78 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities (Twin Cities International Airport).
81 F. average high for August 14.
84 F. high last year, on August 14, 2011.
Trace of rain fell at KMSP yesterday.
.39″ rain predicted today and tonight (best chance of heavy showers and storms tonight). NAM model.
Slight severe storm risk this evening and early tonight.
20-30 mph wind gusts tomorrow, from the northwest, on the backside of tonight’s cool frontal passage.
89 minutes. We’ve lost almost an hour and a half of daylight since the June 20 Summer Solstice. Sniff.
Wednesday Severe Threat. An eastbound cool front sparks strong to severe T-storms later today from Duluth to the Twin Cities and Des Moines. A second area of storms may exceed severe limits from Washington D.C. southward to the Outer Banks and Charleston. Map: SPC.
7 PM Weather Map. Here is the predicted weather map for this evening; showing the next surge of Canadian air pushing across the Upper Midwest, showery rains fro New England southward to the Carolinas. Record heat continues to bake the far west (fanning more brushfires over the Pacific Northwest). Map above: NOAA WRF.
Cooling Down – Summer Rerun Next Week. The good news: no more oppressive heat, at least looking out through the end of August. I still think we’ll see a few more days above 90, but no sticky, sweaty days are imminent. If the sun is out for a few hours today (likely) we should see mid to upper 80s; 90 possible south/west of MSP. We cool off 15-20 degrees tomorrow on gusty northwest winds, weekend highs in the low to mid 70s. 80s return next week, according to the latest ECMWF model above.
Weekend Preview. This weekend lake water temperatures may be warmer than air temperatures. Expect a light north breeze and a partly sunny sky. Nights will be cool: upper 40s to mid 50s. Days lukewarm with highs in the low to mid 70s. With a dew point ranging from 40-50 F. it should feel pretty good out there.
-200 F. Average nighttime low on Mars. Details from Florida Today below. Photo sequence: NASA.
“…Nationwide (but mostly in the West), wildfires burned an average of 6.9 million acres per year from 2002-2011, almost double the average acreage of the previous decade.” – from a Climate Central article below. Photo: DNR.
“Across the country, deaths of high school football players due to heat nearly tripled from 1994 to 2009 compared to the previous 15 years, according to Grundstein’s study…” – from a Scientific American article on the impact of a warming climate on high school football practices nationwide. Photo credit here.
“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a study in August 2010 that concluded heat illness is the leading cause of death and disability among American high school athletes. The CDC estimated that heat stress is responsible for an average of more than 9,000 heat illnesses among high school athletes annually and that football players are 10 times more likely to experience heat illness than students who played the eight other surveyed sports.” – from a Union of Concerned Scientists press release; details below.
“The ten warmest consecutive 12-month periods in recorded history for the United States have occurred since 2000, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. August 2011 to July 2012 was the warmest 12-month period that the contiguous United States has ever experienced; July registered as the warmest month the nation has ever seen, eclipsing a record set in the Dust Bowl, according to NOAA.
Might there come a time when the climate in the South is just too oppressive for summer football workouts? “I think you can do it safely, but you have to really monitor,” Grundstein said. “I do think it’s really important to have a policy in place because you’re only going to get more days that are really oppressive.” – from a Daily Climate article.
“The main thing we have to deal with in climate change is skepticism and denial, and the cult-like behavior of political lemmings that would take us over the cliff….There are powerful wealthy forces] that want to crush any effort to cope with climate change.” – California Governor Jerry Brown, quoted in a Huffington Post article below.
Arctic Sea-Ice Monitor. We are on track for record ice loss in the Arctic. Graph: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. More details below.
“The 2012 edition of the risk atlas identified 30 countries as being at extreme risk. The top 10 most at risk include: Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and the Philippines….The countries in the best position to adapt to climate change’s challenges mostly include those in Northern Europe, such as Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, CNN reported. Iceland topped the list, but the United States also had a relatively low risk rating.” – from a Live Science article below focused on nations most at risk from climate change.
Sizzling July Temperatures Shatter Records. Some interesting statistics in this article from The Drovers Cattle Network; here’s a snippet: “This season has been the summer of frustrating forecasts stuck on a vicious repeating cycle. Wave after wave of unrelenting heat combined with few rain-making systems, causing headaches for much of the nation’s heartland. Drought has expanded now to nearly 63 percent of the continental United States, and the areas of the country in the worst categories of drought have doubled from 10 percent last month to 22 percent. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an update to its State of the Climate report on Wednesday, and it came as no surprise that July 2012 will be one for the history books. Data for the month shows that July was the hottest month on record for contiguous United States with an average temperature of 77.6 degrees F, which is 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average. The previous warmest July was in 1936 when temperature averaged 77.4 degrees.”
Photo credit above: “Tony Frost of Frost Farms, not pictured, tops off a stock tank with water for his cattle on Aug. 3, 2012 in Tallula, Ill.. After months of drought, the central Illinois creeks and ponds that the 300 cows and calves drink from on the Frost Farms are dry or close to it. Frost has to buy and haul water, about 4,000 gallons a day, split up in four trips to different pastures.” (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
New Technology May Help In Future Droughts. Some encouraging news in a story at syracuse.com; here’s an excerpt: “Cattle are being bred with genes from their African cousins who are accustomed to hot weather. New corn varieties are emerging with larger roots for gathering water in a drought. Someday, the plants may even be able to “resurrect” themselves after a long dry spell, recovering quickly when rain returns. Across American agriculture, farmers and crop scientists have concluded that it’s too late to fight climate change. They need to adapt to it with a new generation of hardier animals and plants specially engineered to survive, and even thrive, in intense heat, with little rain. “The single largest limitation for agriculture worldwide is drought,” said Andrew Wood, a professor of plant physiology and molecular biology at Southern Illinois University. On his Kansas farm, Clay Scott is testing a new kind of corn called Droughtguard as his region suffers through a second consecutive growing season with painfully scarce precipitation.”
Photo credit: Missouri Valley, Iowa, on August 13, courtesy of Carolyn Kaster, AP.
Extreme To Exceptional Drought Covers Most Of Oklahoma. Here’s an update from the Oklahoma Mesonet: “Spurred by the rapidly intensifying flash drought and its impacts, including the extreme fire danger realized in the state over the last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor has now designated virtually all of Oklahoma in extreme to exceptional drought. Nearly 97 percent of the state is now depicted by the Drought Monitor in those worst two drought intensities, the highest such coverage for the state since the Drought Monitor effort began in 2000. A narrow swath of exceptional drought extends from Cleveland and McClain counties in central Oklahoma to the northwest, where it broadens and covers much of western Kansas. The next highest percentage of extreme to exceptional drought was 93 percent from the same week last year on August 9, 2011. The percentage of exceptional drought itself is only 16 percent, while the August 9 map from 2011 had 65 percent of the state designated in that most intense drought category. Over 103,000 acres have burned due to wildfire across the state since Aug. 3. One fatality has been attributed to a wildfire east of Norman.”
* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor for Oklahoma is here.
Record Heat Diminishes. The heat wave is pretty much winding down for most of the USA, with the exception of the far western part of America. Over the next 5 days Texas may get soaked with some 1-3″ amounts, thundery weather forecast for the Gulf Coast, with ample rains for much of New England. Map: NOAA HPC.
June’s Wind Storm Third Costliest Ever. The derecho that raged across Ohio in late June may have triggered half a billion dollars in damage. More details in this article from The Dayton Daily News: “The “derecho” wind storms of late June and early July were the third-most expensive natural disaster in Ohio in 38 years. Only the tornado outbreak in Xenia in 1974 and the hurricane-borne winds of 2008 created costlier damage, according to an insurance trade association. Statewide preliminary estimates put insured losses at $433.5 million to $440 million for the June 28-July 4 period, the Ohio Insurance Institute said.”
Photo credit above: “On Kauffman Avenue in Fairborn, Ohio.” Chris Stewart.
Forest Service Fights All Fires Now, But At What Cost? Fire is a natural part of life and ecology. The problems arise when people build homes in fire-prone regions. Climate Central has an interesting article; here’s an excerpt: “On July 12, lightning sparked a forest fire in western Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex — a place where wildfires are common this time of year. Usually, if they’re small and don’t threaten to get out of control, the U.S. Forest Service will let them burn. Small fires are good for the forest ecosystem, burning off dead timber and creating habitat for many woodland species; because of that, all U.S. agencies adopted a policy in 1995 to reintroduce fire on federal land. So what happened last month was unusual: the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the 1.5 million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and an additional 35 million acres of federally designated wilderness land nationwide, ordered a full-on attack of the fire by smokejumpers, bucket-bearing helicopters, and four lumbering slurry bombers that each dumped more than 2,000 gallons of red chemical fire retardant on an ecosystem that is otherwise treated as pristine.”
Photo credit above: “Fire burns along a ridge in western Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.” Credit: U.S. Forest Service.
Tropical Storm “Florence”. NOAA NHC (National Hurricane Center) now says there’s a 50% probabilityy that a tropical disturbance will strengthen into a tropical storm. Next up on the list of names….Florence.
No Worries. Prevailing jet stream winds will probably cause “Florence” to recurve to the north, and then east, away from the USA. Only 1 out of 15 weather models brings Florence into the USA, near the Outer Banks. So far so good.
Anniversary Of Hurricane Charley. Charley was a remarkable hurricane; tight, compact, taking an unusual track into the Sarasota/Ft. Myers region of Florida. The Herald Tribune has a great recap of the storm; here’s an excerpt: “The hurricane season seemed calm and quiet in 2004, until August, when Hurricane Charley struck Punta Gorda with ferocious 140 mph winds. Charley – the third named storm that year – made its first landfall in Cayo Costa and its second in Punta Gorda shortly before 4 p.m. eight years ago today. Although it was a powerful storm its strongest winds spanned only 6 miles from its eye – one of the tiniest hurricanes on record. It was so small that some people have begun to liken it to a giant tornado, rather than a hurricane. Despite its small size, the Category 4 hurricane devastated Punta Gorda and large parts of Charlotte County before ripping a narrow path of destruction across the state, all the way to the east coast. The storm caused an estimated $14 billion in damage.”
The Odds Of A Hurricane Spoiling The Republican National Convention In Tampa. What are the odds? Not ‘gonna happen, right? Right??? It’s a long-shot, but no, the probability is not zero. Here’s an excerpt of a great post from Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground: “On September 25, 1848, the Great Gale of 1848, the most violent hurricane in Tampa’s history, roared ashore as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane with 115 – 135 mph winds. Major R. D. S. Wade weathered the storm in Fort Brooke, in what is now downtown Tampa. Here is what he wrote this to his commanding officer in Washington D.C.: “The waters rose to an unprecedented height, and the waves swept away the wharves and all the buildings that were near the Bay or river.” A 15-foot storm surge was observed at Fort Brooke, and the peninsula where St. Petersburg lies in Pinellas County was inundated “at the waist” and “the bays met,” making St. Petersburg an island. After the hurricane, “Tampa was a scene of devastation.“
Graphic credit above: “Predicted height above ground of the water from a worst-case Category 4 hurricane in the Tampa Bay region, as computed using NOAA’s SLOSH storm surge model. The Tampa Bay convention center would go under 20 feet of water, and St. Petersburg would become an island, as occurred during the 1848 hurricane.“
New Weather Satellites To Boost Hurricane Forecasting. New technology is in the works to provide not only more accurate hurricane predictions, but improvements in hyper-local severe weather tracking and forecasting. Techzone360.com and Sun Sentinel – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX has the story; here’s an excerpt: “In the not-too distant future, you should have a much better idea of just how strong an approaching hurricane might be — as well as whether you can expect to see wildfires, volcanic activity or routine rain showers in your vicinity.
This is courtesy of GOES-R, a super sophisticated weather satellite that should provide the National Hurricane Center and other U.S. weather agencies a major forecasting boost by 2016. Hovering 22,000 miles above Earth, it will be armed with a camera powerful enough to capture a hurricane’s core in intricate detail or the total amount of lightning that zapped the United States on any given day. “If you sum it all up, it’s going to provide 30 times more data than what we’re getting from current satellites,” said senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.”
NOAA’s GOES-R web site is here.
“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:
New ESA MSG-3 Weather Satellite Captures First Image. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough imagery of Earth from space – it still takes my breath away. Here’s an excerpt of an article a redorbit.com, focused on a new European weather satellite beaming back remarkable pictures of home: “The European Space Agency’s latest weather satellite has capture its first image of the Earth, the agency said. The MSG-3 satellite captured the first image using the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument. The satellite launched on July 5, and ESA said it is performing well and on its way to taking over operational service after six months of commissioning. ESA said it was responsible for the initial operations of MSG-3 after launch, and handed over the satellite to EUMETSAT on July 16. The geostationary weather satellite’s first image was a joint achievement by ESA, EUMETSAT, and the European space industry.”
Image Credit: Eumetsat
Philippine Forecasters Protest, Track New Storm. I’ve never heard of this – meteorologists protesting? Manila has been engulfed by record, historic floods in recent weeks. Here are more details from AP and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “As another storm threatened to cause more flooding, hundreds of Philippines’ weather agency employees protested over their pay Tuesday and warned that forecasting services could deteriorate. An alarmed President Benigno Aquino III rushed to assure the protesting employees that steps were being taken to resume payment of the cash benefits that had been suspended in March. “I just reminded that since the weather is bad and we have a weather disturbance, we should not add to the worries of those who were hit by the floods,” Aquino told reporters after a hasty meeting with the restive employees.”
Dust Devil! Thanks to Scott Valbert, who snapped this remarkable photo near Wendover Utah on Monday. Dust devils are intense, rotating columns of air that can pick up dust and debris into a tornado-like funnel. Unlike tornadoes, which get their spin from wind shear, dust devils form as a result of extreme instability, super-heated desert air near the ground creating a spinning vortex. Sun shining on the dust devil gave it a whitish appearance.
Postcard Perfect. Here’s a terrific photo, courtesy of Denali National Park via FB: “As the fall colors start to roll in, Mount Mckinley makes an exclusive appearance by reflection pond.”
Typical Mars Day: Bitter Cold, Pink Sky. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating article (and video clip) from Florida Today: “Manuel de la Torre is a Mars-weather expert, and the forecast for Curiosity’s landing site calls for clear skies now but dust storms in the not-so-distant future. “We are expecting a clear day here on Mars with thin ice clouds on the horizon,” he said, and “balmy, minus-20 degree temperatures. But overnight, it might get chilly – all the way down to minus-200 degrees Fahrenheit.” Winds are expected to be calm. Skies should be pink. But the winter season on the red planet is coming to an end. Spring and summer are bound to bring dust devils – swirling columns of dust that look and act like tornadoes.”
Photo credit above: “Mars forecast: Clear skies, cold temps: “Temperatures on Mars hover around 0 Fahrenheit during the day and drop to as low as -200 at night.” By Time Walters and Todd Halverson. August 9, 2012.
New Monitoring Wristband Tells Users When To Get Out Of The Sun. Here’s a good idea, factoring in the escalating cases of melanoma. I love the sun as much as the next person – but it would be helpfuly to know when I’m getting too much UV radiation. Gizmag.com has more details: “With around 200,000 new cases worldwide of malignant melanoma, the most virulent form of skin cancer, reported in 2008 according to Cancer Research UK statistics, limiting exposure to the sun is vitally important. But keeping track of our exposure, particularly on cloudy days, can be a difficult exercise. New technology developed at the University of Strathclyde makes things easier by providing a visual warning of when to seek some shade or slap on some more sunscreen.”
You Probably Have Too Much Stuff. Don’t get me started on this topic. We have a small warehouse full of (crap) from 4 moves, sentimental stuff mixed in with stuff I’m convinced we’ll never use or need again. “But the kids may want some of this!” my wife pleads. Uh huh. I don’t think so, but as only someone who has been married for 28 (blissful) years can relate: you have to pick your battles. That’s why this post (which my dear wife e-mailed me) from Carl Richards at The New York Times rang true; here’s an excerpt: “When a man named Andrew Hyde began an adventure in minimalism, he only owned 15 things. It eventually moved to 39 and now it sits around 60. It all started when he decided to take a trip around the world and sell everything he didn’t need. As Mr. Hyde noted on his blog, it changed his life after a brief period of befuddlement:
I’m so confused by this. When we were growing up, didn’t we all have the goal of a huge house full of things? I found a far more quality life by rejecting things as a gauge of success.
When I came across his original story of only owning 15 items, I was so inspired I immediately went home and found 15 things to give away. Most of these things were clothes that I had long since stopped wearing, but I held on them because . . . well, just because. In fact I have no idea why I still had a tie I hadn’t worn in four years or a shirt that no longer fit.“
Illustration above: Carl Richards, The New York Times.
Cloudier Than Expected. We got off to a nice, sunny start, but clouds swept in by afternoon, reports of a few light sprinkles. Highs were a few degrees cooler than average yesterday, ranging from 70 at Grand Marais to 77 St. Cloud, 78 in the Twin Cities, and 79 at Rochester.
Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortably cool. Low: 55 (some 40s up north).
Is Climate Change Making Temperatures Too Hot For High School Football? Uh oh, when a warming climate starts to impact football, watch out. It’s a real and growing concern, especially over the southern USA, as reported in Scientific American; here’s an excerpt: “…Scaling back the intensity of a football practice due to hot weather was once laughable in South Georgia, where heat, gnats and hard-hitting high school football are facts of life. But this year Georgia became the latest state to enact new rules to prevent heat-related deaths of high school football players, a category in which the state leads the nation. “The climate’s getting warmer so players are exposed to higher temperatures,” said Andrew Grundstein, a climatologist at the University of Georgia and a co-author of a 2012 study of heat related deaths in high schools nationwide. Across the country, deaths of high school football players due to heat nearly tripled from 1994 to 2009 compared to the previous 15 years, according to Grundstein’s study. Heat illnesses in football players have multiple causes, experts say, but as the climate heats up, practices in Georgia – and around the country – are getting watered down just to be safe.”
Photo credit above: “Wikimedia Commons/xnatedawgx.”
States Work To Protect High School Football Players From Extreme Heat Risk. Here’s an excerpt of a story from UCS, The Union of Concerned Scientists: “Scientists Conclude Risks Are Increasing as Climate Change Drives More Extreme Heat, Athletes More Likely to be Obese. Last year, several high school football players died from exhaustive heat stress, a trend that is, unfortunately, increasing over time. Since 2006, at least 20 high school football players have died from exertional heat stroke according to the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. At a press conference last year convened by the Union of Concerned Scientists, researchers concluded that a combination of increased extreme heat due to climate change and rising childhood obesity can prove lethal for high school football players. Both extreme heat and high humidity can put players at risk.”
A Summer Storm In The Arctic. A recent cyclone/storm, far more intense than usual, may have helped to break up ice in the Arctic, as reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center; here’s an excerpt: “Arctic sea ice extent during the first two weeks of August continued to track below 2007 record low daily ice extents. As of August 13, ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record, with about five weeks still remaining in the melt season. Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss. Overall, weather patterns in the Arctic Ocean through the summer of 2012 have been a mixed bag, with no consistent pattern.”
Graphic credit above: “Arctic sea ice extent for August 13, 2012 was 4.90 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles), 450,000 square kilometers (173,745 square miles) below the same day in 2007. The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole.” Sea Ice Index data. About the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
Do Paul Ryan And Mitt Romney Disagree On Climate Change? I hope, at some point, there is an acknowledgment of the science in the weeks and months ahead, on both sides of the political aisle. Here’s an excerpt from a story at The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: “Mitt Romney’s views on climate change can be difficult to pin down. In 2004, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, his administration unveiled a detailed plan to reduce the state’s carbon emissions. As recently as June 2011, Romney was telling voters in New Hampshire that “the world’s getting warmer,” that “I believe that humans contribute,” and that “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.” Since then, however, Romney has softened that stance somewhat. “I don’t know if [rising temperatures are] mostly caused by humans,” he told another New Hampshire crowd last summer. “What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to.”
Photo credit above: AP.
What Country Faces The Worst Climate Change? Here’s a snippet from a very interesting article at Live Science: ” Rising seas threaten to drown island countries such as the Maldives and Kiribati in the era of global warming — a dire scenario that has forced leaders to plan for floating cities or consider moving their entire populations to neighboring countries. Most countries won’t need to take such drastic steps to simply survive, but many more will similarly experience the uglier side of climate change. The countries potentially facing the worst fates may not necessarily experience the greatest climate change, but instead lack the resources to cushion their people against climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves and droughts. That has historically made a huge difference in rates of death or displacement from such events — Hurricane Jeanne killed just three people in the U.S. in 2004, but resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people in Haiti and displaced about 200,000 Haitians.”
Photo credit above: “A submerged American flag shows the devastation of a flood in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 13, 2008.” Credit: U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Oscar M. Sanchez-Alvarez.
Jerry Brown Global Warming Web Site Takes On Climate Change Deniers. The Governor of California is madder than hell (about climate change deniers) and he isn’t going to take it anymore. Here’s an excerpt of a Huffington Post story: “…The site is called Climate Change: Just the Facts and is operated by the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research. It gives a basic description of the science behind global warming, shows the scientific consensus behind global warming science and directly takes on common arguments made by people who question climate change. While not every move made by the Governor is beloved by environmentalists, Brown has a very long history of having a very short temper when it comes people arguing against the existence of global warming. “The main thing we have to deal with in climate change is skepticism and denial, and the cult-like behavior of political lemmings that would take us over the cliff,” Brown said at an event he co-hosted with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last year. “[There are powerful wealthy forces] that want to crush any effort to cope with climate change.” (Photo: AP).
Climate Change – Just The Facts. More on Gov. Brown’s web site focused on climate change denial from mydesert.com: “Gov. Jerry Brown today has launched a new website — Climate Change: Just the facts – that, as its name suggests, is aimed at providing California residents with concise facts on the science of climate change and talking points for dealing with climate change skeptics.
And it doesn’t mince words:
Maybe I’ve read too much on this already, but it seems to me the website, while obviously well intended, is a bit simplistic and brief in its explanations of climate change. Where it gets into specifics is on the page of talking points for dealing with climate change skeptics…”