Saturday, April 8, 2017

Soggy Sunday ahead. A few strong storms south?

"Dissecting climate trends in Minnesota month by month"

Mark Seeley is the Minnesota state climatologist and meteorologist at the University of Minnesota and recently wrote about how Minnesota's weather has changed over the last 100 years. He has come us with some interesting findings, especially when it comes to winter temperatures. Here's an excerpt from this week's Weather Talk:

"The biggest change has occurred in January with the monthly mean value now (most recent decade) that is 3.7°F higher than it was a century ago. This is a 57 percent increase relative to the 100 year mean monthly value for January temperature of 6.5°F (from a statewide calculation). By most statistical criteria this is a significant change in mean monthly temperature. Another example is the change in average February temperature. It is now 5.8°F greater than it was a century ago, and this represents 48 percent of the 100-year mean value for the month of 12.1°F. Some other months with significant changes in mean temperature are:
December: +3.0°F increase
March: +4.2°F increase
November: +2.9°F increase

Tropical Cyclone ERNIE

While tropical activity close to home remains rather quiet, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center is keeping an eye on tropical activity near Australia in the Southern Indian Ocean The good news is that this storm is drifting south-southwest away from Australia and should pose no threat there.

Tracking Ernie

Here's the forecast for Ernie from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center as it weakens and drifts south-southwest away from Australia over the next few days.


2017 hurricane outlook: Colorado State predicts a slightly-below average season

Here we are at the beginning of April and we're already starting to think about the 2017 hurricane season. With the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season not starting until June 1st, Colorado State is already predicting a slightly below average season. By the way, the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season was the first above average season since 2012! It produced 15 named storms, 7 of which were hurricane and 4 of those were major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). Here's an excerpt from Colorado State University: Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2017, citing the potential development of El Niño as well as recent anomalous cooling in the tropical Atlantic as primary factors. A weak La Niña this past winter has dissipated, and there is the potential that a weak to moderate El Niño could develop by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form. In addition, most of the North Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past month, and the tropical Atlantic is now slightly cooler than normal. In addition to providing less fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification, cooler tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are associated with a more stable atmosphere as well as drier air, both of which suppress organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development.

Named Storms (12)* 11
Named Storm Days (60.1) 50
Hurricanes (6.5) 4
Hurricane Days (21.3) 16
Major Hurricanes (2.0) 2
Major Hurricane Days (3.9) 4
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (92) 75
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (103%) 85
* Numbers in ( ) represent medians based on 1981-2010 data.


Visible Satellite on Saturday
Saturday's pesky high cloud cover was kind of a bummer. Don't get me wrong, it was nice and mild, but with the gusty winds and lack of bright blue skies, it wasn't as nice as I thought it would have been. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed the dry and mild weather because Sunday and Monday will be quite soggy as a storm system moves through the region.

2017 Ice Out Dates
Here's the latest MN DNR ice out dates, which shows that more lakes across central and now northern MN have officially gone out for the season. Note that ice outs are occurring nearly 1 to 2 weeks ahead of schedule this year!


Spring 2017 Continues to Arrive Early Across the Nation
According to the National Phenology Network spring has sprung across much of the nation and arriving nearly 20 days earlier than a long-term average (1981-2010) in much of the South, Great Plains, Great Basin, mid-Atlantic, Midwest and parts of the Northeast. Here's the map as of April 8th, which now shows that parts of the High Plains, Upper Midwest and even parts of the Northeast are starting to see signs of spring!
See more from the USA NPN here:


Space Seeds?
If you're a gardener or a space guru this might be of some interest to you. Here's an excerpt from Earth to Sky Calculus regarding space seeds, which you can purchase if you're interested: "Northern Spring has arrived, and that means it's time to plant your garden. Your SPACE garden, that is. On March 26th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload-full of tomato and sunflower seeds to the edge of space. Carried 115,500 feet high by a giant helium balloon, the packets experienced temperatures as low as -63 C and cosmic ray dose rates 100 times Earth-normal. What will these far-out seeds yield? Find out for yourself! For only $39.95 we will send you a packet of space seeds along with control samples that remained on the ground during the flight. Plant them side by side for a backyard science experiment. Each shipment comes with a card telling the story of the flight and certifying that the seeds have been to the stratosphere and back again. Please specify your seed preference (Beefsteak tomato, cherry tomato, or sunflower) in the comments box at checkout."
See more from Earth to Sky Calculus HERE:


Active Early Week
Here's the weather outlook through Thursday, which shows a fairly robust storm system moving through the Central US through the early week time frame. While strong to severe storms maybe possible Sunday and Monday, there also appears to be a little snow potential across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. The good news is that the weather doesn't appear to be as active as it was across the Southern US during the last week of March and the first week of April.

Several Weather Threats Ahead 
Weather conditions across the country look to remain somewhat active through the early week time frame, but not quite as active as it was over the past couple of weeks. According to NOAA's SPC, there is a risk of severe weather on Sunday and Monday across parts of the Central US. Large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes maybe possible.

Active Start to April
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been nearly 550 severe weather reports through April 5th! While most of the reports have been either hail or wind reports, 45 of those have been tornadoes!
Average Severe Weather For Early/Mid April
Here's an interesting map that shows the average severe weather probabilities for this time of the year and note that the highest concentration is across the Southern US and especially near the Arklatex region.
2017 PRELIMINARY Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY tornado count for 2017 is at 511 (thru April 7). Interestingly, this is the highest number of tornado reports (thru April 7) since 2008 when 545 tornadoes were reported through that time frame. The 2005-2015 average number of tornado reports through April 7 is 270.

Soggy Sunday ahead. A few strong storms south?
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
"Can we fill up the kiddie pool?" I was asked eagerly by my 5 year old yesterday as he was running around the yard. "Not yet buddy, wait until it hits 80 degrees," I said. I guess have a promise to keep now, don't I?
70 degrees in April does something to a Minnesotans' psyche. It gets us all worked up. From long lines at city compost sites to frenzied activity at garden centers, many had a serious case of spring fever! It was the warmest day since early November, nearly 5 months ago!
A fairly robust storm system scoots through the Upper Midwest with scattered showers and storms, some of which could be strong to severe across parts of southern Minnesota later Sunday. Lingering rain showers mix with a few wet flakes late Monday as temperatures drop in the wake of the system. Parts of central Minnesota could end up with 1 to 2 inches of soaking rains, which will help alleviate some of the wildfire concerns until we green up.
After a brief cool down, temps look to rebound back into the 60s later this week. Spring has sprung!
Extended Forecast:
SUNDAY: Mild with scattered storms, locally heavy rain. Winds: NE 5-15. High: 68
SUNDAY NIGHT: Showers and spotty thunderstorms, some with locally heavy rain. Low: 45
MONDAY: Dropping temps. Rain mixed with a few wet flakes. Winds: NNW 10-20. High: 46
TUESDAY: Hazy sun. Back to normal temps. Winds: NNW 5-10. Wake-up: 36. High: 54
WEDNESDAY: Few showers. 60s return. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 61.
THURSDAY: Mostly sunny. Nicest day of the week. Winds: SE 5-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 61.
FRIDAY: Breezy. Scattered showers and storms. Winds: SE 15-25. Wake-up: 42. High: 64.
SATURDAY: Leftover showers, more PM sun. Winds: WSW 10-15. Wake-up: 45. High: 62.
This Day in Weather History
April 9th
1931: Severe dust storms are reported in St. Paul.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 9th
Average High: 55F (Record: 81F set in 1930)
Average: Low: 34F (Record: 15F set in 1997)
*Record Snowfall: 5.5" set in 1894
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
April 9th
Sunrise: 6:38am
Sunset: 7:51pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 4 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours & 28 minute

Moon Phase for April 8th at Midnight
2.0 Days until Full Pink Moon
Why is it  the full pink moon? Here's an excerpt from "April 11, 2:08 a.m. EDT – Full Pink Moon. The grass pink orchid, or wild ground phlox, is one of the earliest and most ubiquitous flowers of spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon when the shad come upstream to spawn. In 2017, this is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed five days later on Sunday, April 16."
Weather Outlook For Sunday
Despite being a soggy day, Sunday's high temperatures will be quite mild once again. Many across the state will be in the 60s prior to the cold front working through.
Weather Outlook For Sunday
Saturday's wind gusts were very strong, at times gusting to near 30mph in a few locations. Thankfully the winds won't be quite as strong as our soggy storm system moves through on Sunday.
Weather Outlook For Sunday
Here's the weather depiction for midday Sunday, which shows widespread shower and thunderstorm activity across the state. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be on the strong to severe side across the southern part of the state with locally heavy rainfall.

Quiet Friday & Saturday, but a Soggy Sunday Ahead

Here's the weather outlook from Sunday to Monday, which suggests a fairly unsettled and potentially thundery day across the Upper Midwest on Sunday. As the storm system moves through the region, isolated strong to severe storms maybe possible along with locally heavy rainfall on Sunday, while a rain/snow mix maybe possible on Monday and Tuesday as the storm system moves east.

Heavy Rain and Severe Threat

Here's the weather outlook as we head into the next couple of days. Not only is there a risk of severe weather later Sunday across parts of southern Minnesota, but heavy rains will be possible as well. Some spots could see as much as 1" to to 2" of rain through Monday.


Precipitation Potential

Here's another look at the precipitation potential through Monday, which shows the potential of steadier, heavier rain moving in across central MN. Note that some spots could see nearly 1"+ rain!

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through April 23rd, which shows mild temperatures continuing on Sunday, but we take a bit of a hit Monday and Tuesday in the wake of the storm system. However, the extended forecast brings a string of 60s & 70s back in by the second half of the week and upcoming weekend. We may even stay that warm through the 3rd full week of April! Note that the average high temperatures in the Twin Cites on April 9th is 55F, while the average high on April 23rd is 62F!
______________________________________________________________________________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 17th - April 21st

High Temperature Sunday

Sunday will be another very mild day across the eastern half of the country with some locations in the Central US nearly 10F to 20F above average! However, temperatures in the wake of the storm system will be 10F to nearly 20F below average across the Western US.

Temperature Outlook
Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into the 3rd week of April. Note that warmer than average temperatures look to develop across the eastern two-thirds of the nation, while the only cooler than average spot would be found across parts of the Western US.
 National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through the early weekend, which shows a large storm system wrapping up in the Northeast on Friday and early Saturday before subsiding late weekend. Meanwhile, another strong Pacific storm is in the works across the Western US with heavy mountain snow, heavy coastal rain and strong winds. This particular storm system will begin moving into the Plains late weekend with the potential of strong to severe storms in the Central US by Sunday.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests heavy precipitation across parts of the Western US through the weekend before moving into the Central US with some heavier 1" to 2"+ pockets of rain there.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows snow accumulations continuing in the Western US with colder than average temperatures persisting there. Also note that there could be some minor accumulations across parts of the Upper Midwest through early week as well!
"Most Americans Oppose Climate Science Cuts"
The vast majority of voters do not support the deep cuts to climate science funding now being proposed in Washington, a new poll has found. Three-quarters of voters think it is a bad idea to cut money for climate research, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday. Sixty-five percent say they believe climate change is caused by human activity, which the majority of scientists in the field concluded years ago, but American politicians have been slow to accept. Meanwhile, the number of voters who say they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change has increased to 76 percent, up from 66 percent in December 2015. “There is more concern now than there has been in the past,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll. He said a growing number of voters feel climate change is an existential threat.
See more from Scientific American HERE:
Credit: Lukas Schulze Getty Images via Scientific American)

_____________________________________________________________________________"How climate change could mean more jet turbulence"
Admit it. No matter how many times you've taken a flight, the quick up-and-down, side-to-side jolts brought by airplane turbulence can cause a tinge of panic. Now new research has found turbulence could become more severe, enough to heave passengers and crew across an airplane, as more carbon dioxide seeps into our atmosphere. Researchers form the University of Reading found severe and moderate-to-severe turbulence will more than double as a result of expected increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The research, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, used supercomputer simulations to test how turbulence will change at 39,000 feet when the levels of carbon dioxide doubles. Author Dr. Paul Williams said that level is expected by century's end.
See more from USA Today HERE:
(Photo: Thatpichai, Getty Images/iStockphoto via USAToday)

________________________________________________________________________"Court Rules California Climate Payments Aren’t Taxes"
State judges told the California Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that its members don’t have a right to pollute, rejecting claims by its attorneys that payments required to release greenhouse gases under a marquee climate program are a kind of tax. The state appeals court ruling could have profound implications for the future of the state’s embattled cap-and-trade program, making it more likely to survive beyond 2020, when it could help the state meet some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets.
(Air pollution in Los Angeles. Credit: Prayitno/flickr via Climate Central)

_____________________________________________________________________________"Climate change: three of Australia’s big four banks reviewing exposure to fossil fuels"
Three of Australia’s big four banks are reviewing their exposure to fossil fuels, including their lending practices to households and farmers, in response to climate change. The Commonwealth Bank is conducting a “detailed climate policy review” that will be released publicly pending board approval, and NAB has a working group reviewing the risks from global temperatures rising two degrees. ANZ is conducting portfolio analysis to identify changes in the financial position of business customers in sectors “most exposed” to climate change. It is also working with the Bureau of Meteorology to understand variability in average annual rainfall over recent decades to understand how climate change is affecting Australia’s traditional farming areas.
See more from The Guardian HERE:
(Of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks – Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac– only the latter is not currently reviewing its exposure to fossil fuels. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images via The Guardian)

_________________________________________________________________________"Yes, 50 million years ago the earth was hotter. Here's why climate change is still a major problem"
"If we do nothing to reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, by the end of this century the Earth will be as hot as it was 50 million years ago in the early Eocene, according to a new study out today in the journal Nature Communications. This period—roughly 15 million years after dinosaurs went extinct and 49.8 million years before modern humans appeared on the scene—was 16F to 25F warmer than the modern norm. Climate change doubters often point to these earlier temperature shifts as a way of rebutting the scientific evidence that climate change is caused by human activity. And yes, less than a million years ago parts of the Midwest were covered in glaciers, while 56 million years ago the Arctic was warm enough that crocodiles roamed Greenland. All of this is true."
See more from Popular Science HERE:
(Credit: Pixabay via Popular Science)

_________________________________________________________________________"House tells NOAA in new bill – focus on weather, not climate research"
House Approves Weather Forecasting Bill
Apr 4, 2017
Press Release
WASHINGTON- The U.S House of Representatives today unanimously approved the Senate amendment to H.R. 353, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Vice Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). This legislation directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prioritize its research to improve weather data, modelling, computing, forecasting, and warnings.
See more from Whats Up With That HERE:

______________________________________________________________________________"SPHERICAL CAMERA IN THE STRATOSPHERE"
On March 26th, as part of our normal cosmic ray monitoring program, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a Ricoh Theta S spherical camera to the stratosphere. The finicky instrument worked throughout the entire flight, resulting in this view from an altitude of 116,140 feet:
See more from SpaceWeather HERE:

_____________________________________________________________________________"JUPITER AT OPPOSITION"
"the sun, Earth and Jupiter are almost perfectly aligned. Or, as an astronomer would say, "Jupiter is at opposition." From our point of view on Earth, Jupiter and the sun are on opposite sides of the sky. At opposition, the giant planet rises at sunset and stays up all night long.  This is also the time when Jupiter is closest to Earth. Even small telescopes reveal Jupiter's moons and stormy cloud belts. To appreciate the view, cross your eyes and stare into this picture taken by Sylvain Weiller of Jerusalem, Israel: Crossing your eyes and mentally merging the two images, Jupiter pops out of the screen in 3D"
See more from SpaceWeather HERE:


California's Rare "Super Bloom" Flowers Are Migrating North

In March, California made headlines with a so called "Super Bloom" across parts of Southern California. Well now that "Super Bloom" is migrating north and has parts of the Central Valley cascading in color! Unfortunately, those flowers are being trampled by the high volume of tourists checking out the rare view: Here's an excerpt from Architectural Digest: A winter of heavy rainfall in California meant this year's flowers are even more vibrant—and they have spread to new locations. Perhaps nothing announces spring better than a valley of blooming wild flowers. And that is just what residents and visitors of California's Central Valley have experienced this week. After the Bureau of Land Management posted an Instagram picture of the lush landscape yesterday, the Internet took notice as images began spreading throughout the web. "The show is simply something out of a storybook," the Bureau's caption read. "The Valley floor has endless expanses of yellows and purples from coreopsis, tidy tips, and phacelia, with smaller patches of dozens of other species." Generally, California's "Super Bloom" occurs in locations such as the Anza-Borrego Desert outside of San Diego and Walker Canyon near southern Los Angeles. This year, however, the blooming moved some 50 miles north of L.A. in and around Carrizo Plain. This has caused residents and tourists alike to flock the generally quiet valley. As a result, officials have been forced to place signs urging visitors to stay on marked trails as there have been reports of flowers being trampled.
See more from Architectural Digest HERE:
(California's "Super Bloom" has traveled north of L.A. this year to the Carrizo Plain.Photo: Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management)


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