Embracing Autumn – Back to the 60s by Friday
Monday’s technicolor sunset was something only Walt Disney could have imagined; colors I’ve never seen before dancing above the western horizon. One of my (many) foibles: can I be in the moment and just enjoy a sunset, or do I feel compelled to whip out my phone and snap a picture? I struggle with this, a little. While I was gawking my next door neighbors were docking their boat. That’s pretty hard-core in mid-October.
I see a few spasms of cold air; maybe another coating of slush for the Red River Valley next week – but no rude, prolonged cold air intrusions through Halloween. Beyond that the crystal ball gets murky.
Skies clear today with a warming trend spilling into the weekend. 60s should feel great, with dry weather for yard work and fieldwork into midday Sunday. A cold rain arrives Sunday night and spills into Tuesday; another blustery mix next Thursday. Temperatures cool off next week, so make the most of this ‘somewhat-milder front’.
The MSP metro may remain frost-free for another 7-8 days.
ECMWF and GFS Temperatures Forecasts for MSP. Courtesy of WeatherBell.
Warming Up. Graphics above (Aeris Mapping Platform) courtesy of AerisWeather and Praedictix.
How to Track a Typhoon. The Forecasters on the Front Line of Extreme Weather. They do it a little different on the other side of the Pacific, according to a post at CNN Travel: “...Once a major storm system is detected, the Observatory has developed another technique for gathering firsthand data. KK Hon, another scientific officer with the Observatory, sends planes over the typhoons to collect valuable information about the strength, direction and pace of the moving weather system. “We need special methods,” he says. Instead of relying on imagery from satellites, Hon wants data gathered from deep inside the storm. The mission may sound dangerous, but Hon insists air crews can fly safely over the typhoons — if they go high enough. From there, they parachute cylindrical tubes full of weather sensors called “dropsondes” directly into the typhoon. “The dropsonde itself is equipped with a data probe which measures important weather parameters like wind, temperature, pressure and also GPS altitude position. These are then transmitted through radio transmission back to the aircraft...”
Fire Power. What if the answer to California’s wildfire woes is more fire? Grist poses the hypothetical question; here’s a clip: “…Almost all of the researchers I talked to thought that forest would be healthier with some thinning and burning to repair the legacy of clearcutting and fire suppression. Researchers were split, however, on the question of whether managing forests, or leaving them to the whims of nature, would allow them to soak up more carbon from the atmosphere. I began to notice a pattern: Scientists based in Oregon and Washington would tell me that simply leaving forests be was the best way to catch carbon, while researchers in Arizona and California would stress the importance of cutting some trees and performing prescribed burns. It makes sense: Forests get a lot more flammable as you move south. In the more arid parts of the West, they’re adapted to fires passing through as often as every five years, but a century of fire suppression has left them starved for burns…”
Illustration credit: Grist / Amelia Bates.
A Trillion Dollar Storm Looms for Earth, and It’s Not a Hurricane. Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes reports on the one cosmic threat few people are worried about – but they should be: “Hurricanes can cause widespread damage because they are so expansive, long-lasting, and powerful. Two of the costliest hurricanes on record, Katrina and Harvey, tallied damage numbers close to $125 billion dollars, respectively. As impressive as those numbers sound, what if I told you that there are storms that could cause over $1 trillion (with a “t”) dollars in losses on Earth. These events are not hurricanes or tornadoes, but powerful geomagnetic storms that originate from the Sun. Space weather is a field of science that monitors and predicts them. What is space weather, and how is a trillion dollar storm even possible?...”
Image credit: “Geomagnetic storms can cripple infrastructure on Earth.” NASA.
Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff: What Business School Never Taught Me. Fortune has a very interesting interview; here are a couple of excerpts: “…Benioff: I would say that capitalism, as we know it, is dead. And that businesses have to move to a new capitalism: a more equal, fair, and sustainable way of doing business—one that values all stakeholders as well as shareholders…We’ve gone through two major recessions. We have gone through major economic cycles, ups and downs. We’ve gone through major business cycles—that’s a normal, healthy part of running the business. And we are focused on the shareholder return. But we also are focused hand-in-hand on the stakeholder return. And we think our shareholder return is higher than others over the long-term because we have focused on all stakeholders...”
Photo credit: “Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.” Matt Edge—The New York Times/Redux
The Longevity Files: How Do You Live To Be a Ripe Old Age? Some helpful advice (much of it common sense, whatever that is) courtesy of The Washington Post: “…Walking or other moderate activities are just as good if you’re looking for a longevity boost.Some of the early evidence for the heart benefits of moderate exercise came from studies in the 1950s by British epidemiologist Jeremy N. Morris showing that conductors on double-decker buses, who spent their shifts walking up and down, had lower rates of coronary heart disease and thus lived longer than bus drivers who spent their workday sitting. Since then, studies showing the cardiovascular benefits of exercise have been “incredibly consistent,” Joyner says. But there’s more. Physical activity also reduces the risk of diabetes, which one study found shaved six years off life expectancy. And it keeps your brain healthy, too. “Exercise has better effects on cognitive performance than sitting around playing brain games,” Carstensen says...”
Nabongo found two unexpected adventure destinations: Jordan and Namibia. Nabongo was impressed with Jordan’s efforts to ramp up its outdoor tourism, from camping in the beautiful desert escape of Wadi Rum to exploring Aqaba, a port city on the Red Sea. Describing Namibia as “phenomenal,” Nabongo saw the Milky Way for the first time while staying in the Namib Desert at Sossusvlei, thanks to the miniscule amount of light pollution. She also climbed the huge nearby sand dunes. Some of her other favorite nature experiences included swimming with humpback whales in Tonga, the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada, whale-watching in the Arctic Circle, surfing in Peru, and hanging out in the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls in Zambia…”
Did Pope Francis Tweet Out Support for New Orleans Saints? CNN.com has the unlikely story: “The New Orleans Saints got some unexpected support from Pope Francis before Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pope Francis isn’t known for his love for American football — he’s more of a soccer guy — but he posted a tweet that accidentally backed the Saints. “Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession,” he tweeted. The tweet was a line from the homily Pope Francis delivered on Sunday at the canonization of five new saints, but the hashtag added the fleur-de-lis symbol from the Saints helmets…”
October 17, 1971: Heavy rain falls in NW Minnesota. 4.02 inches is recorded at Georgetown (20 miles N of Moorhead).
October 17,1952: Record lows between 10 to 15 degrees are reported across central Minnesota, including a low of 10 at St. Cloud, 12 at Glenwood, and 14 at Alexandria, Litchfield, and Mora.
Thursday: Partly sunny and breezy. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 57
Friday: Dim sun with a stiff breeze. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 45. High: 62
Saturday: Mix of clouds and sun, probably dry. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 51. HIgh: 61
Sunday: Clouds increase, rain arrives at night. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 58
Monday: Rain, possibly heavy. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 56
Tuesday: Raw with windswept showers. Winds: NW 15-30. Wake-up: 41. High: 49
Wednesday: Early sun, more rain arrives late. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 37. High: 52
September Warmth. It was another toasty month, according to Climate Central: “NOAA announced this morning that September 2019 was tied with 2015 as the warmest September on record globally. In addition, the year-to-date temperature through September is the second warmest on record. Some additional statistics from NOAA:
- The September temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.71°F above the 20th century average of 59.0°F (tied with 2015)
- The 10 warmest Septembers have all occurred since 2005, with the last five years (2015-2019) having the five warmest Septembers on record.
- September 2019 also marks the 43rd consecutive September and the 417th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average…”
Climate Change is Shaping Iowa’s Physical and Political Landscape. Here’s an excerpt from NBC News: “…Mike Woltemath, 46, who farms 2,100 acres along the Missouri River, agreed, but he said something needed to change. This year he was only able to plant 200 acres and lost 150,000 bushels of corn and soybeans to the floodwaters, and he said it happens with a regularity that is becoming concerning. “Flooding doesn’t just happen here in the Midwest,” he said. “It’s happening in the Dakotas. It’s happening in California. It needs to be addressed. Congress needs to do something about it. It’s happening on rivers, and it’s happening on our coastlines with these hurricanes.” Woltemath said that Congress could make the most immediate impact by changing how the Army Corps of Engineers controls waterways in the United States, but he said moving Congress was like herding cats...”
Photo credit: “David Lieth, who lost thousands of bushels of corn he stored in his grain bins to the floodwaters that struck southwest Iowa, picks up a few kernels of spoiled corn that he had spread on his own land because it was the only way he could dispose of it.” Ed Ou / NBC News.
Florida GOP Leaders Finally Utter “Sea Level Risk”, Lament “Lost Decade”. The history books will not be kind to former Florida governor Rick Scott, a vocal climate denier. The Miami Herald reports: “…There hasn’t been a lot of conversation about this. I understand that, and I understand why,’’ he continued, leaving unsaid that the words “climate change” were banned from the lexicon for much of the eight-year tenure of former Gov. Rick Scott, and the state’s response to it was not considered a priority. But Lee, who served in the Senate for the last six years of Scott’s term, said he believes there has been “a paradigm shift” with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — who followed the lead of local governments in Florida and appointed a “chief resilience officer” to start talking about the effects of global warming on the state. The new landscape comes with new political realities, Lee said. “There’s a younger generation of conservatives in this state that aren’t as much in denial...”
Image credit: “During the highest tides of the year in Miami-Dade County, volunteers head to the flood zones to measure water depth and quality as part of Sea Level Solutions Day. The goal is to track flooding to better inform climate resilience policies.”
Wired25: Stories of People Racing to Save Us. One of the 25 focuses on the young people suing the U.S. government for inaction on climate change. Here’s a clip from WIRED.com (paywall): “…By 2015, Juliana had had enough. She’d heard that a local legal nonprofit, Our Children’s Trust, was mounting a climate suit against the federal government. Together with 20 other young people, ranging in age from 8 to 19, she joined as a plaintiff. Citing harms such as worsening respiratory illnesses, forced relocation due to water scarcity, and the threat of losing their homes to rising seas, Juliana and her coplaintiffs argue that elected officials have failed to protect their constitutional rights. Their case, which has survived a number of legal challenges from both the fossil-fuel industry and the Obama and Trump administrations, demands nothing less than a sweeping court order on the scale of Brown v. Board of Education—one that will affirm the fundamental right to a stable climate system for all. “At stake are the lives and safety of these young people,” says Julia Olson, the lead attorney in the case. “This is really their last stand…”
A defiant van Beurden rejected a rising chorus from climate activists and parts of the investor community to transform radically the 112-year-old Anglo-Dutch company’s traditional business model. “Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it,” van Beurden said. “We have no choice” but to invest in long-life projects, he added. Shell and its peers have long insisted that switching away from oil and gas to cleaner sources of energy will take decades as demand for transport and plastics continues to grow. Investors have warned, however, that oil companies often rely on forecasts that underestimate the pace of change…”
Photo credit “Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Shell, speaks to Reuters reporters in Canary Wharf, London, Britain, October 8, 2019. Picture taken October 8, 2019.” REUTERS/Marika Kochiashvili.