Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amazing Fishing Opener Weather - Strong Storms May Drop 1-3" Rains Next Week

66 F. high temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
68 F. average high on May 11.
55 F. high on May 11, 2016.

May 12, 1922: A strong cold front moves through western Minnesota, replacing shorts with sweaters at Morris. The temperature dropped from 91 to 26 on this date.

Fishing for a Weekend of Perfect Weather?

At least we don't have to worry about blowing dust. On this date in 1934 the sky over Minnesota was black with clouds of roiling dust; half-foot drifts of topsoil - dirt getting inside homes. There was no place to hide from the dust storm, the result of original prairie grass being being plowed under to plant wheat. New, gas-powered tractors accelerated the plowing; a series of storms lifting topsoil into the air as far east as Boston and Atlanta. Soil management has improved dramatically since the 30s. We all want to believe there couldn't be another Dust Bowl.

Conditions look good for Saturday's Minnesota Fishing Opener. In fact, weather may be "too nice" (too sunny, winds too light?) I'm no fishing expert - if I can't catch walleye up on Pelican I'll blame the weather.

We may see highs near 80F Saturday and Sunday in the Twin Cities; upper 70s up north with comfortable humidity levels. The dreaded dew point reaches the 60s next week, fueling outbreaks of strong to severe thunderstorms. Statistically we're due for some hail and high water.

But Saturday should be ideal.

On This Date in 1934: Massive Dust Storms Sweeps from Midwest Into Eastern USA. has a good overview: "On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta. At the time the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, which held moisture in the earth and kept most of the soil from blowing away even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, however, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland with the newly invented tractor. The plowing continued after the war, when the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors sped up the process. During the 1920s, wheat production increased by 300 percent, causing a glut in the market by 1931..." (Image:

Warmer and Wetter. A surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico sparks heavy showers and T-storms Monday into Wednesday of next week. If the sun comes out 80F is not out of the question the first half of next week, with dew points pushing into the 60s. No wintry relapses are in sight - I suspect it's safe to plant annuals now. MSP temperatures: WeatherBell.

Super-Soggy Pattern Continues. The pattern continues to favor significant rainfall amounts. Today's storm pushes showers and heavy T-storms across the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast into the Mid Atlantic Region; heavy rain reaching New England by Saturday as the system intensifies into a strong coastal storm. The central USA enjoys warm, dry weather, but yet another sloppy storm pushes into the Pacific Northwest with snow for the highest elevations. NAM guidance: NOAA and

84-Hour Rainfall Forecast. NAM guidance from NOAA hints at 1-3" rainfall amounts from Wichita and  Little Rock to Huntsville, Norfolk and Wilmington; another surge of heavy rain reaching Oregon and Washington state. Source:

7-Day Rainfall Potential. 3-4" of additional rain from North Dakota into Minnesota and northern Wisconsin? More heavy rain and T-storms are likely the first half of next week. Flood-ravaged counties in Arkansas may pick up another 2-4" of rain in the next week, according to NOAA guidance. Flash flooding is possible in coastal Oregon and Washington.

An Overview of the Modern Tornado Record, 1950 Through Present. U.S. Tornadoes has an excellent overview of tornado technology, frequency and trends over time: "...In the 1950s there was a practical use of numerical weather prediction and development of computers. Forecasts were done by hand, on printed weather maps. By the 1960s, numerical weather prediction by computer began. The first successful weather satellite was launched, TIROS-7. On a 78-day mission, it relayed thousands of images showing large-scale cloud regimes, thus proving that satellites can provide useful information and surveillance of global weather from space. This satellite paved the way for the Nimbus Program, a NASA and NOAA collaboration for decades that advanced further research and use of satellite programs. During the first 20 years of the database, tornado reports steadily grew as awareness grew. The Palm Sunday outbreak in 1965 has been attributed to some of the growth in awareness. Forty-seven tornadoes occurred on April 11th and 12th in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. They killed 271. In many ways, it was a generational tornado outbreak like 2011 despite its lower death toll. History is replete with big tornado events that bring discussion of their destructive force out of hiding..."

Graphic credit: Tornadoes by year. (Ian Livingston/

Thousand-Year Flood for Missouri? Here's an excerpt of an analysis at Climate Signals: "A major slow-moving storm brought heavy rains, dangerous winds, tornadoes, and flooding across much of the central US beginning April 28. States from Oklahoma to Indiana recorded extreme three-day rainfall totals of 5 to 11 inches.[1] Eastern Texas saw two EF-3 tornadoes and Kansas experienced a rare late-season blizzard.  An impressively large area of 100- to 1,000-year rains hammered Missouri[2][4] and the Ozarks were hit by record-shattering flood crests. At least 20 people have been killed.[3] Climate change is amplifying rainfall across all storm types. One of the clearest changes in the weather across the globe and in the US is the increasing frequency and intensity of heavy rain and snow. A warmer atmosphere holds more water, and storms supplied by climate change with increasing moisture are widely observed to produce heavier rain and snow..."

How to Survive a Flash Flood. There's some very good information (you pray you'll never need) at lifehacker: "...If the water comes at your vehicle suddenly and you have no time to get away, you need to get out as quickly as possible. If you’re stuck and the water is rising, unbuckle your seatbelt, roll down your windows, break them with a specialized tool, or kick them out to allow water to flow freely into the vehicle. If you don’t, you won’t be able to open your doors because nearly 2,000 pounds of pressure will be pushing against it. Once water comes in and the pressure equalizes on both sides—which will take less than a minute—you’ll be able to open the car doors or swim out of the window opening. Abandon your car and move to higher ground following the on-foot rules explained above..."

Illustration credit: Angelica Alzona.

The Jet Stream Is About to Get Weird, Again, and It Could Lead to Extreme Weather. A high amplitude pattern increases the potential for severe outbreaks. Here's an excerpt from "...The atmosphere wants to get out of the traffic jam. It wants to restore forward motion and balance. That’s the whole point of weather — to balance the energy across Earth. So it will begin to produce weird conditions to break the traffic jam and return to its normal and preferred west to east flow. This is where our increased vulnerability for extreme weather events comes from. Floods, severe weather, spring snows and even early season tropical storms are all fair game over the next few weeks. Also troubling is the potential for an increase in this extreme weather pattern as the climate changes. Research published recently in Nature suggests a link between Arctic warming and atmospheric wavenumber-6 patterns. Enhanced warming in the Arctic would lead to a weaker temperature gradient between the tropics and the poles, resulting in more occurrences of a wavy, amplified jet stream capable of producing extreme weather..."

Animation credit: Pivotal Weather. "Ensemble forecast 500mb heights and anomalies through May 14."

Another El Nino Brewing for Late 2017? At the rate we're going we may see a perpetual El Nino warm phase in the Pacific. Here's an excerpt from Yale E360: "There is a strong chance for another El Niño in the second half of 2017, bringing with it altered weather patterns across the globe that could include drought in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America, and wet conditions in the southern U.S., forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other organizations warned last week. The new El Niño would start just over a year after the end of one of the world’s strongest El Niños on record. That event, which lasted from 2015 to 2016, increased surface water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. NOAA scientists did not say how severe the new El Niño could be..."

Image credit: Earth Institute, Columbia University.

As Heat Index Climbs, Emergency Visits, Deaths Rise in New England. It turns out the Heat Index (temperature + dew point) doesn't have to be as high as thought for people to succumb to the heat. Here's an excerpt from Brown University: "New research shows that New Englanders are susceptible to serious health effects even when the heat index is below 100, a finding that has helped to change the National Weather Service threshold for heat warnings...Data from the study, published in Environmental Research, has helped to shape a new National Weather Service policy for the New England region, according to a recently posted statement from the service’s eastern region headquarters. “The old threshold of 100 to 104 degrees Farenheit for two or more consecutive hours has been lowered to 95 to 99 degrees Farenheit occurring for two or more consecutive days, or any duration of heat index 100 to 104 degrees Farenheit,” the statement says..."

Myths and Facts About Lightning. Here's an excerpt from and "Each year roughly 300 people, on average, are struck by lightning across the country. Sadly, 30 of those are killed. The odds of being struck are 1 in 13,000 for an average lifespan. Data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that over a 10 year period, the Southeast has the most lightning fatalities in the country. Victims can be directly struck by lightning or can be injured/killed by the electrical current from the ground surrounding a nearby strike. A victim doesn't hold onto the current, so it is safe to touch him/her following the hit..."

Lightning Is No Match For This System That Can Predict Bolts Before They Strike. Interesting technology highlighted at Forbes: "...We cannot tell you exactly where a lightning strike will occur,” company president Bob Dugan said over the phone earlier this week, but Thor Guard can tell you when atmospheric conditions within several miles of the sensors are ripe for lightning strikes to occur. When Thor Guard’s sensors indicate that a lightning strike is possible within range, a loud horn and strobe lights alert anyone nearby to seek shelter immediately. The system can work for just one location or include several sensors and remote horns working together to keep watch over large spaces like public parks or entire school districts. Dugan points to the vast array of clients who use Thor Guard's systems to protect their properties as proof that the system works as advertised. The list includes public schools and colleges, numerous airports, the United States Golf Association, several NFL teams, and coming soon, a system that covers 90 golf courses around Chicago, Illinois..."

File photo: A.J. Pena.

Most Backup Cameras Don't Like Bad Weather. points out the limitations: "...If only they worked as well in foul winter weather as they do on sunny days. Subzero temperatures can distort the backup camera images shown on dashboard screens or, as some owners report, cause the system to conk out entirely — sometimes just for the first few seconds. It doesn't matter whether it's an Acura, Volvo or any brand in between, owners complain in online forums that their backup cameras suffer winter blues that include blurry, foggy or dark images or faint lines across the dashboard screen during frigid temperatures. Some manufacturers say the cameras can't handle the cold, but a Nissan spokesman said the LCD dashboard screen is to blame..."

Senate Rejects Repeal of Obama Drilling Rule. TheHill has an update: "Three Republicans joined Senate Democrats on Wednesday to reject an effort to overturn an Obama administration rule limiting methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling. Only 49 senators voted to move forward with debate on legislation to undo the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule, short of the 51 votes needed. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Ariz.) joined all 48 members of the Democratic caucus in rejecting the resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA)..."

The Crop That Ate America. Wait, North Dakota? Bloomberg takes a look at the benefits of planting corn: "Farmers who had long rotated plantings among a diverse group of grains are increasingly turning to a single one. Corn has always been a mainstay of U.S. agriculture, but its increasing profitability has driven up corn's share of total production, while grains such as wheat, oats and sorghum have steadily fallen, according to a Bloomberg analysis of a half-century of crop data. This locks farmers, as well as machinery-makers including Deere & Co., to the rises and falls of one crop, as both domestic and export markets grow more and more tied to the dominant U.S. grain. That exposes farmers to greater volatility and greater trade risk if a major buyer, such as Mexico, were to decide to stop buying U.S. corn. Corn will make up 68 percent of this year’s projected harvest of major U.S. grains and oilseeds this year, according to data the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Wednesday. That’s up from 47 percent in 1968. New markets and technology have made corn more profitable compared to other crops, which is why longtime farmers once devoted to competitive grains have switched to the nation’s number-one source for biofuels and cattle feed..."

Food Waste is The World's Dumbest Environmental Problem. Vox explains why: "...Your dinner isn’t simply a delicious, innocent bystander. From the farm to your plate, there’s food waste at every step. And decomposing food isn’t just stinky; it releases potent greenhouse gases, mostly in the form of methane. Even so, food waste should still be a relatively small issue, except that we needlessly waste food on such a massive scale that it adds up to a global problem. Just under 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste worldwide. To put that in perspective, if all the world’s food waste came together and formed a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US..."

Tesla's Solar Roof Pricing is Cheap Enough to Catch Fire. Bloomberg has a good overview of the technology: "...The vision Musk describes with the solar roof is the grand unification of Tesla’s clean-energy ambitions, combining solar power, batteries, and electric cars. “These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future,” Musk said. “Solar power going to a stationary battery pack so you have power at night, and then charging an electric vehicle … you can scale that to all the world’s demand.” The rooftop shingles are virtually indistinguishable from traditional high-end roofing products, with discreet solar cells embedded beneath a glass surface. From most viewing angles, they look just like ordinary shingles, but they allow light to pass through from above onto a standard flat solar cell..." (photo credit: Tesla).

Self-Driving Electric Ship Will Replace Thousands of Truck Trips at Norwegian Fertilizer Farm. You had me at 'electric'. Here's an excerpt at Quartz: "Norwegian chemicals group Yara announced today that it’s building a battery-powered ship that will be able to drive itself by 2020. It says the new container vessel will replace 40,000 of the diesel truck journeys it makes hauling fertilizer from its plant to ports every year. The new ship, named the Yara Birkeland, is a zero-emissions vehicle developed with shipping technology company Kongsberg. The ship will begin operations as a manned vessel next year, move to remote operation in 2019, and be capable of fully autonomous travel in 2020..."

Image credit: "Rendering of Yara's self-driving ship." (Yara)

The Economy-Changing Power of the LED Bulb. It's working - we just need to turn up the dial and move even faster. Here's a clip from Bloomberg View: "...Then, in a blog post Monday, economist Lucas Davis of the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business beat me to it. The residential portion of the decline in electricity use, at least (my chart above includes commercial and industrial use), can be attributed largely to LEDs and other energy-efficient lighting:
Over 450 million LEDs have been installed to date in the United States, up from less than half a million in 2009, and nearly 70% of Americans have purchased at least one LED bulb. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are even more common, with 70%+ of households owning some CFLs.  All told, energy-efficient lighting now accounts for 80% of all U.S. lighting sales.
LEDs use 85 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs..."

Why Electric Car Early Adopters Went Electric + Best Things About Driving Electric. For me it was the ability to save money (charging at home late at night), lower insurance and MUCH less maintenance. There are 150 moving parts on my Tesla, compared with roughly 10,000 moving parts on a traditional gas-powered vehicle. There is simply less that can go wrong. Here's an excerpt from Clean Technica: "...Environmental benefit” was still the leading response, but the gap narrowed hugely for this question versus the previous one. Drive quality was illuminated as a dramatic benefit of EVs in this section. “The smooth and quiet drive” of EVs and “the fun and/or convenience of instant torque” were in close contention for the #2 spot. However, they both concern drive quality and could have been combined if we chose to go that route. In such a case, “drive quality” may well have risen to #1. The remaining benefits rather evenly split the pie, with some notable differences by region and type of EV, as highlighted in the previous section. However, one more benefit worth pulling out here is “low maintenance.” It didn’t perform well at all in the previous section, but it gets quite a bit of love here — comparable with several other topics, on average..."

46% of "TV Screen Time" Spent Watching Traditional Linear TV? Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are catching on - getting to be a regular habit according to new research highlighted at "...56% of U.S. Adults own a Streaming Enabled TV which is a 56% rise from 2015. The majority of time Americans are watching TV (54%) is spent streaming video (20%), which can include network TV shows, subscription service original shows, or original digital video content.
Some additional key highlights from the study include:
  • 46% of American’s ‘TV Screen Time’ is spent watching Traditional Linear Programming
  • Half of Streaming Enabled TV owners (50%) say they prefer watching commercials over paying for ad-free subscriptions when streaming video on TV..."

The New Hulu Looks A Lot Like the Future of TV. High praise from The Wall Street Journal: "...What Hulu gets right is that the live TV channel is dying—and needs to be replaced by something that looks a lot more like Netflix . Instead of listing what’s on 50 channels, Hulu opens up with a focus on one thing it thinks you’d most like to watch. Flick up for a different recommendation. It makes no distinction between the live big game, stuff from your DVR or on-demand episodes of “The Golden Girls.” Hulu isn’t the only service to recognize we need fewer choices, not more. YouTube TV, the Google live service that launched last month, puts search, trending shows and personalized suggestions front and center..."

Photo credit: "We’re in a TV renaissance, but keeping up is a commitment. The Hulu with Live TV app recognizes we don’t need more choices, just better choices." Photo: Emily Prapuolenis/The Wall Street Journal.

Minneapolis Named Best Place for Doctors to Avoid Burnout. Who knew? Details via Minneapolis - St. Paul Business Journal: "The weather in Minneapolis is often cold, but when it comes to avoiding doctor burnout, it's No. 1. According to Medscape, a medical trade publication, Minneapolis ranks as the best place for physician satisfaction when it comes to a calm life coupled with professional and personal satisfaction. Factors used in the study include: the number of medical malpractice lawsuits, least punitive medical boards, teamwork with physician assistants and nurse practitioners, local amenities and overall quality of life..."

“Murmuring is wasted breath, and fretting is wasted time.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

TODAY: Partly sunny skies. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 72

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 53

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, risk of a few walleye. Winds: S 5-10. High: 78

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and warm, touch of June. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 57. High: 81

MONDAY: Fading sun, few T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 80

TUESDAY: Very humid, strong T-storms around. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 63. High: 84

WEDNESDAY: Still muggy, more showers and T-storms. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 62. High: 74

THURSDAY: More sun, less humidity. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 55. High: 69

Climate Stories...

A Place for Faith and Science When It Comes to a Changing Climate. On Wednesday Dr. Mark Seeley and I lead a panel on faith-based climate messaging at the National Adaptation Forum in St. Paul. Scientists and thought-leaders representing Christianity, Judaism and Islam agreed that appealing to hearts and minds is critical. A joint statement issued on the role of faith and climate change messaging is below. And don't bury the lead: viable solutions exist today. You can club people over the head with the stick of climate gloom and doom, or hold up a carrot of hope: we can have everything we want and need, save money and retool our economy, while emitting less warming carbon pollution. There will be disruption and dislocation, but I'm optimistic we'll figure it out. Because in the end we won't have a choice.

2017 National (Climate) Adaptation Panelists focused on faith-based messaging, from left to right: Mark Seeley, Dr. Teddi Potter, Paul Douglas; Mitchell Hescox; Odeh A. Muhawesh; Rabbi Fred Scherlinder.

Climate Change is Turning the American Southwest into "Mad Max". Esquire digs into the data and the trends: "...According to the study, the number of dust storms that the American southwest experiences each year has more than doubled from the 1990s to the 2000s. These storms—which can spread infectious disease, damage airplane engines, disrupt land transportation, wreak further havoc on drought-ravaged farms, and serve as a key component of the Mad Max lifestyle—are likely more frequent because of warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. That, according to the EPA (last year), is one of many splendid results of climate change. Dust storms now strike the Southwest 48 times a year, compared to an average of 20 times per year during the 1990s. Researchers traced the spike to a combination of warmer sea temperatures in the North Pacific and colder waters off the California coast, which allows the cooler, drier winds from the North Pacific to come sweeping into the southwestern United States. That has dried out the soil, and kicked up more dust storms..."

Photo credit: Joseph Plotz/NWS/NOAA). "A July 2012 dust storm in Gilbert, Arizona."

Glacier National Park Losing Its Glaciers With Just 26 of 150 Left. Better take a road trip to Montana to check them out, while you still can. The Guardian has details: "...Warming winters are bringing more rain, rather than glacier-forming snow, to Montana and other states. Even when there is plenty of snow, as Montana experienced this winter, the increasing heat of spring and summer is melting it away more quickly. Spring snow melts are now occurring at least two weeks earlier than they were in the 1960s. Scientists analyzed the extent of the 39 Montanan glaciers by studying aerial and satellite imagery stretching back to 1966. The latest data, from 2015, shows that there are now just 26 glaciers larger than 25 acres. The largest, Harrison glacier, is now 410 acres – a 19% decrease over the past 50 years. Others have declined by up to 85%..."

Map credit: "The perimeter of Sperry Glacier in Glacier national park in 1966,1998, 2005, and 2015." Photograph: US Geological Survey.

Going, Going: Glacier National Park's Iconic Glaciers Are Melting Away. InsideClimate News has more perspective and detail on troubling trends in Montana: "...Over the past 50 years, some of the glaciers have shrunk about 82 percent, so they won't be with us soon," said Daniel Fagre, the lead USGS scientist on the project. "For others, shrinkage has been more modest — about 13 percent. But the amount of ice in all cases is diminished, so the long-term prospects for our glaciers are not good." Fagre and his colleagues analyzed measurements, taken over the past five decades, of the park's 37 major glaciers and two others on adjacent U.S. Forest Service land. They found that of those 39 glaciers, only 26 still meet a 25-acre threshold. Glaciologists consider that amount of mass a convenient cut-off point to distinguish between a glacier (a perennial wedge of ice and snow that moves) and stagnant ice or a perennial snowfield (a wedge of ice and snow that doesn't)..."

Photo credit: "Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers as global temperatures rise. When the park was founded in 1910, it had about 150 glaciers. Today, only 26 still meet the 25-acre threshold to be called a glacier." Credit: Jinrui Qu/CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Arctic Heating Up Twice as Fast as Rest of the Globe. CNN reports: "The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world -- triggering a "massive decline in sea ice and snow," according to a new federal report. On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 11th annual Arctic Report Card, which compiles data from 61 scientists in 11 countries. "Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year," Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA's Arctic Research Program, said in a statement..."

Animation credit: Arctic ice melt from 1984 to 2016. Courtesy of NASA.

New Book Ranks the Top 100 Solutions to Climate Change. The Results Are Surprising. You'll never guess what's number 1. Here's an excerpt of an interview with Dave Roberts at Vox: "...We thought at least the top of the list would — solar, wind, wind, solar. Because that’s what you hear from Charles Ferguson, Al Gore, [Jeffrey] Sachs, or Christiana Figueres. They’re all saying the same thing. It’s understandable — 62 percent of the [greenhouse gas] molecules up there came from fossil fuel combustion, so you just invert it, right? It makes sense. It just doesn’t work out that way. If you take solar, which is eight and 10 [on the list], and wind, which is two and 22, and you combine them, they are definitely near the top. But you can’t model on- and off-shore wind the same, because the economics are vastly different. And you can’t model rooftop and solar farms in the same model. So in some cases we broke things up that people think of as aggregated. But even then, the number one solution is educating girls and family planning..."
Image credit: "Educating girls: 60 gigatons of potential." (Drawdown)

Historic Flooding in Quebec Probably Linked to Climate Change: Experts. Here's an excerpt from The Montreal Gazette: "Some may blame the gods, Hydro-Québec or their own bad luck, but climate change scientists say the heavy rains and terrible flooding plaguing Quebec this spring are almost certainly caused by global warming. “There is a very clear picture emerging that we’ve changed the chemistry of the atmosphere with our greenhouse gases and we are really seeing the consequences now,” Paul Beckwith, a climate systems scientist who teaches at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, told the Montreal Gazette in an interview Tuesday. Record amounts of rain this spring in Quebec and Ontario have meant the soil is saturated and can’t absorb any more water. The run-off adds to the water levels in already bloated rivers and streams. Lake Ontario has now hit its highest recorded level since 1880, when record-keeping began. The St. Lawrence River is about 1.2 meters higher than it normally is this time of year..."
Photo credit: "The Montreal region is susceptible to flooding because of its geographical position, immediately below the confluence of the Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River." Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE.

These People Want You To Know Climate Change Isn't Just for Liberals. Ars Technica has a very good recap of the pushback on the part of a relatively small (but growing) group of conservative voices speaking out about climate risk: "He doesn’t start with an apocalyptic description of future impacts when he talks to people about climate change, but, for some audiences, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Environmental Studies Calvin DeWitt does turn to the book of Revelation. “I’ll have a white-out pen in my pocket, and I’ll have them read Revelation chapter 11, verse 18. It’s a description of the sounding of the last trumpet, as you hear in Handel’s ‘Messiah,' and the end verse says, ‘The time has come for destroying those who destroy the Earth,’” DeWitt told me. “And so, I say, ‘I have a white-out pen here for anyone who would like to correct their Bible.’” DeWitt sees his faith as fundamental to, rather than in conflict with, his concern about climate change. He often finds common ground with fellow evangelicals by talking about stewardship of the wonderful natural world they have been given as a home. Put in these familiar terms, climate change seems more like an issue worthy of careful consideration..." (Image: Thinkstock).

Earth Could Break Through a Major Climate Threshold In The Next 15 Years, Scientists Warn. The Washington Post summarizes new research findings: "Global temperatures could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above their preindustrial levels within the next 15 years, according to a new scientific study, crossing the first threshold under the Paris climate agreement and placing the world at a potentially dangerous level of climate change. The report comes as climate agreement participants are watching the United States — where the Trump administration is debating whether to withdraw from the Paris accord — and as scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are working on a special report about the 1.5-degree goal (equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and the consequences of overshooting it..." (File image: NASA).

Reagan's Secretary of State Pleads for U.S. To Stay in Climate Deal. CNN has the story and video: "...George Shultz -- who served as secretary of state, secretary of labor, treasury secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Nixon and Reagan presidencies -- lays out the argument in an op-ed published Tuesday in The New York Times with Ted Halstead, president of the Climate Leadership Council. Shultz and Halstead note the "newly invigorated pro-Paris campaign by many of America's top CEOs," citing a series of "public letters and full-page ads." "This is as close as big business gets to a consensus position," they write, arguing that "our companies are best served by a stable and predictable international framework that commits all nations to climate-change mitigation." Shultz and Halstead say that a US withdrawal from the Paris deal would cloud the international business climate..."

Climate Change Denial Rattles Business. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...Last November, hundreds of U.S. companies wrote to President Trump. Forbes reported: “More than 300 U.S. companies, including 72 with annual revenues exceeding $100 million, have sent an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, urging him not to abandon the Paris climate agreement.” This is not just the sentiment of liberals from Silicon Valley, as climate-change deniers would have you believe. (“High-profile organizations signing the letter include Dannon, DuPont, eBay, Gap, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton, Intel, Kellogg, Levi Strauss, Mars, Monsanto, Nike, Patagonia, Staples, Starbucks, The Hartford, Tiffany and Vail Resorts — plus many others.”) They have made investments, planned transactions, cultivated public goodwill and done the math. Abandoning climate-change mitigation would be detrimental to their bottom line..."

There Must Be a More Productive Way to Talk About Climate Change. NPR interviews climate scientist and outspoken Christian Katharine Hayhoe: "...Climate denier is a good way to end the conversation. So if our goal is to label and dismiss whoever it is that we are speaking with or to, then that word will do it. What I use instead is a word I think is actually more accurate, as well as having less baggage associated with it, and that is the word dismissive. I use that. It comes from the six Americas of global warming, which separates people into a spectrum of six different groups depending on how they feel about climate change science and solutions. The group starts with people who are alarmed. And then there's people who are concerned. And then those who are cautious, which are actually the biggest group. Then there's people who are disengaged, those who are doubtful. And then at the very end we have about 10 percent of the population who is dismissive..."

The Doomsday Glacier. Alarmist hype? I sure hope so, but there are so many gotchas out there when it comes to climate volatility and disruption. This is a big question mark, highlighted at RollingStone: "In the farthest reaches of Antarctica, a nightmare scenario of crumbling ice – and rapidly rising seas – could spell disaster for a warming planet. Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is so remote that only 28 human beings have ever set foot on it. Knut Christianson, a 33-year-old glaciologist at the University of Washington, has been there twice. A few years ago, Christianson and a team of seven scientists traveled more than 1,000 miles from McMurdo Station, the main research base in Antarctica, to spend six weeks on Thwaites, traversing along the flat, featureless prairie of snow and ice in six snowmobiles and two Tucker Sno-Cats..."

Photo credit: "The ice cliffs of West Antarctica." Michael Martin/laif/Redux.

The Business Case for the Paris Climate Accord. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...In a recent barrage of public letters and full-page ads, Fortune 100 companies are voicing strong support for remaining in the Paris accord. The breadth of this coalition is remarkable: industries from oil and gas to retail, mining, utilities, agriculture, chemicals, information and automotive. This is as close as big business gets to a consensus position. American business leaders understand that remaining in the agreement would spur new investment, strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs, ensure American access to global markets and help reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate. Leaving Paris would yield the opposite..." (File image: NASA).

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