Paul Douglas

An Amazingly Persistent Chilly Pattern

”Paul, when will this cold spell end?” I’m feeling good about July. Call me crazy but spring is the cruelest season. Spring “green-up” is coming earlier for much of the USA, but here in Minnesota April warmth is fickle and many years, elusive. Some scientists are linking lingering chill and late snows to rapid arctic melting, but data is inconclusive.

I understand the paranoia many of us feel: will we be cheated out of summer? The Faustian bargain we make is at risk: after enduring wicked winds of winter will we enjoy a nice (long) magical summer? I’m not panicking just yet.

Chilly weather spills into next week with showers (of rain!) Thursday and steadier rain Saturday. I believe NOAA’s GFS model has the right idea with 60s & 70s the second week of May. Spring is late but it hasn’t been canceled altogether.

Meanwhile severe flooding is impacting the Red River Valley as heavy rain combines with melting snow and frozen ground.

Saturday’s 74F high at MSP was the first 70 of 2022, coming 20 days later than normal.

National Weather Service Grand Forks Office

Peacetime Emergency Declared for Red River Flooding. The Grand Forks – Crookston area has been hit hardest, a combination of heavy rain, rapidly melting snow and frozen ground. Bring Me The News has details: “The onslaught of spring storms is creating significant flooding issues along the Red River Basin in North Dakota and Minnesota. The situation has escalated to the point that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has declared a peacetime emergency and authorized the Minnesota National Guard to assist with emergency flood operations in several counties where emergency operation plans are already activated. The Guard was specifically requested to help in Polk County, where sandbagging and other flood defense measures are needed as floodwaters from the Red Lake River have already overflowed numerous roads and highways...”

Live Imagery of Flooding. Here is a YouTube link to a camera on the Sorlie Bridge in East Grand Forks.

April precipitation to date
April precipitation departure

April Trending Wetter Than Average. Parts of the Red River Valley are experiencing an April 2-5” wetter than normal, thus the widespread flooding now underway between Crookston and Grand Forks. Recharging soil moisture is great – now it’s a question of when farmers can get out into their fields.

Tuesday Future Clouds and Precipitation

A Ration of Sunshine Today. It has been windier and cloudier than usual with the main storm track stuck almost directly overhead in recent weeks, but skies clear today and blue sky and an August-like sun angle will make those 40s feel tolerable.

Cool Bias Hangs On. Once again I’m amazing by the sheer persistence of this atmospheric holding pattern; week after week – month after month of cooler than average. Perhaps the atmosphere is compensating for a long stretch of warmer than average weather in the fall and early winter months. Perhaps it’s the lingering effect of a La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific. Showers are likely Thursday and Sunday as our cool, wet pattern drags on.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP

NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Achingly-Slow Improvement. A slow-motion spring, call it what you will, but models continue to show gradual warming as we push into the second week of May with more consistent 60s and a few 70s. Yes please.


Stinking Hot Summer? Longer-range models continue to hint at a significantly-hotter than normal summer for much of the U.S., including Minnesota. It’s good to be skeptical, but this hot signal has been persistent, and it would be fittingly ironic to have a hot summer follow a chilly spring – as the atmosphere careens from one extreme to the next.

2020′s Hurricane Eta, one of 30 named storms that year.
NOAA National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Forecast Predicts 22 Named Storms – Including 5 Major Hurricanes. Sarasota Magazine has details: “Sarasota’s Climate Adaptation Center on Friday unveiled its 2022 hurricane season forecast, predicting a total of 22 named storms. According to the center, between nine and 11 are likely to develop into hurricanes, with five predicted to become major hurricanes. ​​Last year, the center predicted 20 storms would form, one short of the actual total. During the previous year, a record-breaking 30 named storms darted across the Atlantic Hurricane Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. “Fifty-one storms in two years isn’t normal,” said Bob Bunting, the chairman and chief executive officer of the center, on Friday...”

Seasonal Drought Outlook Into July
US Drought Monitor

In Western US, Wildfires Burn As Blizzard Dumps Snow: Climate Nexus has details and additional links: “Wildfires are burning across the Southwest, including in Arizona, Nebraska, and New Mexico. Over the last week, the Tunnel Fire has burned at least 150,000 acres, killing at least one person, damaging or destroying more than 200 structures, and forcing thousands to evacuate. The underlying widespread drought is exacerbated by high temperatures, extremely low humidity, and winds gusting over 70mph, which created dire conditions. Climate change, caused mainly by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is supercharging wildfires and making droughts more frequent and intense. The conditions fueling what New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham described as “dangerously early” wildfires are, according to Scott Overpeck, with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, “not typical” and “pretty much on steroids.” Meanwhile, a different part of the same storm whipping up winds driving the wildfires dumped as much as 20 inches of snow on the western Dakotas and northern Rockies, where temperatures plummeted 60°F in two days, as 15,000 people struggled with power outages due to the heavy snow.” (The Guardian, New York Times $, Washington Post $, Axios, Reuters, Today Show, Reuters; Lujan Grisham: AP; Weather whiplash: Washington Post $)

Taylor Callery

The New Ways Your Boss is Spying On You. Well, this is lovely. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) has an eye-opening article. Here’s the intro: “Your employer may know a lot more about you than you think. The tone of your voice in a meeting. How often you’re away from your desk. How quickly you respond to emails. Where you roam in the office. What’s on your computer screen. To be an employee of a large company in the U.S. now often means becoming a workforce data generator—from the first email sent from bed in the morning to the Wi-Fi hotspot used during lunch to the new business contact added before going home. Employers are parsing those interactions to learn who is influential, which teams are most productive and who is a flight risk. Companies, which have wide legal latitude in the U.S. to monitor workers, don’t always tell them what they are tracking…”

39 F. Twin Cities “high” on Monday.

61 F. Average MSP high on April 25.

46 F. MSP high temperature on April 25, 2021.

April 26, 1954: Extremely heavy downpours occur in Mora, where nearly 7 inches of rain would fall in a little over 10 hours.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, cool. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 45

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, passing sprinkle. Winds: E 10-20. High: 47

THURSDAY: Damp with light showers. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: 46

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, a bit milder. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 58

SATURDAY: Rain arrives, few T-storms. Winds: E 15-25. Wake-up: 47. High: 57

SUNDAY: Windy, cooler – few light showers. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 46. High: 53

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy and cool. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 51

Climate Stories…

Climate Havens, as defined by Jesse Keenan and Anna Marandi.

Americans Are Fleeing Climate Change – Here’s Where They Can Go. I guess it’s a good thing to be on this list, right? reports: “Millions of Americans are living in communities with precarious climate conditions, in houses that feel overpriced. There is a solution for many of these people, though: Move to one of the so-called climate havens. Climate havens or climate destinations are situated in places that avoid the worst effects of natural disasters and have the infrastructure to support a larger population. Many of these legacy cities are located in the Northeast.

Climate Central

Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework. Here is a draft, courtesy of Our Minnesota Climate: “Climate change is no longer a far-off possibility. Minnesotans across our state are suffering its devastating effects right now – and it will get worse. Luckily, we can all be a part of the solution. Addressing climate change presents us with a historic opportunity to strengthen our economy, improve our health, and create a more equitable Minnesota for everyone. To guide this work, the State of Minnesota has developed a Climate Action Framework. This plan sets a vision for how our state will address and prepare for climate change. It identifies immediate, near-term actions we must take to achieve our long-term goal of a carbon-neutral, resilient and equitable future for Minnesota…”

Twitter Bans Climate Disinformation In Ads: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Twitter will no longer allow “misleading advertisements” that “contradict the scientific consensus on climate change,” on its platform, the company announced Friday. Earlier this month, the Climate Disinformation Coalition called on Big Tech to confront climate denial, particularly Twitter, which performed the worst on its scorecard. Days later, Pinterest announced robust new community standards to protect users from climate misinformation, and former President Obama praised the company for doing so. That was perhaps the final push Twitter needed to announce, on Earth Day, that it has formalized rules prohibiting climate disinformation in advertising. While existing policies against misleading advertisements already prevent climate denial ads in theory, Axios reported, Twitter is following in Google’s footsteps and heeding activist calls to formally address climate disinformation, earning it additional points on the Big Tech Disinfo scorecard. Michael Khoo, co-chair of the Climate Disinformation Coalition, called it “a welcome step forward in the fight against disinformation,” adding that now “companies like Meta must now take stronger action and stop being the last bastions of climate denial.” (Axios, Protocol, The Guardian, CNN, Washington Post $, AP, The Verge, Fox Business)

How US Gas Exports to Europe Could Lock in Future Emissions. Yale E360 looks at the implications: “In the span of weeks, Russia’s war on Ukraine has created millions of refugees, transformed the geopolitical landscape, upended global energy markets and food supply chains, and hastened Europe’s efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. The war also threatens to alter the trajectory of energy and climate policy in the United States. On March 25, a month after Russia launched its invasion, President Biden met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels and jointly announced a new initiative to help Europe reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels…”

Note: EU natural-gas imports from Russia totaled 155 billion cubic meters in 2021. Figures above reflect initial estimates published by the European Commission in March.
Source: European Commission

As Europe Seeks to Move Away from Russian Gas, Which Renewables Will Benefit? Wall Street Journal has the post: “As Europe tries to hasten a push toward more renewable energy sources, and away from Russian gas, which clean technologies are likely to fare the best? Europe is seeking to swiftly curtail its reliance on Russian natural gas, which last year accounted for about 40% of the bloc’s gas consumption, amid outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and worries that supplies could be suddenly cut off by Moscow. The European Union says it wants to reduce imports of Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end its dependence on them entirely by 2027…”