Canadian Breeze Helps Us Keep Our Cool

I’m happiest when I’m not apologizing about the weather. Which is all I’ve been doing since mid-January, when our weather went off the rails.

The haves have more, the have-nots have less. Income inequality? Yes, but in this case I’m talking temperature extremes. Frost is possible near Duluth and the North Shore Thursday morning. Meanwhile much of the west coast is broiling in 100-degree heat. Temperatures as hot as 122F are sparking riots in India. It’s been a head- scratcher of a spring.

The Summer Solstice is 10 days away and I’m STILL babbling about Alberta Clippers; blips of unusually cool air pushing out of Canada – each one preceded by a swirl of showers. Expect a few hours of rain today with a clap of thunder, but probably nothing severe.

We dry out Wednesday PM and Thursday, but more showers sprout late Friday into Saturday as a cooler front approaches. It’s still early but Sunday looks like the drier, sunnier day of the weekend, with a comfortable breeze.

Think of all the money you’re saving on air conditioning.

Mississippi Hits Dangerous Flood Levels, Stalls Barges and Roadways While Affecting Farmers. It’s the duration of the flood event that is both impressive and heart-breaking for so many. Here’s a clip from Newsweek: “…The recent level by the Mississippi isn’t expected to reach the levels of 1993, when 17 million acres across nine states were flooded, but the recent flood levels could have a greater reach than just beyond the Midwest. “In ’93, the flood was really kind of concentrated in Iowa and the Upper Midwest,” Boerm said in Bloomberg. “This has been much more expansive, getting all the inland rivers.” Inland rivers affected include the Ohio, Illinois and Arkansas rivers, as well as the entire Mississippi moving south toward the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that grain shipments of corn and soybean along the Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri rivers are below both the five-year and three-year averages...”

NOAA Predicts Large “Dead Zone” for Gulf of Mexico. Blame the floods; here’s an excerpt from NOAA: “NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or ‘dead zone’ – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 7,829 square miles, or roughly the size of Massachusetts. The annual prediction is based on U.S. Geological Survey river flow and nutrient data. The 2019 forecast is close to the record size of 8,776 square miles set in 2017 and larger than the 5-year average measured size of 5,770 square miles. The annually recurring Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone is primarily caused by excess nutrient pollution from human activities, such as urbanization and agriculture, occurring throughout the Mississippi River watershed…”

“Absolutely Crazy Experience”. Pilot Shoots Video of Ottawa Tornado From Above. GlobalNews in Canada has the story and video link – pretty cool: “While airborne over Ottawa, a pilot captured video of a large funnel cloud that ripped through the city’s east end on Sunday evening. Jonathan Hilaire was aboard an Aero L-29 Delfin, a plane used by the Russians during the Cold War, and en route from an air show in Montreal when the funnel cloud formed. “It was an absolutely crazy experience, one I felt humbled to see,” said Hilaire…”

India Heat Wave Triggers Clashes Over Water. Deutsche Welle has details of a blistering heat wave: “Police were tasked with guarding water tankers and water sources in Madhya Pradesh state in central India, the Times of India reported on Saturday, following clashes over water in the state and other parts of the country. Temperatures in India reached 50.3 degrees Celsius (122.54 Fahrenheit) last week, nearing the record high of 51 degrees Celsius set in 2016. Authorities have been distributing water to areas most affected by the heat wave, but the scarcity of water has prompted fights and stabbings at relief points. At least six people were stabbed by a man near Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, on Friday. There was a fight with a man from a neighboring village who was filling barrels of water from a tanker, according to a report on NDTV...”

The Military is Locked in a Battle with Wind Farms. Who knew? Here’s an excerpt from “…Although Pentagon officials don’t see wind power as an obstacle to military readiness, in the past two years, a growing number of state lawmakers are citing national security to block wind farms. That’s what’s happening along the North Carolina coastline, which is home to Marine Corps and Naval aviation facilities as well as a burgeoning wind industry. North Carolina’s state legislature is considering a bill to ban all wind farms within 100 miles of the coast from Virginia to Camp LeJeune. The bill’s sponsor, state senator Harry Brown (R), was also behind an 18-month moratorium on North Carolina wind farms that expired in December 2018. At a legislative hearing on the bill last month, some military experts said prohibition goes too far…”

File image: Eddie Seal, Bloomberg.

The New American Religion of UFOs. A story at Vox piqued my interest; here’s a clip: “…According to Diana Pasulka, a professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the new book American Cosmic, belief in UFOs and extraterrestrials is becoming a kind of religion — and it isn’t nearly as fringe as you might think. More than half of American adults and over 60 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This tracks pretty closely with belief in God, and if Pasulka is right, that’s not an accident. Her book isn’t so much about the truth of UFOs or aliens as it is about what the appeal of belief in those things says about our culture and the shifting roles of religion and technology in it. On the surface, it’s a book about the popularity of belief in aliens, but it’s really a deep look at how myths and religions are created in the first place and how human beings deal with unexplainable experiences…”

Image credit: Live Science and Shutterstock.

You Can’t Drink Too Much Coffee. Color me relieved. CNN reports: “Coffee lovers might be able to breathe a sigh of relief — a new study found that drinking even large amounts of the caffeinated beverage won’t stiffen arteries and harm your heart. Previous studies suggested that coffee can cause a stiffening of the arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of stroke or heart attack.  But a new study, funded in part by the British Heart Foundation, found that drinking five cups of coffee a day was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than one cup. The study of more than 8,000 people across the United Kingdom also found that even those who drank up to 25 cups a day were no more likely to experience stiffening of the arteries than someone drinking less than a cup a day…”

Fake Weather News: Traffic Circles are Triggering Tornadoes. Makes sense to me. explains: “Pennsylvania has seen an unusually high number of tornadoes already this year, including one which recently touched down in Bucks County.  Scientists aren’t exactly sure what’s behind the uptick, but one Pennsylvania resident has a theory: traffic circles. Somehow, this is what a White Haven resident came up with when he called into WNEP’s “Talkback 16” segment, in which viewers call the Central Pennsylvania television station and leave voicemails with their opinions on the topics of the day. And here’s the caller’s full theory, written out: “We didn’t have tornadoes here until we started putting in the traffic circles. Cause, on account of the — you wanna know why? When people go round and round in circles, it causes disturbance in the atmosphere, and causes tornadoes…”

Skies a Little Bluer Because Doug Is In Love! A big thank you to The Onion for making me laugh: “…The National Weather Service is reporting that the clouds over Minneapolis have parted, the sun is shining, and the sky is just a little bluer today—and it’s all because 38-year-old Doug Bramowski is in love, folks. NWS meteorologists predict that since Bramowski’s head over heels for Abby Feldman and, by golly, she’s crazy about him, too, Twin Cities residents will be enjoying particularly beautiful weather this weekend with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s, unusually low humidity, and crystal-clear skies as far as the eye can see…”

Photo credit: “With low humidity and blue skies for miles, meteorologists say ol’ Dougie Boy is most definitely in love, and it’s for real.”

79 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

77 F. average high on June 10.

77 F. high on June 10, 2018.

June 11, 2011: Severe thunderstorms bring extremely strong wind to central Minnesota. An unofficial wind gust of 119 mph is reported at a seed farm 1 mile northwest of Atwater. A storm chaser’s car was battered when he got too close to the storm. Most of the windows in the car were broken.

June 11, 1996: 5.91 inches of rain fall at Mankato. Mudslides close roads, including Hwy. 169, and push a trailer home 20 feet down a hill.

June 11, 1922: A hailstorm at Maple Plain causes extensive damage to crops.

TUESDAY: Showers, possible thunder. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 69

WEDNESDAY: Showers taper, slow PM clearing. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 55. High: 66

THURSDAY: Blue sky, a fine spring day. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 49. High: 73

FRIDAY: Clouds increase, T-storms later. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

SATURDAY: Some mild sun, PM showers up north. Winds: W/NW 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 82

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cool breeze. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 58. High: 73

MONDAY: Patchy clouds, isolated shower. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 75

Climate Stories….

Tornadoes and Climage Change: What Does the Science Say? Zeke Hausfather at Carbon Brief has a good overview of what we know and what we don’t know at EcoWatch: “…Scientists have relatively low confidence in detecting a link between tornado activity and climate change. They cannot exclude the possibility of a link; rather, the science is so uncertain that they simply do not know at this point. What is clear is that there is no observable increase in the number of strong tornadoes in the U.S. over the past few decades. At the same time, tornadoes have become more clustered, with outbreaks of multiple tornadoes becoming more common even as the overall number has remained unchanged. There is also evidence that tornado “power” has been increasing in recent years. Some research has suggested that climate change will create conditions more favorable to the formation of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but such effects are not detectable in observations today...”

Graphic credit: “Figure from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences report on the Attribution of Extreme Weather Events, published in 2016.”

Oil and Gas Giants Spend Millions to Block Climate Change Policies. A post at Forbes caught my eye recently: “Every year, the world’s five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy. This has caused problems for governments seeking to implement policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement which are vital in meeting climate change targets. Companies are generally reluctant to disclose such lobbying expenditure and late last week, a report from InfluenceMap used a methadology focusing on the best available records along with intensive research of corporate messaging to gauge their level of influence on initiatives to halt climate change. BP has the highest annual expenditure on climate lobbying at $53 million, followed by Shell with $49 million and ExxonMobile with $41 million…”

“We All Owe Al Gore an Apology”. More People See Climate Change in Record Flooding. Communities along the Arkansas River that have not flooded in recorded history are now flooding, and increasingly, people are connecting the dots, according to a story at NPR: “…“I think climate change is affecting the world right now and we should probably start doing something,” says Lucero Silva, watching the cresting river in Russellville, Ark. “Somebody at my office told me, ‘We all owe Al Gore an apology,’ ” says Breigh Hardman, standing on a bridge over the Arkansas River in nearby Fort Smith. The former vice president’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, spurred both activism around global warming and criticism of it. “It just tells us we got to come to a conclusion — not to get crazy — about global warming,” says Matt Breiner, watching the river farther upstream near downtown Tulsa, Okla...”

Photo credit: “Floodwaters from the Arkansas River line either side of a road in Russellville, Ark., in late May, engulfing businesses and vehicles.” Nathan Rott/NPR.

The End of the Arctic as We Know It. Here’s the intro to a post at The Guardian: “The demise of an entire ocean is almost too enormous to grasp, but as the expedition sails deeper into the Arctic, the colossal processes of breakdown are increasingly evident. The first fragment of ice appears off the starboard bow a few miles before the 79th parallel in the Fram strait, which lies between Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The solitary floe is soon followed by another, then another, then clusters, then swarms, then entire fields of white crazy paving that stretch to the horizon. From deck level it is a stunning sight. But from high above, drones and helicopters capture the bigger, more alarming picture: a slow-motion blast pattern of frozen shrapnel radiating from the high Arctic southwards through this strait...”

Companies Expect Climate Change to Cost Them $1 Trillion in 5 Years. has details; here’s an excerpt: “….“Climate change is no longer a distant threat but something that is impacting economies now,” says Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America, a nonprofit that encourages companies to report how climate change might affect them. A growing number of companies are recognizing that fact and are now publicly reporting the effects of climate change on their businesses. A new report published Tuesday by CDP shows that 215 of the world’s biggest companies, including giants like Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Nestlé, and 3M, see climate change as a threat likely to affect their business within the next five years, with a cumulative cost of a trillion dollars…”

Reverend Mitch Hescox Encourages Christians to Advocate for Renewable Energy. Here’s a clip from Yale Climate Connections: “Reverend Mitchell Hescox encourages Christians to advocate for clean energy … a surprising cause for a man who grew up in coal country. Hescox: “My grandfathers were both coal miners. My dad was a coal miner for the first part of his life.” For fourteen years, Hescox worked in the industry, too, designing equipment. But he slowly began learning about what he calls the true costs of coal: acid rain, air pollution, water pollution, and climate change. Hescox: “And I think that’s what really started to drive me to really care about clean energy was the fact that, you know, we’re destroying God’s creation...”

Is Climate Change Fueling Tornadoes? In a warming world wind shear (a major component of tornadogenesis) should drop over time. But not this year. Here’s an excerpt from InsideClimate News: “…There is growing evidence that “a warming atmosphere, with more moisture and turbulent energy, favors increasingly large outbreaks of tornadoes, like the outbreak we’ve witnessed in the last few days,” said Penn State University climate researcher Michael Mann. “There is also some evidence that we might be seeing an eastward shift in the regions of tornado genesis—again, consistent with what we are seeing,” he added. Tornadoes are complex, dynamic, short-lived and small, which makes them hard to study. But the deadly 2011 outbreak, which included the tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri, spurred a new wave of studies that help explain how global warming affects tornado activity, said Harold Brooks, a senior scientist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma…”

File images from July 18, 1986 Brooklyn Park tornado: KARE-11.

Extreme Weather Has Made Half of America Look Like Tornado Alley. Is there a link with a warmer, wetter climate? The data is, as of today, inconclusive when it comes to tornado frequency/intensity. Here’s a clip from The Washington Post: “…The jet stream shapes the high pressure and low pressure systems that control the weather in any given location. Normally it flows west to east in temperate latitudes in a fairly reliable manner. But lately it has fallen into a roller coaster pattern. It’s dipping, forming deep troughs. The result is weather that’s wildly different from west to east, with regions of extreme instability and too much drama. Worse, the jet stream appears to be stuck in this sinuous pattern. The weather has become not merely extreme but also inert, stubborn, persistent, tiresome, tedious — pick your adjective. Between the cold weather in the West and the heat wave in the Southeast lies a huge swath of the United States that’s primed for tornadoes…”

5 Ways You Can Personally Fight the Climate Crisis. Some good suggestions from Big Think: “…There are many ways to take action. Whether you are a CEO, a student or a professional athlete, your voice matters. We all have a unique reach and can create a ripple effect across our spheres of influence. We all have our personal sphere (social and familial relationships), our community sphere (home city and local organizations), our workplace sphere (job environment or campus environment for students), our industry sphere (professional associations) and our global sphere (social media reach and global affiliations). I’ve outlined five steps that one can take to activate these networks and play a role in battling the greatest challenge of our time…”

Putting a Price on the Risk of Climate Change. Bloomberg delves into the touchy topic of “stranded assets”: “…A drop in consumption of coal, oil, and gas would have knock-on effects felt throughout the global economy, potentially spurring a decline in the value of companies sitting on stranded assets. About a third of the almost $5 trillion in planned fossil fuel capital investment from 2018 to 2025 risks being rendered near-worthless under policies that achieve the 2C target, according to Carbon Tracker, an environmental group that advises institutional investors. It coined the term “stranded asset,” not to argue against such policies, but to get financial markets to consider the economic risks of climate change…”