Holiday Weekend Weather Grade: B+
Meteorologists want to get it right, especially on holiday weekends. More people are outdoors, at the mercy of the elements, more attuned to the sky draped overhead. If weather turns out better than predicted, great! But woe unto you if you predict sunshine and it thunders all day. People are slow to forgive and forget.
After scanning the weather models I’m a bit more optimistic about salvaging a decent Memorial Day holiday weekend this year. It won’t be perfect (it rarely is) but with a little planning you should be able to squeeze in time for splashing, grilling and napping on your favorite deck.
A well-timed surge of warm, sticky air will ignite a few rounds of T-storms. The best chance of fleeting puddles comes Saturday morning, again late Sunday. The farther north and west you travel, the better the odds of bumping into rough storms. If the sun stays out Sunday we should see 80s, with a good shot at 90 on Memorial Day.
Frequent showers and T-storms linger next week. No need to water anytime soon.
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...”
NOAA Forecast Busier Than Average Atlantic Hurricane Season For 7th Year In A Row: Climate Nexus has more analysis, perspective and links: “The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will likely produce more storms than the 1991-2020 average for the seventh year in a row, NOAA projects. Yesterday’s forecast suggests the year will see 14 to 21 named storms (tropical storms or hurricanes), with 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). Sea-surface temperatures about one-half degree Fahrenheit hotter than last year in the Gulf of Mexico, heated by an unusually far north “Loop Current,” are especially worrying because warm water near shore helps fuel rapidintensification that can catch coastal communities off guard. This creates more dangerous storms because “it’s higher octane fuel,” U. of Miami professor Nick Shay told The Verge. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Harvey in 2017, and Ida in 2021 were all strengthened by the Loop Current. “We’re seeing these storms happen more frequently. They’re lasting longer,” FEMA Director Deanne Criswell told reporters. “We’ve seen such a dramatic change in the type of weather events that could be seen as a result of climate change.” (Washington Post $, AP, Yale Climate Connections, The Verge, CBS, New York Times $, USA Today, Axios, The Hill, ABC, CNN, CNBC, Reuters, Wall Street Journal $, NJ.com, NBC Miami, Broward Sun-Sentinel, NOLA.com, Bloomberg $, NOLA.com; Climate Signals background: Hurricanes, 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Harvey)
Sticky and Thundery Holiday Weekend. The unofficial start to summer gets off to a noisy start with a few swarms of storms, but no all-day washouts. I might have a Plan B for Saturday morning (wet start) and right now Sunday looks drier, sunnier and warmer. If the sun stays out much of Monday we could hit 90 degrees in the metro.
Warm and Stormy 2 Weeks Out. No shortage of rain this spring, and at the rate we’re going the odds of significant drought by August are smaller than usual. NOAA’s GFS solution suggests seasonable warmth for the first week of June (70s and a few 80s) with a trough of low pressure sparking numerous showers and T-storms from the Rockies into the High Plains.
May: Above Average Rainfall To Date. Notice the swath of heavier rainfall amounts over much of central Minnesota. St. Cloud is more than 3” wetter than average for the month, to date.
Mega-Tornado in Morton, Texas. Texas Storm Chasers has YouTube video here. Fox News reports: “A super tornado has touched down in North Texas and is crawling across the state as weather officials are urging residents to exercise caution by remaining in their homes and adhering to other tornado protocols. “TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building,” a warning from the National Weather Service, after photos and videos of a gigantic tornado near Morton circulated online...”
Colorado, Nebraska Jostle Over Water Rights Amid Drought. The Great Water Wars are now well underway, according to AP News: “…As climate change-fueled megadrought edges eastward, Nebraska’s Republican-controlled Legislature this year voted to move forward with a plan that stunned Colorado state leaders. The Cornhusker State wants to divert water in Colorado by invoking an obscure, 99-year-old compact between the states that allows Nebraska to seize Colorado land along the South Platte River to build a canal. Nebraska’s plan underscores an increasing appetite throughout the West to preemptively secure water as winter snows and year-round rainfall diminish, forcing states to reallocate increasingly scarce flows in basins such as the South Platte and its better-known cousin, the Colorado River...”
Study: Reducing Human-Caused Air Pollution in North America and Europe Brings Surprising Result: More Hurricanes. A story at NOAA Research connects the dots: “A new NOAA study published today in the journal Science Advances about four decades of tropical cyclones reveals the surprising result that reducing particulate air pollution in Europe and North America has contributed to an increase in the number of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin and a decrease in the number of these storms in the Southern Hemisphere. The study also found that the growth of particulate pollution in Asia has contributed to fewer tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific basin. “Air pollution is a big environmental risk to human health and we have made great strides in reducing health risks by reducing particulate air pollution,” said Hiroyuki Murakami, a physical scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and study author. “But reducing air pollution does not always decrease the risk of hazards from tropical cyclones…”
Florida Hurricane Facility Replicates Storm Conditions to Improve Products, Building Codes. ClickOrlando.com has the story; here’s a clip: “…Located on the Florida International University campus in Miami, the Wall of Wind facility is a state-of-the-art research center that is key to advancing our ability to be better prepared when the next storm hits. Taking us on our tour is Erik Salna, the associate director with the FIU Extreme Events Institute. “The research we are doing here is now figuring out how the built environment can be more resilient. So, there is less damage with the next storm.” Salna explained. And that resiliency can be easily seen in construction and Florida building codes after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 5 hurricane caused $26 billion in damage, destroying about 50,000 homes. “It was absolutely devastating. But what it did, it woke up Florida. And now Florida is the leader when it comes to building codes, emergency management, preparedness, and hurricane research…”
Flooding Insurance Bill Seeks to Curb Rising Tide of Bankruptcies. The Hill has the story: “Americans with homes that are repeatedly flooded by extreme weather events could soon have the federal government buy their houses under a new bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.). The bill would allow the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the federal flood insurer of last resort, to buy houses and zones deemed indefensible in lieu of continually paying to repair them. “You’re not obligating people to move, but you’re saying like, you know … if you want to avail yourself with the NFIP program, we’re going to structure it toward a buyout rather than rebuilding,” Casten said…”
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…”
55 F. Wednesday “high” in the Twin Cities.
72 F. Average MSP high on May 25.
86 F. MSP high on May 25, 2021.
May 26, 1929: A tornado rakes Freeborn County and causes 10,000 dollars of damage to farms.
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and dry. Winds: N 8-13. High: 62
FRIDAY: Sunny and glorious. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 50. High: 75
SATURDAY: Morning T-storms. Some PM sun. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 58. High: 79
SUNDAY: Warm sunshine. T-storms at night. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 66. High: 83
MEMORIAL DAY: Hot, sticky sunshine. Stray storm. Winds: S 15-30. Wake-up: 70. High: near 90
TUESDAY: Muggy, few showers, T-storms. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 68. High: 85
WEDNESDAY: Stalled front. Conga-line of T-storms. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 75
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. Prodevelopment 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…”
South Asia’s Intense Heat Wave a “Sign of Things to Come”. AP News has perspective; here’s an excerpt: “…The devastating heat wave that has baked India and Pakistan in recent months was made more likely by climate change and is a glimpse of the region’s future, international scientists said in a study released Monday. The World Weather Attribution group analyzed historical weather data that suggested early, long heat waves that impact a massive geographical area are rare, once-a-century events. But the current level of global warming, caused by human-caused climate change, has made those heat waves 30 times more likely. If global heating increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) more than pre-industrial levels, then heat waves like this could occur twice in a century and up to once every five years, said Arpita Mondal, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, who was part of the study. “This is a sign of things to come,” Mondal said…”
South Asia Heatwave 30x More Likely Because Of Climate Change: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Climate change made India and Pakistan’s punishing March and April heatwave at least 30 times more likely, a study from World Weather Attribution finds. “This is a sign of things to come,” Arpita Mondal, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, who was part of the study, told the AP. The heatwave shattered monthly and all-time temperature records across Pakistan and northwestern and central India, impacting nearly 70% of India and 30% of Pakistan — approximately 1 billion people in total, about one-eighth of the global population. The heatwave slashed crop yields in vital Indian agricultural regions, fueled hundreds of forest fires, and snowmelt in Pakistan caused a glacial lake to flood. It also illustrates the risk climate change poses to the region’s economy and threatens to hurt India’s credit score. The heat was especially brutal for those who lack access to cooling and/or work outside, like 42-year-old father of two Rahman Ali, who earns less than $3 per day sorting people’s trash to salvage what can be sold. “What can we do?” he said to the AP. “If I don’t work…we won’t eat.” The study is consistent with a UK Met Office study, released last week, which found a record-breaking heatwave like the heatwave in South Asia this year is 100 times more likely because of climate change.” (Attribution: AP, Washington Post $, Reuters, The Guardian, Axios; Cooling access: Thomson Reuters Foundation; Credit risk: Bloomberg $; Possible U.S. aid: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)
Climate Change-Exacerbated Rainfall Causing Devastating Flooding in Eastern South Africa. Here’s an excerpt of a preliminary report on how a warmer, wetter climate may have contributed to extreme flooding from World Weather Attribution: “…While the full profile of the impacts on human life and livelihoods has yet to be analysed, initial assessments show that the floods disproportionately affected marginalised communities, with particular devastation in informal settlements. Thus, the magnitude of this disaster on these groups has been exacerbated by pre-existing structural vulnerability in the region. The magnitude of the event is given by maximum 2-day rainfall, averaged over the homogenous area to make observations and model output comparable. The defined event has a return time of about 20 years in today’s climate in the ERA5 observational data set. An event of this magnitude would have been rarer in a 1.2C cooler world, with a return time of about 40 years…”