Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 1: Severe Risk East Coast (CO2 reaches 400 ppm over Arctic)

June: historically the wettest, most severe month of the year for much of the Upper Midwest. Tornadoes and hailstorms usually peak in June. Something to look forward to.
400 ppm. CO2 levels have reached 400 parts per million over the Arctic region. Details below.

34.8 billion tons of CO2 pollutants released into the Earth's atmosphere in 2011, a new world record.

"It's been at least 800,000 years – probably more – since Earth saw carbon dioxide levels in the 400s, Butler and other climate scientists said. Until now. Readings are coming in at 400 and higher all over the Arctic. They've been recorded in Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Iceland and even Mongolia." - from a Huffington Post article below.

Global Temperature Trends Since 1950. In spite of a moderate La Nina cooling phase of the Pacific Ocean, 2011 will probably wind up in the Top 10 Warmest Years on Record, worldwide, the warmest La Nina on record. Source: WMO and Real Climate. Details below.

The Drought Is Pretty Much Over. Here's the latest NOAA Drought Monitor, showing an amazing turn-around in the rainfall department.

Wet Weather Gardening Tips. Master Gardener Tricia Frostad has some good advice in light of the recent (torrential) rains in May, well over 9" of rain in many gardens across the metro: "All this moisture can lead to fungal diseases on plants. Fungus overwinters in infected plant residue and excessive overhead watering (as in rain) can activate the fungus. The fungal spores are spread by splashing water and wind to nearby plants and it thrives in damp weather. Spots typically appear on leaves at the base of the plant and move upward as the infection progresses. Remove any plant material that is affected but be certain to never remove more than 1/3rd of a plant's leaves. Displose of these diseased leaves in the trash or burn thhem. Do not return them to the compost pile. Try to make sure that your plants have proper air circulation around the foliage, which may mean pulling "volunteer" plants. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering - it's much better to water at the base of the plant. Fungicides can help in controlling the spread, but will not "cure" the leaves that have already been affected."

Tour The Gardens Of Master Gardeners. If you're looking for something to do this summer, and you love gardening, consider touring the gardens of Master Gardeners - kind of like the Parade of Homes, only better (and greener!) The event is in July, but you can purchase tickets now and save a few bucks. Details: "Visit eight gardens designed and tended by Carver-Scott Master Gardeners on Saturday, July 28, 2012, 10 am to 4 pm. The gardens are in Carver County (Minnestrista, Waconia, Excelsior, Chaska and Chanhassen). Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the tour at each garden. Advance tickets can be purchased by clicking the "Buy Now" button below or at Tonkadale Greenhouse, Ambergate Gardens, Glenrose Floral (Chanhassen), or by calling the Carver County Extension office (952-466-5300), or the Scott County Extension office (952-492-5410).

The gardens showcase wonderful water features, shade gardens, sun combinations, interesting containers, unusual decor, a restored prairie with grasses and wild flowers, a berm with interesting shrubs and an amazing collection of trees.

Ticket Information. For more information, and a quick and easy (Paypal) way to purchase tickets, click here.

Warmest Spring In Chicago In 142 Years. Here's an excerpt of a story from WGN's "The weather as meteorological spring 2012 draws to a close couldn’t be less representative of the season as a whole. Abnormal warmth has characterized the past three months. Spring 2012 is to go down in the record books as Chicago’s warmest in 142 years running a stunning 9-degrees above normal! The last spring with temperatures even close to the one about the end occurred 35 years ago in 1977 when temperatures finished within a degree of this one."

An Ugly Sky. Check out the photo of the oncoming shelf cloud that struck Wichita, Kansas on Wednesday, courtesy of the NWS. Details: "Severe storm approaching downtown Wichita. Picture taken by Alex Laugeman."

Tennis-Ball Size Hail. This could put a serious ding in your day; details from the Wichita office of The National Weather Service via Facebook: "Hail that fell over North Hutchinson. Picture taken by Deanna Fehrenbacher and courtesy KAKE-TV."

Largest Wildfire In New Mexico History. Here's an update from NASA's Earth Observatory: "According to figures released by the U.S. Forest Service, the Whitewater-Baldy fire had burned 170,272 acres (266 square miles), surpassing a fire that burned 156,293 acres (244 square miles) near Los Alamos in 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this view of the fire around 4:00 p.m. local time (20:00 Universal Time) on May 29, 2012." Details from below:
  • Date Started: 05/16/2012
  • Number of Personnel: 1,246 personnel including
  • Location: Approximately 15 miles E of Glenwood, NM
  • 17 hotshot crews, 11 hand crews
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Equipment: 59 Engines, 27 Water Tenders, 7 Dozers
  • Size: 170,272 acres
  • Aircraft: 10 Helicopters
  • Percent Contained: 5%
  • Injuries to Date: Five

New Mexico Fire From Space. Here's a striking image from NASA that shows the scale of the wildfire burning in a relatively desolate region of New Mexico.

Ground Fog From Space. Recent rains + clear skies + light winds = ripe conditions for "lazy clouds", thick fog settling into river valleys across the Ohio River Valley. Details from the Louisville office of The National Weather Service: "Localized heavy rainfall during the morning hours on Tuesday, May 29th set the stage for patchy heavy fog early Wednesday morning.  This image below, taken at 8 am EDT, shows widespread fog.  Note the ribbons of dense fog along the river valleys."

Children Of Andrew Still Recall 1992 Hurricane. Talk about a traumatic event, for both adults and kids alike. Here's an illuminating story from USA Today: "Some of the most poignant images of the aftermath were those of children: Standing in food lines, idling in sweltering heat beside damaged homes, limp in the arms of rescue workers. Once back at school, some kids hid under desks, apprehensive whenever thunderstorms approached. Others spoke of nightmares that another hurricane would strike. "Disaster really exposes all our childhood beliefs," said Jon Shaw, a psychiatrist at the University of Miami who studied children in the aftermath of the storm. "To discover that people are unable to provide for you, protect you, is an increased understanding of how the world works."

Photo credit above:  David J. Phillip  /  AP and "Andrew Hagen, left, and Dante Diaz both lived through Hurricane Andrew -- and both now are forecasters at at ImpactWeather in Houston."

Preparation Key For Hurricane Season. Here's some helpful, timely advice from "Edmond also stressed the importance of having a family plan in place and each member of the family understands it. This includes have a specific meeting place in case you are separated – one near the home and one outside the neighborhood if you can’t return home. And, have an out-of-state contact – someone everyone in the family knows and knows how to contact. Families should also have an evacuation plan and know what to take and where to go. A plan should also be made for family pets. If you plan to ride the storm out at home, make sure you have a disaster survival kit. “The key to hurricane season is being prepared. It doesn’t take long to check your supplies and replenish what you need. And, there is nothing I can stress more than to check your insurance policy. It’s better to make changes ahead of time, than find out after a disaster that you didn’t have enough coverage,” concluded Edmond."

Photo credit above: Kaylee LaRocque. "NAS Jax Emergency Management Officer Ray Edmond discusses hurricane preparedness measures with NAS Jax Chapel staff during a briefing May 22. Hurricane season begins June 1."

Stay On Top Of Hurricane Season With Apps, E-mail And Web. Here are some good resources from The Miami Herald: "This hurricane season a flurry of tweets and a hailstorm of social media information are in the forecast. The agencies that provide storm-related information on this, the 20th anniversary season of Hurricane Andrew, will tap technology in the way the masses seems most active these days: online and pushing apps on their phone. “We have a Twitter account, Facebook posts, YouTube, a blog and also a new Power Tracker system for customers to monitor, in real time, power outages and restoration efforts,” said Neil Nissan, spokesman for Florida Power & Light. The Power Tracker allows users to type in their address on a mobile device, tablet or computer and find directions quickly."

Graphic credit above: "Hurricane Tracker - Florida app, available on iTunes. The free app provides tailored information for Florida during hurricane season. The company also has Tracker apps for Lousiana, Texas and North Carolina. iTunes."

Read more here:
Homes Can Be Protected From Tornadoes. There is no such thing as a truly "tornado-proof" home, unless you're building a bunker that is mostly underground, or use concrete and steel reinforcement. But there are steps you can take to reinforce an existing home to make it more tornado-resistant; as reported in this article from UPI: "The International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters is a tool to help communities protect their residents from disasters and consolidates previous references published by National Storm Shelter Association, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross," Rick Weiland chief executive officer of the International Code Council said in a statement. "A properly built, high-wind, safe room can protect from the most intense tornadoes, hurricanes and similar natural disasters. Safe rooms can be designed to withstand winds up to 250 mph, offering safe refuge for families in the path of high-wind events." A closet, bathroom, laundry area or storage room can be enhanced to serve as a safe room, Weiland said."

Photo credit above: Joplin damage aftermath photo courtesy of NOAA.

Missouri: Soldier's Looted After Tornado. This one made me do a double-take; here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "Four Missouri National Guard soldiers stole electronics from a Walmart in Joplin while helping with recovery efforts the day after the store was destroyed by a tornado last year, according to records released Tuesday." Photo: NOAA.

CNN Hits 20-Year Primetime Ratings Low In May. On the quiet news days CNN does poorly; on the big days viewers still tune to CNN. The problem: not enough big days with "breaking story" that can hold an audience. So do you flavor the news with opinion and political spin, go the route of MSNBC and Fox? If you were programming CNN what would you do? The story from Huffington Post: "The bad news just keeps coming for CNN. May was the network's worst month for total viewers during primetime in over 20 years. CNN drew an average of just 389,000 primetime viewers from April 30 to May 27. In comparison, MSNBC drew an average of 674,000 total viewers, while Fox News boasted an average of 1,692,000 total viewers. It was also the network's second-worst month in primetime for viewers in the key demographic since October 1991."

Iconic, Efficient "Warburg House" Cost Less Than $100k To Build. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story from "Canadian design studio Bioi recently completed this compact home in Warburg, Alberta after being given the challenge to create a contemporary and energy-efficient home for under US$100,000. The result is a simple, open and sustainable home, with a reduced space that holds all of the functionality of a regular sized home. “Working alongside our client, we determined the true necessity of the space that they required,” project architect Jordan Allen told Gizmag. “Throughout the design phase redundant spaces were eliminated, and non-inhabitable spaces were pushed to an absolute minimum.”

Getting Better

I'm happy for a break from heat, humidity and raging storms - not hiding in my weather bunker.
I'm still waiting for Garrison Keillor's creative crew to do a sketch about a mythical Lake Wobegon family, unable and unwilling to come out of their basement. Ever. One too many tornado warnings.
Weather phobia is a concern, especially for kids. Tornado trauma can inspire them to grow up to be meteorologists. In fact most TV forecasters were inspired by a storm, a flood or blizzard. No one with full command of their faculties sets out to guess the weather on a daily basis.

Breaking news: ClimateClimate reports we're about to crush the record for warmest spring, nationwide, since 1895.

Yesterday came a report that CO2 levels in the Arctic just hit 400 ppm, a troubling milestone. Last year nearly 35 billion tons of CO2 was released into the atmosphere, a new record.

We warm up in the coming days, low 80s by Sunday, a lake-worthy day up at the cabin. This weekend should not be as squishy as last weekend. Saturday should be the drier day - scattered T-storms late Sunday, but probably not severe.

9.34 inches of rain soaked the cities in May, nearly 3 times the normal amount!

Climate Stories...

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Levels In World's Air Reach "Troubling Milestone". 400 ppm. A dubious milestone for CO2 levels worldwide. Here's an excerpt from a Huffington Post article: "WASHINGTON -- The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395. So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon. "The fact that it's 400 is significant," said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. "It's just a reminder to everybody that we haven't fixed this and we're still in trouble."

Photo credit above: Alamy.

No Warming Since 1998? Really? Here's an excerpt from Real Climate: "There are two interesting pieces of news on the global temperature evolution. First, today a paper by Grant Foster and Stefan Rahmstorf was published by Environmental Research Letters, providing a new analysis of the five available global (land+ocean) temperature time series. Foster and Rahmstorf tease out and remove the short-term variability due to ENSO, solar cycles and volcanic eruptions and find that after this adjustment all five time series match much more closely than before (see graph). That’s because the variability differs between the series, for example El Niño events show up about twice as strongly in the satellite data as compared to the surface temperatures. In all five adjusted series, 2009 and 2010 are the two warmest years on record. For details have a look over at Tamino’s Open Mind."

* the actual paper from IOPscience is here.

North Carolina Bill Would Require Coastal Communities To Ignore Global Warming Science. What the heck is going on in North Carolina? I love the state (frequent vacations to the Outer Banks over the years). It's a phenomenal state, with terrific beaches, mountains and friendly, bright residents. So this story from Think Progress came as a surprise; here's an excerpt: "Some North Carolina GOP legislators want to stop the use of science to plan for the future. They are circulating a bill that would force coastal counties to ignore actual observations and the best science-based projections in planning for future sea level rise. King Canute thought he had the power to hold back the tide (in the apocryphal legend). These all-too-real lawmakers want to go one better and mandate a formula that projects a sea level rise of at most 12 inches, far below what the science now projects. A state-appointed science panel reviewed the recent literature and reported that a 1-meter (39 inch) rise is likely by 2100."

* Another perspective on this jaw-dropping attempt to censor science from Rabett Run.

On Climate Change It's Money Vs. Mouth. Corporations speaking out of both sides of their mouth? I'm shocked. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story from The New York Times: "A number of major United States corporations publicly support climate change science but contribute heavily to politicians and research groups that deny or play down the threat of global warming, according to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The study found that ExxonMobil, General Electric, Caterpillar and Boeing are among companies that play both sides of the fence, supporting groups that promote climate change science as well as those that seek to undercut it."

Study Accuses Corporations Of Hypocrisy On Climate Change. A different perspective on the same story from the L.A. Times; here's an excerpt: "Some major U.S. corporations that support climate science in their public relations materials actively work to derail regulations and laws addressing global warming through lobbying, campaign donations and support of various advocacy groups, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental and scientific integrity group. The multinational oil giant, ConocoPhillips, for instance, said on its website in 2011 that it “recognizes” that human activity is leading to climate change, the view supported by the overwhelming majority of scientific research. Yet in 2009, ConocoPhillips argued against the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that heat-trapping greenhouse gases were pollutants endangering public welfare."

Photo credit above: "A screenshot of the cover of the Union of Concerned Scientists' report, "A Climate of Corporate Control." (Union of Concerned Scientists / Los Angeles Times / May 30, 2012)

Highway Through Amazon Worsens Effects Of Climate Change, Provides Mixed Economic Gains. Here's an excerpt of a story at "That's what a University of Florida researcher and his international colleagues have determined from analyzing communities along the Amazonian portion of the nearly 4,200-mile Interoceanic Highway, a coast-to-coast road that starts at ports in Brazil and will eventually connect to ones in Peru.

The results of their five-year study provide a holistic picture of the social, environmental and of the highway project, including relationships with climate change. Among the findings:

  • Highway paving facilitates migration and in communities, which can result in forest clearing and conflicts over natural resources.
  • Highway paving has left the Amazon rainforest more vulnerable to clearing with fire, which results in ."
Photo credit above: NASA and Wikipedia.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 31: Severe Risk Southeast (on track for warmest U.S. spring since 1895?)

Near 3,000 Record High Temperatures Across The USA So Far In 2012. ClimateClimate has the details below.

Warmest spring for the USA since 1895 shaping up - details below.

Thursday Severe Risk. Cool, Canadian air pressing southward will spark strong to severe storms later today from Houston to Little Rock, Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, according to SPC.

180-Hour Outlook. Here is the raw GFS model data looking into the middle of next week. A cool rain pushes across the Midwest into the Great Lakes today and Friday, while the soggy remains of "Beryl" pinwheel out into the North Atlantic. Warm air pushes north over the weekend, a more summerlike spell returning to much of the USA next week.

QPF. The 5-day rainfall outlook calls for a continuation of dry weather for the southwest, moderate rain for Seattle, the heaviest rains from Oklahoma City to Detroit, upstate New York and northern New England. South Florida may pick up some 2-4" rainfall amounts, based on NOAA models.

A Week's Worth Of Rain. The heaviest (5-6") rainfall amounts fell from the Duluth and Brainerd area into the northern and western suburbs of the Twin Cities to Glencoe and Mankato. That's about 4-6 week's worth of rain in 7 days. Source: NOAA.

Drought-Busting Rains For Northern Florida. NOAA Doppler radar estimates show some 8-10" rainfall amounts over the last 7 days from Ocala to Jacksonville, Florida.

Hurricane Fact. NOAA has the details: "Did you know? Most hurricane deaths and damages aren’t due to winds – they happen because of flooding. Visit to find out if you live in a flood-prone area and how flood insurance can lessen the financial impact of a flood. Be a force of nature this hurricane season."

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Now Biggest Ever In New Mexico. Here's an excerpt of a update and video: "The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has reached a sad milestone. It is now the biggest fire in New Mexico history. New numbers from the U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday show the fire has burned 170,272 acres, surpassing the Las Conchas fire, which burned 156,293 acres last summer near Los Alamos. The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico."

More Summer Heatwaves In Europe: Predictability Of European Summer Heat From Spring And Winter Rainfall. Meteorologists and climatologists talk of "telecommunications" - strange links and odd atmospheric domino effects that leave us scratching our collective heads. Here's an interesting finding from Science Daily: "The prediction, one season ahead, of summer heat waves in Europe remains a challenge. A new study led by a French-Swiss team shows that summer heat in Europe rarely develops after rainy winter and spring seasons over Southern Europe. Conversely dry seasons are either followed by hot or cold summers. The predictability of summer heat is therefore asymmetric. Climate projections indicate a drying of Southern Europe. The study suggests that this asymmetry should create a favorable situation for the development of more summer heat waves with however a modified seasonal predictability from winter and spring rainfall." Photo: NOAA.

Now's The Time To Formulate Your Hurricane Survival Plan. Here's some very good advice from the meteorologists at WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida (including WeatherNation TV alum Bay Scroggins), as reported at "....My big thing with telling viewers how to prepare is that when hurricane season is about... you have to think in terms of 'what am I going to do?'" Scroggins said. "Because waiting until right before the storm is upon us is just way too late." He recommended having a plan that assures the safety of children, special needs family members and pets. "I don't think it's too early on the first day of June making a phone call with a pet-friendly shelter or your local vet," he said. "And for those with special needs, call shelters ahead, because there are very few shelters that can handle breathing machines, constant medications and Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Those are not people that you can wait to prepare for."

Montreal Floods "Exceptional" Says Mayor. Canada's CBC Network has more details and videos about recent severe flash floods: "Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay says the "exceptional" rain that fell Tuesday overwhelmed the city's sewer system. "No sewer collector network would have been able to manage the quantity of water that we saw yesterday evening," Tremblay told a news conference today. Several boroughs that reported record rainfall saw widespread basement flooding. Tremblay said city crews were sent out to repair sewer pipe covers and handle the overflow. Efforts are underway to mop up flooding after Tuesday’s massive downpour caused water accumulation in basements, on highways and streets, in city buses and in the underground subway system."

"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:


"Took these (Monday) on the way back from Saganaga Lake.  First one is of the Temperance River.  The others are at Gooseberry Falls.  Was hiking at Temperance last month and it was nothing like this.  Last time I was at Gooseberry was in March and I was ice climbing.  What a difference!!
Lightning question:

We were camped right by the border on Sag Lake Fri-Mon.  Sunday night we had a few bands of T-storms.  Nothing very severe but the lightning was amazing.  We were inside the tent so I couldn't see bolts but there had to have been 50-100 flashes per minute but rarely was there any thunder.  That might be something I'd associate with heat lightning but it never got above 55 degrees up there (if that).  Any idea what it was?  Also, any good references that explain when the danger is highest for CG lightning with a thunderstorm?"

Steve Burns

Steve- thanks for the great pics (displayed above) and an interesting questions. You can often see lightning 50-200 miles away, but thunder is rarely heard from a storm much more than 5-7 miles away. What some refer to as "heat lightning" is simply lightning from a distant thunderstorms, sometimes even over the horizon, reflecting off of haze or high clouds. As a rule of thumb - 25 lightning flashes/minute or more is a tip-off that a storm may be especially severe, capable of large hail, even tornadoes. Recent data suggests a sudden drop-off in lightning strikes right before tornado formation, as the updraft collapses, bouyant downdrafts interacting with sputtering updrafts to focus horizontal wind shear about a vertical axis that (sometimes, on rare occasions) results in tornado formation.

"Where can I buy a good NOAA weather radio? Need one that includes the metro area and Leech Lake area, Can't seem to find it by Google."

Kathy Voss

Kathy - any Best Buy, Target or Radio Shack should have a good selection of NOAA Weather Radios, priced between $30 and $70. Make sure you purchase one with "SAME" technology, which allows you to input only the specific county or counties you're interested in. Every county has a number - you plug in the number assigned to your county; that way you won't go crazy when warnings are issued for counties 100 miles away. Midland makes a solid NOAA Weather Radio, btw. I've said it before, I'll say it again: NOAA Weather Radio is the cheapest, most effective form of life insurance you can buy.

This isn't a question but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your column from Memorial Day. It was interesting to read about your family history and especially about your son's graduation from the Naval Academy today: CONGRATULATIONS to all of your family! It was 8 years ago today that my youngest son (also Paul) graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, so I know how much pride you and your family are feeling now. Best wishes to you son as he is commissioned and God speed as he continues his life in the service of our country. My son is currently in his 4th overseas tour, and his second one to Afghanistan where he is serving as a Company Commander in a Stryker battalion, based out of Fort Lewis in WA. Thanks for all of your interesting columns!"

Mary Tanghe

Mary - thanks for the nice note; appreciate you reading the weather column, and please send my thanks to your son, Paul, the very definition of a modern-day American Hero. We don't take his service for granted. Our prayers are with Paul and his remarkable family.

Facebook: The Ultimate Dot Com. I was in the mood to dig up a little more info on Facebook, a utility (?) many of us spend WAY too much time on, sort of like a 21st century version of the telephone party line, the dial tone of our lives. Here's a snippet of a fascinating article from John Cassidy at The New Yorker: "History will record that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t the first college student to have the idea of enabling people to set up Web pages and share stuff with their friends. Yesterday, my colleague Silvia Killingsworth wrote about the Winklevoss twins, two Harvard grads who famously accused Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook while working on their fledgling site Connect U. Before the Winklevii, there were the folks behind MySpace and Friendster. And before them, way back in 1995, there were Todd Krizelman and Stephen Paternot, who launched from their dorm rooms at Cornell. allowed people to create their personal space online, upload pictures, and set up what came to be known as blogs. By 1998, it had more than two million members, which was then considered impressive. It also had a business plan: sell advertising."

Exclusive: Here's The Inside Story On What Really Happened With The Facebook IPO. Is it me, or does the photo above look more like a mug shot? Good grief. The "Facebook going public" story just gets stranger and stranger over time; here's an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the IPO From Hell from "And now for some more bombshell news about the Facebook IPO... Earlier, we reported that the analysts at Facebook's IPO underwriters had cut their estimates for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow, a highly unusual and negative event. What we didn't know was why. Now we know. The analysts cut their estimates because a Facebook executive who knew the business was weak told them to. Put differently, the company basically pre-announced that its second quarter would fall short of analysts' estimates. But it only told the underwriter analysts about this."
Photo credit above:

The Facebook Illusion. Hey, I have nothing against FB or Mr. Zuckerburg; it's the classic (Harvard) rags-to-riches story, a subtle yet blunt reminder that anyone, in theory, can still get (very) rich in the good 'ol USA. Will we still all be using FB in 5 years? Probably. Is the company going to have a tough time making the dollars (especially mobile advertising dollars) match the hype? Not sure - they have their work cut out for them, but I'm not sure I'd bet against them right now. Here's an excerpt of a New York Times Op-Ed that may be of interest: "...I will confess to taking a certain amount of dyspeptic pleasure from Facebook’s hard landing, which had Bloomberg Businessweek declaring the I.P.O. “the biggest flop of the decade” after five days of trading. Of all the major hubs of Internet-era excitement, Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site has always struck me as one of the most noxious, dependent for its success on the darker aspects of online life: the zeal for constant self-fashioning and self-promotion, the pursuit of virtual forms of “community” and “friendship” that bear only a passing resemblance to the genuine article, and the relentless diminution of the private sphere in the quest for advertising dollars."

The Winkelvii. Hey, we have a theme going. Sick of Facebook stories? Me too, but it's a slow weather day, so let's dig in and find the juicy stuff. Here's an excerpt of another fascinating story from The New Yorker, dated May 15, 2012: "It’s Facebook I.P.O. week, which is as good a time as any to revisit the company’s cast of founding characters. Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind programmer, co-founder, and C.E.O. turned twenty-eight yesterday. Chris Hughes, his roommate and Facebook’s first spokesman, is fundraising for Obama’s reëlection campaign and planning the gay wedding of the century. Eduardo Saverin, who was a year ahead of Zuckerberg at Harvard and is the company’s initial business manager, is renouncing his U.S. citizenship just in time to escape some of the taxes he would have to pay on upwards of several billion dollars’ worth of stock. And what of the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (together known as the Winklevii), the upperclassmen who recruited Zuckerberg to work on their dating Web site, Harvard Connection, and later claimed that he stole their idea?"

French "Bubble Hotel" Let's You Sleep With Nature. Those crazy French, what will they think of next? Here's an excerpt from "Last year, designer Pierre Stephane Dumas unveiled his line of room-sized, transparent bubbles that allow people to sleep with almost nothing blocking their view of nature. His goal was to create a portable space that was both comfortable while giving the feeling of being out in the middle of any natural environment - and without disturbing the area very much. As enticing as those might be though, not many people are going to be able to afford the €7766 (US$10,987) price tag just to buy one for their weekend camping trip."

A Quiet Week

I'm sure enjoying the last day of September! The summer went by quick, didn't it? I know, not funny.

I'm waiting for Garrison Keillor's creative crew to do a sketch about a mythical Lake Wobegon family unable and unwilling to come out of their basement. One too many tornado warnings.
Weather phobia is a real concern, especially for kids. Tornado trauma can inspire them to grow up to become meteorologists, in fact most TV forecasters were inspired by a storm, a flood or blizzard. No one with full command of their faculties sets out to guess the weather on a daily basis.

Breaking news: ClimateClimate reports we're about to crush the record for warmest spring, nationwide, since 1895. 

So why is my furnace rumbling away this morning? Enjoy the cool front; this push of Canadian air will cause storms to detour south of Minnesota today. We warm up into the weekend; only an isolated shower Friday, maybe a T-storm up north by Sunday when highs top 80. No, this weekend won't be nearly as soggy as last. Dry, summerlike 80s return next week.

Oh, about that imaginary, timid, storm-rattled family refusing to come out of the basement? Check the radon levels. That would be just my luck.

* photo credit here.

Climate Stories...

Fat Lady Preparing To Sing: U.S Crushing Warmest Spring Record. Here's an excerpt from CapitalClimate: "As suggested last week, the U.S. is well on its way to crush the record for warmest spring since national temperature data began in 1895. Here's an indication of just how far that record could go. The previous record spring in 1910 had a national average temperature of 55.1°. However, the March 2012 temperature exceeded March 1910 by 0.5° to set a new record for the month. April 2012 then exceeded April 1910 by 1° (see the charts to the right).  At this point, May 2012 would have to be 1.5° cooler than May 1910 to avoid exceeding the record. What are the chances of that? Somewhere between slim and none."

Sunscreen In The Sky? Reflective Particles May Combat Warming. Maybe it'll come to this - spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to counteract the influence of (warming) greenhouse gases. More and more credence is being given to "geo-engineering". Dumping more chemicals into the sky - what can possibly go wrong? Here's a more upbeat assessment from National Geographic: "Spritzing a sunscreen ingredient into the stratosphere could help counteract the effects of global warming, according to scientists behind an ambitious new geoengineering project. The plan involves using high-altitude balloons to disperse millions of tons of titanium dioxide—a nontoxic chemical found in sunscreen as well as in paints, inks, and even food. Once in the atmosphere, the particles would spread around the planet and reflect some of the sun's rays back into space. About three million tons of titanium dioxide—spread into a layer around a millionth of a millimeter thick—would be enough to offset the warming effects caused by a doubling of today's atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, according to project leader and chemical engineer Peter Davidson."

A Conservative's Approach To Combating Climate Change. Here's an article that caught my eye; an excerpt from The Atlantic: "No environmental issue is more polarizing than global climate change. Many on the left fear increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases threaten an environmental apocalypse while many on the right believe anthropotenic global warming is much ado about nothing, and, at worst, a hoax. Bot sides pretend as if the climate policy debate is, first and foremost, about science, rather than policty. This is not so. There is substantial uncertainty about the scope, scale, and consequences of anthropogenic warming, and will be for some time, but this is not sufficient justification for ignoring global warming or pretending that climate change is not a serious problem."

A Better Way To Fight Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed that caught my eye at The Star Tribune: "Climate change, we are often told, is everyone's problem. And without a lot of help containing greenhouse gas emissions from rapidly growing emerging market countries (not to mention a host of wannabes), the prospects of avoiding disaster are small to nil. Now you tell us, retort policymakers in the have-less countries: How convenient of you to discover virtue only after two centuries of growth and unfettered carbon emissions. Since you were the ones to get us into this mess, it's your job to get us out. (The United States' what-me-worry posture on climate change does not, of course, make the West's efforts to co-opt the moral high ground any more convincing.)"

Can Market Forces Really Be Employed To Address Climate Change? Here's a story from The Huffington Post: "Debate continues in the United States, Europe and throughout the world about whether the forces of the marketplace can be harnessed in the interest of environmental protection, in particular, to address the threat of global climate change. In an essay that appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, my colleague, Joseph Aldy, and I take on this question. In the article — "Using the Market to Address Climate Change: Insights from Theory & Experience" — we investigate the technical, economic, and political feasibility of market-based climate policies, and examine alternative designs of carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and clean energy standards."

How Americans Use Energy, In Three Simple Charts. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article from The Washington Post: "Donald Marron passes along a very handy chart from the Congressional Budget Office looking at what sources of energy the United States relies on — and for what purpose. Do we need more charts? We probably need more charts. Here’s another handy one showing where U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions come from, sector by sector, courtesy of a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change."

Climate Change A Classic Culprit In Collapse Of Great Civilizations. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at Catholic Online: "We can't help but transport ourselves back through time into the shoes or sandals of some ancient denizen of a once vast and unrivalled city whose society is slowly descending into chaos and wonder, "how did this happen to us?" Today, the collapse of modern civilization is the stuff of science fiction and horror, and as far from reality as any Hollywood blockbuster or the latest zombie thriller. Yet, history is a great predictor of the future and according to history, we are also doomed. But why, and how, remain the questions. If the answers lie in history, then it pays to delve as deeply as possible to find the facts. Over the past century, a small army of scholars has labored from one generation to the next to decipher what happened to one of the world's largest, most advanced civilizations, and why they disappeared into the sands of time."

Photo credit above: "The cities of the Harappan civilization were well constructed sophisticated affairs with a surprising number of modern conveniences such as plumbing."