2022: Similarities to Tormented Spring of 2018
A handful of Minnesota weather moments are etched into my psyche: The Halloween Blizzard of ‘91. The KARE-11 Tornado of ‘86. Flowers blooming in March, 2012. And the 11” of snow that fell April 14, 2018. During the first half of that month 26” fell. Many wrote off April drifts as an omen of a spoiled summer to come. Turns out the summer of ‘18 was hotter than average.
I’m starting to believe a lingering La Nina signal may keep Minnesota hot and bothered this summer. 9 of 10 climate models are predicting hotter than average. Confidence levels are low, but wouldn’t it be ironic?
Winds ease up a bit with splashes of sunshine today into Saturday, with temperatures 10-20F colder than average. What I’d give to be “average”.
An Easter storm may deposit an inch of slush on lawns Sunday night, but rapid melting is likely. With any luck next week will restore your fragile faith in spring. ECMWF predicts 70s; even 80 degrees the weekend of April 23-24. Flip a switch.
If that comes true we may have to party like it’s 1999.
Summer 2022 Outlook. The last time I checked, 9 out of 10 longer-range NOAA climate models were predicting a hotter than average summer for most of the USA, including Minnesota. Hard to believe gazing out your window right now, but we all know the weather can turn in a hurry.
Fewer Flurries – Slightly Less Wind Today. Today will still be 20 degrees colder than average, but not quite as savage or snowy as Thursday was. The sun may even peek out.
Easter Slush – Slow Warming Trend Next Week. Saturday will be the sunnier day of the weekend before the next clipper-like system pushes a shield of wet snow across the state on Easter Sunday; a coating to an inch can’t be ruled out after dark Sunday night.
Omega Block by Late April? If GFS verifies (place your bets) stormy weather will prevail over New England and the Pacific Northwest, with a relatively warm ridge of high pressure over the central USA. We are due for a spell of warmer than average weather, and it’s coming.
“We Want to Save Lives”. Volunteer Storm Spotters Help NWS Warn the Public. Doppler is great, but it only goes so far – we still need ground truth. And that’s where Skyward spotters come in, as highlighted in a post at The Providence Journal: …“Storm spotters play a critical role because they can see things that radar and other technological tools cannot, and this ground truth is critical in helping the NWS perform our primary mission, to save lives and property,” the Weather Service says. “Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by Skywarn spotters, coupled with Doppler-radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods,” the Weather Service says…”
Extreme Weather Has Affected 1 in 3 Americans. Grist has a summary of new findings from Gallup: “One in three U.S. adults report they have been personally affected by an extreme weather event in the past two years. Most commonly, they report experiencing extreme cold, hurricanes, or snow, ice storms or blizzards. The results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 1-18. This marks the first time Gallup has asked Americans about their experiences with extreme weather events as part of this survey. Residents of the South (39%) and West (35%) are significantly more likely than those living in the East (24%) and Midwest (27%) to say they have recently experienced an extreme weather event. Southern residents are most likely to say they were affected by extreme cold (12%) or hurricanes (12%) and, to a lesser extent, tornadoes (7%)...”
Toyota Finally Has an EV, and That’s OK. They placed a large bet on liquid hydrogen vs. batteries. Is Toyota throwing in the towel? Here’s an excerpt from CNN.com: “..You might be surprised to learn that Toyota hasn’t, before now, sold a widely available, real electric vehicle in America. But they have not. Not really. Toyota, a pioneer in hybrids with the Prius — the name means “To go before” in Latin — hasn’t been “going before” with electric vehicles. Tesla, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and others have all beat Toyota to market with electric vehicles. There were two generations of Toyota Rav4 EVs, but those weren’t available nationwide and, besides, they were really just regular Rav4 SUVs fitted with batteries and electric motors. The second generation of Rav4 EVs had Tesla, not Toyota, stuff inside. Toyota has long had a more conservative view of electric vehicles than some other automakers that have pledged to go all-in, or nearly so, on EVs. Toyota isn’t pledging to make nothing but EVs by any set date...”
Science vs. God: Understanding Reality is Not a Battle of Faith. A post at Big Think resonated; here’s an excerpt: “…I answered the man, in a shaky voice, that science does not want to take God away from people, even if some scientists do. I told him that science explains how the world works, revealing the wonders of the Universe big and small, for all to share and appreciate. I went on to explain that scientific research is a passionate enterprise, one that brings us closer to Nature, to the mysteries we still face as we try to understand more of the Universe and our place in it. The man smiled. He did not say anything, but I knew that he identified in the scientific drive for understanding the same passion that drove him toward his faith. He understood that there is room in our lives for both science and faith, if that is the choice we make. Science does not have an interest in taking faith away from people. We should not confuse what science is with what some scientists do. There are many ways of knowing, and they all have a place in our lives…”
36 F. Twin Cities high on Thursday.
56 F. Average MSP high on April 14.
49 F. MSP high on April 14, 2021.
April 15, 2002: An early heat wave overtakes Minnesota. Faribault hits 93 degrees, and the Twin Cities would experience their earliest recorded 90 degree temperature with a high of 91.
FRIDAY: Peeks of sun, brisk. Winds: W 15-25. High: 38
SATURDAY: Partly sunny and cool. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 41
SUNDAY: Wet snow arrives. Slushy coating late? Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 27. High: 38
MONDAY: Flurries taper, gusty and cold. Winds: NW 15-30. Wake-up: 30. High: 38
TUESDAY: Partly sunny and quiet. Winds: S 3-8. Wake-up: 27. High: 45
WEDNESDAY: More clouds, few rain showers. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 34. High: 53
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, almost pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 36. High: 55
(70s possible late next week and the weekend of April 23-24).
Climate Change Worsened Record-Breaking 2020 Hurricane Season. Scientific American connects the dots: “Climate change helped fuel stronger, wetter storms during an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season in 2020, a new study finds. The cyclones produced significantly more rainfall than they would have in a world without global warming. The most extreme three-hour rainfall rates that season were about 10 percent higher because of the influence of climate change, the study found. And the most extreme three-day rainfall rates were about 5 percent higher. That’s looking at all the cyclones that formed across the Atlantic basin, including both tropical storms and hurricanes. When the scientists focused only on hurricane-strength storms, they found that the influence of climate change was even stronger...”
How Climate Change is Disrupting the Global Supply Chain. Everything is interconnected, and a trend toward even more extreme weather extremes isn’t helping the challenge of moving goods across the planet, as described by Yale E360: “…The pandemic is “a temporary problem,” while climate change is “long-term dire,” said Austin Becker, a maritime infrastructure resilience scholar at the University of Rhode Island. “Climate change is a slow-moving crisis that is going to last a very, very long time, and it’s going to require some fundamental changes,” said Becker. “Every coastal community, every coastal transportation network is going to face some risks from this, and we’re not going to have nearly enough resources to make all the investments that are required.” Of all of climate change’s threats to supply chains, sea level rise lurks as potentially the biggest. But even now, years before sea level rise begins inundating ports and other coastal infrastructure, supply chain disruptions caused by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other forms of increasingly extreme weather are jolting the global economy. A sampling of these disruptions from just last year suggests the variety and magnitude of climate change’s threats...”
Some (Kinda) Good Climate News: 2 Degrees is Doable. WIRED.com (paywall) explains: “For all the less-than-encouraging news about climate change—rapid sea-level rise, the land itself transforming, serious trouble brewing under Antarctic glaciers—we’ve been getting plenty of hope. The price of renewable energy is crashing, for example, and we’re moving toward a cleaner, electrified future faster than you may realize. That shift is clear in a darn near uplifting paper that publishes today in the journal Nature: Modeling by an international team of scientists shows that if nations uphold their recent climate pledges, including those made at COP26, humanity may keep warming under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the goal outlined in the Paris Agreement. It isn’t under the 1.5-degree threshold we’d really want (the agreement’s more optimistic goal), but it’s far from the extreme warming of 3, 4, or even 5 degrees, as some scenarios projected prior to the agreement. And it will only happen if nations carry out their promises to quickly decarbonize their economies—which isn’t guaranteed…”
Global Executives Suspect Their Own Companies of “Greenwashing”. Talk is easier than action, as a post at Axios explains: “New polling results from The Harris Poll taken for Google Cloud, and shared first with Axios, show that senior executives at large companies around the world are prioritizing sustainability goals and feel confident in their company’s progress. However, many of these same corporate leaders say that “green hypocrisy exists” and that their own company has overstated its sustainability progress. The polling, conducted on 1,491 C-suite or VP-level executives across 16 markets and multiple industries, found that senior leaders face barriers to making progress on sustainability, especially difficulties in measuring and verifying progress. How and whether large companies meet their greenhouse gas emissions targets will help determine the fate of the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets...”
Fossil Fuels vs. Our Future: Young Montanans Wage Historic Climate Fight. Here’s an excerpt from The Guardian: “…Three years later Gibson-Snyder upped the ante by teaming up with 15 other young people on a novel approach to climate activism: to sue the state of Montana for failing to protect their generation from irreversible harm brought by the climate crisis. Their case, Held v State of Montana, argues that state lawmakers have prioritized the business interests of the fossil fuel industry over their future. When their case is heard next February, it will be the first in a wave of youth-led climate lawsuits to successfully go to trial. Experts say a decision in favor of the 16 youth plaintiffs could have sweeping implications across the country, setting guard rails for how politicians are able to protect the interests of extractive corporations. “The world is literally burning all around them, and nothing’s being done about it,” said Nate Bellinger, a senior staff attorney with Our Children’s Trust, the non-profit law firm that is representing the youth plaintiffs…”
Our Changing National Parks. Climate Central details the impact of warming on America’s National Parks; here’s an excerpt: “National Park Week kicks off this Saturday, April 16. As our climate changes, national parks are changing too. Since their founding in 1916, all but one of 62 major national parks have warmed—with most (63%) of these warming by 2 °F or more, according to Climate Central analysis. By the year 2100, annual average temperatures across these 62 parks could be 5.5 to 11.0 °F warmer than during 1991-2020, depending on how quickly we reduce heat-trapping emissions. The National Park Service is adapting for the impacts of current and future climate change to ensure the resilience of these treasured recreational, cultural, and ecological resources…”
NASA Mission Will Monitor Air Pollution. Yale Climate Connections has details: “NASA satellite mission aims to help scientists investigate not what’s happening on Mars or in the Milky Way but right here on Earth, in the air we breathe. “It’s a public health mission,” says Yang Liu of Emory University. “It’s designed to have this societal benefit at its core.” Liu is on the team of international scientists and health experts working on the NASA-led MAIA mission. The group is developing technology that will be launched into orbit – likely next year – to monitor air pollution in more than 10 cities around the world. The equipment will observe how tiny air pollution particles reflect or absorb light. Scientists can use that information to determine the concentrations of pollutants such as sulfates and nitrates…”
Climate Change Made 2020 Hurricane Season Wetter From The Standpoint Of Water: Climate Nexus has an overview and links: “Climate change made the deadly, record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season dump more rain than it would have otherwise, a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found. Across the season’s vocabulary-depleting30 named storms, three-day rainfall accumulations were 5% higher and three-hour rainfall rates were 10% higher than they would have been without climate change. Those increases were even greater in the 14 storms that reached hurricane strength — 11% and 8%, respectively. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re near a threshold, a little bit can push you over the top,” Lawrence Berkeley National Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner, a co-author of the paper, told the AP. Previous studies have predicted such impacts, and others have found that individual storms were in fact wetter because of climate change. This is the first study to avoid the potential confirmation bias caused by only assessing major storms and surveying the entire season instead. “It isn’t this end-of-the-century problem that we have to figure out if we can mitigate or adapt to,” Kevin A. Reed, a professor at Stony Brook University and lead author of the study, told the New York Times. “[Climate change] is impacting our weather and our extreme weather now.” (AP, New York Times $, Washington Post $, CNN; Climate Signals background: 2020 Atlantic hurricane season)
Electrifying Homes to Slow Climate Change: 4 Essential Reads. The Conversation dives in: “…As of 2020, home energy use accounted for about one-sixth of total U.S. energy consumption. Nearly half (47%) of this energy came from electricity, followed by natural gas (42%), oil (8%) and renewable energy (7%). By far the largest home energy use is for heating and air conditioning, followed by lighting, refrigerators and other appliances. The most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from home energy consumption is to substitute electricity generated from low- and zero-carbon sources for oil and natural gas. And the power sector is rapidly moving that way: As a 2021 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed, power producers have reduced their carbon emissions by 50% from what energy experts predicted in 2005...”
Southeast African Tropical Cyclones Made Worse By Climate Change: Climate Nexus has details and links: “Climate change is making extreme rainfall across southeast Africa heavier and more likely during cyclones, a new analysis finds. The report from World Weather Attribution has special significance for communities in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi, where a record three tropicalcyclones hit within just six weeks of each other earlier this year, killing a combined 230 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. The WWA analysis found climate change, caused mainly by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, made the storms worse. It also highlighted the lack of data available in the region. “Strengthening scientific resources in Africa and other parts of the global south is key to help us better understand extreme weather events fueled by climate change, to prepare vulnerable people and infrastructure to better cope with them,” Dr. Izidine Pinto, a climate system analyst at the University of Cape Town, told the AP.” (AP)