98 F. high at Salt Lake City, Utah Monday, breaking the old record of 96 F in 1988. Source: NOAA.
84 Hour Rainfall Prediction. After a dry day today (make the most of it) an approaching warm frontal boundary will leave the atmosphere irritable, capable of a few T-showers Wednesday, with a possibility of stronger T-storms Thursday and Friday. The heaviest (.5 to 1.5") rainfall amounts are forecast to fall north/east of the Twin Cities.
Officials: New Orleans Ready For Hurricanes. I hope those officials are right; here's an excerpt from Insurance Journal: "The Army Corps of Engineers — responsible for the massive rebuilding of hurricane protection after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — and leaders from around the metropolitan area say they’re working closely on emergency planning as the new hurricane season officially gets under way June 1. With billions of dollars invested in new levees, floodwalls and other flood protection, and an overhaul of cooperative emergency planning that emerged from the Katrina disaster, officials say citizens should have greater confidence that if tropical weather sweeps out of the Gulf of Mexico this year the systems and infrastructure in place are up to the test."
Photo credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert.
"The last three years have been brutal for insurance companies writing business in Minnesota due to the severe weather. Do you think our current weather patterns are here to stay, ie, get used to it?"
Vice President - Personal Lines
RAM Mutual Insurance Company
Kevin - great question. The trends are pretty convincing in the severe weather department. Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground believes the last 2 years have been the most severe for the USA since 1816. We're seeing more extreme weather events, more hail and more downpours, in fact, the number of severe, 3"+ downpours across the Upper Midwest has doubled in the last 50 years. There's no strong link (yet) between climate change and tornadoes, but there's little doubt that excessive rainfall events are on the rise, probably hail too, and this pattern will almost certainly accelerate as we pump more greenhouse gases into the atmossphere in the years ahead.
"I just wanted to hear your opinion and ask you a question. I don't know if it's "Ironic", but you mention in your blogs that warmer atmosphere holds more water. Since this was the warmest spring, doesn't it still link to this 2nd wettest spring since it was warmer?"
Israel - there's little doubt in my mind that warmer = wetter (and more severe). A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, loading the dice in favor of more (extreme) rainfall events, and that's what we're seeing in the data. Spring of 2012 was the warmest, and second wettest on record. 2010 was Minnesota's wettest year - and brought the most tornadoes the state has ever witnessed (145). I've been accused of being an "alarmist", but if you step back and really look at the trends, they are a bit alarming.
Camping Storm Safety
Here's a rare nugget of good news on the climate front: the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the USA cut greenhouse gas CO2 emissions by 430 million tons (7.7%) since 2006. The bad news: global CO2 levels reached a new high in 2011 (31.6 gigatons). Details on the blog.
A warmer atmosphere holds more water, loading the dice in favor of more severe storms and flash floods.
What do you do if a severe thunderstorm approaches your campsite? Situational awareness is crucial. With portable NOAA Weather Radios and apps on smart phones there's no reason why you have to be surprised by storms. True, you may not get a great cell signal up in the BWCA.
Your vehicle offers more protection than a soggy sleeping bag. Are there restrooms nearby? Better than nothing. The danger is lightning and falling trees - so try to find an outcropping of rocks to ride out the storm.
A dry, quiet Tuesday gives way to a slight thunder risk Wednesday; a better chance of storms Friday as hot, humidifed air pushes north.
You'll want to evacuate to your favorite lake - highs reach the 90s Saturday and Sunday with dew points in the 70s.
A 100 F. heat index? We'll come close.
Climate Scientists Lament A Nation Stuck On The Wrong Debate. Here's an excerpt from a story at insideclimatenews.org: "The global warming debate in Congress, the states and on the campaign trail centers on two issues: Is Earth warming, and if so are humans to blame? But ask most climate scientists, and they'll tell you that these are the only questions not in dispute. Climate change is a matter of how bad and by when, they'll say—not whether. "Scientists are inherently skeptical," says Lonnie Thompson, a paleoclimatologist at Ohio State University, who has led studies of glaciers and ice sheets in 16 countries. "After enough evidence and observation, though, you have to start to accept findings. That is what happened with climate change. This wasn't a rash conclusion."
Photo credit above:
"US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions. This development has arisen from lower oil use in the transport sector … and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector."How big is a cut of 430 million tonnes of CO2? It's equal to all CO2 from all Canadians outside Alberta. From a US perspective, it's equal to eliminating the combined emissions of ten western states: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada."
* image of Hurricane Ivan above courtesy of NASA.
Photo credit above: B.C. Forbes. "Growing shrubs in the Arctic of western Siberia."