63 F. highs reported yesterday at Owatonna, Madison, Canby and Appleton.
57 F. high in the Twin Cities (MSP International Airport) Sunday.
40 F. average high for November 18.
48 F. high on November 18, 2011.
59 F. record high for November 22, set in 1988. We should break that this year – record warmth expected for Thanksgiving.
25-35 F. highs from November 29 into the first week of December. Yes, cold has been delayed, but it’s still coming…
Leonid Meteor Shower. Thanks to Steve Burns, who snapped this photo of a lucky shooting star Saturday night, captured at Chengwatana State Forest east of Pine City, Minnesota. Well done!
Why The New Ken Burns Documentary On The Dust Bowl Has Lessons To Teach Us. Are you watching the Ken Burns doc on The Dust Bowl? It’s remarkable, like all of his documentaries, but with a persistent drought gripping Minnesota and much of the Plains his storytelling takes on a new sense of urgency. Sure, topsoil techniques and land management have improved dramatically since the 1930s, but could something similar ever happen again? After the extreme weather we’ve witnessed the last 2 years I wouldn’t rule anything out. Here’s an excerpt of a story at Time Magazine: “…But while the 2012 drought may have been the worst in a half-century, it has nothing on the great Dust Bowl of the 1930s. That decade-long drought – exacerbated by poor farming techniques that left topsoil crumbling in the wind – changed the face of the U.S. and led to massive migrations out of farming states in the Midwest. As the master filmaker Ken Burns shows in his new documentary The Dust Bowl – airing on PBS Sunday night and Monday night – it’s a man-made disaster that still has lessons for us today. “The Dust Bowl has never gotten the attention it deserves,” says Burns. “But we can see today with this year’s drought, or with climate change, that we can affect the environment, whether we want to acknowledge it or not…”
Revised Winter Outlook (Don’t Hold Your Breath). NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has tweaked the November thru January forecast for the USA, calling for milder than average over the Southwest and Southern Plains with a 30-40% risk of colder than normal conditions across the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. This is based on a fading El Nino signal in the Pacific, and a negative phase of the NAO, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which may keep prevailing jet stream winds howling from the northwest much of the winter. But CPC admits that this is a very difficult forecast, I get the sense that confidence levels are low. I’m not convinced we’re going to wind up with a colder than normal winter, at least not yet. Maps above: CPC and Ham Weather.
Major Shift In The Pattern Imminent? Both the AO (Arctic Oscillation) and NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) go strongly negative by late November, suggesting a buckling of steering jet stream winds aloft capable of plunging bitter air southward – the greatest potential for heavy rain/snow for the east coast. Notice how low the NAO was when Sandy spun up in late October, as low as -2. The pattern still seems to favor the biggest storms detouring well south/east of Minnesota looking out into mid-December. AO index here, NAO here, courtesy of NOAA.
Arctic Oscillation. The AO and NAO are blocking patterns, impacted by a variety of meteorological factors, including stratospheric temperatures, blocks over Greenland, sea surface temperatures and other forcings. During a positive phase the coldest air remains north over Canada, more of a milder, Pacific influence on the Lower 48. But during a negative phase (like what’s coming up in early December) winds aloft weaken, allowing bitter air to plunge southward, often spinning up significant snow/ice storms in advance. Graphic: UCAR.
Extended Outlook: Brrrrr. Soak up the relative warmth, because some big changes are on the way for the last couple days of November and at least the first week of December. The GFS output (above) shows highs in the 20s, a few nights near zero in the metro by the first weekend of December. And no, I don’t see any significant snow preceding this cold blast.
An Indian Summer Thanksgiving? The latest ECWMF (European) model suggests record or near-record warmth from the Twin Cities and Chicago south to St. Louis on Thursday, highs reaching the 60s as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin, 70s possible over the Central Plains and Middle Mississippi valley. Showers are possible over Seattle (and Wichita, Kansas), but otherwise the most reliable model is hinting at a very quiet and dry Thanksgiving, temperatures more typical of late September east of the Rockies. Map above: WSI.
Fiscal Cliff? More Like A Temperature Cliff. After peaking well into the 60s Thursday the mercury plummets nearly 30 degrees on Friday with gusty winds creating a wind chill dipping into the teens and 20s. After a shirtsleeve Thanksgiving you’ll need heavy jackets and coats for shopping on Friday. A chilly Saturday (more sun, less wind) gives way to low 40s by Sunday, a shot at 50 Monday before another surge of cold air arrives by Tuesday of next week.
Black Friday? More Like Blue Friday. Blue, as in no feeling in your fingers, toes and nose. A vigorous cold front plows south Friday, holding temperatures in the 20s and 30s from the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin, an even colder wind chill. Unlike a couple weeks ago we do NOT expect tornadoes to spin up along this push of Canadian air, with little or no snow behind the front – with the exception of some possible lake effect snows for northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. Map above: 18z Friday, courtesy of WSI.
Total Snowfall By Midday Monday. Snowmobiles and cross country skis will collect dust for at least another week, probably longer, I fear. The GFS model keeps the most significant snow just north of the U.S. Canadian border thru next weekend; some 12-24″ amounts for the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest – a litlte lake effect snow kicking in downwind of the Great Lakes by late week and the weekend.
October: 5th Warmest On Record. Details from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory: “Recently released analysis by NOAA scientists at the National Climatic Data Center reveals that October 2012 was the 5th warmest on record, dating back to 1880. This image, using data from NCDC’s Global Historical Climatology Network shows areas of warmer (red) and cooler (blue) than normal temperatures. While extreme warmth dominated the high latitudes, higher-than-average monthly temperatures were observed across much of Europe, western and far eastern Asia, northeastern and southwestern North America, central South America, northern Africa, and most of Australia. Meanwhile, much of northwestern and central North America, central Asia, parts of western and northern Europe, and southern Africa were notably below average….”
Time Warp. NOAA CPC’s 6-10 day temperature outlook keeps most of America warmer than average thru the end of next week, much warmer for the Southwest, but cooler than average from Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Map: Ham Weather.
Joplin Residents Carry On After Tornado. I’m a big fan of “Marketplace” – from American Public Media. Think Wall Street Journal on the radio, only progressive and more moderate in tone, but loaded with remarkable facts, anecdotes and stories that humanize complex stories, many about finance and the economy. Here’s an excerpt of a must-listen podcast focused on the people who survived one of America’s most violent tornadoes in recorded history, the Joplin EF-5: “Even today, you can stand on what passes for a hill in Joplin’s midsection at 23rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, look east and look west and see empty space. The trees are still gone. Apartment complexes are gone. The hospital is gone. The high school is gone. That’s what happens when an EF-5 tornado touches down eviscerating everything in its path as it did there on Sunday, May 22, 2011 — 161 people died. As Joplin’s residents make their way through the stages of grief they want to share how they survived and how they’re preparing for the next one…”
Photo credit above: “Stairs lead to an empty lot where a home once stood on South Joplin Avenue before the Joplin tornado in 2011. Newly constructed homes can be seen in the background.” Steve Hebert for The New York Times
Billions Spent On Flood Barriers Now Might Save New York City Later. I’m not sure they can build a flood barrier big enough to contain a surging Atlantic Ocean, but possibly Manhattan. It will cost tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars to build walls around major coastal cities. Here’s a clip from a Bloomberg News story at oregonlive.com: “Could a surge-protection barrier have saved New York City from much of the flood ravages of superstorm Sandy? Malcolm Bowman and other hydrologists are convinced it could have. Bowman, an oceanographer who has spent much of a 40-year career warily watching the tidal flows in and around New York Harbor, recalls being on the construction site of Manhattan’s South Ferry subway station a few years ago. “It was just a concrete box underground then,” said Bowman,, then an observer filming a documentary. He looked up a long stairway leading to blue sky and asked a construction official, “Would you mind telling us how far above sea level is the entrance there at street level?” Eleven feet, the official said — an elevation designed withstand possible floods from a storm that occurs once in 100 years. “I said, ‘That sounds awfully low to me and, by the way, that storm could come next week,’ ” said Bowman, a professor at the Marine Sciences Research Center of State University of New York at Stony Brook, Long Island…”
Graphic credit above: “A rendering of a storm barrier with a drawbridge on Arthur Kill, intended to protect the Staten Island borough of New York in a Category 3 hurricane, in an undated handout photo. Because of the recent effects of Hurricane Sandy hitting the area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said elected officials have a responsibility to consider new and innovative plans to prevent similar damage in the future.” (CDM Smith, Inc. via The New York Times)
Sandy’s Hit To The U.S. Economy As Bad As Katrina? It may be close – as reported by Business Insider.
Christie’s Hurricane Sandy Response Could Lay Groundwork For Presidential Run. Yes, the largest storm in state history is probably a good time to set politics aside for the sake of helping the people in your state. NJ.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Who lost it for Mitt Romney? Some folks are pointing their fingers at the Garden State, blaming Gov. Chris Christie for the Nov. 6 thumping. But Christie should continue to do exactly what he’s doing and ignore them. If Christie wants to make a run for the presidency, his clearest path is to forget about the national soul-searching that’s happening in the Republican Party and rebuild well from Hurricane Sandy. While surveying damage arm-in-arm with President Obama one week before the election, Christie threw politics aside in favor of tending to the storm-broken parts of New Jersey. Republican pundits castigated the governor for picking real life over campaign loyalties…”
Photo credit: “ President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie talk as they fly over the coast of New Jersey on Marine One on Oct. 31.” The White House
Heroes Of Hurricane Sandy – And How You Can Help. Here’s an excerpt of an excellent story from Huffington Post, one that will reaffirm your faith in human nature: “Hurricane Sandy. Many of us already have filed the disaster away in our dim, damp memory banks. Even for those of us who were caught in the storm, stranded for days without power and cell phone service, the event is securely locked in the past. But not so for those living in the Rockaways, NY and other parts of the Eastern seaboard, where Sandy’s devastating impact is still being felt more than two weeks later. Many — especially the elderly and the poor — continue to go without power or running water. Thousands of homes, stores, and restaurants have been destroyed. Yet amidst the devastation, angels walk. Here are just three whom I know personally, out of numerous individuals and organizations who heard the cry for help and came flying. I’m so impressed with what these everyday heroes have accomplished and how they serve as inspiration for us all…”
New York Will Demolish Hundreds Of Storm-Hit Homes. The New York Times has the story; here’s an excerpt: “New York City is moving to demolish hundreds of homes in the neighborhoods hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, after a grim assessment of the storm-ravaged coast revealed that many structures were so damaged they pose a danger to public safety and other buildings nearby. About 200 homes will be bulldozed in the coming days, almost all of them one- and two-family houses on Staten Island, in Queens and Brooklyn. That is in addition to 200 houses that are already partially or completely burned down, washed away or otherwise damaged; those sites will also be cleared…”
Graphic Credit Above: Mapping Hurricane Sandy’s Deadly Toll: From the NY Times: ”At last count, officials were attributing more than 100 deaths to Hurricane Sandy. Some patterns emerged in mapping the deaths in the region. Elderly residents were hit especially hard, with close to half of the people who died age 65 or older. In New York City, the majority of deaths occurred in Queens and on Staten Island, and most people perished at the height of the storm, drowned by the surge.”
An Economic Lesson From Hurricane Katrina. I found this story from Doug Short at Business Insider to be an insightful look at the impact of major hurricanes on the U.S. economy: “In studying the data for my latest Big Four Economic Indicators update, I wondered how much impact Hurricane Sandy might have had on the economy in October and what to expect in the months ahead. I thought it woudl be interesting to take a close look at the behavior of the Big Four in the months before and after Hurricane Katrina hit the coast in August 2005. Here is a chart and table similar to the one I maintain for the current Big Four Data….”
Here is a chart and table similar to the one I maintain for the current Big Four data. The chart illustrates the growth of the four indicators from January 2005 to June 2007. The table below shows the month-over-month percent change and the average of the four for the twelve months of 2005.
Atmospheric Art. Greg Berman captured a wondrous sunset near Lyons, Colorado Sunday evening. Yes, the sky really did look like that.
The Future Of Selling. I’m involved in sales for my family of companies, and I found a recent article at inc.com interesting; here’s an excerpt: ”…Since the future of selling is fairly important aspect of the business world, I thought it might be useful to provide a quick summary of some of the ideas that Howard and I developed in the reports:
1. The Web will make salespeople MORE important.
Conventional wisdom says that the ability of customer to research products and buy them online should make salespeople less important. It turns out that the opposite is the case, and companies are hiring more salespeople than ever. However, customers expect much more of the salespeople who contact and work with them. Customers now expect salespeople to have a expert’s view of the customer’s business, act as a manager of some crucial part of the customer’s business, and be effective at protecting the customer’s interests within the vendor organization...”
Super-sized November. Yes, we’ll pay for this, as early as Friday, certainly next week, as Canadian air returns, but the Weather Honeymoon lingers into Thanksgiving Day. Under a partly-blue sky Sunday highs ranged from 54 at Alexandria to 57 St. Cloud and the Twin Cities to 60 Eden Prairie and Redwood Falls.
On November 18 In Weather History. Information below courtesy of the MPX office of the National Weather Service:
1981: Heavy snow with near blizzard conditions resulted in over a foot of wet snow, which caused the inflated fabric of the Metrodome to collapse and rip.
1957: Snowstorm in Southeast Minnesota. A foot is dumped at Winona. Heavy crop losses.
Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
THURSDAY NIGHT: Windy, turning sharply colder. Low: 32
“… but most climate models agree broadly that as the planet warms, dry areas – like much of the U.S. Midwest and West – are likely to get even drier, which could imperil the American breadbasket. That’s something that worries Burns (creator of “The Dust Bowl” on PBS). “Politicians aren’t taking climate change seriously, and it has the potential to be so devastating,” he says… excerpt from a Time Magazine article. Image above: PBS.
Degrees Of Devastation: World Bank Warns Of Four Degrees Celsius Warming This Century. Here’s an excerpt from theage.com.au: “The World Bank has warned the planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius this century – causing increasingly extreme heat waves, lower crop yields and rising sea levels – unless significant action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In a major report released ahead of the year-end United Nations climate summit in Qatar, the bank says changes associated with four degrees of warming would have dramatic and devastating effects on all parts of the world, including Australia, but that the poor would be most vulnerable. Scientists say global warming must be kept within two degrees of pre-industrial temperatures to give the world the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change…”
Gas Industry Attacks Scientists After Research Finds Triple The Normal Levels of Methane At Australian Gas Fields. I’m just as pumped up as most people about the promise of natural gas extracted via “fracking” – it’s much cleaner than burning coal. But if wells aren’t plugged up properly they can leak methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2. Here’s an excerpt of an article at desmogblog.com: ”LEVELS of the potent greenhouse gas methane have been recorded at more than three times their normal background levels at coal seam gas fields in Australia, raising questions about the true climate change impact of the booming industry. The findings, which have been submitted both for peer review and to the Federal Department of Climate Change, also raise doubts about how much the export-driven coal seam gas (CSG) industry should pay under the country’s carbon price laws. Southern Cross University (SCU) researchers Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher used a hi-tech measuring device attached to a vehicle to compare levels of methane in the air at different locations in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The gas industry was quick to attack their findings and the scientists themselves…”
Has Obama Turned A Corner On Climate Change? The story from The Christian Science Monitor; here’s an excerpt: ”…If the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that,” Obama said. “I won’t go for that.” Obama dismissed the inverse relationship some ascribe to environmentalism and job growth. The president instead endorsed an agenda that both advances economic growth while making “a serious dent in climate change.” In what is likely an allusion to hurricane Sandy, Obama emphasized the importance of long-term, proactive investments in infrastructure as a means of reducing the reconstruction costs incurred by extreme weather events…”
Photo credit: “President Obama leaves the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, following his first news conference after his reelection. Mr. Obama addressed the subject of climate change at some length in response to a reporter’s question.” Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (if necessary). Think climate change can’t effect your investment portfolio? Think again. Here’s a clip of a thought-provoking paper and warning at nature.com: “I have yet to meet a climate scientist who does not believe that global warming is a worse problem than they thought a few years ago. The seriousness of this change is not appreciated by politicians and the public. The scientific world carefully measures the speed with which we approach the cliff and will, no doubt, carefully measure our rate of fall. But it is not doing enough to stop it. I am a specialist in investment bubbles, not climate science. But the effects of climate change can only exacerbate the ecological trouble I see reflected in the financial markets — soaring commodity prices and impending shortages…”
America’s Carbon Compromise. Here’s an excerpt of a new paper at Nature: “This week, a reinvigorated Barack Obama returned to the White House knowing that he was poised on the edge of a fiscal cliff. Rather than relishing his victory last week, Obama must immediately set about crafting a compromise on deficit reduction with congressional leaders. The stakes could hardly be higher — for science, for US citizens and, indeed, for the world. In the event of failure, a budgetary time-bomb of tax increases and sweeping budget cuts will detonate on 2 January. As well as resulting in indiscriminate cuts to funds for scientific research and many other areas, it could knock the United States back into recession and deliver yet another blow to an already fragile global economy…” Image: Clean Technica.