Conservation Minnesota

Canadian Breeze Today – Sticky Heat Returns Next Week – Challenge of Managing Water Going Forward

80 F. high temperature Wednesday in the Twin Cities (KMSP).
83 F. average high on July 27.
86 F. high on July 27, 2015.

.48″ rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport yesterday.
5.09″ rainfall so far in July.
3.49″ average rainfall as of July 27.

Comfortable Breeze Returns Today – 90F Next Week

You may be old enough to remember the line from the movie ‘The Graduate’. “I want to say one word to you. Just one word….PLASTICS!” A wise investment tip, back in 1967.

Today’s portfolio advice? “WATER MANAGEMENT!”

With climate volatility and increased weather disruption the sun will keep on rising in the east, but a warmer atmosphere is already making droughts and floods more intense.

Rain is falling with greater velocity; rapid water run-off into streets and lakes. Many analysts believe clean water, not oil, will be the most precious natural resource of the 21st century. Stay tuned.

Yesterday’s crop of slow-moving thunderstorms dropped torrential rains, with rapid ponding of water on area freeways. Factor in construction obstacles and you have a really bad 3-D video game.

A few showers linger today as northeast winds pull cooler air into town. You should see more of the sun Friday with weekend highs in the low to mid 80s under a hazy-blue sky.

We should hit 90F a couple of days next week – simmering heat and tropical downpours spilling into much of August. A real summer!


* Image credits. Upper left: “The Graduate“. Upper right: Jae C Hong, AP

More Torrential Rains. There were a few severe thunderstorm warnings issued for 1″ hail and gusts to 60 mph, but the biggest headline (in my mind) was the tropical rains squeezed out during yesterday’s waves of showers and T-storms. The bright purple-shaded area denotes 3″+ rains; most prevalent north and east of  the Twin Cities. 2″ rains falling in a short period of time triggered flash flooding in the immediate metro area as well.



Nagging Showers. Although the atmosphere won’t be as unstable as yesterday a few instability showers and T-showers are predicted today, relatively cold air overhead sparking an unstable sky with temperatures in the low 70s. 4km NAM Future Radar: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Couple of Comfortable Days – Summer Heat Returns Next Week. ECMWF guidance warms things up over the weekend; a few days at or above 90F likely again next week as dew points creep back into the 70s. Graphic: WeatherBell.


Lingering Heat. Long-range solutions are even more erratic than usual. Tuesday’s guidance hinted at a few cooler fronts by the second week of August, but Wednesday’s solution builds another ridge of hot high pressure from the Rockies to the Midwest, suggesting more 80s and 90s.



DOT: Flood-Damaged Roads in Northern Wisconsin Won’t Likely Be  Ready Until Late Summer. Here’s an excerpt from Wisconsin Public Radio: “Some flood-damaged roads in northern Wisconsin might not reopen until late August or September, according to officials with the state Department of Transportation. Most impacted state highways have reopened after major flooding caused extensive damage July 11. But some of the worst hit might be closed for another month or more. DOT communications manager Gina Paige said state and local road crews have been putting in long hours…”

Photo credit: Bureau of Indian Affairs


Forecast First: Warmer Temps Favored Across Entire U.S. And no, we can’t thank or blame El Nino this time around; here’s the intro to a story at Climate Central: “For the next three months, above-normal temperatures are favored across the U.S., from coast to coast and Mexico to Canada, as well as Alaska, according to government forecasts. In archives that go back to 1995, that’s never happened, Dan Collins, a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, said. While it doesn’t mean that a three-month-long heat wave is in store, or that there won’t be cooler spells here and there, it does up the odds that 2016 will rank among the hottest years on record for the country. It’s also a mark of the overall warming trend, courtesy of heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere…” Map credit: NOAA


Why The Ocean Is Warmer Than Usual And Could Stay That Way For A While. Here’s an excerpt of a story at California’s East Bay Times: “…The El Nino pattern heating up our ocean has been a semi-regular visitor to this region far longer than the phrase “global warming.” But this particular El Nino — now in its third summer — is more profound, and sticking around longer, than previous El Ninos. Just as hurricanes have become more frequent and more severe, this El Nino might be as big and gnarly as it is because of climate change. Whatever the cause, the warm ocean temperatures are changing the definition of “normal” when it comes to the area’s fish, mammals and birds...” (Image credit: earth.nullschool.net).


U.S. Wildfire Tracker. The Sand Blaze is one of 5 large fires underway in California. Check out the tracker for yourself, courtesy of WXshift.


Wildfire Trends. More people living in harm’s way? That’s one factor, along with warming temperatures and  longer, deeper droughts, setting the stage for larger, more intense fires, according to Climate Central.


Gulf of Mexico Hurricane Drought Likely To Become Longest in 130 Years. Here’s an excerpt from WunderBlog: “No hurricanes have entered or developed in the Gulf of Mexico since September 2013, a stretch of well over 1,000 days. By the end of this week, the streak will be the longest on record, dating to the 1800s. The last hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico was Hurricane Ingrid, which made landfall in northeast Mexico in September 2013...”



NOAA to Develop New Global Weather Model. Here’s are a few excerps of a press release from NOAA: “NOAA took a significant step toward building the world’s best global weather model today, a priority for the agency and the nation. NOAA announced the selection of a new dynamic core, the engine of a numerical weather prediction model, and will begin developing a state-of-the-art global weather forecasting model to replace the U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS)….The new dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), was developed by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. The FV3 core brings a new level of accuracy and numeric efficiency to the model’s representation of atmospheric processes such as air motions. This makes possible simulations of clouds and storms, at resolutions not yet used in an operational global model…” (Image credit: NOAA).


As Corn Devours U.S. Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate. Bloomberg Politics has the story; here’s the intro: “Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat. More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland — improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year...” (File photo: Star Tribune).

Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay In Some States. The New York Times reports: “…For more than a century in the United States, the public utility rate system assumed a one-way flow of electricity from central power plants to their customers. The role of utility regulators was to adjudicate reasonable rates for the consumer, while allowing an adequate rate of return on the money power companies spent generating and distributing the electricity. But now, even though rooftop solar energy still accounts for less than half of a percent of the energy generated across the country, its growing popularity is challenging regulators and utilities to rethink their old ways...”
Photo credit: “Elroy Holtmann in his garage in Lafayette, Calif., where the power from his solar panels is used to charge his electric Chevy Volt.” Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times.

Sticker Shock: The Soaring Costs of Germany’s Nuclear Shutdown. A clean energy revolution is well underway, but can we make a transition to renewables and decarbonize the world’s economies without nuclear, at least in the short term? Here’s an excerpt from Yale Environment 360: “…The waste issue is one reason nuclear power has been so controversial in Germany and why there is broad support among the public for phasing it out, with three-quarters of the German population saying they are in favor of Merkel’s decision, according to a survey this year by the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster. “Nuclear in Germany is not popular,” Kemfert said. “Everybody knows it is dangerous and causes a lot of environmental difficulties. Nuclear has been replaced by renewables – we have no need for nuclear power any more...”

Photo credit: “Barrels of radioactive waste in the Asse II storage cavern in 1975“. View gallery. Photo: Federal Office for Radiation Protection.


Vancouver Plans To Go 100% Renewable. I Asked The City’s Manager About The Challenges It Faces. Dave Roberts has the story at Vox: “Last year, Vancouver, British Columbia, officially adopted the goal of powering itself entirely with clean energy by 2050. That’s a bigger deal than it might sound. Plenty of North American cities have committed to getting all their electricity from clean sources within a few decades. But when it comes to decarbonization, electricity is the easy part. (Okay, maybe not easy, but easier.) Vancouver has resolved to get all its energy, not just electricity, from renewable sources. The city’s electricity is already 98 percent carbon-free anyway…”

Photo credit: “Downtown Vancouver, from the air.” Shutterstock.


The Olympics of Poop? If you’re heading to Rio you might want to avoid the beaches, according to The  Washington Post: “Athletes taking part in water-based events at the Rio Olympics will have to deal with a lot more than fierce competition; they’ll also have to deal with the fierce sludge of human waste because there’s still a lot of sewage being dumped into the city’s waterways, and especially Guanabara Bay, USA Today reports. “A giant pipe running from downtown churns human waste into the marina [on Guanabara Bay] at certain times each day. Rats roam around in the waste. The stench makes uninitiated visitors feel like vomiting or fainting,” USA Today’s Martin Rogers reported Tuesday, less than two weeks before the Games kick off on Aug. 5...”


The Downside of Being Happy. Are you really more creative when you’re depressed? Here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post story: “…Past studies have suggested that negative feelings can provide fodder for art and trigger more self-reflective thought. Others have shown that influential figures in science and art have a tendency toward depression. But research has not really demonstrated a direct link between sadness and many of the most lasting achievements in art history. Now, a fascinating new study from an economist at the University of Southern Denmark appears to show that link...”


TODAY: Mostly cloudy. Passing showers, cooler breeze. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 78

THURSDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, a few sprinkles. Low: 61

FRIDAY: More sun, isolated PM shower? Winds: E 5-10. High: near 80

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and drier, statewide. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 82

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and warm sunshine. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: 85

MONDAY: Sticky sun, few strong T-storms.  Wake-up: 69. High: 88

TUESDAY: Sunnier and drier. Still muggy. Wake-up: 71. High: near 90

WEDNESDAY: Touch of the jungle. Steamy with a few T-storms. Wake-up: 73. High: 91


Climate Stories…

Scientists Caught Off-Guard by Record Temperatures Linked to Climate Change. Thomson Reuters Foundation has the story: “Record temperatures in the first half of 2016 have taken scientists by surprise despite widespread recognition that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, the director of the World Climate Research Programme said. The earth is on track for its hottest year on record with June marking the 14th straight month of record heat, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week. Temperatures recorded mainly in the northern hemisphere in the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and “new highs” in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said…”

Graphic credit: Hot Whopper. “Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to June 2016.” Data source. GISS NASA

Climate Change Risk Threatens 18 U.S. Military Sites: Study. Here’s the intro to a story at Reuters: “Rising sea levels due to hurricanes and tidal flooding intensified by climate change will put military bases along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast at risk, according to a report released on Wednesday. Nonprofit group the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed 18 military installations that represent more than 120 coastal bases nationwide to weigh the impact of climate change on their operations. Faster rates of sea level rises in the second half of this century could mean that tidal flooding will become a daily occurrence for some installations, pushing useable land needed for military training and testing into tidal zones, said the report titled “The U.S. Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas…”

Image credit: “Naval Station Norfolk—the largest naval installation in the world—is projected to face 4.5 feet to nearly 7 feet of sea level rise this century.” Union of Concerned Scientists.


Sea Level Rise a Big Issue for Military in Hampton Roads, Science Says. But Republicans Try To Block Planning. Here’s a clip from The Virginian-Pilot: “…Tacked on to defense spending bills passed by the House of Representatives: amendments forbidding the Pentagon from using federal dollars to study climate change or plan for its impacts. Supporters say they want the military focused on enemies such as the Islamic State group, not rising seas. Critics say flooding is a formidable foe as well. “It’s kind of hard to attack the enemy when your base is underwater,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Southeast Virginia Democrat who voted against the ban. Exactly how far underwater depends on a range of factors, says the report, which paints scenarios similar to those predicted in studies conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and others...”


A Stunning Prediction of Climate Science – and Basic Physics – May Now Be Coming True. The Washington Post reports: “A lot of people deny climate change. Not many, though, deny gravity. That’s why a recent animation released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — well, it came out in April, but people seem to be noticing it now — is so striking. Because it suggests the likely gravitational imprint of our changing climate on key features of the Earth in a way that’s truly startling. The animation uses measurements from NASA’s squadron of GRACE satellites (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), which detect changes in mass below them as they fly over the Earth, to calculate how the ocean changed from April 2002 until July 2013, based on corresponding changes in the mass of the continents…”

Animation credit: “NASA created an animation showing “sea level fingerprints,” or patterns of rising and falling sea levels across the globe in response to changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields.” (NASA)


Climate Models Are Accurately Predicting Ocean and Global Warming. Dr. John Abraham at the University of St. Thomas authors a story at The Guardian; here’s an excerpt: “…Two incorrect but nevertheless consistent denial arguments are that the Earth isn’t warming and that climate models are inaccurate. A new study, published by Kevin Trenberth, Lijing Cheng, and others (I was also an author) answers these questions. The study was just published in the journal Ocean Sciences; a draft of it is available here. In this study, we did a few new things. First, we presented a new estimate of ocean heating throughout its full depth (most studies only consider the top portion of the ocean). Second, we used a new technique to learn about ocean temperature changes in areas where there are very few measurements. Finally, we used a large group of computer models to predict warming rates, and we found excellent agreement between the predictions and the measurements...” (Image: Climate Reanalyzer).


The Climate Change Election. Will Bernie Sander’s passionate supporters on climate issues come around to Hillary Clinton? Here’s an excerpt of an analysis at Slate: “…The stakes are enormously high. And that means, for the first time in history, the climate caucus feels big enough to matter, or at least, it’s big enough to be worth courting. This small but increasingly vocal minority of the country understands what we’re up against, and knows it will take an economic (if not political) revolution in order to bend the global greenhouse gas emissions trajectory fast enough to avoid locking in dangerous, irreversible, planetary-scale change. When science tells you a certain type of policy is required, and you believe in science, fighting for that policy is an eternal source of motivation…”



How Climate Disasters Can Drive Violent Conflict Around the World. In the words of the U.S. Department of Defense: climate change is a threat multiplier. It aggravates and accelerates other problems, including access to water and the ability to consistently grow crops. By turning up Earth’s thermostat we’re making it more challenging for a BAU (business as usual) existance. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “It’s increasingly clear that the consequences of climate change won’t stop at just heat waves and sea-level rise. Scientists expect numerous social issues to arise around the world as well, such as food shortages, decreased water quality and forced migrations. And many experts now say that violence, war and other forms of human conflict may be driven or worsened by the effects of climate change. A new study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lends support to the growing body of evidence behind this idea. The study finds that climate-related disasters may enhance the risk of armed conflict around the world — specifically in countries with high levels of ethnic divides…”

Armed Conflict Risks Enhanced by Climate-Related Disasters in Ethnically Fractionalized Countries. Here’s an excerpt of the abstract of the new research referenced above: “…Globally, we find a coincidence rate of 9% regarding armed-conflict outbreak and disaster occurrence such as heat waves or droughts. Our analysis also reveals that, during the period in question, about 23% of conflict outbreaks in ethnically highly fractionalized countries robustly coincide with climatic calamities. Although we do not report evidence that climate-related disasters act as direct triggers of armed conflicts, the disruptive nature of these events seems to play out in ethnically fractionalized societies in a particularly tragic way…”


Changing Minds About Climate Change. Here’s a snippet of an interesting post at Nexus Media: “…Monday morning quarterbacking is virtually a national pastime whether it be sports or public policy, but when these discussions flout the data and invoke conspiracy theories on a subject of such central and urgent importance, they can safely be classified as reckless. It is morally indefensible to use climate change as a wedge issue. Beyond the subversion of science and the political posturing, there is another insidious source of the misalignment between climate science and public perception of climate change: humans are simply not good at assessing long-term risk. We routinely underestimate threats that creep up on us. Unless there is an immediate negative consequence, we will often march straight into danger...”
Graphic credit: “Observed warming (black line) and projected warming (colored lines) under four emissions scenarios. The bars at right show the possible range in temperature for each scenario.” Source: IPCC

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About Paul Douglas

Paul Douglas
Paul Douglas is a meteorologist, author, entrepreneur, and software expert in Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota. He is a nationally recognized meteorologist with over 30 years of broadcast television and radio experience.
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