79 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
80 F. average high on August 19.
65 F. high on August 19, 2015.
.34″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.
August 20, 1904: Both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are hit by tornadoes, producing the highest official wind ever recorded in Minnesota over one minute (110 mph in St. Paul).
A Touch of “Aug-tober” – Sweatshirts Optional
Football is on the tube – it won’t be long before I’m tracking big yellow school buses on Doppler and people-watching at the Minnesota State Fair. So why not cue up a cool front, just to remind us what cool feels like? By Sunday morning you may need to rummage around for a light jacket or sweatshirt. Goosebumps. What a concept.
A storm spinning up along the leading edge of brisk, Canadian air flushing south whips up more showers today, with temperatures stuck in the 60s and a whiff of wind chill after dark. Sunday looks MUCH nicer with sunshine, cotton-ball cumulus and afternoon highs in the low 70s. 80s return Monday and Tuesday, but models pull another puff of premature chill into Minnesota late next week; more random hints of autumn which spill into the last weekend of August.
Remind me not to complain. My colleagues in Los Angeles are trying to pinpoint wind speed & direction to help firefighters. Louisiana is facing a flood-related housing crisis. And the GFS model pulls a hurricane into Florida by August 31. I don’t believe it yet – but what else can go wrong?
Not Buying It (Yet). I’m not Tweeting it, or Instagramming it, or Snapchatting it, or faxing (?) it to tech-wary friends trying to avoid the Inter-webs. It’s way premature. I shouldn’t even be showing you this. But in the spirit of full disclosure here is Friday’s 18z 240-hour GFS forecast, showing a tropical system approaching the east coast of Florida. Odds are (very) small this will verify, but just in case I want to cover my….Doppler. Source: WSI.
Showery Saturday – Heaviest Rains East of MSP. NOAA’s 4km NAM spins up a significant swirl of rain across southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin today, brushing the Twin Cities metro with heaviest amounts east of St. Paul. Expect spotty (light) showers up north with a cool wind blowing, temperatures stuck in the 60s. Future Radar: AerisWeather.
Sunday Morning: 7am. Check out these wake-up temperatures Sunday; 40s just west of the Twin Cities with low 50s in the outlying suburbs. No frost yet, I’m happy to report. Lows don’t fall much below 60F near Lake Superior, thanks to relatively warm lake water temperatures. This weekend your favorite lake should be warmerr than the air temperature outside. Source: AerisWeather.
August Warmth Returns Early Next Week. ECMWF (European) model guidance pulls 80s back into town Monday and Tuesday before another Canadian Burp pushes 70s back into the state the latter half of next week. Highs in the 60s? We’ll see. MSP Meteogram: WeatherBell.
Cooler Than Average September? At some point the law of averages catches up with you and the weather swings in the opposite direction. We’ve been trending warmer than average for all of 2016; a mild La Nina cooling of the Pacific may pull cooler than average air into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest next month, while temperatures continue to bake from Seattle to Anchorage. Source: NOAA CFS and WeatherBell.
Celestial Sights In The Coming Days. Sky & Telescope reminds us what we can look forward to in the nighttime sky: “Step outside as the stars come out, look southwest, and you’ll see an eye-catching pattern. For the next few days (August 17–22), bright orange Mars shines to the right of Saturn and the reddish star Antares. The three form a tall triangle that changes every night. Mars is moving leftward on its way toward passing between the other two. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23rd and 24th, the triangle will collapse to a nearly vertical line of three shining points. After that, Mars will continue leftward and the triangle will widen again, pointing in the opposite direction…”
Image credit: “Saturn, Mars, and Antares line up almost vertically on the evening of August 23 and 24, 2016. Have a look!” Credit: Sky & Telescope diagram.
Cruel Summer: Floods, Fires and Heat. Andrew Freedman connects the dots in an excellent overview of what’s happening at Mashable; here’s an excerpt: “…The ‘signal’ of climate change is no longer subtle. We are seeing climate change impacts now play out, on our television screens, in the headlines, on our television sets,” said Michael Mann, director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center. “Whether it’s the multitude of thousand-year flooding events we’ve seen over the past year, the massive wildfires, the strongest hurricanes in both hemispheres, etc., we are now dealing with the impacts of climate change on a daily basis,” Mann told Mashable in an email. “What more do the critics need to see? It’s almost like someone up there is trying to tell them something…”
13 Years After Northeast Blackout, U.S. Power Grid Remains Vulnerable. Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article: “…A coordinated attack on just nine of the nation’s 55,000 electrical substations could cause a blackout across the country, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report found in 2014. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Energy Department has spent $4.5 billion over the past few years to modernize the electrical grid. Most of that funding, which was more than matched by private dollars, went to “smart grid” efforts, with a notable focus on energy storage and creating stable power in multiple locations. This is just the beginning of what’s needed for infrastructure nationally if the goal is a decentralized (and, ultimately, renewable) electrical grid that ensures power even under extreme conditions...”
Photo credit: “ Photo: Associated Press.
Smallpox Could Return as Siberia’s Melting Permafrost Exposes Ancient Graves. So don’t sweat the thundershowers OK? Here’s an excerpt from The Independent: “…Boris Kershengolts, of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences, said: “Back in the 1890s, there occurred a major epidemic of smallpox. There was a town where up to 40 per cent of the population died. “Naturally, the bodies were buried under the upper layer of permafrost soil, on the bank of the Kolyma River. “Now, a little more than 100 years later, Kolyma’s floodwaters have started eroding the banks.” The melting of the permafrost has speeded up this erosion process…”
Photo credit: “The tundra in Yakutia normally melts to a depth of 30-60cm, but this year it has reached a meter.” Rex Features.
Netherlands on Brink of Banning Gasoline-Powered Cars. A headline at The Independent has a story that made me do a double-take; here’s a clip: “…The Dutch government has set a date for parliament to host a roundtable discussion that could see the sale of petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars banned by 2025. If the measures proposed by the Labour Party in March are finally passed, it would join Norway and Denmark in making a concerted move to develop its electric car industry. It comes after Germany saw all of its power supplied by renewable energies such as solar and wind power on one day in May as the economic powerhouse continues to phase out nuclear energy and fossil fuels…”
Photo credit: “An electric Tesla car recharges on the banks of a canal in Amsterdam. The Netherlands saw an all-time high in electric cars in December this year.” Rex Features.
New Advice for the Graduate. There’s a Green Future in Plastics. Really? Bloomberg reports: “Scientists at Exxon Mobil Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered an alternative to the most energy-hogging part of manufacturing plastics, potentially keeping 45 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the Earth’s atmosphere each year. The breakthrough, set to be published in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science, ultimately may help chemical plants shrink their carbon footprint and help the world meet ambitious targets for paring the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. Although nearly 200 nations agreed last December to rein in carbon dioxide emissions by boosting energy efficiency and shifting to cleaner sources of electricity, experts say it’s also essential to green up industrial manufacturing…”
U.S. CO2 Emissions from Natural Gas Will Top Coal in 2016. Greentech Media reports: “At the beginning of 2016, America’s coal production fell to its lowest level in 30 years. The march away from coal is cheered by those who would like to see the U.S., and the world, move to a lower-carbon economy. But the increasingly heavy reliance on natural gas has exacted a toll. The energy-associated carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas are expected to top the CO2 emissions from coal for the first time more than 40 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration…”
Northeast Ohio is Built Like New England Because It Used To Be Owned by Connecticut. I had no idea, but Atlas Obscura enlightened me: “If you look at a map of Connecticut, paying particular attention to town names, and then do the same to Northeast Ohio, you might get the impression that, at some point, the map was folded over onto itself before Ohio had been filled in, and before the ink of Connecticut’s place names had dried. That’s because in a sense, it was. In America’s early years, what is now Northeast Ohio belonged to Connecticut, and in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Connecticut transplants gave Ohio many of its names, institutions, traditions, and people, into what was then called the Connecticut Western Reserve…”
Image credit: “
“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” – Catherine Aird
TODAY: Cool and showery with a damp, annoying wind. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 67
SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers taper, clearing late – brisk! Low: 54
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, the nicer outdoor day of the weekend. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 73
MONDAY: Plenty of sunshine, gusty and warmer. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 61. High: 82
TUESDAY: Sticky sunshine, feels like summer. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 68. High: 87
WEDNESDAY: Few showers, grumbles of thunder. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 69. High: 79
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, brisk wind. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 61. High: near 70
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, fresh air. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 75
Arctic Faces “Boom” in Shipping As Ice Melts. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Home: “…While a smattering of yachts and smaller passenger ships have plied these Arctic waters over the years, never before has such a large ship set sail on such an ambitious, and risky, voyage through the Northwest Passage. The Serenity’s hull is not strengthened against sea ice, and a conventional icebreaker won’t escort her; instead, she’ll be accompanied by the RRS Shackleton, a British logistics vessel typically used to support Antarctic researchers. Perhaps that’s why each passenger is required to carry $50,000 in evacuation insurance in addition to the $20,000 to $120,000 they paid for their ticket. However unprecedented, the Serenity’s voyage is a sign of things to come. This may be the beginning of a boom in Arctic vessel activity...”
Space, Climate Change, and the Real Meaning of Theory. Here’s an excerpt of an excellent essay from Piers Sellers at The New Yorker: “…Climate-change deniers in the United States have done a first-class job in spreading confusion and misinformation. As a result, many prominent politicians insist, and get away with insisting, that climate change is a hoax, a mantra that has gained some credibility through sheer repetition. Climate deniers are also fond of saying that global warming is not resolved in science or is “just” a theory. This is a perfect example of Orwellian Newspeak which also flies in the face of three hundred years of scientific progress, in which intellectual argument and conviction must be based on facts and substantiated theories, rather than personal beliefs or biases. It is also dangerous. If nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions over the next couple of decades, our climate models predict that there will be massive changes in the global precipitation and temperature patterns, with huge effects on water and food security, and dramatic sea-level rise…” (Image credit: NASA).
Don’t Call the California Wildfires “Natural Disasters”. Here’s an excerpt from an article at TIME: “…Nine out of 10 wildfires are the direct result of human activity, a long list that includes poorly attended camp fires, discarded cigarette butts and equipment use. More than 2.4 million acres burn each year as a result of human-caused fires, according to a National Interagency Fire Center report. Human-caused global warming has also contributed to more frequent and severe wildfires, scientists say. Warm weather and a lack of water kills trees, creating kindling for fires, and heat increases the length of the wildfire season. And, because temperatures tend to be hotter and drier than in previous generations, firefighters often struggle to put out blazes. The length of fire season increased by 19% between 1979 and 2013, according to recent research, as temperatures have spiked due to climate change…”
File photo: AP.
When Climate Change Becomes The New Terrorism. A new level of climate volatility and weather disruption is already resulting in far more displacement, cost and heartache than conventional terrorism. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed that struck a chord at Philly.com: “…I guess the only way Americans will take global warming seriously is if and when we consider this the new form of terrorism. And the truth is, what could be more terrifying than going to bed one night and waking up with the floodwaters pounding on the front door, or trying to survive a 110-degree heat index day when you’re old and sick in a North Philly walk-up that’s not air conditioned? Americans have become so conditioned to the threat of a 9/11-style attack that JFK Airport was evacuated the other night when someone panicked over loud cheering for Usain Bolt and thought it was gunshots. Maybe it’s time for the public to fear things that are actually happening.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Bachman. “