could be said for other worrisome trends involving climate change..."
Photo credit above: "
Sea ice affects the large scale global ocean circulation patterns as well as weather patterns. Professor Tom Mote is a hydroclimatologist and head of the Geography Department at the University of Georgia. He studies Greenland and other cryospheric processes. He says,
The long-term record of sea ice, in particular, is important to our understanding of the Arctic. Reductions in sea ice amplify warming in the Arctic by increasing the absorption of sunlight (i.e., the ice-albedo feedback). Some scientists believe that a warmer Arctic may change the path of the jet stream, altering weather over further south, including the U.S. (See this paper for a summary of the literature).Climate models have been conservative with sea ice decline. They have underestimated the amount of change in many cases..."
Graphic credit above: "Actual decline vs model projections." Source: NCA2014.globalchange.gov
Researchers Aim To Put Carbon Dioxide Back to Work. Will someone figure out cost-effective, scalable carbon sequestration? I wouldn't bet against it. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it? At laboratories around the world, researchers are working on ways to do just that. The X Prize Foundation has created an incentive, a $20 million prize for teams that by 2020 come up with technologies to turn CO2 captured from smokestacks of coal- or gas-fired power plants into useful products..."
Impact of Warming on Middle East and Northern Africa Could be Devastating. The Daily Mail has an article highlighting new research and projections that made me do a double-take. Yes, I hope the scientists are wrong. Here's an excerpt: "...Lelieveld and his team concluded that if Earth's temperature were to increase on average only be two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industraial times the temperature in summer in these regions will increase more than twofold. By mid-century, during the warmest periods, temperatures will not fall below 30 degrees at night, and during daytime they could rise to 46 degrees Celsius (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit). By the end of the century, midday temperatures on hot days could even climb to 50 degrees Celsius (approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit)..."