More Flashes of 90-Degree Heat in the 7-Day

Reality rarely lives up to a good imagination. 2 months ago, staring out at piles of dirty snow, I fantasized about the summer to come. I counted up the books I would read by the lake, listening to favorite tunes, fully hydrated with loyal adult beverages by my side.

No growling storms. No bills or pleading emails. No bugs. No sweat. Nothing to shake me from a lukewarm fever-dream.

We’ve all hadmeteorological daydreams, and now that peak summer has arrived, how are things working out for you? It’s been unusually hot and sweaty – buggy too. Many fields in southern Minnesota are underwater, the result of a “stuck” storm track. But it can always be worse.

Skies dry out today, and the southern half of Minnesota stays fairly dry into Friday, when it may feel like a cross between Arizona and Florida out there. Highs reach mid-90s Friday with a heat index of 100-105F.

More like “Fried Day”.

T-storms rumble into town Saturday, but skies dry Sunday with reasonable 80s the first few days of next week.

Timing is everything: ECMWF shows 90s returning for the 4th of July. Cue the Dog Days of Summer!

Photo credit: Pete Schenck.

Extreme Rains. Average June rainfall is roughly 4″. Some sections of southwest and southcentral Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin have picked up 3 times the average amount of moisture in the last 30 days. Dopper-radar rainfall estimates: NOAA, AerisWeather and Praedictix.

Epicenter of July Heat Wave South/West of Minnesota? No guarantees (there never are) but GFS guidance is hinting at persistent troughing over the eastern USA, which may pull enough cool air southward out of Canada to take the edge off the heat from New England into the Great Lakes. By the second week of July the worst of the heat may be setting up just southwest of Minnesota.

The Midwest Is Getting Drenched, and It’s Causing Big Problems. A story at FiveThirtyEight does a good job highlighting the steady increase in extreme flash flood events across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Here’s an excerpt: “…Minnesota is getting wetter. Over the last 100 years, the state has seen more storms that produce heavy rainfall, and its strongest storms have grown more intense. One of the more dramatic changes is the increasing number of “mega-rain” events — rainstorms during which at least 6 inches of rain falls over at least 1,000 square miles and the center of the storm drops more than 8 inches of rain. Minnesota has had 11 mega-rains since 1973, and eight of them have come since 2000. Two mega-rains swept through in 2016, which is only the third time the state experienced more than one mega-rain in a year. (It also happened in 1975 and 2002.)...”

Immense Rains Are Causing More Flash Flooding, and Experts Say It’s Getting Worse. Here’s an excerpt of a post at Capital Weather Gang that caught my eye: “…Such rains in recent weeks have deluged the Great Lakes region, the Deep South and the suburbs of major cities along the Atlantic coast. Philadelphia, Charlottesville, and Ocean City, Ellicott City and Frederick in Maryland all have experienced major flooding since mid-May. Several locations in Maryland had their wettest May on record, including Baltimore, which tallied more than eight inches, most of which fell in the second half of the month. “Things are definitely getting more extreme,” said Andreas ­Prein, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “You just have to look at the records. All areas of the continental U.S. have seen increases in peak rainfall rates in the past 50 years. . . . And there is a chance that we are underestimating the risk, actually…”

Map source: NOAA and Washington Post WonkBlog.

Warmer North – (Much) Wetter Southern Minnesota Last Week. The Midwest Regional Climate Center has a recap of the period f rom June 18 to June 24, with some 2-5″ amounts – a month’s worth of rain in many communities falling in less than a week.

The Most Powerful Hurricanes Of All Time. The Labor Day Storm of 1935 that struck the Florida Keys with sustained winds of 160 mph is #1 on the list. 24/7 Wall Street has a good overview; here’s an excerpt of their post: “…Excluding 2005 — the year Hurricane Katrina directly killed about 1,200 people — the 10 years with the highest hurricane-caused death counts are all before 1960. Excluding Katrina, NOAA has reported 1,300 deaths caused by hurricanes since 1960, compared with 14,645 deaths reported between 1900 and 1960. While hurricanes are becoming less deadly as damage mitigation strategies and disaster preparedness improve, they are also becoming more destructive. The 10 costliest hurricanes have all occurred since 1992. This may be partially because of the increased amount of property at risk today in comparison with previous decades. Adjusted for inflation, the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history were Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Ike in 2008…”

Photo credit: Florida Keys–Public Libraries / Flickr.

NOAA Won’t Drop Climate and Conservation From Its Mission, Agency Says. USA TODAY has the latest: “The United States’ top weather, climate and ocean science agency – NOAA – will not drop “climate” from its mission statement nor will it de-emphasize research into climate change and resource conservation, the agency said Monday. This follows a report Sunday from a science advocacy group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, that said the acting head of NOAA, Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, proposed a new mission statement for the agency — one the Union said would “undermine the agency’s vital work on behalf of the American people.” The first line of NOAA’s mission statement is “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts.” According to the Union, Gallaudet proposed last week that it be changed to “observe, understand and predict atmospheric and ocean conditions…”

NOAA’s New Mission?: Climate Nexus provides more perspective: “Leadership at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization suggested removing climate from the agency’s mission statement this month, potentially signaling upcoming changes at the agency. As first revealed by the Union of Concerned Scientists and reported by the New York Times on Sunday, the agency’s acting head Timothy Gallaudet floated a new mission statement for the agency in a slideshow presentation at a Department of Commerce meeting that notably removed the word “climate” from the current mission statement and added an additional directive to “protect lives and property, empower the economy, and support homeland and national security.” While Gallaudet has downplayed the implications of his presentation, dismissing the slides as a “simplified draft for discussion,” scientists and climate experts have uniformly expressed alarm at the suggested shift in the $5.9 billion agency’s mission.” (New York Times $, Washington Post $, InsideClimate News, The Hill, ThinkProgress, EartherMother Jones)

File image: Andy Newman, AP.

New Research Could Improve Weather Forecasting for Farmers. A story at Modern Farmer caught my eye: “…It turns out that how big a raindrop is a good indicator of weather. Specifically, the size of individual raindrops within a cloud can be used to more accurately predict the amount of rain that will fall. Raindrop size can be used in other ways, too. Smaller raindrops, for example, evaporate faster than larger raindrops. Evaporation, as we all remember from elementary school science, creates a cooling effect (this is why we sweat when overheated). Understanding the evaporation rate of rain also helps with figuring out exactly how much rain is likely to fall to Earth and stay there in the soil. This information could eventually help farmers save water; they’ll be able to adjust irrigation more precisely to accommodate rainfall…”

File photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune.

Heat Wave Risks Rarely an Urban Priority, Even As Risks Rise. Reuters connects the dots: “…But heatwaves are already a bigger risk in many cities than people realize, said experts at the Adaptation Futures climate change forum, being held in Cape Town this week. Between 1980 and 2013, for instance, heatwaves accounted for less than 1 percent of the “natural hazards” faced by people living in Europe, said Eliska Lorencova, of the Global Change Research Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences. But heatwaves caused 67 percent of all fatalities from such hazards over that period, she said...”

Atlanta Charts a Path to 100% Renewable Energy. InsideClimate News explains: “If Atlanta can get to 100 percent clean electricity, then any city can, Al Gore said. Now that signature Southern city in a deep red state has a plan to do just that. On Tuesday, city officials took their new road map for a greener future to the Atlanta City Council, outlining options they say can fight climate change, improve health and bolster the economy all at once. They initially planned to recommend giving the city until 2050 to meet the goals. That would have been 15 years slower than the pace the council agreed to a year ago, but city officials wanted more time to make the kinds of changes needed for a homegrown energy transformation, rather than relying on buying credits from wind farms beyond Georgia’s borders…”

Photo credit: “Atlanta city officials described 2035 deadline for shifting the city to all-renewable electricity. They have a blueprint for how to get there, but they can’t do it alone.” Credit: Mike Downey/CC-BY-2.0

More Cities Across Minnesota Are Turning to Renewable Sources of Energy. Star Tribune has the story; here’s a clip: “…Solar has grown so quickly in Minnesota, in fact, that between 2016 and 2017 the amount of solar power produced didn’t just double or triple, but grew by a factor of 72, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. That was enough to raise solar power from .03 percent of all electricity generated in the state in 2016 to 1.2 percent a year later. The surge has prompted several Minnesota city governments, including Minneapolis, to set bold goals to go 100 percent renewable by a set date. Of the municipalities racing to get there, St. Cloud may be the leader. Its subscriptions to solar gardens and use of geothermal and conservation measures have it claiming an 83 percent renewable rate for the city government…”

Photo credit: Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune. “A 220-kilowatt solar array powers the St. Cloud Wastewater Treatment Plant, along with a biodigester that turns sewage into energy.”

A Red State Goes Green: How Texas Became a Pioneer in Wind Energy. CBS News reports: “…People there say coal plants kept the lights on for generations. Then, Republican Mayor Dale Ross concluded the market was changing. Unlike many Republicans, Ross accepts climate science. He supports clean power so much he bought an electric motorcycle. But Ross said he approved wind and solar because it’s affordable. “This was first and foremost a business decision and if you win the business argument, then you’re gonna win the environmental argument,” Ross said. “It’s a totally different landscape out there,” he said. “And let me tell you, in the state of Texas, since January 1, four coal plants have closed. This is the economics of the matter. You buy wind and solar for, say, $18 a megawatt. You buy coal for $25. You have that choice. Which one are you gonna buy?…”

Photo credit: “Wind turbine farm in Texas.” CBS News.

The 25 Highest-Paying Jobs You Can Get Without a Bachelor’s Degree. Here’s the intro of an eye-opening post at Money: “Don’t have the time or money to get a bachelor’s degree? Don’t fret. There are plenty of high-paying jobs that require only a two-year associate degree, postsecondary non-degree certificate, or even just a high-school diploma. According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 25 highest-paying jobs that you don’t need a four-year degree to pursue. Each has a median annual salary of at least $68,000...”

Photo credit:

In The Era of A.I. and Automation, What Job Skills Do You Need Most? Big Think has a worthy read; here’s a clip: “…The job to avoid in the future, however, are the middleman jobs, for example, brokers and low-level tellers and accountants. For example, today when you go to a stockbroker you no longer buy stock. Now you may say to yourself, “That’s stupid, everybody knows when you go to a stockbroker you buy stock, I mean what else are you going to buy?” Well, no. You don’t buy stock when you go to a stockbroker. You can buy stock on your wristwatch so why bother to go to a stockbroker? Because you want something that stockbrokers provide that robots cannot. And that is intellectual capital. That means experience, know how, savvy, innovation, talent, leadership—none of which computers and robots can provide. So the large explosion of jobs in the future will be jobs that robots cannot do, i.e. Jobs involving pattern recognition and jobs involving common sense, as well as middlemen jobs that involve intellectual capital, creativity—products of the mind. Those are the jobs which are still going to flourish in the future...”

The One Factor Causing Depression and Anxiety in the Workplace – And What To Do About It. Big Think has food for thought: “…Gallup did the most detailed study that’s ever been done on this. What they found is 13 percent of us like our work most of the time. Sixty-three percent of us are what they called “sleepwalking” through out work. We don’t like it. We don’t hate it. We tolerate it. Twenty-four percent of us hate out jobs. If you think about that 87 percent of people in our culture don’t like the thing they’re doing most of the time. They did send their first work email at 7:48 a.m. and clock off at 7:15 p.m. on average. Most of us don’t want to be doing it. Could this have a relationship to our mental health? I started looking for the best evidence, and I discovered an amazing Australian social scientist called Michael Marmot who I got to know who discovered, the story of how he discovered it is amazing, but I’ll give you the headline. He discovered the key factor that makes us depressed and anxious at work: If you go to work and you feel controlled, you feel you have few or limited choices you are significantly more likely to become depressed or actually even more likely to have a stress-related heart attack…”

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, very nice. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 82

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 67

THURSDAY: Sticky sunshine, trending warmer. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 88

FRIDAY: Summer sizzle. PM Heat Index: 100-105F. Winds: S/SW 15-25. Wake-up: 74. High: 96

SATURDAY: A few heavy T-storms close to home. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 86

SUNDAY: More sun, stray PM storm up north. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 83

MONDAY: Some sun, isolated T-shower. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 67. High: 84

TUESDAY: Muggy with scattered T-storms. Wake-up: 66. High: 86

Climate Stories….

U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil. ABC News has the story: “...Alsup’s ruling came in lawsuits brought by San Francisco and neighboring Oakland that accused Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell of long knowing that fossil fuels posed serious risks to the environment, but still promoting them as environmentally responsible. The lawsuits said the companies created a public nuisance and should pay for sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against the effects of climate change — construction that could cost billions of dollars. The Oakland city attorney’s offices did not immediately have comment...”

File photo credit: “This March 9, 2010, file photo shows a tanker truck passing the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention has thrown out the underlying lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the role of fossil fuels in the Earth’s warming environment. Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said Monday, June 25, 2018, that Congress and the president, not a federal judge, were best suited to address fossil fuels’ contribution to global warming.” (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Judge Tosses SF Suit Against Oil Majors: Healines and links via Climate Nexus: “A federal judge on Monday dismissed lawsuits brought against five major oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland over the municipal costs of climate change. In his ruling, US District Judge William Alsup wrote that balancing “worldwide positives” of fossil fuels with the “worldwide” risks posed by climate change “deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case,” suggesting that the issue was better left to the US executive and legislative branches and international diplomacy. A spokesperson for Oakland hinted that the city may consider an appeal, while a San Francisco spokesman said the city was also considering next steps, but was “pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute” in the ruling.” (AP, Reuters, New York Times $, Wall Street Journal $, Bloomberg).

File image: Business Green.

CO2 Can Directly Impact Extreme Weather, Research Suggests. Here’s a clip from an analysis at Scientific American: “…Scientists are still figuring out exactly why these effects occur, said lead author Hugh Baker, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oxford. In part, it may be that extra carbon dioxide affects atmospheric temperatures differently across regions of the world—even if the average global temperature remains more or less constant. “What this does is it can cause changes in circulation, changes in wind patterns,” Baker said. “This is what is driving the extremes.” The new findings may be some of the most striking yet, but they’re not the first of their kind. Previous studies also suggested that carbon emissions may directly affect the climate beyond just raising average global temperatures…”

Image credit: William Putman, NASA and GSFC

Climate Change Disputers Are Actually Innovation Pessimists. Bob Inglis has a post at TheHill; here’s a clip: “Climate action is being blocked more by pessimism about innovation than skepticism about causation. Scratch a climate skeptic, and you’ll find an innovation pessimist. They don’t believe it can be done. Overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, they assume that we can’t change our trajectory. Secretly, they’re depressed about it. They need hope. Had these pessimists been in the stadium at Rice University in September of 1962, they might have chanted “No way” when President Kennedy said of the Mariner spacecraft then on its way to Venus, “The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines...”

Antarctic Ice is Melting Faster. Coastal Cities Need to Prepare Now. An Op-Ed from the Editorial Board at The Washington Post had a post that caught my eye; here’s a snippet: “…The paper took data from researchers who estimated Antarctic ice loss in 24 studies using three methods. These three methods resulted in parallel, wholly independent readings that largely matched up. Their combination produced findings that even the most circumspect critics of climate science should not be able to ignore. As Antarctica melts, North America will take a particularly hard wallop. Melting ice shrinks Antarctica and, therefore, its gravitational field. Without as much mass pulling ocean water south, sea levels will rise farther north as the oceans redistribute. For every centimeter the seas rise, major East Coast cities will see a roughly 1.25-centimeter increase. Coastal cities need to start preparing, now...”

Photo credit: “A glacier in Half Moon Bay, Antarctica, on Feb. 18“. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters).

Special Report: 30 Year Alarm on the Reality of Climate Change. Axios takes a look at Dr. James Hansen’s prediction vs. reality and includes an interactive graphic of the observed warming in the subsequent 3 decades.

Tracking the Trends. For details on how the graph above was created click here, courtesy of Columbia University and NASA.

Area Lake Flooding a Signal of Climate Change? The rain is coming down harder, yes. A story at caught my eye: “…Climate change experts are predicting that heavy rains that create flooding lakes are going to be the norm so preparations must begin immediately to deal with the next emergency at the lake. It’s an expensive proposition and the potential of moving or building up homes in the flood plain and improving roads will require help from the state and national levels, Parisi says.…”

Photo credit: “Dann Barber, who has been removing and installing piers for residents who live on Lake Kegonsa for 30 years, says he has never seen the water as high as it was Tuesday when it reached near record levels. Barber says he has removed 15 piers since Friday.