67 F. average high on May 9.
69 F. high on May 9, 2016.
May 10, 1934: 'The Classic Dust Bowl' hits Minnesota. Extensive damage occurs over the region, with near daytime blackout conditions in the Twin Cities and west central Minnesota. Dust drifts cause hazardous travel, especially at Fairmont where drifts up to 6 inches are reported. Damage occurs to personal property due to fine dust sifting inside homes and businesses.
A Big Sloppy Dose of Weather Gratitude
"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude" wrote Brene Brown. She's right, of course. Every waking moment is a miracle, but a fire-hose of daily distractions can make it easy to forget how lucky we really are.
The other day I was whining about something stupid. A friend smiled "Paul, the world would love to have your problems. Half the 7 billion people on this planet live on less than 3 bucks a day." That shut me up pretty fast.
With Texas tornadoes, damaging hail in Denver, killer, late- spring freezes for the Carolinas and historic flooding from Missouri to Quebec we've been fortunate in the weather department.
No river flooding, few severe storms (yet) and ample soil moisture for farmers & gardeners. Weather? We don't have anything to gripe about.
Showers brush the southern third of Minnesota (including the MSP metro) today but dry weather prevails Thursday into the weekend.
Next week brings 70s, more humidity and a few swipes of thundery-rain. No drama (for a change).
84-Hour NAM Future Radar. Heavy showers and T-storms push across the Upper Midwest today, while the eastern USA enjoys dry, lukewarm weather - quiet along the Gulf Coast and California, but more rain reaches Portland and Seattle during the day Thursday. Model guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Map credit: "Drought Has Disappeared from much of the U.S. Left: August 7, 2012. Right: April 25, 2017."NASA Earth Observatory
April Was USA's Wettest in 60 Years. USA TODAY runs the numbers: "...If you thought April was unusually soggy, you were right: April 2017 was the USA's second-wettest April on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday. The onslaught of heavy rain led to deadly and devastating flooding in several states, including North Carolina, Missouri and Arkansas. The average national precipitation total for April was 3.43 inches, which is 0.91 inch above average. Only April 1957 was wetter..."
Swath of States Experiencing Warmest Year to Date. The off-the-charts warmth of February is starting to fade. Here are a couple of clips from a Climate Central recap: "For a swath of states from New Mexico over to Florida and up to Ohio, 2017 has been the hottest year on record through April. For the Lower 48 as a whole, the year is the second warmest in records going back to 1895...Fourteen states along the southern tier of the country and up the Ohio Valley are record hot for the year so far, with another 17 states having a top 5 warmest year through April. Numerous cities in those states, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Miami and Charleston, S.C., are also running record hot so far in 2017, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Only the Pacific Northwest had temperatures at or below average for the year..."
Photo credit: " Christinne Muschi / Reuters.
Mississippi River To Reach Flood Stage in Memphis. U.S. News has the story.
Photo credit: Charlie Riedel/AP. "Ethan Pederson, 9, and his mom Susan Goodman clear away debris as they help salvage items from a friend's home on March 7 that was destroyed by a tornado after a severe storm passed through Oak Grove, Missouri."
Photo credit: "The flood on June 23, 2016, was the third worst in West Virginia history." Photo courtesy of the Greenbrier.
Brooks’ and others' research shows the suspected link is tenuous to some extent. Some of the uncertainty in research is tied to the small scale of tornadoes and the difficulty in simulating their development in larger scale computer models. There is a higher certainty of the link between a warming climate and more numerous intense thunderstorms with torrential downpours. The extra heating adds more buoyancy to moist low level air by taking advantage of the potential energy already present in that air. A warming climate is linked with more episodes of rapid upward motion of moist parcels of air, lifted to where it cools and must condense. With enough strong lift comes violent, heavy thunderstorms. Since tornadoes come from thunderstorms, and usually violent storms, it must follow the increase in those storms would have an almost linear relationship with an increase in tornadoes. The complexity and uncertainty enters the picture when models show a warming climate will probably lessen the favorable change in winds with increased altitude which feeds the spin in the atmosphere leading to tornadoes..."
Photo credit: "People clean up the debris inside homes destroyed by a tornado in Van Zandt County, Texas, on April 30, 2017." (Jae S. Lee/Dallas Morning News/TNS).
Good Reasons to Consider Flood Insurance. I might consider spending a few extra bucks on flood insurance, even if you think you're not in a flood zone. Remember, homeowners insurance doesn't usually cover flood-related damage. Last year, for the first time on record, Minnesota experienced 2 separate "mega-rain" flash flood events. That means over 1,000 square miles picking up 6 inches or more. 2016 brought 160 natural disasters across North America with 19 major floods in the USA; the most since records were first kept in 1980, according to Munich Re. Epic floods are underway right now from Arkansas and Missouri to Montreal. You don't have to live near a river to be at risk. "Drainage events" are floods that lie outside traditional FEMA flood zones. A 2015 Illinois study showed that almost all flood damage occurred outside the traditional flood plain.
Here's Where Heavy Rain Is Increasing the Most in U.S. Climate Central reports: "Heavier precipitation is a signature of climate change. For every 1°F of temperature increase, the atmosphere can effectively hold 4 percent more water vapor. So as the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases, the amount of evaporation also increases from oceans, lakes, rivers, and soils. The extra water vapor is available to produce additional rain and snow, creating an environment ripe for heavy precipitation events which is exactly what we are seeing in the numbers. This week’s analysis, an update from our 2015 Climate Matters, shows an increase in the top 1 percent of daily rainfall events across the vast majority of states in the U.S..."
90% of Hurricane Deaths Aren't From the Wind. THE WEATHER SOCIAL reminds us of the sheer power of storm surge: "...You should prepare for a reasonable worst case scenario because, albeit infrequent, storm surge is an extreme event. Water moving at only 4 mph has the same damage potential as the winds of a Category 3 hurricane. 90% of hurricane related deaths are from water. Storm surge is the deadliest hazard of a hurricane. I can go on but needless to say a few feet of ocean water in your neighborhood is a big, life-threatening deal. Which brings us to the second new storm surge product from the National Hurricane Center — the storm surge watch/warning graphic..."
Map credit: "Example of the new Storm Surge Watch/Warning graphic from the National Hurricane Center for south Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The product is experimental for this hurricane season but is expected to become an operational watch/warning product from the National Weather Service by the 2017 hurricane season."
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..."
Photo credit: Wright Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association. "Solar capacity has jumped 80 percent in Minnesota this year, provided by projects such as the Wright Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association's in Rockford, the first community array in the state."
Photo credit: "Antelope Valley Transit Authority received North America’s first 60-foot articulated electric bus made by BYD."
Photo credit: Dr. Sylvia Lee. Joanna Blaszczak / Cary Institute
TODAY: More clouds, few showers southern Minnesota. Mild sun north. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 67
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Showers taper. Low: 48
THURSDAY: Bright sun, springy again. Winds: N 8-13. High: 66
FRIDAY: Blue sky, punch out early. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 71
SATURDAY: Warm sun, feels like early June. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 78
SUNDAY: Partly sunny and sticky. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 79
MONDAY: Mild and muggy. Strong T-storms? Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 78
TUESDAY: Unsettled, few T-storms possible. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 61. High: 77
To Curb Climate Change, We Need to Protect and Expand U.S. Forests. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at The Conversation: "Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation. To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. In a new report published by the nonprofit Dogwood Alliance, my co-author Danna Smith and I show that we have a major opportunity to make progress on climate change by restoring degraded U.S. forests and soils..."
These People Want You To Know Climate Change Isn't Just for Liberals. Here's an excerpt from a story at Ars Technica: "...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. Public opinion on climate change is, generally speaking, sharply divided by political and cultural identity. Research on this “cultural cognition” by Yale’s Dan Kahan has highlighted patterns of polarization around certain topics. We rely on our network of family, friends, and community for signals about what is true, and we feel pressure to harmonize our views with the views of that group. The more that political signals get tangled up with climate science, the harder it becomes for conservatives to do anything but reject it..."
Graphic credit: Climate Fingerprints. Climate science doesn't rest on a single, slender thread of evidence. There are multiple markers pointing to warming of the atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere.
Photo credit: "Richard Primack, here, is searching for newly leafing trees and blooming flowers near Walden Pond." Craig LeMoult/WGBH News.
Washington's Broken Climate Debate. Axios reports: "Washington is a mess when it comes to climate change, split in two mutually exclusive groups of people: those who think the issue is the most urgent problem facing the world and those who refuse to acknowledge it's a problem at all. Why it matters: Dealing with climate change should be a priority for the U.S. government, but it's impossible with two sides that don't even agree on the terms of the debate. Congress hasn't seriously considered a climate bill since 2010, the last time any sizable group of congressional Republicans were willing to talk openly about addressing the issue. Meanwhile, outside of the beltway, concern about climate change is at record highs, according to a March Gallup poll..."
Image credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.
File photo: Gary Hawkins, Rex Features.
Thawing Alaska Permafrost Sends Autumn CO2 Emissions Surging. Troubling news about the rate of permafrost melt, reported by InsideClimate News: "...The study's authors, researchers from Harvard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other institutions, measured atmospheric CO2 in Alaska and found that emissions from October through December have increased by 73 percent since 1975 and that the increase correlates with rising summer temperatures. The findings suggest that global climate models are underestimating how much greenhouse gas pollution will be unleashed as the Arctic continues to warm at twice the global average rate, said lead author Roisin Commane of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Arctic climate feedback loop is stronger than scientists estimated, Commane said. Global warming thaws permafrost, releasing more greenhouse gases, which causes yet more warming..."
Photo credit: "Coastal erosion reveals the extent of ice-rich permafrost underlying an active upper layer in Alaska. A new study finds that as temperatures rise, the ground is freezing later in the season and greenhouse gas emissions that normally slow in the fall are continuing into early winter." Credit: Brandt Meixell/USGS.
Is It True 97% of Climate Scientists Believe Warming is Occurring? That number may be low, as explained in an answer at Quora: "...So we have seven peer-reviewed and published papers which use different techniques, published from 2004 to 2015, which show that the consensus among climate science papers is in excess of 97% and that there are a tiny number of dissenters who are making obviously incorrect statements. One paper shows that there are 69,406 authors in the field in two years alone who agree, and only four in the same two year period who don't agree. You really should be looking at those four and wondering what they are smoking, or at least who is paying for them to be smoking it."
Image credit: Jamespowell.org.
Photo credit: "A tanker truck passes an oil refinery in Richmond, California on March 9, 2010." (Photo: Paul Sakuma, AP).