Health Implications of Warming Nights

Avoid the temptation to take a test, apply for a job or ask for a raise when the mercury tops 90F. A recent Harvard study showed a 13 percent drop in test scores during heat waves with implications for millions of people suffering diminished cognitive function, one expert explained. Yep, the heat makes us dumber.

According to NOAA, nighttime temperatures are warming faster than daytime readings. Cooler nighttime temperatures allow our bodies to “reset” and recover from tropical daytime highs, as buildings and houses cool. But when nights stay above 80F internal body temperatures don’t have a chance to cool off. This poses the greatest risk to infants, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Models show a significant puff of cool, clean, Canadian air next week. Highs may hold in the 70s, with nighttime lows in the 50s the latter half of next week. Yes please!

In the meantime swarms of storms will rumble across Minnesota. Up to an inch of rain may fall tonight, with thunder into the weekend.

Even so, the worst of the heat stays to our south, and no storms with names are in sight.


Florida-Sweaty. It felt like 112F for a time in Morton, Minnesota on Wednesday; 101F in the Twin Cities. Dew points were close to 80F, about as much water in the air as you can get this far north. Data: Twin Cities National Weather Service.


Predicted Rainfall by Sunday Morning. NOAA’s 00z NAM run (12KM) still prints out the heaviest rainfall amounts over central and southern Minnesota and Wisconsin; over 2-3″ in a few spots. Map: pivotalweather.com.


Heavy Rain and Heat Dominate June, 2018. Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser explains: “…The beginning of summer typically means one thing across many areas of the nation: heat. This June didn’t disappoint especially across the southern United States as well as the Midwest, with an overall total of 79 long-term NWS climate locations reporting a top ten warmest June on record. That included Dallas (Love Field Airport) and Del Rio, both of which saw their warmest June on record. Here’s a list of some of the locations that saw a top ten warmest June on record:

  • Dallas, TX: 87.6° (Warmest June On Record)
  • Del Rio, TX: 89.5° (Warmest June On Record)
  • Brownsville, TX: 87° (2nd warmest)
  • Colorado Springs, CO: 71.1° (2nd warmest)
  • Pueblo, CO: 76.6° (2nd warmest)
  • Salina, KS: 81.8° (2nd warmest)
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport, TX: 85.4° (3rd warmest)...”

Quebec’s Deadly Heat Wave: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “The death toll in Quebec’s heat wave last week may have reached as many as 70, officials said Tuesday, as temperatures reached over 100 degrees F. Thirty-four of those deaths were in Montreal, where temperatures soared 20 degrees above normal and CBC reports that the morgue became so overcrowded it had to partner with a local funeral home for extra storage. Officials say most of the deaths were women and men over the age of 50 living alone in apartments with no air conditioning, and over 60 percent had an underlying medical condition. The increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves is among the most obvious and well-documented effects of climate change.” (CNN, NPR, CNBC, National Observer, Huffington Post)


Harvard Study Finds That During Heat Waves, People Can’t Think Straight. No kidding. The Boston Globe reports on new research: “…The test results showed that during the heat wave students without air conditioning experienced decreases across five measures of cognitive function. The students, for example, experienced 13.4 percent longer reaction times on a test where they were asked to correctly identify the color of displayed words. They also had a 13.3 percent lower scores on basic arithmetic questions. The study has “implications for basically millions of people that could be suffering this detriment to cognitive function,” Cedeño-Laurent said in a telephone interview. He said he hoped the study results could “drive a change in the way we approach climate change by making it personal…”

Photo credit: Kai Foersterling/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock. “Going to Malvarrosa beach, Valencia, in eastern Spain, is one way to beat the heat. Unfortunately, many people are stuck in hot buildings, and that’s having an effect on their cognitive function, according to a new study from Harvard.”


Arctic Heat Wave: Parts of Siberia 40F Warrmer Than Average. A story at Quartz caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…The extreme weather in the US, however, pales in comparison to the abnormalities along the Arctic coast. Last week, Nick Humphrey, a meteorologist living in Nebraska, wrote on his blog that temperatures rose to 90°F (32°C) in northern Siberia—some 40°F warmer than average for this time of year. Other parts of the extreme north are hot, too—cities in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also hitting records of almost 90°F, the Washington Post reports. In Quebec, Canada, excessive heat reaching similar temperatures killed 70 people last week, and thousands were left without electricity due to overheating power wires…”

Map credit: ClimateReanalyzer.org.



A Real Cool Front Next Week? ECMWF shows 70s for highs in the metro the latter half of next week with a few nights in the 50s? That would be nice. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Cool Phase July 19-25. The map above shows the latest NOAA CPC temperature anomaly, with a cool bulls-eye over the Upper Midwest; scorching heat continuing out west.

Good News for Waterlogged Farmers? Southern Minnesota has taken a beating with excessive rains in recent weeks. Hopefully the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast of a dry bias for July 19-25 pans out.

Tornado Frequency During ENSO Events. It turns out tornado frequencyin Minnesota increases during moderate El Nino warming phases – but for much of the Midwest and Southeast La Nina cooling events are more likely to spark tornado swarms. Map: NOAA SPC and WLFI.com.

EF-2 Tornado Hits Watford City, North Dakota. An RV park that houses many families involved in natural gas operations on the Bakken was hit very hard, according to AP. It’s a reminder that people living in manufactured housing should have an underground shelter within a minute or two of home, to ensure safety during a tornado: “A newborn baby was killed and more than two dozen people were injured when a tornado whipped through a North Dakota oil patch city overnight, overturning recreational vehicles and demolishing more than 100 structures, officials said Tuesday. The storm moved through Watford City, in the northwestern part of the state, shortly after midnight, hitting an RV park the hardest, according to sheriff’s officials. About 20 of the reported 28 injured were staying at the Prairie View RV Park where high winds overturned some campers and damaged mobile homes...”
Photo credit: “This aerial image from video, shot with a drone provided by HRI Aerial Imaging, shows damage at an RV park Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Watford City, N.D., after a violent storm whipped through the northwestern North Dakota city overnight. More than two dozen people were hurt in the storm that overturned recreational vehicles and tossed mobile homes, officials said Tuesday.” (HRI Aerial Imaging via AP).


Country Star Matt Hawk Reminds Us to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”. Check out the video from NOAA:  “Floods and flash floods kill more people in the U.S. each year than any other weather disaster. Texas in particular experiences more flash flood deaths than any other state; flooding there can come on suddenly even after long rain droughts. “We can have 9-10 months of no rain, then suddenly get a torrential downpour, causing widespread flooding,” Hawk said. “People get amnesia about the danger, especially adults who have a thousand things on their minds and take to the roads by habit, without thinking.” Hawk was inspired to donate the song and lend his vocal and guitar talent to record the PSA after a young woman in a nearby town died in a car during a flash flood shortly before her high school graduation. The tragedy hit close to home both literally and figuratively, as Hawk’s daughter had just started driving that year. “Her car was swept away, and she wasn’t even two-tenths of a mile from her home,” he said. Hawk was intent on turning the local tragedy into something beneficial for society. He deliberately wrote the jingle to be repetitious and upbeat to attract children to listen and sing along…”


Japan Struggles to Get Help to Victims of Worst Floods in Decades. According to a story at Reuters, this was the worst weather disaster in 36 years; the latest death toll up to 155 with many more missing: “…Most of the deaths in hard-hit Hiroshima were from landslides in areas where homes had been built up against steep slopes, beginning in the 1970s, said Takashi Tsuchida, a civil engineering professor at Hiroshima University. “People have been living for 40 to 50 years in an area that had latent risk, but decades went by without disaster,” he said. “But intense rainfall has become more frequent, and the hidden vulnerability has become apparent,” he said. Though the weather has cleared up, the disaster goes on. A new evacuation order went out on Tuesday in a part of Hiroshima after a river blocked by debris overflowed its banks, affecting 23,000 people…”

Photo credit: “A local resident walks in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018.” REUTERS/Issei Kato.



The World Has Never Seen a Category 6 Hurricane. But the Day May Be Coming. Doubtful for the Atlantic, but I could see a rejiggered Saffir-Simpson Scale in the western Pacific, where super-typhoons are on the rise. Here’s a clip from San Diego Union-Tribune: “…No one knows how strong they could get, as they’re fueled by warmer ocean water. Timothy Hall, senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said top wind speeds of up to 230 mph could occur by the end of the century, if current global warming trends continue. This would be the strength of an F-4 tornado, which can pick up cars and throw them through the air (although tornadoes, because of their rapid changes of wind direction, are considered more destructive). Does that mean the five-category hurricane scale should be expanded to include a Category 6, or even Category 7?…”

Image credit: “Hurricane Patricia in 2015 achieved sustained wind speed of 215 mph. By comparison, last year’s Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, had winds of 180 mph.” NASA.


Post-Harvey Report Provides Inundation Maps and Flood Details on “Largest Rainfall Event Recorded in U.S. History. Long headline notwithstanding, USGS has a good post mortem on the unimaginable amounts of rain that fell on Texas: “Nineteen inundation maps and detailed flood information from Hurricane Harvey are now available from the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hurricane Harvey was the most significant rainfall event in U.S. history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts, since records began in the 1880s. Hurricane Harvey’s widespread 8-day rainfall, which started on August 25, 2017, exceeded 60 inches in some locations, which is about 15 inches more than average annual amounts of rainfall for eastern Texas and the Texas coast. The second largest rainfall event recorded in continental U.S. history was during Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978, which left Texas Hill Country with 48 inches of rain. Not only were rainfall totals exceptional during Hurricane Harvey, the area affected was also larger than previous events…”

Map credit: “Rainfall totals in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana from August 25 through September 1, 2017, resulting from Hurricane Harvey.


Cargo Ships May Be Causing More Lightning – Here’s Why. Another informative post from Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: “…A study published in the American Geophysical Union journal, Geophysical Research Letters, examined 12 years of global lightning stroke data (2005 to 2016) from the World Wide Lightning Location Network. Their analysis revealed that the density of lightning doubled over shipping lanes in the South China Sea and northeastern Indian Ocean compared to nearby, similar regions. They also found that this lightning enhancement had some degree of seasonality. November to April was the dominant period for the Indian Ocean while April to December was most significant in the South China Sea. The study, led by Joel Thornton at the University of Washington, concludes that meteorological factors like variations in wind or temperature do not explain the observed differences (see the graphic below). They hypothesize that aerosols (particulate matter) emitted from ship exhausts are the culprit...”

Image credit: “Ship tracks as revealed by clouds.” NASA Earth Observatory.


Now two new analyses of drinking water data and the science used to analyze it make clear the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense have downplayed the public threat posed by these chemicals. Far more people have likely been exposed to dangerous levels of them than has previously been reported because contamination from them is more widespread than has ever been officially acknowledged. Moreover, ProPublica has found, the government’s understatement of the threat appears to be no accident. The EPA and the Department of Defense calibrated water tests to exclude some harmful levels of contamination and only register especially high concentrations of chemicals, according to the vice president of one testing company…”


Oil and Gas Companies Will Lead the Energy Revolution. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the former CEO of BP at Bloomberg: “When it comes to climate change, I have always been a believer: not in hand-wringing debate, not in unrealistic solutions like the elimination of hydrocarbons, but in the power of action. In 1997, as chief executive of BP, I was the first leader of a major oil company to acknowledge that climate change was a problem, and that the industry had a responsibility to acknowledge and address it. The head of the American Petroleum Institute claimed that I had “left the church.” Twenty-one years later, I returned to the church in a different way, along with a group of distinguished business leaders. Last month, Pope Francis hosted the chief executives of many of the biggest oil and gas companies, investors overseeing nearly $10 trillion of capital and many of the energy sector’s leading thinkers and policy makers. We convened to discuss ways of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and methane...”

Photo credit: “Solar and wind are part of the mix.” Source: VCG/Visual China Group.


It’s Been a Great Year So Far For Wind Investments, Less So for Solar. Bloomberg runs the numbers: “The good news for clean energy is global investments in wind power surged during the first half of 2018. The bad news? Solar is slipping. Financing for wind farms totaled $57.2 billion from January through June, up 33 percent from the same period in 2017, Bloomberg NEF said in a report Monday. Solar investments declined 19 percent to $71.6 billion. The divergent trends demonstrate that investments in clean energy continue to hold steady, even as China slows development of solar farms. On balance, clean energy investments have been virtually flat so far in 2018, at $138.2 billion…”


What Explains a Drop in Attendance at Pro Sporting Events? Check out a few possible explanations at New York Magazine: “...Last year was the sixth consecutive season that fewer people had attended MLB games than they had before, but the first two months were a steep drop even from the 2017 nadir: A whopping 10 percent drop from the same time period last year. Manfred, at June’s MLB Owners Meetings, noted that his initial suspect for the drop — the miserable weather across the country in April and May — might not have been the only culprit, and that he might consider some schedule tweaks or other remedies down the line. Others have floated several other possibilities, from high ticket prices...”

File photo: Pixabay.


Canada’s Secret to Escaping the “Liberal Doom Loop”? How a country can welcome immigrants without triggering a massive populist backlash? The Atlantic explains: “…For decades, Canada has sustained exceptionally high levels of immigration without facing an illiberal populist groundswell. It is the most inclusive country in the world in its attitudes toward immigrants, religion, and sexuality, according to a 2018 survey by the polling company Ipsos. In a ranking of the most important Canadian symbols and values, its citizens put “multiculturalism” right next to the national anthem—and just behind their flag. In the U.S., those supportive of multiculturalism say they’re the least patriotic; in Canada, patriotism and multiculturalism go together like fries and cheese curds. To be clear, Canada has not discovered some magical elixir to eradicate intolerance, racism, or inequality, all of which are present in the nation of 36 million…”

Photo credit: “New Canadian citizens react as maple taffy is prepared following a citizenship ceremony in 2018.” Chris Wattie / Reuters.


Do Dating Apps Really Want You To Find Love? Probably not, according to a post at INSEAD Knowledge: “…So why don’t we hear more about the successful matchmaking being done on these platforms? Perhaps because there is often more money to be made in serial flings than lasting relationships. Customers engaging in the former will keep paying monthly subscription fees, while those who enter into the latter are more likely to delete their account. So dating apps may not be strongly motivated to resist being pigeonholed as hookup facilitators. The same incentives may also affect the extent to which online dating platforms choose to innovate. In pairing up their users, most use proprietary algorithms that are ostensibly cutting-edge. But if improvements to the system lead to more customers finding long-term love matches (and therefore abandoning the service), why should they offer the most advanced technology?…”


Sex, Beer and Coding: Inside Facebook’s Wild Early Days in Palo Alto. WIRED.com provides some interesting perspective: “Everyone who has seen The Social Network knows the story of Facebook’s founding. It was at Harvard in the spring semester of 2004. What people tend to forget, however, is that Facebook was only based in Cambridge for a few short months. Back then it was called TheFacebook.com, and it was a college-specific carbon copy of Friendster, a pioneering social network based in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg’s knockoff site was a hit on campus, and so he and a few school chums decided to move to Silicon Valley after finals and spend the summer there rolling Facebook out to other colleges, nationwide. The Valley was where the internet action was. Or so they thought…”

Photo credit: “Zuckerberg, photographed in March 2006 at the headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto. His first business card read “I’m CEO … bitch.” Elena Dorfman/Redux.


101 F. peak heat index reported in the Twin Cities on Wednesday.

92 F. high temperature at MSP yesterday.

84 F. average high on July 11.

87 F. high on July 11, 2017.

July 12, 1863: Unseasonably cool temperatures are felt across the state. Frost is reported in the Twin Cities area.



THURSDAY: Heat Advisory. Sweaty, heavy PM T-storms. Feels like 100F. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 92

THURSDAY NIGHT: T-storms, locally heavy rain. Low: 71

FRIDAY: Wet start, then clearing and a bit cooler.  Winds: NW 5-10. High: 84

SATURDAY: Sticky with scattered T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 87

SUNDAY: Shocker: more showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 72. High: 85

MONDAY: Risk of a dry day. Some sunshine. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: 86

TUESDAY: Another round of heavy T-storms. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 70. High: 84

WEDNESDAY: Breathing easier, cooler and less humid. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 77


File photo above: Airplane!, 1980, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.


Climate Stories….

Nighttime Temperatures Rising Faster Than Daytime Readings. InsideClimate News has the story; here are a few clips from their story: “…In 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted that, “As the world warms, nighttime temperatures are slightly outpacing daytime temperatures in the rate of warming.” When the cooler part of the day tends to warm up more than the warmer part of the day, the result is a smaller daily temperature range—a noticeable change in one of the basic patterns of life. When temperatures fail to drop at night—when the overnight lows are too high—the heat can become deadly, especially for the elderly and children…Cooler nighttime temperatures allow bodies to “reset” and recover from scorching daytime highs as buildings and houses cool. But when external temperatures stay above 80 degrees, internal body temperatures don’t have a chance to cool…”


How Cycling Fans Helped Uncover Climate Change. National Geographic has a fascinating story; here’s a clip: “…But she parked herself in a small, dark room for five weeks and started scrolling through years of footage. She picked out a few dozen trees to follow from year to year. And for each spring from 1980 to now, she looked to see whether those trees were bare when the cyclists rode past, or whether they’d sprouted leaves. They found that back in the 1980’s, branches were almost always bare on the race date—but now, the same trees almost always had leaves. In fact, over the ~40 year period, leaf emergence jumped up almost two weeks…”



How Will Climate Change Affect Bird Migration? Our Scientists Explain. BirdLife has an interesting post; here’s a clip: “…For over 80% of European long-distance migrants, there will be significant increases in both the distance and time taken to travel between their breeding and non-breeding ranges. For example, we estimate that Thrush Nightingales Luscinia luscinia will have to travel nearly 800 km further on average by 2070, adding at least five days to the duration of their journey. European Bee-eater Merops apiaster migrations are projected to increase by over 1,000 km and at least 4.5 days by 2070. Birds suffer higher mortality on migration, because of increased risk of predation and starvation resulting from higher energetic requirements and unpredictable food supplies.


Centrist Democrats’ New Rallying Cry. Here’s a clip from a post at Axios: “A centrist Democratic group says the party has botched its climate and energy strategy for many years — with dire consequences at the ballot box — and should offer a vision that embraces the nation’s fracking boom alongside renewables and efficiency. The big picture: The group, New Democracy, has a new paper today that says President Trump and Republicans have overplayed their hands with “nihilistic” stances on climate and coal, creating a political opening that Democrats can exploit — if they learn from the past.

  • The paper comes ahead of a daylong, multi-issue symposium the group is holding in Washington, D.C. on Thursday…”

Image credit: Climate Reality.


What Can Climate Hawks Agree On? Grist maps out the various options; here’s an excerpt: “…Electricity currently powers a quarter of the U.S. economy. The other three quarters are cars and trucks using gasoline, factories using quadrillions of British thermal units to forge metals and refine petroleum, and buildings heated by gas or propane. Switching more of these cars and furnaces to run on electricity would allow us to tap into low-carbon energy from renewables and nuclear plants. A little over 1 percent of cars on the road run on electricity right now. To have a shot at keeping global warming under 2 degrees C — the goal set in the Paris Agreement — 10 percent of cars on the road would need to be electric by 2030, according to one scenario plotted by the International Energy Agency…”

Illustration credit: Grist / Amelia Bates.


The Guardian View on Climate Change – a Global Heat Wave. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: “...Instability in the Arctic affects the whole of the northern hemisphere, as it increases the chances that the northern jet stream, will stick for longer than usual in a particular pattern. When that happens, the weather stops changing in the affected areas. Heatwaves are prolonged and so are cold snaps. Extremes of every sort, such as the rains in Japan which have killed more than 100 people, become more likely. What seems to be happening at the moment is that a fixation of the jet stream has produced the heatwave in Siberia as well as ours here. Again, this is yet another feedback loop. This is a heatwave which makes further, hotter heatwaves more likely in the future…”