69 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Saturday.
68 F. average high for May 12.
65 F. high on May 12, 2011.
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan
“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.” – Mildred B. Vermont
“The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.” – A.K. Best
“….A common refrain from both the speakers and the audience was that that people were tired of hearing the same jeremiads about greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, and government panels. Even people who care deeply about the environment are fatigued. This is a particularly acute problem on the Internet where the distribution of a story largely depends on readers to share the narrative with their friends through social media. The standard climate change narratives are not shareable..” – from a story at The Atlantic below.
Looks Like Summer. Enjoy today’s mid-70s and low humidity levels. We should sample low to mid 80s tomorrow, near 80 again Tuesday before a slight cooling trend by Wednesday and Thursday, back above 80 by the end of the week with a growing chance of late-week T-storms. Graph: University of Iowa Meteorology Department.
Dry Into Wednesday. A surge of warm, humidified air will spark scattered T-storms from late Wednesday night into Saturday – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few strong/severe T-storms by late week. Enjoy the quiet weather.
Shifting Into Summer. The 180 GFS outlook (GFS, courtesy of NOAA) shows heavy showers and T-storms pushing into the eastern states later today and Monday, hot, sticky air pushing north across the Plains, setting the stage for a few rounds of “ridge-rider” T-storms the latter half of the week from the Dakotas to the Twin Cities, Green Bay and Chicago.
“Earlier this spring up to 33 Minnesota counties were designated to be in severe drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor. In Thursday’s release (May 10) of a new drought update, only a small portion of Cook County is left in severe drought. For the most part soils have been recharged with near normal moisture levels, and Minnesota’s streams and rivers have risen with the recent abundant rainfall.”" – from the latest edition of Dr. Mark Seeley’s WeatherTalk. Details below.
“There’s no doubt that the actual cost of extreme weather is on the rise, with U.S. insured losses from weather disaster soaring from $3 billion a year in the 1980s to about $20 billion a year in the past decade, adjusted for inflation.” – from a Time Magazine article below.
“The number of U. S. satellites is expected to plummet over the next eight years, and the decline could impede weather forecasting, a National Academies report says.” – from an L.A. Times article below. Illustration above: NASA.
A Week’s Worth of Storm Reports. According to NOAA 1,677 separate severe storm reports have been observed, nationwide, since May 5. Interactive map courtesy of Ham Weather. Here’s a breakdown:
|Total Storm Reports:||1677|
Record Rainfalls For Some To Start Early May. Here’s an excerpt of the latest WeatherTalk entry from Dr. Mark Seeley: “According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center over the first 7 days of May, Minnesota weather observers reported 62 new daily rainfall records, an exceptionally large quantity of records for such a short period of time. Some examples of the record amounts of rainfall include:
May 1st: 1.73 inches at St Cloud Airport
May 2nd: 2.05 inches at Windom and 2.10 inches at Elk River
May 3rd: 2.21 inches at Zumbrota and Wabasha
May 4th: 1.70 inches at Amboy
May 5th: 2.41 inches at Winnebago and 2.33 inches at Sherburn
May 6th: 2.78 inches at Marshall, 2.86 inches at Hawley, 3.06 inches at Redwood Falls, 3.50 inches at Hastings, and 3.62 inches at Pipestone
The 3.62 inches of rainfall reported at Pipestone on May 6th was a new state record for the date, beating the 3.48 inches that fell at Minneota on May 6, 1983.
Chicago Weather Trivia. Here’s a Friday tweet from WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling – another (very) warm month shaping up for The Windy City
April Warming Trends. Here’s an interesting nugget (and YouTube animation) from NOAA: “After a decade of warmer than average Aprils in the U.S., few highest monthly maximum temperature records for April remain from the 20th Century. This image plots the decade in which the highest average April temperature record was set for different regions of the country, starting in 1911 (i.e., 1911-1920) and running through 2010, using data from the NOAA National Climatic Center’s detailed archives. The records broken in 2011 and 2012 are shown separately. Most of the pixel colors are associated with the 2001-2010, 2011 and 2012 time periods. Gray indicates no data (records) are associated with that area of the country.“
Stunning Waterspout Images From Louisiana. I can’t recall the last time I saw 4 waterspouts in the same photo. Climate Central has a terrific article about the recent rash of waterspouts (tornadoes over water) off the coast of Louisiana; here’s an excerpt: “Severe weather affected Louisiana on Wednesday, with a damaging tornado in Grand Isle, and simultaneous occurrences of multiple waterspouts over the nearshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The waterspouts — technically tornadoes over water — were caught on camera by a National Weather Service employee and many others. For background info on waterspouts, check out this video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”
Upper left photo credit: “Twin waterspouts seen off the coast of Grand Isle, La., on May 9. Click on image for a larger version. Credit: Capt. Danny Wray, via NWS/Facebook.”
Upper right photo credit: “Four waterspouts seen at once off the La. coast on May 9. Credit: WRAL Mike Maze via Facebook.”
Waterspout, Haboobs And More. Here’s a great article (and waterspout explanation) from meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post: “Waterspouts are defined as tornadoes over water but can form under different circumstances – either in fair weather or in tornadic thunderstorms. NOAA explains: The tornadic waterspouts may often begin as tornadoes over land and then move over water. They also form in severe thunderstorms over a body of water. They can wreak havoc with high winds, hail, and dangerous lightning.
Photo credit above: “Twin waterspouts offshore Grand Isle, La. (Tim Osborn, NOAA ).”
“Mammatus”. Photo from the Bismarck National Weather Service, via Mark Zuckerberg: “Mammatus clouds that rolled through Minot during last night’s thunderstorms. Photo courtesy of Sean K.“
Most Expensive Weather Disasters Of 2012. 7 of the top 14 weather disasters worldwide during the first 4 months of 2012 were in the USA. Chart courtesy of Aon Benfield.
Dakota Farmers Rebound After Historic Flood. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg Businessweek: “Customers are tossing back more beer this spring than last at Drinks Inc. on Main Street in Mohall, and it has a lot to do with the barley farmers are once again planting in the fields around the town of about 1,000 people. A year ago, many tractors and seeders in northwest North Dakota sat idle as snowmelt, heavy rains and overflowing rivers swamped fields and roads. A record number of acres went unplanted, putting a strain on farmers’ wallets. That carried over to small-town businesses that depend largely on farmers’ spending for their livelihoods.”
Summer Preview For The Pacific Northwest. Here’s an excerpt of a post from AccuWeather.com: “The warmest temperatures felt so far in 2012 are expected in Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., over the Mother’s Day weekend. The mercury should reach 80 degrees in Seattle on Sunday while Portland makes a run at 90. The key ingredient to the warm spell is offshore winds. The flow of air across the Pacific Northwest will be from warm interior areas towards to the cool ocean. This flow of air will keep the cool ocean air at bay.”
Russian Satellite Presents The Earth From Top To Bottom (Imagery). This never gets old, seeing Earth from space. Here’s a new perspective (from a Russian weather satellite). Details from The Capital Weather Gang: “Who doesn’t love NASA’s stunning “Blue Marble” full disc images of Earth? We now have a new source of high definition hemisphere-spanning imagery: the Russians. Their new geostationary satellite, Electro-L, launched in January 2011, produces ultra-high resolution images of our planet, 121 megapixels to be exact. Gizmodo provides more details on Electro-L: Elektro-L is now orbiting Earth on a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers [~22,000 miles] above the equator, sending photographs of the entire planet every 30 minutes using a 2.56 to 16.36 Mbits per second connection with ground control. The images—and the video of the Northern Hemisphere—combines four light wavelengths, three visible and one infrared.”
Photo credit above: “Full disc satellite image of Earth from Russian Electro-L satellite (Russian Earth Observation centre).
Hail And High Water Grips South Texas. Here’s some wild video from AP, showing the flash flooding and large hail that pounded the Corpus Chrisi area of south Texas late Thursday: “Hail and heavy rains pounded Corpus Cristi, Texas on Thursday. One resident took advantage of the flooded streets to go street-surfing. (May 11).”
Driving Through A “Haboob”. Funny word huh? It’s Arabic. Are these on the increase or in a YouTube world are we just doing a better job of capturing the sandstorms that have always been there? Same question with tornadoes. Wish I had a good answer. Here’s some YouTube footage from the Phoenix area – these massive sandstorms (often triggered by thunderstorm downdrafts whipping up sand and dust) can drop visibilities close to zero at times: “Driving home through a miles wide AZ dust storm.”
Failing Satellites Jeopardize Weather Forecasting, Report Says. God help us if we lose our Eye in the Sky and can no longer monitor weather from a constellation of satellites. More from The L.A. Times: “WASHINGTON — The number of U.S. satellites watching Earth is expected to plummet by 2020, and weather forecasting, including hurricane tracking, could suffer as a result, a new report warns. The study, released last week by the nation’s top science advisors, estimated that the fleet of science satellites operated by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would “decline precipitously” from a peak of 110 probes last year to fewer than 30 in 2020. The drop is a result of several factors, including budget problems and rocket accidents, and scientists said the United States risked blurring its vision of Earth if it did not act quickly to replace satellites expected to die during the next eight years.”
Photo credit above: “Science satellites operated by NASA and NOAA track a broad range of environmental markers, including the thinning of ice sheets and changes in cloud cover and temperature. (NASA / June 26, 2010).”
House Slashes Funding Increase For NOAA Climate Website. Meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post has more details: “Of a possible $1.4 billion dollars in proposed spending cuts in the Departments of Commerce and Justice for 2013, the U.S. House Representatives voted to approve none of them. None of them except a piddly $542,000 for a NOAA climate website. The amendment was approved 219-189 Tuesday evening TheHill.com reported. The NOAA “climate website” is Climate.gov – a portal to NOAA’s climate information. The website – currently in a prototype stage – provides a rich set of climate information, tools, and data resources. With a little investment, it has the potential to provide tremendous benefits to decision makers.”
When Disaster Strikes The Nursing Home. Here’s an excerpt of a New York Times story: “As hailstones the size of golf balls beat thunderously on the roof of the nursing home, an urgent announcement rang out from the loudspeakers. “Everyone needs to go out into the halls now,” Kaye Russell, 70, remembers a nurse’s assistant saying. Staff members began rolling patients in wheelchairs through the doorway. “Put your heads down; arms over your head, everyone.” “Everybody was crying and praying,” said Ms. Russell, who has multiple sclerosis and had been recovering from a bout of pneumonia at the facility, Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Arlington, Tex. Suddenly, the roof began to shake, windows blew out and the nursing home was filled with a trainlike roar. Ms. Russell’s daughter, Lori Coakley, a physical therapist at the facility, rushed down the hall and threw herself on top of her mother.” Photo: Randy Widmayer.
Over The Rainbow. Thanks to Joseph Rudd from Central Kentucky Interiors in Muir Station, KY for passing this one along.
“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:
Christine – you captured a great example of “cloud streets“, or (more technically) “horizontal convective rolls” Cloud streets are easier to say. Although the specific dynamics of formation aren’t totally understood, here’s a good summary from Wikipedia: “The exact process that leads to the formation of horizontal convective rolls is not well understood, but most formation theories involve a combination of thermal or convective instability and dynamic instability. In thermal instabilities, turbulent energy that forms the rolls is produced from buoyancy. For this condition to be satisfied, a moderate surface heat flux is necessary to produce a slightly unstable environment; however, too much heat flux will cause the environment to be too unstable, and will lead to cellular, instead of roll convection.”
Investment Community Gives Tesla Motors Vote Of Confidence. Here’s a snippet from an L.A. Times article: “DeLorean Motor Co. never had a future to get back to. Tucker Corp. got torpedoed. Fisker Automotive doesn’t seem to have good karma. Launching a new auto business and building a brand in the U.S. is no simple task. But inch by inch, electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. seems to be doing just that. “Tesla continues to show its ability to manage expectations and deliver on what it promises,” Morgan Stanley Research auto analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a report to investors. Tesla “surpassed our expectations as momentum heading into the company’s summer Model S launch continues to build,” analysts at Barclays Capital told their clients.”
Smart Gives Product Not To All-Electric eScooter. Pretty cool – details from gizmag.com: “Alongside the smart fortwo electric drive coupé and convertible that appeared at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, smart also unveiled a couple of two-wheeled electric vehicle concepts, the smart ebike and smart escooter. With the ebike having already having received the production nod in 2011 and now nearing its scheduled mid-2012 release, smart has announced plans to bring its smart escooter to market with a planned 2014 launch.”
Broadcasters Paint Doomsday Scenario In Case Against Aereo’s Streaming TV Service. Here’s an excerpt from a story at TVSpy.com: “In a series of court filings this week, broadcasters argued that the streaming TV service Aereo, currently available only in New York, would cause an end to the TV industry as we know it. In a declaration filed in a New York federal court, Matt Bond, EVP of content distribution at NBCUniversal, said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that if Aereo is successful in fending off lawsuits from broadcasters and is able to proceed with its service, the economics of TV distribution would be changed forever.“
Hybrid Humvee? U.S. Army Shows Its Diesel Hybrid Field Vehicle. Even the Army is going green (to become less reliant on oil, not necessarily out of any concerns about climate change). Even so, every attempt to wean ourselves off Saudi crude makes a difference, as described in this entry at gizmag.com: “Still think hybrids and green cars are meek and hipsterish? Plant your eyes on the US Army’s Fuel Efficient ground vehicle Demonstrator Bravo. It’s one of the burliest vehicles you’ve likely seen in years, and it’s all hybrid underneath its rugged metal shell. If you think you spend a lot of money on gas, imagine how much money the world’s most powerful military – with its tanks, generators, military bases, Jeeps and on and on – must spend on gas every day.“
Much-Needed Breather. It’s been another crazy week in the weather department. Contrary to public opinion, meteorologists are just fine with quiet weather. We need a break too. From left to right, Star Tribune meteorologists Gretchen Mishek, Bryan Karrick and our newest addition (from New York City) Addison Green. At this rate they may be sharing cookie recipes (and fish stories) this weekend. Soak it up while you can – it can’t last…
Trolling The Weather Girl. This video clip is just…wrong, but I feel compelled to share it anyway. Hey, the public has a right to know! Details and video clip here, courtesy of break.com: “The guys in the production room mess with the weather girl during a live news broadcast.”
Trying To Forget 1980. Nice carnation Paul. What was I thinking? This was the anchor team at my first TV gig, WNEP-TV in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the twin Cities of northeastern Pennsylvania. Great station (still the highest ranked ABC affiliate in the USA, I think). I think I got a deal on turtleneck sweaters. Notice the dazed appearance…some things never change.
The Original “Back Yard.” Yes, I must have been on my way to a bad prom. What the…. I look like a wedding crasher, or a near-sighted, clothing-challenged motivational speaker….or a part-time funeral director? A dear friend (?) – Pete Schenck – forwarded this to me, reminding me of my humble beginnings in the back yard of WNEP-TV. The station literally aimed a camera out a small window in their garage. The locals loved to see the poor weatherguy suffer out in the elements he predicted (or didn’t predict). I think this was the first consistent outdoor weather presentation at any TV station in the nation, back in 1980. Been there, done that. Happy to have indoor studios (and plumbing) now.
A Perfect Walleye Fishing Opener. A comfortable breeze, low humidity – highs in the 60s to low 70s. I can’t imagine a nicer day. Under blue sky highs ranged from 63 at Grand Marais to 69 St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, 72 at International Falls.
“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” – Alexander Woollcott
Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
Climate Change Triggers High Lightning Strikes. At first I was ready to dismiss this as overly alarmist, but the more I thought about it, from a scientific perspective, it made sense. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor; and worldwide we’ve seen a 4-5% increase in water vapor in the last 30 years, more fuel for thunderstorms capable of lightning. Although we can’t yet link a warmer atmosphere with more frequent hurricanes or tornadoes, a linkage with lightning strikes seems to be showing up in the data, as explained in this article from The Gulf Times: “Several hundred people fall victim to lightning strikes every year in Bangladesh. About 100 people were killed and even many more injured in lightning strikes alone in April this year, showing an increased frequency in lightning strikes in the country. “Bangladesh experiences lightning strikes mainly during pre-monsoon period (March – May). But climate change is contributing to its increased frequency as the recent years have seen a greater number of fatal incidents of lightning strikes except last year,” M. Abdul Mannan, scientist at Saarc Meteorological Research Center, said yesterday.”
Photo credit above: NOAA.
What’s Actually Interesting About Covering Climate Change. Here’s a clip from an article at The Atlantic: “The Rio+20 UN summit is just around the corner, the latest in a decades-long string of international meetings that attempt to address one of the world’s greatest and most global environmental problems. What’s that? Your eyes have already glazed over? Well, you’re not alone. I just spent the last couple of days in Seoul for the Global Green Growth Institute Summit, where I spoke during a session on green journalism. A common refrain from both the speakers and the audience was that that people were tired of hearing the same jeremiads about greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, and government panels. Even people who care deeply about the environment are fatigued. This is a particularly acute problem on the Internet where the distribution of a story largely depends on readers to share the narrative with their friends through social media. The standard climate change narratives are not shareable.”
Photo credit above: “A coal mine in Utah (Reuters).“
What Is “Global Dimming”? In a strange paradox, sulfer-based pollutants may be screening out some of the harmful effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, lowering the rate of warming in some areas. As we install scrubbers on smoke stacks and clean up the air, we may be inadvertenly increasing the rate of warming, according to this article at The Guardian: “Measurements from the 1960s to the early 1990s, backed up by a wide range of data and a number of independent studies, showed there were substantial declines in the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Earth’s surface. This reduction is known as “global dimming”. The observed “dimming” has strong regional differences across the globe. While the southern hemisphere saw modest dimming in the period 1961–90 (which has continued to date), the northern hemisphere saw much more significant declines (reductions of 4–8%). Since then some parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, have seen partial recovery (known as “brightening”), while other regions (most notably China and India) have seen further although regionally mixed declines.”
Politicians Create Impression Of Activity While Achieving Nothing On Climate Change. The story from The Vancouver Sun: “If there is one thing on which all federal parties and all national political leaders are agreed, it is that they “believe the science” on climate change. They believe that the Earth is warming, they believe its effects are on balance malign, and they believe it is caused by human activity. As such they believe it can and should be mitigated by human action, namely by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There isn’t any dispute between them over this. Every party agrees there’s a problem, every party agrees on its cause, and every party agrees on its solution. And no party (or none with any chance of governing) has anything resembling a serious policy to achieve it.”
“The Koch-Stone XL Pipeline”. Here’s an excerpt of a Bill McKibbon story from The Huffington Post: “Two pieces of crucial evidence emerged in the tar sands fight yesterday. One, happily, got all kinds of notice — Jim Hansen’s op-ed in the New York Times was the “most emailed” item of the day, which is appropriate since he explained new calculations showing that those Canadian deposits contain “twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.” If we burn them on top of all the coal and oil and gas we’re already using, “concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era,” the government’s leading climate scientist explained, which you think would be enough to end the debate — even in our weird political culture, there aren’t many leaders clamoring to return us to the Pliocene.” Photo credit: salon.com.
Cracking The Smart Energy Market. There’s a tremendous opportunity to save wasted energy right now, in commercial and residential buildings around the USA. Adoption rates for so-called “smart homes” has been slower than expected, as detailed in this New York Times article: “American homes are getting smarter, at least when it comes to using energy, a consumer research firm reports. By 2020, some 60 percent of homes in the United States will have some type of smart energy management system, according to estimates from the firm, Parks Associates. Still, adoption has been slower than some companies had hoped. Smart energy management systems consist of products and services that enable you to watch how you consume energy and help you use less.”
Climate Change And Marine Biodiversity: Saving The Ocean’s Web Of Life Under Threat. Here’s an excerpt of a story at The Business Mirror: “Imagine a refreshing dip in the ocean during your weekend getaway to the beach. The sun is shining, no cloud in the sky, and the water temperature is some cozy 45 C. A bit too warm for you? Animals of the Ordovician, 480 million years ago, thought so, too, when marine water temperature was that hot, due to a “super-greenhouse effect” with very high carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere.”
Climate Clash: Corporate Giants Caught As Groups Skirmish. MSNBC.com picks up the Heartland billboard fiasco: “Some corporate giants are caught in the middle of a battle between a think tank skeptical of manmade global warming and an environmental group that it is trying to undermine its financial health. On one side is Forecast the Facts, which was founded this year and claims to have 20,000 members ready and willing to use e-mail and social media to counter criticism of mainstream climate science that points to a warming world. On the other is The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based group that’s been around for 28 years. It has called global warming a “fringe theory“ and covers not only climate issues but also budget policy, education, insurance, health care and telecom issues.”
Solar Works For Minnesota. There are companies that will install solar panels (for free) on your roof, lower your electric bill, and then take a percentage of the $$ savings in future years. I have friends that are putting energy onto the grid and getting paid! Here’s a blurb from “Solar Works for Minnesota“: “May 8 – Senate and House vote to approve a modified Bonding Bill (HF 1752) lthat includes an optional 5% investment for solar on public buildings. Next stop – the Governor’s desk. Welcome to the Solar Minnesota Coalition—a group of businesses, consumers, labor groups, the solar industry and clean energy advocates working collaboratively to establish a 10 percent solar energy standard in Minnesota. Please join us!“
Vast Antarctic Ice Sheet “In Play” With Global Warming. MSNBC.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Scientists have long focused on Antarctica’s smaller ice sheet as being vulnerable to warming, but two new studies project that part of the continent’s much larger ice sheet is also at risk — and that ice now held back on land there could add to sea level rise by 2100. “This is the first legitimate evidence that this part of Antarctica is in play,” Bob Bindschadler, a NASA earth scientist who has studied Antarctica for 30 years, told msnbc.com. “The potential, the reservoir of ice … is vast.” In fact, that area, known as the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, has 10 times as much ice as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. One study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, used a computer model to project what would happen in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea if temperatures rose in line with U.N. projections for 2100. “
Photo credit above: Ralph Timmermann / Alfred Wegener Institute. “Part of Antarctica’s Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is seen in the Weddell Sea. Two new studies project the shelf will disappear by 2100, potentially releasing ice trapped on Antarctica’s largest ice sheet.“
NASA’s James Hansen Calls Out Obama On Climate Change (Offers Top Solution). Here’s an excerpt of a story at planetsave.com: “Obama has done more than any US president in history to combat global warming, but we are still insanely far behind what is needed to avert true catastrophe, and Obama has made a number of statements on the matter that seem to show he doesn’t get it. In response to one recent statement on Canada’s tar sands, one of the top climate scientists on the planet, NASA’s James Hansen (head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies), wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes this week. Here are some of the highlights...”
GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”
Global Warming: An Exclusive Look At James Hansen’s Scary New Math. Here’s a snippet of a Time Magazine article about a recent paper linking a warming atmosphere with extreme heat waves around the planet in recent years: “How can NASA physicist and climatologist James E. Hansen, writing in the New York Times today, “say with high confidence” that recent heat waves in Texas and Russia “were not natural events” but actually “caused by human-induced climate change”? It wasn’t all that long ago that respected MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel flatly refuted the notion that you can pinpoint global warming as the cause of an extreme weather event. “It’s statistical nonsense,” he told PBS….Hansen says the heat wave that struck Texas and Oklahoma last summer and the Moscow heat wave of 2010 (which caused 11,000 deaths in the city) are examples of three-sigma anomalies. In a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, wrote that it was 80 percent probable that the Moscow heat wave had been caused by global warming.”
Photo credit above: Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters. “Lone tourists walk along Red Square in heavy smog, caused by peat fires in nearby forests, in central Moscow, Aug. 9, 2010.”
* Hansen’s paper can be found here (pdf).
Varied Views Of Extreme Weather In A Warming Climate. Here’s an excerpt of a story from Andrew Revkin at The New York Times: “Through decades of work, James E. Hansen of NASA has earned his plaudits as a climate scientist. But his intensifying personal push for aggressive cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases has come with a framing of climate science that is being criticized by some respected researchers for stepping beyond what peer-reviewed studies have concluded. Here is a critique of “Game Over for Climate,” Hansen’s Op-Ed article in The Times this week, from Martin Hoerling, who runs an effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess the forces contributing to extreme weather events, followed by a must-read reaction to both from Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...”
The Weekend Of 100 Tornadoes. Are Killer Storms Being Fueled By Climate Change? It’s basic physics: a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, and scientists have observed a 4-5% increase in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. But is there a definitive link between a warmer, wetter sky and the most extreme storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes. Time Magazine has a story focused on the implications; here’s an excerpt: “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. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center took the unusual step of alerting people in the region more than a day before what was termed a possible “high-end, life-threatening event.”
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
Military Fights Global Warming. Go Navy! Beat Army. Here’s a story at Huffington Post: “Is the Navy greener than California? As more polls show that a majority of Americans want action on carbon pollution and global warming, leadership on fighting climate change is coming from surprising places — starting with the military. At a recent reception held by the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington D.C., Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave a speech in which he connected the dots between climate change, energy and security issues. He became the highest-ranking official in the Obama administration to do so.”
FOI Emails Reveal Threats To Climate Scientists. Here’s an excerpt from a story by Australia’s ABC News: “The Australian National University has released a series of abusive and threatening emails which were sent to its climate change scientists. The 11 emails to members of the university’s Climate Change Institute have been made public after a Freedom of Information request. ANU management initially turned down the FOI request to release them, fearing it would lead to increased harassment. But they have now been released with the names and email addresses removed after an intervention by the privacy commissioner. One email, dated June 2, 2010, describes a threat to use a gun against an academic because a conference participant reportedly disagreed with the climate change research.”