Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Cloud Types Defined by the WMO - Cloudy Sunday with a Few Showers

New Cloud Types Defined by WMO. The UK Met Office has details: "The cloud species Volutus has been officially named as a new species of cloud in the World Meteorological Organization’s Cloud Atlas. The new cloud species name will now be used by meteorologists operationally around the world. As well as a new species, several new ‘special clouds’ and supplementary features of existing cloud types have been officially recognised in the atlas which is the official publication of cloud types. It is used as a reference document by operational meteorologists around the world and is also an important training tool for meteorologists, as well as for those working in aviation and at sea. Special clouds named in the new edition include: Flammagenitus, which are clouds formed as a result of forest fires; and Homogenitus, which denotes man-made or anthropogenic clouds such as those which form over power station cooling towers. An example of a new supplementary feature is Asperitas, which are well defined wave-like structures in the underside of clouds..."

More new entries in the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Cloud Atlas:

Visible Satellite on Saturday
Speaking of clouds, here's the visible satellite from Saturday, which showed mostly cloudy conditions across much of the state. Note that the only place that really had any sun was across parts of northwestern and far northeastern MN, while the rest of us stared at another slate-gray sky. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we will see much sun this weekend as another cloudy day is on tap Sunday with a few spotty showers.

Upcoming Northern Lights Potential

I am hoping the clouds clear soon! Due to an Earth-facing storm on the sun, northern lights may be possible early next week! Here's an excerpt from POTENT CORONAL HOLE FACES EARTH: A canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere is facing Earth, and it is spewing a stream of fast-moving solar wind toward our planet.  NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the giant fissure on March 25th: This is a "coronal hole" (CH) -- a vast region where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape.  A gaseous stream flowing from this coronal hole is expected to reach our planet on during the late hours of March 27th and could spark moderately-strong G2-class geomagnetic storms around the poles on March 28th or 29th. We've seen this coronal hole before.  In early March, it lashed Earth's magnetic field with a fast-moving stream that sparked several consecutive days of intense auroras around the poles. The coronal hole is potent because it is spewing solar wind threaded with "negative polarity" magnetic fields. Such fields do a good job connecting to Earth's magnetosphere and energizing geomagnetic storms. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras early next week


Northern Lights Potential on Tuesday, March 28

According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the northern lights potential for Tuesday, March 28th is HIGH! Stay tuned. Here's their forecast: Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin and Igaluit to Vancouver, Helena, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Bay City, Toronto, Montpelier, and Charlottetown, and visible low on the horizon from Salem, Boise, Cheyenne, Lincoln, Indianapolis and Annapolis.

2017 Ice Out Dates
According to the MN DNR, several Minnesota lakes have already gone ice out this year, which is well ahead of normal. Thanks to continued above average this winter and early spring, some lakes have even seen an record early ice out this year!


Active Weather Continues

Weather conditions across the country will remain quite active over the next several days as Pacific storms continue to slide across the country. As the storms move east of the Rockies, strong to severe storms will develop with potential of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. With several chances of strong to severe storms, locally heavy rainfall will also be possible. Here's the simulated radar through Tuesday, March 29th. 

Several Weather Threats Ahead 
According to NOAA's SPC, there is a risk of severe weather over the next several days. The images below are the severe threats on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday respectively. Note that large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes will all be possible.

Southern Rainfall Potential

With several days of strong to severe thunderstorms possible over the Central and Southern US, heavy rainfall will be possible as well. Take a look at the precipitation potential through Thursday and note that widespread to 2" to near 4"+ tallies will be possible.

2017 PRELIMINARY Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY tornado count for 2017 is at 372 (thru March 24). Note that this is the most (thru March 24th) since 2012 when nearly 400 tornadoes reported through that time frame. The 2005-2015 average through March 24th is 190.

Steady Stream of Pacific Moisture

The precipitable water loop from the Eastern Pacific shows plume of highly concentrated water moving into the West Coast. These streams are and will continue to be responsible for copious amounts of precipitation over the next several days.

Precipitation Continues in the Western US This Week

Here's the weather outlook through the middle part of next week, which shows two waves of heavier moisture moving through the region. Note that there will be a mix of rain and mountain snow as these systems push through.

 Western Precipitation Potential

Here's a look at the precipitation potential through the early next week, which shows as much 4" to 8"+ liquid! There certainly could be areas of flooding with snow melt and as much precipitation as there is expected to be.

I've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now
By Paul Douglas
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky” wrote Rabindranath Tagore. Clouds form when air rises and cools, invisible water vapor condensing into microscopic droplets and ice crystals. When they stick together gravity can pull them to the ground as rain or snow. They look light and airy, but a typical puffy cumulus cloud weighs over a million pounds. A towering T-storm keeps BILLIONS of pounds of water and ice suspended overhead! Recently the WMO Cloud Atlas added new varieties of clouds: volutus, wavy asperitus, homogenitus (man-made clouds) and flammagenitus, which form above forest fires.

Knowing cloud type, wind direction & barometric pressure trends and one can make a pretty accurate short-range (6 hour) forecast.

We stare out the window at a smear of stratus clouds Sunday, some thick enough to leak drizzle and light rain showers. Temperatures mellow later this week with a streak of 50s and relatively dry, quiet weather into next weekend as significant storms sail south of Minnesota. Could be worse right?______________________________________________________________________________

Extended Forecast:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with a few light showers. Winds: ENE 5-10. Low: 37.
SUNDAY: Persistent clouds. Lingering showers, drizzle. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 45.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. A few light spits. Winds: N 5. Low: 36.
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Better. Winds: N 7-12. High: 52.
TUESDAY: Partly sunny. Spring in your step. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 38. High: 58.
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, showers late. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 41. High: 55.
THURSDAY: Best chance of showers: southern MN. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: 51.
FRIDAY: Unsettled. Lingering showers. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 50.
SATURDAY: Drying out, peeks of sun. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: 56.
This Day in Weather History
March 26th
2012: This is the record early ice-out date on Mille Lacs Lake.
2007: Temperature records are shattered across much of central and southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. The following records were set: 69 at Alexandria, 75 at Mankato, 77 at Little Falls, 79 at St. Cloud, 81 at Minneapolis-St. Paul and Eau Claire, 82 at Redwood Falls, and 83 at Springfield.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
March 26th
Average High: 47F (Record: 81F set in 2007)
Average: Low: 28F (Record: -10F set in 1996)
*Record Snowfall: 8.5" set in 1936
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
March 26th
Sunrise: 7:04am
Sunset: 7:33pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 8 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~3 hours & 43 minutes

Moon Phase for March 25th at Midnight
1.8 Days Before New Moon
Weather Outlook For Sunday
Sunday will be another cool day across the region with highs warming into the 30s and 40s across the state. However, some spots across the Red River Valley will be near 50F by the afternoon. 
Weather Outlook For Sunday
Winds on Sunday will be fairly light across the region, but with a little breeze out of the north, it'll feel a little cooler than the actual temperature.
Weather Outlook For Sunday
The same storm system that brought parts of the region a few showers earlier this week, will bring us another round of light rain showers on Sunday. Here's the weather potential around midday Sunday, which shows a few showers skirting the eastern part of Minnesota with mostly cloudy skies across the rest of the region.


Sunday System Slides East

Weather conditions on Sunday will be somewhat soggy across the region, but the steadiest rainfall will be east of us. With that said, expect mostly cloudy skies and a few spits of rain on Sunday.

Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential through early next week, which shows a little light rain across parts of far eastern MN and into Wisconsin. Other than that, not much moisture is expected across the region. 

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through April 9th, which shows temperatures gradually warming over the next several days with highs sliding into the 50s & 60s as we slide into April.
______________________________________________________________________________8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures in the Upper Midwest from April 3rd - April 7th.

Temperature Outlook
Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us through early April. Note that warmer than average temperatures look to the eastern half of the country, while cooler than average temperatures may persist in the Pacific Northwest.
 National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through early next week, which shows a fairly active weather pattern across the country with several storms systems tracking across the Lower 48.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 2" to 4"+ precipitation amounts across parts of the Northwest with some of the heaviest tallies in the higher elevations. Also note that there could be some 2" to 4" tallies across the Central/Southern Plains.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows some accumulations across parts of the Northeast and in the Western mountains, but there doesn't appear to be any major snow event unfolding across the Lower 48. The heaviest appears to be farther north in Canada.
The cosmic ray monitoring program of and Earth to Sky Calculus is not supported by government grants or big corporate sponsors. Instead we rely on you. That is, you and the Easternauts: On March 2nd, the student researchers flew a payload-full of Easter bunnies to the edge of space--and you can have one for $39.95. (Space helmet included!) They make great Easter gifts for young scientists, and all proceeds support STEM education.  Each bunny comes with a greeting card showing the Easternaut in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again.
See more from HERE:


"Why looking at the sun can make you sneeze"
The sun makes me sneeze. It’s not like I get fits of uncontrollable sneezes as if I’m allergic to the sunrays. But watch me leave a movie theater at high noon on a cloudless Saturday, and you can bet a large sneeze will explode out of my body within 30 seconds. Since childhood, I thought sun sneezes were a malady that everyone encounters. But a few years ago, I explained to my then-boyfriend and now-husband that I could force a sneeze to happen by staring at the sun. His quizzical look revealed that sun sneezes are not normal. I’m an exception to a rule — but I’m not alone.
See more from HERE:

"20 Common Myths That Climate Scientists Often Hear"
Over the past few weeks I casually asked several climate-informed colleagues what questions, claims, or myths do they hear most often from friends, family, or random people. I call these "zombie" theories because they have often been refuted but live on in social media, other outlets, and so forth.  Here are the top 20 that emerged.1. The climate always changes naturally, and we always had extreme weather. This is an accurate statement but misses the point that natural cycles can be altered by anthropogenic processes (Natural growing grass+fertilizer and Major League Baseball-home runs in the steroid era). Natural processes have always and will continue to affect climate. We just have to figure out how this relatively new anthropogenic "ingredient" is modifying the recipe.
See more from Here:
(In this image provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA, shows how low sea ice levels were in the Arctic this winter, alarming climate scientists. During the winter, Arctic sea ice grew to 5.57 million square miles (14.42 million square kilometers) at its peak, but that’s the smallest amount of winter sea ice in 38 years of record keeping, beating the record set in 2015 and tied last year. Sea ice in March of this year was smaller than last year by an area about the size of the state of Maine. (National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA via AP))

"Ice-spraying balloons are the latest climate idea because we are running out of climate ideas"
The idea of using technology to directly cool Earth’s climate — most often called geoengineering — has always been equal parts bold and crazy. But it’s getting slightly more plausible every day. At an event in Washington, DC today, Harvard professor David Keith announced his new plan for testing his solar radiation management ideas, partnering with an Arizona launch site and a high-altitude balloon company called World View Enterprises. The plan is to launch a series of hover-gondolas to spray tiny particles of ice into the stratosphere, and monitor how those particles behave. It will be years before the launches actually happen, but if they do, the resulting data could answer some of geoengineering’s biggest questions. The main problem for researchers like Keith is that we still don’t know exactly what geoengineering would do to the Earth. The general idea is to spray reflective particles into the atmosphere to throw off sunlight and counteract the effects of accumulating heat-trapping greenhouse gases. It works in theory, but actual testing can be politically dicey, so while there’s been a lot of debate around these schemes, scientists haven’t been able to do much actual research.
See more from HERE:


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