Saturday, July 1, 2017

Good Timing: Lukewarm Sunshine Into Tuesday - Hotter Front Later This Week

74 F. maximum temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
81 F. average St. Cloud high on July 1.
73 F. high on July 1, 2016.
July 2, 1989: Softball sized hail falls near Dorset, and baseball sized hail is reported at Nevis in Hubbard County.
July 2, 1972: A low of 32 is recorded at Big Falls in Koochiching County.

One Tough Weekend to be a Minnesota Meteorologist

A few people glared at me yesterday, in spite of having a few showers in the forecast up north. "I thought you said today would be perfect!" I did mentioned a shower risk today, ma'am. "Right."

True, people hear what they want to hear. Even when the forecast is accurate, if locals don't like the weather, they let me know. I have a new strategy for PR. Weeping openly and unashamedly. Keeping people confused helps too. "No, I'm not Paul Douglas. My name is...Ken Barlow and I will atone for my weather transgressions!"

Yesterday's scrappy band of showers gives way to a drying north breeze today, with low humidity and highs in the 70s; near 80F in the MSP metro with a boost from the urban heat island. A puff of Canadian air keeps us sunny much of Monday, but a few thundershowers may pop Tuesday afternoon and evening, especially west of the Twin Cities.

The mercury tops 90F Thursday, and I see a streak of 90s next week as some of the hottest weather of summer pushes north.

July is the hottest month of the year, and I suspect we'll soon get our fill of sweaty heat and humidity.

June Numbers. St. Cloud temperatures were .6F warmer than average last month with rainfall a little less than normal for June. Details from the MPX National Weather Service: "For temperatures June was a tale of two halves, with the first half of the month dominated by above normal temperatures, while the second half of the month was below normal. In the end, the warmth outweighed the cold by a little bit."

On Your Mark - Get Set - Sweat. Enjoy the comfortable air (thank you Canada) because temperatures heat up later in the week, a good chance of low 90s by Thursday before another cool-down next weekend. Next week looks even hotter across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Twin Cities ECMWF temperatures: WeatherBell.

7-Day Rainfall Potential. NOAA's models indicate the heaviest rains are likely to fall from the Midwest and Ohio Valley to the Carolinas and northern New England, while the west remains hot and dry.

Atmospheric Firecrackers. I know it seems like I'm showing you the same predicted weather maps, day after day, but this optical illusion is brought to you by a persistent holding pattern. The best chance of showers and T-storms on the 4th of July comes from St. Louis to Chicago and Detroit, as well as the Carolinas. There's little chance of weather interfering with fireworks west of the Rockies. NAM guidance: NOAA and

Slight Mid-Month Relief From The Heat. Persistent heat is likely from the west coast (including Portland and Seattle) into the southern Plains and Southeast, but GFS model guidance hints at a few token cool fronts from the Upper Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes and New Englands. Translation: 80s vs. 90s.

Steamy 4th for Much of America. There are no more blue states as of next Tuesday - only red states. Enjoy. Map credit: AerisWeather AMP.

June 28 Tornado in Pierce County, Wisconsin. The Twin Cities National Weather Service has a preliminary report on Wednesday's tornado touchdown: "An EF-1 tornado occurred in Pierce County Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro area on June 28, 2017. Tree trunks were uprooted and snapped, homes had significant roof damage, and a truck slid out of a garage and was flipped onto its side..."

I Can't Remember Ever Seeing This Before. 7 separate tornado warnings in New Hampshire and Maine on Saturday? Wow.

June: Warmer Than Average Again. After a 20 month straight run of warmer-than-normal May was slightly cooler, statewide, but June resumes the trend of warmer than the long-term averages, according to Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "After having one of the warmest starts to June in Minnesota history, cooler than normal conditions prevailed during the second half of the month. As a result most climate observers are reporting a mean monthly temperature that is near normal or just 1 to 2 degrees warmer than normal. A few locations in the far north ended up the month with a mean temperature that was cooler than normal (Kabetogama and Tower for example). Among Minnesota's observer network 46 new daily high maximum temperature records were tied or broken during the first half of the month, while 35 daily warm minimum temperature records were tied or broken. Only 7 record low minimum temperatures were tied or set..."

U.S. Total Solar Eclipse Sparks Spectator Excitement. It's very tempting to make a road trip to Missouri - or Wyoming - or Oregon. Reuters says the hype may be warranted: "The first total solar eclipse across the continental United States in a century is expected to spark watching parties and traffic jams as it darkens skies from Oregon to South Carolina, authorities said on Wednesday. During the Aug. 21 eclipse, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun and leaving only its outer atmosphere, or corona, visible in the sky. It is the first coast-to-coast total eclipse since 1918. Weather permitting, people can watch as the moon's 70-mile (113-km) wide shadow crosses through 14 states from 10:15 a.m. PDT (1715 GMT) around Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to 2:49 p.m. EDT (1849 GMT) in McClellanville, South Carolina..."

Map credit: Eclipse2017.

Tsunami: An Underrated Hazard. David Bressan provides perspective at Forbes: "...Modern databases list more than 2,000 historic tsunamis. Most of these were recorded in historic documents, chronicles or even myths. The database shows that coastlines in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indonesian Sea are among the most vulnerable areas. Tsunamis can be triggered by movements along the seafloor, which are typically caused by earthquakes or underwater landslides. A tsunami that killed 40,000 people in December 1908 on Sicily, was probably not caused by the preceding earthquake, but rather a large landslide off the coast of Sicily (which likely had been triggered by the quake)..."

NOAA has more background information on tsunamis here.

Miami Hurricane of 1926. From an inflation-adjusted perspective this may have been America's costliest hurricane. Smithsonian Channel has a doc with amazing footage from this extreme storm Sunday evening at 8 pm.

Unseasonable Winter Weather Takes a Bite Out of Georgia's Peach Crop. Unusual winter warmth, coupled with a late-winter freeze, wreaked havoc across the Carolinas. NPR reports: "...Certainly the climate is changing. For whatever reason, we won't get into that," Sanchez said. In fact, the last couple of years have been too warm, he said. "But two years don't make a trend," he added. Climate data kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, go back much further than that. NOAA statistics put Georgia's average winter temperature at 45 degrees Fahrenheit in 1895. The most recent average, from 2015, puts that at 47 degrees. Still, even given the terrible season, Sanchez said there are plenty of peaches for Southern markets. Just don't look for them outside the South..."

Photo credit: "Peaches ready for packing and shipping at Lane Packing, a peach farm in Fort Valley, Ga." Grant Blankenship/Georgia Public Broadcasting.

As Sea Levels Rise, NOAA Scientists Work Toward Seasonal Tidal Flooding Forecasts. It no longer takes a storm (although that makes things far worse). As ocean levels rise all it takes today is a new or full moon, reports The Virginian-Pilot: "...A team of NOAA scientists recently began working toward a goal: to predict tidal flooding for Norfolk and coastal communities all over the country on a quarterly basis. They’re hoping that the seasonal forecasts will help everybody from emergency planners to homeowners be more attuned to the problem – and to the many conditions that can drive tides higher. “I think this is going to be an emerging thing,” William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer who’s helping lead the three-year project, said in a recent interview. “As sea level rise is continuing and impacts are growing and expected to become much worse, there’s going to be a need to say how often, when, where and how deep the water is expected to be...”

Drones, Big Data, Climate: Your Insurance Nightmare. If you're not just a little bit paranoid you're probably not paying attention. Here's an excerpt of a post at INTHEBLACK that caught my eye: "...Using such case studies, Lloyd’s has been modelling the solar flare situation. Its worst-case scenario says consequences could include economic losses of almost US$3 trillion, 40 million people impacted and a recovery time of up to two years. The situation is so serious that in May 2017 the US Senate unanimously passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act to support the research of space weather and the development of new technology to monitor solar flares. It’s not just space weather that can cause serious business pain..."

Krakow's Essential Accessory: A Smog Mask. Bloomberg reports: "Ewa Zelenska-Olczak was nine months pregnant when this photo was shot in March. The 23-year-old master’s student at AGH University of Science & Technology in Krakow, Poland, says she’s almost never without a mask outdoors, especially from October to April. That’s when the city’s air is at its worst, heavy with smog, much of it caused by household stoves that burn coal, wood, and trash to generate heat. Local coal-fired power plants add to the problem. According to the World Health Organization, Krakow’s particulate-matter pollution, a mix of small particles in the air that may affect the heart and lungs, can reach six times the levels considered safe on high-smog-alert days..."

Photo credit: "Grzegorz Swiech models the latest streetwear in Krakow, Poland, a city plagued by particulate pollution." Photographer: Tomer Ifrah for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Solar Has Become the World's Cheapest Form of New Electricity. That was fast. Fortune explains: "Solar power is becoming the world's cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests. According to Bloomberg's analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas. In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels..."
File photo credit: Reed Saxon, AP.

Solar Moves in a Curious Direction Since Trump Quit Paris Deal: Up. Bloomberg reports: "In the month since President Donald Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, shares of U.S. solar companies have taken a curious turn. They’ve gone sharply up. Sunrun Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc., the two largest independent U.S. rooftop panel installers, have embarked on their biggest rallies of the year since the president’s June 1 announcement. Sunrun is up 42 percent, closing Thursday at $7.27. Vivint has risen 86 percent, to $5.75. And SunPower Corp., the second-largest American panel manufacturer, has gained 19 percent, to $9.49. The rally—which comes as oil and energy stocks at large have dipped—appears to have nothing to do with Paris. Rather, analysts say it’s fueled by the dynamics that typically drive clean-energy installations: state policies and equipment prices..."

Elon Musk Teases Sunday Announcement About Tesla Model 3 Timing. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Chief Executive Elon Musk teased on his Twitter account that an announcement about the timing of the coming Model 3 sedan will come on Sunday. Production of the $35,000 car is scheduled to begin next month and investor enthusiasm has helped push the company’s shares to record highs, giving the Silicon Valley auto maker a market capitalization higher than General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co..."

Photo credit: "A prototype of the Tesla Model 3 on display at a factory in Sparks, Nev. The Model 3 is part of Elon Musk’s strategy to boost production next year to 500,000 from about 84,000 last year." Photo: James Glover II/Reuters

The Epic Untold Story of Nike's (Almost) Perfect Marathon. has the remarkable story: "...In the past 20 years, as the world record continued to inch downward, the debate over whether a sub-two might actually happen became more and more contentious. A parlor game arose among physiologists and statisticians, arguing when we might see the first sub-two: in 10 years, 25 years, 70 years, never. The game found its way to the retreat in Sisters, where Nurse tasked the NSRL team to imagine how they could make a two-hour marathon a reality. “We keep talking about the sub-two,” Nurse remembers saying. It was time to stop talking and actually do it.Sandy Bodecker, a Nike employee for nearly four decades and the vice president of special projects, heard the call. He lobbied executives for funding and started a secret two-hour-marathon task force that was dubbed Project Able after one of the first monkeys to survive being sent into space...."

Photo credit: "Seconds into the sub-two marathon attempt in Italy, Eliud Kipchoge (in orange) trails Zersenay Tadese (in light blue) and Lelisa Desisa (in white)." Cait Oppermann.

Steve Jobs is a Rorschach Test: To Be a Good Leader, You Don't Have To Be a Jerk. Food for thought from Quartz: "...When asked about Jobs’ biggest shortcomings, his biographer Walter Isaacson offered: “He could’ve been kinder.” It wouldn’t have cost him anything. He might’ve even gained some loyalty from it. And it’s not a coincidence that the Jobs who came back to Apple in 1997 was kinder—I’ve heard this over and over from his close collaborators. He evolved. Although he still wasn’t warm and fuzzy, he was less cruel. Mistake 2: confusing outward prickliness with inner selfishness. I’ve found that whether you’re a giver or a taker on the inside is completely separate from how agreeable you are on the outside. There’s little question that Jobs was disagreeable: He was critical and skeptical...."

10 Creatures That Can Ruin Your Day at the Beach. Our lakes are looking even better. Let's start with jellyfish, courtesy of The Washington Post: "...The oceans contain thousands of types of jellyfish, ranging from one-millimeter specks to giants with tentacles more than 100 feet long. Stings are common: According to a 2008 National Science Foundation report, about 500,000 people are stung in the Chesapeake Bay every year and another 200,000 in Florida. Avoid ’em: Keep an eye out for jellyfish in the water, and definitely don’t pick up that colorful, balloonlike thing on the sand — it could be a venomous jellyfish cousin called a Portuguese man-of-war. If you’re stung, rinse with seawater and remove spines with tweezers or the edge of a credit card. Contrary to that “Friends” episode, urinating on a jellyfish sting can make it worse..."

IBM's Watson Will Analyze Wimbledon to Suggest the Best Matches. Soon we'll all be working for Watson. Engadget has more detail: "IBM's Watson can apparently do everything. From manufacturing and medical treatment planning to portrait drawing and filing your taxes, there seems to be no limit to what the Jeopardy-winning AI can do. And next week, Watson will be offering its services to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Those attending the event will be able to access a Watson-driven digital assistant named Fred via a mobile app. Fred will be able to help them navigate the courts, find food stands and vendors as well as figure out who is playing at any given time..."

File photo credit: IBM and Fortune.

Virtual Reality Tornado Experience Raises Awareness of Wind Perils. Is this how we'll get our (virtual/personalized) weather reports in the very near future? Check out an article at Business Insurance: "Munich Reinsurance America Inc. has released a tornado virtual reality experience tool to highlight the risks posed by tornadoes and the importance of embracing resiliency in building construction to help reduce future property losses. Property damage from convective storms in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years, exceeding more than $22 billion in economic losses, including $15.3 billion in insured losses, in 2016, according to the Princeton, New Jersey-based reinsurer. “Within the United States, on occasion we do have the very severe coastal hurricane events like Sandy, like Matthew last year, but year in and year out, the United States consistently has very high levels of insured loss due to severe thunderstorm events, which includes tornado, hail and high winds,” said Mark Bove, senior research meteorologist at Munich Re US..."

Why We Argue Best With Our Mouths Shut. A story at Christianity Today caught my eye: "...But if it seems obvious that arguing is not an effective way to win someone over, it doesn’t stop people from trying. From Facebook to family gatherings, our disagreements regularly erupt into arguments. It’s no wonder people often avoid topics pertaining to politics and religion, in both their digital and social lives. It’s often just too risky. If we have any hope for healing the divisions in our society, families, churches, and communities, it will serve us well to learn how to have better conversations. And mounting scientific evidence suggests that the secret may lie in the charge put forth by James: to make every effort to be quick to listen and slow to speak (1:19)..."
Happy Birthday Canada! Details on Canada Day rom Wikipedia: "A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada..."

TODAY: Plenty of sunshine, a nicer day. Winds: N 5-10. High: near 80

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 61

MONDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 82

4TH OF JULY: Sun much of the day. Late thunder? Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Sticky sun, slight risk of a T-storm. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 66. High: 85

THURSDAY: Hot steamy sunshine, feels like July. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 92

FRIDAY: Clearing, breezy and less humid. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 71. High: 86

SATURDAY: Sunny, looks promising right now, dip in humidity. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80

Climate Stories...

The Pope's Moral Case for Taking On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers.”It is a statement of fact, an intellectual premise, a gentle claim of territory. In his new encyclical on environmental degradation, Laudato Si, Pope Francis is not just addressing the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. He’s tagging God into the global conversation on climate change. The document, which was leaked on Monday by an Italian newspaper and officially released by the Vatican on Thursday, bitterly condemns the human failures that have eroded much of the environment. The pope rattles off fact after fact about the pitiful state of the earth: Pesticides have contaminated farmers’ soil. Air pollution has poisoned cities. Man-made waste checkers landscapes. There’s not enough clean water for people to drink or tropical forests to regulate carbon in the atmosphere. Whole species of animals are dying out..."

Image credit: Gregorio Borgia / AP.

A Room Full of Republicans Just Addressed Climate Change, Here's Why. Federal News Radio has the post: "Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) did something this week  that many Democrats in Congress have been unable to do. He got Republicans to act on climate change.  With an amendment to the House 2018 Defense Authorization Bill, Langevin got his Republican and Democratic colleagues to address the national security implications of rising sea levels, desertification and  nother nasty effects of global warming. The amendment, which made it to the final version of the bill, explicitly states that climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States. It requires the Defense Secretary to make a list of the 10 military installations most threatened by climate change and to explain how threats to those installations can be mitigated..."

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) did something this week that many Democrats in Congress have been unable to do.
He got Republicans to act on climate change.
With an amendment to the House 2018 defense authorization bill, Langevin got his Republican and Democratic colleagues to address the national security implications of rising sea levels, desertification and other nasty effects global warming.
The amendment, which made it into the final version of the bill, explicitly states that climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States.
Major Correction to Satellite Data Shows 140% Faster Warming Since 1998. More bad news for professional climate skeptics. Carbon Brief explains: "A new paper published in the Journal of Climate reveals that the lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed much faster since 1979 than scientists relying on satellite data had previously thought. Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), based in California, have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record. After correcting for problems caused by the decaying orbit of satellites, as well as other factors, they have produced a new record showing 36% faster warming since 1979 and nearly 140% faster (e.g. 2.4 times faster) warming since 1998. This is in comparison to the previous version 3 of the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) data published in 2009..."

Graphic credit: "Produced by Carbon Brief using data from RSS."

Heat Deaths in U.S. Cities Could Jump 10-Fold if Climate Change Isn't Slowed. Here's an excerpt from Healthday News and Bismarck Tribune: "America's exit from the Paris climate change agreement will lead to more punishing summer heat waves and thousands of additional heat-related deaths each year in major U.S. cities, a new report claims. Conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the report projected that all 51 of the country's urban areas with more than 1 million people will experience more dangerously hot summer days both in the middle and late parts of this century. In 45 of the largest cities, excess deaths on dangerously hot days could increase 10-fold, from an average of about 1,360 each summer between 1975 and 2010 to 13,860 by the mid-2040s, the report concluded..."

Photo credit: Tom Wang, Bismarck Tribune.

Global Warming Tipped Scales in Europe's Heat Wave. Climate Central delves into the realm of attribution, linking extreme events to a warmer climate: "...To evaluate the role of global warming in the recent heat wave, the researchers used both historical temperature observations and climate models to see how the oddds of such an event have changed over time and to  compare the odds in a climate with and without warming, respectively. They found that the likelihood of such a heat wave had at least doubled across the region and was up to 10 times more  likely in the worst-hit places, Spain and Portugal. What was once a rare heat event can now happen every 10 to 30 years, as is more  likely to happen earlier in the summer..."

Photo credit: "Fire and smoke is seen on the IC8 motorway during a forest fire near Pedrogao Grande, in central Portugal on June 18, 2017." Credit: REUTERS/Miguel Vidal.

Winter's Not Coming: Game of Thrones' Jon Snow Worried Over Lack of It. The Guardian has the story: "His character Jon Snow may fret about the arrival of winter, but Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington has said he was instead confronted by “terrifying” evidence of global warming while filming the HBO show. Harington said it was a “very sad irony” to film in locations with diminishing ice for scenes where the arrival of winter, and the frosty undead from beyond the Wall, is feared by his character. “We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is here,” the actor told Time. “We got there and we were lucky to get the snow we did, because in our world, winter is definitely not here. It’s this weird parallel, the opposite parallel..."

Photo credit: "Kit Harington – AKA Jon Snow – has described ‘terrifying’ evidence of global warming." Photograph: HBO/2015 Home Box Office.

Companies Pressed to Disclose More on Climate Change Risks. The Wall Street Journal reports: "A panel of top financial institutions and companies has launched guidelines to push for more disclosure about the impact of climate change—highlighting rising concern about the potential investment risks posed by global warming. The task force, which was commissioned by a group of global regulators known as the Financial Stability Board and led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said companies should disclose in financial filings how they are planning for risks and opportunities related to climate change. It also called for companies to develop specific metrics and targets to measure performance in that area. The task force included executives from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Unilever , mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. and other large companies..."

Nuclear Power and Climate Change. Here's a response to a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times from Carol Browner, former administrator of the EPA, and a member of Nuclear Matters, a national coalition: "...Trying to fight climate change without our existing nuclear fleet is akin to trying to fight a fire with a steadily decreasing supply of water: It just won't work. We need to recognize this and take steps to preserve the critical carbon-free power we get from our nuclear plants..."

Photo credit: "The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa. Exelon has said it will shut down the last reactor there by 2019 unless it receives financial assistance." Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

Climate Change in the U.S. Could the Rich and Hurt the Poor. The Washington Post explains the implications of a warmer, wetter, more volatile climate: "...Researchers have long warned that unmitigated climate change could cause severe financial hardship to the United States in coming decades. But a new study published Thursday in the journal Science details how global warming could disproportionately affect poor areas of the country, contributing to widening economic inequality among Americans. “The poor regions will get poorer and the richer regions will benefit,” said study co-author Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. “What we’re seeing here is that climate change will have a very large impact on the quality of life and economic opportunity in the coming decades for ourselves and our children...”

What Can We Learn From Dystopian Fiction About Climate Change? has an interesting post.

Could Climate Change Spark a "Permanent Recession"? TIME weighs in with perspective on new research looking into how climate volatility and weather disruption might disrupt America's GDP in the decades to come: "Climate change will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, leading to as much as a 3% decline in national GDP by the end of the 21st century if left unaddressed — and losses will be far higher in some of the country's poorest areas, according to a new study. Researchers behind the study, published in the journal Science, evaluated a number of factors that will contribute to economic decline as average global temperatures continue to rise, including increased energy costs, coastal damage, mortality rates and damage to agriculture. The study authors did not assess some other factors that carry economic costs, like damage to biodiversity, because such losses can be difficult to quantify..."

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