Friday, May 19, 2017

Saturday Soaker - Crazy Weather Extremes Across the USA

56 F. high temperature in St. Cloud on Friday.
70 F. average high on May 19.
75 F. high on May 19, 2016.

May 20, 1892: Very late season snowfall hits central Minnesota. Maple Plain receives 4 inches of snow, with 3 inches falling in Minneapolis. This is the latest significant snow on record for the Twin Cities, and one of the latest widespread snowfalls in Minnesota.
May 20, 1876: A tornado touches down near Ft. Ripley.

Things Will Get Better - Including Our Weather

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" said Audrey Hepburn. America has survived world wars, a civil war, strikes, plagues & technological disruption. The Category 5 political storm swirling over Washington D.C. will subside too.

One of our most endearing virtues is believing that tomorrow can and will be better.

And remind me not to complain about 40s and rain. Some towns in Colorado aredigging out from 3 feet of snow, while the east coast has been sizzling in the 90s with record highs. River flooding in the Mississippi Valley and quarter-mile-wide wedge tornadoes over the Plains? By comparison today's foul sky seems almost tolerable.

A moisture-laden storm tracking from Kansas City to St. Cloud will soak much of Minnesota with another inch of rain today. That comes on top of the 2-4 inches that has already fallen this week. Lame attempt at a silver lining: no drought this summer. Pro-tip: if you live in Alexandria, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes or Bemidji you may see a coating of slush Saturday night.

A cool start to the week gives way to a slow warming trend. 70s are possible by Friday, but I see a puff of free Canadian A/C in time for Memorial Day. Looks like a refreshing start to June.

A Very Wet Week Across Minnesota. Check out some of the details from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...Many climate observers reported new daily record rainfall amounts this week. Some examples include:

May 15; 4.94" at Altura (Winona County), 3.43" at Elgin (Olmsted County), 2.96" at Hokah (Houston County)2.25" at Owatonna (Steele County), 2.00" at La Crescent (Winona County), and 1.70" at Rosemount (Dakota County)
May 16: 1.95" at Red Wing Dam, and 1.40" at Duluth
May 17: 2.55" at Jordan (Scott County), 2.45" at Dawson (Lac Qui Parle County), 1.95" at Minnesota City (Winona County), and 1.90" at Montevideo (Lac Qui Parle County)

Many other observers reported total amounts of rainfall this week that exceeded 3 inches. The heavy rains brought a halt to planting of crops around the state, although corn planting is close to being finished, and soybean planting is more than half done. Over 40 climate stations in Minnesota have already seen about normal May rainfall amounts, and that is just for the first 18 days of the month..."

Saturday Soaker. The 00z NAM model prints out .90" of rain today; heaviest rainfall rates during the midday and afternoon hours. Have a Plan B (indoors) today. I doubt the Twins will get 9 inning of play in at Target Field.

Remarkable Snow Accumulations for May 19. Record heat on the East Coast while snow continues to pile up in the Rockies. Click here for latest snow depths in the western USA, courtesy of USDA and The National Water and Climate Center.

Heat, Snow, Tornadoes, Flooding: Just One Week's Worth of Weather. WXshift has an overview of some of the extremes showing up on the map: "Over the course of just 48 hours this week, summer-like heat hit the Northeast, heavy snow fell in the Rockies, and tornadoes touched down in the Plains, all while the lower Mississippi River remains at flood levels. The heat wave that surged into the Northeast brought multiple days of temperatures that would have been high even for the middle of summer, much less mid-May. Boston went into the 90s during the last three days of the week, with a high of 95°F (35°C) on Thursday afternoon, smashing the old record from 1936 by 4°F (2.2°C). More striking, the low in Boston on Thursday was 71°F (22°C), which was 4°F above the normal high for the date..."

84-Hour Outlook. The same storm that dumped several feet of snow on parts of Colorado will push a pinwheel of heavy rain into the Upper Midwest today; a line of strong to severe T-storms pushing into the  Ohio Valley and Mississippi Valley. The western USA stays dry as residents of the Rockies dig out from recent (freak) snows. The East Coast enjoys a fairly nice Saturday, but showers and T-storms arrive tomorrow. NAM guidance: NOAA and

Saturday Severe Risk. The leading edge of cooler air sparks a squall line later today; severe storms with large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes possible from Indianapolis to Memphis to Little Rock.

More Soaking Rains. The same 00z 12 km NAM model prints out 2-5" rains for the Gulf Coast; over 2" as far north as Iowa as the latest storm spins up. The Pacific Northwest gets a welcome break from puddles.

Dueling Models. Today looks like the chilliest (nastiest) day in sight with a soaking rain and temperatures in the 40s most of the day. Springy weather returns next week with a string of 60s (still cooler than average). ECMWF guidance suggests a cooler front in time for Memorial Day weekend. MSP numbers: WeatherBell.

Early June Outlook. After a chilly relapse from the Rockies into the Midwest and Great Lakes long-range GFS guidance hints at a warming trend from the Plains to the East Coast within 2 weeks; chilly weather lingering over the Rockies.

Chetek Man Survives Tornado Stuck Inside His Car. This guy was very, very lucky. Here's an excerpt from TMJ4 in Milwaukee: "A Barron County man manage to survive the EF2 tornado that ripped through his small town this week by waiting it out inside his Chevy Impala. Mark Stefanski was just outside his mom's house, next door to his own and could not get inside. When he decided he would sit in the car he was not sure if he just made a choice that could end his life. "It was just a rumble, it sounded like a train," Stefanski said. "Dark, black, stuff flying," The tornado was heading straight to the Chetek, Wis. and he had a front row view through his front windshield where he said no one ever should be in tornado. "I sat in the car and the car started picking up and I just prayed to God that I lived through it," Stefanski said..."

Tornado Safety Tips for Drivers. In most cases you can drive away from a tornado (or any severe storm) but the last place you want to be during a tornado is in a vehicle. Here are a few good tips from AAA and in Oklahoma City: "...If you are on the road when a tornado warning is issued:

– Leave your car and find shelter.
– Never try to outrun a tornado. Your car will not protect you from the twister.
– Find shelter inside. A basement is safest. Closets or small interior rooms are also good. Cover yourself with a mattress and stay away from windows.
– Do not take shelter in a mobile home. They offer very little protection.
– A “Tornado Warning” means a tornado is developing or is actually on the ground. A “Tornado Watch” means conditions are favorable for the development of severe storms that may create tornadoes.
– Wet roads mean poor traction. Conditions are the most dangerous during the first 10 minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris wash away. Driving on wet roads in the rain is comparable to driving on ice. Go slow. Allow extra time

5 Questions About Tornadoes. has a post that answers some of the most common queries: "...Even if the environment is extremely favorable for supercell tornadoes, forecasters have limited ability to say when or if a specific storm will produce a tornado. Researchers are studying triggers for tornado production, such as small-scale downdraft surges and descending precipitation shafts of a supercell storm's rear flank, and processes that sustain tornadoes once they form. We don't understand tornado maintenance well, or how tornadoes might be affected by interactions with obstacles such as terrain and buildings. This means that when a tornado is occurring, forecasters have limited ability to tell the public how long they expect it to last..."

Graphic credit: "Scientists' present understanding of how a tornado develops in a supercell thunderstorm." Credit: Paul Markowski.
Scientists’ present understanding of how a tornado develops in a supercell thunderstorm. Credit: Paul Markowski

Read more at:
Even if the environment is extremely favorable for supercell tornadoes, forecasters have limited ability to say when or if a specific storm will produce a tornado. Researchers are studying triggers for tornado production, such as small-scale downdraft surges and descending precipitation shafts on a supercell storm's rear flank, and processes that sustain tornadoes once they form.
We don't understand tornado maintenance well, or how tornadoes might be affected by interactions with obstacles such as terrain and buildings. This means that when a tornado is occurring, forecasters have limited ability to tell the public how long they expect it to last.

Read more at:
Even if the environment is extremely favorable for supercell tornadoes, forecasters have limited ability to say when or if a specific storm will produce a tornado. Researchers are studying triggers for tornado production, such as small-scale downdraft surges and descending precipitation shafts on a supercell storm's rear flank, and processes that sustain tornadoes once they form.
We don't understand tornado maintenance well, or how tornadoes might be affected by interactions with obstacles such as terrain and buildings. This means that when a tornado is occurring, forecasters have limited ability to tell the public how long they expect it to last.

Read more at:
Even if the environment is extremely favorable for supercell tornadoes, forecasters have limited ability to say when or if a specific storm will produce a tornado. Researchers are studying triggers for tornado production, such as small-scale downdraft surges and descending precipitation shafts on a supercell storm's rear flank, and processes that sustain tornadoes once they form.
We don't understand tornado maintenance well, or how tornadoes might be affected by interactions with obstacles such as terrain and buildings. This means that when a tornado is occurring, forecasters have limited ability to tell the public how long they expect it to last.

Read more at:

Not Just Another Garden-Variety Tornado Warning. The USA is on track for the busiest tornado year since 2011. That was the year Tuscaloosa and Joplin were hit. Why have we suddenly come out of a 5-year tornado drought? Two reasons: the same jet stream pattern that generated a stormy treadmill for the western USA created a wind shear profile ripe for tornadoes. Also, record warmth in the Gulf of Mexico has primed the pump with warmer, more unstable air. If you hear of a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) Tornado Watch issued nearby you want to pay very close attention. It means the atmosphere is locked & loaded for violent, long-track tornadoes. A "Tornado Emergency" is more dangerous than a Tornado Warning. It means a large, CONFIRMED tornado is moving into an urban area.

Image above: from May 2013 in the Oklahoma City area.

There's a Storm Chaser Traffic Jam in Tornado Alley. The 3 times I've chased in Oklahoma I wasn't too worried about the actual tornadoes, but rather the erratic, high-speed, rules-be-damned chasers who would have pushed their grandmothers under a speeding bus to get the money shot. As is often the case, a few bad apples ruin it for everyone else Here's an excerpt from CNN: "..Chaser convergence not only creates a dangerous situation for the chasers, it can prevent first responders from quickly accessing victims of the tornado. I have witnessed ambulances unable to access roads because of the volume of traffic and cars not pulled completely to the side. Chaser convergence also impedes the work of the scientists trying to deploy their instruments in and around the path of the storm. Chris Weiss, a tornado researcher from Texas Tech University, told CNN of a recent encounter in May. "Our research group was coming into position to make measurements on a developing tornado in the Texas Panhandle but could not find any locations to park the radar, as all available vantage points were occupied with chaser traffic," he said. "I am not suggesting that one group has a right to be there over another, but if asked whether science has been impacted at some level over the past few years, I would say yes..."

Photo credit: "Storm chaser convergence can cause backups for miles near dangerous storm systems." JR Hehnly.

Why So Many Tornadoes in 2017? After a 5 year tornado drought it's been a very active year for nature's most violent storm. My friend, NBC10 meteorologist Glenn Schwartz in Philadelphia, talks about the variables contributing to a hyperactive tornado season for the USA: "...There are several factors that could help explain that big increase. Weather patterns change all the time, so there can be big differences from year to year in the number of tornadoes. But one constant has been the record warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. A southerly wind over warm waters leads to record warmth and humidity. Those are two of the ingredients in many tornado “outbreaks”-when large numbers of tornadoes hit in a single day or two. A common measure of the energy that can lead to severe storms is called CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy). A higher CAPE is an important ingredient. Here is a great graphic that shows how a warm Gulf leads to high CAPE values, which in turn can lead to an increase in tornadoes..."

Tornado Casualties Depend More on Storm Energy than Population. Eos has a fascinating story: "...Armed with these two measurements and the published casualty counts for each of the tornadoes in their sample, Fricker and his colleagues investigated how casualties scaled with storm energy and the size of the nearby population. The scientists found that storm energy was a better predictor of the number of storm-related injuries and deaths: Doubling the energy of a tornado resulted in 33% more casualties, but doubling the population of a tornado-prone area resulted in only 21% more casualties. These results, which the team reported last month in Geophysical Research Letters, can inform emergency planning, the team suggests. The relatively larger impact of tornado energy on casualties might be cause for concern, Fricker and his colleagues note. If climate change is triggering more powerful tornadoes, an idea that’s been suggested and debated, emergency managers might have to contend with larger casualty counts in the future. But scientists are by no means certain that larger tornadoes are imminent. “There is no doubt climate change is influencing hazards, but for tornadoes, we just simply don’t know to what extent yet,” said Stephen Strader, a geographer at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., not involved in the study..."

Photo credit: "A scene of destruction in Concord, Ala., after the 2011 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado caused more than 1500 injuries. A new study indicates that storm intensity is a better predictor of casualty counts than the size of the local population." Credit: National Weather Service.

Flood Potential. As much as 2-4" of rain this week has saturated soil and forced some streams and rivers over their banks. The best chance of rivers going over their banks is in Wisconsin, specifically the Trempealeau River at Dodge, and the Black River at Black River Falls. Details via NOAA.

Early Heat Wave Broke Records Across the Eastern USA. Mid to upper 90s in May is hardly unprecedented. A taste of the summer to come? Stay tuned. Here's an excerpt from The Associated Press: "Heat records were burning up Thursday in cities in the Northeast as the region gets a summer preview. The mercury reached 92 degrees in Boston shortly after noon Thursday, breaking the old record of 91 degrees for May 18 set in 1936, according to the National Weather Service. The 81-year-old record for the day of 90 degrees also fell in New York City, where it was still 91 degrees in Central Park shortly before 4 p.m. It was the second straight day of midsummer-like conditions in the Northeast, though forecasters said a cooling trend would move in Friday and return the region to more seasonable conditions..."

El Nino Again? This Is Why It's Hard to Tell. Right now it's even odds, according to a story at Climate Central: "The tropical Pacific Ocean is once again carrying on a will-it-or-won’t-it flirtation with an El Niño event, just a year after the demise of one of the strongest El Niños on record. The odds right now are about even for an El Niño to develop, frustrating forecasters stuck in the middle of what is called the spring predictability barrier. During this time, model forecasts aren’t as good as seeing into the future, in part because of the very nature of the El Niño cycle. The reason scientists try to forecast El Niño is because of the major, often damaging, shifts in weather it can cause around the world. The last one brought punishing drought to parts of Southeast Asia and Africa and torrential rains to parts of South America..."

New Report Reveals World's Deadliest Tornado, Lightning, Tropical Cyclone and Hailstorm. Here's a clip from an interesting post by Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "...The in-depth analysis of mortality records for 5 specific events produced the following list (taken directly from the WMO press release).
"Highest mortality associated with a tropical cyclone, an estimated 300,000 people killed directly as result of the passage of a tropical cyclone through Bangladesh (at time of incident, East Pakistan) on Nov. 12-13, 1970...........Highest mortality associated with a tornado, an estimated 1,300 people killed by the April 26, 1989 tornado that destroyed the Manikganj district, Bangladesh............Highest mortality (indirect strike) associated with lightning, 469 people killed in a lightning-caused oil tank fire in Dronka, Egypt, on Nov. 2, 1994..........Highest mortality directly associated with a single lightning flash, 21 people killed by a single stroke of lightning in a hut in Manyika Tribal Trust Lands in Zimbabwe (at the time of incident, Rhodesia) on Dec. 23, 1975..........Highest mortality associated with a hailstorm, 246 people were killed near Moradabad, India, on April 30, 1888, with hailstones as large as “goose eggs and oranges and cricket balls."
I observe a couple of revealing things about the record-setting events. First, they all happened before 1994..."

Image credit: "A 3-D view of thunderstorm tops based on radar reflectivity day from GPM's Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) is shown here. DPR (Ku band) radar data were used in this simulated cross section through storm tops associated with tropical storm Komen. Some of the thunderstorms in the intense feeder band over the Bay Of Bengal were measured by GPM's radar reaching heights above 15.9 km (9.9 miles)." (Caption from NASA)

World to Tackle Deadly Disasters at U.N. Forum. Here are a few statistics in a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation article that made me do a double-take:
  • "The number of weather and climate-related disasters more than doubled over the past 40 years, accounting for 6,392 events in the 20 years from 1996 to 2015, up from 3,017 in the period from 1976 to 1995.
  • Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards from 1996 to 2015, 90 percent died in low and middle-income countries, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, which collects the data.
  • Over those two decades, 56 percent of deaths were caused by earthquakes and tsunamis, with the rest due to floods, storms, extreme temperatures, drought, landslides and wildfires.
  • In 15 of the 20 years, the greatest loss of life was due to extreme weather events..."
Photo credit: Climate Nexus.

Humans Accidentally Created a Protective Bubble Around Earth. The Atlantic explains our good collective fortune: "The next time someone says you’re living in a bubble, remind them that we all are. A pair of NASA space probes have detected an artificial bubble around Earth that forms when radio communications from the ground interact with high-energy radiation particles in space, the agency announced this week. The bubble forms a protective barrier around Earth, shielding the planet from potentially dangerous space weather, like solar flares and other ejections from the sun. Earth already has its own protective bubble, a magnetosphere stretched by powerful solar winds. The artificial bubble that NASA found is an accident, an unintended result of the interplay between human technology and nature..." (File image: NASA).

Public to EPA on Cutting Regulations: "No!" NPR reports: "As part of President Trump's executive order to review "job-killing regulations," the Environmental Protection Agency last month asked for the public's input on what to streamline or cut. It held a series of open-mic meetings, and set up a website that has now received more than 28,000 comments, many of which urge the agency not to roll back environmental protections. "The EPA saves lives," wrote Benjamin Kraushaar, who described himself as a hydrologist, hunter and flyfisherman. He wrote that environmental regulations "ensure safe air and water for our future generations. This should not be even up for debate..."

Photo credit: "The Environmental Protection Agency's flag hangs over EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C." Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc.

Minnesota Leads the Midwest in Clean Energy Report. Here's the intro to a story at Midwest Energy News: "While Northeast and West Coast states led a recent clean energy ranking of U.S. states, recent advances helped push Minnesota into the top ten. Minnesota ranked 9th in Clean Edge’s eighth annual U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index, the only Midwest state in the top ten. Illinois and Michigan ranked 11th and 13th respectively, while the remaining Midwest states were in the bottom half of the rankings. “Like every region, the states in the Midwest have their strengths and weaknesses,” said Andrew Rector, market analyst for Clean Edge. Michigan has a good record of venture capital patents, a legacy of having Detroit and its expertise in patent law, while Illinois is a national leader in green buildings and has a strong venture capital market, Rector said..."

Map credit: "This map shows state rankings in the recent U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index." (image via Clean Edge)

The Big Green Bang: How Renewable Energy Became Unstoppable. Clean energy disruption is now well underway, says Financial Times: "...Mr Robson’s experience is just one example of the disruptive impact of green energy on companies — and entire industries — around the world. After years of hype and false starts, the shift to clean power has begun to accelerate at a pace that has taken the most experienced experts by surprise. Even leaders in the oil and gas sector have been forced to confront an existential question: will the 21st century be the last one for fossil fuels? It is early, but the evidence is mounting. Wind and solar parks are being built at unprecedented rates, threatening the business models of established power companies. Electric cars that were hard to even buy eight years ago are selling at an exponential rate, in the process driving down the price of batteries that hold the key to unleashing new levels of green growth..."

Graphic source: International Renewable Energy Agency.

Automakers Are Betting on Hydrogen-Powered Cars. Here Are 12 In The Works. Business Insider takes a look at alternatives to EV's and hybrids: "Automakers are lining up to invest in hydrogen-powered vehicles, even though the big bucks are still being spent on battery-powered cars. From an infrastructure standpoint, purely electric vehicles make more sense. There are 15,959 electric charging stations in the United States, but only 35 hydrogen stations in the entire US, according to the US Department of Energy. Of those 35 hydrogen stations, only 3 can be found outside of California. But car makers still see potential in hydrogen technology. Batteries are expensive, take a long time to charge, and have limitations when it comes to driving range. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, on the other hand, have longer ranges and offer short re-fill times..."

Photo credit: "The Clarity costs $369 months for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing." Business Insider/Danielle Muoio.

Mercedes-Benz Brings Its Home Battery to the US. The Verge has details: "Mercedes-Benz has tapped Utah-based solar company Vivint Solar to bring its home battery storage solution to the United States for the first time. Vivint will start selling the Mercedes home batteries to new customers only in California in the second quarter of this year. Mercedes splits up its home batteries differently from Tesla, its most visible competitor in this space, though they’re functionally the same — the batteries let homeowners store and save electricity generated by solar panels so it can be used around the clock. Tesla’s $5,500 Powerwall 2 has a 13.5kWh capacity, and customers can buy up to 10 of those to scale to their needs. Mercedes’ home batteries, on the other hand, have a smaller capacity of 2.5kWh, and customers can scale a total of eight of them for a more modest 20kWh..."
Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz Energy.

The New York Times has more perspective on how Mercedes is positioning its solar/battery products here.

5 Apps This Road-Tripper Won't Travel Without. I agree with all 5; here's an excerpt from Linda Steil at Chrysler Capital: "...I’ve already extolled the virtues of this amazing and free app. When we lived in the city, there were many times it got us around traffic jams, not to mention the help it gave us navigating messy downtown construction. Now that we live in a more country-like setting, I’m still constantly reaching to put my destination in Waze. Even when I know where I’m going, but want to predict an arrival time or tell someone else (another Wazer) when I’ll be meeting them, it’s amazingly accurate, updates real-time and is very simple to use..."

The Greenest Hotel in America? After reading an article at The Washington Post I want to check out Greensboro, North Carolina and visit Proximity Hotel: "...One of the first sights that greet guests as they turn in to an otherwise nondescript office park off Green Valley Road are the 100 solar panels perched atop the handsome hotel, which from afar looks like an old textile warehouse lovingly brought back to life. Visitors with low-emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles can pull into a preferred parking spot closer to the front entrance, where a U.S. Green Building Council seal proclaims the hotel’s status as LEED Platinum — a rating reserved for the most energy­efficient of buildings. (The Proximity became the first hotel in the United States to earn the distinction nearly a decade ago, and only a handful have earned it since.)..."

Photo credit: "The LEED Platinum-certified Proximity Hotel, in Greensboro, N.C., is topped with 100 solar panels." (Courtesy QW Hotels, LLC)

How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Vacation From Start to Finish. The Washington Post explains: "If you travel, you will leave a charcoal smudge in your wake. You can’t help it. Planes spew carbon emissions, hotels guzzle gallons of water to launder sheets and towels, and thirsty travelers chug-a-lug plastic bottles of water. But don’t let the guilt dampen your vacation. Eco-friendly travel practices can lift the remorse and lighten the blemish on Mother Earth. Green travel is not a passing trend but a portable lifestyle choice. According to a TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers plan to make more environmentally sound choices over the next year. A majority of respondents said that they turn off the lights when leaving their rooms, participate in the hotel’s program to reuse linens and towels, and recycle on-site. Travelers can do much more by building an eco-trip block by block..."

During WWII "Rumor Clinics" Were Set Up To Dispel Moral-Damaging Gossip. Maybe we should bring them back. Here's an excerpt from Atlas Obscura: "Rumors, like most forms of gossip, are usually rooted in half-truths and outright falsities. Yet, during World War II, these insatiable tidbits of hearsay threatened to undermine civilian morale and even cause unrest within the military community when they nearly spiraled out of control. “Of all the virus that attack the vulnerable nerve tissues of a nation at war, rumor is the most malignant,” reported LIFE magazine in 1942. “Its most dangerous carriers are innocent folk who love to tell a tall tale.” Rumors snowballed in pubs and on factory floors, and other places where chatter was high, despite the government urging Americans to “avoid loose talk.” The most common rumors attacked U.S. war efforts and involved so-called crimes committed by and against U.S. soldiers..."

Image credit: Life Magazine, Google archives.

The Key to Getting Paid To Do What You Love, And More Advice for College Graduates. A few good nuggets in a Quartz story, including this: "...The wonderful news is that you don’t have to buy any more $200 textbooks to figure any of this out. Free resources abound: YouTube tutorials and Reddit forums (take a look at r/eatcheapandhealthy, r/fitness, and r/personalfinance, to start) are an excellent way to learn immensely beneficial habits that you may’ve never realized you needed before graduation. Sites like Coursera and Khan Academy are treasure troves for anything you might want to know, from the mundane (how to do your taxes) to the extraordinarily niche (the entire history of Tibetan Buddhism). The biggest mistake you can make is believing that school has taught you everything—or even anything at all. — Amy Wang, reporter..."

Photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke.

TODAY: Heavy rain, chilly. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 49

SATURDAY NIGHT: Rain tapers to showers. Low: 44

SUNDAY: Cool & damp, showers slowly taper. Winds: W 10-15. High: 53

MONDAY: More clouds than sun, a drier day. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 45. High: near 60

TUESDAY: Unsettled, few pop-up showers possible. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, feels like spring. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 43. High: 68

THURSDAY: Less sun, risk of a T-shower. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 54. High: near 70

FRIDAY: Unsettled, few showers possible. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 51. High: 66

Climate Stories...

A Future of More Extreme Floods, Brought To You By Climate Change. The Verge has a must-read story: "Extreme floods along the coastline may become much more common if sea levels continue to climb unchecked, new research says. Scientists estimate that as soon as 2030, a 4-inch sea level rise could double the frequency of severe flooding in many parts of the world, and increase it by as much as 25 times in the tropics. For the communities and ecosystems in the floodwaters’ path, the toll could be catastrophic. Right now, the global sea level is slowly but surely creeping upwards a fraction of an inch each year (0.118 to 0.157 inches per year to be exact). That doesn’t seem like much, but we’re already feeling the consequences of rising waters and eroding coastlines. Tides high enough to flood homes and infrastructure have become more common in some parts of the US like Florida — “turning it from a rare event into a recurrent and disruptive problem,” as a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put it earlier in 2017. In Louisiana, an entire community was driven from their homes on Isle de Jean Charles by rising seas..."
Photo credit: "Flooding after Hurricane Katrina Photo by Lieut. Commander Mark Moran, NOAA Corps, NMAO/AOC."

Will the Government Help Farmers Adapt to a Changing Climate? Here's a clip from Harvest Public Media and NPR: "...Sally Rockey, director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which relies on federal money for a portion of its funding, says climate change adaptation will continue to be a driving force within agricultural research, despite the skeptical tone coming from the executive branch. What might change, however, is what it is called. Climate research may be re-branded under the vague umbrella of "sustainability." "At the core of many of the things we do are sustainability, and sustainability is a lot about climate," Rockey says. "So the two are intertwined in almost every program we do." Federal projects with a climate change focus and the word "climate" in their name — like the USDA's climate hubs — will likely be under the microscope..."

Photo credit: "The Agriculture Department established research centers in 2014 to translate climate science into real-world ideas to help farmers and ranchers adapt to a hotter climate. But a tone of skepticism about climate change from the Trump administration has some farmers worried that this research they rely on may now be in jeopardy." Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media.

Pope to Convince Trump on Climate Change, Sorondo Tells ANSA. Here's an excerpt from Italy's "Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez told ANSA in an interview that he believes the Pope will convince US President Donald Trump to change his mind on climate change. Pope Francis dedicated his 'Laudato Si' encyclical to climate change and will be meeting with Donald Trump on May 24, who has signed an executive order dismantling Obama-era environmental legislation. In the eyes of Sanchez Sorondo, the choices adopted on climate by Trump "are against science, even before being against what the Pope says. In the election campaign he even said it was a Chinese invention to criticize America. But this president has already changed about several things, so perhaps on this as well..." (Photo credit: ANSA).

Study: Inspiring Action on Climate Change is More Complex Than You Might Think. All weather, like politics (and climate action) is local. Here's an illuminating story from Dr. John Abraham at the University of St. Thomas, writing in The Guardian: "...To counter this disconnect, climate change discussions need to be framed as matters related to current impacts at the local level. It is great that we want to save polar bears, but what really will motivate people are the risks to them right now. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, it is becoming easier and easier to make these connections. Examples abound for instance terrible flooding in the central USA, the record drought in California, recent heat waves in central Asia, or in Australia, as just some examples. The authors identify a variety of strategies for moving forward with human limitations in mind. Since they acknowledge humans tend not to protect those things they either don’t know or don’t value, ingraining a sense of value in the natural world may be critical. In fact, there is a strong relationship between an individual’s connection to nature and their ecological behavior..."

Photo credit: "Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X electric sports-utility vehicles during a presentation in Fremont, California September 29, 2015. Musk is helping create the perception that going green can be cool." Photograph: Stephen Lam/REUTERS.

Imagining a New York City Ravaged by Climate Change. Will technology save us (from ourselves) and how do novelists imagine a future New York City struggling with rising seas? Here's an excerpt of a story at Curbed NY: "...In reality, sea-level rise and climate change are not part of some distant future version of New York City, but are already radically reshaping the urban coastline, especially in Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. Here, neighborhoods like Edgemere, Oakwood Beach, and Ocean Breeze are being demolished to make way for a managed retreat from the rising waters, while in Sea Gate, Breezy Point, and Broad Channel Island, large-scale projects are underway to build coastal defenses, elevate homes, and raise streets levels. None of these communities make an appearance in New York 2140. Perhaps this is because they are predicted to vanish under the water by the end of the century. Yet the ways in which they are preparing for a flooded future are worthy of deeper consideration..."
Photo credit: "East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2015."

China, India Become Climate Leaders as West Falters. Climate Central reports: "Less than two years after world leaders signed off on a historic United Nations climate treaty in Paris in late 2015, and following three years of record-setting heat worldwide, climate policies are advancing in developing countries but stalling or regressing in richer ones. In the Western hemisphere, where centuries of polluting fossil fuel use have created comfortable lifestyles, the fight against warming has faltered largely due to the rise of far-right political groups and nationalist movements. As numerous rich countries have foundered, India and China have emerged as global leaders in tackling global warming. Nowhere is backtracking more apparent than in the U.S., where President Trump is moving swiftly to dismantle environmental protections and reverse President Obama’s push for domestic and global solutions to global warming..."

Kansas Researchers Say Climate Change Will Deteriorate Midwest Water Quality. Here's an excerpt from High Plains Public Radio: "...Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of these fluctuations between drought and flood, though, according to new research published by scientists at the University of Kansas, and this "weather whiplash" will deteriorate the quality of drinking water. Terry Loecke and Amy Burgin, co-authors of the study, examined a particular pollutant, nitrate. It is a nutrient for crops and is a common ingredient in fertilizer. "Drought tends to stop nutrients from entering our water systems," says Loecke, who teaches environmental science. The nutrients accumulate in the soil when it is dry and, when heavy rain comes along, the nitrate that is not absorbed by plants as food is flushed into the water system..."

Glacier National Park May Need to be Renamed: Will Soon Have No Glaciers. Here are a couple of excerpts from a story at Fortune: "It is all but inevitable that the United States, apart from Alaska, will soon be missing the glaciers that have dotted our country for thousands of years. There is no other place that symbolizes America's glaciers like Glacier National Park in Montana. However, recent studies present strong evidence that in the coming decades the park will have none of the glaciers from which the park is named after...A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University looked at how the 39 named glaciers in the park have been impacted by warming temperatures over the recent decades. Since 1966 when monitoring began the glaciers have on average declined by 39% with some glaciers declining by as much as 85% of their previous extent. Glacier National Park's melting glaciers are part of a global decline in continental glaciers since the 19th century. In the 19th century there were over 150 glaciers in this region, documented through historic photos and journals..."

Photo credits: "Before and after image of Alaska’s Muir Glacier. Left image taken in 1941, right image taken in 2014."

Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea. It's all about unknown unknowns. If anything the rate of overall melting and sea level rise is happening faster than climate models have been predicting. The New York Times has the story: "...The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration. Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world’s great coastal cities — Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more — is tied to Antarctica’s fate. Four New York Times journalists joined a Columbia University team in Antarctica late last year to fly across the world’s largest chunk of floating ice in an American military cargo plane loaded with the latest scientific gear..."

Thanks to Global Warming, Antarctica Is Beginning to Turn Green. The Washington Post reports: "Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent’s northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet. Amid the warming of the last 50 years, the scientists found two different species of mosses undergoing the equivalent of growth spurts, with mosses that once grew less than a millimeter per year now growing over 3 millimeters per year on average. “People will think of Antarctica quite rightly as a very icy place, but our work shows that parts of it are green, and are likely to be getting greener,” said Matthew Amesbury, a researcher with the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and lead author of the new study. “Even these relatively remote ecosystems, that people might think are relatively untouched by human kind, are showing the effects of human induced climate change...”

Photo credit: "Moss on Green Island." (Matt Amesbury)

Go West Young Tree - Climate Change Moves Forests in Unexpected Direction. IFLScience takes a look at new research: "Climate change is shifting the forests of America in an unexpected direction. All over the world, global warming is causing ecosystems to move away from the equator or to higher altitudes, in search of favorable climatic conditions. However, in the eastern United States, even more tree species have shifted westward than north. Dr Songlin Fei of Purdue University examined an extensive database on the locations of 86 species over the past 30 years. Of these, 62 percent were found to be moving north, averaging around 20 kilometers (12 miles) a decade. This entirely expected shift was overshadowed by a more surprising one. In the same sample, 73 percent were moving west, at slightly faster rates, with most change happening at the leading edge..."

Photo credit: "These trees in the Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee, are in one of the areas experiencing some of the fastest westward movement of species in the U.S." Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

American Trees Are Moving West,  And No One Knows Why. With more perspective on the migration of tree species here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...A new survey of how tree populations have shifted over the past three decades finds that this effect is already in action. But there’s a twist: Even more than moving poleward, trees are moving west. About three-quarters of tree species common to eastern American forests—including white oaks, sugar maples, and American hollies—have shifted their population center west since 1980. More than half of the species studied also moved northward during the same period. These results, among the first to use empirical data to look at how climate change is shaping eastern forests, were published in Science Advances on Wednesday..."

Sea Level Rise Will Double Coastal Flood Risk Worldwide. The Guardian explains: "Small but inevitable rises in sea level will double the frequency of severe coastal flooding in most of the world with dire consequences for major cities that sit on coastlines, according to scientists. The research takes in to account the large waves and storm surges that can tip gradually rising sea levels over the edge of coastal defences. Lower latitudes will be first affected, in a great swath through the tropics from Africa to South America and throughout south-east Asia, with Europe’s Atlantic coast and the west coast of the US not far behind. The most vulnerable places, including large cities in Brazil and Ivory Coast, and small Pacific islands, are expected to experience the doubling within a decade..."

Image credit: Sea level rise: Miami and Atlantic City fight to stay above water

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