Extended Forecast Is Up In The Air

”Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground” wrote Andrea Gibson.

With weather, every day is different and every autumn is different. The patterns may be similar, but never identical. Talk about humbling. Which means it’s simplistic to go back in time and say “Well here’s what happened in 1968…so this is precisely what will happen next!” Nope. Weather models are good and becoming more accurate over time, but the 7-Day is as confounding as when I became a weather-whisperer 45 years ago.

NOAA’s models predict a warmer than average October, which isn’t hard to believe gazing at the maps (and trends). Cold, stormy weather is favored in the west; a warm ridge of high pressure inflating temperatures over eastern half of the US.

Clouds increase today with a good chance of showers and a few heavier T-storms Thursday into Sunday. Nothing wintry is brewing – yet.

According to the Twin Cities National Weather Service, the average date of the first snowfall at MSP is November 4. Hmmm.

Showers Arrive on Thursday. Weather patterns are in a strange (for October) holding pattern, nearly stationary – allowing Gulf moisture to stream into Minnesota from the southeast by Thursday, fueling a few PM showers.

Lukewarm Into Saturday. Considering we could be scraping slush off our driveways and sidewalks I am surprisingly OK with 70s and gentle breezes during the first week of October. Showers and a few T-storms are likely Thursday into Sunday, with the best chance of rain late Saturday and Saturday night.

NOAA NDFD Temperatures for MSP
ECMWF Temperatures for MSP

Colder Air Pushing Closer to Minnesota 2 Weeks Out. NOAA’s GFS model (above) shows a strong closed low over western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, implying frequent rains and a cooling trend as we enter the fourth week of October. Reality-check time?

Predicted October – December Temperature Anomalies

A Few Cold Jabs – But October Trending Milder Than Average. NOAA’s suite of models shows a warm bias for the month across most of the USA through the end of the month, in spite of more frequent outbreaks of chilly air as we head into late October.

Deadly Tornado From Minnesota Featured on Cover of Upcoming Movie “13 Minutes”. There is a local angle, as described at Bring Me The News: “…On the cover of the movie poster is a photo of the deadly twister that ripped through Minnesota last summer. One of the storm chasers who captured video and photos of nature’s fury is Melanie Metz, better known by some in the storm chasing community as one of the “Twister Sisters.” Metz, who lives in Champlin, followed the twister as it carved a 9-mile path from west of Ashby to east of Dalton. It was on the ground for 31 minutes and achieved EF-4 status with 170 mph winds, making it a high-end tornado capable of producing extreme damage. The slow-moving buzzsaw scarred fields, destroyed any property in came into contact with, and tragically killed one person and injured two others...”

Although spring produces much higher numbers of tornadoes, fall can also have larger outbreaks.
The Weather Channel

Fall Can Be a Secondary Peak Time for Tornadoes in the U.S. The Weather Channel explains: “Damaging tornadoes can strike the U.S. any time of the year, but fall has a historically notorious uptick in activity that fuels its reputation as a secondary peak season for severe weather. Just like spring, fall is a battleground season when surges of warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico sometimes meet up with the increasingly stronger cold fronts and jet stream winds that typically sweep across the country this time of year. When this mix of ingredients comes together it can spin up organized severe thunderstorms that produce damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes...”

The US has finalized a $20 million deal with Tomorrow.io to develop and deploy a series of advanced precipitation radars. This is an artist’s rendering.
CNN Graphic

US Inks $20 Million Deal to Launch High-Tech Weather Satellites Into Space. CNN.com has details: “The United States is aiming to launch a group of small satellites to fill a critical gap in the ability to foresee precipitation dangers, like the deluge that overwhelmed Northeastern cities at the start of September. The US Air Force announced Thursday a nearly $20 million contract with Tomorrow.io to develop and deploy an entire constellation of small satellites equipped with advanced radar to measure precipitation from space. “This satellite constellation partnership with Tomorrow.io will fill critical weather sensing gaps and give Air Force Weather operators the global missions they support vastly improved awareness of current and forecasted mission-limiting weather conditions,” said John Dreher, chief of the weather systems branch at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts...”

A saildrone on Sept. 30 captured footage inside Hurricane Sam, the first video footage gathered by an uncrewed surface vehicle from inside a major hurricane.
Saildrone Inc./NOAA

Scientists Drove a Robotic Surfboard into Hurricane Sam, and the Waves Were Incredible. Capital Weather Gang has a crazy story: “Scientists with Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration managed to drive a robotic surfboard into the core of Category 4 Hurricane Sam on Thursday, in a first-of-its-kind scientific mission as they try to better understand hurricanes. The video, captured just northeast of Hurricane Sam’s monstrous eye, depicts eerily dark skies, screaming winds and a thick veil of sea spray and mist lofted into the air. Enormous waves can be seen swinging the probe like a pendulum. Saildrone is a company that manufactures probes that collect ocean data for use in environmental studies…”

Pete Schenck

AI Can Predict If It Will Rain in Two Hours’ Time. It’s not there (yet) but the short-term (“Nowcasting”) predictions for precipitation are getting better, as described at BBC News: “Scientists at Google-owned London AI lab DeepMind and the University of Exeter partnered with the Met Office to build the so-called nowcasting system. Traditional methods use complex equations and often forecast for only between six hours and two weeks’ time. The AI system can make more accurate short-term predictions, including for critical storms and floods. Climate change is making it harder to anticipate adverse weather conditions, as the frequency and severity of heavy rain increases, which researchers believe will lead to both significant material damage and death…”

Paul Douglas

8 of the Biggest Tsunamis in History. Proving that earthquakes and water don’t mix well, Mental Floss has an eye-opening list: “Most tsunamis go unnoticed. Defined as a wave caused by a disturbance like an earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption, tsunamis often reach just a few inches in height, according to NOAA. But when the inciting event is strong enough, the results can be disastrous. The most powerful tsunamis move as fast as jet planes across the open ocean and grow as tall as skyscrapers. When they reach land, they can decimate entire towns in minutes. The tsunamis on this list aren’t necessarily the deadliest or most destructive, but they do dominate one category: sheer magnitude. Here are the tallest megatsunamis ever recorded…”

The author at Salt River Park in Mercer County, Ky.

America’s Rivers Need Help. I Should Know – I Swam in 108 of Them This Summer. Cue a gag reflex, but it made me appreciate Minnesota’s relatively clean lakes. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: “…As a conservation biologist, I’ve spent years working to increase protections for rivers, especially in the American Southeast. Teeming with more kinds of freshwater mussels and crayfish than anywhere in the world, the rivers there are renowned for their biodiversity. This summer, I decided that I’d go hard to win the river-swimming challenge — and explore rivers beyond my previous haunts. From my home near the Cumberland River in Kentucky, I drove across eight states, from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, west to the Mississippi River on the Missouri border, and east to the Shenandoah River. I swam in state and city parks, national forests, wildlife management areas and private lands with public access sites...”

Illustration: Toby Leigh

What Science Knows About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes. Some helpful tips for upcoming holiday travel via The Wall Street Journal: “Fliers have yearned for reliable data on the risks of air travel since the pandemic began. Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers. Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning. The chances of viral spread aboard planes remain very low. But papers published in medical journals suggest they may not be as low as suggested earlier in the pandemic…”

August 9, 2020 file
Paul Douglas

Does Bad Weather Really Affect Your Internet? It depends on how you’re connecting, according to a post at Mental Floss; here’s an excerpt: “…If your internet is cable- or satellite-based, on the other hand, inclement weather could be the culprit behind your spotty connection. Satellite radio waves have a difficult time passing freely through solid barriers like trees or buildings; and precipitation—especially rain, since it’s so dense—can interfere with a path that’s usually clear. For cable users, extreme temperatures or precipitation can damage the cables themselves. In short, you might be able to blame a thunderstorm for your Internet’s bad behavior, but the specific cause depends on what type of internet you have.

75 F. Twin Cities high on Tuesday.

64 F. average high on October 5.

70 F. MSP high on October 5, 2020.

October 6, 1997: Hail, wind, and an F0 tornado are reported in the early morning hours in several counties in west central Minnesota. Near Canby in Yellow Medicine County, hail combined with wind gusts nearing 60 mph damage the roof of a bus garage, elementary school windows and a school vehicle. Renville, McLeod, Carver, Scott, and Dakota counties also receive hail and strong winds. Widespread pea to marble size hail accumulates to three inches deep in several areas, and crops are severely damaged over a large part of Renville county. Many power lines and trees are blown down. Southeast of Bird Island, a barn collapses and kills over 100 pigs. Near Brownton in McLeod County, hail accumulates to a depth of 3 inches with one foot drifts. A brief tornado touches down near Stewart in McLeod County, damaging a few trees. (source: Twin Cities National Weather Service).

October 6, 1987: Snow falls over the Arrowhead region.

Paul Douglas

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 71

THURSDAY: More clouds, few PM showers. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 69

FRIDAY: Some sunshine, passing T-storm. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 75

SATURDAY: AM sunshine, late T-storms. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 72

SUNDAY: Cooler with showery rains. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 68

MONDAY: Unsettled, few lingering showers. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 67

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 71

Climate Stories…

FEMA, Axios. Map courtesy of Jared Whalen

There’s No Outrunning the Risks of Climate-Fueled Weather. Here’s an excerpt from Axios: “…There is nowhere in the USA (or on Earth) that is totally risk-free from the impacts of climate change,” said Brown University environmental studies professor Laurence C. Smith in an email exchange. The inland mid-central and northeastern states along the Canadian border may experience some of these detriments somewhat less severely than other areas of the country,” Smith said. Limiting the future scope of extreme weather risks will require global emissions cuts to curtail global warming as much as possible. But significant warming and extreme weather damage are already baked in, which requires risk management and adaptation decisions — personal and governmental...”

FEMA, Axios. Map courtesy of Jared Whalen

Study: Exposure to Deadly Urban Heat Worldwide Has Tripled in Recent Decades. ScienceDaily has specifics: “A new study of more than 13,000 cities worldwide has found that the number of person-days in which inhabitants are exposed to extreme combinations of heat and humidity has tripled since the 1980s. The authors say the trend, which now affects nearly a quarter of the world’s population, is the combined result of both rising temperatures and booming urban population growth. The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Over recent decades, hundreds of millions have moved from rural areas to cities, which now hold more than half the world’s population. There, temperatures are generally higher than in the countryside, because of sparse vegetation and abundant concrete, asphalt and other impermeable surfaces that tend to trap and concentrate heat — the so-called urban heat island effect…”

In 2020, U.S. adults in areas that have experienced an anomalously high number of hot, dry days (southwestern region and Alaska), in areas affected by hurricane-related flooding (southeastern arc), and in metropolitan areas are more likely to think that global warming will harm them personally when compared with the national average of 43%.
Credit: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

How Do You Know If You’ve Experienced Global Warming? Note to self: a warming climate is flavoring all weather now – making natural extremes even more extreme. Here’s the intro to a post at Eos: ”People in every corner of the United States are increasingly seeing climate change affect their daily lives: water shortages and lost crops from extended drought, record-breaking heat waves in cities, hazy air from wildfire smoke half a country away, and hurricane-related flooding in basement apartments, to name just a few. However, not every extreme weather event convinces people that they are personally experiencing climate change. A recent study in Global Environmental Change has found that regardless of political and sociodemographic factors, experiencing an anomalously high number of hot, dry days is most likely to make U.S. residents believe they’ve experienced global warming. “Climate change expresses itself very differently in different places—wildfires and drought in the West, hurricanes and flooding in the East, all of the above in Texas!” said Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at the Yale School of the Environment in New Haven, Conn., and lead author of the study…”

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Next 30 Years of Extreme Weather. Axios connects the dots and looks at potential future trends: “...What’s next: In the West, water scarcity, wildfires and heat waves are projected to worsen in coming years, potentially driving people away from the region. In the Midwest, a weather whiplash effect — with conditions swinging between drought and flooding — and more precarious agricultural conditions are in the offing. Across the South and Southeast, more powerful, rapidly-intensifying and wetter hurricanes could spin ashore. Heat waves will also be a greater concern. And along the East Coast from Florida to Maine, a key task will be managing the impact of so-called sunny day flooding, when rising sea levels plus astronomical high tides cause flooding in sections of Miami, Charleston and Norfolk. The bottom line: The future need not be a Hollywood dystopian hellscape…”

Global Temperature Anomalies

Pope Francis takes part in the “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting with other religious leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Britain, at the Vatican, October 4, 2021.
Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

Pope, Other Religious Leaders, Issue Pre-COP26 Appeal on Climate Change. Reuters reports: “Pope Francis and other religious leaders made a joint appeal on Monday for next month’s U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) to offer concrete solutions to save the planet from “an unprecedented ecological crisis”. The “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting brought together Christian leaders including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. “COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” the pope said…”

File Image
Will Brown, Union of Concerned Scientists

The Price of Living Near the Shore is Already High. It’s About to Go Through the Roof. The Washington Post (paywall) highlights changes in pricing for coastal flooding that more accurately reflects true risk in a changing climate: “…The Garys had joined 8 million Americans who moved to counties along the U.S. coast between 2000 and 2017, lured by the sun, the sea and heavily subsidized government flood insurance that made the cost of protecting their homes much less expensive, despite the risk of living in a flood zone near a vast body of water. But a reckoning is coming. On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will incorporate climate risk into the cost of flood insurance for the first time, dramatically increasing the price for some new home buyers. Next April, most current policyholders will see their premiums go up and continue to rise by 18 percent per year for the next 20 years…”

File Image
National Academy of Sciences

Climate Nexus has more perspective and links: “FEMA’s new flood insurance plan is drawing the battle lines over climate adaptation (Grist), homeowners face new risks and costs (Axios, Wall Street Journal $), flood insurance revamp aims for fairer rates (AP, explainer), flood insurance revamp starts today, despite opposition (E&E $), the price of living near the shore is already high. It’s about to go through the roof.” (Washington Post $, CBS)

Twin Cities Warming Since 1901
Climate Central
Duluth Warming Since 1901
Climate Central
Mankato Warming Since 1901
Climate Central

Earthshine annual mean albedo 1998–2017 expressed as watts per square meter (W/m2). The CERES annual albedo 2001–2019, also expressed in W/m2, are shown in blue. A best fit line to the CERES data (2001–2019) is shown with a blue dashed line. Average error bars for CERES measurements are of the order of 0.2 W/m2.
Credit: Goode et al. (2021), Geophysical Research Letters

Earth is Dimming Due to Climate Change. New research highlighted at Phys.org caught my eye: “Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study. Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine—the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon—as well as satellite measurements to find that there has been a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance, or albedo, over the past two decades. The Earth is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago, with most of the drop occurring in the last three years of earthshine data, according to the new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, which publishes high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences…”

Fires burn on a farm near environmentally protected land in Sao Paulo state on Aug. 24.
Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg

The Country That Makes Breakfast for the World is Plagued by Fire, Frost and Drought. Bloomberg Green has details, listen: “Brazil’s crops have been scorched, frozen and then dried out by the worst drought in a century, upending global commodity markets….The cost of Arabica beans soared 30% over a six-day stretch in late July; orange juice jumped 20% in three weeks; and sugar hit a four-year high in August. The price spikes are contributing to a surge in international food inflation — a U.N. index has jumped 33% over the past 12 months — that’s deepening financial hardship in the pandemic and forcing millions of lower-income families to scale back grocery purchases across the globe...”