Peak Summer Is Here. It’ll Feel Like It Soon

When in doubt, make up words. Case in point: “thunder-wear” (waterproof clothing) or “snizzle” (snowy drizzle) or even “plowable snow” (a phrase I borrowed from a favorite college professor 40 years ago). Here comes another: “peak summer”.

You can make a case that, for many Minnesotans, summer peaks between the solstice and the 4th of July. Long, sticky days, twilight at 10 pm, harassing storms become more rare – temperatures generally hot enough for the lake.

Where’s the heat? It’s coming. I expect 90s this weekend; the hottest weather of the year so far – with humidity levels that will make you want to evacuate to your favorite lake or pool.

Wait for it: 3 days we’ll go from whining about our cool, wet spring to griping about beastly heat. Because it’s our God-given right to complain about the weather, 24/7.

An inflamed atmosphere may spark a few random, pop-up T-storms from Thursday into the Sunday, but the maps are strongly suggesting a sizzling, cabin-worthy weekend is coming. Finally.


ECMWF heat index forecast for Saturday evening at 7 pm courtesy of WeatherBell.



Heating Up. Forecast maps above courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.



Taking the Edge Off the Heat? A weak northwest flow aloft predicted for the second week of July may keep the most gasp-worthy temperatures just south and west of Minnesota.

New Satellite System Aims to Improve Hurricane Forecasting. WTOP.com explains: “COSMIC 2 (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate) is a system of six satellites that’s part of a joint program between NOAA, the U.S. Air Force, and Taiwan. “It’s going to take valuable measurements in the tropics and sub tropics of the earth in the region where hurricanes and tropical storms form,” said Elsayed Talaat, director of the Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. As the system orbits the earth over the tropics, it’ll collect data that will “help meteorologists better observe, research, and forecast hurricanes, typhoons, and other potentially deadly, destructive storms…”

File image: “This Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 file satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico. Weather forecasters have posthumously upgraded last fall’s Hurricane Michael from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the storm’s upgraded status Friday, making Michael only the fourth storm on record to have hit the U.S. as a Category 5 hurricane.” (NOAA via AP).


Lightning Data. This is one of my favorite (free) sources, courtesy of Blitzortung.org. There is a delay of 3-7 seconds, but it’s pretty close to real-time, and you can see the general track of the thunderstorms (the most recent cloud to ground strikes are white and yellow, btw). Bookmark-worthy.



WMO Verifies 3rd and 4th Hottest Temperature Recorded on Earth. Here’s an excerpt from The World Meteorological Organization: “The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has officially evaluated temperature record extremes of 54.0 °C at two locations, one in Mitribah, Kuwait, on 21 July 2016 and a second in Turbat, Pakistan, on 28 May 2017.  In its most intensive evaluation ever undertaken, the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, has verified the Mitribah observation as 53.9 °C (± 0.1 °C margin of uncertainty) and the Turbat one as 53.7 °C (± 0.4 °C).  The Mitribah, Kuwait temperature is now accepted by the WMO as the highest temperature ever recorded for the continental region of Asia and the two observations are the third (tied within uncertainty limits) and fourth highest WMO-recognized temperature extremes. Significantly, they are the highest, officially-recognized temperatures to have been recorded in the last 76 years...”


How to Convert Earth’s Plastic Pandemic Into Fuel. Daily Beast has the story; here’s a clip: “…When his team saw the extent of the plastic pollution problem around the world, using their methods of converting different ingredients into fuel seemed like a natural next step. “We all use plastic. But the world has a plastic problem,” he said. “We were asking, ‘Is that possible to convert that to the good stuff that could be used? We know our catalyst is working for the biomass, maybe it will also work for the plastic, too?’” A catalyst is a material high in carbon that is porous and has a large surface area. When it’s used to make fuel, it assists in breaking down the chemical bonds inside substances...”


Why Socialism is Back. Capitalism is in need of tweaking; market economies are in the process of being disrupted. How can a rising tide lift more boats? A story at The New Yorker caught my eye: “…When a system posited on delivering the goods to the masses fails to accomplish that task, protests are bound to arise, especially if the people at the very top seem to be benefiting from the privations of others. Under state socialism, this led to widespread resentment of the nomenklatura, with their imported foods and country dachas. Under free-market capitalism, it leads to resentment of the one per cent, or 0.1 per cent, and anger at the political system that protects their interests. In retrospect, a key moment for the revival of American socialism was the Wall Street bailout of 2008 and 2009, when taxpayers were forced to rescue the very rogues who had helped bring about the financial crisis, even as many ordinary families were being evicted from their homes for failing to service their mortgages...”


At Work, Expertise is Falling Out of Favor. Companies are looking for generalists, good problem solvers who can learn and implement the new-new thing? Here’s a quote from an interesting post at The Atlantic: “…If you ask Laszlo Bock, Google’s former culture chief and now the head of the HR start-up Humu, what he looks for in a new hire, he’ll tell you “mental agility.” “What companies are looking for,” says Mary Jo King, the president of the National Résumé Writers’ Association, “is someone who can be all, do all, and pivot on a dime to solve any problem.” The phenomenon is sped by automation, which usurps routine tasks, leaving employees to handle the nonroutine and unanticipated—and the continued advance of which throws the skills employers value into flux. It would be supremely ironic if the advance of the knowledge economy had the effect of devaluing knowledge. But that’s what I heard, recurrently, while reporting this story. “The half-life of skills is getting shorter,” I was told by IBM’s Joanna Daly...”


.28″ rain fell on the Twin Cities Monday.

17.08″ rain has fallen since January 1 (4.12″ above average, to date)

73 F. maximum temperature at MSP yesterday.

82 F. average high on June 24.

81 F. high on June 24, 2018.

June 25, 2003: Heavy rain falls across central Minnesota. Elk River picks up 8.19 inches. 4.36 inches fall in 4 hours in Maplewood, and there are reports of street flooding in St. Paul. Strong winds topple trees in Richfield.

June 25, 1950: Flooding hits Warroad. Strong winds accompany waters that rose 4 feet in 10 minutes.


TUESDAY: Sunny, windy and warmer. Winds: W 15-25. High: 82

WEDNESDAY: Warm sun, not as windy. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 85

THURSDAY: Sticky, risk of a T-storm. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 66. High: 86

FRIDAY: Hot sunshine, isolated T-shower. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

SATURDAY: Sunny, breezy and stinking hot. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 72. High: 92

SUNDAY: Steamy sunshine, few PM storms? Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 74. High: 94

MONDAY: Still humid, a few T-storms nearby. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 72. High: near 90


Climate Stories…

Climate Change is a “Health Emergency”, 74 Medical Groups Say. USA TODAY has details: “As Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for their first 2020 primary debate this week, 74 medical and public-health groups aligned on Monday to push for a series of consensus commitments to combat climate change, bluntly defined by the organizations as “a health emergency.” The new climate change agenda released by the groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, comes amid early jostling among Democratic candidates over whose environmental platform is more progressive. The health organizations’ policy recommendations, while a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s approach, represent a back-to-basics approach for an internal Democratic climate debate that has so far revolved around the liberal precepts of the Green New Deal…”


Agriculture Department Buries Studies Showing Dangers of Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from POLITICO: “The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change, defying a longstanding practice of touting such findings by the Agriculture Department’s acclaimed in-house scientists. The studies range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle…”

Photo credit: “President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have both expressed skepticism about climate change and appear to have suppressed research efforts on the topic.” | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo


Florida Could Face $76 Billion in Climate Change Costs by 2040, Report Says. Build a wall! Around Florida. We’re talking seawall here. Here’s the intro to a story at Tampa Bay Times: “Climate change is going to cost Florida more than any other state. It’s not even close. That’s according to a new report from Resilient Analytics and the Center for Climate Integrity, which projects that the state could be on the hook for building $76 billion worth of sea walls by 2040 to mitigate the effects of climate change — and that’s based on a conservative sea level rise scenario. To put that in perspective, Florida’s entire 2018 budget was about $88.7 billion. “As a nation and as a global community, due to climate change, we are set to undertake the most dramatic economic and social transformation in human history,” said Center for Climate Integrity executive director Richard Wiles. “And yet no one has bothered to even estimate what the core components of climate adaptation will actually cost…”

Photo credit: “Michael Harper walks along the sea wall at Spa Beach early one morning in August 2012 as waves from Tropical Storm Isaac reached shore.” [Times 2012]


Climate Change: The Problem Texas Business Leaders Are Afraid to Name. The Houston Chronicle reports: “…Climate change denial, though, is no longer an option now that people are suffering the consequences. Polls show that Texans no longer question global warming. They expect action. The top brass at international oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, have publicly promised to reduce emissions, calling for a carbon tax that would encourage the private sector to develop market-efficient solutions. Harvey said many of these companies have been working on climate change mitigation technologies for years; they just don’t talk about them. Probably for fear they might have to mention the global crisis they spent even more years ignoring...”

Photo credit: “WA Parish plant infrastructure at Fort Bend County. NGR Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation have built the Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project. The project is a commercial-scale carbon capture system that captures carbon dioxide in the processed flue gas from an existing unit at the WA Parish power plant.” Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff / Houston Chronicle.


Chennai, An Indian City of Nearly 5 Million, Is Running Out of Water. The New York Times has details: “The water is almost gone. Satellite photographs reveal the stark shrinking of one of the main rain-fed reservoirs that serves Chennai, one of the biggest cities in India. In one image, taken by satellite on June 15 last year, the city’s largest reservoir, Lake Puzhal, resembles a dark blue ink-stain amid a densely crowded cityscape. In another, taken on Sunday, exactly a year later, the lake is a small grey fraction of its former self…”


Scientists Amazed as Canadian Permafrost Thaws 70 Years Early. Nothing to see here – please move along! Reuters has the details: “Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia. “What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters by telephone. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years...”

Photo credit: “General view of a landscape of partially thawed Arctic permafrost near Mould Bay, Canada, in this handout photo released June 18, 2019. The image was captured in 2016 by researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks who were amazed to find the permafrost thawing 70 years faster than models predicted.” Louise Farquharson/Handout via REUTERS.


These American Cities Will Soon Be Under Water. USA TODAY lists the most vulnerable coastal cities; here’s an excerpt: “…Other factors, such as the possibility that global climate change could increase the prevalence and intensity of severe weather events such as hurricanes, could make actual outcomes in these cities even more dire. There are already places in the United States where weather appears to be getting worse because of climate change. Across U.S. coastal cities, more than 300,000 homes worth a combined $117.5 billion are likely to be at risk of chronic tidal flooding within 30 years, according to UCS analysis and projections. By the end of the century, that total could rise to 2.4 million homes and more than $1 trillion in property damage – and those estimates are based only on existing homes. The regular inundation these cities face in the near future could make the worst floods in American history seem tame by comparison…”


“We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change”. The two trends are interlinked, it turns out. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Fortune that resonated: “…Climate change and immigration have become more inextricably linked than ever. As of the end of May in fiscal year 2019, almost 150,000 migrants from Guatemala traveling with family members had been apprehended at our southwest border. That represents roughly 1% of the country’s total population. While there are a number of reasons driving this migration, including violence, poverty, and corruption, researchers now believe that climate change represents a significant underlying factor. In Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, 2.2 million people have lost their crops due to excessive rain and drought, according to the World Food Programme. These are also some of the world’s most susceptible countries to drought...”

File image: AFP.


What Oil Companies Knew: The Great Climate Cover-up. Check out this podcast episode from The Guardian; here’s a set-up: “Before 1988, climate change was a subject confined to the realm of academic journals. That all changed when the scientist James Hansen told Congress that global heating was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. That moment caught the imagination of the journalist Bill McKibben, who has written and campaigned on climate breakdown ever since. And it has been reported that fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, were making links between the burning of oil and rising sea levels as early as the 1970s. But instead of making their findings public, the industry colluded to cast doubt over the science…”

Photo credit: Nick Oxford/Reuters.