66 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday, tying the all-time record set in 2012.
39 F. average high on March 11.
58 F. high on March 11, 2015.
March 12, 2009: The record low temperature for Minnesota for the month of March is set at -35. St. Cloud also sets a new daily record low of -15, breaking the previous record of -12 that was set in 1956. The high temperature in St. Cloud was also only 11 degrees on this date, which also set a new record for the low maximum temperature. This broke the previous record low maximum temperature of 12 degrees that was set in 1896.
March 12, 1990: The temperature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hits a record-setting 69 degrees.
Minnesota’s Weather Is Springing Forward Too
When your kids are young you teach them. A few decades later they begin to teach you.
My two 20-something sons have taught their old man some eternal truths. Less really is more. Pay for what you actually use. Waste is for dummies.
And as a rule younger people don’t push back on evidence, facts and science. They see what’s happening – and realize they’re the generation that will clean up our messes. Which leaves me hopeful for the future.
Today’s blog includes a new NAS report, linking a warming climate with (some) weather extremes; echoes of a 1964 Surgeon General study linking smoking with cancer and heart disease. More frequent blips of warmth – more rain than snow events in March are symptoms of larger trends.
Today will be the day to wander the streets in wonder; 60s under a fading sun. Showers keep us “cooler” tomorrow (only 50s) and ECMWF guidance isn’t nearly as impressed with the potential for a big, slushy storm next week. We cool off into the 30s and 40s, but the risk of snow has decreased.
I see a week of jacket weather; 50s returning after March 25 or so.
* 3 PM Friday temperatures courtesy of Aeris Map Platform (AMP).
Today’s record high in the Twin Cities is 69F, set in 1990. We may come very close.
A Balmy March Day. Not sure what’s going on with the RAP model, suggesting 72F by mid afternoon today, which is possible, but I doubt it will get quite that mild. Mid 60s are likely, maybe upper 60s in a few towns. Mild weather lingers into Tuesday, but a correction is brewing for late week. Nothing arctic, but 30s and low 40s for highs are likely by Thursday and Friday.
Showers Hold Off Until Tonight. Here’s a product that shows future road conditions in hourly increments, rain likely across much of Iowa, but showers don’t reach the metro until after 3 AM Sunday morning. Source: AerisWeather.
Sunday Showers. Today will be the day to soak up a premature taste of real spring with sunshine fading by late afternoon. Showers arrive late tonight and linger into Sunday. 00z NAM guidance prints out .34″ of rain tomorrow, tapering by 5 AM Monday. Map: AerisWeather.
Not Buying It Yet. NOAA’s GFS model continues to predict accumulating snow for parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley Wednesday into Thursday as colder air drains south. A few inches just north and east of MSP can’t be ruled out, but the ECMWF (European) model isn’t nearly as impressive in terms of snow.
Mild and Mellow by Late March. After a relapse lasting 5-7 days (30s and low 40s for highs) temperatures recover rapidly the last week of March as a zonal flow continues; more 50s, even a few 60s may return the last week of the month.
Is March Still The 3rd Snowiest Month of the Year? Mark Seeley answers a question at Minnesota WeatherTalk that caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…Using a 115 year climate record from Detroit Lakes (Becker County), just up the road from Perham is revealing with respect to seasonal snowfall distribution. In the first 75 years of climate records at Detroit Lakes March was the snowiest month of the snow season over a third of all years. But since the winter of 1965-1966 it has been the snowiest month of the season only three years (1985, 1996, and 2002). Further much more of March precipitation has fallen as rain rather than snow in recent decades. Since the new millennium, March has on average been the 3rd snowiest month of the snow season trailing December and January, at least in the Detroit Lakes area…”
1-in-200 Year Flood for Louisiana? So says Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, analyzing the unusual (stalled) storm that sparked thunder-snow for Mexico and a 7-day firehose of Gulf moisture for the Lower Mississippi Valley: “A remarkably rare atmospheric event is unfolding over Mexico and the Southern U.S., where an upper-level low pressure system of unprecedented strength in the historical record for that location has stalled out, bringing multiple days of torrential rain to the Southern U.S. and snow to the mountains of Mexico. The upper low tapped into an atmospheric river of moisture from both the Western Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific, bringing rainfall amounts one would expect to occur only once every 200 years (a 0.5% chance of occurrence in a given year) over portions of northern Louisiana...”
Map credit above: “500-mb map for 00Z (7:00 pm EST) Thursday, March 10, 2016, as initialized in the GFS model.” Image credit: NOAA/NCEP.
Parade of Storms from Space. High-resolution visible satellite imagery from Friday shows the nearly stationary storm over Mexico responsible for historic flooding across Louisiana – a conga-line of storms lined up for the west coast. Source: CIMSS, University of Wisconsin.
Devastating Flooding Turns Louisiana Roads into Rivers. Fish in the streets? ABC News has video and more details.
Parts of the Pacific Northwest Just Had Their Wettest Winter. Here are a couple excerpts from a good recap at WXshift: “…Some areas of the Pacific Northwest are seeing their wettest winters ever recorded. Portland and Seattle — the region’s vying hipster juggernauts — have both kept records at their airports dating back to 1938 and 1945, respectively….Instruments at the Seattle-Tacoma airport measured 24.63 inches of rain over the same December-January-February period. The Office of the Washington State Climatologist tells us that Seattle has, as of this writing, already received all of the precipitation it normally gets for the entire water year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30…”
L.A. Officials Seeded Clouds During El Nino Storm In Hopes of More Rain. A valiant (or vain?) attempt to maximize rainfall amounts during the worst long-term drought on record for SoCal – this came as a surprise to me. Here’s more detail from The Los Angeles Times: “Clouds over Los Angeles County were seeded with silver iodide to increase the amount of rainfall during Monday’s storm, marking the first cloud seeding done by the Department of Public Works since 2002. Los Angeles County has used cloud seeding to boost water supplies since the 1950s, backing off in times of heavy rain or when wildfire devastation creates an outsized risk of flooding or debris flows...”
Synoptic weather forecasters like me have been looking forward to the upgraded ECMWF forecast model for months now. This model is already the guidance of choice for medium and long range forecasts (2-10 days), and now it is running at an even higher resolution with other improvements as well. An ensemble of several different daily runs (that is key to diagnosing which solution is more likely when models differ) is also now running at greater resolution, and this will likely improve long range forecasts around the world. Some of this data is online, but the good stuff you have to pay for, and trust me it’s quite good…”
New Study Shows Severe Tornado Outbreaks Are On The Rise. Phil Plait has a good overview of new research findings at Slate; here’s a clip: “…In general, seeing the variance in the number of tornadoes increase as the number of tornadoes per outbreaks increases is natural; it’s seen in other systems in biology and physics as well. But the variance is increasing four times faster than the mean number of tornadoes per outbreak, and that is unusual. According to the study authors, in most systems the variance increases roughly twice as fast. Again, this implies very strongly that something is going on in the environment that is energizing these outbreaks…”
In The Arctic It Was More Than 10 Degrees (C) Too Warm. I used Google Translate to share a story excerpt from Suddeutsche Zeitung in German: “…Experts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) could in an area extending from Finland to Greece and to the east through Western Siberia, Kazakhstan and the northern part of Western Asia, measure significant changes in temperature. In February, the temperature in this area by more than five degrees above the monthly average – compared with the month of February from 1981 to the of 2010. Even more than ten degrees above the monthly average temperatures were in the northern part of the Barents Sea and the North-West of Russia, so in parts of the Arctic…”
February temperature anomalies above: ECMWF.
Warming Climate Helps North Canada Miners Ships Supplies, Melts Locals’ Ice Roads. Threat, and opportunity. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Reuters: “Global warming is making it easier for resource companies to ship supplies through Arctic waterways in northern Canada, but harder for remote communities to truck in food on winter ice roads, mining industry officials and indigenous leaders said. Shifting transportation patterns in the far north due to the changing climate are expected to reduce the cost of mining and other projects in once frozen coastal areas, while raising the price of goods for residents and businesses operating inland. Ice roads, built on frozen waterways, have until recently provided crucial winter transportation links to northern communities which have no regular road access…”
GFS Surface Temperature Anomaly valid this morning, courtesy of Climate Reanalyzer.
Understanding Why Nights Are Getting Warmer Faster Than Days. Here’s an excerpt of a good explainer at phys.org: “Observations from the last 50 years have shown that the nights have been warming much faster than the days. Analysis of the causes of this more rapid warming at night shows that this is likely to continue in the comming decades. A new publication led by Richard Davy has explained the causes of the more rapid warming at night compared to the day, which has been seen around the globe in recent dcades. They have analysed the causes of these changes from observations and model reconstructions of the climate in the 20th century. By using model reconstructioons they were able to determine how much of this asymmetrical warming could be explained by different processes…
Investors in Miami Are Buying Up Land At Higher Elevations. Rent, don’t buy, Unless you have money to burn (or flood). Here’s an excerpt from The Atlantic’s CityLab: “…Even if global emissions dropped dramatically today, the city would still be locked in for 15 feet of sea-level rise over the next 200 years, says Jeff Onsted, an associate professor at Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center. The rising water won’t be produced by a single weather event, but will gradually become a part of residents’ lives. And while major cities such as New York can build seawalls, Miami is defenseless because it’s built on porous limestone that would allow ocean water to come up from under the city. Already, yards and streets remain flooded even days after rainstorms have rolled through the city. But this looming threat isn’t detectable in the massive ongoing construction along the waterfront in Miami...”
File photo: Lynne Sladky / AP.
Fossil Fuels are “Probably Dead” Says Canadian Pacific Railway CEO Hunter Harrison. Here’s an excerpt from The Calgary Herald: “People need to get their heads around the idea that fossil fuels are “probably dead,” the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway said Wednesday. “I’m not maybe as green as I should be, but I happen to think the climate is changing (and) they’re not going to fool me anymore,” Hunter Harrison told a J.P. Morgan transportation conference in New York. The veteran rail executive said the transition to alternative fuels will be long, but new investments in traditional energy sources will dry up because of environmental hurdles…”
Photo credit above: “
report on the fast-expanding electric car market by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report says that even if petrol or diesel driven cars improve their fuel efficiency over the coming years, the cost of owning an electric car – buying it and running it – will be below that of conventional vehicles by 2022…”Within six years, the cost of owning an electric car will be cheaper than purchasing and running a petrol or diesel model. That’s the conclusion of a
Photo credit: Fogcat5/Flickr
Will We Soon Be Riding on Solar Roads? The Idea Gains Traction. Instead of charging your EV at home or the office why not charge as you zip down the highway? The idea may not be as absurd as it sounds, according to a post at National Geographic: “Solar is popping up just about everywhere, even landfills and parka pockets. So why not roads? Indeed, solar road projects are gaining interest around the world, and some promise to even charge electric cars while moving. The Netherlands built the first solar road, a bike path, in 2014. France announced a bolder move in January—over the next five years, it plans to install 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of solar roads, designed to supply power to five million people...”
Image credit above: “The sun’s rays can hit some roads for up to 90 percent of the daylight hours, so companies in Europe and the U.S. are experimenting with building solar panels along or above roads. But are such projects worth the cost? In France one company is hoping to distinguish itself—and reduce costs—with solar panels that are laid directly on the pavement.”
U.S. Solar Growth Will More Than Double in 2016, Study Finds. Here’s an excerpt at Bloomberg Business: “…A key reason solar is booming is the cost of panels, which have plunged 67 percent since 2010, according to SEIA. In the months leading up to 2016, companies lined up record numbers of projects to take advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit that had been set to expire at the end of the year. Congress voted in December to extend the program through the end of 2021. Large utility-scale projects will account for roughly 75 percent of new installations this year, adding 12 gigawatts, according to the study, which was conducted by Boston-based GTM Research…”
Big Solar Is Heading for Boom Times in the U.S. Dave Roberts reports at Vox: “…What’s more, there’s a ton of utility solar in the pipeline. According to the Energy Information Administration, 9.5 GW of utility solar is scheduled for installation in 2016 — more than from any other single energy source, including natural gas. That would make 2016 a banner year, with utility solar accounting for more than three-quarters of installed solar capacity, installing more in a year than in the past three combined. That’s serious growth. A new report from GTM Research is also optimistic about utility-scale solar passing something of a milestone in 2016...”
Photo credit above: “
Republican businessman Jay Faison is searching for the middle ground. His organization, ClearPath, aims to convince conservative politicians that clean energy is a winning cause. This week, ClearPath opened offices in Washington and launched a $1 million digital ad campaign to promote conservative clean-energy principles. It’s part of a broader multi-million-dollar foundation and super PAC aimed at driving GOP support for “common-sense” solutions to energy and climate problems. Winning over his fellow party members may not be easy, but Mr. Faison says embracing clean energy is critical to the future of both his party and his country...”
Photo credit: “This May 6, 2013 file photo shows a wind turbine farm near Glenrock, Wyo.” Matt Young/AP/File.
The Real-World Locations of 14 Sci-Fi Dystopias. From Blade Runner to the Hunger Games to The Matrix, where did they film these scenes (it wasn’t all CG, or computer graphics). Atlas Obscura has a long, visual and fascinating story; here’s an excerpt: “…The Metacortex building, where Neo (Keanu Reeves) works as a programmer and first suspects something’s not right with the world, is actually the Metcentre, a shopping mall in Sydney’s Central Business District. The bridge where Neo waits for Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) to collect him in a car and bring him to meet Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is the Adam Street Bridge near Sydney’s Chinatown...”
Photo credit: Metacrotex (photograph by Kenneth Pinto)
USA Today. “Our Millennial drinker has changed quite dramatically, and the competition has only exploded with the advent of craft [beer]. We just want to make sure that the story evolves.” The title of the Most Interesting Man will remain, but it will be given to someone else...”Andrew Katz, the brand’s vice president of marketing, said the actor would be replaced to reflect how society has transformed over the years. “Culture has changed very dramatically,” Katz told
Photo credit: “
Because news reporting is serious business (and nobody takes it more seriously than me), this is a video from a local news report about the recent tornado damage in Malakoff, Texas that gets interrupted when the reporter spots a dog sitting on a ride-on lawnmower. Honestly though, I would have done the same thing. “Gotten distracted?” What? No. I meant sit on that lawnmower if I was a dog…”
Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut is a historic little diner that has been around since at least 1900 in some form or another. The original sales point was a lunch truck owned by Louis Lassen. According to the story the restaurant tells, in 1900, a rushed customer ran up to the wagon and demanded a quick lunch to go. Lassen took a bunch of steak trimmings from the regular steak sandwiches he sold, put them between two pieces of toast, and gave it to his customer, and the hamburger was born. The honor of being the home of the hamburger was confirmed by the Library of Congress with the help of a member of the House of Representatives. Sorry, Hamburg...”
Photo credit: Adam Jones.
TODAY: Mild sun, clouds increase by afternoon. Winds: S 8-13. High: 65
SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers possible. Low: 50
SUNDAY: Few showers, a bit humid and slightly cooler. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 56
MONDAY: Sunny peeks, still mild. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 50. High: 63
TUESDAY: Showery rains likely. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 52. High: 55 (falling)
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, risk of a jacket. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 38. High: 47
THURSDAY: Raw, few sprinkles or flurries. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 42
FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, March-like. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 29. High: 39
What Weather Is The Fault of Climate Change? Are we really spiking storms and droughts? The problem of attribution is addressed by climate scientist Heidi Cullen at The New York Times; here’s an excerpt: “…But some of our weather has changed significantly, and now a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has outlined a rigorous, defensible, science-based system of extreme weather attribution to determine which events are tied to climate change. Like the surgeon general’s 1964 report connecting smoking to lung cancer, the report from the National Academies connects global warming to the increased risk and severity of certain classes of extreme weather, including some heat waves, floods and drought. This is an important development. Climate change can no longer be viewed as a distant threat that may disrupt the lives of our grandchildren, but one that may be singled out as a factor, possibly a critical factor, in the storm that flooded your house last week. The science of extreme weather attribution brings climate change to our doorsteps…”
* More perspective on the new NAS study from Chris Mooney at The Washington Post.
Links Between Climate Change and Extreme Weather Are Increasingly Clear and Present. Here’s more perspective on the NAS report from Capital Weather Gang: “…We obtain those answers by comparing the event that just happened to a reconstruction of what might have happened if humans hadn’t changed the climate. In one common method, scientists perform many realistic computer model simulations, over long times (in computer years), of both the present climate, and the climate of a hypothetical, cooler world without human influence. In each climate, they count how often events occur that are similar to the one that happened in the real world. If they happen twice as often (say) in the simulated present climate as in the hypothetical climate without humans, then we say that human-induced climate change made the event twice as likely as it would have been otherwise. Of course, the results could also show that the event is about equally likely in both climates, or less likely in the present climate (as is generally true for extreme cold snaps)…”
Image credit: National Academy of Sciences, 2016.
Record Annual Increase of CO2 Observed at Mauna Loa in 2015. Here’s an update from NOAA: “…The last time the Earth experienced such a sustained CO2 increase was between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago, when CO2 levels increased by 80 ppm. Today’s rate of increase is 200 times faster, said Tans. The big jump in CO2 is partially due to the current El Niño weather pattern, as forests, plantlife and other terrestrial systems responded to changes in weather, precipitation and drought. The largest previous increase occurred in 1998, also a strong El Niño year. Continued high emissions from fossil fuel consumption are driving the underlying growth rate over the past several years…”
Graphic credit: NOAA ESRL.
This Mind-Boggling Study Shows Just How Massive Sea Level Rise Really Is. Pump ocean water to Antarctica to slow the rate of sea level rise? Huh? Here’s a clip from The Washington Post: “…The problem with using geoengineering to counter rising seas is that every millimeter of sea level rise is equivalent to 360 billion tons of ocean water. And seas are currently rising at a rate of over 3 millimeters per year, with the rate of increase expected to grow still further in the future. The modeling study suggests that pumping water deep into the center of Antarctica, 700 kilometers inland and over two miles into the air, would indeed keep it there for a good while. Here, the addition of one meter’s worth of sea level rise would translate into raising the total elevation of continental ice by 25 meters…”
Map credit: “
Exposing the Disinformation Playbook. The Union of Concerned Scientists has an interactive slideshow, highlighting how special interests are using some of the same tactics they used for tobacco and climate science on renewables. Fading industries are trying to protect market share, and the first casualty is the truth: “Powerful coal, oil, and gas interests are trying to confuse us all about global warming and renewable energy. Not with facts or reasoned argument — but with disinformation. In this interactive slideshow, UCS reveals the tactics used by the fossil fuel industry to spread disinformation and delay action on climate change — the very same tactics used by Big Tobacco for years to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking...”
Democrats Finally Talk Climate Change – And Remind Us All How Politically Tricky It Can Be. Because the way we’re all wired makes it very challening dealing with future risk. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “…Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki noted a critical political problem for any climate action. Referring to a report from economist Andrew Healy and political scientist Neil Malhotra, he writes:
Politically speaking, it’s always easier to shell out money for a disaster that has already happened, with clearly identifiable victims, than to invest money in protecting against something that may or may not happen in the future. Healy and Malhotra found that voters reward politicians for spending money on post-disaster cleanup, but not for investing in disaster prevention, and it’s only natural that politicians respond to this incentive.
The Unexpected Reaction Farmers Could Have to Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of a story at ThinkProgress that got my attention: “…These farmers, they’re operating on a razor’s edge,” Avery Cohn, assistant professor of environment and resource policy at Tufts, told ThinkProgress. “They need to get their crops in the ground as soon as they can, they are planting short cycle soy varieties that they need to harvest at the peak of the rainy season, and then they need to plant that corn at the peak of the rainy season, and then hope that the rainy season lasts long enough so the corn gets enough water.” If climate change leads to decreasing yields, farmers might respond by taking a certain amount of their land out of rotation, because it’s no longer profitable. Or farmers might decide not to plant a second crop — a technique known as double cropping — and instead focus on getting the most out of their primary crop, another decision that could lead to reductions in overall agricultural yields...”
File photo: AP Photo/Andre Penner.
Obama and Justin Trudeau from Canada Unveil Efforts to Fight Climate Change. The New York Times reports: “Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, met with President Obama on Thursday for the first state visit by a Canadian leader in 19 years, a diplomatic honor made possible in part by new pledges of cooperation on combating climate change. Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau announced Thursday morning new commitments to reduce planet-warming emissions of methane, a chemical contained in natural gas that is about 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide and that can leak from drilling wells and pipelines…”
Photo credit above: “ Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times.
The Constitutional Right to a Healthier Climate. Dr. James Hansen has an Op-Ed at The Boston Globe; here’s a clip: “…On Wednesday, a judge in US District Court in Oregon will consider whether a constitutional challenge to federal actions that underwrite fossil fuel emissions may proceed. Brought by youth plaintiffs, and by me, on behalf of future generations, the lawsuit alleges that by permitting, authorizing, and subsidizing the exploitation, production, transport, and burning of fossil fuels, our government has caused or substantially contributed to the present emergency in which the very viability of a hospitable climate system is at stake. We argue that such federal actions infringe upon the fundamental guarantees of the Fifth Amendment, including the rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the law...”
Satellite or Surface Temps: Which Is More Accurate? Yale Climate Connections has produced a video explaining the advantages and disadvantages of surface instruments vs. (inferred) temperatures from satellite platforms: “Scientists clarify how best to understand global temperatures and how they are measured.”