Conservation Minnesota

Trending Cooler and Drier – President Obama: "Climate Trends are Terrifying"

78 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Thursday.
75 F. average high on September 8.
78 F. high on September 8, 2015.

September 9, 1979: 1 3/4 inch hail falls in Douglas County.
September 9, 1917: Very chilly air moves into Minnesota, with a low of 17 degrees at Roseau.

Getting Married? Consider a September Wedding

The joys of being a public figure. Last October my oldest son, Walt, got married up at Grandview Lodge on Gull Lake. The sun came out for the ceremony – 50 degrees. I felt relieved, blessed. After the wedding a woman approached me in the parking lot. “Paul, I couldn’t help but notice your son had a PERFECT day for his wedding. The day before my daughter got married outside – and it POURED! How does that make you feel?” I was at a rare loss for words.

“Lucky?” I sputtered. No, Mother Nature doesn’t owe me any favors either.

June brides, listen up. Do yourself a big favor and consider getting hitched in September. On average it’s drier, less humid, but temperatures are still lukewarm, arguably the best month of the entire year for outdoor plans.

The approach of a cooler front sets off a stray shower or T-shower today. Saturday will be brisk with a stiff northwest wind and temperatures holding in the 60s. Sunday should be a better lake day with warm sun and a shot at 80 degrees. A string of 50s & 60s arrive next week.

Yes, this is my favorite month. Lakes are mostly-empty; still warm enough for a dip as leaves ripen overhead. What’s not to like?


Small Tornado Hits Camp Ripley. Tornadoes in September are rare, but hardly unprecedented. Here’s an excerpt of a Facebook post focused on the tornado that struck Camp Ripley Wednesday night: “…There were no injuries caused by the severe weather, though several buildings used for housing, training and maintenance received major damage. There was also major damage to the nearly completed 10-megawatt solar array that was set to be dedicated next week. The dedication has been postponed to a yet to be determined future date. “We were extremely fortunate, all our people are safe,” said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley Garrison Commander. “We can repair buildings and replace damaged equipment, but our people are irreplaceable...”




Nagging Thunder Risk Today. The approach of a cooler front will destabilize our atmosphere again today with the best chance of a passing shower or T-storm this morning,  according to 4km NAM model data from NOAA. 60-hour Future Radar product: AerisWeather.


Cool Breeze Saturday – Cooler Breeze Next Week. With a sun angle as high as it was back on April 1 it’s no wonder that it’s cooling off a bit. Saturday will feel like September again with a longer stretch of cool weather by the middle of next week. Ah September, shorts and sweatshirts – together.

A Rough Winter? Don’t Count On It. The Farmer’s Almanac is (apparently) basing a forecast of a frigid, snowy winter on La Nina, which is problematic, since NOAA just announced that the La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific has reversed itself with ENSO-neutral conditions expected into the winter months. While it may not be as mild as last winter, odds still favor a milder-than-average winter for Minnesota and much of North America. NOAA Climate Forecast Service outlook courtesy of WeatherBell.



La Nina Watch Cancelled – Conditions Favor ENSO-Neutral Conditions This Winter. Which may take the edge off some of the coldest, most harrowing winter weather predictions for the USA. Here’s an excerpt from NOAA CPC: “…Atmospheric anomalies over the tropical Pacific Ocean largely indicated ENSO-Neutral conditions. The traditional Southern Oscillation index and the equatorial Southern Oscillation Index were weakly positive during August. The lower-level winds were near average, while the upper-level winds were anomalously westerly in a small region to the east of the International Date Line. Convection was suppressed over the western and central tropical Pacific, although less suppressed compared to last month. Overall, the combined ocean and atmosphere system contines to reflect ENSO- Neutral…”

* Andrew Freedman has more on the implications of ENSO-neutral vs. La Nina at Mashable.

Hottest Temperature Ever Measured in September for Europe. Christopher C. Burt reports at WunderBlog: “An intense heat wave has occurred in recent days in the Iberian Peninsula with a site in Spain, Sanlucar La Mayor, measuring 46.4°C (115.5°F) on Monday, September 5th. This (if verified) would be the hottest temperature ever observed anywhere in Europe during the month of September. Portugal broke its September monthly heat record with 44.5°C (112.1°F) at Alacer do Sal also on September 5th. A few days earlier amazing heat also prevailed in the Middle East with Mitribah, Kuwait reaching 51.2°C (124.2°F) on September 3rd. This would be the 2nd hottest temperature ever reliably measured on Earth during the month of September. Here are some more details…”

Map credit: Climate Reanalyzer.


* Check out a very long list of record high temperatures across Europe at coolwx.com.


Hype, Bust or Effective? Messaging Hermine In A Post-Hurricane Sandy Era. Dr. Marshall Shepherd has an interesting post mortem on Hermine at Fortune: “…Did we learn anything from Sandy for Hermine? Gary Szatkowski told me in a message,
Overall, I thought the Hermine messaging was good for a very difficult situation, The track forecast was a technical challenge and the timing of the storm affecting the holiday weekend was a social science challenge. I think the track forecast was as good as the state of the science allows.

In social and traditional media there was the urge to compare the storm to Sandy. And in many ways there were some similarities. However these storms were also very different. Though certainly a threat Hermine was no Sandy…” (Image credit: Aeris Maps Platform).


Toxic Algae Blooms Are On The Rise. As usual, the reasons are complex, a convergence of amplifying factors, reports Scientific American: “…These events are known as harmful algal blooms, because the pose a threat to public health. Cyanotoxins are unstable and change rapidly, making detection difficult. Some harm the nervous system. Others, known as hepatotoxins, can severely damage the liver and kidney. HABs can occur in marine or freshwater environments, closing fisheries, beaches and even entire lakes. Evidence is mounting that HABs are increasing in both frequency and intensity. Drought conditions brought on by climate change can depress lake levels, concentrating nutrient-rich agricultural runoff in areas of low turbidity. Torrential rainfall can also trigger a sudden influx of agricultural nutrients, as occurred in Florida’s Lake Okeechobee this year, where a HAB flowed seaward, forcing beaches to close…”

Image credit: “Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie, 2011 Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory via WIkimedia Commons.” Public domain.



The Oceans Are Heating Up. That’s a Big Problem on a Blue Planet. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Bill McKibbon at The Guardian: “…The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has published an extensive study concluding that the runaway heating of the oceans is “the greatest hidden challenge of our generation”. When we think about global warming, we usually fixate on the air temperature. Which is spiking sharply – July was the hottest month ever measured on our planet. But as the new study points out, 90% of the extra heat that our greenhouse gases trap is actually absorbed by the oceans. That means that the upper few meters of the sea have been steadily warming more than a tenth of a degree celsius per decade, a figure that’s accelerating. When you think of the volume of water that represents, and then try to imagine the energy necessary to raise its temperature, you get an idea of the blowtorch that our civilization has become...” (File image: NASA).

Before You Get Too Excited About the Farmer’s Almanac Winter Outlook. The forecast for last winter was “cold and snowy”. No, it didn’t quite work out that way, just like overall accuracy is (meh) most winters. Fun to read, just like a horoscope, but don’t put too much stock in a specific forecast for a specific period.

These Technologies May Actually Deliver Elon Musk’s Dream of Changing the World. Bloomberg reports: “As Tesla founder Elon Musk promises to change the world, starting with a giant battery factory in the Nevada desert, investors from Toronto to Tokyo are quietly developing the next-generation technologies that may actually get him there.  Batteries, especially the lithium-ion variety used in mobile phones and electric cars, are likely to dominate the $44 billion or more spent on energy storage by 2024, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Trouble is, they’re not the solution to all needs. As well as the environmental impact of mining lithium, which has been blamed for starving flamingos in northern Chile, batteries lose their charge over time. They can balance minute-to-minute shifts in supply. But they can’t absorb solar power generated in summer, say, and deliver it in winter…” (File image: NASA).


With the iPhone7, Apple Changed the Camera Industry Forever. Why will I upgrade to 7? For the camera, one I can keep in my pants pocket without getting funny looks. Here’s an excerpt from The New Yorker: “...This is terrible news for companies making compact cameras—Olympus and Nikon’s compact-camera sales in the most recent quarter had already nosedived by twenty-five per cent and forty-five per cent, respectively. The new iPhone 7 Plus drives a stake through the heart of these mass-market devices. As everyday shutterbugs, we can expect higher-quality photos. We will be able to create much more interesting images. Jon Oringer, the founder of Shutterstock, wrote in a recent blog post, “Just like our two eyes can be used to detect depth, two lenses can do the same thing. By using the disparity of pixels between two lenses, the camera processor can figure out how far away parts of the image are.” This new dual-lens system, he said, will change photography forever...”


Marijuana “Tornado” Rips Through an Oregon Farm. It was a dust devil, but no matter. Even worse than a Sharknado? What I really want to know: how high was this particular weed-nado? Here’s an excerpt at SFgate.com: “…Marijuana has been called ‘devil weed’ and ‘the devil’s lettuce’ by critics and humorists, but never ‘dust devil weed’ — until now. Oregon pot farmer Michael Johnson of Siskiyou Sungrown got quite the surprise when he reviewed security camera footage of his twin recreational and medical gardens Thursday. In the footage, a small ground air phenomenon known as a dust devil rips through the medical garden, creating a whirlwind of precious, pricey buds, and ripping a 36 square-foot medical pot plant out of the ground and throwing it fifty feet south over an eight-foot fence…”


One Wild Cloud. Hello Paul, last Tuesday morning I at first thought this was a fire. It was one weird cloud. I drove around the corner to get another picture. It had dissipated. Any help with this strange Thing. Thank you, Mac.” Thanks Mac – great shot of “scud”. I realize it looks like a smoke plume or even a funnel, but it’s caused by localized downdrafts in the vicinity of showers lifting a layer of saturated air, creating a column of condensation. Appreciate the photo!

TODAY: Some sun, stray T-shower. Winds: W 5-10. High: 77

FRIDAY NIGHT: Showers taper, cooler breeze kicks in. Low: 55

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, cool breeze. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 69

SUNDAY: Sunnier and milder. Better lake day. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 54. High: near 80

MONDAY: Still balmy, PM T-shower risk. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 79

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler, passing shower or sprinkle. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 58. High: 67

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, comfortably cool. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 50. High: 68

THURSDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 51. High: 71


Climate Stories….

Obama on Climate Change: the Trends are “Terrifying”. Here’s an excerpt of an interview with President Obama at The New York Times: “…Climate change, Mr. Obama often says, is the greatest long-term threat facing the world, as well as a danger already manifesting itself as droughts, storms, heat waves and flooding. More than health care, more than righting a sinking economic ship, more than the historic first of an African-American president, he believes that his efforts to slow the warming of the planet will be the most consequential legacy of his presidency...”


Will New York City Become a Modern-Day Atlantis? Not in our lifetime, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility within a few generations, according to experts interviewed in New York Magazine: “…For the past 15 years or so, Jacob has been primarily preoccupied with a more existential danger: the rising sea. The latest scientific findings suggest that a child born today in this island metropolis may live to see the waters around it swell by six feet, as the previously hypothetical consequences of global warming take on an escalating — and unstoppable — force. “I have made it my mission,” Jacob says, “to think long term.” The life span of a city is measured in centuries, and New York, which is approaching its fifth, probably doesn’t have another five to go, at least in any presently recognizable form. Instead, Jacob has said, the city will become a “gradual Atlantis...”

Image credit: MDI Digital. “A speculative rendering showing what a hundred-year storm could briefly do to  the Meatpacking District decades from now, when sea levels have risen several feet.”


Open Water Nears North Pole as 2016 Melt Season Races to Finish. Polar ice tends to reach a minimum over the northern hemisphere in September – Mashable has details.

Image credit: “Sea ice concentration as viewed by satellite, showing broken ice to greater than 87 degrees North latitude.” University of Bremen.


World War II Economy is a Master Class In How to Fight Climate Change. Bloomberg has an encouraging story; here’s a clip: “Imagine a future where scorching weather depletes the planet’s natural resources, droughts bring famine and rising sea levels flood coastal cities. For a model in how to grapple with the enormity of these climate-induced scarcities, look to our grandparents’ generation. That’s the premise of a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper from Hugh Rockoff, a Rutgers University economics professor who draws parallels between the effects of global warming and the supply shortages during World War II. So what should U.S. policy makers do today to pursue similar policies that led to victory in 1945? Massive government spending on infrastructure and technology...”


Sorry Deniers, Even Satellites Confirm Record Global Warming. Joe Romm reports at ThinkProgress: “…And so Ted Cruz and his fellow climate science deniers retreated to the (equally false) “satellites find no warming since 1998” talking point. You will no doubt be shocked, shocked to learn that the satellite data has, in fact, confirmed global warming for a long time. Indeed Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) reported earlier this year that the satellite data shows a “Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978 [of] +0.12 C [0.22F] per decade.” And Spencer and Christy are both leading deniers themselves! You can see that yourselves in the data, which Spencer updates at the start of each month…”

Graphic credit: “Satellite data confirms global warming.” Credit: University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).


Yes, I’d Lie To You. Do facts, evidence and the truth even matter anymore, asks The Economist: “…Mr Roberts first used the term “post-truth politics” in the context of American climate-change policy. In the 1990s many conservatives became alarmed by the likely economic cost of a serious effort to reduce carbon emissions. Some of the less scrupulous decided to cast doubt on the need for a climate policy by stressing to the point of distortion uncertainties in the underlying science. In a memo Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, argued: “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.” Challenging—and denigrating—scientists in order to make the truth seem distant and unknowable worked pretty well. One poll found that 43% of Republicans believe climate change is not happening at all, compared to 10% of Democrats…”


Amitav Ghosh: “Climate Change is Like Death, No One Wants To Talk About It.” I prefer to think of it as the Mother of All Opportunities, a chance to reinvent market economies and create systems that are truly sustainable, with far less stress on the planet that sustains us. Here’s a clip from The Guardian: “…Ghosh, best known for his historical novels, has been travelling the world talking about his new book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, born out of a series of lectures at the University of Chicago. One of its central themes is that writers, artists and filmmakers, including himself, have largely ignored climate change – “he great derangement” of the title – simply because it seems too far-fetched and terrifying…”


Scientists See Push From Climate Change in Louisiana Flooding. The New York Times reports: “Climate change has increased the likelihood of torrential downpours along the Gulf Coast like those that led to deadly floods in southern Louisiana last month, scientists said Wednesday. Using historical records of rainfall and computer models that simulate climate, the researchers, including several from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that global warming increased the chances of such intense rains in the region by at least 40 percent. “But it’s probably much closer to a doubling of the probability” of such an event, or a 100 percent increase, said Heidi Cullen, chief scientist for Climate Central, the research organization that coordinated the study...”

Photo credit: “Residents in Baton Rouge, La., cleaning out flood damaged homes in August. Credit Max Becherer for The New York Times.


Will ExxonMobil Have to Pay for Misleading the Public on Climate Change? Bloomberg asks the rhetorical question: “…A company that has 73,500 employees and reported $269 billion in 2015 revenue would seem not to have much to fear from a bunch of tree-huggers and a grandstanding state AG. And yet the #ExxonKnew backlash comes at a financially perilous time for Big Oil. A glut-driven collapse in crude prices has rocked the entire industry. On July 29, Exxon announced second-quarter profit of $1.7 billion, its worst result in 17 years. That followed a rocky spring when ferocious wildfires reduced production in the oil-sands region of western Canada. (The frequency and intensity of such fires may be related to climate change, Exxon’s Jeffers acknowledges, adding, “But we just don’t know.”) Most important, though, #ExxonKnew comes as climate change, after being on a legislative back burner, has gotten hot again…”


Arctic Ocean Shipping Routes “To Open for Months”. Here’s an excerpt from BBC: “Shipping routes across the Arctic are going to open up significantly this century even with a best-case reduction in CO2 emissions, a new study suggests. University of Reading, UK, researchers have investigated how the decline in sea-ice, driven by warmer temperatures, will make the region more accessible. They find that by 2050, opportunities to transit the Arctic will double for non ice-strengthened vessels. These open-water ships will even be going right over the top at times…”

Photo credit: SPL. “Sea-ice is in decline but scientists expect quite a bit of variability year on year.”


* The paper referenced in the BBC article above is available here.

“We Are All Noah Now”. So says Thomas Friedman at The New York Times: “…The dominant theme running through the I.U.C.N.’s seminars was the fact that we are bumping up against and piercing planetary boundaries — on forests, oceans, ice melt, species extinctions and temperature — from which Mother Nature will not be able to recover. When the coral and elephants are all gone, no 3-D printer will be able to recreate them. In short, we and our kids are rapidly becoming the Noah generation, charged with saving the last pairs...”

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About Paul Douglas

Paul Douglas
Paul Douglas is a meteorologist, author, entrepreneur, and software expert in Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota. He is a nationally recognized meteorologist with over 30 years of broadcast television and radio experience.
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