81 F. average high on August 8.
82 F. high on August 8, 2016.
August 9, 1948: 7.72 inches of rain falls at Mankato.
Will the Meteorology Profession Be Disrupted Too?
If you're not just a little bit paranoid - it might mean you're not paying attention. Really smart computers and robotics are already disrupting entire industries. Many white collar jobs in law and finance will be replaced by artificial intelligence; supercomputers that don't take vacations or ask for raises.
Which got me wondering: are meteorologists safe? I'd like to think so, but I'm not so sure. Will Alexa or Siri someday provide context, perspective and analysis - with a different weather forecast and narrative for every consumer and business? Can we - should we - engineer humans out of weather story-telling? The only predictable thing about the future is change. Many of us will be changing careers, some against our will.
A few showers and T-storms slosh back into town later today and Thursday, the wettest day of the week. NAM guidance prints out about a third of an inch. The weekend looks respectable: upper 70s with sunshine. Too cool for the lake? Sorry, I'm just the the messenger.
If you crave heat and humidity you'll enjoy sticky 80s, shaping up for late August.
- Periods of heavy rain for parts of the central and southern Rockies, central and southern Plains, the Middle and Lower Mississippi Valleys, and the Tennessee Valley, Fri-Tue, Aug 11-15.
- Heavy rain for parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Sun-Mon, Aug 13-14.
- Heavy snow above 2500 feet for parts of the Brooks Range of Alaska, Fri-Sat, Aug 11-12.
- Heavy rain for portions of the south side of the Brooks Range of Alaska west of 150 W, Fri-Sat, Aug 11-12.
- High winds near the Bering Strait region, Fri-Sat, Aug 11-12.
- Heavy rain for parts of southeastern mainland Alaska and portions of the Alaska Panhandle, Mon-Tue, Aug 14-15.
- Much above-normal temperatures for portions of the the Northern Intermountain West, Fri, Aug 11.
- Flooding likely, occurring , or imminent for parts of western Missouri.
- Severe Drought across parts of the Great Plains, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, the Southwest, and Hawaii.
Image credit: "An American Airlines flight bound for Philadelphia experienced severe turbulence on July 5. Upon landing, three passengers and seven crew members were hospitalized." (Reuters).
Europe Swelters Under a Heat Wave Called "Lucifer" The New York Times has more perspective on the relentless heat: "...Sun-kissed Italy has become sun-cursed. With temperatures in recent days regularly rising north of 100 degrees, a nationwide drought leaving rivers and mouths dry and countryside kindling and arsonists combining to ignite the landscape, Italians are, well, boiling. Farmers are lamenting more than $1 billion in revenue lost to drought and singed fields. Firefighters are busy. Packs of gum are melting in their wrappers. In Rome, the heat wave has coincided with a meltdown of public services, including public transport..."
Can Congress Bring the National Flood Insurance Program Above Water? As long as people are incentivized to keep rebuilding in increasingly flood-prone regions the program is destined to fail. Here's an excerpt at The Atlantic: "...As problematic government programs go, the NFIP is a doozy. Established in 1968, it handles some 5 million policies nationwide. Unfortunately, these days it collects less in premiums and surcharges than it shells out in claims and other expenses, leaving the Treasury Department—read: taxpayers—to plug the holes. Which means every time some neighborhood in Galveston or Daytona winds up underwater (Texas, Florida, and Louisiana account for more than half of all policies), the rest of the nation effectively bails them out. Not that coastal areas bear all the blame—rivers have a nasty habit of overflowing as well. Last August, an ugly storm parked itself over Baton Rouge for several days, dropping upwards of 20 inches of rain that caused $10 billion in damages. All told, the FEMA-managed NFIP is neck-deep in debt to the tune of $24.6 billion..."
Fossil Fuel Subsidies are a Staggering $5 Trillion Per Year. A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels. University of St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham reports for The Guardian: "...A study was just published in the journal World Development that quantifies the amount of subsidies directed toward fossil fuels globally, and the results are shocking. The authors work at the IMF and are well-skilled to quantify the subsidies discussed in the paper. Let’s give the final numbers and then back up to dig into the details. The subsidies were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later. According to the authors, these subsidies are important because first, they promote fossil fuel use which damages the environment. Second, these are fiscally costly. Third, the subsidies discourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that compete with the subsidized fossil fuels. Finally, subsidies are very inefficient means to support low-income households..."
Beijing file photo: Aaron Farr, Flickr.
Industry groups and the politicians they effectively buy claim that distributed solar energy imposes costs on customers who don’t install solar panels, because solar users don't pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining the grid..." (File photo: Walmart).
Even With All Our Gadgets, Americans Are Using Less Electricity Than 10 Years Ago. Here's an excerpt from Recode: "Everything from our heating systems to our toothbrushes is plugged in and connected to the internet, and smartphones are glued to the palms of our hands. Yet, Americans are using less electricity than we did 10 years ago. Overall residential electricity sales have declined 3 percent from 2010 to 2016, and 7 percent on a per capita basis, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Our numerous gadgets are all getting more efficient, so they’re less of a drain on residential electric bills..."
Energy Department Reports: Wind Energy Continues Rapid Growth in 2016. Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa lead the nation. Here's an excerpt from The Department of Energy: "The Energy Department today released three wind market reports demonstrating continued growth in wind energy nationwide. America’s wind industry added more than 8,200 megawatts (MW) of capacity last year, representing 27 percent of all energy capacity additions in 2016. In 2016, wind supplied about 6 percent of U.S. electricity, and 14 states now get more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind. The reports cover the following market sectors: land-based utility scale, offshore, and distributed wind...In the past year, Iowa and South Dakota produced more than 30 percent of their electricity from wind, and 12 other states exceeded 10 percent (Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Vermont, Idaho, Maine, Texas, Oregon, New Mexico, Nebraska)..."
- Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
- Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
- Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
- Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it
Money Won't Make You Happy. Here's What Will, According to Science. A story at Inc. was an eye-opener: "...If you want to increase your happiness levels, then be altruistic. Help other people. This is one of the interesting findings of research in positive psychology. Most people actually think of pleasure, not happiness. They think of the pleasure of eating an ice cream or of going to the movies. But your happiness from these activities looks very much like a square wave. You are happy during the event, but half an hour later it has very little effect on your current state of happiness. However, humans are wired for helping others. We get a nice long tail of happiness: Days later, you can close your eyes and get a warm, happy feeling as you remember helping your friend with something that mattered to him or her. Either that or you've just peed yourself..." (File photo: someecards.com).
The Eclipse of 1878 Almost Killed the Father of the National Weather Service. Expect similar madness on August 21. Atlas Obscura explains what can go wrong; here's a clip: "...Over the next week or so, Abbe and his colleagues were battered with wind, cold, and extreme weather as they tried to observe the skies in preparation for the eclipse. But that wasn’t the worst of it. “They were battling snowstorms in July that threatened to rust out their telescopes. They also suffered significant altitude sickness,” says Baron. Due to the extreme difference in air pressure and lack of oxygen at such a high altitude, the astronomers experienced headaches, dizziness, and disorientation. Many people can adjust to altitude sickness, but that was not the case for Cleveland Abbe. The day before the eclipse, Abbe woke to pain so extreme he could not stand. The Langleys tried to convince Abbe to go down the mountain, but he refused, holing up in his tent, insisting that he could recover. Later that evening, General Myers finally made his way to the peak, where he ordered Abbe taken off the peak on a stretcher..."
File image credit: "The eclipse of 1878 as observed from Wyoming." Étienne Léopold Trouvelot/Public Domain
I Had No Idea. A friend forwarded this nugget from Reddit and it seems to add up. Hey, who needs meteorologists?
TODAY: Clouds increase, PM showers, thunder. Winds: S 7-12. High: 77
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Lingering showers, clap of thunder. Low: 62
THURSDAY: Numerous showers, T-storms - wettest day of week? Winds: SW 5-10. High: 74
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, brighter, nicer day. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 61. High: 76
SATURDAY: Plenty of sunshine, pleasant. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 60. High: 78
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, light winds. Winds: E 3-8. Wake-up: 61. High: 79
MONDAY: Blue sky, fine weather lingers. Winds: SE 3-8. Wake-up: 62. High: 81
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, still comfortable. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80
Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S. It turns out it wasn't leaked after all - it's been in the public domain for some time now. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest in the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited..."
File photo: NOAA.
Climate Leaks. VICE News has a few findings from the most recent climate change report compiled by 13 different agencies. Here are a few highlights:
- "Extreme weather events are occurring more frequently and have become more intense. The warmest days have become warmer since the early 1960s and extreme heat waves have become more frequent.
- Overall, it has rained more heavily and more frequently in the U.S. since 1901, and the highest increase has been observed in the northeastern part of the U.S.
- Oceans have risen 8-9 inches since 1880, the report found with “very high confidence,” citing human activity as making a “substantial contribution” to that rise..."
USDA Staff Were Coached Not to Say "Climate Change", E-mails Show. InsideClimate News has the story: "Four days after President Donald Trump took the oath of office, an official at the Department of Agriculture sent an email, the first in a string of messages signaling to staff that the term "climate change" could soon be erased from the agency's vocabulary. "It has become clear one of the previous administration's priorities is not consistent with that of the incoming administration," wrote Jimmy Bramblett, a deputy chief in the agency's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). "Namely, that priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the Executive Branch." Over the course of the next six months, Bramblett and other officials sent emails to staff, coaching them to avoid using the term "climate change" and instead use the term "weather extremes..."
Photo credit: " Sukree Sukplang / Reuters.
- Deaths caused by extreme weather could rise from 3,000 a year between 1981 and 2010 to 152,000 between 2071 and 2100..."
Photo credit: "
Attribution. According to climate scientists the link between a warming climate and weather is strongest when it comes to temperature extremes, followed by drought intensity and rainfall rates/amounts. There is less confidence connecting the dots with severe local storms, hurricanes and wildfires. Graphic: National Academy of Sciences.