Friday, September 30, 2011

October 1 (crazy rainfall extremes - wild winds/waves in Chicago)

80s next week in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Des Moines and Chicago? Weather models hinting at unusually warm weather much of next week. It may feel more like late August than early October. Global warming? No - just random weather, proving that we live in one of the more extreme climates in the USA.

.36" rain in the Twin Cities in September (driest on record).
6/10": average snowfall in the Twin Cities in October. Sorry. I'm just the messenger. No snow in sight anytime soon (looking out 2 weeks or so).

Perfect Marathon Weather. The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon kicks off Sunday morning at 8 am, and the weather is going to be absolutely perfect. Plan on a 7 am temperature of 48-50. By 9 am the mercury reaches 58, by 11 am I expect 62 degrees. Winds will be light, from the south/southeast, around 10 mph. Expect low humidity under a sunny sky. By mid afternoon I expect some low to mid 70s in the metro, but most runners will experience temperatures in the 50s and 60s for most of the marathon. More details here - good luck to everyone running (and watching!) My wife runs marathons - training for the Marine Corp Marathon right now (but Twin Cities was one of her favorites). Me? I run when chased.


IN 1934.

Baltimore photo credit here.

Wild And Windy. Winds gusted to 60 mph in the Chicagoland area late Thursday into Friday morning as a poweful Alberta Clipper raced across the Great Lakes, a strong contrast in atmospheric pressure whipping up violent winds. Here's a post from WGN TV's Tom Skilling on Facebook: “Amazing scenes along Lake Michigan this morning! There were towering waves driven by gale force winds. The NOAA buoy, 50 miles ESE of Milwaukee, recorded 23 ft. waves! The NOAA lake level sensor at Cal Harbor reported a 2.5 ft water level rise this AM in the storm surge. The rise put beaches half under water! Peak Chi gusts: 46 ORD, 45 MDW. Area gusts late Thu reached 60 mph Pecatonica & Peotone, 58 mph RFD. Monroe WI reported a 68 mph gust. Winds this AM on MI side of lake hit 68 mph a mile near South Haven & 61 mph at Sable Point. Many call the waves the biggest they’ve seen.” (photo above courtesy of KSDK).

Wind reports:

Best Weekend For Fall Color Peepers? This is it - I have a (very) strong hunch that if you wait until next weekend you may be disappointed, colors past peak over much of central and northern Minnesota. Today and tomorrow should be ideal for fall-color-gawking with blue sky, light winds, and colors close to peak color from the northern/western suburbs of the Twin Cities to St. Cloud, Little Falls and the Brainerd Lakes area to the North Shore of Lake Superior. More details from the Minnesota DNR here.

Driest September On Record For MSP. Continuing a trend started in August - September was much drier than average across much of western and southern Minnesota. Here is an excerpt from Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk post: "September was a drier than normal month across nearly all of the state, especially western and southern counties. Many observers reported less than 1 inch of rainfall. One of the few observers reporting above normal rainfall was Grand Meadow in southeastern Minnesota where they had 4.27 inches. For many September, 2011 was one of the driest in history with less than half an inch of rainfall, and measurable rain on only 4-5 days during the month. Some of these included:

0.36" at MSP Airport (driest ever)
0.25" at Marshall (2nd driest)
0.05" at Lamberton (driest ever)
0.23" at Pipestone (2nd driest)
0.39" at Chaska (3rd driest)
0.41" at Wheaton (5th driest)
0.21" at Madison (driest ever)
0.34" at Browns Valley (3rd driest)
0.36" at Milan (4th driest)
0.39" at Gull Lake (5th driest)

* Photo of Red Wing taken on Friday courtesy of Bernie White.

Frosty Start. Under a crystal clear sky with light winds temperatures dropped below 32 - frost advisories are in effect just north/east of the Twin Cities. Frost is likely outside the 494/694 freeway system early today, but by mid afternoon temperatures should be in the mid 60s.

Frost Advisory. On average the first sub-freezing night in the Twin Cities comes around October 3, according to data from the National Weather Service and Minnesota Climatology Office. Of course outlying suburbs can see frost 1-2 weeks earlier, the "urban heat island" means a 1-3 week longer growing season for the downtowns and immediate, close-in suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you missed out on a frost this morning, chances are you'll remain frost free through the end of next week.

Average Date Of First Frost. Most years the first frost of the season arrives in the Twin Cities (downtown and close-in suburbs) during the first week of October.

Growing Drought. I was surprised to see the latest Drought Monitor from NOAA: 19.26% of Minnesota in a moderate drought, a little less than 5% of the state (Arrowhead) in a severe drought. After a very wet June and July rainfall went off a cliff starting in August - the dry trend accelerating into September (driest on record for MSP).

30 Day Rainfall. September has been a month of all or nothing. Parts of southwestern Minnesota picked up less than a tenth of an inch of rain, while central Pennsylvania has been inundated under 20" of rain - 6 to 7 month's worth of rain. Irene and Lee were the major culprits, but last week's stalled "cut-off" low over the Great Lakes kept a steady stream of tropical moisture flowing northward, fueling more torrential rains. Click here to see rainfall data from NOAA.

Dry Spell. The next chance of rain for most of the Upper Midwest won't come until the end of next week, probably late Friday and Friday night. It's early, but the GFS model clears skies on Saturday, highs probably holding in the 60s. Again, no numbing fronts in sight - yet.

BWCA Fire Impacting Moose Hunting. The Minnesota DNR is offering hunters refunds on their licenses  or have the license reinstated for future hunts if the Pagami creek fire has impacted their hunting zones. Here's the latest from the Minnesota DNR: "Participants in this fall's bulls-only moose hunt can chose to have their licenses refunded and reinstated for a future hunt if the Pagami Creek fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) has impacted or limited access to the zone in which they are authorized to hunt."

* Pagami Creek Blaze is now 67% contained. More details here.

Blustery Thursday Recap. The Iowa Environmental Mesonet has more details: "Wind gusts on Thursday turned out to be as advertised with peak gusts in Iowa above 50 mph over a good portion of the state. Unfortunately, this helped to fan some grass and field fires. Winds will not be as strong today with another stretch of dry weather expected to start. Dry weather is good in October to help farmers get the crops out."

Red Tide Glows Blue Along San Diego Coast. This is a bit bizarre, strangely beautiful, but potentially bad news for sea life impacted by the red tide. Click here to read more from the Washington Post:  "Red tide comes from an algae bloom in the bay. At night, when the algae are disturbed, by either swimmers or waves, they give off a blue light. It may be pretty, but the algae that causes this phenomena is also closely related to algae that cause shellfish harm, and in a rare case, got so thick along a French beach, that a man riding his horse was knocked out from the fumes. "

Photo credit: "Bioluminescent phytoplankton create their own light during a red tide in the rolling surf along the coast of Leucadia, Calif. (MIKE BLAKE - REUTERS) "

Mighty Ophelia. As of midday Friday Hurricane Ophelia had become the 3rd "major" category 3 or stronger hurricane of the 2011 season, with sustained winds of 125 mph. Only 2005 has seen more named storms than 2011. Satellite image courtesy of NOAA.

Near-Miss For Bermuda. It appears that Hurricane Ophelia's 120-130 mph winds will track just east of Bermuda, probably missing the Canadian Maritimes early next week. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.

Typhoon Hits Hong Kong. Here is YouTube footage and details from CCTV: "Stock market suspended trading and shops and businesses were shuttered in Hong Kong as devastating Typhoon Nesat was approaching. The disaster made its way across the South China Sea from the Philippines where it killed 35 people and left another 45 missing. Residents of Hong Kong hunkered down on Thursday as they rode out a powerful typhoon. A barge also ripped free from its moorings and slammed into a seawall on Hong Kong Island, forcing nearby apartments to be evacuated, news reports said. Nesat brought death and destruction when it tore through the Philippines earlier this week triggering some of the worst flooding in downtown Manila in decades, before blowing out toward southern China with winds of 75 mph."

Typhoon Nalgae Threatens Philippines. Still recovering from Typhoon Nesat, a new typhoon (same thing as a hurricane) is approaching the Philippines. Typhoon Nalgae is forecast to take the same path as Nesat, aiming at the northern Philippines. It has sustained winds at 115kt (130 MPH), with gusts to 145kt (167 MPH). Within the next 12 hours it is forecast to strengthen, with sustained winds of 125kt (143 MPH) and gusts up to 150kt (172 MPH). The winds in 12 hours will make Nalgae a high category 4 hurricane in the Saffir- Simpson scale.

Projected Track. Forecast information courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

In Irene's Wake, High And Dry Enough? Many New York City residents had an "oh-crap" moment when Hurricane Irene was approaching - no idea if they were in an evacuation zone or how many feet above sea level they were living. The New York Times has more: "WHEN Hurricane Irene roared up the East Coast this summer and drew a bead on Manhattan, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were surprised to learn they had something in common: They were living in Evacuation Zone A and potentially at imminent risk of being flooded out of their homes. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared a state of emergency, shut down mass transit and urged some 300,000 people to flee to higher ground. But aside from some soggy streets, frayed nerves and a miserable Monday commute, New York City was spared the worst of the storm. It did, however, put a spotlight on the city’s waterfront, where in recent years, hundreds of millions of dollars of public money has been spent to improve parks, build esplanades and create the infrastructure necessary for residential development. The construction of pricey rental and condo towers along the shoreline, in neighborhoods like Battery Park City, Long Island City and Williamsburg, has transformed warehouse and wharf districts. New buildings and planned projects will add thousands of apartments over the next decade, helping ease a projected housing crunch as the city’s population balloons past nine million people." (image above courtesy of NASA).

Texas Drought Could Last 9 Years. Here's a post from Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground: "The devastating Texas drought that has already cost over $5 billion could continue for nine more years, predicted Texas State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon in an interview with Reuters yesterday. "It is possible that we could be looking at another of these multi-year droughts like we saw in the 1950s, and like the tree rings have shown that the state has experienced over the last several centuries," Nielson-Gammon said. Drought statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that over 96% of Texas is experiencing the two worst categories of drought, extreme and exceptional. The past 12 months have been the driest one-year period on record in Texas. The main blame for this year's drought can be put on La NiƱa, the cooling of equatorial Pacific waters that deflects the jet stream and takes rain-bearing low pressure system away from Texas."

* Click here to see the latest Drought Monitor snapshot for Texas, courtesy of NOAA.

Climate Calendar. By the end of October the average high in the Twin Cities is 50. Odds are we'll see the first flurries of the winter season by the third or fourth week of October - accumulating snow is rare, but can't be ruled out. The trend in recent years has been for milder, drier Octobers with frequent 60s, even 70s from time to time. Click here to see all the October details, courtesy of the Minnesota State Climate Office.

Climate Stories...

World's Engineers: Technology We Need To Address Climate Change Already Exists! We have the technology to reduce carbon emissions even as we ramp up with traditional carbon-based fuels and renewables. But sadly we don't seem to have the political will to take the next step. Clean Technica and Joe Romm over at Climate Progress have the (encouraging) story: "The technology needed to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 already exists, according to a joint statement by eleven of the world’s largest engineering organisations. The statement says that generating electricity from wind, waves and the sun, growing biofuels sustainably, zero emissions transport, low carbon buildings and energy efficiency technologies have all been demonstrated. However they are not being developed for wide-scale use fast enough and there is a desperate need for financial and legislative support from governments around the world if they are to fulfil their potential. That’s the news release from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), one of the 11 signatory groups. The groups explicitly call for a peak in global emissions in 2020 and an intensive effort to train workers for green technology jobs."

Why Does The Global Warming Debate Provoke So Much Anger? Good question - I've wondered the same thing. It seems like climate change threatens the way some people look at the world. has the story: "My topic today is not global warming. My topic, rather, is our attitudes, thoughts and feelings about global warming. It is a striking fact that many people get very worked up over this topic. People get hot under the collar. Why is this? Ursula Goodenough took up this issue here at 13.7 a few months ago. She asked: What motivates climate change deniers? Robert Krulwich, just this past week over on his blog, wonders: Why does the climate change topic make people angry? This is a tractable metacognitive question. I'd like to venture an answer to it. Let me first begin with some preliminaries. First, the question — Why do people have such strong feelings on this topic? — is an empirical question. My proposal is merely speculative. I may be wrong. Second, the question is not merely empirical. Suppose I am locked in conflict with my significant other. I might pose the empirical question: What best explains why she is so angry with me? I might speculate as to possible causes; I might take up the standpoint of the empirical scientist bent on understanding the causes of her feeling state. Could it be hormonal? Did something happen to her at work today? Did she forget to take her medications?"

Climate Change: Will Chocolate Become A Costly Luxury? Uh oh. Don't mess with my coffee or my chocolate. Now you definitely have my attention. has a story I was sorely tempted to censor (for your mental health): "If temperatures continue to rise, a new report suggests, West Africa, source of half the world's chocolate, will be unfit to grow the coveted beans. Is the world's cocoa supply in danger? That's what a new study from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) suggests, singling out a familiar culprit: Global warming. The findings [see PDF] reveal that annual temperature increases will hamper the crop-production efforts in West Africa, which currently supplies half of the world's chocolate  at least if preventive measures aren't taken. Here's what you should know: How hot are we talking? The study, which consulted 19 climate-change models, indicates that a mere two degrees Celcius increase by 2050 will render areas like Ghana and the Ivory Coast too hot to grow cocoa, says The Washington Post. As cocoa trees struggle to obtain enough water, the developmental stages of cocoa pods that house "the prized cocoa bean" — source of the chocolate we know and love — would be disturbed. The effects of a shortage — including a leap in the price of chocolate — could be felt as soon as 2030. "

Ask An Aggie: Climate Change Is Real. Here's a story from "Deep in the heart of Texas, the scientific consensus is alive and kicking -- no matter what the local politicians say. For the tens of millions of Americans who are determined to "take their country back" (from what or whom exactly is still a mystery to me), there’s no climate debate. The jury is in. Global warming is a hoax, the product of a conspiracy so immense that it dwarfs anything Senator Joe McCarthy dreamed up when he was sniffing out Chinese communists in the State Department. The command posts of this conspiracy are well known by now: the leftist radicals at the United Nations; the University of East "Climategate" Anglia; and pointy-headed, elitist institutions like Princeton and Yale, Stanford and Berkeley. By contrast to these bicoastal cosmopolitans, we’ve been hearing a lot recently about the homespun heartland virtues of schools like Texas A&M, where we’re told that a talent for yelling loudly at football games is just as important as good grades -- and is held to be no impediment to the pursuit of high office. But hold on; there’s a problem with this scenario. It turns out that Texas A&M is in fact one of the nerve centers of the great climate conspiracy, together with other football-mad southern and Midwestern schools like the universities of Alabama, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, all of which are doing groundbreaking research on global warming."

Climate Skeptic Proves That He Knows How To Waste Time, Money. Media Matters has the story of Anthony Watts, one of the most vocal and shrill climate skeptics: "Their newest descent into failure comes courtesy of one Anthony Watts, who claims to have proven conclusively that Al Gore "doctored a video that's supposed to prove his global warming theories." Here is the video, from Current TV, in which Bill Nye walks us through a simple experiment demonstrating the warming effects of carbon dioxide."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 30: 32 Foot Seas on Superior (snow for upstate New York?)

32 foot seas and wind gusts as high as 60-65 mph. predicted for Lake Superior through Friday morning.
Alberta Clipper. Named after the clipper ships of the 1830s and 1840s (fastest vessels on the high seas, capable of forward speeds as high as 30 knots), Thursday's Alberta Clipper whipped up a few hours of rain and tropical storm force wind gusts. Unlike last week's stationary closed low - this clipper will keep on (clipping) southeast, a ridge of high pressure resulting in bright sun and less wind today.

Next Chance Of Significant Rain. It's a dry forecast for most of the Upper Midwest through at least Thursday of next week. The map above shows moderate to heavy rain with a vigorous cold frontal passage a week from today - the next chance of widespread rain.

Ophelia Becomes The 4th Named Hurricane of 2011. Only 2005 had more named hurricanes than 2011. This year has seen the second greatest number of named storms on record, according to NHC.

Early Snow For New England? It's not definite (yet), but the long-range GFS model is hinting at some 1-2" snowfall amounts for northern New York State. That's early - the average date of the first (measureable) snowfall in the Catskills is around November 5.

"...Rob Jackson, the director of the Duke Center on Global Change, acknowledges this backdrop of uncertainty. "Can anyone say with certainty that this is climate-change related? Absolutely not," he said. But Jackson -- who went to college and taught in Texas and continues to visit frequently to see family -- suggested that the scale of the Texas wildfires is starting to change the minds of some scientists who have traditionally been hesitant to blame specific weather events on climate change. "The heat and drought I saw in August is almost enough to make me say that climate change is playing a role, amplifying other factors," Jackson said. "I've never said that before about any weather event."- from a post below from Politifact.





New York State Rainfall Totals:

The NWS just released storm totals for counties in New York. Ulster county was hit hardest, getting almost 8 inches of rain in 24 hours.

   WEST SHOKAN           7.25   645 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   PHOENICIA             6.13   608 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   SAUGERTIES            2.99   650 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   KINGSTON              1.24   437 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6

Flood-Weary Pennsylvania Residents Deal With More Water. Rainfall across much of the Keystone State has been 2-5 times more than average for September, over a foot of water just this month. The Houston Chronicle has more details: "Flood watches remain in effect for much of flood-weary eastern Pennsylvania, where rising waters had some people fearing for their homes for a fourth time in a month. An area stretching from Philadelphia north to the New York border was forecast to get more rain Thursday and concerns over runoff prompted flash flood warnings. Some residents in Harveys Lake, Luzerne County were evacuated late Wednesday after water ran over the Twin Lakes dam. Harrisburg River Rescue retrieved about 10 people from homes in Swatara Township, where the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused extensive flood damage earlier this month. Flooding from Hurricane Irene late last month was followed by record flooding in many areas because of Lee. That flooding damaged thousands of buildings on a scale not seen since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Further north in Huntingdon County, officials Wednesday declared a disaster emergency in Three Springs, Mount Union and Saltillo boroughs after flash flooding this week. More than 3 inches of rain fell in one 40-minute span, county emergency management director Adam Miller said Thursday." (photo above courtesy of the

Ophelia's Track. A Tropical Storm Watch is posted for Bermuda, but Ophelia should track east of the island. There's even a small chance it may reach Nova Scotia (Canada) as a weak, category 1 hurricane by Monday of next week. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.

Stressing Out. Here's an interesting post from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet: "This year has certainly seen its share of hot weather as compared with recent years. The featured chart presents two measures of heat stress. The top panel is the number of hours where the temperature was at or above 93 based on data from the Des Moines Airport sensor. The bottom panel presents the traditional stress degree days, which is a measure of the exceedance of 86 by the daily high temperature. For both measures, this year has been the warmest since the drought year of 1988. The largest values, by a large margin, on the chart are from the dust bowl in the 1930s."

Wednesday's Haboob In Arizona. More details courtesy of WJLA-TV: "As yet another dust storm swept over Arizona yesterday, a dozen grit-lost automobiles met on an interstate in an ear-shattering mass collision. They then sat there smoking for hours with emergency officials on hold until the air stopped resembling the inside of a vacuum bag. Haboobs are a regular feature of the Southwest Monsoon, a time of summer when high pressure gathering in the east Pacific Ocean directs waves of moist sea air northward. This year’s crop is a bit rowdier than usual, though. Stretching up to nearly a mile in some cases, they are arriving with regularity: Two alone have struck in the past four days. Yesterday’s was the fourth really big dust storm in Arizona this summer. It’s not uncommon for a handful to occur during an average year, but what is uncommon, as at least one meteorologist has noted, is the power of 2011′s haboobs. They have knocked down power poles and P.O.’d countless car buffs by painting their rides with desert dirt. Chalk up the dustiness of these particular haboobs to abnormally dry conditions in Arizona – the rainfall around Phoenix since last October is more than three-and-a-half inches below average."

Tornado On Humphrey's Peak (Arizona). Wait, a tornado at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet? Yep, according to the National Weather Service. Click here to read more about this rare (mountain) tornado. Some additional stats here:

State Of The Climate: August 2011. Data courtesy of NOAA's NCDC, National Climatic Data Center:

The NWS has released its state of the climate report for August. New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire had their wettest August on record, and the rest of the northeast had a top five wettest August.

At the other end of the spectrum, the South had one of its driest Augusts on record. The Texas drought has gotten so bad that tree rings, dating back to 1550, have shown that only one other summer has been this bad, which occurred in 1789.

A New Way To Improve Dust Storm Prediction Accuracy? The Air Force is doing some cutting edge research on dust storms, and trying to predict them in advance. It's obvious that military operations can be greatly impacted by blowing dust - getting a better handle on blowing dust can give commanders in the field an operational edge, as reported by the Laughlin Air Force Base: "The saying "leave it better than when you found it" is constantly used in the military with all the moving and relocating that is done. Staff Sgt. Thomas Jenkins, 47th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight NCO in charge of weather systems, did just that and more after a recent deployment to Iraq. Jenkins, while deployed to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, realized that a better method to predict dust storms could be developed. He decided to give himself a research project before devising a plan that ultimately improves dust storm forecasts accuracy rating by 80 percent. The Air Force recognized this achievement and are scheduled to begin training personnel and distributing to areas of responsibility that will benefit from the new tool. "We typically work with water based weather such as rain, snow and thunderstorms," he said. "When you're out in CENTOM (U.S. Central Command), you don't typically see that much, it's more blowing dust and sand storms. Because our models aren't built to work with that, it tends to be a little more unreliable than what your typical weather forecast would be. So I did about five months of field research looking for a way to take the tools we had and make them work better. I was able to come up with a math formula that accomplished that."

ISU-Texas Game To Be The "Wind Bowl". This makes sense, considering Texas and Iowa are America's two largest wind producing states. Here's the story from the Des Moines Register: "Befitting a matchup of universities from the two largest wind producing states in the U.S., the game between Iowa State and Texas Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames has been dubbed the “wind bowl” by the American Wind Energy Association. For the game, the stadium will be 100-percent powered by wind through the purchase of Green-e-certified Renewable Energy Certificates to offset energy used. The American Wind Energy Association and Iowa State’s College of Engineering will join MidAmerican Energy, ITC Midwest, and Siemens for live, on-field recognition of their work in wind power during a break in the game. While Iowa leads the nation in wind penetration, with about 4,200 megawatts of wind power deployed. Texas is tops in total wind installations, with over 10,000 MW deployed." (photo credit here).

Windy Day - May Blow Away! Speaking of wind, check out this cute YouTube clip: "Check out these dogs in Annandale, Minnesota.  This video is from Amy Sparks. She says “...very windy day of my two Havanese dogs, Jubilee & Posh in Annandale, MN at the municipal city park where they usually like to “run like hell” but couldn’t because they may have been blown away.” Yep, I hate it when my dog (Leo) blows away. He doesn't like it much either...

Kindle Fire vs. Apple iPad. What Amazon's Tablet Has That iPad Lacks. Here's more information on the new gadget (productivity device) from Huffington Post: "At first glance, the Amazon Kindle Fire doesn't appear to be an iPad killer. When you compare the hardware and technical specs of the new Amazon tablet next to those of the Apple tablet, there doesn't seem to be much of a comparison: Apple's 10-inch, 16GB iPad is a far cry from the 7-inch, 8GB first-generation Kindle Fire. And yet the fact is that, at the end of the day, they're both tablets, which means that consumers will probably be choosing between one or the other when it comes time to get a tablet. Unless you're doing really well this recession, it would be hard to justify shelling out money for both an iPad (starting at $499) and a Kindle Fire (which costs $199, less than half of what it costs for Apple's tablet)."

Amazon's Tablet Leads To Its Store. The New York Times has more information on the Amazon Fire here.

* photo above courtesy of Paul Sundberg Photography.

Climate Stories...

Colbert: "Global Warming Is Real Folks". Here's a spot-on monologue from Stephen Colbert, courtesy of the New York Times and Comedy Central: "Stephen Colbert spent some time on Monday night, between Radiohead songs, dissecting realities on global warming and energy using very sharp satirical tools. Here’s one piercingly true line:
"In the face of all this mounting evidence, America has stood with one voice and boldly proclaimed: “Eh.”
After a performance by Radiohead, he sat with Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien from the band and dug in again on Americans but also on how a rock band can square its carbon concerns with its energy needs (like a masterful juggler adding a ball in mid-performance, he threw in a jab at “clean coal” in the process)."

Climate Change Will Cost Canada Billions: Report. Here's the story from CTV Winnipeg: "Climate change will cost Canada about $5 billion a year by 2020, a startling new analysis commissioned by the federal government warns. Those costs will continue to climb, to between $21 billion and $43 billion a year by the 2050s, the report estimates. It all depends on how much action is taken to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as how fast the population and the economy grow too. In the worst-case scenario, climate change could cost as much as $91 billion per year by 2050. The report was issued Thursday morning by The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. Its members are business leaders, academics and researchers who were chosen by the federal government to advise them on how to handle the climate change crisis, while also continuing to stimulate the economy. In its report, the think-tank projects the cost of climate change based on four scenarios, ranging from slow population and economic growth combined with low climate change, to rapid population and economic growth and high climate change."

President Obama Slams Rick Perry On Climate Change, Citing Texas Wildfires. How strong is the link between climate change and the record-setting wilfires that have swept across Texas this year? Here is a thorough piece from "During a Sept. 26, 2011, speech at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in San Jose, Calif., President Barack Obama aimed some attack lines at the Republican Party. "Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republican but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party...." Obama said in comments that, according to the White House’s transcript, were punctuated by laughter. "I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. No, no, it’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care, and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are. We’ve had differences in the past, but at some level we’ve always believed, you know what, that we’re not defined by our differences. We’re bound together." After several readers brought it to our attention, we zeroed in on Obama’s comment that "you’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change." The governor in question is Rick Perry of Texas -- one of the leading candidates in the Republican presidential primary and therefore a potential challenger to Obama in his bid for a second term next year. As for the fires Obama mentioned, Texas has been experiencing one of its most severe wildfire seasons in history.  According to the Texas Forest Service, 3.8 million acres burned and 2,742 homes were destroyed by wildfires between Nov. 15, 2010 and Sept. 26, 2011. A spokesman for Perry, Mark Miner, thought Obama’s comment was unfair, telling ABC News, "It’s outrageous President Obama would use … the worst fires in state history as a political attack." (photo courtesy of CBS News).

The Not-So-Green Mountains. Not everyone is enthusiastic about wind energy and wind turbines in their back yards. The reality? Every form of energy creation has it's own set of risks and challenges, including renewables. The New York Times has an Op-Ed focused on what wind power could mean for Vermont's Green Mountains: "Craftsbury, Vt.BULLDOZERS arrived a couple of weeks ago at the base of the nearby Lowell Mountains and began clawing their way through the forest to the ridgeline, where Green Mountain Power plans to erect 21 wind turbines, each rising to 459 feet from the ground to the tip of the blades. This desecration, in the name of “green” energy, is taking place in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom on one of the largest tracts of private wild land in the state. Here and in other places — in Maine and off Cape Cod, for instance — the allure of wind power threatens to destroy environmentally sensitive landscapes. Erecting those turbines along more than three miles of ridgeline requires building roads — with segments of the ridgeline road itself nearly half as wide as one of Vermont’s interstate highways — in places where the travel lanes are now made by bear, moose, bobcat and deer. It requires changing the profile of the ridgeline to provide access to cranes and service vehicles. This is being accomplished with approximately 700,000 pounds of explosives that will reduce parts of the mountaintops to rubble that will be used to build the access roads." (photo above courtesy of flickr).

Climate Change Threatens Yellowstone Region. Reuters has the story: "A warming climate is imperilling the wildlife and landscapes in the Yellowstone National Park region, two environmental groups said in a study. The report by Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Greater Yellowstone Coalition shows temperatures in the past decade in the Yellowstone area have exceeded the rate of warming worldwide compared to the 20th Century average. Left unchecked, climate change is likely to transform the greater Yellowstone area, which includes parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and encompasses two national parks, six national forests and three wildlife refuges, the report said.The Yellowstone National Park region is one of the world's last largely intact temperate ecosystems."

Climate Change Compounds Global Security Threat, British Admiral Says. The story from CNN: "Stresses from global climate change are increasing the threat of wars around the world, a British admiral said Wednesday. Royal Navy Rear Adm. Neil Morisetti told students and faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology that global climate change threats to food, water, land and energy will present substantive security challenges in regions of the world where there are already stresses. "Those climate stress multipliers are increasing the threat of armed conflict around the world," Morisetti said. Morisetti pointed out that existing stress points form a band around the globe, running from Central and South America, across Africa, the Middle East and south Asia. That band, he said, intersects with the regions of the globe most susceptible to climate change. With climate change, Morisetti said, "we're going to add more to that cocktail." Morisetti, who holds the title of the British government's climate and energy security envoy, is on a tour of the United States, speaking to academics and military officials. He says climate change represents a significant challenge for governments because the "new and emerging threat doesn't fit into the traditional stovepipe of governments. "It's a threat that won't manifest for the next 15 to 20 years, which means that you have to look at potential threats, not particular threats."

Climate Change Scenarios Confirm Warming. Here's a look at how climate change is impacting Switzerland, courtesy of "Average temperatures and extreme weather events are set to increase in Switzerland, a climate change report has found. In the best case scenario – supposing a strong reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades – temperatures would still rise by nearly two degrees celsius by the end of the century. In the worst case, average seasonal temperatures would rise by nearly five degrees. Using a new generation of global and European-scale regional climate models, Swiss Climate Change Scenarios CH2011 presents three different possible effects on temperatures and precipitation resulting from three greenhouse gas emissions scenarios."