Anxious For Some Good News? Perfect Weather

At this rate I may never come out of the bathroom. Crowds? High-fives with strangers? No thanks. Maybe a solitary walk by the lake. Or mowing around the piles of dirty snow in my yard, whistling a happy tune from a bygone age when viruses infected computers.

Today and tomorrow will be the days you were daydreaming about back in January. 50s today, with a shot at low to mid 60s Sunday. With a risk of a car wash. There’s still plenty of snow up north; 14 inches at Brainerd and 22 inches at Duluth, so there’s something for everyone.

The pattern favors big storms detouring south of Minnesota into next week. Light rain showers may brush the state, but nothing even remotely resembling a “Tournament Storm” is in sight. After 40s and 50s next week we may cool off closer to average by the third week of March, but no polar pain is pending.

We’ve seen our last subzero low at MSP. March and April snows melt quickly. No river flooding (yet). There’s little doubt of an early spring this year.

Mother Nature nailed it!

Mild Bias Continues. Sunday should be the mildest day in sight, but temperatures next week run 10-15F above average across Minnesota before a slight correction (back down to average) after March 15 or so. ECMWF (top) and NOAA GFS (bottom) courtesy of WeatherBell.

Going….Going…. There’s still plenty of snow over central and northern Minnesota, but NOAA’s midday Friday visible satellite snapshot shows a lot of brown ground out there south/west of the Twin Cities.

Unusually Quiet Pattern Helping to Ease Flood Risk. Dr. Mark Seeley has details in this week’s edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…With the frequent freeze-thaw cycles and the general lack of precipitation so far this month (many areas had not reported any precipitation or only a trace for 16 consecutive days), much of the water-laden snow cover across the state has been gradually disappearing, helping to alleviate some of the high flood risk. The National Weather Service did have a number of flood warnings in place this week in western portions of the state due to the rate of melting snow, and in some cases ice jams. Some areas of the state were finally getting some measurable precipitation on Thursday, March 5th, but mostly in the range of 0.10 to 0.20 inches. Ely and Kabetogama reported over 4 inches of snowfall...”

Supernaturally Quiet. Every day that passes without heavy rain or snow helps to ease the overall spring flooding threat. That said, we aren’t nearly out of the woods yet. Maps above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Any Cold Slaps Will Be Brief. By the third week of March temperatures may be closer to average, followed by another warming trend the last week of the month. I don’t see any prolonged swipes of cold air.

Balmy Winter For Much of Northern Hemisphere. The Washington Post (paywall) has details: “…The season was the second-warmest on record for the globe as a whole — putting 2020 on track to be one of Earth’s top-10 hottest years. This winter weirdness was in part driven by normal variations in global weather patterns, scientists say. But climate change, which tilts the planetary scales in favor of high-temperature extremes, exacerbated the variation and makes future warm winters more likely. Karsten Haustein, a meteorologist at the University of Oxford, said climate change was the “only way to explain” these extraordinary highs. As long as humans continue to emit planet-warming gases, he added, winters as we once knew them will be fewer and farther between. A Washington Post analysis of global temperature records has found that 10 percent of the planet has already warmed by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) since the end of the 19th century...”

Will Warm Weather Stop the Spread of Coronavirus? Here are a couple of excerpts from a story at CBS News: “...Dr. Gregory Gray, of Duke University’s Global Health Institute Division of Infectious Diseases, tells CBS News that the summer months may lead to a small decrease in transmission, but likely won’t stop the spread of coronavirus completely. “It is hard to know,” Dr. Gray said. “Routinely seen coronaviruses often wane during summer months as buildings have more air circulation, [people] tend to congregate less, and people are more exposed to UV light which can kill viruses.” The CDC’s website says it is not yet known whether weather and temperature will impact the spread of coronavirus...”

Nashville Area Tornadoes Were EF-4 Strength. Here’s the intro to an explainer at Tennessean: “The Nashville Weather Service in Nashville says East Nashville and Donelson in Davidson County and  Mt. Juliet in Wilson County saw damage from at least one EF-3 tornado Tuesday morning, based on damage surveyed so far. An EF-3 tornado has winds of 158-206 mph, according to the Enhanced Fujita scale. The tornado hit Mt. Juliet with winds of 155-160 mph. Donelson suffered damage from a 160-165 mph tornado.  “This is just damage observed in these neighborhoods and it might possibly be the same tornado,” the NWS tweeted.  According to NWS Nashville meteorologist Brittney Whitehead, the tornado that hit East Nashville was an EF-3 with winds of 136-140 mph. The tornado that hit the Germantown/North Nashville area appeared to be an EF-2 with winds of 125 mph.  Officials are still determining whether it was one or maybe two long-track tornadoes across Davidson, Wilson and Smith Counties...”

Experts Suggest Tornado Alley is Shifting East. The Southern Illinoisan has perspective that popped out in light of the recent EF-4 tornado in Nashville: “...However, Trent Ford, Illinois state climatologist with the State Water Survey at the University of Illinois, said Tuesday that this zone has shifted east. Where once the majority of tornado activity was relegated to places like Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, he said, tornado activity has shifted over to Southern Illinois and northern Mississippi. Ford said several studies over the last decade have confirmed the shift. Research also shows the storms aren’t just one-and-done systems. Researchers are seeing an increase in the region in tornado outbreaks — systems that spawn more than one tornado. “The observations of tornadoes — most of the good observations going back to the late ’80s, they are showing that trend,” Ford said…”

Image credit: Climate Central.

Improvements to AerisWeather Mapping Platform (AMP). Full disclosure: this is one of the weather-tech companies I’m involved with. Here’s an excerpt of a recent press release: “This week we are excited to announce new updates and features for AMP – our AerisWeather Mapping Platform. Japan Radar Expansion Within the AerisWeather Mapping Platform, radar is consistently the most popular layer in our customer applications.  With this knowledge in mind, we are continuing to invest resources into improving its accuracy and coverage.  Today, we are excited to announce we have expanded radar imagery coverage to include Japan. The radar information will update every 15 minutes and is available as part of our standard radar layer, thus immediately available to all AMP subscribers.  Check out this example below and add…”

Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020. No kidding. Medium has an excerpt of a letter sent out to Sequoia founders and CEOs with advice on how to manage (any) business during what may prove to be a lengthy and severe economic downturn: “Coronavirus is the black swan of 2020. Some of you (and some of us) have already been personally impacted by the virus. We know the stress you are under and are here to help. With lives at risk, we hope that conditions improve as quickly as possible. In the interim, we should brace ourselves for turbulence and have a prepared mindset for the scenarios that may play out. All of you have been inundated by suggestions for precautions to take around COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of you, your employees, and your families. Like many, we have studied the available information and would be happy to share our point of view — please let us know if that is of interest. This note is about something else: ensuring the health of your business while dealing with potential business consequences of the spreading effects of the virus…”

Children as Young as Eight Picked Coffee Beans on Farms Supplying Starbucks. The Guardian hasdetails: “High street coffee shop giant Starbucks has been caught up in a child labour row after an investigation revealed that children under 13 were working on farms in Guatemala that supply the chain with its beans. Channel 4’s Dispatches filmed the children working 40-hour weeks in gruelling conditions, picking coffee for a daily wage little more than the price of a latte. The beans are also supplied to Nespresso, owned by Nestlé. Last week, actor George Clooney, the advertising face of Nespresso, praised the investigation and said he was saddened by its findings. The Dispatches team said some of the children, who worked around eight hours a day, six days a week, looked as young as eight. They, were paid depending on the weight of beans they picked, with sacks weighing up to 45kg…”

New Mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont is a Therapy Dog? clears up the confusion: “While people headed to the polls for Super Tuesday, there was an election in a small Vermont town where even children could vote. And the people there chose a new mayor — a therapy dog.  It was a tight race in the election in Fair Haven, Vermont. But Murfee, a 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, came out on top. Eighteen animals were on the ballot and Murfee edged out the incumbent, a 3-year-old Nubian goat named Lincoln, by 25 votes.  It’s been a two-year tradition to have a four-legged animal as mayor in Fair Haven...”

Even Tinder is Freaked Out About Coronavirus. Huffington Post reports: “Tinder is warning hook-up seekers to maintain a “social distance” to protect against the new coronavirus. It’s difficult to maintain a social distance on a date — or in bed. But, in a pop-up alert headlined: “Your wellbeing is our #1 priority,” the dating app suggested keeping a “social distance” in public gatherings. It appears when users swipe through profiles for potential dates, USA Today reported. “Tinder is a great place to meet new people,” the message said. “While we want you to continue having fun, protecting yourself from the Coronavirus is more important.” The alert then offers safety tips: “Wash your hands frequently, carry hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, maintain social distance in public gatherings...”

39 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

36 F. average high on March 6.

22 F. high on March 6, 2019.

March 7, 1987: A heat wave across Minnesota brings the earliest 70 degree readings on record to the Twin Cities. The record high for the day was 73, breaking the old record by 13 degrees. Shorts were common and people were turning over dirt in their gardens for planting.

March 7, 1950: A snow and ice storm hits Minnesota. The heaviest ice was in northwest and west central Minnesota, especially in Norman County near Twin Valley. 52 electrical poles were down in this area with ice up to 1 ½ inches on wires. All communication lines out of Fargo were out with wind gusts estimated up to 60 mph. In order to provide temporary long distance service to and from isolated communities, short wave radio equipment was used to bridge the gaps. In Pipestone, several plate glass windows were blown in. During the snowstorm that followed later in the day, a Northwest Airlines plane crashed into three homes in Minneapolis killing all 13 on the plane and two on the ground. The left wing of the plane struck a flagpole at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery as it circled to land.

SATURDAY: Sunny and breezy. Winds: S 15-30. High: 55

SUNDAY: Sunny and spectacular. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 62

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, rain stays south. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 41. High: 47

TUESDAY: Some AM sun, PM showers arrive. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 30. High: 43

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, probably dry. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 49

THURSDAY: Few showers far southern Minnesota. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 36. High: 52

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, still above average. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 29. High: 51

Climate Stories…

Weather and Climate Disasters are Increasing Across the USA. Here’s an excerpt of a story I wrote for Medium: “…Several things can be true at once. More Americans are living in high-threat areas, close to bodies of water prone to overflowing. A denser, better-trained network of weather spotters is reporting weather extremes with greater specificity and confidence. And a warmer atmosphere is priming the pump, increasing the odds of rolling sevens. Weather-on-steroids sounds menacing, but it’s one way of describing the uptick in headline-grabbing weather and climate events. A warmer atmosphere isn’t initiating these storms, floods and fires. But once they get going, odds are they’ll be bigger, longer lasting, with more cost and disruption from a warmer, wetter sky above our heads. The extended outlook calls for building resilience: new methods, materials and warning technologies to better prepare consumers and businesses for more extremes, in an age of increasingly super-sized weather.”

Graphic credit: USA Facts.

More Accurate Climate Change Model Reveals Bleaker Outlook on Electricity, Water Use. Purdue University News has the press release: “…By 2030, global warming alone could push Chicago to generate 12% more electricity per person each month of the summer. If the city generated any less electricity, it would be risking a power shortage that may require drastic measures to avoid rolling blackouts, according to projections from a model designed by Purdue University researchers. That estimated increase is larger than previous projections because it takes into account how consumers use electricity and water at the same time. The model also considers a wider range of climate features that affect this mixed use, such as humidity and wind speed, making predictions more accurate. Consumers use both electricity and water when running a dishwasher, heating water or landscaping. Cities also use water to generate electricity, and electricity to treat and distribute water…”

There’s a New Label to Vet Brands’ Climate Change Pledges. Can you walk the talk? The Verge reports: “A nonprofit organization is trying to give consumers an easy way to make sense of the flood of environmental pledges that companies are suddenly making, with a new product label. Kickstarter and Klean Kanteen are two of the 135 brands that have been “Climate Neutral Certified” by the nonprofit, Climate Neutral. To be carbon neutral, a company needs to essentially cancel out all its heat-trapping pollution. It might do this by investing in tree-planting efforts or emerging technologies that capture carbon dioxide. Purchasing those carbon offsets or credits, however, is no replacement for actually cutting down greenhouse gas emissions. And as bigger and bigger polluters, including Delta and BP, make their own pledges to become carbon neutral, there’s growing uncertainty over what it will take for a company to actually achieve those aims. Who will hold them accountable?…”

Image credit: Carbon Neutral.

Tropical Forests are Reaching Their Carbon Dioxide Limit. Here’s the intro to a story at Bloomberg Green: “Humanity has pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide levels almost 50% higher than they were before industrialization. That dramatic number would be even higher without tropical forests, which have been absorbing as much as 17% of CO₂ emissions along the way. Unfortunately, rainforests can’t capture carbon like they used to. In a new study using 30 years of data from pristine Amazon and African tropical forests, researchers found the actual rate CO₂-reduction rate peaked a quarter-century ago. These rainforests absorbed about a third less CO₂ over the past decade than they did the 1990s, according to the study published in the journal Nature. That’s a difference of 21 billion metric tons—or roughly similar to a decade of fossil-fuel emissions from the U.K., Canada, Germany, and France combined...”

File image of The Amazon: NASA.

No, We Can’t Blame Tornadoes on Climate Change….Yet. Attribution is sketchy, confidence levels are low that a warming atmosphere and oceans are triggering more frequent or more intense tornadoes. Here’s a clip from Grist: “…Observations show that even though the overall number of serious tornadoes has remained fairly stable — around 500 every year in the United States — the volatility of twisters has increased. Compared with the 1970s, there are now more days in the year without a single tornado, as well as more days in which the number of twisters across the country tops a whopping 30 (!). “This is a strong result,” Brooks said. “But how it relates to the planet warming is an open question.” He thinks that atmospheric changes tied to climate change could play a role, but cautions that there’s no completely satisfactory explanation yet…”

Graphic credit: Climate Central.

Yes, Climate Change Did Influence Australia’s Unprecedented Bushfires. Scientific American has a summary of recent research; here’s an excerpt: “…The flames were fanned by a rare perfect storm of conditions, including strong winds, prolonged drought and scorching temperatures—along with a boost from climate change. Global warming has pushed up the odds of such extreme fires events occurring in southeastern Australia by at least 30 percent—and likely by much more—according to a preprint study released on Wednesday. It is the most thorough analysis to date of the role of climate change in a particular wildfire event. The examination began as the blazes were still scorching forests and blanketing cities in smoke, impacting some of the researchers involved in the work. The analysis, which has also been submitted to the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, suggests that while events of this magnitude will remain relatively rare in the future, firefighting efforts and other disaster-response systems need to prepare for rising odds or they risk being overwhelmed…”

Can the Military’s Take on Climate Change Win Over More Hearts and Minds? Here’s an excerpt from a post at GreenBiz: “…I’ve studied military and security issues for decades. Although President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax and worked to reverse the Obama administration’s climate initiatives, senior U.S. military officers have long been aware of warming’s detrimental effects. Military leaders believe climate change seriously threatens U.S. national security. They contend it is stirring up chaos and conflict abroad, endangering coastal bases and stressing soldiers and equipment, which undermines military readiness. But rather than debating the causes of climate change or assigning blame, they focus on how warming undermines security, and on practical steps to slow its advance and minimize damage…”