47 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
60 F. average high for April 19.
45 F. high temperature at KMSP on April 19, 2011.
.25″ rain predicted for the metro area Saturday (best chance of puddles PM hours).
Sunday looks better, a mix of clouds and sun, highs in the low 60s with northwest winds blowing from 10-20 mph.
70 F. possible by Tuesday, the ECMWF model is hinting at 80 in the metro a week from today.
“The third greatest number of weather fatalities in Minnesota since 1990 has been due to excessive heat. Fourteen people have died from high heat and humidity. Only tornadoes and flooding have killed more people in the last 21 years.” – from the Twin Cities National Weather Service. More on heatwaves and Severe Weather Awareness Week here.
“Some experts cautioned that using language that is too strong could have the opposite of its intended effect. Jeff Lazo, director of the Societal Impacts Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said people could actually go into “fear control.” “Instead of responding to a threat, they just kind of tune it out,” Lazo said. “It’s not necessarily a rational response. It’s more of an emotional response. There comes a point where someone’s just going to grab a six pack and go to the roof because they don’t think they’re going to survive it.”- from a timely AP story at weatherbug.com below.
“Extremes are becoming more extreme. And none of it has anything to do with Al Gore. During a 2007 homecoming banquet for Iraqi war vets I asked my personal hero, Senator John McCain, if he thought this could all be some cosmic coincidence. He rolled his eyes. “Paul, I just returned from the Yukon, where a village elder presented me with a tomahawk that had just melted out of the permafrost. The answer is no.” How did so much of the Republican Party enter perpetual denial? We’ve turned climate science into a bizarre litmus test for conservatism. To pretend that heat-trapping gases can be waved away with a nod and a smirk is political fairytale. No harm. No foul. Keep drilling.” – excerpt from a 2-part story I wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek. Details below.
Sticking My Entire Face Into The Climate Buzzsaw. Does this mean I won’t get a Christmas card from Rush, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News this year? I hope not. This stopped being a popularity contest a long time ago. You may not care about our morphing climate (and more extreme weather), but I’ll bet your grandkids will express a strong interest in a few years. “What did you know…when…and what did you do?” Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth post at The New York Times is here.
1980 to 2009. Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi and Kansas experienced the most tornadoes in the USA. Source: CoreLogic.
1,000 of Texas’ 4,710 community water systems are currently under water restrictions. More in The Denver Post below.
Slow Warming Trend. The latest MSP ”Meteogram” from Iowa State, shows highs topping 60 by Sunday, a growing chance of 70s by Tuesday and Wednesday.
A Springy Comeback. We’ve had our Canadian Relapse – now it’s time for a surge of warmth to return. Highs reach the 60s all next week – the European ECMWF hinting at upper 70s to near 80 a week from today.
“Partly Puddly” Saturday. A clipper pushes 3-7 hours of showers across the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin Saturday, an eastbound cool front sparking a band of showers and possible thunder from Albany southward to Philadelphia and Raleigh. What’s that in the Gulf of Mexico? The WRF model (valid noon Saturday) is hinting at some tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico, which wouldn’t surprise me. Water temperatures in the Gulf are running 1-3 F. warmer than average – a possible contributing factor to the unusually severe tornadoes touching down so early in the season.
Could Better Tornado Warnings Lead To Complacency? An interesting story from AP and Weatherbug.com: “OKLAHOMA CITY – Forecasters who issued dire warnings ahead of last weekend’s tornado outbreak in the Midwest deemed the effort a success Monday, largely because dozens of tornadoes hit yet caused only a handful of deaths. But they expressed concern about future public complacency. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center issued a rare high-risk warning days ahead of the storms, sternly urging residents across several states to prepare for “life-threatening” weather. State officials and residents in communities where tornadoes hit praised the effort, noting only six lives were lost. But many of the tornadoes touched down in rural areas, mostly in Kansas. Forecasters worried that could result in people tuning out future warnings because they were not in this outbreak’s path.”
Tornado Threat Actually Much More Widespread Than “Tornado Alley”. Here’s an excerpt of a story from KJRH.com: “Yes, Oklahoma is smack-dab in the middle of the so-called “Tornado Alley,” but now nearly a dozen other states are facing the same moniker. A new report suggests the traditional Tornado Alley boundaries, which includes Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, should be expanded. The report by CoreLogic , a private research and consulting company, says much of the Midwest, the Deep South and Florida should be included in Tornado Alley because of the frequency and severity of tornadoes in those areas.”
Kansas Officials Call Some Storm Chasers “Outrageously Stupid.” It’s not good when emergency responders can’t get to the scene of tornado damage because of hundreds of storm chasers clogging highways. The story from USA Today.
The Wind At Your Door, Literally. Americans have a fascination with tornadoes and tornado-chasing. They are nature’s most fickle and fascinating wind – but the adrenaline rush, the thrill of seeing a tornado, quickly goes away when you wander through the rubble leftover from a large tornado. Here’s an excerpt of a compelling story from The Baltimore Sun: “In the poem “The Wind at Your Door,” R.D. Fitzgerald references the atrocities of the past blowing into present day Australian society. Despite the differences in subject matter, not to mention continents, I couldn’t help but think about this poem while reading about the deadly storms this past weekend. Being from Iowa, tornadoes have always been a threat from April to August. The horrendous tornado damage to the town of Parkersburg in 2008 was only 25 miles from where I grew up. Imagine my surprise to read that I’m more likely to witness a tornado since moving to Baltimore because Maryland is third on the list of “Top Tornado States.”
Before the Tornado…
Tornado watches highlight the area where tornadoes are most likely to develop. Continue with your normal activities, but keep informed of the latest weather information and be ready to get to shelter in case tornadoes develop quickly.
In the Home…
Go to the basement if possible. Get under a table, work bench, or some other sturdy furniture to avoid falling debris. A stairwell is also a good place to hide during a tornado.
If You Cannot Get to a Basement…
Go to a small interior room on the lowest floor. Closets, bathrooms, and interior halls afford the best protection in most cases, or try to hide under a bed. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with blankets. Stay away from windows.
In an Apartment, School or Office Building…
Move to the inner-most room on the lowest level or to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from windows. If in a hallway, crouch down and protect your head from flying debris. Avoid areas with glass and large roof expansions.
In a Mobile Home, Car, Truck or Other Vehicle…
Abandon these as quickly as possible. Seek a sturdy shelter or permanent structure. Remember that many deaths occur when people try to drive away in a vehicle, but get caught in the deadly winds. Avoid bridges since they act as wind tunnels.
Hurricane Preparedness: Keeping An Emergency From Becoming A Disaster. Here’s an excerpt of a good article from DVIDS, The Defense Video And Distribution System: “Hart also suggested making a record of personal property. Take photographs or videotapes of belongings and store these documents in a safe place. Here are some steps to prepare for a hurricane from www.fema.gov:
• Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with about 5/8-inch-thick marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
• Install straps of additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and down spouts.
• Determine how and where to secure your boat (if you have one).
• Consider building a safe room.”
* Image of Hurricane Katrina (2005) above courtesy of NASA and NOAA.
NOAA Retires GOES-7 After 25 Years As A Weather And Communications Satellite. Details from NOAA: “This week, the GOES-7 satellite, one of NOAA’s earliest geostationary satellites, was moved into a higher orbit and retired from service. Launched in 1987, GOES-7 first served as a critical weather satellite, capturing images of developing hurricanes and other severe storms that impacted the United States. In 1999, when its Earth-observing instruments degraded past operational use, the Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) program began using GOES-7 to provide communications for the Pacific islands.’
Photo credit above: “This image from the GOES-7 satellite shows Hurricane Andrew at its peak intensity on August 24, 1992 before making landfall near Homestead, FL.” Source: NOAA.
Tsunami Alert: Don’t Cut That Program. Not something we need to worry about in Minnesota (one of the FEW things we don’t have to fret about), but tsunamis (tidal waves) are a constant risk to the west coast; vulnerable to offshore quakes which can displace vast amounts of water – increasing the potential for a disastrous tsunami. The L.A. Times has more: “After last week’s earthquake in the Indian Ocean, people in Indonesia responded far differently than they had seven years earlier, after another major quake: They evacuated low coastal areas to escape a possible tsunami. As it turned out, there were no killer tidal surges for various reasons, including the type of earth movement involved. Still, the response was a welcome improvement. The 2004 earthquake and tsunami killed close to 200,000 people in Southeast Asia; many of those victims had no idea of the impending danger. And the change this time was due in good part to an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system put in place since that catastrophe.”
Photo credit above: “Sunken fishing boats in the harbor after tsunami swells from the earthquake in Japan last week stuck the area in heights of up to eight feet, in Crescent City, Calif., March 15, 2011. The city has long been known as one of the nation’s most susceptible inlets when it comes to tsunami, and this past week’s tsunami has left damages believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars, shutting down one of Northern California’s most lucrative fishing operations. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times).”
“Ask Paul.” Weather-related Q&A:
“As we were trying to watch TV tonight we were constantly interrupted with annoying tornado “test” warnings. We realize it is tornado awareness month, but we are used to tests on the first Wednesday of the month. The tests said they were supposed to expire at 7:10 but they were still broadcast well after 8:00. All of this at the same time the weather service has been trying to get us to take actual warnings seriously! Tornado warnings are too much like the little boy who called “Wolf” and this did not improve matters.” – Anonymous.
Device Determines Just How Much Pollution Its Wearer Is Breathing In. Gizmag.com has the details: “For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions.”
Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Frosty start in the outlying suburbs? Partly sunny and cool. Winds: N 8-13. High: 53
FRIDAY NIGHT:Clouds increase, not quite as chilly. Low: 37
Climate Change Has Nothing To Do With Al Gore. Here’s is an excerpt of a 2-article series I wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek: “I’m a moderate Republican – a fan of small government, light regulation and market solutions. A serial entrepreneur, I founded companies that invented 3-D television weather graphics and the first app on a cell phone. I’m a Penn State meteorologist. My day-job since 1979: tracking weather for TV news. If you know anything about American politics these days, and follow the climate war at all, you might anticipate with some confidence that I agree global warming is a hoax. That’s a shame, and I hope it changes soon. In the 1980s I was skeptical that an upward blip in global temperatures was the result of manmade gases. Then the blips persisted. By the mid-90s I began to see them as unsettling changes. The weather was becoming erratic and even more unpredictable than usual. Storms were more frequent and intense. Curious, I began including climate statistics in daily TV weather segments, like annual trends in flash-flooding, hail, summer humidity, fewer subzero nights and decreased snowfall.”
Photo credit above: “Clouds form over an empty road, in Kearney, Nebraska. Photograph by Ryan McGinnis.”
* Let me anticipate the comments (which I don’t read, and never will). All this negativity and angst. Yes, I’m a “RINO”, a hypocrite (I only own one hybrid and my 1950s home isn’t as energy efficient as it could be – or will be. I’m a bit of a creep, an opportunist, a lousy businessman (my companies over the years employed less than 250 people), a terrible father, an inconsiderate husband (still married to the same poor woman for 28 years! Imagine that.) I have bad hair and a very bad attitude… and at times I’m SO full of myself. All true. I had a case of adult acne in my 30s, I don’t floss regularly, I can be anti-social and I watch “Shameless” on Showtime (to balance out NOVA and Frontline on PBS). I have a terrible digital camera addition too – you got me there. And those are some of my better attributes.
Dear Deniers: you’re welcome to your opinions – but you are not free to make up your own scientific facts. You call me an alarmist? The data – the trends are a bit alarming, and if you’re not just a little bit concerned about the direction we’re heading you’re not paying attention. As the data becomes more clear the skeptics are sounding more shrill. “We can’t win on the facts, conditions on the ground (or in the air), so let’s resort to name-calling. It’s 4th grade all over again. The concept of “actions have consequences” (somehow) threatens their world-view and everything they hold dear. Here’s some advice: get over it. Given the facts, the data, and the trends, it’s OK to change your mind, however reluctantly. I promise you won’t get a thank you card from Al Gore. Or me.
NASA’s James Hansen Reviews Draft American Meteorological Society Climate Statement: Stronger But Still Inadequate. Details from Dr. James Hansen at Think Progress: “Many television meteorologists question manmade climate change, including ones certified by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The society’s statement on climate change is now more than five years old, overdue for a revision. A few months ago, members of Forecast the Facts called on the AMS to pass a strong, science-based information statement on climate change. After months of delay, the AMS has finally completed a draft statement. The draft is only viewable by AMS members. Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has read the statement and offers his opinion — Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts. “As a climate scientist, I know that there’s a huge gap between what scientists understand about climate change and what the public knows. And when TV meteorologists get the science wrong, it just furthers public confusion.”
Climate Shift Could Help Struggling N.E. Species. Here’s a (rare) positive spin from a trusted news organization; an excerpt from an article at The Boston Globe: “Warm winters like the one that just passed are likely to become more frequent as the planet heats up, scientists predict, and many of the consequences could be dire, from rising sea levels to droughts to the spread of pests and diseases. But in the lesser-noted ledger of global warming, there are also potential benefits for wildlife. Among the potential beneficiaries is the New England cottontail, an endangered brown rabbit that, in a typical winter, stands out against the snow, making it an easy target for predators. Not so this nearly snowless year.”
Photo credit above: “ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE.”
Are We Warming The Planet? That Is The Key Question. NPR has more details: “An intense debate has been raging on The New York Review of Books the past few weeks on the issue of global warming and its skeptics. Even though Adam wrote about global warming yesterday, this is so important and powerful that it shouldn’t pass unnoticed here on 13.7. In one corner stands William D. Nordhaus, the Sterling professor of economics at Yale University. In the other corner stand three of the 16 scientists behind an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on January 27, 2012, “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” The piece spells out their basic objections to global warming.”
DoD, Navy and Wind Farm Developer Release Historic Memorandum Of Agreement. Here’s a press release from the Navy. Yes, the U.S Navy: “NAVAL AIR STATION (NAS) KINGSVILLE, Texas (NNS) — The Navy released today a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by officials from the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy and Texas Wind Group (TWG) that outlines a mutual approach to enable a renewable energy developer to build and operate wind turbines at planned locations in Kleberg County, Texas, while reducing the potential for those turbines to affect flight operations at NAS Kingsville. “Sustaining military readiness is the number one priority of everyone in the Navy chain of command,” said Capt. Mark McLaughlin, commanding officer of NAS Kingsville. “This agreement helps preserve NAS Kingsville’s capability to train naval aviators, while enabling the compatible development of new energy sources.”
Has Global Warming Caused A Quantum Jump In Extreme Weather? Here’s an excerpt from an article at ThinkProgress.com: “Increasingly, scientists and meteorologists are asking whether global warming is driving a quantum jump — a non-linear shift — in our extreme weather. We now have enough observations and analyses that a scientific literature on this subject has begun to emerge:
- Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’
- Is Climate Change Bringing the Arctic to Europe?
- Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by Global Warming”
Peter Sinclair has put together an excellent video for the Yale Forum on why even the modest 1°C warming we’ve seen over the past century can cause a disproportionally large shift in our weather systems.”
Americans Connect Dots Between Extreme Weather And Climate Change. The Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow has an excellent post in The Washington Post; here’s an excerpt: “Most Americans get it: global warming is intensifying heat waves and extreme precipitation to some degree. That’s the take away from a new public opinion survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The survey, which queried more than 1,000 adults across the country about global warming and extreme weather, discovered roughly two-thirds of Americans believe global warming is linked to several of the extreme weather events of 2011 and the recent mild winter. Predictably, this news has drawn the full spectrum of reactions.” Photo from my book, “Restless Skies, The Ultimate Weather Book”, courtesy of Sterling Publishing.
In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes With Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of a story at The New York Times: “Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming — but the public, it seems, is already there. A poll due for release on Wednesday shows that a large majority of Americans believe that this year’s unusually warm winter, last year’s blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years.” Photo credit above: AP.
The Weekend Of 100 Tornadoes: Are Killer Storms Being Fueled By Climate Change? Here’s a good, in-depth article from Time Magazine: “It could have been so much worse. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours over the weekend. Cars were tossed through the air and houses were pulverized. Hail the size of baseballs fell from the sky, crushing anything left in the open. More than what is ordinarily a month’s worth of cyclones struck in a single day, yet miraculously, only one, in the Oklahoma town of Westwood, proved fatal, killing six victims who lived in and around a mobile-trailer park. “God was merciful,” Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told CNN on Sunday. But it wasn’t just God or chance. The low death toll was also due to a faster and more insistent warning system by weather forecasters, who put the word out early and often and over many platforms that the past weekend could be a dangerous one for the Midwest, thanks to an unusually strong storm system.”
Photo credit above: “A tornado makes its way through farmlands near Rush Center, Kansas, on April 14, 2012. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours that weekend.” Gene Blevins / Reuters.
Extreme Weather And Climate Change. Here’s more from the Yale Project On Climate Change Communication:
- 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year;
- 35 percent of all Americans report that they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these extreme weather events in the past year;
- Over the past several years, Americans say the weather in the U.S. has been getting worse – rather than better – by a margin of over 2 to 1 (52% vs. 22%).”
* photo above: Chicago office of the National Weather Service.
Global Warming: Sea Ice Decline Causing Ozone Depletion. Here’s an excerpt from a story at The Summit County Citizens Voice: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Loss of sea ice in polar regions isn’t just affecting the surface of the Earth, but is also having an impact on the atmosphere. An international NASA-led team, coordinated by the National Ice Center, is reporting that changes in sea ice are driving chemical reactions that result in ozone depletion and the toxic element mercury falling out of the Arctic atmosphere onto the ocean and icy surface. The findings may help explain why other studies documented an unprecedented loss of ozone in the Arctic last winter.”
Global Warming Is Not A Hoax. From The Bismarck Tribune:
– “Both the U.S. and Canada are developing technologies to better track increased shipping traffic in the Arctic.
– Shell Oil is exploring for oil and natural gas in the Beaufort Sea, just north of Alaska, and Exxon Mobile has just signed a deal with the Russians to do the same thing in their Arctic waters.
– In 2009, because “evidence indicates that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the most rapid changes are occurring in the Arctic,” the U.S. Navy created Task Force Climate Change to help naval leaders deal with the significant climatic changes in the Arctic.
– The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land on the island of Fiji so it will have some place to move its 113,000 people before the Pacific Ocean inundates the entire nation (the first of thousands of islands so threatened).”
Climate Change Throws Nature’s Timing Out Of Whack. Details from MNN, Mother Nature Network: “Timing matters: Flowers bloom, insects emerge, birds migrate, and planting and hunting seasons are carefully coordinated times in order to take advantage of what other organisms, or the weather, is up to. But increasing research is showing some of these relationships are falling out of sync as climate change alters important cues, such as the arrival of spring warmth. “There are going to be winners and losers,” said David Inouye, a biology professor at the University of Maryland, who has followed seasonal events at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado since 1973. “The ultimate outcome will be that some species go extinct and some manage to adapt.”
Goodman: The Long, Hot March Of Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Denver Post: “The Pentagon knows it. The world’s largest insurers know it. Now, governments may be overthrown because of it. It is climate change, and it is real. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the hottest March on record for the U.S. since 1895, when records were first kept, with average temperatures of 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average. More than 15,000 March high temperature records were broken nationally. Drought, wildfires, tornadoes and other extreme weather events are already plaguing the country.”
Goldmark: No Time To Waste On Warming. An Op-Ed at Newsday.com: “The sea level is rising and the clock is ticking. It’s time to come to our senses about global warming. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth‘s atmosphere increases relentlessly, but slowly. The greatest asset we have in dealing with it is time: time to phase in carbon limits carefully, time to make sure we don’t burden the economy with emergency measures, and time to work out agreements with other countries — since this is one of those new global problems where either we all succeed in addressing it together or we all suffer severe consequences separately. In the United States, we’ve been squandering that time with a senseless and paralyzing argument about whether global warming is real and if so, man-made.”
Political Scientist: Republicans Most Conservative They’ve Been In 100 Years. And yes, for the record, not that it matters for anything, I’m a (moderate Republican). Oxymoron? Here’s an excerpt from NPR: “When President Obama recently complained to news media executives about their ostensibly even-handed “pox on both of your houses” coverage of the partisan battles in Washington, it might have seemed like, well, a partisan shot from a Democratic president. After all, his complaint was that the GOP had moved so far right, and intransigently so, that it was wrong to create a false “equivalence” by blaming both parties equally for the Washington gridlock. To a skeptic that comment, coming from a Democrat, sounded suspiciously partisan itself.”
Photo credit above: J. Scott Applewhite/AP. “Congressional Republicans have a unique achievement, they are further from the political center than their predecessors of the past century.”