Autumnal chill is coming later than usual this year. September’s soft afterglow spilled deep into October, but at some point the laws of physics catch up with you. The Earth is still tilted on its axis. Today’s sun angle is equivalent to February 20. However reluctantly, the Northern Hemisphere is cooling off.

We will get to enjoy cold fronts and frozen water, but I see a mild bias into at least the first week of November.

NOAA’s new winter outlook into January suggests temperatures and precipitation near normal for Minnesota, as a La Nina cool phase in the Pacific Ocean kicks in, flavoring weather downwind.

The growing season is over; another frost/freeze expected tonight, even for close-in suburbs. Blue sky Saturday gives way to more clouds and showers Sunday, with heaviest rain passing south/east of town. More rain arrives the middle of next week, but the pattern won’t favor snow anytime soon.

In fact I’m fairly confident we’ll see more 60s, and ECMWF hints at a non-terrifying Halloween this year with 50s. This cool front is just a feeble shot across the bow.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Chipping Away At The Drought. The latest drought report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows a slight improvement in drought conditions up north – no exceptional drought anywhere in the state, but the MSP metro remains in moderate drought.

This seasonal U.S. Drought Outlook map for November 2021 through January 2022 predicts persistent drought across the West, Northern Plains, and the Missouri River Basin. Drought improvement is anticipated in the Pacific Northwest, northern California, the upper Midwest, and Hawaii.
NOAA based on NWS CPC data

NOAA Winter Outlook: Drier, Warmer South, Wetter North with Return of La Nina. Here is a link to NOAA’s forecast through January, flavored by a brewing La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific Ocean: “Above-average temperatures are favored across the South and most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second winter in a row according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service. In NOAA’s 2021 Winter Outlook — which extends from December 2021 through February 2022 — wetter-than-average conditions are anticipated across portions of the Northern U.S., primarily in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and western Alaska. “Using the most up-to-date observing technologies and computer models, our dedicated forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center produce timely and accurate seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for the months ahead,” said Michael Farrar, Ph.D., director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction...”

December – February Temperature Outlook
December – February Precipitation Outlook

NOAA Winter Outlook: Mild Bias for Much of USA. Signatures of a La Nina are showing up in the winter forecast with warmer than normal temperatures predicted for much of the nation, and colder than average weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Wetter/snowier than average weather is predicted for the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes, with drier weather for the Gulf Coast and southwestern states. Stay tuned.

Friday Future Clouds/Precipitation

Generally Dry Into Saturday. A few showers and sprinkles are possible far northern Minnesota with a better chance of puddles across Wisconsin into Saturday evening.

Frost Potential Early Saturday, Then Slowly Mellowing Again. Today’s cool correction lingers into Saturday morning, but (all) weather models show temperatures rising a few degrees above average next week. No harsh slaps of wintry air are brewing just yet.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Relatively Mild Into First Week of November. Long-range model guidance is fairly consistent, suggesting cold, stormy weather in the western U.S. and relatively mild weather east of the Rockies for the next 2 weeks. At some point we will see a cold, snowy swipe or two – my bet is closer to Thanksgiving.

National Weather Service Investigating Possible Tornado in the BWCA. has an update on a very unusual event up north: “It is one of the rarest of Northland weather events, but the National Weather Service is investigating a possible tornado in the BWCA in Cook County. Recently, someone exploring the Boundary Waters near Clearwater Lake in Cook County stumbled onto major tree damage. The damage likely occurred on October 10th, which was the first time Cook County had ever been under a Tornado Warning in October. Joe Moore with the National Weather Service in Duluth said they did not go and survey the area in person due to its remoteness. But now, through the help of new satellite imagery and aerial photographs provided by the Forest Service, he said it looks like a tornado likely caused the damage...”

Seventy-Two Hours Under the Heat Dome. The New Yorker has a jaw-dropping account of the events leading up to the hottest temperatures on record for Oregon and much of the Pacific Northwest this summer; here’s a clip: “…The hottest temperatures ever recorded in Oregon were imminent. The heat dome appeared on weather models as a bloody thumbprint pressed into the Pacific Northwest, and would likely produce what one meteorologist characterized as “obscene temperatures.” A hundred and three degrees, a hundred and four, maybe even a hundred and seven were forecast. “This is not just uncomfortable heat,” Jennifer Vines, the lead health officer for three counties, including Multnomah, advised Voss and the others. “This is life-threatening heat.” Twenty-one per cent of households in the metropolitan area do not have air-conditioning. Deaths were likely throughout the county, home to more than eight hundred thousand residents, including around six hundred and fifty thousand in Portland. A representative from the National Weather Service told the participants on the call that the nighttime lows could be as high as eighty degrees, with no breeze; there would be no reprieve after the sun went down...”

Cars drive along Highway 50 in heavy smoke from Caldor Fire, in Sacramento, CA, U.S., August 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Fred Greaves

U.S. Highway Expansions Increase Traffic and Pollution, Environmental Groups Say. Reuters has the details: “U.S. policies of expanding highways to ease congestion are misguided and lead to an increase in traffic and pollution, environmental advocacy groups said, urging lawmakers to instead invest more money in public transit. Led by Colorado-based research group RMI, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and Transportation for America, the groups on Thursday released an online calculator to show the adverse effects of highway expansions across all U.S. states. The groups said decades of investments in highway infrastructure to alleviate congestion have only provided brief respite, eventually filling up with more cars in a phenomenon known as “induced demand...”

A Secretive Hedge Fund is Gutting Newsrooms. The Atlantic tells the sad tale; here’s an excerpt: “The 21st century has seen many of these generational owners flee the industry, to devastating effect. In the past 15 years, more than a quarter of American newspapers have gone out of business. Those that have survived are smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable to acquisition. Today, half of all daily newspapers in the U.S. are controlled by financial firms, according to an analysis by the Financial Times, and the number is almost certain to grow. What threatens local newspapers now is not just digital disruption or abstract market forces. They’re being targeted by investors who have figured out how to get rich by strip-mining local-news outfits. The model is simple: Gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring as much cash as possible out of the enterprise until eventually enough readers cancel their subscriptions that the paper folds, or is reduced to a desiccated husk of its former self...”

Ancient Solar Storm Pinpoints Viking Settlement in Americas Exactly 1,000 Years Ago. National Geographic explains; here’s an excerpt: “Since the discovery of a Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Canada’s Newfoundland more than 50 years ago, most scholars accept that Viking sailors, who explored the seas beginning in the late 700s to around 1100, were the first Europeans to reach the Americas. The timing of the Viking forays to what they called “Vinland,” however, remained unclear. Based on artifact finds, radiocarbon dating, and Viking sagas, the settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows was thought to have briefly thrived somewhere between 990 and 1050. Now, thanks to that cosmic storm in 993, researchers can assuredly say that Vikings were working away at their tiny outpost in the north Atlantic exactly 1,000 years ago, in 1021, according to a study published today in the journal Nature...”

51 F. Twin Cities high on Thursday.

55 F. average MSP high on October 21.

36 F. maximum MSP temperature on October 21, 2020.

October 22, 1938: Sleet and wind cause damage along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

October 22, 1913: Long Prairie receives a record low of 8 degrees F.

FRIDAY Patchy clouds, sprinkle? Winds: NW 5-10. High: 49

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 33. High: 51

SUNDAY: More clouds, stray shower. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 53

MONDAY: AM showers south, some sun north. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 42. High: 52

TUESDAY: Some sun, a milder breeze. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: near 60

WEDNESDAY: Periods of rain. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 55

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

Climate Stories….

The midnight sun shining over sea ice in the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic in 2017.
David Goldman, Associated Press

Climate Change Poses a Widening Threat to National Security. In DoD parlance: a “threat multiplier”. The New York Times (paywall) reports: “Worsening conflict within and between nations. Increased dislocation and migration as people flee climate-fueled instability. Heightened military tension and uncertainty. The Biden administration released several reports Thursday on climate change and national security, laying out in stark terms the ways in which the warming world is beginning to pose significant challenges to stability worldwide. The documents, issued by the departments of Homeland Security and Defense as well as the National Security Council and director of national intelligence, form the government’s most thorough assessment yet of these and other challenges, as well as how it will address them. The timing of the release seems intended to give President Biden something to demonstrate that his government is acting on climate change as he prepares to attend a major United Nations climate conference in Glasgow known as COP26…”

Members of a Santa Barbara County Fire Department hand crew burn off pockets of grass along northbound Highway 101 as they try to contain the Alisal fire.
Mike Eliason /Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Column: The Climate is Still Warming, But World Leaders Have a Chance to Fix That. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Los Angeles Times: “…That’s tempered by the fact that Americans rank plenty of other issues — beginning with the economy and COVID-19 — as “top priorities.” But among Democrats and young voters especially, climate has become a core issue. They want their government to act. Political leaders follow the poll numbers. In Europe, climate is a serious priority for almost all major parties. In the United States, the issue is polarized; many Republicans are still skeptical. But for Democrats like President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, acting against climate change has become a must-do. Next month, many of those politicians, including Biden, will head to the Scottish city of Glasgow for a summit meeting. The purpose is to win new commitments for action — especially from China, the industrial behemoth that burns more coal than the rest of the world combined…”

COP26: Document Leak Reveals Nations Lobbying to Change Key Climate Report. BBC News has details: “A huge leak of documents seen by BBC News shows how countries are trying to change a crucial scientific report on how to tackle climate change. The leak reveals Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels. It also shows some wealthy nations are questioning paying more to poorer states to move to greener technologies. This “lobbying” raises questions for the COP26 climate summit in November. The leak reveals countries pushing back on UN recommendations for action and comes just days before they will be asked at the summit to make significant commitments to slow down climate change and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. The leaked documents consist of more than 32,000 submissions made by governments, companies and other interested parties to the team of scientists compiling a UN report designed to bring together the best scientific evidence on how to tackle climate change...”

Climate Central

Climate Change and Health. Climate Central takes a deep dive and examines the health implications of a warming planet; here’s an excerpt: “Climate change threatens the health and well-being of people around the world and health impacts are expected to worsen with additional warming, according to the sixth annual report from The Lancet. Our warming climate exposes more people to hazardous conditions—including extreme heat, wildfire, drought, floods, and air pollution. These conditions can harm our health in many ways, including heat-related illness, lung and heart disease, infections carried by insects or polluted water, mental or physical trauma, and even death. Americans are already feeling these effects. The Lancet’s global report is accompanied by a policy brief focused on the climate-related health risks of recent heatwaves, drought, and wildfires across the U.S. Unequal heatwave health risk – American seniors and infants were exposed to far more heatwaves in 2020 compared to the 1986-2005 average, accounting for population increases. Rural impacts of drought – The cascading health impacts of drought—from the spread of diseases like Valley Fever in dry conditions, to mental illness tied to economic losses in the agriculture sector—are acutely felt by farmworkers (nearly 65% of whom identify as Hispanic) and Indigenous communities in rural areas of the Western and Central U.S…”

Children splash around a canal that connects the Euphrates River to the central marshes in Chibayish.
Emilienne Malfatto

From Cradle to Grave. Climate change is transforming much of the Middle East, including the birthplace of civilization, according to a story at The Washington Post (paywall): “No one lives here anymore. The mud-brick buildings are empty, just husks of the human life that became impossible on this land. Wind whips through bone-dry reeds. For miles, there’s no water to be seen. Carved from an ancient land once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq is home to the cradle of civilization — the expanse between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where the first complex human communities emerged. But as climate change produces extreme warming and water grows scarcer around the Middle East, the land here is drying up. Across Iraq’s south, there is a sense of an ending…”


Your Green Credentials May Be Linked To Your Genes, Study Says. The Guardian has a summary of new research: “Some people are more environmentally conscious than others, and scientists say the reason could be in their genes. A study has found that identical twins have more similar views on conservation and environmentalism than non-identical twins. The researchers say this suggests there could be a link between people’s genetic makeup and their support for green policies. “The goal is to understand why people are different, and such differences come from the combination of genes and environments,” said Chia-chen Chang, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore and lead author on the paper, published in the journal BioScience...”


Greater Than 99% Consensus on Human Caused Climate Change in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature. Here is the abstract from a new paper summarizing the consensus on man-made warming, courtesy of IOPscience: “While controls over the Earth’s climate system have undergone rigorous hypothesis-testing since the 1800s, questions over the scientific consensus of the role of human activities in modern climate change continue to arise in public settings. We update previous efforts to quantify the scientific consensus on climate change by searching the recent literature for papers skeptical of anthropogenic-caused global warming. From a dataset of 88125 climate-related papers published since 2012, when this question was last addressed comprehensively, we examine a randomized subset of 3000 such publications. We also use a second sample-weighted approach that was specifically biased with keywords to help identify any skeptical peer-reviewed papers in the whole dataset. We identify four skeptical papers out of the sub-set of 3000, as evidenced by abstracts that were rated as implicitly or explicitly skeptical of human-caused global warming. In our sample utilizing pre-identified skeptical keywords we found 28 papers that were implicitly or explicitly skeptical. We conclude with high statistical confidence that the scientific consensus on human-caused contemporary climate change—expressed as a proportion of the total publications—exceeds 99% in the peer reviewed scientific literature...”

File image
Scott Kelly, NASA ISS

Study Of Studies Finds 99.9% Scientific Consensus On Human-Caused Climate Change As Impacts Ravage The Globe: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “The scientific community’s level of certainty on humans’ causation of climate change is now on par with its agreement on evolution and plate tectonics. A review of scientific literature, published in Environmental Research Letters, found just 28 papers linked to climate scepticism in its trawl of more than 88,000. The findings support the IPCC’s declaration in August that the science of human influence on the heating atmosphere is “unequivocal,” and refute the concerted disinformation campaign by fossil fuel interests seeking to sow doubt and uncertainty about their products’ causation of the crisis — the impacts of which are visible around the world. A UN report released Tuesday warned all of Africa’s glaciers could vanish in the next two decades. Africa is responsible for just 4% of greenhouse gas pollution, but the continent and its people are exceptionally vulnerable to the ravages of the climate crisis. Climate change accelerates glacier melt, intensifies droughts, and worsens extreme precipitation events like those that cause flash flooding. Meanwhile, on Tuesday: the governor of California expanded a drought emergency to cover the entire state; Indian officials said flooding caused by torrential rain has killed at least 22 people in Uttarakhand state; and a separate UN report said climate change exacerbated the worst flooding to hit South Sudan in almost 60 years.” (Scientific consensus: The Guardian; African glaciers: AP, New York Times $, Reuters, The Hill, Axios, CNN, USA Today, The Independent; Newsom declares drought emergency across California (CAL Matters, LA Times $, San Francisco Chronicle, Axios, CNN, USA Today; India: AP; South Sudan: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Glacier and ice sheet melt; Drought; Extreme precipitation increase)

Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Expansion of Wind and Solar Power Too Slow to Stop Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a post at that caught my eye: “The production of renewable energy is increasing every year. But after analyzing the growth rates of wind and solar power in 60 countries, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University in Sweden and Central European University in Vienna, Austria, conclude that virtually no country is moving sufficiently fast enough to avoid global warming of 1.5°C or even 2°C. “This is the first time that the maximum growth rate in individual countries has been accurately measured, and it shows the enormous scale of the challenge of replacing traditional energy sources with renewables, as well as the need to explore diverse technologies and scenarios,” says Jessica Jewell, Associate Professor of Energy Transitions at Chalmers University of Technology…”

Police Increasingly Cite Climate Disasters When Seeking Military Gear, Documents Show. HuffPost has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…There are a few reasons for law enforcement’s shifting rhetoric. Across the country, climate change is fueling more destructive and deadlier catastrophes. The U.S. has not invested in large-scale disaster preparedness, forcing local governments and law enforcement to prepare for disasters ― and pay for it ― largely on their own. But the bigger reason may be that the Defense Department has also started to cue local police and sheriffs to make a big deal out of their role in disaster response. Within the past few years, on the forms that police and sheriffs must submit to justify their requests for armored vehicles, the Pentagon began to list natural disasters as an example justification. (The 1033 Program was created in 1996.)...”

Flooding in Venice Worsens Off-Season Amid Climate Change. Associated Press News has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…Sitting at Venice’s lowest spot, St. Mark’s Basilica offers a unique position to monitor the impact of rising seas on the city. The piazza outside floods at 80 centimeters (around 30 inches), and water passes the narthex into the church at 88 centimeters (34.5 inches), which has been reinforced up from a previous 65 centimeters (25.5 inches). “Conditions are continuing to worsen since the flooding of November 2019. We therefore have the certainty that in these months, flooding is no longer an occasional phenomenon. It is an everyday occurrence,” said Tesserin, whose honorific, First Procurator of St. Mark’s, dates back to the ninth century. In the last two decades, there have been nearly as many inundations in Venice over 1.1 meters — the official level for “acqua alta,” or “high water,” provoked by tides, winds and lunar cycles — as during the previous 100 years: 163 vs. 166, according to city data…”