Tracking a Few Atmospheric Firecrackers
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature” Abraham Lincoln said during his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861.
Abe was right, and I have to believe there is far more that unites us than divides us. Let’s celebrate that.
A few generalities about the holiday forecast: expect a slight cooling trend into the weekend. And in general, the weather will be sunnier and drier the farther north you travel across Minnesota.
A weak frontal boundary ignites a few scattered showers and T-storms into Sunday. Most of the time will be dry, but when it does rain it may come down in buckets. The best chance of heavy T-storms comes today
and Friday. The atmosphere cools and stabilizes a bit over the weekend, meaning fewer and lighter showers.
Not exactly picture-postcard-perfect, but good enough for a big holiday!
No Extended Heat Waves Brewing. The next 2 weeks are, historically, the hottest of the entire year. Sizzling heat grips much of the USA into mid-July, but Canadian air leaks southward, providing some (marginal) relief for the northern tier of the USA.
Wettest Weather in 124 Years Has Farmers Speeding Crops. Bloomberg has the story: “…After suffering through the wettest 12 months since at least 1895, U.S. farmers have plans to adapt next year to what some forecasters say may be an increasingly soggy new normal for the nation’s midsection. The plans include bigger and faster tractors to speed up planting, quick-growing seeds and more extensive use of cover crops and drainage tiles to keep flooding fields intact. But there’s problems here too, growers say: The tractors are costly, the short-season seeds have lower yields and cover crops and tiling take time and effort. While farmers have long been locked in a give-and-take tussle with Mother Nature, trends tracked by scientists and forecasters over decades suggest the merciless rains and wild storms that drastically delayed planting times this year could be a weather standard moving forward…”
Photo credit: “Bloomberg.
Extreme Flooding Hits Japan. Details from The Japan Times: “More than 1.09 million residents across two prefectures in Kyushu, including the entire populations of three cities in Kagoshima Prefecture, were ordered to evacuate as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, as continuing torrential rain raised the risk of floods and mudslides. The amount of rainfall Friday totaled 1,010.5 millimeters in Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture, and 755.5 mm in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Wednesday. In Kanoya, in Kagoshima Prefecture, heavy rain of 81 mm per hour was recorded Wednesday afternoon...”
Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine. The Washington Post confirms something we’ve always known: “That old cliche about laughter being the best medicine, as with many cliches, is probably grounded in truth. The psychological effects of laughter are obvious, but it may bring physiological benefits as well. Moreover, it’s free and has no bad side effects. Laughter stimulates the body’s organs by increasing oxygen intake to the heart, lungs and muscles, and stimulates the brain to release more endorphins, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also helps people handle stress by easing tension, relaxing the muscles and lowering blood pressure. It relieves pain, and improves mood. Laughter also strengthens the immune system...”
The Perils of Empire. Check out a timely essay at The Washington Post: “…Comparisons of the British and American empires are easily overdrawn, particularly when assessing an 18th-century imperium with one that flourished in the 20th century. But echoes can be heard. Both were built and sustained with a large, permanent military force, including navies without peer in their respective epochs. Both reflected a devotion to market capitalism that relentlessly sought foreign markets and resources. Both derived from reasonably robust democracies, committed to political liberalism and personal freedoms within cultures that often bent toward conservatism. Both also displayed a penchant for foreign adventures, including expansionist and punitive expeditions sometimes infused with evangelical zeal that could be taken for arrogance. Both could be bullies, demonstrating a knack for alternately alienating and wooing allies. Diplomacy as practiced by America in 2019, which often consists of giving a thumb in the eye to our closest partners, threatens to leave us as friendless as Britain was 243 years ago…”
Map credit: “
July 4, 1999: Severe winds knock down millions of trees in the BWCA, injuring 19 people. Details here.
July 4, 1962: An extremely heavy downpour falls at Jackson, dumping 7.5 inches of rain in two hours.
4TH OF JULY: Few showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 3-8. High: 86
FRIDAY: Nagging shower and T-storm risk. Winds: NE 3-8. Wake-up: 70. High: 83
SATURDAY: Mild sun north, few showers south. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 66. High: near 80
SUNDAY: Still unsettled, few T-showers nearby. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 78
MONDAY: More showers and heavy T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 84
TUESDAY: Muggy, nagging thunderstorm risk. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 70. High: 85
WEDNESDAY: Periods of hazy sunshine. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 68. High: 84
U.S. Mayors Pressure Congress on Carbon Pricing, Climate Lawsuits and a Green New Deal. Here’s the intro to a post at InsideClimate News: “The mayors of hundreds of U.S. cities called on Congress this week to pass legislation to put a price on carbon emissions, citing the financial and social strains their communities are already experiencing because of climate change. After some contention, they also voiced opposition to any congressional action that would limit cities’ ability to sue fossil fuel companies for damage linked to climate change. That vote marked a stand by the mayors against one of the key policy trade-offs sought by big oil companies that have backed the idea of carbon pricing. The carbon pricing resolution, introduced by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, calls for a price “sufficient enough to reduce carbon emissions in line with ambitions detailed in the Paris Agreement on climate change…”
Photo credit: “Mayors LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles were among the leaders attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The group, representing hundreds of U.S. cities, voiced support for several climate change-related resolutions.” Credit: U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Hot & Sweaty in Europe: Last week’s scorching heatwave in Europe was made at least five times more likely due to climate change, a new report finds. A rapid analysis released yesterday from World Weather Attribution estimates that heatwaves returning with this frequency would have been 4 degrees C cooler a century ago, and specifically estimates that the scorching conditions in southern France at the end of June, which smashed temperature records, were 100 times more likely than they were in 1900. Data also released this week collected from EU satellites show that June was Europe’s hottest month on record. (AP, Reuters, Nature, Ars Technica, USA Today, Gizmodo, Grist, CNN)
Climate Change Made European Heat Wave At Least Five Times Likelier. The Guardian has details: “The record-breaking heatwave that struck France and other European nations in June was made at least five – and possibly 100 – times more likely by the climate crisis, scientists have calculated. Such heatwaves are also about 4C hotter than a century ago, the researchers say. Furthermore, the heatwaves hitting Europe are more frequent and more severe than climate models have predicted. Last month was the hottest June since 1880, both in Europe and around the world, according to separate data released on Tuesday by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. In Europe the temperature was 3C above the June average a century ago, and globally it was more than 1C higher…”
Antarctic Sea Ice is Declining Dramatically And We Don’t Know Why. New Scientist explains: “Decades of expanding sea ice in Antarctica have been wiped out by three years of sudden and dramatic declines, leaving scientist puzzled as to why the region has flipped so abruptly. A new satellite analysis reveals that between 2014 and 2017 sea ice extent in the southern hemisphere suffered unprecedented annual decreases, leaving the area covered by sea ice at its lowest point in 40 years. The declines were so big that they outstripped the losses in the fast-melting Arctic over the same period. “It’s very surprising. We just haven’t seen decreases like that in either hemisphere,” says Claire Parkinson at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who undertook the analysis. However, researchers cautioned against pinning the changes on climate change and said it was too early to say if the shrinking is the start of a long-term trend or a blip…”
File image: NASA.
Antarctic Ice Takes a Nosedive: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “Sea ice in Antarctica is experiencing a rapid and puzzling decline after years of gradual growth, scientists say. A NASA study of satellite data shows that ice levels hit a record low just three years after hitting a record high in 2014, bringing the amount of ice lost in Antarctica in this period equivalent to the amount of ice the Arctic has lost over 34 years. Global weather patterns have formerly encouraged gradual sea ice growth on the continent, and some researchers worry that the mysterious ice decrease could mean overall warming has caught up with the South Pole. “The rapid decline has caught us by surprise and changes the picture completely,” scientist Andrew Shepherd told the Guardian. “Now sea ice is retreating in both hemispheres and that presents a challenge because it could mean further warming.” (AP, CNN, NBC, The Guardian).
File image: Pauline Askin, Reuters.
Support for Lawsuits Against Fossil Fuel Companies. Here’s an interesting nugget from The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: “…A majority of Americans (57%) also think fossil fuel companies have either “a great deal” or “a moderate amount” of responsibility for the damages caused by global warming. In addition, 57% of the public supports making fossil fuel companies pay for a portion of the damages to local communities caused by carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels. When asked more specifically about whether fossil fuel companies or taxpayers should pay for the costs of the damages caused by global warming, a majority of Americans (53%) think fossil fuel companies rather than taxpayers should pay for most or all of the costs. Only 12% of Americans think taxpayers and fossil fuel companies should pay an equal share, and just 6% think taxpayers should pay for most or all of the costs…”
Why Company Lawyers Fear Climate Change Litigation. OZY.com has the story: “A couple of months ago, nearly 3,500 European in-house lawyers were sent a survey asking a simple question: Do you expect your organization to face legal risks because of climate change? Almost 50 percent of those who answered said they did, which was unfortunate, considering only about 15 percent said their legal departments were well prepared to deal with such threats. Those numbers are instructive because the survey was carried out by the Dutch Association of In-House Counsel and the Dutch law firm Houthoff, and most of those questioned were Dutch. The Netherlands has become a central battleground in a new class of lawsuits spreading around the world amid a rising sense of urgency about the need to tackle climate change...”