567 million smartphones will be shipped in 2012, according to NPD DisplaySearch. That number is expected to surpass one billion by 2016. Details at gizmag.com below.
Spreading Drought. According to NOAA's Drought Monitor, St. Cloud, Willmar and the entire north metro is in a moderate drought (again). In fact 44.39% of Minnesota is in a moderate drought, up from 39% last week. Severe drought is impacting the Red River Valley, pockets of extreme drought from Pipestone to Jackson and Worthington.
...FROST ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 8 AM CDT FRIDAY... * LOCATION...INLAND FROM LAKE SUPERIOR...ESPECIALLY IN LOW LYING AREAS. * TEMPERATURE...33 TO 36 * IMPACTS...TENDER VEGETATION MAY SUFFER EXTENSIVE DAMAGE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT FROST IS POSSIBLE. SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED.
Fall Color Slightly Ahead of Schedule? According to the Minnesota DNR 25-50% of trees in Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota county are already ripening up, about 7-10 days ahead of schedule. Dry weather may be accelerating color, as trees across much of the metro are under stress.
Image credit above: "The extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26, 2012, the day the sea ice dipped to its smallest extent ever recorded in more than three decades of satellite measurements. The line on the image shows the average minimum extent from the period covering 1979-2010." Credit: NASA/JPL.
Graphic credit: Arctic Sea Ice Monitor data: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Earth Observation Research Center
* image above courtesy of Digital Typhoon.
Bad news for allergy sufferers (at least until the first frost):
Photo credit above: "According to local lore, the Flaming Mountain is the hottest spot in China. After visiting the site, scientists used NASA data to find out for sure." (Photograph ©2011 oh contraire.)
Photo credit above: "Annual smartphone shipments are predicted to double by 2016." (Photo: Shutterstock)
Photo credit above: The BioDome: "Your 10-minute solution to bio-chemical threats," the manufacturer says.
Video: Spider Interrupts KOLD-TV Meteorologist. I'm always amused when spiders and bugs crawl across TV webcams, looking like something out of a bad B-action horror film. Here's an explanation (and video clip) from TVSpy: "KOLD chief meteorologist Chuck George had his weather forecast interrupted by an uninvited guest during last night’s 10 p.m. newscast (video after the jump). The Tucson CBS affiliate’s website said George was unsure of what to do with the large arachnid but gave the the director enough time to take a close up without weather graphics. "He didn’t know if he should call attention to it, afraid the audience wouldn’t be able to see it, but what appeared to be a wolf spider was too large to go unnoticed!"
A Lazy Jet
The winter forecast is always a riddle - wrapped in an enigma. It's a little like predicting where the S&P 500 will be next February. Good luck. Last winter was a slushy speed-bump, while 2010-2011 brought punishing snowstorms for much of America.
There's a growing body of evidence that rapid melting in the Arctic is influencing our winters. Every day last month an area of ice the size of the state of Maine (!) melted at the top of the world. Water cycles warmth back into the atmosphere faster than ice. The Arctic is now warming twice as fast as the USA. This is slowing jet stream winds, allowing weather patterns to get "stuck"; falling into a persistent rut.
Will Arctic Amplification play a role in our upcoming winter? Probably. Arctic ice is at a record low - 20 percent lower than the previous record in 2007, roughly HALF the size it was back in the 70s. Expect the unexpected.
A sunny, lukewarm weekend is on tap; highs may top 80 F. A few clippers will push chilly, Canadian air south of the border next week. A little rain Monday gives way to blustery 50s Tuesday; a 1 in 3 chance of flurries (way) up north.
99F. in Madison this week - snowflakes the next?
Hang on tight.
* image above: climatecrocks.com.
Photo credit: Charlie Riedel/AP Photo. "Time exposure of smokestacks at the La Cygne Generating Station coal-fired power plant in Kansas."
Photo credit above: "Northern Polar Institute Research Director Kim Holmen, left, with UN Foundation Board Chairman Ted Turner and President Timothy Wirth in the Arctic."