Thursday, December 22, 2016

Nuisance Snow Today - Soaking Rain Likely Christmas Day - Icy Mess Up North

5" snow on the ground in St. Cloud.
37 F. high temperature in the STC metro area yesterday.
23 F. average high on December 22.
35 F. high on December 22, 2015.

December 23, 1996: Heavy snow accumulates across much of southern and central Minnesota. Snowfall totals included 6 to 8 inches across the Twin Cities metro area, 10 inches in Jordan, 8 inches at Cambridge, Forest Lake, Hutchinson and Montevideo, and 6 inches at St. Cloud, Glenwood and Redwood Falls.
December 23, 1983: The Twin Cities experience a bitterly cold high of 17 degrees below zero.
December 23, 1833: A 'warm spell' is reported at Ft. Snelling. The temperature reached 45 degrees.

Santa Will Need His "Rain-Deer" on Christmas Day

I've been waiting 6 months to say this: the days are getting longer now. In about 3 weeks average temperatures begin to rise again, for the first time since July. The first cold wave of winter came a few weeks early - so did the January Thaw.

During an average winter about 105 snow-producing storms impact the United States. If a storm tracks to your south a northeast wind insures a supply of cold air, favoring snow. In stark contrast, Sunday's storm will track well west of the Twin Cities, allowing a strong storm to inhale mild air into its circulation, with southeast winds at the surface which usually changes snow over to ice or rain.

Any glaze ice Christmas morning should quickly give way to rain, heavy at times. A few T-storms can't be ruled out. Over 1 inch of rain falling on frozen ground will lead to run-off with potential flash flooding on the roads and ice jams on area rivers.

Bottom line: if you want to play in the snow get out there today or Saturday. Today a wrinkle of cold air aloft squeezes out a quick inch of slush. Tomorrow looks like the better travel day, by far.

Sunday will be a mushy, Marchlike mess.

Who Will See a White Christmas? Here is USA snow depth as of December 22, according to NOAA NOHRSC. Major east coast cities will see a brown Christmas, but from the Rockies and Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and northern New England there should be snow on the ground December 25.

60-Hour Snowfall Potential. A weak disturbance pushes a shield of wet snow across the Upper Mississippi Valley, a quick 1-2" of slushy snow for parts of southern Minnesota and Wisconsin; plowable snows for southwest Colorado and parts of Utah. NAM guidance: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Watches and Advisories. A Winter Weather Advisory is posted for southeastern Minnesota, much of Wisconsin and Iowa for a wintry mix today. About 2-4" of slushy snow may fall from Albert Lea to Rochester and Red Wing on east to  Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Meanwhile Winter Storm Watches are posted for the northern half of Minnesota for a wintry mix Sunday with a Blizzard Watch for much of the Dakotas. The farther north and west you travel, away from the Twin Cities, the tougher travel conditions will be on Sunday. Map: Aeris AMP.

Future Radar. A weak storm over the Four Corners region of  the southwest pushes light precipitation into the Midwest today; a mix of rain and snow likely. A stronger storm pushing heavy rain across California will wind up into a much stronger area of low pressure over the High Plains by Sunday, pulling enough warm air into its circulation for rain unusually far north. GFS guidance:

10-Day Snowfall Potential. Heaviest snows between now and Monday fall from the central Rockies into North Dakota and the Red River Valley of far northwestern Minnesota, where well over a foot of new snow may fall.

BPI: Blizzard Potential Index. Our internal models and algorithms suggest blizzard conditions across North Dakota and far northern Minnesota much of Sunday. Pockets of blizzard conditions are also likely across the higher terrain of the Rockies over the next 72 hours. Source: AerisWeather.

An Inch of Water for MSP? Any other Christmas that would translate into a foot of snow or more, but a western storm track will pull unusually mild air into most of Minnesota, with precipitation falling as mostly-rain. Factor in frozen ground and rapid run-off and I could still see some minor flooding of highways (and basements) by Sunday night.

Christmas Day Temperature Spike. European guidance has been consistent, showing upper 40s on Christmas Day. If warm advection winds are strong enough we may be able to compensate for cold, snow-covered ground, and I expect low to mid 40s in the metro Sunday with rain, heavy at times. A minor reality check returns next week, but not as cold as last Sunday. ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

Getting Colder Northern Tier of the USA. Looking out 2 weeks another lobe of very cold air builds across Canada, a few waves of numbing air brushing the northern states, while a zonal, west-to-east Pacific flow keeps much of the rest of America milder than average.

Whispers of La Nina. The January temperature outlook for North America continues to flip-flop; latest runs of NOAA's CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) suggesting a much colder January for western  Canada and the northern tier states, with warmer than average weather for the southern USA. This is a classic signal of La Nina, the ongoing cool phase in the Pacific. Don't hold your breath - confidence levels are very low. January temperature anomaly outlook: WeatherBell.

The U.S. Has Been Overwhelmingly Hot This Year. In spite of a relatively brief December cold wave and arctic invasion, 2016 is still shaping up to be the warmest year on record, worldwide. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Climate Central conducted an analysis of more than 1,730 weather stations across the Lower 48 that include daily temperature data up until Dec. 15. A paltry 2 percent are having a colder-than-normal year. That leaves 98 percent running above normal. Not only that, 10 percent of those weather stations are having their hottest year on record.

Those record-hot places can be found from coast to coast. They include medium-sized cities like Asheville, N.C., Modesto, Calif., and Flint, Mich., as well as lesser-known locales like Neosho, Mo., Callahan, Calif., and Climax, Colo. While some of the heat was driven by the super El Niño earlier this year, that alone doesn’t explain all the records being set, particularly in the latter half of the year after El Niño faded. Climate change has caused the U.S. average temperature to increase about 1.5°F since the 1880s..."

Animation credit: "Weather stations in the U.S. that are having a warmer than normal, colder than normal and record hot year."

North Pole Melts Near Melting Point This Christmas Week. Nature rarely moves in a straight line; are we experiencing a tipping point in the arctic? Here's an excerpt from "...They assume the Arctic is far away, and they assume, ‘What impact could this have on us?’” Mayewski said. But Arctic warming is directly tied to extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere, he explained. With the barrier between the cold north and warm south weakening, cold air masses are more easily moving south and warm air masses are more easily moving north, fueling the changes in surface ocean currents that can exacerbate extreme weather events. In addition, as sea ice transforms into open water, that open water absorbs more heat, a cycle of warming that increasing moisture levels and raises the odds of events like floods and droughts throughout the hemisphere. Mayewski cited a long list of recent extreme weather events in the Northern Hemisphere: the drought in the western United States, the historically cold East Coast winter of 2014, the initially mild winter of 2015-16 that suddenly gave way to record cold temperatures..."

Image credit: Climate Reanalyzer.


Weather Buoy Near North Pole Hits Melting Point. Jason Samenow reports from Capital Weather Gang: "Santa may need water skis instead of a sleigh this year. A weather buoy about 90 miles south of the North Pole registered a temperature at the melting point of 32 degrees (0 Celsius) early Thursday, as a giant storm east of Greenland drew abnormally warm air northward. Weather models had predicted temperatures could get this warm and this buoy, part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, provides validation. “It seems likely areas very close to or at the North Pole were at the freezing point” Thursday, said Zachary Labe, a doctoral student researching Arctic climate and weather at the University of California at Irvine..."

Image credit: "Temperature near 89N latitude Dec. 20-22. (Data from North Pole Environmental Observatory buoy 300234064010010"

Spiking Temperatures In The Arctic Startle Scientists. The New York Times reports on strange and troubling trends at the top of the world: "A spate of extreme warmth in the Arctic over the past two months has startled scientists, who warn that the high temperatures may lead to record-low ice coverage next summer and even more warming in a region that is already among the hardest hit by climate change. In mid-November, parts of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than observed averages, scientists said, and at the pole itself, mean temperatures for the month were 23 degrees above normal. Although conditions later cooled somewhat, the extreme warmth is expected to return, with temperatures forecast to be as much as 27 degrees above normal beginning Thursday. Jeremy Mathis, who directs the Arctic Research Program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the warmth had led to a later than usual “freeze-up” of ice in the Arctic Ocean..."

Photo credit: "The cruise ship Crystal Serenity, anchored outside Nome, Alaska, in August, before its inaugural voyage through the Northwest Passage. The trip would not have been possible before climate change led to diminished sea ice coverage." Credit Mark Thiessen/Associated Press.

Partial List of Top Minnesota Weather Events for 2016. I'll let you know what the Top 5 weather events of 2016 were next week. Here's an excerpt of the candidates from Pete Boulay at the Minnesota DNR:

Central Minnesota Flash Flood July 11-12, 2016
The largest flash flood since the Northeast Minnesota event of June 10-20, 2012 struck part of the same region on July 11-12, 2016. The highest two-day total was a volunteer reader in Pine County with 9.34 inches. Southbound I-35 and Highway 61 was closed for a time on July 12. The area covered by six inches or more of rainfall exceeded 2,000 square miles, qualifying it as a "Mega Rain" event.  The flooding would have been worse had it not been for the relatively dry conditions beforehand. In addition to the heavy rain, there were three tornadoes, two of which were EF2.

Severe Storms Strike Northland Again: July 20-21, 2016

Just over a week later, another line of intense thunderstorms swept across northern Minnesota. The Hallock Airport in Kittson County had a wind gust of 83 mph. Planes were flipped over at the Bemidji Airport. 75,000 Minnesota Power customers lost power. The storms also moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, tragically killing two campers on Basswood Lake in Quetico, just across the Minnesota border in Ontario.
Flooding Rains: August 10-11, 2016

The second "Mega Rain" event of the year happened on August 10-11, 2016. The highest total found was 9.74 inches of rain at a Soil and Water Conservation District volunteer rain gage site in  Kandiyohi County. The arena and track at the Kandiohi County Fairgrounds flooded, postponing the demolition derby on the 11th.  There were many reports of basement flooding in Willmar.

Top 5 Weather Events of 2015 in Minnesota. Here's an excerpt of a post from The Minnesota DNR: "Here are the results of voting for the top five weather events of 2015 from the Minnesota State Climatology Office. Please visit us on Facebook and post your own top five weather events for Minnesota. Looking back over the past year there have been a few weather events that stand out against the rest. From the second warmest autumn statewide, to smoke-filled skies in July, this year's candidate events offer the variety of weather Minnesotans are accustomed to. 

Photo credit: "Grandstand Damage at the Brainerd International Raceway." Courtesy: Chris Wilkoske.

#5 Smoky Skies: July 6, 2015
One of the more bizarre candidates originated from Canada in the form of smoke. There were smoky skies at various times in the summer of 2015, with the thickest smoke observed on July 6, 2015. Visibilities were reduced to a mile and a quarter in St. Cloud and two-and-a-half miles in the Twin Cities. The scent of smoke was in the air and a pall hung over the metro. All courtesy of a cold front bringing smoke from fires in Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba over 1,000 miles away.

#4 Straight Line Winds Wreak Havoc in the Brainerd Lakes Area: July 12, 2015
The most damaging severe storm event of the year came in the form of a line of severe thunderstorms that brought winds from 70 to 95 mph in an area just south of Wadena eastward to the Pillsbury State Forest where winds were in excess of 100mph in places. Significant damage was done to resorts on Gull and North Long Lake as well as the grandstand at the Brainerd International Raceway...."

La Nina Signal on Winter Patterns. Just like El Nino warming phases, no two La Nina cooling phases are identical. Buyer beware - generalities and oversimplifications are rampant, and short-sighted. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer at NOAA's "...I’m sure you’re thinking “this is great and all, but I’m more of a visual learner and I have places to be, could you simply summarize this in a graphic?” Of course! When we combine and condense the important facts with what we already know happens to the jet stream across the Pacific Ocean during La Niña – and we apply an artistic brush – we get what you see above. A retracted jet stream over the Pacific causes a ripple effect on the atmospheric flow across the United States, which means warmer and drier than average temperatures over the southern U.S. while colder temperatures can filter in across the northwestern and north-central U.S. Wetter conditions prevail in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio River Valley as storms follow around the blocking high in the Pacific or across more northern areas near the Great Lakes. And the southern tier of the United States tends to be drier and warmer than normal as storms keep away..."

Another Doppler Radar Is Needed on West Coast. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Chinook Observer: "Rambunctious autumn storms this year highlight the need for more atmospheric data and better forecasting on the Northwest coast. Since many of our worst storms come out of the southwest, Doppler weather radar for the central Oregon coast would also benefit many communities farther north. The mid-October tornado in Manzanita was a warning siren on behalf closing a dangerous gap in the nation’s coastal Doppler system. KGW reported at the time that it is the only stretch of coast in the lower 48 states not covered by the storm-detecting technology. The only radar to detect the tornado before it hit — giving a couple minutes warning — is located on Langley Hill in Grays Harbor County..."

Photo credit: Cliff Mass, University of Washington. "Construction of a Doppler radar station on Langley Hill in Grays Harbor County has meant a major improvement in weather forecasting on the Washington and north Oregon coasts since it went into operation in September 2011. It cost about $9 million. A similar facility is needed for the next stretch of coastline to the south."

A Supervolcano Caused The Largest Eruption in European History. Now It's Stirring Again. Don't sweat the snow flurries. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...But the caldera itself is some 39,000 years old, formed by an eruption larger than anything else in the past 200,000 years of European history. A 2010 study in the journal Current Anthropology suggested that this prehistoric outburst — which spewed almost a trillion gallons of molten rock and released just as much sulfur into the atmosphere — set off a “volcanic winter” that led to the demise of the Neanderthals, who died out shortly afterward. Today, the Campi Flegrei caldera is increasingly restless. For half a century, scientists have measured “bradyseism” events — slow movements of the ground — that are indicative of molten rock slowly filling the mountain's magma chamber. Significant uplift in the past decade prompted Italian authorities to raise the supervolcano's alert level from green (quiet) to yellow (scientific attention) in 2012..."

Image credit: "In this educational film, researchers explain the dangers residents face living near the area of the Campi Flegrei volcano, near the Italian city of Naples." (YouTube/UPStrat-MAFA)

Beijing Now Has "Smog Refugees". Mashable reports that at least 150,000 people have fled thick smog.

How Bad Air Came Back. Here's more perspective from TIME: "...Delhi ranks high on a World Health Organization (WHO) list of cities with unhealthy levels of air pollution, but it is far from alone. WHO research found that 90% of the world’s population lives in areas with unsafe air-pollution levels. And it’s not just cities in the developing world, like Beijing, that face dirty air–Western metropolises like New York City and London are on the list as well. At the beginning of December, Paris was hit by some of the worst air pollution in a decade, leaving the Eiffel Tower cloaked in smog. For all the deserved focus on climate change as the planet’s major environmental threat, a much older one–bad air–is still a persistent danger. Economic growth in places like Delhi and Beijing has led to the rapid construction of coal-fired power plants, quick factory construction and traffic-choked streets. Regulations–to the extent that they exist in these places–receive little attention from the officials charged with enforcing them..."
Photo credit: Adnan Abidi—Reuters. "Children play on a smoggy day in New Delhi, where thousands die early from air pollution yearly."

GPG Survey of Trump Voters. I was pleasantly surprised by the desire to keep clean energy policies in place. Here's an excerpt from " This week, GPG and Morning Consult released the results of a poll of self-identified Trump voters, the first post-election poll conducted to probe specific policy views (full press release below). Below we have pulled out topline findings related to energy, climate, environment and infrastructure. In general, Trump voters are supportive of protecting both the climate and the environment, and strongly endorse spending on renewable energy and infrastructure. 

·         Trump voters support plans to combat climate change and cut carbon emissions:
o   More than half (55%) of Trump voters support upholding policies currently in place to combat climate change, with 30% saying we should implement new policies that go even further.
o   61% of Trump voters think the government should require US companies to reduce carbon emissions
·         Trump voters support spending on renewable energy, environmental protection and preservation:
o   Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Trump voters think that we should maintain or increase spending on renewable energy.
o   64% of Trump voters think the budget for environmental protection and preservation should be maintained or increase..."

As Republicans take Minnesota's Legislature, Clean Energy Still On The Table. Here's an excerpt from Midwest Energy News: "While Republicans will control both houses of Minnesota’s legislature next year, a recent forum suggests clean energy policy – particularly for solar and electric vehicles – will still have a place in the conversation. Speaking at the legislative preview last week on energy, transportation and climate change mitigation sponsored by the Environmental Initiative, Rep. Pat Garofalo, chair of the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee, praised the state’s community solar program for being a cheaper alternative than rooftop solar and suggested the program should win bipartisan support..." (File photo: Orlin Wagner, AP).

Why Is Corporate America Picking Wind Power Over Solar? The Guardian reports: "...Wind energy has historically been much cheaper than solar, making it a more attractive option, especially when energy can be a major expense for a company. As more businesses come under pressure from their customers, investors or government regulators to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and help rein in global warming, they will be looking for low-carbon energy that can compete with the price of coal and natural gas. Wind and solar are not the only sources of electricity with lower carbon footprints than coal and natural gas. Hydropower and nuclear are too, and, unlike solar and wind, are able to produce electricity any time. But hydropower plants require access to ample sources of surface water. A nuclear power plant can take longer to secure permits and cost more than building other types of power plants..."

Businesses and States Are United on Clean Energy. Forbes has an Op-Ed that resonated: "...You may not know it from the headlines, but Washington is not the only energy game that matters these days. Companies that buy massive amounts of energy and states that set the policies that shape the energy mix of their economies – whether with clean energy or climate-warming fossil fuels – also play a major role. Corporate and state efforts are driving the country’s extraordinary progress in growing the economy while reducing carbon pollution. Since 2000, according to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. GDP has grown by 30 percent while carbon pollution has fallen 10 percent. And, judging from business and state actions in recent weeks, interest in using more renewable energy and energy efficiency is getting stronger and shows no sign of abating..." (Image credit: Climate Reality).

To Slow Global Warming We Need Nuclear Power. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse at The New York Times: "...In roughly two decades, the United States could lose about half its reactors. That’s because, by 2038, 50 reactors will be at least 60 years old, and will face having to close, representing nearly half of the nuclear generating capacity in the United States. Without them, or enough new reactors to replace them, it will be much harder to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Unfortunately, some of our federal policies to encourage clean energy, such as the Clean Energy Incentive Program within President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, do not explicitly include or incentivize nuclear power. Likewise, some states have chosen to adopt policies, such as renewable portfolio standards, that do not include or incentivize nuclear power..."

File photo credit: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

See The Most Captivating Infographics of the Last Century. Nobody does it better than National Geographic. Here's a clip from Atlas Obscura: "The first issue of National Geographic magazine, published in October 1888, was vastly different to the magazine we know today. It contained no photographs or illustrations. The cover was brown, with just the title and symbol of the National Geographic Society. The following year, the magazine published a four-color foldout map, the first step towards the all-color charts and diagrams that have since become synonymous with National Geographic. “We’re in the business of using art to explain,”  Kaitlin Yarnall, Deputy Creative Director, explains in the introduction to National Geographic Infographics. Since then, National Geographic has become renowned for the infographics it uses to break down complex information. The new book, published by Taschen, brings together the best infographics from the magazine’s 128-year history..."

Illustration credit: "Skiing Through History, December 2013."

TODAY: Wet snow, coating - 2" slush. Mainly wet roads. Winds: S 10-15. High: 34

FRIDAY NIGHT: Flurries taper, slick spots on the highways. Low: 23

CHRISTMAS EVE: Mostly cloudy, good travel weather. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 32

CHRISTMAS DAY: Soggy Santa. Ice changes to heavy rain. Few T-storms, risk of flash flooding by evening. Winds: SE 15-25. Wake-up: 29. High: 45

MONDAY: Gusty and colder with flurries. Winds: NW 20-35. Wake-up: 29. High: 31 (falling)

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and cool. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 17. High: near 30

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, few flurries around. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 20. High: 33

THURSDAY: Cold wind, coating of flurries? Winds: NW 15-25.  Wake-up: 18. High: 29

Climate Stories...

Dear President-Elect Trump: Don't Listen to the "Ignorant Voices" on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from climate scientist Ben Santer at "...I am one member of those unarmed forces. Thirty-five years ago, I signed up for a life in science. The attraction was the joy of discovering interesting stuff about this strange and beautiful world in which we live. In the last thirty-five years, I learned two things. First, human actions are changing Earth's climate. Second, if we do nothing to address this problem, likely outcomes are bad. I want our country and our planet to avoid bad outcomes – which is why I've chosen to speak out publicly. I am not alone – thousands of my scientific colleagues are voicing their concerns. Scientific currency is not about money or power. It's about understanding. If you're a scientist, you are ultimately judged on whether you got the science right. The few scientific voices claiming that our planet is not warming did not get the science right..."

Warming Is Sending Mountain Glaciers "Off a Cliff". Andrea Thompson reports for Climate Central: "...But while scientists could draw a line from human-caused warming to glacier loss on a global scale, attributing any one glacier’s retreat to climate change has been difficult because of relatively short records and glaciers’ large natural variations. In a new study detailed this month in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers have figured out how to link global warming to the retreat of individual mountain glaciers. They showed that for 36 glaciers with robust records, that retreat is “categorical evidence” of climate change, study co-author Gerard Roe of the University of Washington said during a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union held last week in San Francisco..."

Photo credit: "Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand, one of the glaciers whose retreat is almost certainly linked to global warming." Credit: Christopher Chan/flickr

Beliefs About Climate Change May Reflect a Failure to Understand What Climate Change Is. Here's a snippet from Forbes: "...The researchers found that over the 50 year period, temperatures that favored local warming at a rate higher than would be expected to occur by chance were recorded at 49% of the weather stations included in the study. An additional 10% of the weather stations recorded temperatures that favored local cooling. Changes in local weather were reliably correlated with people’s belief about climate change. People who live in areas that have experienced more record high temperatures than lows are likely to believe climate change is happening. Conversely, people who live in areas that have experienced more record lows than highs are likely to believe climate change is not real..."

Map credit: "Temperature change in the US compared to average temperatures from 1901 to 1960." Credit NASA

Digital Media Are Shaking Up Reporting on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Thomson Reuters: "...These new players were generally more visually oriented than traditional media, relying on a lot of picture-based or video reporting. BuzzFeed in particular relied on photos more than any other media. These new players are already outperforming some traditional players for news in many countries.  For example, in the United States, Huffington Post is now the most popular source for information about environment for those who are highly interested in the issue. BuzzFeed reaches as many online users as the New York Times and the Washington Post each week among the same category of those highly interested in the environment..."

Earth's Temperature to Dip, But Still Sizzle in 2017. Reuters has the latest: "World temperatures are likely to dip next year from a sizzling record high in 2016, when man-made global warming was slightly boosted by a natural El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, scientists said on Tuesday. It is still likely to be the third warmest since records began. The year-on-year decline will coincide with the first year of Donald Trump's presidency. He has sometimes dismissed as a hoax the idea that global warming is caused by human activity. "Next year is not likely to be a record but it will still be a very warm year," Professor Adam Scaife of the British Met Office told Reuters of a report on Tuesday based on new computer data. He said it would be wrong for anyone who doubts that climate change is caused by humans to interpret the expected 2017 dip, prompted by the end of El Nino, which released heat from the Pacific Ocean, as a sign of an end to the long-term trend of global warming..."

El Nino-Linked Hurricanes to Increase in Pacific With Global Warming. Data suggests that warmer water, throughout a deeper layer of the western Pacific, is increasing wind speeds and intensities. Here's an excerpt from Reuters: "Small Pacific island states could be hit by more tropical cyclones during future El Nino weather patterns due to climate change, scientists said on Tuesday. El Nino is a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific occurring every two to seven years which can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the world.  Its opposite phase, a cooling of the same waters known as La Nina, is associated with the increased probability of wetter conditions over much of Australia and increased numbers of tropical cyclones. Between 2070 and the end of the century, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Hawaii could face an increased frequency in powerful storms during El Nino of up to 40 percent, Australian meteorologists said in a study..." (Typhoon Haiyan image: Asian Development Bank).

Voice of America has more perspective on the apparent increase in Pacific typhoon intensity here.

If You Were Warmer This Summer, You Might Be More Likely to Believe in Climate Change. Here's a clip from The Sacramento Bee: "Climate change may be a global phenomenon, but whether or not you believe in it may have more to do with your local weather. A recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that people’s views on climate change may be tied to the weather they have personally experienced, instead of weather conditions around the world. People who experienced more record heat were more likely to believe in global warming, according to study researchers, and those who had experienced recent colder temperatures were more likely to doubt warming in the long term. "Who do Americans trust about climate change; scientists or themselves?" lead author and Boston University professor Robert Kaufmann said in a press release. "For many Americans, the answer seems to be themselves..."

Map credit: "Local weather may impact whether or not Americans believe in climate change." Michelle Gilmore.

Scientific American has more context on how our views and opinions on climate are shaped by weather. My take: it's a little like confusing an argument (weather) with a 40-year marriage (climate).

Nixon Went to China. Can Trump Do Climate Change? Here's a snippet from Christian Science Monitor: "...We hear that we could win in the World Trade Organization if China or some other country challenges our imposition of the carbon tax on the stuff they’re importing to America. Now that’s a deal, we conclude. But who could pull it off? No international agreement involved, just a bold move by the United States – a United States with the guts to say to our trading partners, “Challenge us, and we’ll meet you and beat you in court. Then, you can make your own decisions as to whether you want to follow our lead. If you don’t, fine, keep on paying a carbon tax on entry into the United States. We’ll happily take your money. But we are going to lead and bring worldwide accountability for emissions.” It would be a big, bold deal. It would take a real dealmaker. Richard Nixon went to China. Bill Clinton signed welfare reform. Maybe Donald Trump can do climate change..." (Image credit: National Science Foundation).

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