America’s Number One Weather Killer: Extreme Heat

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it” wrote Russel Baker. Considering we spend nearly half the year shivering, it takes a lot for me to gripe about the heat.

The dreaded heat index will get plenty of media play in the coming weeks as the next wave of sweltering tropical heat pushes north. On Friday the heat index at MSP may hit 105F, with an Excessive Heat Warning

T-storms cool us off a little over the weekend, but more 90s arrive the latter half of next week, with more 90-degree heat spilling over into at least mid-July.

We shouldn’t be shocked. Historically, the hottest weather of the year comes the second or third week of July. And according to NOAA statistics, heat is still the number one weather killer, followed by flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes.

A lonely T-shower may bubble up over central Minnesota today as this next hot front approaches. Friday should feel like a bad sauna, without the towels. T-storms over the weekend may be severe at times.

90-degree heat returns by the 4th of July. No shivering expected anytime soon.

Building Heat. Check out the advisories and watches related to heat just to our south. This next hot front creeps in later today and peaks on Friday before slight relief over the weekend. Map: AerisWeather.

Serious Heat. Latest NWS guidance suggests upper 90s on Friday with a late afternoon heat index as high as 108F in the Twin Cities. Under these conditions heat exhaustion and heat stroke are likely. Most at risk: the elderly, newborn infants and people with chronic illnesses. Friday and Friday night will pose the greatest risk.

Friday Heat Index. An expanding bubble of super-heated air will grip much of the USA east of the Rockies. By Friday the heat index (factoring temperature and dew point) may approach 110F at St. Louis.

Prolonged Heat Wave for Much of the USA. July promises to be a scorcher for much of the southern half to 2/3rds of America, the only (slight) relief in the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and New England. Quick, buy share of Dairy Queen.

Flood Update. The Minnesota River crests Friday thru Sunday from Henderson to Savage, according to NOAA. More details here.

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.

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’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...”

Power Plant Emissions Fall as Producers Shift From Coal. Here’s a clip from The Houston Chronicle: “Natural gas overtook coal for the first time in 2016 as the nation’s largest source of electricity, a shift that has reduced overall power plant emissions, according to a study released this week by Boston-based Ceres, a nonprofit group focused on energy sustainability issues. In 2006, coal-fired power plants accounted for nearly half of all power production while natural gas-fired plants contributed only 20 percent. Power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas which contributes to global warming, have decreased 24 percent between 2005 and 2016 as more power plants replaced coal with natural gas and renewable energy sources, according to the report...”

Photo credit: “CPS Energy’s coal plants Spruce 2, left, Spruce 1, center, and Deely are seen on Calaveras Lake near San Antonio.” LISA KRANTZ, STAFF / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS.

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.

The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space. takes a look at the next (military) frontier: “…Now, Shelton feared, all those satellites overhead had become so many huge, unarmored, billion-dollar sitting ducks. In the decade since China’s first successful anti-satellite missile test, Shelton’s premonition has largely come true: Everything has changed in space. A secretive, pitched arms race has opened up between the US, China, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, North Korea. The object of the race: to devise more and better ways to quickly cripple your adversary’s satellites. After decades of uncontested US supremacy, multinational cooperation, and a diplomatic consensus on reserving space for peaceful uses, military officials have begun referring to Earth’s orbit as a new “warfighting domain…”

Image credit: Sunday Büro.

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…”

Be Careful How You Use 911. AP has details: “Georgia police have issued an arrest warrant for a man who called police more than 100 times over the past three years for mostly non-emergency issues. WSB-TV reported Tuesday that 62-year-old William Baccus is charged with abuse of 911. Cobb County Fire Chief Randy Crider says Baccus has called to ask them to bring him milk, his cellphone and a TV remote. Crider says fire and paramedics have to respond to each of Baccus’ calls, which ties up emergency personnel and resources. An arrest warrant says Cobb County police and fire departments have warned Baccus to not call 911 “unless it was an actual medical emergency…”

82 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities

82 F. average high on June 27.

77 F. high on June 27, 2017.

June 28, 1876: The latest ice breakup in history for Duluth occurs on Lake Superior.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis of Assis

THURSDAY: Warm sun, T-shower north. Winds:  SE 8-13. High: 88

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and sticky. Low: 74

FRIDAY: Sunny, windy and dangerously hot. Heat index: 105-110F. Winds: S 15-30. High: 98

SATURDAY: Muggy, few strong T-storms likely. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 75. High: 87

SUNDAY: Early storms, then clearing skies. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 66. High: 84

MONDAY: Warm sunshine, feels like July. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High:87

TUESDAY: Tropical, few heavy T-storms nearby. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 70. High: 89

WEDNESDAY: Steamy 4th of July, risk of late-day T-storm. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 75. High: 93

Climate Stories….

A Huge Stretch of the Arctic Ocean is Rapidly Turning Into the Atlantic. That’s Not a Good Sign. Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post: “Scientists studying one of the fastest-warming regions of the global ocean say changes in this region are so sudden and vast that in effect, it will soon be another limb of the Atlantic Ocean, rather than a characteristically icy Arctic sea. The northern Barents Sea, to the north of Scandinavia and east of the remote archipelago of Svalbard, has warmed extremely rapidly — by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit just since the year 2000 — standing out even in the fastest-warming part of the globe, the Arctic. “We call it the Arctic warming hot spot,” said Sigrid Lind, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Tromso, Norway…”

Photo credit: “The northern Barents Sea shifts over to an Atlantic climate and becomes sea-ice free.” (Sigrid Lind).

“Atlantification” of Arctic Ocean Speeds Up: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “The Arctic ocean is warming so rapidly that it may soon transform into an upper arm of the Atlantic ocean, researchers say. A study published this week in Nature Climate Change shows how the Barents Sea in Scandinavia, where Atlantic waters enter the Arctic basin, has become a warming “hot spot,” with temperatures spiking 2.7 degrees F since 2000. The changes and accompanying loss of sea ice have caused the sea to exhibit qualities more in common with the Atlantic ocean, including most notably a sharp upward tick in salinity. “Model simulations have indicated Atlantic-type conditions in the northern Barents Sea by the end of the century, but according to our results, this is likely to happen much faster,” researchers write.” (Washington Post $, Earther, Ars Technica)

Rising Seas. “Florida Is About To Be Wiped Off the Map”. Here’s an excerpt from the author of a new book focused on sea level rise impact on south Florida at The Guardian: “…According to Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, rising sea levels are uncertain, their connection to human activity tenuous. And yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects roughly two feet of rise by century’s end. The United Nations predicts three feet. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates an upper limit of six and a half feet. Take the 6 million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else. The numbers slice nearly evenly. Heads or tails: call it in the air. If you live here, all you can do is hope that when you put down roots your choice was somehow prophetic…”

Photo credit: “Take the six million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else.” Photograph: Milkweed Edition.

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...”