It’s Not the Heat – It’s the Humility

Yesterday felt like a shotgun wedding of Arizona heat and Florida humidity. The worst of both worlds. Saudi Arabia, with lakes.

A single day of extreme heat is one thing; when a heat wave goes on for days or weeks the results are cumulative; health impacts worsen over time. And research shows it’s not so much the daytime highs, but the nighttime lows that can lead to trouble. If people can’t get any relief at night, health risks multiply.

The urban heat island makes things worse: asphalt and concrete retains heat, prolonging swampy misery into the overnight hours. People suffering from chronic illnesses and the elderly are most at risk.

If anyone asks (doubtful) 2012 brought 2 days above 100F; 4 separate 100-degree days in 1988. Severe heat is magnified when dew points are this high, making it feel like Dubai, at low tide.

Any peaceful, easy feeling at tonight’s Eagles concert may be interrupted by boisterous T-storms. At any outdoor venue stay weather-aware and check the sky and weather-apps on your phone; always have a Plan B.

We dry out Sunday afternoon, with the next chance of 90s conveniently timed for July 4th!

Heat Wave Expands East. Well over 100 million Americans will be treated to heat indices in excess of 100F in the coming days, as a heat dome continues to spread east.

Kids in Hot Cars: Tragic Misconceptions. All parents and caregivers are capable of a tragic oversight, data shows. An American Meteorological Society post at The Front Page caught my eye with some surprising findings: “…Because leaving children unattended in cars is illegal in some states, one might think these deaths are a case of bad parents making bad decisions. Yet less than one in five of these hyperthermia deaths is because a parent intentionally left the child in the car to, say, run errands. Null’s statistics show that about 400 (54%) of the 760+ heat stroke deaths since 1998 occur when caregivers forget a child is in the car. Almost 30% of the deaths occur when children climb unattended into the cars by themselves and get locked in. But perhaps the most insidious misconception is that unfit—or forgetful or distracted or hurried or overworked—parents are the most susceptible to being forgetful about such an important matter…”

100-Degree Heat in the Twin Cities. 2012 saw 2 days above 100F at MSP, 1988 brought 4 days of 100-degree heat. The Minnesota DNR puts 100 degrees at MSP into perspective: “…Looking back to 1873, the maximum temperature at the Twin Cities official measuring site has reached 100 or more on 66 occasions. The most was in 1936 with nine days. Twice in one week, the mercury hit 100 degrees or higher at the Twin Cities International Airport in July 2012. The last time there were more than two 100 degree maximum temperatures in the Twin Cities in a year was 1988, when there were four…”

90-Degree Days in the Twin Cities. Expect an above-average summer when it comes to heat. Today is the 9th day of 90-degree heat so far in 2018. Details via the Minnesota DNR: “2012 was a warm summer in the Twin Cities, with the warmth extending into September. The average number of days in a year to reach at least 90 degrees is 12.9. 2012 had 31 days with a maximum temperature of 90 degrees or higher in the Twin Cities. This was enough to be in a three-way tie for the seventh most number of 90 degree high temperatures. The record number of 90 degree days in a year for the Twin Cities was 44 during the memorable summer of 1988…”

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke. If the skin is dry, breathing and pulse is rapid and shallow, and the person is disoriented, these may be symptoms of heat stroke, which can be fatal if not treated in time. Try to cool  the person down (slowly) in a cool shower or bath and call 911 immediately.

Pet Safety. Don’t forget that pets (including horses) feel the heat every bit as much as we do. Make sure they stay hydrated and as cool as possible later today and tonight.

U.S. Tornado Count Roughly Half of Average, To Date. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting post at Forbes: “…The sudden swings between different weather patterns—including a worsening drought in parts of tornado alley—hasn’t afforded the atmosphere many opportunities to keep tornado activity near normal for the first half of the year. The Storm Prediction Center has received 683 tornado reports between January 1 and early in the morning on June 28. Some of those reports were for the same tornado—when you filter out the duplicate reports, a more reasonable tornado estimate through June 27 is somewhere around 571, which will again drop a bit when adjusted to reflect only confirmed tornadoes. It’s not just tornadoes that have fallen below average. The number of reports of large hail have also fallen notably below average so far in 2018...”

Is Tornado Alley Shifting East? 10 years of data isn’t nearly enough of a runway to make sweeping conclusions, but this graphic, compliled by Darrel Kingfield, made me scratch my head a little. The most Tornado Watches issued by NOAA SPC? Southern Mississippi.

Severe Storm Watch Frequence: 2007 to 2017. Severe Watches coincide with traditional Tornado Alley, with the greatest frequency from Nebraska into Kansas and Oklahoma, a second maxima near Washington D.C., based on data from 2007 to 2017.

Thinking Cold Thoughts. So just how cold can it get in Antarctica, the coldest continent on Earth? A story at Science Alert made Minnesota seem like Club Med: “…The new low point is officially minus 98 degrees Celsius (minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit), a temperature that “appears to be about as low as it is possible to reach” according to the international team of researchers who worked on the new study. “I’ve never been in conditions that cold, and I hope I never am,” one of the team, Ted Scambos from the University of Colorado-Boulder, told Doyle Rice at USA Today. “I am told that every breath is painful, and you have to be extremely careful not to freeze part of your throat or lungs when inhaling…”

Photo credit: “The East Antarctic Plateau.” (Ted Scambos/NSIDC/CU Boulder).

This Photo of a Thunderstorm and the Milky Way Will Leave You Star-Struck. The Capital Weather Gang explains how this remarkable photo was taken: “Star-struck by this photo? I know I am. Explosive storms in the summer night sky are stunning on their own, but add the Milky Way rising above the storm, and the result is breathtaking. “I have captured photos of stars above distant thunderstorms before,” photographer Cory Mottice wrote on his blog, “but I never imagined I would be able to capture the Milky Way above a nearby thunderstorm.” He got his chance while storm chasing in eastern Montana on June 4. The timing and location had to be perfect for him to capture the Milky Way positioned over an explosive thunderstorm, and he nailed it...”

Photo credit: “The Milky Way looms above a storm in Montana.” (Cory Mottice).

With Decision, Minn. PUC ‘Have Just Declared War on The Ojibwe’: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Minnesota regulators unanimously greenlit a controversial plan for Canadian company Enbridge to rebuild its aging Line 3 pipeline in an emotional hearing yesterday. Commissioners cited safety concerns around the existing pipeline, and a narrow majority approved a modified route that partially skirts some sensitive lands. The pipeline has met with fierce protests from local businesses and activists, who argue that the pipeline is not needed due to falling demands for oil, and American Indian leaders say the pipeline puts important tribal lands at risk. “You have just declared war on the Ojibwe!” Tania Aubid of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe shouted in the hearing after the commissioners reached their decision. “They have gotten their Standing Rock,” Honor the Earth’s Winona LaDuke later told reporters.” (AP, Reuters, InsideClimate News, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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.

Cost of Trump’s Power Plan? Priceless, Like Freedom, Perry Says. Bloomberg has the story: “The Trump administration is crafting a plan to keep old, unprofitable coal and nuclear plants running. The cost? Well, it’s subjective. “It’s not a dollar figure you can count,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the World Gas Conference in Washington. “You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep America free, to keep the lights on.” Perry’s comments were a nod to the Trump administration’s efforts to take extraordinary action to keep money-losing coal and nuclear plants online using a measure reserved for matters of national security. Administration officials have argued that gas-fired power plants rely on pipelines that are vulnerable to cyberthreats and other types of attack, while coal and nuclear plants keep fuel on site, making them more reliable…”

File photo: “Rick Perry, U.S. Secretary of Energy.” Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Distracted Driving Is Out of Control, and There’s No Single Cure. Best thing I did was go into my settings and turn on the DO NOT DISTURB option. Now I don’t get texts when the vehicle is moving; and people that text me receive a polite message that I’ll return their inquiry as soon as safely possible. Highly recommended. follows up with more perspective on a growing problem: “…Overall, the researchers concluded, the Apple and Android systems do a better job managing their users’ cognitive loads—that is, leaving room in drivers’ brains to actually pay attention to driving. The built-in systems in the five models tested (a 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, a 2017 Ford Mustang GT, a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado LT, a 2018 Kia Optima, and a 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie) all demanded high or very high levels of attention from drivers as they made phone calls, sent text messages, fiddled with the audio, and entered and followed navigation directions. The Apple and Android platforms aren’t perfect. CarPlay, for example, demanded more from drivers than Android Auto when it came to entering a destination; the reverse was true for sending text messages…”

Boeing’s Proposed Hypersonic, Mach 5 Plane is Really, REALLY Fast. I hope I live long enough to take a flight in one of these – wow. has details: “…The craft would travel at up to Mach 5, enabling it to cross the Atlantic Ocean in just two hours and the Pacific in three. (A merely supersonic aircraft flying between Mach 1 and Mach 2 would take an hour or two longer.)The plane is fast, but it could have been even faster. “We settled on Mach 5 version,” says Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing’s senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, noting that exceeding Mach 5, or about 3,800 mph, requires far more advanced engines and materials. Plus, it’s not worth it. “This aircraft would allow you to fly across the ocean and back in one day, which is all most people would want. So why go past those boundaries and complicate it?…”

Image credit: “It would cruise at 95,000 feet, at 3,800 miles per hour. The G-force feeling upon takeoff would last a full 12 minutes.” Boeing

Safest Country on the Planet? Singapore. We are #35! Woo Hoo!! has results of a recent Gallup poll: “...It asked citizens of 142 countries about their confidence in local policing, feelings of safety while walking alone and personal experiences of crime. So which is seen as safest? Perhaps it’s no surprise that Singapore leads the way, with several Nordic nations also scoring highly. Some lesser known destinations also feature prominently: Fifth place goes to Uzbekistan. “We wanted to know whether or not people had fear in their society, and the way that we decided we would gauge that would be through asking people,” Jon Clifton, global managing partner at Gallup, tells CNN Travel…”

* The actual (PDF) report is here.

Amazonian Psychedelic May Ease Severe Depression, New Study Shows. The Conversation has details: “…Leon is among the roughly 30 percent of those patients with treatment-resistant depression. Available antidepressant drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors do not alleviate his depressed mood, fatigue, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. A new study may offer hope for Leon and others like him. Our team of Brazilian scientists has conducted the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of ayahuasca – a psychedelic drink made of Amazonian plants. The results, recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine, suggest that ayahuasca can work for hard-to-treat depression…”

Photo credit: “The vine Banisteriopsis caapi is one ingredient in ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew that Amazonian indigenous populations have long used for spiritual purposes.” Apollo/flickr, CC BY-SA

Woman Rides Paddleboard from Cuba to Florida Keys. AP has the story: “A Florida woman has completed a more than 100-mile (160-kilometer) voyage from Cuba to the Florida Keys on a standup paddleboard. Victoria Burgess arrived in Key West on Wednesday, paddling across the Florida Straits in just under 28 hours. Burgess is believed to be the first woman to make the trip from Cuba to the Keys on a standup paddleboard. The 34-year-old said that she wanted to set a record and serve to inspire others to accomplish their goals. She says she hopes to have the feat sanctioned by Guinness World Records. Burgess is a Pompano Beach fire inspector, previously having served as a firefighter and paramedic.”

Photo credit: “In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Victoria Burgess, 34, paddles the last few hundred feet to Key West, Fla., from Cuba Wednesday, June 27, 2018. It took Burgess nearly 28 hours to make the approximately 100-mile voyage. She is believed to be the first woman to make the trip from Cuba to the Keys on a standup paddleboard.” (Carol Tedesco/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP).

Is Apple, the Company, a Conscious Organism? I thought you’d never ask. Food for thought from Quartz: “…According to all these definitions of consciousness, I think you would probably agree that you are conscious. And it seems to me that, according to these definitions, we are justified in saying that Apple is conscious in a way that’s closer to being literally true than just metaphorical. But how do we prove it? First, let’s define the supermind called Apple as including all the employees of Apple, Inc., along with all the machines, buildings, and other resources the employees use to do their work. Is this group conscious?…”

Photo credit: “All mighty.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan).

99 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities

83 F. average high on June 29.

77 F. high on June 29, 2018.

June 30, 1982: Frost hits St. Louis County. Kulger Township falls to 27 degrees and Meadowlands bottoms out at 32.

June 30, 1871: Extremely large hail falls in Meeker County. Some of the stones are 6 inches in circumference, breaking many windows on the north sides of houses.

SATURDAY: Muggy, heavy T-storms in the area. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 89

SATURDAY NIGHT: Strong to severe storms, especially south/east of MSP. Low: 70

SUNDAY: Wet start, slow PM clearing. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 83

MONDAY: Partly sunny and sticky. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 67. High: 88

TUESDAY: Tropical again, isolated T-shower? Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: near 90

FOURTH OF JULY: Another free sauna. Stray T-storm late. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 74. High: 93

THURSDAY: More numerous T-storms in the area. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 75. High: near 90

FRIDAY: More sun, slight dip in humidity. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 70. High: 86

Climate Stories….

Anthony Kennedy’s Replacement Could Make It Harder to Fight Climate Change. Vox explains why changes in the Supreme Court could ultimately impact how climate change regulations are implemented (and litigated): “…A new Supreme Court judge probably won’t overturn the legal basis for fighting climate change, but may weaken it According to Lazarus, the court doesn’t typically revisit past cases unless there is a major constitutional question in play. The debate around the Massachusetts v. EPA decision centers on interpreting the language of the Clean Air Act (not a major constitutional question). What a new Supreme Court justice could do is help limit how this applies, like denying private citizens standing to sue the government in federal court for injuries stemming from failing to adequately address climate change. Such rulings would narrow the real-world impacts of the court’s environmental judgments, which conservatives would celebrate...”

File image: NASA.

Could Climate Change Lead to the Extinction of Bees? A story at caught my eye: “The survival of bees is hanging in the balance. Some species are dying off at a record pace, and toxic agricultural chemicals might be to blame. There seem to be many threats to these winged creatures, but climate change may be the final straw for some bee species. If the Earth continues to warm and bees don’t find a way to adapt, some populations could face extinction, according to new research. A team of scientists found that 30 to 70 percent of mason bees died when they heated up the bees’ environments. This reveals that if temperatures continue to climb, bee populations could begin to die off at faster rates, disrupting ecosystems worldwide, said Paul CaraDonna, an ecologist at Northwestern University…”

More perspective on bees and a rapidly changing climate from Science Daily.

Half of South Asia Living in Vulnerable Climate “Hot Spots” : World Bank. We may be getting just a taste of the migration yet to come. Reuters has the details: “A World Bank report released on Thursday analyses two scenarios – “climate sensitive”, based on collective action by nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and “carbon intensive”, which assumes no action on climate change. The report combines future changes in temperature and rainfall with household survey data linking living standards to weather conditions for the first time. More than 800 million people now live in areas predicted to become moderate-to-severe “hotspots”, or affected areas, by 2050 under the carbon intensive scenario, with India accounting for almost three quarters of them, the report said…”

File photo credit: “People wade through a flooded road after heavy rains in Ahmedabad, India, June 24, 2018.” REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo.

Pope to Huddle With Environmental Leaders, Activists. Axios has the story: “Pope Francis is hosting environmental leaders, researchers and activists next week at the Vatican to advocate for more aggressive action on climate change, according to multiple officials and an agenda viewed by Axios. Why it matters: It’s the latest move in Francis’ strategy pushing a worldwide discussion on climate change and comes just a few weeks after he hosted a very different crowd on the same topic: big oil and investment firm executives…”

The World’s Wine Industry is Adapting to Climate Change. A fine Minnesota wine? Don’t laugh – at the rate we’re going it may be inevitable. Here’s a clip from “…From South Africa’s drought-stricken vineyards, to France’s noble chateaus, to sunny vineyards in Australia and California, growers and winemakers say they are seeing the effects of climate change as temperatures rise, with swings in weather patterns becoming more severe. So they are taking action, moving to cooler zones, planting varieties that do better in the heat, and shading their grapes with more leaf canopy. As areas once ideal for certain grapes become less viable, causing earlier harvests and diminished wine quality as grapes ripen faster, once-iffy sites like the Van Duzer (pronounced van DOO-zer) Corridor are coming into their own…”

Photo credit: Andrew Selsky | AP. “Jeff Havlin, owner of Havlin Vineyard, drives through one of his vineyards in Dallas, Ore“.

Trump’s Skepticism Aside, the Navy Is Taking Climate Change Seriously. Considering seas are rising and arctic ice is melting, they don’t have much of a choice. Here’s an excerpt from USA TODAY: “The Trump administration has vigorously downplayed the threat of global warming, insisting that the science is still unproven. But an increase in the number of severe storms combined with rising sea levels and surface temperatures are forcing the U.S. Navy to adjust to the mounting threat of climate change. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act has ordered the Pentagon to identify the top 10 military bases threatened by climate change for the Navy and the other service branches by November. The congressional mandate requires the Defense Department to examine each threatened military installation for the effects of rising sea tides, increased flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires and thawing permafrost over the coming 20 years…”