Daydreams Do Come True: 70s Later Today

After 45 years of attempting to predict a cantankerous Mother Nature’s moods, here is what I know: the number of people who blame us for bad weather is far greater than those who thank us for the nice days. It never quite evens out.

I may have to unplug the Doppler this afternoon, as the mercury tops 70 degrees under a flawless sky. April warmth arrives without the bugs, allergies or humidity, so (in my opinion) they’re even more special. That, and it snowed 10 inches just 9 days ago, so we’re due for a little lukewarm payback.

Soak it up, because a frontal boundary sagging south will fire off a few showers and T-storms Sunday; possibly a period of heavier, steadier rain Monday, before we dry out. Models hint at another wave of showery rain next weekend, but hopefully that will change for the better over time.

In today’s online weather blog: Hurricane Michael was a rare Category 5 hurricane when it hit the Florida Panhandle last October, packing sustained winds of 160 mph – only the 4th Category 5 hurricane on record to hit the USA.

2019 Ice-Out Dates. After a slow start ice is coming off Minnesota lakes in a hurry, according to The Minnesota DNR. So what exactly is ice-out? Great question: “The definition of lake ice out can vary from lake to lake. For the citizen observers reporting data, ice out occurs when the lake is completely free of ice. Or, it may be when it is possible to navigate from point A to point B. Ice out may also be when a lake is 90 percent free of ice. Observers use consistent criteria from year to year when reporting lake ice out dates.”

Wet April Continues. Dr. Mark Seeley updates us on an April trending wetter than normal in this edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…With this additional moisture at least 35 climate stations now report over 3 inches of precipitation for the month so far. With 4.63 inches so far this month, St Peter has already logged the 8th wettest month of April in their climate history (back to 1893), while Hastings, with 4.53 inches is also having their 8th wettest April in history going back to 1933. With eleven days left in the month we will undoubtedly see these rainfall totals for April climb. However, it is quite unlikely anyone will come close to the all-time April rainfall total of 11.93 inches at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1896...”

But Wait – There’s More! ECMWF (European) guidance prints out roughly an inch of rain Sunday and Monday, with the heaviest band forecast to set up right over the MSP metro area. Map: WeatherBell.

Warmer Than Average Start to May. GFS guidance from NOAA suggests warmer than average temperatures over roughly the eastern two-thirds of the USA the first few days of May, unusually cool/wet weather for the Pacific Northwest.

3-Month Trends. My confidence level is low, but I’m happy to predict we will experience summer at this latitude this year. Take it to the bank. Graphic: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Michael Upgraded to Category 5 Storm At Time of U.S. Landfall. NOAA has details: “Scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center conducted a detailed post-storm analysis on all the data available for Hurricane Michael and have determined that the storm’s estimated intensity at landfall was 140 knots (160 mph). This final wind intensity is a 5 knot (5 mph) increase over the operational estimate and makes Michael a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale at the time of landfall on October 10, 2018, near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Michael is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast...”

October 10, 2018 file aerial image of Hurricane Michael damge: NOAA NGS.

Hurricane Michael file image: NOAA.

Second Warmest March on Record, Globally, Since 1880. Details via NOAA NCEI: “The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for March 2019 was the second highest for the month of March in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature was the third warmest January–March on record…”

U.S. Midwest Floods Prompting Workers to Migrate to Safer Ground: LinkedIn Data. Thomson Reuters Foundation has an interesting post; here’s the intro: “Deadly floods that bear the fingerprints of climate change are prompting an exodus of workers from the U.S. Midwest, the world’s biggest professional social network, LinkedIn, said on Wednesday. The website, on which millions of U.S. workers maintain profiles, said data showed a spike in members changing their work location from areas flooded last month to cities in the Southwest and on the West Coast. “When you look at the most real-time data that we have, and that’s our ‘job starts’, we’ve seen those come down quite a bit in the cities that have been hit,” said Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn. The finding emerged from a LinkedIn analysis of user-generated data. LinkedIn users can share their location and job information – such as when they start a new job – on their profile. Hiring rates tracked through the platform dropped across the Midwest, LinkedIn said in its April U.S. workforce report, published on Monday…”

Photo credit: “Homes sit in floodwaters after leaving casualties and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in Peru, Nebraska, U.S., March 19, 2019.” REUTERS/Karen Dillon.

The 10 Worst Tornadoes in the USA. Dr. Greg Forbes at The Weather Channel weighs in with his list: “What would you consider the worst tornadoes in U.S. history? Severe Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, Dr. Greg Forbes, combed through damage costs (adjusted for inflation through 2011) and fatality statistics in order to rank the nation’s worst single tornadoes, using a 100-point scale. Of course, there are many ways one can combine and scale this data, so, this is just one possibility. The higher the index, the “worse” or more impactful the tornado. You may be surprised to find that the April 3, 1974 “Superoutbreak” did not have a single tornado on the list.b”None of the 1974 Superoutbreak tornadoes individually were exceptionally deadly, which kept them off the list,” says Dr. Forbes…”

Photo credit: “Damaged cars at Sikes Senter Mall in Wichita Falls, Texas on Apr. 11, 1979. A total of 3,095 homes were destroyed and 42 people were killed.” (Don Burgess/NSSL/Inst. for Disaster Research at Texas Tech Univ.)

Move Over San Andreas: There’s an Ominous New Fault In Town. has a worthy read: “…The results were astonishing. GPS stations indicated that only about 75 percent of the tectonic movement between the Pacific and North American Plates was actually occurring along the San Andreas Fault. Much of the remaining 25 percent was bypassing the San Andreas and roaring up the Eastern Sierra, toward Reno, along the Walker Lane. For geologists, it was like discovering that a quarter of the Mississippi River is somewhere out in Colorado. “Boy, the GPS data really revolutionized our thinking,” Faulds said. Almost overnight, plate tectonics was no longer something geodesists had to speculate about with fieldwork or maps; it had become something they could watch unfold in real time...”

Map credit: Walter Baumann.

Aston Martin Now Has an Electric Car Fit for James Bond. Wow. Quartz has the post; here’s a link and excerpt: “British spy James Bond can finally reduce his carbon footprint—something that’s no doubt been on his mind amid frequent car chases and romances in exotic locations. At the Shanghai Auto Show this week, British luxury sport car brand Aston Martin, makers of the DB5 sports car that Bond has driven in many a film, unveiled their first all-electric model. The company has said on social media only 155 of its Rapide E cars will be made. A sales representative for the China region said the model will cost 250,000 pounds ($326,000), and was expected to be used in the next Bond movie...”

Photo credit: “The Rapide E was on display in Shanghai during the auto show’s media days.” Reuters/Aly Song.

Before You Buy Plane Tickets Remember These Four Things. The Wall Street Journal recently had some helpful advice; here’s a snippet: “…Sunday and Tuesday look like the best days to check for discounted prices, sort of. The study by ARC and Expedia found that fares generally can be 20% lower on the weekend and sometimes as much as 36% cheaper if you buy on a Sunday. That’s consistent with previous research. But other recent studies don’t find as large a difference because they are based on searches for the lowest fare, not actual tickets sold. The tickets-sold pool includes lots of expensive business trips bought during the week. But there is still at least a small difference…”

Illustration credit: Fabio Consoli.

It’s Time to Panic About Privacy. Check out the interactive presentation at New York Times (paywall) if you have any doubt that we all have zero privacy these days. Every incremental increase in convenience seems to come with a corresponding loss of privacy.

This Is The Emotional Quality That the World’s Greatest Leaders Share. Fortune has a solid story; here’s an excerpt: “…An inescapable question: How do great leaders find such courage while most people don’t? Research points to a personality style called “hardiness,” identified among business executives by psychologist Suzanne C. Kobasa decades ago and validated many times among the broader population since then. Hardy individuals don’t see the world as threatening or see themselves as powerless against large events; on the contrary, they think change is normal, the world is fascinating, they can influence events, and it’s all an opportunity for personal growth. In studies of fourth-year West Point cadets, Col. Paul T. Bartone of National Defense University found that hardiness was by far the best predictor of which cadets, male and female, would earn the highest leadership ratings…”

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes On An Amazing Journey. Here’s an excerpt of a captivating article at National Geographic: “Nearly every night of our lives, we undergo a startling metamorphosis. Our brain profoundly alters its behavior and purpose, dimming our consciousness. For a while, we become almost entirely paralyzed. We can’t even shiver. Our eyes, however, periodically dart about behind closed lids as if seeing, and the tiny muscles in our middle ear, even in silence, move as though hearing. We are sexually stimulated, men and women both, repeatedly. We sometimes believe we can fly. We approach the frontiers of death. We sleep. Around 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote an essay, “On Sleep and Sleeplessness,” wondering just what we were doing and why. For the next 2,300 years no one had a good answer…”

Image credit: Ryan Morris, NGM Staff. Sources: NASA Black Marble Science Team, NASA Earth Observatory.

64 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

60 F. average high on April 19.

53 F. high on April 19, 2019.

April 20, 1970: Snow falls across much of Minnesota.

SATURDAY: Lukewarm sunshine. Winds: S 10-15. High: 74

SUNDAY: Few showers, possible T-storm. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 66

MONDAY: Cooler. Period of steadier rain expected. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 49. High: 55

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: near 60

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, milder. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 47. High 67

THURSDAY: More clouds than sun, sprinkle. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 49. High: 63

FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, not bad. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 60

Climate Stories….

As Oceans Rapidly Warm Because of Climate Change, An Urgent Need to Improve Hurricane Forecasts. Here’s an excerpt of a recent article I wrote for The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang: “…Given high ocean heat content, the hurricane can reintensify during eyewall replacement. This happened with Hurricane Irma five times, and Trenberth believes these same dynamics were witnessed with Florence. This is how storms grow bigger, more intense and longer-lived, fueled by a steady supply of ocean heat. Stating the obvious: For weather forecasters to have any chance of accurately predicting hurricane eyewall replacement cycles, which affects storm size, intensity and severity of the subsequent storm surge, access to reliable temperature data in the upper oceans may be key…”

Study Links Hurricane Maria’s Extreme Rainfall to Climate Change. Daily Beast has details: “New research found that the extreme rainfall that fell on Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria is connected to climate change. Hurricane Maria produced more rain in Puerto Rico than any of the 129 storms to hit the island in the past 60 years. According to the study, a storm as intense as Maria is nearly five times more likely to form now than during the 1950s, due largely to the effects of human-induced warming. “What we found was that Maria’s magnitude of peak precipitation is much more likely in the climate of 2017 when it happened versus the beginning of the record in 1950,” said David Keellings, a geographer at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and lead author of the study…”

September 24, 2017 visible image of Hurricane Maria: AerisWeather.

Worried About Global Warming? Chill Out in “Climate-Proof Duluth”. Star Tribune explains: “…Climate projections suggest that, because of geographic factors, the region around Duluth and the Great Lakes will be one of the few places in the U.S. where the effects of climate change may be more easily managed. First, it’s cool to begin with. That means, as temperatures increase, it will remain mild in relative terms. By 2080, even under relatively high concentrations of carbon dioxide emissions, Duluth’s climate is expected to shift to something like that of Toledo, Ohio, with summer highs maxing out in the mid-80s. “We’re not seeing worse heat waves or longer heat waves or more of those long nights that don’t fall below 75 degrees,” Blumenfeld said. “Instead, what we’re seeing is warmer winters, fewer days during winter where we get to negative 30 Fahrenheit…”

Star Tribune file image: “Kayakers and sailors drifted in Duluth’s Lake Superior Bay.”

How Big Business is Hedging Against the Apocalypse. If you missed this in a recent New York Times Magazine edition focused on climate change, here’s an excerpt: “…Exxon’s arrangement in Texas reflects, in miniature, our national state of indecision about the best approach to climate change. Depending on whom you ask, climate change doesn’t exist, or is an engineering problem, or requires global mobilization, or could be solved by simply nudging the free market into action. Absent a coherent strategy, opportunists can step in and benefit in wily ways from the shifting landscape. Tax-supported renewables in Texas take coal plants offline, but they also support oil extraction. Technology advances, but not the system underneath. Faced with this volatile and chaotic situation, the system does what it does best: It searches out profits in the short term. Unlike almost every other future event, climate change is 100 percent certain to happen…”

Illustration credit: Dadu Shin.

If GND Can Make It Here: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “Yesterday in a 45-2 vote, New York City passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a package of Green New Deal-esque bills that together represent “the single largest carbon reduction effort in any city, anywhere,” according to co-sponsor Council Member Costa Constantinides. The most impactful piece of the legislation, which faced strong opposition from the city’s powerful real estate lobby, is an ambitious energy efficiency mandate requiring that the city’s largest buildings cut their emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The “Dirty Buildings” bill targets big luxury buildings, including Trump Tower, that make up just 2 percent of the city’s buildings but are responsible for half of all building emissions. The Act also includes bills that require studying ways to replace the city’s gas plants with renewables, making green roofs (with plantings, solar or wind) on certain larger buildings, and calls for the state to deny a water permit for the proposed fracked-gas carrying Williams Pipeline. It also includes a provision to convert the city’s school buses to electric by 2040, which is expected to pass a committee vote on Earth Day.” (CBS, Reuters, HuffPost, CNBC, WSJ $, Bloomberg, Grist, The Guardian, NYTimes $, InsideClimate News, Wired, Fast Company, Earther, Greentech Media, Curbed, The Hill)

File photo: Seth Wenig, AP.

The “Climate Candidate”. A Long Talk with Jay Inslee. Intelligencer has an interview; here’s an excerpt: “…Number one, when you’re up against the most well-funded industry in world history, which is the fossil fuel industry, and they’re willing to spend $32 million to obfuscate and create misimpressions, that makes it tough. And they’re willing to spend untold numbers of dollars. And that is frustrating because those dollars come from the taxpayers, because there’s $27 billion of subsidies they get, they turn around and tell deceptions to the public. That’s very frustrating. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so forceful in saying we need to end those $27 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. So I’ve learned that is something you’ve got to work to overcome. Number two, I’ve learned the most powerful renewable fuel is perseverance — that’s the most important renewable energy source — and that it can succeed…”

Photo credit: Ted S Warren/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

Former “Climate Change Denier” Explains His Shift. Yale Climate Connections has a fascinating read; here’s a clip: “…Kaiser sums up the primary reason he and other conservatives rejected the premise of climate change: “Because if climate change is as bad as they say it is, it would justify government intervention. And we can’t justify government intervention because that’s a bad thing.” Climate change was viewed as a power grab: “This is how the government was going to trick us into giving our rights away and fully regulate the economy to protect the environment.” He recited the rationale with uncanny polish. “I still remember making that argument myself as a college student.” He elaborated, “I think a lot of people on the right do what I did, which is that we work backwards from an ideological fear of government intervention to the idea that we can’t accept climate change...”

These Millennials Are Going on “Birth Strike” Due to Climate Change. Quartz explains: “…BirthStrike is one iteration of a small but growing movement of people around the world (paywall) who are hesitating over whether or not to have children due to worries about climate change. It’s a concern that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to serve in the US Congress, recently voiced when she told her 3 million Instagram followers that “there’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult” as a result of climate change. “It does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” This question is fundamental and controversial. Some argue that giving up on parenthood won’t make a meaningful difference in resolving climate change…”

Photo credit: “The emerging costs of climate change are leading some parents to wonder if bringing children into this world is even ethical.” REUTERS/Ahmad Masood.

What Does ‘Game of Thrones’ Have To Do With Climate Change? Oh, Everything. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at “…Let’s look at the evidence. In “GoT”:

  • A global shift in climate, long predicted, emerges
  • A huge, icy structure crumbles
  • The climate shift allows noxious pests to move beyond their traditional habitat
  • … And forces people from their ancestral homes
  • Even as evidence of these threats mount, squabbling nations deny their existence

In “Game of Thrones,” the climate is getting colder; our own is warming, but whatever. Their wall is Greenland’s glaciers (or Antarctica’s). Their zombies are our toxic algae, ticks and adeus egypti mosquitoes. Their Wildings are our climate refugees, and squabbling nations are our squabbling nations, with fewer beheadings but plenty of backstabbing. Their crisis mirrors our own…”

Photo credit: “Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in “Game of Thrones.” (Helen Sloane/HBO).

Trillion Dollar Investors Says Hitting Climate Goals Will Cost “Less Than We Had Feared”. Here are a couple of clips from Quartz: “Legal & General Investment Management is one of the world’s largest investors, with more than £1 trillion in assets. Today, LGIM announced that it has built its own energy-transition model to guide companies it invests in to align with climate goals set under the Paris climate agreement. “Disruption is coming to energy markets no matter what,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodities at LGIM…“The cost of [climate] action is much lower than we had feared,” Stansbury concluded. The total cost to the global economy to act on climate change could be as low as 0.5% of global GDP. “The cost of inaction will substantially raise the later costs of transition, reinforcing the urgent need for policy action…”

Photo credit: “Won’t run for long.” Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin.

In Shadow of Green New Deal, Other Climate-Change Bills Proliferate. Axios has details: “…At least three bills are forthcoming, with one already floated. Some of these were introduced for the first time last Congress.

  1. The Whitehouse and Schatz bill is similar to the one they introduced last Congress, which divided the money raised to the public and to other purposes. This bill would achieve more reductions in carbon emissions than the last version.
  2. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania is going to re-introduce his own version of a carbon tax bill that he proposed last Congress alongside then-Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who lost his reelection bid. This bill eliminates the federal gasoline tax and uses the money raised for various purposes.
  3. Democrat Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is crafting a clean energy standard bill, per her office...”