Conservation Minnesota

Cooling Off – A Conservative Republican Politician Tackles Climate Change

81 F. high on Monday in the Twin Cities.
73 F. average high on September 12.
69 F. high on September 12, 2015.

September 13, 1994: Lightning strikes and injures a 35 year old man in Stearns County as he opens the door of his truck. Witnesses said he was thrown 10 feet when the lightning bolt struck him.
September 13, 1834: Smoke fills the sky at Ft. Snelling due to fires burning nearby.

A Harsh, Pioneer Winter? Recent Trends Suggest Otherwise

Everywhere I go people ask the same 3 questions: “How do get your hair looking so soft and manageable…do the Vikings have a real shot…and will we suffer through a Polar Vortex winter?”

I wish I had a clue.

But just look at recent trends: 2016 is on track to be the warmest year on record, worldwide – warmer than the previous records set in 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005. We’ve just had our 11th “hottest month” in a row; some scientists suspect it may be the warmest stretch in 8,000 years.

Winter’s still coming – there will be bouts of intense cold and snow. But I’ve learned not to buck the trends. The odds of a frigid winter are small, less than 1 in 4. In fact NOAA just cancelled the La Nina Watch. The warm signal is overwhelming slight cooling of the Pacific Ocean.

Today will feel like fall with a damp start; highs in the 60s with a generous smear of clouds. Bright sun returns Wednesday before the next soggy slap of showers and T-storms Thursday into Saturday.
Parts of the Minnesota Arrowhead may experience a frost by Wednesday morning but NOAA’s GFS model shows 80s here into late September.


Reverse Lake Effect. In September air temperatures often cool faster than lake water temperatures, which can have a warming effect, especially downwind of Lake Superior and some of Minnesota’s larger lakes. NOAA’s 4km NAM guidance shows little plumes of milder air streaming downwind of area lakes at 7am Wednesday morning; which may help to prevent frost over Minnesota’s Arrowhead. Source: AerisWeather.


Minor League Shots of Autumn. No major league cold blasts, more like dribbles of cooler air (today) and Saturday with temperatures holding in the 60s. We’ll see more 80s in the coming weeks. Not sure about 90+ but I reserve the right to be surprised. MSP Meteogram: WeatherBell.


A Few More Rounds of 80s. Peering out 2 weeks NOAA’s GFS model tries to build an August-like ridge of warm high pressure over the central USA. If it verifies it means more 80s, more neighbors commenting about the unusually high humidity for September.


Hottest August on Record – Vies With July for Hottest Month Ever. Details via HotWhopper: “…The average for the eight months to the end of August is 1.05 °C, which is 0.25 °C higher than any previous January to August period. The previous highest was last year, which with the latest data had an anomaly of 0.8 °C. There are now eleven in a row of “hottest months” from October 2015 to August 2016 (that is, hottest October, hottest November etc). If we could look back over the entire Holocene, it’s probably more than 7,000 years since there was a similar run of hottest months on record, that is, not since the Holocene climatic optimum (it’s probably hotter now than it was back then)...”



La Nina Washed Out By Powerful Warm Signal. More context from HotWhopper: “You can see the global mean temperature trend by month in the chart below, for the strongest El Niño years since 1950, which were followed by a La Nina. I’ve included the 2015/16 period for comparison. NOAA has taken off the La Nina watch. The BoM ENSO update is due out later today. Not counting 2015/16, of the seven very strong, strong and strong to moderate El Ninos since 1950, there were only three that were followed by a La Nina. The chart spans a three year period. That is, for the 2015-16 El Niño and subsequent, it goes from January 2015 to December 2017…”




Atlantic Hurricane Season Is Seeing More Major Storms. If they don’t strike the USA are they still “major”. Yep. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Central: “…The incidence of major hurricanes has essentially doubled across the Atlantic basin since 1970, potentially linked to rising sea surface temperatures there. It just happens that fewer of those storms hit the U.S. Of course, in the decade since Wilma struck, plenty of other storms have had a major impact. Hurricane Ike and Superstorm Sandy were among the costliest storms on record, but neither was technically categorized a major hurricane. And Hurricane Hermine, though only a Category 1 when it recently hit Florida, caused significant damage. It also ended the state’s nearly 11-year streak without any hurricane making landfall. In addition to the rise in major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, the average number of named hurricanes each year has increased to about seven storms from five storms, though the exact reasons for this rise are still the subject of research…”


Atlantic Basin Hurricanes Strengthening – In Spite of Few Direct U.S. Strikes Last Decade. Climate Signals has more perspective on what we know, and what we don’t know: “…There has been a substantial increase in virtually every measure of hurricane activity in the Atlantic since the 1970s, including measures of intensity, frequency, and duration as well as the number of strongest (Category 4 and 5) storms.[3][4] Global warming also concentrates rainfall into extreme events. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, and dumps more precipitation when it does rain, much like a larger bucket holds and dumps more water. Significant evidence indicates that these increases are linked to higher sea surface temperatures in the region through which Atlantic hurricanes form and move.[5][6][7] However, this is an area of continuing study as numerous factors determine hurricane intensity and frequency, and global warming may be affecting these factors in conflicting ways...”



4th Wettest Meteorological Summer on Record for Minnesota. Here’s an excerpt of an explanation from NOAA NCEI: “One way to depict how a month or season compares to its history is to use a ranking system. NCEI has done this for many years for the climate divisions, states, etc. The maps below depict rankings based on the 5km gridded dataset, nClimGrid. Each grid point is ranked based on the other values in its own period of record. Ranking the grid cells provides a greater detail for the regional patterns across the CONUS and Alaska. For instance, several states were record warm in August. This record warmth is evident in both the percentile maps below and the climate division rank maps…”


5th Hottest U.S. Summer Saw Record Northeast Heat. Here’s the intro to a recap at Climate Central: “The dog days of summer were especially scorching across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic last month, with eight states in those regions recording their hottest August in 122 years. Two of those — Connecticut and Rhode Island — also had record-warm summers, according to data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While ample rains kept temperatures closer to normal across much of the country last month, the contiguous U.S. still had its fifth-warmest summer on record and its third warmest year-to-date. Outside of the Lower 48, Alaska continued its streak of sweltering weather, with its third-hottest August and second-hottest summer in the past 92 years. So far, 2016 is far and away its hottest year on record…”

Map credit: “How the average temperature of each state in the Lower 48 ranked for August. Credit: NOAA


How The Sugar Industry Shifted Blame To Fat. When data, facts and evidence don’t go your way hire psuedo-experts to spin the truth and keep the discussion going, right? Here’s an excerpt at The New York Times: “The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show. The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease — including many of today’s dietary recommendations — may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry. “They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades,” said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. and an author of the new JAMA paper…” (Photo credit: iStock).

A Robot May Be Training To Do Your Job. Don’t Panic. Looking over the horizon we will (all) have to relearn how to learn – and do thinks robots cannot. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “…The widespread adoption of social robotics in the workplace faces a host of potential problems, including a lack of infrastructure and power requirements, deficient awareness of surroundings, and public resistance. Eventually, though, the moment will come when machines possess empathy, the ability to innovate and other traits we perceive as uniquely human. What then? How will we sustain our own career relevance? I think the only way forward is to look at artificial intelligence developments as an opportunity rather than a threat. We need the mind-set that success is no longer about our level of knowledge but about our level of creative intelligence. If we accept the process of lifelong learning, in which we adapt to new ways of working as technology improves, we’ll always find roles that take advantage of our best qualities…”
Image credit: Amy Su.

The Battle Between Tesla and Your Neighborhood Car Dealership. Inevitable disruptions strikes again. Here’s a clip from The Washington Post: “…Now, legacy auto manufacturers, including Arbogast’s supplier, General Motors, are moving toward a future of sales directly from carmaker to driver, industry analysts say. That has triggered a standoff involving dealers, manufacturers and Tesla over the future of car sales, the role of the Internet and whether it is legal to sell a car — often the second-largest purchase in the lifetime of an average American — online. If other carmakers followed Tesla, “essentially, it would put us out of business,” Arbogast said…”


The New Karma Revero Is Not Just A $130,000 Tesla Wannabe. Bloomberg has more details: “…Yes, unlike the pure-electric plug-in Tesla Model S and Model X SUV, which are excellent vehicles, the Revero uses electricity, gas and solar power to run. “It will be the first car sold in the U.S. powered by electricity, gas and solar,” company execs repeated like a mantra in press materials and statements. In fact this new Karma Revero straddles the Old World (engaged analog driving) and New World (alt-fuel energy and auto-drive), rather than forcing any sort of new electric revolution. It’s not just a big computer on wheels was the message at the debut…”

Photo credit: “The Karma Revero costs $130,000. Production has not yet started.” Source: Karma Automotive.


How To Become a CEO? The Quickest Path is a Winding One. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting post at The New York Times: “…In effect, the increased ability to collect and analyze such troves of data raises the possibility that in the future we’ll be able to better understand what types of education the workers of the future most need, how companies can best recruit future star performers and how individuals can position themselves to benefit from shifts in what skills the modern economy most rewards. There is a lot of work to be done to get to that point. But this early evidence suggests that success in the business world isn’t just about brainpower or climbing a linear path to the top, but about accumulating diverse skills and showing an ability to learn about fields outside one’s comfort zone...”

iPhone 7 Plus Photos From The Titans-Vikings Game. Here’s an excerpt of a photo essay from Sports Illustrated: “On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both of which feature an entirely new camera system. Now some of the first photos taken by the new iPhone 7 Plus camera are being unveiled exclusively on SI.com. On Sunday, Sports Illustrated photographer David E. Klutho took photos with the new iPhone 7 Plus camera at the Titans-Vikings game. The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12–megapixel telephoto camera that offers new zooming capabilities. Each new model also features a wider aperture and a lens that allows the camera to capture brighter and more vibrant colors in photos and videos...”

This Guy Traveled To Every Country on Earth – Here Are The Ones He Thinks You Should Visit. My new hero – but did he visit North Korea, Iraq and Syria? Here’s an excerpt from The Independent: “Gunnar Garfors visited all 198 countries in the world by the time he turned 37. So when people ask him which country was his favorite, he has a hard time picking just one. But there are 12 countries he thinks everyone should visit at some point in their lives. Keep scrolling to see what those countries are, and why he thinks they’re worth visiting…”



TODAY: Damp start, gray & cool. Winds: N/NW 10-15. High: 65

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cool. Low: 47

WEDNESDAY: Bright sun returns, optimism returns. Winds: NE 3-8. High: 68

THURSDAY: Clouds increase. PM showers, possible T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 53. High: 71

FRIDAY: Still unsettled. Another shower, stray T-shower. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 75

SATURDAY: Lingering clouds, couple of showers. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 69

SUNDAY: Sunnier, nicer day of the weekend. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 76

MONDAY: Breezy and mild, late T-storm? Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 59. High: near 80


Climate Stories…

Louisiana Flood Costs Nearly Double Some Estimates Thanks to Climate Change, 80% Uninsured. Welcome to an emerging world of insurance haves and have-nots; those with the least are living in areas increasingly threatened by rising seas and rising rivers, many without the means to pay when their communities get wiped out with increasing frequency and ferocity. Here’s an excerpt at Money.Mic: “A series of storms battered the gulf coast in August, particularly in Louisiana and Mississippi, in what was the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy. Now that the flooding has finally receded, watchdogs have gotten a better grip on the extent of the damage. Some 110,000 homes and 100,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed in the flooding, with a total cost projected to be between $10 billion and $15 billion, according to a Friday report from the insurer Aon…”

Photo credit: “Rain fell for seven days in the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy.” Source: Max Becherer/AP.


Welcome to Carlisle, the British City with a Climate Change Bulls-Eye. Here are a couple of excerpts from a New York Times article: “After this ancient fortress city was hit by a crippling flood in 2005, its residents could take some comfort in the fact that it was the kind of deluge that was supposed to happen about once every 200 years. But it happened again four years later. And again last winter, when Storm Desmond brought record-breaking downpours that turned roads into rivers, fields into lakes, living rooms into ponds…In many places, the threat of climate change can still feel distant, even theoretical. But not here, a city of about 74,000 in the far northwest corner of England, where one of its rivers swelled to about 30 times its normal volume last year...”
Photo credit: “Carlisle’s city center flooded in December 2015. About 2,000 houses and 500 businesses were damaged or destroyed. Credit Andrew Yates/Reuters.


A Conservative Republican Tackles Climate Change. Rep. Bob Inglis (a friend and mentor) is fighting a lonely battle, but he is on the right side of science, and history. Here’s an excerpt of an interview with Rep. Inglis at The Charlotte Observer: “…We’re essentially calling on conservatives to step forward with free-enterprise solutions to climate. Rather than regulating down the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we simply have the government put a price on emissions. That price signal would be sensed throughout the economy, with the result that hundreds of millions of consumers would pursue their own self interest. They would be seeking cleaner fuels because it would be in their economic interest to do so. It’s something that conservative economists have talked about for quite a while, the idea of not regulating but attaching all the costs and revealing all the hidden costs of a product so the market can judge that product…”

Photo credit: “Rising sea levels, which scientists attribute to climate change, threaten homes along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, such as these in Nags Head in 2010.” JOHN D. SIMMONS.


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article100920617.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article100920617.html#storylink=cpy

The Business Case To Mobilize Against Climate Change: Jobs and Innovation. Co.Exist has an article that resonated; here’s an excerpt: “…By pursuing innovation, generating jobs, and doing our part, industry can help lead a climate mobilization effort with the same spirit and fervor that lifted the United States out of the Great Depression and defeated one of the most dangerous fascist regimes in history. A cover article in the New Republic recently made the case for viewing climate change as a global enemy—and the analogy delivers important parallels for the role of business, industry, and innovation. The idea that necessity is the mother of invention, and America’s uncompromising resolve for victory in World War II generated inventions that continue to enhance our lives today...”

Editorial: No Denying Climate Change Impact in Florida. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Tampa Bay Times: “The effects of man-made climate change, which scientists have warned about for decades, are now lapping at Florida’s coastlines. In South Florida, rising sea levels are already overwhelming stormwater systems, damaging infrastructure and flooding homes. Tampa Bay can’t be far behind. But local governments can do only so much to confront this global challenge. Floridians must demand that state and national leaders shed any notion that climate change can be ignored and confront the problem with urgency...”

We’re Hard-Wired to Ignore Climate Change. Here’s a snippet from The Winnipeg Free Press: “…The truth is we’re virtually hard-wired to ignore climate change. Our evolutionary brains are attuned to immediate danger, prioritizing a visible threat over an implicit one. We are also a storytelling culture, better able to comprehend an issue when it is framed for us with clear antagonists and protagonists, stakes and consequences. Climate change is a characterless and amorphous threat to our future, until its fallouts directly affect us. So naturally we consider other politics more pressing. The reality of climate change is it is a global event taking place right now. It is not simply an apocalyptic future narrated by Alec Baldwin. Some climate change psychologists explicitly reject this framing as it can cause the viewer to feel paralyzed in taking action…”

(this is the part with serious scrolling)
Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature Since The Last Ice Age. xkcd.com does a masterful job of putting recent warming into stark perspective. Prepare to do some serious scrolling…

Here Are All The Ways That Politicians Lie About Science. Mother Jones reports; here’s an excerpt: “…While misleading rhetoric is nothing new in politics, the danger it poses to environmental and public health may be at an all-time high. In a country where scientific literacy is already in decline, misinformation about topics as significant as climate change or infectious diseases can have devastating consequences. Yet many politicians, purposely or not, continue to get the science wrong. Levitan points to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as an example of the perfect “denier-in-chief.” Last year, Inhofe brought a snowball to the Senate floor to dispute the science of global warming. His implication: Because there was snow on the ground, the Earth couldn’t possibly be getting warmer. It was a classic display of a cherry-picking politician using a single data point to obscure an indisputable trend…”

Our Best Shot at Cooling the Planet Might Be Right Under Our Feet. The Guardian reports: “...But while engineers are scrambling to come up with grand geo-engineering schemes, they may be overlooking a simpler, less glamorous solution. It has to do with soil. Soil is the second biggest reservoir of carbon on the planet, next to the oceans. It holds four times more carbon than all the plants and trees in the world. But human activity like deforestation and industrial farming – with its intensive ploughing, monoculture and heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides – is ruining our soils at breakneck speed, killing the organic materials that they contain. Now 40% of agricultural soil is classed as “degraded” or “seriously degraded”. In fact, industrial farming has so damaged our soils that a third of the world’s farmland has been destroyed in the past four decades…” (Image credit: NASA ISS).


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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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