A May to Remember – Comfortable Start to June

A sloppy frontal passage provides free A/C today, with highs in the 60s most of the day. Expect off and on showers, even a growl of thunder. 70s return for a blue-sky Sunday.

I’ve never been happier gazing at 70s and 80s in the extended outlook, after the second hottest May on record for the Twin Cities. Statewide, May was 3rd hottest since 1873. Only 1934 and 1977 were hotter.

According to Dr. Mark Seeley, 15 communities saw 100-degree heat last month; a total of 109 daily
maximum temperature records were tied or broken.

With turbocharged heat and recent soaking rain corn, beans and wheat are back on track and very close to average for early June, in spite of a late start.

The best chance of additional rainfall: today, again next Wednesday and Friday. Expect 80s next week; warmer than average, but not obnoxiously hot. Long-range models suggest another heat spike by the second week of June. Looking that far out makes my head hurt, but we haven’t seen the last heatwave of
2018.

June is, historically, Minnesota’s wettest, most severe month of the year. So far so good.


72-Hour Rainfall Potential. NOAA’s 12KM NAM prints out the highest rainfall totals over the Red River Valley and far southwestern Minnesota and northwest Iowa between now and Monday (most of that coming during the day today). Map: pivotalweather.com.


Still Trending Warmer Than Average. After a relatively comfortable weekend temperatures heat up next week; well into the 80s in the Twin Cities – even warmer the second week of June. ECWMF data: WeatherBell.


Mid-June Cool Bias Great Lakes and New England? The southern half of the USA is forecast to sizzle 2 weeks out, but a series of Canadian fronts may keep things a bit cooler from the Twin Cities to Detroit, Pittsburgh and Albany, if the GFS is on the right track.


A May to Remember. Dr. Mark Seeley puts the wild weather gyrations from April to May into perspective with this week’s edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: “After recording the second coldest April in state history (trailing only 1950), May took off in the opposite direction to finish as the third warmest in state (trailing only 1977 and 1934). In fact for the Twin Cities back to 1873 May of 2018 was the 2nd warmest in history (mean temperature 67.8°F in 2018 compared to 68.7°F in May of 1934). Most climate observers reported a mean monthly temperature for May that was 5 to 8 degrees F warmer than normal. Over 60 percent of the state landscape saw at least one day with a temperature of 90 degrees F or higher, while at least 15 communities recorded a maximum temperature of 100 degrees F or warmer...”


Textbook Definition of “Weather Whiplash”. May was nearly 30F warmer than April. Talk about wild swings in weather patterns.



As Hurricane Season Begins, Colorado State Lowers It’s Prediction For the Year. Capital Weather Gang has the latest projections from CSU: “With hurricane season beginning June 1, Colorado State University has released an updated seasonal hurricane forecast that drops the number of storms expected. The group now predicts a total of 14 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes — category 3 or stronger. This forecast is very close to what we consider an average season — 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Although climate models continue to suggest a low chance of an El Niño developing, the Atlantic is cooler than normal. The pattern of sea surface temperature anomalies observed during May is the opposite of what would be associated with an active Atlantic hurricane season, with cool anomalies in the deep tropics and far northern Atlantic and warm anomalies in the subtropics…”

Image credit: “With cooler than normal ocean temperatures and a thick layer of Saharan dust over the tropics, the Atlantic Ocean is quiet as hurricane season begins.” (NOAA/RAMMB/CIRA).


Mortality in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria. Here’s an excerpt from The New England Journal of Medicine that suggests a true death toll closer to 5,000: “…From the survey data, we estimated a mortality rate of 14.3 deaths (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.8 to 18.9) per 1000 persons from September 20 through December 31, 2017. This rate yielded a total of 4645 excess deaths during this period (95% CI, 793 to 8498), equivalent to a 62% increase in the mortality rate as compared with the same period in 2016. However, this number is likely to be an underestimate because of survivor bias. The mortality rate remained high through the end of December 2017, and one third of the deaths were attributed to delayed or interrupted health care. Hurricane-related migration was substantial…”



New, Next-Generation NOAA Polar-Orbiting Satellite Is Now Operational. Here’s an update from NOAA: “Weather forecasters officially have a new tool in their arsenal, as the first satellite in NOAA’s new Joint Polar Satellite System has passed rigorous testing and is now operational. Launched last November as JPSS-1 and renamed NOAA-20 once it reached orbit, the satellite features the latest and best technology NOAA has ever flown in a polar orbit to capture more precise observations of the world’s atmosphere, land and waters. Data from the satellite’s advanced instruments will help improve the accuracy of 3-to-7 day forecasts. “Improved weather forecasts can save lives, protect property and provide businesses and communities valuable additional time to prepare in advance of dangerous weather events,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross…”


Hotter Years Mean Lower Exam Results. A Harvard study of 10 million US secondary students found hot weather negatively impacts their test performance. The BBC reports: “Students taking exams in a summer heat wave might have always complained that they were hampered by the sweltering weather. But this study, from academics at Harvard, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Georgia State University, claims to have produced the first clear evidence showing that when temperatures go up, school performance goes down. The study, Heat and Learning, suggested that hotter weather made it harder to study in lessons in school and to concentrate on homework out of school…”


Wrapping Your Mind Around the Concept of a Thousand-Year Rainfall. The Capital Weather Gang provides context: “…A 1,000-year rain event, as its name implies, is exceptionally rare. It signifies just a 0.1 percent chance of such an event happening in any given year. “Or, a better way to think about it is that 99.9 percent of the time, such an event will never happen,” explained Shane Hubbard, a meteorological researcher at University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center. But people often fail to appreciate that when scientists declare that a storm is a 1,000-year, 500-year or 100-year event, it does not mean this extreme rainfall will necessarily happen that infrequently. These return intervals just express probabilities, which lead some to underestimate the risks they signify...”



Trump Provides Lifeline for Money-Losing Coal Power Plants. Let the markets decide? Not so much, it turns out. Here’s an update from Bloomberg: “Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets. The Energy Department would exercise emergency authority under a pair of federal laws to direct the operators to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The agency also is making plans to establish a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve” with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies…”

Photo credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg.


Wind Energy: New Revenue, New Jobs, New Hope. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Minnpost: “…A utility-scale wind farm is a multimillion-dollar project that provides a significant new source of tax revenue for the counties and townships through the Wind Energy Production Tax. Since 99 percent of wind projects are built in rural America, wind farms provide relief for small, rural towns that need it most. According to Moody’s, wind farms have improved the finances in more than 400 counties in 41 states, which is more than double the counties that had wind farms 10 years ago. This new source of revenue provides funding for local infrastructure projects like improving roads and bridges, community projects and schools, or holding the line (or even cutting) property taxes paid by citizens…”

File photo: Eddie Seal, Bloomberg.


“The Only Emotions I can Feel are Anger and Fear”. Mosaic takes a look at the estimated 1 in 10 Americans who have trouble processing or even feeling their emotions: “Despite the name, the real problem for people with alexithymia isn’t so much that they have no words for their emotions, but that they lack the emotions themselves. Still, not everyone with the condition has the same experiences. Some have gaps and distortions in the typical emotional repertoire. Some realise they’re feeling an emotion, but don’t know which, while others confuse signs of certain emotions for something else – perhaps interpreting butterflies in the stomach as hunger pangs. Surprisingly, given how generally unrecognised it is, studies show that about one in ten people fall on the alexithymia spectrum. New research is now revealing what’s going wrong – and this work holds the promise not only of novel treatments for disorders of emotion, but of revealing just how the rest of us feel anything at all…”

Photo credit: Della McGee.


How Netflix is Forcing an Overhaul of Television’s Old Guard, and What the Government Can Do About It. The Ringer has an interesting story about disruption in the TV world; here’s a clip: “…The one combo that might truly challenge Netflix’s dominance is a tie-up between Disney and Time Warner. With HBOGo and HBONow, Time Warner has created the most streamlined and successful standalone streaming apps of any cable network. Disney is attempting the same in the sports world with its new ESPN+ app. Between them, the two companies control a huge amount of the culture-consuming content that dominates the lives of internet denizens—Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Pixar, Adult Swim, CNN, Westworld. The combined company would also own all the television rights to the NBA and could continue to expand our debilitating dependence on superheroes via the Marvel-DC Combined Cinematic Universe. Every Twitter trending topic would be a promotion for a Disney–Time Warner property...”


Too Much Bad News Can Make You Sick. This is why I limit my CNN-intake. CNN.com reports: “The United Nations’ disaster-monitoring system says that since 1970, the number of disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled, rising to about 400 per year. With the surge of technology, social media and a 24-hour news cycle, exposure to traumatic events has rapidly increased over the past few decades, as well. According to a survey conducted by Pew in 2015, “65% of adults now use social networking sites — a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade.” Much of the public’s news consumption occurs on these digital platforms. The world has always been stressful, but experiencing acute events occurring thousands of miles away is a new and challenging phenomenon…”


Can America Survive Tribalism? A story at The Atlantic caught my eye: “…Amy Chua, a Yale Law professor and the author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, insists that this attitude is nothing new in the American story—and that it’s not impossible to overcome, either. At its most basic, tribalism describes the human instinct to want to belong to a group of people who are like you. For much of America’s history, Chua said during an event produced by The Atlantic on Thursday, huge portions of the population “didn’t feel the tribalism,” because the country was governed by an economically, politically, and culturally dominant group: whites. The multitude of groups that didn’t fall within the tribe of whiteness were smaller, and outside of circles of power. But today’s changing demographics—whites are projected to become a minority in the next couple of decades—are causing newfound anxieties, and fiercer divides, particularly among white Americans…”

Photo credit: “Demonstrator Johnny Benitez faces off with a counter-protester during an America First rally in Laguna Beach, California, on August 20, 2017.” Sandy Huffaker / Reuters.


Columbia and Yale Scientists Just Found the Spiritual Part of our Brains. Quartz explains: “…In a new study, published in Cerebral Cortex (paywall) on May 29, neuroscientists explain how they generated “personally relevant” spiritual experiences in a diverse group of subjects and scanned their brains while these experiences were happening. The results indicate that there is a “neurobiological home” for spirituality. When we feel a sense of connection with something greater than the self—whether transcendence involves communion with God, nature, or humanity—a certain part of the brain appears to activate. The study suggests that there is universal, cognitive basis for spirituality, as opposed to a cultural grounding for such states. This new discovery, researchers say, could help improve mental health treatment down the line…”

Photo credit: “You don’t have to be religious to have spiritual experiences.” (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson).


How Everything on the Internet Became Clickbait. The Outline reminds us that we like to distract ourselves to death, because consuming real news is so stressful! Here’s a clip: “…As the internet grew as a source of news, the number of separate firms appealing to smaller niches exploded. This setup is perfect for people motivated primarily by diversion and duty — anyone with an internet connection has access to more high-quality information sources than Harvard professors 50 years ago could have dreamed of. It turns out that there just aren’t many people who want to take advantage of that; most of us are more into drama and display. And so social media ate the internet; we have overwhelmingly rejected the library for gossip blogs. It took the media industry time to adapt to this fact…”


Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report: New Online Users Hard to Find. Really? Well that was fast, proving once again that disruption doesn’t play favorites – everyone is being impacted. Fortune reports: “The smartphone business is not growing anymore, according to this year’s installment of Mary Meeker’s much-lauded annual tech industry report. The Kleiner Perkins partner gave her latest presentation Wednesday at the Code 2018 Conference. The findings of Meeker and her team pointed to a general trend of slowing growth in the Internet. Shipments of new smartphones showed zero year-on-year growth in 2017, she said. With more than half the people in the world now using the Internet, growth in user numbers has dropped from 12% to 7%. Meeker said internet usage was still growing solidly—4% year-on-year—but the industry still faces a challenge...”

Ms. Meeker’s PPT presentation on Internet trends is here, courtesy of SlideShare.net.


A Word of Warning Before Using Hotel Pools This Summer. Well, there goes my appetite. Bring Me The News explains why you might want to think twice: “...But before dipping your toe into a hotel or community pool, there are some stats you should be aware of. The Centers for Disease Control revealed earlier this month that in a study of nearly 500 outbreaks of water-borne diseases reported between 2000 and 2014, a third of them came from hotel pools and hot tubs. These outbreaks in turn led to more than 27,000 people being infected by various water-borne diseases, the most common of which is the particularly nasty Cryptosporidium bug – known as “crypto.” Crypto is contracted in a particularly gross way, because it involves someone sick with the parasite leaking diarrhea into the water, which other swimmers then swallow...”

File photo: Pixnio


81 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

74 F. average high on June 1.

79 F. high on June 1, 2017.

June 2, 1945: Snow and sleet pile up to 4.5 inches at Tower.

June 2, 1898: Heavy rain falls across Minnesota. Just over 7 inches is reported at Pine River Dam.



SATURDAY: Showers and T-storms. Winds; S 8-13. High: near 70

SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers taper. Low: 56

SUNDAY: Comfortable sun, stiff breeze. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 75

MONDAY: Less sun, isolated T-storm possible. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 59. High: 83

TUESDAY: Warm sunshine, a little stickier. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

WEDNESDAY: Humid with thunderstorms developing. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 86

THURSDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 62. High: 82

FRIDAY: Chance of showers, T-storms. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80


Climate Stories…

Miami’s Displaced Puerto Ricans Offer a Glimpse at America’s Looming Climate Crisis. The era of climate refugees is here – even in the United States. Some coastal residents in Alaska and Louisiana have already been relocated – now hurricane refugees with “Maria”. HuffPo explains: “…Puerto Rico remains in shambles and without reliable electricity. Federal authorities have yet to even determine the final death toll from the storm, though Harvard University researchers this week pegged the number at 4,645 ― 70 times the official tally and nearly three times higher than Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On Friday, a new hurricane season begins. Roughly 136,000 Puerto Ricans fled to the mainland United States in the months after the storm. That figure, based on school enrollments as of last February, is expected to surge well above 200,000 when states release new data in September. Almost half of them stayed in Florida. But few are settled...”

September 24, 2017 visible image courtesy of NOAA and AerisWeather.


Many Republican Mayors Are Advancing Climate-Friendly Policies Without Saying So. Just don’t call it climate change. Here’s a clip from The Conversation: “…In our research at the Boston University Initiative on Cities, we found that large-city Republican mayors shy away from climate network memberships and their associated framing of the problem. But in many cases they advocate locally for policies that help advance climate goals for other reasons, such as fiscal responsibility and public health. In short, the United States is making progress on this issue in some surprising places. In our initiative’s recent report, “Cities Joining Ranks,” we systematically reviewed which U.S. cities belong to 10 prominent city climate networks. These networks, often founded by mayors themselves, provide platforms to exchange information, advocate for urban priorities and strengthen city goverments’ technical capacities…”

Image credit: “Miami, Florida Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado urged voters to support a $400 million bond in November 2017. About half of the money will be used to protect the city from sea level rise and flooding.”


Pope Francis to Engage Oil Executives in Challenge to Trump’s Climate Policies. ThinkProgress has the story: “Pope Francis will bring together some of the world’s leading fossil fuel executives next week in an effort to further conversations about climate change. The meeting will come mere days after the one year anniversary of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement. A Vatican source confirmed to Reuters on Friday that the leader of the Catholic Church will convene a number of prominent oil executives in Rome next week. According to Axios, the list of oil investors and producers includes BP CEO Bob Dudley and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock (the world’s largest asset manager). Sources have indicated that representatives from ExxonMobil will be present as well, along with Royal Dutch Shell, Pemex, Eni, and others. Former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is also reported to be joining...”



The Scientists Trying to Save Beer from Climate Change. Not the beer! Here’s an excerpt from a post at Outside Online: “A warmer, drier future is coming for our hops. Luckily, these folks have developed a nice little workaround, thanks to a gene-editing tool that could help create a hop-free beer. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but climate change is going to mess with some of our most beloved foods. Prolonged drought, hotter temperatures, and stronger storms will deliver punch after punch to farmers around the globe. In fact, we’re already seeing the effects on some crops: a 2011 Stanford study found that corn yields around the world were down about 5 percent because of hotter temperatures fueled by climate change…”


Climate Action Continues on Anniversary of Paris Announcement: Links and headlines via Climate Nexus: “One year after the Trump administration announced its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, leaders from multiple sectors and states are reiterating their continued commitment to climate action. In the US, a broad collection of coalitions are working to bridge the gap: more than half of Americans now live in a state or city or work for a business that remains committed to driving down its carbon pollution in line with Paris Agreement goals through the “We Are Still In” initiative. Hundreds of US municipal leaders have also demonstrated a continued commitment to upholding the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the 400-strong Climate Mayors group. “June 1 is not the anniversary of an end to one of the world’s greatest acts of consensus,” Govs. Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jay Inslee of Washington write in an op-ed for USA Today. “It is a celebration of what Americans have done to fill the federal void.” For more, scroll down to the Denier Roundup.” (US action: The Guardian, Washington Examiner, LA Times $. Mayors: Curbed. Int’l: E&E $, ABC. Commentary: USA Today, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo and Jay Inslee op-edCNBC, Kevin De Leon and Kevin Ranker op-ed, CNN, Todd Stern op-ed, Fox News, Scott Pruitt op-ed).


In Case You Missed It: Climate Change Impacts on Birds We Love. Here’s an excerpt from Yale Climate Connections: “…With birds finely tuned to their living conditions – landscape, vegetation, weather, food, water – we know that a warming globe will add to the problems they already face. The Audubon Society’s “Birds and Climate Report” website offers a useful overview. At the site’s core: its maps of changing climate ranges for 588 North American species, over half of them heading for trouble. (Search by flyway, state, or bird name). Its “report at a glance” summary and relatively technical but readable article about the underlying study are well worthwhile, as are the linked articles by Michele Nijhuis (overview; prairie potholes) and Carl Safina (seabirds)...”


Doom and Gloom: The Role of the Media in Public Disengagement on Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of a post from Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center: “…The Arctic is warming two to three times faster than anywhere else on the planet. NOAA’s 2017 Arctic Report Card states: “The unprecedented rate and global reach of change disproportionally affect the people of northern communities, further pressing the need to prepare for and adapt to the new Arctic. For Americans, the “Arctic” is Alaska, a state that is among the first to experience the severe effects of a warming climate, where snow and sea ice have been declining so rapidly that coastal villages have no buffer from fall and winter storms. This is compounded by melting permafrost that has accelerated erosion and foundation problems for structures and entire communities. While it’s important for the public to see and understand this threat, it is also important for the public to see and understand how people are responding…”

Photo credit: “Diane Haeker and Cold Climate Housing Research Center.” (CCHRC)


Climate Change and Rapidly Intensifying Hurricanes. An analysis at WXshift.com caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…We consulted with Phil Klotzbach of the Colorado State Tropical Meteorology Project to examine the historic number of Atlantic named storms that have undergone rapid intensification and to acknowledge limitations in detection. As a result, we are using two starting points for this week’s analysis. The first is 1950, a few years after reconnaissance aircraft analyses began. The second is 1980, a year after regular satellite analyses were available. These data show the active period of the 1950s and 1960s, then a lull, followed by a bigger spike, with the influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) driving the lower values in the 1970s and 1980s. In a further analysis, one study earlier this year found an increase in rapid intensification from 1986-2015 tied to warming water east of the Caribbean Sea. While the study suggests the AMO is the primary influence, there has also been a net ocean warming on top of that cycle...”


Insurers Will Be Hard Hit by Climate Change, But They’re Not Investing in the Low-Carbon Economy. A post at Forbes caught my eye: “The insurance sector is on the front line of the battle against climate change – it is having to pay out more to policyholders as extreme weather events such as flooding, droughts, storms and heatwaves become more frequent and more severe. At the same time, as some of the biggest investors in the world, insurance companies also face significant losses as climate change hits the companies they invest in. “Climate change poses risks for insurance companies, so do responses to it by markets, businesses, consumers and governments,” says Dave Jones, California’s Insurance Commissioner, in a new report by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), which sees itself as the world’s benchmark of climate leadership in the investment system…”

Photo credit: “A man walks through flood waters in Hoboken, New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy. Flooding will become much more severe as climate change intensifies, increasing payouts by insurers.” Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg.