November-ish This Week, Septemberlike Next Week
Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”.
I’m trying to call at least one friend, family member or colleague every day, to check in and say hi – see how they’re doing. It’s hard to detect smiles beneath those masks. We are physically-distanced but we need to be socially-connected, now more than ever.
The Gales of November are blowing prematurely and a chilly relapse will be with us into the weekend. But we catch a small break today with less wind, a few breaks in the clouds and highs poking into the 60s.
A reinforcing cold front whips up more showery rains Wednesday into Sunday, with temperatures 10-20F below average. A persistent splattering of clouds and nagging winds may prevent a frost/freeze, at least in the Twin Cities metro. But the clock is ticking on those hydrangeas.
The weather pendulum swings just as hard in the opposite direction next week. Expect more 70s, perhaps an 80-degree day as we sail into mid-October. After that, all bets are off.
ECMWF total snowfall forecast (Kuchera Method) by next Wednesday courtesy of WeatherBell. A few wet snowflakes may mix in with the rain showers with Saturday’s clipper, but with relatively mild ground temperatures I doubt there will be any accumulation.
Cooling Off Again Third Week of October. After a milder than average second week of October GFS guidance above suggests a return to average or slightly cooler than average weather looking out about 2-3 weeks. We’ll see – my confidence level is pretty low things will work out exactly like this.
Why the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Has Spun Out of Control. Jack Henson reports for Capital Weather Gang: “…One of the most obvious culprits is La Niña, whose arrival was confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Sept. 10. La Niña, a semiregular cooling of the eastern tropical Pacific, tends to reduce the wind shear that can impede Atlantic hurricane formation. A La Niña is only present about every third hurricane season, though — so by itself, it doesn’t fully explain why 2020 is so extraordinarily active. Sizzling oceans, supercharged by climate change, may be an even bigger factor. Most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, has run warmer than average through the season, with sea surface temperatures (SSTs) at or near record values in some areas…”
Hurricane Laura file image: NOAA.
California Fires Tornadoes Had Winds Up to 125 MPH. Capital Weather Gang has the jaw-dropping specifics: “California’s Creek Fire, which has torched almost 300,000 acres and become California’s largest wildfire on record, was still only a third contained as of Wednesday. Like other blazes this year, it grew rapidly during periods of hot and dry weather with strong winds, burning tens of thousands of acres in a single night. Now we know that the fire featured a rare phenomenon that demonstrates just how extreme it was, with the National Weather Service’s announcement Wednesday afternoon that two fire tornadoes were associated with the blaze. The two vortices, one rated an EF2 while the other was an EF1, were produced by the fire, as the extreme heat from the blaze and towering smoke plume above it essentially created its own weather...”
Shocking: Wilderness the Size of Mexico Lost Worldwide in Just 13 Years, Study Finds. Here’s the intro from The Guardian: “Wilderness across the planet is disappearing on a huge scale, according to a new study that found human activities had converted an area the size of Mexico from virtually intact natural landscapes to heavily modified ones in just 13 years. The loss of 1.9m square kilometres (735,000 sq miles) of intact ecosystems would have “profound implications” for the planet’s biodiversity, the study’s authors said. Using mostly satellite imagery, 17 scientists across six countries examined the human footprint across the globe and how it had changed between 2000 and 2013...”
Image credit: “The world’s wilderness is disappearing at a huge scale, study finds.” Photograph: HANCOCK/EPA.
Tesla Lays Out Path to an Electric Car Cheap Enough for Most People. Here’s an excerpt from Fortune: “…At its heart, the plan is to vertically integrate a large portion of Tesla’s battery production, “from mining the ore to the complete battery pack,” as Musk put it. That control will allow for design and technology innovations that Musk says will dramatically slash costs for Tesla’s cars. Tesla currently works with partners like LG and Panasonic to produce batteries, and it apparently won’t end those relationships anytime soon. But it will dramatically expand its own battery production capacity, and, executives said, make those batteries for less than its partners do today. Based on its various innovations, Tesla projects it can reduce the cost of its batteries by more than half within about three years (though Musk and Baglino didn’t reveal much about Tesla’s current production costs)…”
Airbus Reveals “Zero-Emission” Plan Plan. EURACTIV.com has the post: “Aerospace giant Airbus has announced plans to build “zero-emission” aircraft using hydrogen power technology. On Monday (21 September), the firm revealed three concept designs that are on the table and is targeting a 2035 entry-into-service. Airbus is working on three designs for aircraft that could be zero-emission, which range from a conventional turbofan jet with space for 200 passengers to a ‘blended wing’ concept that is a significant departure from the current generation of planes. “These concepts will help us explore and mature the design and layout of the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft, which we aim to put into service by 2035,” said CEO Guillaume Faury...”
Image credit: “The blended wing design is the most radical option being considered by Airbus.” Photo: Airbus.
Here’s How the Pandemic Finally Ends. Politico lays out the most likely scenarios: “…This is the end of the coronavirus pandemic. And this is how it could happen in the United States: By November 2021, most Americans have received two doses of a vaccine that, while not gloriously effective, fights the disease in more cases than not. Meanwhile, Americans continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, and the Covid-19 numbers drop steadily after a series of surges earlier in the year. Eventually, as more and more Americans develop immunity through exposure and vaccination, and as treatments become more effective, Covid-19 recedes into the swarm of ordinary illnesses Americans get every winter…”
Illustration credit: Eleni Kalorkoti.
Charting the Pandemic Over the Next 12 Months. STAT provides more perspective: “…Now — with health authorities saying it may not be until at least the end of 2021 before there’s a degree of post-Covid normalcy in our lives — look forward. Imagine the next 15 months and what life will be like. In this project, STAT describes 30 key moments, possible turning points that could steer the pandemic onto a different course or barometers for how the virus is reshaping our lives, from rituals like Halloween and the Super Bowl, to what school could look like, to just how long we might be incorporating precautions into our routines...”
Did the Northern Lights Play a Role in the Sinking of the Titanic? A New Paper Says It’s Possible. Hadn’t thought of this scenario, explained at Mental Floss: “…Zinkova argues that while the lights themselves didn’t lead the Titanic on a crash course with the iceberg, a solar storm that night might have. The northern lights are the product of solar particles colliding and reacting with gas molecules in Earth’s atmosphere. A vivid aurora is the result of a solar storm expelling energy from the sun’s surface. In addition to causing colorful lights to appear in the sky, solar storms can also interfere with magnetic equipment on Earth. Compasses are susceptible to electromagnetic pulses from the sun. Zinkova writes that the storm would have only had to shift the ship’s compass by 0.5 degrees to guide it off a safe course and toward the iceberg…”
Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.
58 F. hign in the Twin Cities on Monday.
66 F. average high on September 28.
64 F. high on September 28, 2019.
September 29, 1876: An abnormally cool day occurs, with a high of 45 in the Twin Cities (normally the high should be 65 this time of year).
TUESDAY: Some sun, less wind. Winds: SW 10-20. High: 64
WEDNESDAY: Gusty winds return, few showers. Winds: NW 15-30. Wake-up: 48. HIgh: 57
THURSDAY: Still raw with showery rains. Winds: Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 47. High: 53
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy and chilly. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 42. High: near 50
SATURDAY: Alberta Clipper: a cold rain likely. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 39. High: 45
SUNDAY: Showers taper, still fairly unpleasant. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 40. High: 52
MONDAY: Partly sunny, a bit milder. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 43. High: 53
Banning State Park photo credit: Praedictix meteorologist Susie Martin.
Hurricane Near U.S. Coast Forecast to Worsen Due to Climate Change. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang reports; here’s an excerpt: “…The warming water Truchelut refers to is largely a result of climate change, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that has heated the oceans 0.41 degrees Celsius during the last 50 years…Warm water is the main fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes. The study found that the probability has increased for future storm generation off the North American coast. Emanuel, a leading authority on hurricanes, has been modeling climate change’s impact on tropical cyclones for three decades. In the study, Emanuel used nine climate models from the latest generation of a global modeling project called CMIP6, coordinated by the World Climate Research Program....”
Map credit: “Sea surface temperature difference from normal late Sunday.” (WeatherBell)
Ocean Heat Waves Are Directly Linked to Climate Change. The New York Times reports: “Six years ago, a huge part of the Pacific Ocean near North America quickly warmed, reaching temperatures more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Nicknamed “the blob,” it persisted for two years, with devastating impacts on marine life, including sea lions and salmon. The blob was a marine heat wave, the oceanic equivalent of a deadly summer atmospheric one. It was far from a solitary event: Tens of thousands have occurred in the past four decades, although most are far smaller and last for days rather than years. The largest and longest ones have occurred with increasing frequency over time. On Thursday, scientists revealed the culprit. Climate change, they said, is making severe marine heat waves much more likely…”
File photo: NOAA.
1 in 4 Childless Adults Say Climate Changes Has Factored Into Their Reproductive Decisions. Morning Consult has details: “For some childless adults, climate change looms large when they consider whether or not to reproduce. According to recent Morning Consult data, 11 percent of that group say climate change is a “major reason” they do not currently have children, and 15 percent say it plays a minor role. While climate change was among the least-cited reasons for those who do not currently have children (behind financial, political and career concerns, among others), the fact that it comes to mind for a quarter of respondents underscores the fact that its impacts are becoming increasingly visible to the public…”
In Siberia’s Forests, Climate Change Stokes “Zombie Fires”. The Japan Times reports; here’s a clip: “…Scientists say Siberia and the Arctic are especially vulnerable to climate change and have recorded startlingly high temperatures and worsening forest blazes. In June, the Arctic city of Verkhoyansk recorded unprecedented temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius and around 9 million hectares of forests — an area the size of Portugal — have been impacted by fires this year, officials said. Peatland fires are an additional threat to the climate because of the large quantities of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere. “It’s a climate bomb,” said Kuksin...”
File image: NASA.
As Fossil Fuel Jobs Falter, Renewables Come to the Rescue. Here’s a post and video from CBS News: “…Professor Jay Johnson runs the Wind Energy Technician Program at Lake Region State College in eastern North Dakota, and recently he’s seen a big increase in demand. “Wind energy development has been on a tear the last few years as wind turbines have become unbelievably efficient,” he said. According to Logan Goldie-Scot, the head of clean power research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), combined solar and wind power capacity has quadrupled since 2010. And in that time, installed wind capacity has increased by 260%, from 41 gigawatts to 106. BNEF expects another 60 gigawatts of wind power to be added in just the next five years…”
The 12 Arguments Every Climate Change-Denier Uses, and How to Debunk Them. Here’s an excerpt from Vice: “…These 12 arguments, favoured by politicians and industry figures, are a more subtle way of downplaying the need for action on climate change than full-on denialism, but no less corrosive to efforts to mitigate damaging climate effects. And they’re filtering into the public consciousness rapidly. Rather than arguing that climate change isn’t happening, now you hear people arguing that it’s too late, too difficult, too controversial, too unfair, too hasty, to take serious action on climate change. How do you debunk these arguments when you hear them? Tackling these types of misinformation is no mean feat; often they’re put forward in good faith. But explaining to someone the fallacies behind these common discourses of delay can work as what Dr. William Lamb, one of the authors of the Cardiff paper, calls an “inoculation strategy” against future misinformation on climate change...”
Is Global Warming Happening? A significant percentage of Americans say yes – they can see the symptoms in their back yards. Here’s an excerpt from The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: “This version of the Yale Climate Opinion Maps is based on data from autumn 2020. Americans are interested in climate news and require information about the global warming’s impacts and solutions in order to inform their decision making about policies to reduce global warming or prepare for the impacts. Such opinions vary, however, depending on where people live. So why would we rely on just one national number to understand public interest in climate change news at the state and local levels? Public opinion polling is generally done at the national level, because local level polling is very costly and time intensive. Our team of scientists, however, has developed a geographic and statistical model to downscale national opinion results to the state, congressional district, and county levels. We can now estimate public opinion across the country, revealing a rich picture of the diversity of Americans’ interest in learning more about climate change…”
“The One Chance We Have”. Is the Pandemic of 2020 a pivot-point in the struggle for climate action? Here’s an excerpt from CNN.com: “…The Pandemic could have been the decisive moment in the fight against climate change – an opportunity for leaders to bail out the environment and pivot the planet toward a greener future. Instead, CNN has found that some of the biggest fossil fuel-producing countries are injecting taxpayer money into propping up polluting industries. And exclusive new data shows these decisions are taking the world a step closer to a climate catastrophe…”
Image credit: Climate Action Tracker.
Polls Show Support For Climate Action, Widespread Impacts: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Substantial majorities of American voters want the government to take action to address climate change, including generating all of its electricity from clean energy within 15 years, according to a new poll. The survey, conducted by Climate Nexus, Yale University, and George Mason University, also found more than half of Republican voters saying climate change is a very or somewhat serious problem for their local area and supporting US involvement in the Paris agreement, and 41% supporting the Green New Deal. A second poll, from Public Policy Polling, also found 60% of voters across eight battleground states have been impacted by extreme, climate-driven events (including wildfires, hurricanes, and extreme heat), or know someone who has. The polls come before the first presidential debate, which according to its moderator, will not include questions on climate change, though 74% of voters want to see debate moderators ask climate questions.” (Climate action: The Guardian, Vice, Roll Call, NPR, The Hill; Impacts: Mother Jones)
Lifestyle Choices Aren’t Enough to Save the Planet. Here’s What Could. Climate scientist (and friend) Michael Mann has an Op-Ed at Time: “…We don’t need to ban cars; we need to electrify them (and we need that electricity to come from clean energy). We don’t need to ban burgers; we need climate-friendly beef. To spur these changes, we need to put a price on carbon, to incentivize polluters to invest in these solutions. Though air travel accounts for only a paltry 2% of global emissions, whether or not climate scientists should fly consumes far more than 2% of my Twitter timeline. Unfortunately, sometimes doing science means traveling great distances, and we don’t always have the time or luxury to take slower low-carbon options. We have a job to do, after all. But even still, a single scientist, or even hundreds of scientists, choosing to never fly again is not going to change the system. Purchasing carbon offsets for flights is a viable means of decarbonizing your air travel, for now. However, the true solution, pricing carbon, requires policy change…”
Illustration credit: Harry Campbell for TIME.