Holiday Weekend Brings Warm Front (and Thunder)
Holiday weekend? Wait, let me run and get my umbrella. Better yet, grab the wet suit, fins and snorkel. Springs are trending wetter in Minnesota. Not every year, but most. Exhibit A: 2022.
I’m optimistic that with good timing and a dash of luck you’ll be able to squeeze in your outdoor plans this weekend. Just stay flexible and be prepared to move the party into the garage when thunder crackles.
Today will be the sunniest day, lukewarm and low humidity. Perfection.
Saturday probably starts out wet with a few morning T-storms, but the sun comes out during the afternoon and evening. We may salvage a mostly-dry Sunday in the metro with 80s and an urge to apply sunscreen. Heavier T-storms erupt Sunday night, but the sun breaks out on Memorial Day (which should feel like something out of July).
ECMWF model data prints out 1-2” rain by Monday evening, with another 1-2” possible Tuesday. Gurgle gurgle.
We dry out later next week with 70s and less whining about humidity.
A warm front is coming. Hooray!
Historic Flooding Hits Northern Minnesota as Water Levels Continue to Rise. Star Tribune has the details; here’s an excerpt: “...Historic flooding has overtaken the Rainy River Basin and water levels continue to rise. In late April, heavy rains fell on still-frozen terrain and lakes here. This combined with rapid snow melt to create flood conditions along Lakes Kabetogama and Namakan in addition to Rainy Lake — surpassing the memorable levels reached eight years earlier. As of Wednesday, Lakes Namakan and Kabetogama are above the peak set in 2014 and are expected to go up 5-7 inches in the next week — surpassing record levels set in 1916. Rainy Lake is 4 inches above 2014 and is expected to rise about another 12 inches in the next week. It’s likely to continue to rise into mid-June, if not longer...”
Morning Showers on Saturday. Even a growl or two of thunder – the best chance of rain Saturday comes AM hours with improving weather by afternoon and evening. The daylight hours Sunday and Monday appear to be drier – best chance of T-storms nighttime hours.
Lakes Warming Up As Weekend Goes On. Expect a perfect Friday on northern lakes, with a few rounds of showers and T-storms over the weekend. Timing the storms this far out is an exercise in futility, but even with a nagging storm threat most of the time should be dry.
Flip a Switch – Suddenly Summer. Brilliant sunshine and low humidity gives way to a sloppy, thundery warm front over the weekend with a few spirited rounds of showers and heavier thunderstorms. No steady, all-day rains, but some of these storms may pack 1”+ rain and small hail. A few severe storms can’t be ruled out by Sunday and Monday.
Second Week of June: Cut-Off Low Potential. I’m not buying the GFS solution for June 9 just yet (not even close) but recent model runs have hinted at a stalled storm in the upper atmosphere, capable of igniting more frequent PM showers and T-storms 2 weeks out. You may not need your sprinkler for a good long while at this rate.
Ahead of a Predicted Active Hurricane Season, These Are The Factors Forecasters Are Watching. NOLA.com has the post; here’s a clip: “…Another concern this hurricane season, especially for those living near the Gulf of Mexico, is the loop current. This large pocket of deep warm water that circulates around the Gulf is near the same spot it was during 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit south Louisiana. When hurricanes move over deep wells of warm water, they can undergo rapid intensification, historically jumping at least one category in strength. However, NOAA hurricane season lead forecaster Matthew Rosencrans says it’s still too early to know how big of a factor the loop current could play. The loop current can shift throughout the season…”
NOAA Predicts Record 7th Consecutive Above-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season. Details via NOAA: “Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence...”
Stormy Repeat: NOAA Predicts Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season. Blame a lingering La Nina cool phase in the Pacific and water temperatures .5F warmer than average fueling future storms. Here’s more perspective from AOL.com: “…Even with normals shifting upwards to reflect more active storm seasons in recent decades, these predictions are above the 30-year average of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center ran out of names for Atlantic storms in the last two years, with a record-setting 30 named storms in 2020 and 21 last year. In the past five years there have been more Category 4 and 5 hurricane landfalls in the United States than in the previous 50 years combined. This hurricane season “is going to be similar to last year and given that you need only one bad storm to dramatically affect your life, if you fail to plan around this outlook, you’re planning to fail,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad told The Associated Press Tuesday. “You can take this outlook to the bank literally when it looks to protecting your property...”
Bifacial Solar Modules Shine in Snowy Environments. PV Magazine has details; here’s an excerpt: “…As solar costs have dropped, it now makes economic sense to implement them even in the deep north, yet there is concern about the effects of snow on energy generation. While solar panels operate best in colder temperatures, panels covered in snow will generate less energy, known as snow loss. A study conducted at Western University in Ontario, Canada, shows how to beat snow losses using solar energy systems. The difference between bifacial and monofacial modules is that bifacial modules absorb light from the front and back, while monofacial only collect sunlight on the front. The study analyzed snow losses on these two types of systems using hourly data including energy, solar irradiation and albedo, the measure of the diffuse reflection of solar radiation…”
Opinion: US Solar Industry Is On The Verge of Collapsing. Here’s How to Prevent It. An Op-Ed at CNN.com caught my eye: “In March, the US Department of Commerce opened an investigation to determine if four countries that supply the US with solar panels — Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — have been using components made in China that should be subject to US tariffs. If the Commerce Department finds that to be the case, then the solar panels these four countries sell in the US could be subject to retroactive tariffs, which in turn would cause prices here in the US to spike. The industry is already in a panic. A recent report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 83% of US companies surveyed that use or purchase solar panels are expecting cancellations or delays. And some CEOs worry the investigation could cause the industry to collapse — not entirely surprising given how heavily the US relies on these countries for solar panel materials…”
FRIDAY: Sunny, postcard perfect. Winds: W 5-10. High: 76
SATURDAY: Morning T-storms. Skies clear PM hours. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 60. High: 79
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, sticky. Nighttime storms. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 66. High: 86
MEMORIAL DAY: Hot steamy sun. Late PM T-storms. Winds: S 15-30+. Wake-up: 70. High: 89
TUESDAY: A few heavy showers and storms. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 65. High: 77
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, cooler and less humid. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 53. High: 70
THURSDAY: Sunny, a few nighttime showers. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 54. High: 72
Record High Temperatures are Preventable. Check out the interactive map at pudding.cool: “…This project juxtoposes heat records with accident safety signage often displayed in factories. These “scoreboards” draw attention to injuries and build morale around safety by highlighting “days since last injury.” This map depicts temperature records in a similar design aesthetic: temperature records might seem “unprecedented,” but in reality occur nearly every few weeks. Specifically, “daily high” records show that never-before-seen warm days are occurring year-round, not just in the heat of the summer months. Or as Probable Futures reports, “Since the big change isn’t the amount of energy coming in from the sun, summers are only slightly warmer, while spring, fall, and especially winter are much warmer. It’s less that the Arctic is getting hotter and more that it is losing its cold…”
Biocrusts Reduce Global Dust Emissions by 60 Percent. Science News reports: “In the unceasing battle against dust, humans possess a deep arsenal of weaponry, from microfiber cloths to feather dusters to vacuum cleaners. But new research suggests that none of that technology can compare to nature’s secret weapon — biological soil crusts. These biocrusts are thin, cohesive layers of soil, glued together by dirt-dwelling organisms, that often carpet arid landscapes. Though innocuous, researchers now estimate that these rough soil skins prevent around 700 teragrams (30,000 times the mass of the Statue of Liberty) of dust from wafting into the air each year, reducing global dust emissions by a staggering 60 percent. Unless steps are taken to preserve and restore biocrusts, which are threatened by climate change and shifts in land use, the future will be much dustier, ecologist Bettina Weber and colleagues report online May 16 in Nature Geoscience…”
Five Ways Climate Change is Making Poor People Poorer. Voice of America lists the growing concerns: “Heat waves like the ones roasting South Asia this year don’t just sap people’s strength. They drain people’s finances in ways that are not always obvious. It’s one of the ways climate change is weighing on the economy and making poor people poorer. “These effects are global, they are pronounced, and they are persistent,” said Teevrat Garg, an economist at the University of California-San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. South Asia is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change-driven heat waves. But temperature extremes are becoming more common worldwide as the planet warms...”
Exxon Must Face Massachusetts Climate Change Lawsuit, Court Rules. Reuters reports: “Massachusetts’ high court on Tuesday unanimously rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about climate change and the dangers of using fossil fuels. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said Attorney General Maura Healey could pursue what Exxon called a politically-motivated case that it claimed violated a state law protecting defendants from lawsuits designed to silence them. Justice Scott Kafker, , said the statute protecting against strategic lawsuits against public participation only applied to private lawsuits, not government enforcement actions…”
‘Exxon Knew’ Lawsuit Will Move Forward In Mass. Headlines and links courtesy of Climate Nexus: “Massachusetts’ lawsuit to hold ExxonMobil accountable for lying to the public about its role in causing climate change will go forward, the commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday, rejecting Exxon’s motion to dismiss the case. The suit, brought in 2019, alleges Exxon’s effort to deceive consumers was “reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s long denial campaign about the dangerous effects of cigarettes” as it engaged in a “sophisticated, multi-million dollar campaign” to obfuscate and downplay how its fossil fuels cause climate change, which Exxon scientists knew as early as the 1970s. The Massachusetts lawsuit has progressed the farthest of the dozens of similar actions brought by states and municipalities across the country. On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled in Rhode Island’s favor to allow its suit against ExxonMobil and others to move forward in state courts. “Four circuit courts in a row have now handed major defeats to big oil companies in these cases,” Center for Climate Integrity President Richard Wiles told the Guardian, “rejecting the industry’s efforts to escape accountability.” (Boston Globe $, AP, The Guardian, Reuters, Politico Pro $; Rhode Island: Reuters, Law 360 $, Bloomberg Law $)
How the Fossil Fuel Industry Took Advantage of the Ukraine War. The Intercept has the post; here’s an excerpt: “…For the record, about 25 percent of fossil fuel drilling happens on public lands; the rest is entirely controlled by private companies. The fossil fuel industry is sitting on at least a decade’s worth of unused leases, so it’s unlikely that a lack of new leases has impacted current production or supply. The Keystone XL pipeline was intended to transport tar sands oil from Canada to export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico, where two-thirds of it was earmarked for non-U.S. customers. It was nowhere near functional when it was canceled: About 8 percent of the pipeline had been built, and TC Energy, the company behind the project, still needed to find $6.9 billion of the $8 billion construction cost to finish it. As for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the holy grail for U.S. oil companies, it has been off-limits to oil drilling since 1977. For a brief moment in 2017, the Trump administration reversed that, but no major oil companies — no API members — even bid on leases...”
Safety Consultant Quits Over Climate Change with Viral Message. CNBC.com explains: “At 8:27 a.m. on Monday morning, May 23, Caroline Dennett emailed 1,400 executives at the oil and gas conglomerate, Shell, to announce her resignation after 11 years working as a safety consultant. Dennett, who is based near London, asked executives and management at Shell “to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they really believe their vision for more oil and gas extraction secures a safe future for humanity.” Dennett later posted a screenshot of her resignation email, a one minute and 12 second video in which she speaks directly into the camera explaining her decision, and a written explanation of her decision on the professional networking site LinkedIn…”
Here are the Wildfire Risks to Homes Across the Lower 48 States. Details via The New York Times (paywall): “The nation’s wildfire risk is widespread, severe and accelerating quickly, according to new data that, for the first time, calculates the risk facing every property in the contiguous United States. The data, released Monday by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group in New York, comes as rising housing prices in cities and suburbs push Americans deeper into fire-prone areas, with little idea about the specific risk in their new locale. That’s because the federal government maps flood risk at the property level but doesn’t do the same for wildfires, which are growing more frequent and severe because of climate change...”
NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index. Here’s an excerpt from NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory: “Increases in the abundance of atmospheric greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are mainly the result of human activity and are largely responsible for the observed increases in global temperature [IPCC 2014]. Because climate projections have large model uncertainties that overwhelm the uncertainties in greenhouse gas measurements, we present here an observationally-based index that is proportional to the change in the direct warming influence since the onset of the industrial revolution (also known as climate forcing) supplied from these gases. This index is based on the observed amounts of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and contains little uncertainty...”
The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy. Is it really that bad in the Sunshine State. Check out a post at Current Affairs; here’s an excerpt: “…Consider this: several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat is cleared per day2 in Florida, with 26 percent of our canopy cut down in the past twenty years. According to one study, an average of 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation worldwide. The ecocide happening here is comparable for our size to the destruction of the Amazon, but much less remarked upon. Few of the perpetrators understand how they hurt the quality of life for people living in Florida and hamstring any possibility of climate crisis resiliency. Pro-development flacks like to pull out the estimates of the millions who will continue to flock to Florida by 2030 or 2040 to justify rampant development…”