Excuse Me While I Remove My Sport Coat

Recently a friendly stranger asked if I missed working in television. I had to think about that one. I still show up monthly on TPT Almanac (Channel 2 in the Twin Cities). Yes, I can use bigger words on public television.

The beauty of Star Tribune and WCCO Radio? Nobody cares what you look like. More content, less make-up.

Years ago one of the local TV stations sent a ‘clothing consultant’ to inspect my closet at home, making sure suits were appropriate for on-air. She asked me to avoid a navy sport coat, because it had gold-colored buttons. “Viewers find these distracting” she insisted. I’ll take that to my grave.

Today and Friday are two of the best days of summer, with highs in the 70s and dew points in the low
50s. More like early September.

A few showers and T-storms arrive Saturday, but much of the day should be dry. Heavier, more widespread rain arrives Monday, as our wet bias continues.

I see 70s much of next week. No hot/sweaty fronts. Then again, the State Fair is coming. All bets are off.

KARE-11 Team in 1985 (?) courtesy of tcmedianow.com and the Pavek Museum.

Hints of September. NOAA’s GFS pushes significantly cooler air into the northern Rockies, which promises to keep the edge off the worst of the heat into the Upper Mississippi Valley as we kick off the Minnesota State Fair on the 22nd. Extreme heat for the fair this year? So far I don’t see anything too toasty.

Precipitation Departures From Normal Since January 1. It’s been a (very) wet year for much of the USA; rainfall anomalies since January 1 over 10″ in St. Louis, Kansas City and Sioux Falls. Map: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

The Mississippi Is Under Control – For Now. A post at TIME.com provides perspective: “…The Missouri, the Ohio; the Red, the Illinois, the Arkansas; the Pecatonica, the Poteau, the Big Sioux—across the U.S., rivers have swollen this year, swamping homes and cropland, costing farmers billions of dollars. Running through more than a million square miles of the heart of the United States—40% of its land area—100,000 waterways eventually drain into the Mississippi. Over 30 million people live near the Mississippi or one of its tributaries. There, on the big river, the Army Corps spent the last nine months trying to contain its longest recorded flood, the latest in an increasingly devastating series. Scientists blame much of the epidemic of flooding on the Corps’ own engineering. In order to protect farms and cities, they built humps of earth along the Mississippi’s banks—levees, which narrowed the river, forcing it to rise…”
Photo credit: “Workers open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, to divert rising water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, upriver from New Orleans, in Norco, La., on May 10, 2019.” Gerald Herbert, AP.

Hot World Summer: Links and headlines via Climate Nexus: “July was the hottest month on record, at least per the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. The head of the service, Jean-Noël Thépaut, said it was “the warmest month recorded globally,” narrowly beating out the previous record set in July 2016 by 0.07 degree Fahrenheit. As temperatures climbed, heat records were broken across Western Europe, parts of India suffered from droughts, wildfires raged in Alaska and an ice sheet in Greenland melted enough to raise sea levels by two-tenths of an inch. Official monthly temperature rankings from NOAA and NASA may differ slightly, and will be released in the coming weeks.” (New York Times $, Washington Post $, CNN, Axios, New York Post, HuffPost)

Graphics source: AFP, Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Tuesday Marked 50th Anniversary of Northern Minnesota’s Deadliest Tornado Outbreak. KBJR6 in Duluth has details: “While the frequency of tornadoes and tornado deaths in northern Minnesota is relatively lower compared to other parts of the state, or the upper Midwest, one August day in 1969 made the history books. An area of low pressure approaching from the southwest, bringing in warm and humid air. The heat and humidity, combined with strong winds in the upper levels, provided the conditions favorable for not only severe thunderstorms, but tornadoes as well. According to the Duluth NWS, a total of 12 tornadoes touched down over a three-hour span across Aitkin, Itasca, Crow Wing, Cass, St. Louis and Lake Counties. Six of the tornadoes were rated at least F-3 on the Fujita Scale, with one rated F-4. Shown below are some of the more noteable tornadoes of the outbreak…”

U.S. Ties Record for Number of High Tide Flooding Days in 2018. Here’s an excerpt from a post at WeatherNation: “Coastal communities across the U.S. continued to see increased high tide flooding last year, forcing their residents and visitors to deal with flooded shorelines, streets and basements — a trend that is expected to continue this year. The elevated water levels affected coastal economies, tourism and crucial infrastructure like septic systems and stormwater systems, according to a new NOAA report. The report, 2018 State of High Tide Flooding and 2019 Outlook,documents changes in high tide flooding patterns at 98 NOAA tidal gauges along the U.S. coast that are likely to continue in the coming years. High tide flooding, often referred to as “nuisance” or “sunny day” flooding, is increasingly common due to years of relative sea level increases. It no longer takes a strong storm or a hurricane to cause flooding in many coastal areas…”

File image credit: “High tide flooding in Port Orchard, Washington, on Jan. 6, 2010.” (Ray Garrido, courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology).

Mapping the Strain On Our Water. Water stress close to home, in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Here’s the intro to an analysis at The Washington Post: “The United States has enough water to satisfy the demand, but newly released data from the World Resources Institute shows some areas are out of balance. The WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas researchers used hydrological models and more than 50 years of data to estimate the typical water supply of 189 countries compared to their demand. The result was a scale of “water stress” — how close a country comes to draining its annual water stores in a typical year. Of course, many years are not typical, and unpredictable weather patterns of a changing climate can have drastic consequences. In areas of high or extremely high water stress, said Betsy Otto, director of WRI’s Global Water Program, “if you then hit a drought … you’re really in trouble, because you’re already using most of what you have...”

17 Countries (And One U.S. State) Extremely Water-Stressed: Headlines and links courtesy of Climate Nexus: “Data from the World Resources Institute shows that 17 countries around the world are already dealing with “extremely high” water stress. The 17 countries, from India to Botswana, are home to a quarter of the world’s population. Factors contributing to their water stress levels include using up groundwater supplies instead of conserving for times of drought; growing crops that need high volumes of water like cotton and rice; and of course, climate change, which increases risk because it makes deluges and droughts increasingly unpredictable. Domestically, Southwestern states are most at risk, with New Mexico ranking in the “extremely high” water stress category. However, states outside that region still experience their share of troubles, including Florida, where the central part of the state is straining its aquifer.” (New York Times $, The Guardian, Washington Post $, Bloomberg)

Image credit: NOAA.

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crisis. A feature at The New York Times caught my eye; here’s a clip: “Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water. From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday. Many are arid countries to begin with; some are squandering what water they have. Several are relying too heavily on groundwater, which instead they should be replenishing and saving for times of drought...”

Out Ahead on Solar Energy: Minnesota Engineer is Still Pushing to Speed Up Change. The Star Tribune reports: “…The cost of solar energy has dropped by 80% over the last decade and wind by about 65% since 2009, according to Dunlop and Gregg Mast, executive director of business-led Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. The state’s utilities, led by Xcel and Great River, are exceeding their goals for renewable-energy use and for cutting carbon emissions. The emissions are the No. 1 contributor to global warming and the resultant weather extremes that already are extracting a disastrous price. Renewable-energy advocates expect the state’s burgeoning solar industry to increase its share of electrical output from 2% to 10% over the next decade…”

Photo credit: Neal St. Anthony – Star Tribune. “Gregg Mast, left, and John Dunlop will have key roles in the American Solar Energy Society’s conference in the Twin Cities.”

Florida Boy Orders 911 To Order a Pizza. The New York Daily News reports: “It was an emergency response any way you slice it. Central Florida police responding to a boy who called 911 found he was fine, other than a hankering for pizza. According to the Sanford Police Department’s Facebook page, cops went on a “well-being check” on a juvenile who got a hold of a phone and places an emergency call. Upon responding to the caller’s home, three officers reportedly met the boy who rang them up as well as his older sister, who said her little brother was fine and made the call without his family knowing…“Officers used it as an opportunity to teach about the proper use of 911, then went and bought a large box of pizza and personally delivered it,” they wrote…”

Best Sandwich in Every State? Do you agree? Business Insider has a first guestimate on a state by state basis: “There’s nothing more satisfying than a delicious sandwich. In honor of National Sandwich Day on November 3, we decided to round up the best sammie from every state, be it a beloved local delicacy or part of the state’s history. From a classic grilled cheese to something called a “horseshoe,” these are the 50 most famous sandwiches across America…”

88 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

82 F. average high on August 7.

80 F. maximum temperature on August 7, 2018.

August 8, 1930: A record high of 102 is set at Redwood Falls.

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, breezy and pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 77

FRIDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Low humidity. Winds: W 3-8. Wake-up: 57. High: near 80

SATURDAY: A few showers, T-storms nearby. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 77

SUNDAY: Drier day, more clouds than sun. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 66. High: 76

MONDAY: Heavier PM showers, T-storms arrive. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 77

TUESDAY: Cooler breeze, leftover shower. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 64. High: 75

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, comfortable. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: 75

Climate Stories….

Warming Summer Nights. Another indicator that, no, it’s not the sun – nights are warming even faster than daytime highs, according to analysis at Climate Central: “…However, overnight low temperatures have been rising even faster than daytime highs. Since 2010, there have been 34% more record high minimums than record high maximums (according to NOAA data compiled by meteorologist Guy Walton). And of all the summers on record, 2018 had the warmest low temperature in the contiguous U.S. This week, Climate Central examined changes in average summer low temperatures around the country. Since 1970, 93% of the cities analyzed have experienced an increase. Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, topped the list with temperature increases of 16.9°F and 9.1°F respectively, followed by El Paso, Texas at 7.7°F and Salt Lake City, Utah at 6.6°F. Eight of the ten fastest warming cities were west of the Mississippi. Nationally, the increase was 1.8°F since 1895, dating back to when records began...”

Climate Change is Finally on the Agenda for 2020. But is it Too Late for Debating? Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from climate scientist Michael Mann at Newsweek: “…Those of us who actively work both on the science of climate change and the communication thereof, however, know that it isn’t hyperbole to point out that we have barely more than a decade to pull off a major overhaul in our energy economy if we are to avert dangerous (more than 1.5C) planetary warming. That having been said, we don’t go off a “climate cliff” at 1.5C warming. It’s more like an ever-more dangerous highway that we’re going down. We might miss the 1.5C exit despite concerted action. We would still be far better off getting off at the next (say, 2.0C) exit, than continuing headlong down the dangerous carbon highway. In fact, we’re already getting a real taste of this dangerous potential future…”

What Does Climate Change Have To Do With Socialism? The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting post; here’s a snippet: “…To such ideologues the Green New Deal proposed by Democrats in Congress is proof of their long-standing fear that a climate crisis is an excuse to re-engineer the U.S. economy as a top-down system.  Jay Lehr, a groundwater hydrologist, assured the Heartland conference that carbon emissions had “zero effect” on planetary temperatures and oceanic levels. Accepting the 2019 Dauntless Purveyor of Climate Truth Award, he said capitalism was under assault. “What they’re trying to do is to destroy our way of life and they’re succeeding. We’ve got to stop them,” he said.   Critics say this blending of fringe science and free-market fundamentalism is the handmaiden of fossil fuel producers seeking to protect their economic interests…”

File image: Jeff Williams, NASA.

Models Point to More Global Warming Than We Expected. Bob Henson reports at Category 6 for Weather Underground: “Our planet’s climate may be more sensitive to increases in greenhouse gas than we realized, according to a new generation of global climate models being used for the next major assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The findings—which run counter to a 40-year consensus—are a troubling sign that future warming and related impacts could be even worse than expected. One of the new models, the second version of the Community Earth System Model (CESM2) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), saw a 35% increase in its equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), the rise in global temperature one might expect as the atmosphere adjusts to an instantaneous doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Instead of the model’s previous ECS of 4°C (7.2°F), the CESM2 now shows an ECS of 5.3°C (9.5°F)...”

Photo credit: “Marine stratocumulus clouds from the Pacific Ocean stream atop Chile’s Atacama Desert.  Marine stratocumulus cover vast swaths of the tropical and subtropical oceans, where they reflect large amounts of sunlight and provide an overall cooling effect on climate. New global climate models are showing the potential for more global warming than long thought, perhaps due to a reduction in low-level clouds such as marine stratocumulus.” Image credit: NCAR/UCAR Image and Multimedia Gallery.

A Submarine Goes Under a Failing Glacier to Gauge Rising Seas. WIRED.com has a must-read story; here’s an excerpt: “…The two-month cruise aboard the Palmer was the beginning of a five-year, $50 million international collaboration to better understand the plight of Thwaites. Scientists believe the massive glacier is teetering on the brink of collapse, though just how fast that could happen remains an open question. Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by two feet. If the glacier collapses, it could destabilize a portion of West Antarctica that would, in turn, raise sea levels by about 11 feet. That would spell disaster for coastal cities from Miami to Mumbai, which would be inundated by floods. Ground zero for this slow-moving catastrophe is the glacier’s edge, where land-based ice juts out into the Amundsen Sea...”

Photo credit: “Ran on its first test mission of the expedition in the Strait of Magellan on Feb. 1, 2019.” Linda Welzenbach/Rice University.

20 Places Where Weather is Getting Worse Because of Climate Change. USA TODAY has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…Areas with already extreme climates tend to be more susceptible to climate change, and even more extreme weather events. The Southwestern United States, for example – the driest and hottest part of the country – is getting hotter and drier, leading to increased drought and wildfire. In other parts of the country, global warming has led to rising sea levels and increased evaporation, ultimately leading to increased precipitation. Earlier this year, heavy rainfalls along the Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi River corridors have led to substantial flooding throughout the Midwest, leading to substantial property damage and dozens of deaths. Many of the places are also home to these popular summer getaways we’re losing to climate change...”

File image: NOAA.

Capitalism’s Change of Climate. Here’s the intro to a story at Greenbiz.com: “For decades, the main argument against climate action has been economic: Even if the climate is changing, the argument went, addressing it at the scale needed would force companies, cities and institutions into bankruptcy. In short, it would tank the economy. And for decades, that argument (combined with scientific denial and skepticism) has dominated the case for moving slowly and incrementally — or for doing nothing at all. That argument is being turned on its head. Today, the fear is that corporate and institutional inaction on climate could lead to a global recession, or worse.  Over the past few months, we’ve been hearing growing voices warn that climate change poses an existential threat to companies and economies, and that those not ready to address that threat in a serious way are flirting with financial disaster...”

Image credit: GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock.

Climate Could Be Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear. Here’s a snippet from a New York Times analysis: “…In conversations with 10 G.O.P. analysts, consultants and activists, all said they were acutely aware of the rising influence of young voters like Mr. Galloway, who in their lifetimes haven’t seen a single month of colder-than-average temperatures globally, and who call climate change a top priority. Those strategists said lawmakers were aware, too, but few were taking action. “We’re definitely sending a message to younger voters that we don’t care about things that are very important to them,” said Douglas Heye, a former communications director at the Republican National Committee. “This spells certain doom in the long term if there isn’t a plan to admit reality and have legislative prescriptions for it...”

Climate Change, Extreme Disasters Taking Unexpected Health Toll. An angle many of us probably hadn’t considered – details via Star Tribune: “New research shows that the extreme weather and fires of recent years, similar to the flooding that has struck Louisiana and the Midwest, may be making Americans sick in ways researchers are only beginning to understand. By knocking chemicals loose from soil, homes, industrial-waste sites or other sources, and spreading them into the air, water and ground, disasters like these — often intensified by climate change — appear to be exposing people to an array of physical ailments including respiratory disease and cancer. “We are sitting on a pile of toxic poison,” said Naresh Kumar, a professor of environmental health at the University of Miami, referring to the decades’ worth of chemicals present in the environment. “Whenever we have these natural disasters, they are stirred. And through this stirring process, we get more exposure to these chemicals…”

File photo credit: Noah Berger. “Researchers are discovering that health issues from natural disasters linger longer than thought. Months after wildfires in California, people reported asthmalike symptoms.”

Climate Change Has Made Our Stormwater Infrastructure Obsolete. Gizmodo has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…The take-home message is that infrastructure in most parts of the country is no longer performing at the level that it’s supposed to because of the big changes that we’ve seen in extreme rainfall,” lead author Daniel Wright, a hydrologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement. The team of researchers looked at the data from more than 900 weather stations for the years 1950 to 2017 to find out how often extreme storms shot past the standards city infrastructure can handle. The scientists found that extreme weather events are happening 85 percent more often in the eastern U.S. in 2017 compared to 1950. In the West, overwhelming storms are happening 51 percent more often…”

File image: AP.