First Autumnal Freeze for Much of Minnesota

Your begonias are in peril. In fact most plants (including ragweed – good riddance) will freeze their buds off the next couple of nights, statewide. Under clearing skies the mercury will dip into the 20s with a hard freeze (a few hours below 28F) for most of greater Minnesota.

Only the immediate close-in metro area may be spared, thanks in large part to the urban heat island. More asphalt, businesses and homes keep temperatures as much as 3-8F milder in the downtown core than outlying suburbs on a clear night.

We were due for a minor relapse: there have been 13 October days in the 70s at MSP, tying for the 9th most on record.

Skies clear today with highs in the 40s. Cool sunlight Saturday gives way to a few fleeting showers Sunday and heavier, more widespread rain is possible the middle of next week. In general

Minnesota is sliding into a wetter pattern, and I see more mild Pacific puffs than cold, Canadian slaps into early November. No blizzards are brewing.

An easy winter? I wouldn’t bet on that (yet).

9th Most 70-Degree Days in an MSP October on Record. It’s actually a tie for 9th place, according to the National Weather Service. More “Aug-tober” than a conventional October.

December – February Temperature Outlook
December – February Precipitation Outlook

NOAA Winter Outlook: Mild Bias for Much of USA. Signatures of a La Nina are showing up in the winter forecast with warmer than normal temperatures predicted for much of the nation, and colder than average weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Wetter/snowier than average weather is predicted for the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes, with drier weather for the Gulf Coast and southwestern states. Stay tuned.

7-Day QPF

Thursday Future Clouds/Precipitation

Clearing Trend Today. Showery rains push across Wisconsin into the Great Lakes today, and skies should clear with temperatures statewide a few degrees cooler than normal.

Frost/Freeze Potential – But Milder Air Returns Next Week. Most of Minnesota will experience a frost or even a freeze Friday and Saturday morning with temperatures dipping into the 20s under clearing skies. The close-in suburbs may stay frost-free, but it will be close.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Mild Trend To Linger Into Early November? If you believe NOAA’s GFS model it will, in spite of a few chilly slaps. I see more Pacific than Canadian air impacting Minnesota and much of the USA looking out at least 2 weeks.

National Weather Service Investigating Possible Tornado in the BWCA. has an update on a very unusual event up north: “It is one of the rarest of Northland weather events, but the National Weather Service is investigating a possible tornado in the BWCA in Cook County. Recently, someone exploring the Boundary Waters near Clearwater Lake in Cook County stumbled onto major tree damage. The damage likely occurred on October 10th, which was the first time Cook County had ever been under a Tornado Warning in October. Joe Moore with the National Weather Service in Duluth said they did not go and survey the area in person due to its remoteness. But now, through the help of new satellite imagery and aerial photographs provided by the Forest Service, he said it looks like a tornado likely caused the damage...”

October Rainfall To Date

October Rainfall Departures. Rainfall this month is running above average for parts of central and northwestern Minnesota into the Red River Valley and Dakotas – while a deficit lingers for much of southern and eastern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin.

Seventy-Two Hours Under the Heat Dome. The New Yorker has a jaw-dropping account of the events leading up to the hottest temperatures on record for Oregon and much of the Pacific Northwest this summer; here’s a clip: “…The hottest temperatures ever recorded in Oregon were imminent. The heat dome appeared on weather models as a bloody thumbprint pressed into the Pacific Northwest, and would likely produce what one meteorologist characterized as “obscene temperatures.” A hundred and three degrees, a hundred and four, maybe even a hundred and seven were forecast. “This is not just uncomfortable heat,” Jennifer Vines, the lead health officer for three counties, including Multnomah, advised Voss and the others. “This is life-threatening heat.” Twenty-one per cent of households in the metropolitan area do not have air-conditioning. Deaths were likely throughout the county, home to more than eight hundred thousand residents, including around six hundred and fifty thousand in Portland. A representative from the National Weather Service told the participants on the call that the nighttime lows could be as high as eighty degrees, with no breeze; there would be no reprieve after the sun went down...”

This graphic shows how La Niña generally affects weather conditions in the United States. Forecasters say there’s a nearly 90% chance that La Niña conditions will be in place from December 2021 to February 2022.

La Nina is Coming. Here’s What That Means for Winter Weather in the U.S. Keep in mind every La Nina is different, so adjust your expectations accordingly. NPR has an overview; here’s the intro: “La Niña will most likely be joining us for the winter again, according to federal forecasters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center announced on Thursday that La Niña conditions have developed and are expected to continue, with an 87% chance that they will be in place from December to February. La Niña (translated from Spanish as “little girl”) is not a storm, but a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every few years and can impact weather around the world. The U.S. is expected to feel its effects on temperature and precipitation, which could in turn have consequences for things such as hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts…”

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US Coast Guard

A Quarter of U.S. Infrastructure at Risk from Future Flooding. Here’s an excerpt from “One-quarter of all critical infrastructure in the U.S.—36,000 facilities including airports, utilities, and hospitals—is at risk of becoming inoperable due to the risk from future flooding, according to a report from the First Street Foundation, a New York-based research group. In addition, 2 million miles of roads, nearly 1 million commercial buildings, and more than 12 million homes are also at risk of being shut down or severely damaged by flooding. “As we saw following the devastation of Hurricane Ida, our nation’s infrastructure is not built to a standard that protects against the level of flood risk we face today,” Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street, says in a press release, “let alone how those risks will grow over the next 30 years as the climate changes.” The research looked at all types of flood risk in every city and county across the U.S. It is the most extensive analysis of its kind to date...”

Cars drive along Highway 50 in heavy smoke from Caldor Fire, in Sacramento, CA, U.S., August 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Fred Greaves

U.S. Highway Expansions Increase Traffic and Pollution, Environmental Groups Say. Reuters has the details: “U.S. policies of expanding highways to ease congestion are misguided and lead to an increase in traffic and pollution, environmental advocacy groups said, urging lawmakers to instead invest more money in public transit. Led by Colorado-based research group RMI, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and Transportation for America, the groups on Thursday released an online calculator to show the adverse effects of highway expansions across all U.S. states. The groups said decades of investments in highway infrastructure to alleviate congestion have only provided brief respite, eventually filling up with more cars in a phenomenon known as “induced demand...”

New York City’s Subway System Isn’t Ready for a Storm-Filled Future. A post at Popular Science caught my eye; here’s a clip: “…Timon McPhearson, a professor and the director of the Urban Systems Lab at the New School, argues that there is not one perfect solution for climate proofing the city’s subway platforms. He says there needs to be a tiered approach that can work on addressing different causes of flooding during a storm. “We have to increase drainage, we’re going to have to have more pumps installed,” he says. “[Improvements] also includes green infrastructure-type ways of absorbing and draining water out of the most at-risk areas … we should also invest in increasing the porosity of our system because it’s highly paved–every single bit of payment should be absorbing water...”

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Paul Douglas

Seville, Spain to Become World’s First City to Name Heat Waves. Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang has the details: “Can naming heat waves call more attention to them and save lives? Seville, Spain, will be the world’s first laboratory to test this concept in 2022, when the city launches a new initiative to name and rank heat waves, much like weather forecasters do for hurricanes. Public health officials have long sought to raise awareness of heat waves, which are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in many parts of the world. The problem is more pressing now as climate change increases the intensity, frequency and duration of extreme heat events. Seville’s new effort, in partnership with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, aims to raise the public recognition of heat waves and more urgently communicate their threat. Public health and climate experts have made the case that naming heat waves, which are invisible and abstract, makes them more concrete and thus easier to identify, act upon and share information about...”

A Secretive Hedge Fund is Gutting Newsrooms. The Atlantic tells the sad tale; here’s an excerpt: “The 21st century has seen many of these generational owners flee the industry, to devastating effect. In the past 15 years, more than a quarter of American newspapers have gone out of business. Those that have survived are smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable to acquisition. Today, half of all daily newspapers in the U.S. are controlled by financial firms, according to an analysis by the Financial Times, and the number is almost certain to grow. What threatens local newspapers now is not just digital disruption or abstract market forces. They’re being targeted by investors who have figured out how to get rich by strip-mining local-news outfits. The model is simple: Gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring as much cash as possible out of the enterprise until eventually enough readers cancel their subscriptions that the paper folds, or is reduced to a desiccated husk of its former self...”

In this photo released by New Zealand Police, an officer identified only as Constable Kurt sits on his patrol car with a 4-year-old boy who is not identified, in the South Island city of Invercargill, New Zealand, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. An emergency call made by the 4-year-old New Zealand boy asking for police to come over and check out his toys prompted a real-life callout and confirmation from an officer that the toys were, indeed, pretty cool.
NZ Police via AP

New Zealand Police Answer 4-Year Old’s Call, Confirm Toys Are Cool. I needed this story, courtesy of AP News: “An emergency call made by a 4-year-old New Zealand boy asking for police to come over and check out his toys prompted a real-life call-out and confirmation from an officer that the toys were, indeed, pretty cool. Police shared audio of the call on social media this week along with a photo of the smiling boy sitting on the hood of a patrol cruiser, noting that while they don’t encourage children to call the emergency number, the incident was “too cute not to share.” The call begins all business: “This is police, where is the emergency?” There’s a pause as the unidentified boy hesitantly says, “Hi,” and then “Police lady?…”

.57” rain fell at MSP yesterday.

60 F. Twin Cities maximum temperature on Wednesday.

56 F. average high on October 20.

33 F. high temperature on October 20, 2020. Yikes.

October 21, 1916: A three-day blizzard ends. Also, a sharp temperature drop occurs at Bird Island, falling from 65 to 13.

Paul Douglas

Heidi Rusch

THURSDAY: Slow clearing, chilly. Winds: N 10-15. High: near 50

FRIDAY: Frosty start. Cool sunshine. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 35. High: 49

SATURDAY: Blue sky, probably dry. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 35. High: 52

SUNDAY: More clouds, chance of a shower. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 40. High: 54

MONDAY: Few lingering showers possible. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 51

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and milder. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: near 60

WEDNESDAY: Potential for steadier rain. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 54. High: 61

Climate Stories….


Greater Than 99% Consensus on Human Caused Climate Change in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature. Here is the abstract from a new paper summarizing the consensus on man-made warming, courtesy of IOPscience: “While controls over the Earth’s climate system have undergone rigorous hypothesis-testing since the 1800s, questions over the scientific consensus of the role of human activities in modern climate change continue to arise in public settings. We update previous efforts to quantify the scientific consensus on climate change by searching the recent literature for papers skeptical of anthropogenic-caused global warming. From a dataset of 88125 climate-related papers published since 2012, when this question was last addressed comprehensively, we examine a randomized subset of 3000 such publications. We also use a second sample-weighted approach that was specifically biased with keywords to help identify any skeptical peer-reviewed papers in the whole dataset. We identify four skeptical papers out of the sub-set of 3000, as evidenced by abstracts that were rated as implicitly or explicitly skeptical of human-caused global warming. In our sample utilizing pre-identified skeptical keywords we found 28 papers that were implicitly or explicitly skeptical. We conclude with high statistical confidence that the scientific consensus on human-caused contemporary climate change—expressed as a proportion of the total publications—exceeds 99% in the peer reviewed scientific literature...”

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Scott Kelly, NASA ISS

Study Of Studies Finds 99.9% Scientific Consensus On Human-Caused Climate Change As Impacts Ravage The Globe: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “The scientific community’s level of certainty on humans’ causation of climate change is now on par with its agreement on evolution and plate tectonics. A review of scientific literature, published in Environmental Research Letters, found just 28 papers linked to climate scepticism in its trawl of more than 88,000. The findings support the IPCC’s declaration in August that the science of human influence on the heating atmosphere is “unequivocal,” and refute the concerted disinformation campaign by fossil fuel interests seeking to sow doubt and uncertainty about their products’ causation of the crisis — the impacts of which are visible around the world. A UN report released Tuesday warned all of Africa’s glaciers could vanish in the next two decades. Africa is responsible for just 4% of greenhouse gas pollution, but the continent and its people are exceptionally vulnerable to the ravages of the climate crisis. Climate change accelerates glacier melt, intensifies droughts, and worsens extreme precipitation events like those that cause flash flooding. Meanwhile, on Tuesday: the governor of California expanded a drought emergency to cover the entire state; Indian officials said flooding caused by torrential rain has killed at least 22 people in Uttarakhand state; and a separate UN report said climate change exacerbated the worst flooding to hit South Sudan in almost 60 years.” (Scientific consensus: The Guardian; African glaciers: AP, New York Times $, Reuters, The Hill, Axios, CNN, USA Today, The Independent; Newsom declares drought emergency across California (CAL Matters, LA Times $, San Francisco Chronicle, Axios, CNN, USA Today; India: AP; South Sudan: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Glacier and ice sheet melt; Drought; Extreme precipitation increase)

Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Expansion of Wind and Solar Power Too Slow to Stop Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a post at that caught my eye: “The production of renewable energy is increasing every year. But after analyzing the growth rates of wind and solar power in 60 countries, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University in Sweden and Central European University in Vienna, Austria, conclude that virtually no country is moving sufficiently fast enough to avoid global warming of 1.5°C or even 2°C. “This is the first time that the maximum growth rate in individual countries has been accurately measured, and it shows the enormous scale of the challenge of replacing traditional energy sources with renewables, as well as the need to explore diverse technologies and scenarios,” says Jessica Jewell, Associate Professor of Energy Transitions at Chalmers University of Technology…”

Police Increasingly Cite Climate Disasters When Seeking Military Gear, Documents Show. HuffPost has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…There are a few reasons for law enforcement’s shifting rhetoric. Across the country, climate change is fueling more destructive and deadlier catastrophes. The U.S. has not invested in large-scale disaster preparedness, forcing local governments and law enforcement to prepare for disasters ― and pay for it ― largely on their own. But the bigger reason may be that the Defense Department has also started to cue local police and sheriffs to make a big deal out of their role in disaster response. Within the past few years, on the forms that police and sheriffs must submit to justify their requests for armored vehicles, the Pentagon began to list natural disasters as an example justification. (The 1033 Program was created in 1996.)...”

Flooding in Venice Worsens Off-Season Amid Climate Change. Associated Press News has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…Sitting at Venice’s lowest spot, St. Mark’s Basilica offers a unique position to monitor the impact of rising seas on the city. The piazza outside floods at 80 centimeters (around 30 inches), and water passes the narthex into the church at 88 centimeters (34.5 inches), which has been reinforced up from a previous 65 centimeters (25.5 inches). “Conditions are continuing to worsen since the flooding of November 2019. We therefore have the certainty that in these months, flooding is no longer an occasional phenomenon. It is an everyday occurrence,” said Tesserin, whose honorific, First Procurator of St. Mark’s, dates back to the ninth century. In the last two decades, there have been nearly as many inundations in Venice over 1.1 meters — the official level for “acqua alta,” or “high water,” provoked by tides, winds and lunar cycles — as during the previous 100 years: 163 vs. 166, according to city data…”

Floodwaters slowly recede in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Lafitte, La., on Sept. 1, 2021.
Gerald Herbert/AP

The Costs of Climate Change are Getting Lost on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post (paywall) has an analysis: “Prominent economists say climate change will impose astronomical costs on the United States in the coming years through natural disasters, lost labor productivity, energy costs, migration and other impacts. And they argue that spending more money to address climate change today is a smart investment that will pay off later. “I think we have substantially under-invested in climate action for a very long time, but certainly since 1988, when Congress had its first hearings on climate change,” said Robert Kopp, a professor at Rutgers University and co-author of “Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus.” “The longer we wait, the more damages we’ll have to deal with, and the more costly it will be to lower our emissions in a way that avoids future damages,” Kopp said…”


America’s Next Great Migrations are Driven by Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Scientific American: “The increasingly frequent and intense floods, heat waves, wildfires and other extreme climate events jolt us into realizing that we don’t have the comfortable distance of 2040 or 2050 by which to mitigate climate change. The future we were meant to evade is here already, decades ahead of schedule. As world leaders gather at the global climate negotiations in Glasgow in November, they—and we—need to focus on two imperatives simultaneously. First, we must avoid the unmanageable by rapidly reducing the emissions that are heating up the planet. And second, we must manage the unavoidable by making ourselves more resilient to the changes that are already here or soon will be. And for billions of people, to adapt will mean to move...”

As Africa’s Glaciers Melt, Millions Face Drought and Floods, U.N. Says. Here’s the intro to a story at Reuters: “Africa’s fabled eastern glaciers will vanish in two decades, 118 million poor people face drought, floods or extreme heat, and climate change could shrink the continent’s economy by 3% by mid-century, the U.N. climate agency warned on Tuesday. The latest report on the state of Africa’s climate by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and African Union agencies paints a dire picture of the continent’s ability to adapt to increasingly frequent weather disasters. The report says last year was Africa’s third warmest on record, according to one set of data, 0.86 degrees Celsius above the average in the three decades leading to 2010. It has mostly warmed slower than high-latitude temperate zones, but the impact is still devastating...”

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Paul Douglas

Leading Experts Weight In on the Importance of Climate Disclosure to Reduce Emissions. Here’s an excerpt from Forbes: “According to the American Meteorological Society’s State of the Climate report in 2020, the past decade was the hottest ever recorded. Key findings from the report highlighted that climate change is no longer a problem for future generations but instead impacts today’s society with consequences being felt around the world. Given the changes to the physical environment brought by climate change and the regulatory efforts required to limit those changes and adapt to the environment, the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative’s report on risks and opportunities associated with global warming mentioned that climate-related disclosure could play an important role in mitigating risks, increasing transparency and supporting the transition to a lower-carbon economy...”