Conservation Minnesota

Warm Sunshine Returns – Ice-Free North Pole Summers Within 2 Years?

74 F. high on Sunday in the Twin Cities (KMSP).
80 F. average high on August 21.
81 F. high on August 21, 2015.

August 22, 1910: Daylight is dimmed in Duluth due to smoke from Rocky Mountain forest fires.
August 22, 1870: Downpours across southern Minnesota produce 5 inches at Sibley, and 3.49 at Ft. Snelling. Much of the wheat crop is damaged.

Another Atmospheric Gift – Storms by Midweek

“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame” wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning. At the end of Sunday’s Marathon in Rio USA bronze medal winner Galen Rupp said “there’s always another chapter”.

We all have gifts; every individual is one-of-a-kind. Unique. Precious.

My father just turned 86. He was a salesman, a printer – but he was born with a photographic memory and a gift for story-telling. He has thousands of stories from his youth; he remembers conversations, colors, even favorite desserts from 75 years ago! Growing up he would leave clippings of weather stories by my cereal bowl every morning. Now he sends links to stories on the web.
May we never lose our appreciation for a good story.

After free weekend A/C – 80s return the next couple of days; models hinting at another inch of rain midweek, before a cleansing breath of Canadian air by late week.

The lake out back is higher than I’ve ever seen it in late August. No sign of brown lawns or drought creeping back anytime soon. Quite the contrary: it was a hot and soggy summer – like having 3 sloppy Junes in a row this year.


Heavy Rain Late Tuesday Night? Internal models print out of 1″ of rain for much of the area Tuesday night as a cooler front approaches. What a shock, huh? Source: Aeris Enterprise.


Dry Today – Storms Arrive Tuesday Night. NOAA’s 4km NAM model pulls in a spirited band of heavy showers and T-storms after midnight Tuesday night – much of the heaviest rain may be east of the St. Croix by breakfast on Wednesday. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Cooling Trend. In spite of 80s today, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday temperatures may trend a few degrees cooler than average as we end August. Potentially good news if you plan on wandering the Minnesota State Fair. No stinking-hot weather is in sight. ECMWF meteogram for MSP: WeatherBell.


Cool Bias to Start September. Within 2 weeks the worst of the heatwave will stretch from Phoenix across the Deep  South into the Mid Atlantic region, a southward dip in the jet pulling cooler air into Minnesota, treating us to a relatively comfortable Labor Day weekend with 70s the rule. The question is whether a series of storms or frontal passages will keep us soggy as we start a new month. It’s been a wet summer; rule #1 is don’t buck the trends, but any push of consistently cooler, Canadian air would ultimately shut down the heaviest rains for Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Governor of Louisiana: “We Really Need Help”. The Guardian reports: “Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards pleaded for aid for his state on Sunday, saying that after a week of devastating flooding, “we really need help.” Unlike a hurricane, Edwards told CNN on Sunday, “this rain event didn’t have a name, so we have folks around the country who I think are just now realizing how significant it was.” Days of extraordinary rainfall caused severe flooding around southern Louisiana this week, killing at least 13 people, damaging an estimated 60,000 homes and forcing thousands to the shelter of evacuation centers…”

Photo credit: “Daniel Stover, 17, wipes his head as he helps rescue people’s belongings in Sorrento, Louisiana, on Saturday.” Photograph: Max Becherer/AP.



Louisiana Ignored Dire Forecasts and Flash Flood Warnings. The fact that this epic storm didn’t have a name, it wasn’t a tropical storm or hurricane,  helped  to downplay overall consumer awareness of what was coming. Here’s an excerpt of an interview at NPR:

SHEPHERD: People have a hard time grasping things that they haven’t experienced.
KAILATH: According to the research Shepherd cites, people around the world are going to see more and more weather for which they have no reference point.
SHEPHERD: People just assume a heavy rainstorm is a heavy rainstorm, just like the storms they experienced growing up as a child or perhaps 10 years ago.
KAILATH: But in fact, Shepherd says, today’s storms are different – more destructive and only getting stronger. Inland communities like Baton Rouge haven’t experienced floods like this before, but increasingly, they’ll have to learn to prepare for them anyway. Ultimately, Shepherd says, the responsibility for getting ahead of a disaster is personal...”  (File photo: NOAA).


Louisiana Residents Without Flood Insurance Face Uncertainty. Reuters reports: “…As efforts in Louisiana turn from rescue to recovery, renters and homeowners who do not have flood insurance are facing an uncertain financial future. Private insurers do not cover flood damage and flood insurance in the United States is underwritten by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Homeowners who live in designated high-risk flood zones are required to carry flood insurance if they have a federally backed mortgage. In Louisiana, an estimated 42 percent of homes in high-risk areas have flood insurance, according to FEMA. Only 12.5 percent of homeowners in low and moderate-risk zones do…”

Photo credit: “Debris is seen floating in flood water in front of a damaged home in St. Amant, Louisiana, U.S., August 21, 2016.” REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman.



110,000 Homes Worth a Combined $21 Billion Are In Louisiana’s Flood-Affected Zones, Study Says. The Washington Post reports: “The first attempt to assess the scope of damage from the past week’s historic flooding in Louisiana has produced staggering numbers. Approximately 280,000 people live in the areas that flooded, according to an analysis released Friday by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. In those flood-affected areas are 110,000 homes worth a combined $20.7 billion and more than 7,000 businesses — about one in every five businesses in the region — that together employ more than 73,000 people. The figures underscore two of the biggest challenges that families as well as local, state and federal officials face as they work to recover from the unprecedented flooding: How to house those left suddenly homeless, and how to pay for the recovery…”

Photo credit: “In this Aug. 15, 2016, U.S. Coast Guard handout photo, flooded areas of Baton Rouge are seen from the air.”


“They Didn’t Warn You”: Louisiana Disaster Reveals Deep Challenges in Flood Communication. There was no formal tropical storm or hurricane to track or warn on. Did the stalled tropical depression get the media time and attention it deserved? Here’s an excerpt from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: “…Some Louisiana residents said they were completely caught off guard by the severity of this extreme event. “With a hurricane, they kind of warn you. But this, they didn’t warn you,” Jayda Guidry, a resident forced from her home, told The Washington Post. “We just thought it was raining.” Meteorologists knew this storm could wreak havoc days before the first drops of rain. And they issued strongly worded predictions. But now they are soul-searching, wondering how the message could’ve been more forcefully conveyed and attained greater reach...”
Photo credit: “A flooded baseball field at the Gonzales Civic Center in Gonzales, La., on Aug. 17.” (Jeffrey Dubinsky via Reuters).

Scientists Explore Future of Storm Prediction. The University of Oklahoma has an interesting look at how social media and drones are impacting tornado detection, prediction and communications; here’s an excerpt at normantranscript.com: “The panel trumpeted the impact of social media and pointed to a potential shift in the way people stay ahead of the storm. The Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes said people still flock to their TVs for up-to-date storm information but said more people are looking to social media outlets for vital updates. “If you look at something like Twitter now, you can do live video,” Bettes said. “Facebook is a way for families to reconnect after [the storm]. I think it’s just evolving now. I think this is probably bad to say, because I’m a TV broadcaster, but I think TV is becoming a bit of a dinosaur…”
Photo credit: Nick Rutledge for The Transcript.

This Land Is My Land (And Yours Too!) Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times waxes eloquent about our National Parks, which turn 100 years old this week (and are showing their age just a bit).  Here’s an excerpt: “…But the biggest threat to our long-term wilderness enjoyment isn’t mosquitoes or ticks, bears or wolves. It’s Congress. Congress deprives government agencies of money needed to maintain our public lands. The National Park Service says that it has 6,700 miles of trails that are in poor condition because it can’t afford to keep them up. Even on the John Muir Trail, large stretches are in disrepair and had turned into creeks of snowmelt when my daughter and I hiked them. This quickly erodes the trails so much that new ones have to be built nearby. This reluctance to pay for maintenance isn’t even fiscally prudent, for it’s far more expensive to build new trails than to maintain old ones…”

Photo credit: “Nicholas Kristof enjoying part of his inheritance (as an American citizen), a lake on the John Muir Trail in California.” Credit Caroline Kristof.



What Does a Dog Want More – “Good Boy” or Treats? Here’s a clip from The Washington Post: “…New research shows that my effort may be overkill. According to the study, published online in the journal Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, more dogs prefer praise over food. The finding by Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns followed a novel method of investigation: He used an MRI to scan a dog’s brain while the dog was awake and unrestrained...”

TODAY: Warm sunshine, windy. Winds: S 15-30. High: 84

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 68

TUESDAY: Sunny, minor whining about humidity. Winds: S 15-25. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: Showers and T-storms taper. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 69. High: 82

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 58. High: 72

FRIDAY: More sunshine, probably pleasant. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 79

SATURDAY: Some sun, isolated T-storm risk. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 61. High: 82


Climate Stories…

“Next Year or the Year After, The Arctic Will Be Free of Ice”. So says scientist and Arctic researcher Peter Wadhams at The Guardian; here’s an excerpt: “…The overall trend is a very strong downward one, however. Most people expect this year will see a record low in the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover. Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. There will still be about a million square kilometres of ice in the Arctic in summer but it will be packed into various nooks and crannies along the Northwest Passage and along bits of the Canadian coastline. Ice-free means the central basin of the Arctic will be ice-free and I think that that is going to happen in summer 2017 or 2018…”

Photo credit: “Peter Wadhams in the Arctic in 2007: ‘We may able to raise the Thames barrier in Britain but in Bangladesh, people will be drowned.”


The 1-in-1,000 Rainfall That Drove the Louisiana Flood. Hunter Cutting takes a look at attribution at Nexus Media: “…The record levels of water vapor that fueled the Louisiana flood are consistent with the global trend toward increasing water vapor in the atmosphere — a trend driven by global warming. Basic physics tells that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water. And, indeed, that is exactly what global observations report. The atmosphere acts like a sponge, holding water vapor, and as it warms it holds more moisture. And like a sponge, the atmosphere dumps out more water when passing storms wring out that extra moisture. Not surprisingly, observations have also reported a global trend toward extreme rainfall as the atmosphere dumps more water when it rains…”


Historical Data Shows Arctic Melt of Last Two Decades is “Unprecedented”. Here’s an excerpt from InsideClimate News: “…Now, scientists have compiled the most detailed study to date of sea ice records going back more than a century and a half. The data shows that the rapid meltdown that satellites have been documenting since 1979 is unprecedented since at least 1850 and coincides with the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Arctic sea ice has not been at levels as low as today’s for at least 5,000 to 7,000 years, according to Julienne Stroeve, a researcher with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), who was not involved in the study. “It may have been sometime during the mid-Holocene, based on driftwood found in Greenland that came from Siberia,” she said. “Some other studies have suggested at least 800,000 years...”
Image credit: “A gridded database of Arctic sea ice extending back to the 1800s.”

Read More

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.
This entry was posted in Weather. Bookmark the permalink.