My (Revised) Christmas List
Dear Santa - I just woke up from a Thanksgiving food coma. Yep, I've been good year.
No iGadgets, bad ties or cologne this year, please!
The only thing I want under the tree is a Guardian Series Generac emergency power generator, made in Waukesha, WI. For the next time winds gust over 40 mph and a toppling tree 30 miles away plunges my home back into the 19th century. Home generators are flying off the shelves in the wake of record summer derechos and Sandy.
Did we really see low 60s yesterday? The mercury soared to a record 60 in the Twin Cities, breaking the old record of 59 set in 1998. Not bad, considering 9 hours, 19 minutes of daylight - coming less than a month from the Winter Solstice.
Watch for ice out there early; wind chills today dip into single digits. It'll be cold enough for snow thru next weekend, but storms will shun Minnesota. A couple of of reinforcing clippers keep us in heavy jackets into next week, but long range models are hinting at 50-plus highs in early December. Really.
As my 10 year old niece explains "Paul, winter is getting squished!"
Details below: anyone under the age of 27 has never experienced a colder-than-average month, worldwide. According to NOAA October was the 332nd month in a row warmer than the 20th century average.
The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature..."
* map above courtesy of NOAA.
...FIRST WIDESPREAD ACCUMULATING SNOW EVENT THIS YEAR IS CREATING TRAVEL PROBLEMS... .LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW CONTINUES TO FALL GENERALLY ALONG AND NORTH OF INTERSTATE 94. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS CENTRAL MINNESOTA HAVE BEEN ABOUT AN INCH...WITH MORE SNOW EXPECTED TO FALL TONIGHT. VERY SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN REPORTED...RESULTING IN NUMEROUS ACCIDENTS IN THE ST CLOUD AREA. AS TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO FALL INTO THE TEENS AND LOW 20S LATE TONIGHT...ANY REMAINING MOISTURE ON THE ROAD WILL FREEZE...FURTHER WORSENING TRAVEL CONDITIONS. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES.
72 Hour Snowfall Forecast. WSI's high-resolution 12 km. RPM model is printing out some 2"+ snowfall totals for portions of central and northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, closer to 4" from Bemidji to Hibbing. Lake effect snow squalls will kick in behind the storm, piling up some 8-16" amounts over far northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. Right about now anyone with a snowmobile has an itch that a scratch can't reach...
Latest Drought Monitor. There hasn't been much change in the last week: severe drought reported across most of the Twin Cities metro - 25% of Minnesota in an extreme drought. The driest conditions can be found from St. Cloud and Willmar to Redwood Falls, Mankato and most of southwestern Minnesota. The latest Drought Monitor is here, courtesy of NOAA and USDA.
Map above: NOAA NCDC. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas are among 21 states on track to experience the warmest year in the last 115 years of record-keeping. Every state, except for Washington, has had a warmer than average year.
332. October was the 332nd month in a row of global air temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. Source: NOAA NCDC.
Photo credit above: "A Coast Guard boat patrols in the foreground as a barge makes its way down the Mississippi River Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. A top Corps of Engineers official has ordered the release of water from an upper Mississippi River reservoir in an effort to avoid closure of the river at St. Louis to barge traffic due to low water levels caused by drought." (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Photo credit above: "Technology such as smart meters and micro-grids can help the vulnerable U.S. electric grid weather extreme storms." Image: Flickr/Christopher Schoenbohm
Photo credit above: "One of the largest piles of storm debris at the Jersey shore is shown in this Nov. 15, 2012 photo in Long Branch N.J. Superstorm Sandy created tons of debris that towns in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to dispose of weeks later. Three weeks in, the round-the clock effort to remove storm rubble has strained the resources of sanitation departments and landfill operators, and caused heartaches and headaches for thousands of families." (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Photo credit above: Andrew Quilty / Oculi for Time.
Hey Paul. Does it look like we will have more tornados (4) than inches of snow (trace) this month?
Kent from Eden Prairie
Kent - I think you're right. We've had a whopping 2/10ths of an inch of snow so far this month (last Monday), and the odds of accumulating snow between now and the end of November are small, and dwindling. Earlier models were hinting at a little snow next Tuesday, but now models suggest the next storm will (once again) sail off to our south and east. When in a drought don't predict rain...or snow. I suspect snow lovers will remain frustrated into at least the first half of December.
Hey Paul - What is the latest mosquitoes have been seen in Minneapolis? I just killed an August size mosquitoe and it's Tuesday November 20, 2012! Mosquitoes thanksgiving warning.
Jim - I included your note, because it made me laugh. Thank you for that. I have no clue what the latest mosquito sighting might be here in the metro area, but I suspect we're close to a record. Does anyone even keep that data? I predict a dire lack of mosquitoes by Friday as cold air comes rushing back into town.
Ok, I know this is a month or more away, but, already stressing about Christmas holiday. Any hints as to weather for Christmas? (relatives coming!) Lots of snow, little snow? Mild temps or extremely cold??
Cheryl - I feel your pain. Welcome to the joyously stressful holiday season. Did I buy enough gifts? Is the house ready? Is there enough food in the house? The stress of expectations and family togetherness is enough to push anyone over the edge. Add (foul) weather to the mix and it's enough to make you crack! The reality: a Christmas forecast isn't in the cards - it's still too far out to say with any level of confidence. NOAA is predicting a colder than average month (I agree). But droughts are stubborn, persistent things - they tend to take (many) months to correct, and my hunch, my gut, is that drier than average weather will linger into much of December. I think it will be cold enough for snow - but will we have any (southern) moisture to work with? My hunch: no mega-snow-storms thru the first half of December, but one of these arctic smacks may twist jet stream winds enough to bring some real moisture north. I certainly wouldn't rule out a white Christmas, but if we do pick up significant snow it may not be until the latter half of December. Stay tuned.
Graphic above courtesy of SPC, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
5 Apps For Surviving Black Friday. Shopping fatigue? There's an app for that. Newmediarockstars.com has the details: "If you’re not willing to risk getting trampled for that $5 discount on the iPad or aren’t ready to fight to the death for the last Sesame Street doll, please don’t bother reading the next few paragraphs. But if you’re battle-ready for Black Friday, you’ll need to have some survival skills if you want to get the gifts you want at the lowest prices. Having these apps on your iPhone will help you be savvy when it comes to finding deals and the nearest toilet."
Climate Change Causes Insurers To Rethink Price Of Risk After Hurricane Sandy. Private insurers won't touch coastal properties, because of rising seas and a trend toward more severe storms, hurricanes and Nor'easters. If it wasn't for federal property insurance coastal residents wouldn't be able to keep rebuilding, and that's the source of growing controversy. The PBS NewsHour examines the topic of risk in this interview; here's an excerpt: "Climate change is our new normal. We're seeing more increased storms everywhere, all across the country. It is costing us tens and tens of billions of dollars, $32 billion to the insurance sector last year. But last year, when we surveyed 88 insurance companies and asked them, do you have climate policies in place, are you acting on climate, 11 out of 88 companies had a plan to address climate risks to their bottom line.
PAUL SOLMAN: The rest didn't. So, what is the industry's comeback?
ROBERT HARTWIG: All insurance companies are paying very careful attention to the variability and the volatility in the climate.
You can have a big debate about what the cause of that is. But insurers use all the information at their disposal in order to ascertain the risk, measure that risk in a very scientific manner, and then assign a price to that risk..."
Climate Change Challenges Transportation System In The U.S. Our infrastructure is showing its age - the situation compounded by (increasingly) extreme storms, as reported by AP and Huffington Post: "Wild weather is taking a toll on roads, airports, railways and transit systems across the country. That's leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy that are straining the nation's transportation lifelines beyond what their builders imagined. Despite their concerns about intense rain, historic floods and record heat waves, some transportation planners find it too politically sensitive to say aloud a source of their weather worries: climate change. Political differences are on the minds of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, whose advice on the design and maintenance of roads and bridges is closely followed by states. The association recently changed the name of its Climate Change Steering Committee to the less controversial Sustainable Transportation, Energy Infrastructure and Climate Solutions Steering Committee..."
Our View: Climate Change And A New Momentum. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Yankton Press and Dakotan: "...The Iowa declaration, signed by 138 scientists and researchers from 27 different universities and colleges in the state, becomes the latest salvo in a war over climate change — a topic that has lately entered a new and dramatic chapter. There has been a long-running battle between the believers and deniers of what was once known as global warming. You know the routine: While a vast majority of scientists are convinced that climate change is happening and is being created, or at least expedited, by man, others either deny it’s happening or admit change is taking place but has very little to do with human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, we continue to witness extreme and destructive weather behaviors. In the Yankton area alone, we’ve seen the massive Christmas blizzard of 2009, the record-breaking floods of 2011 and now the drought of 2012. Taken individually, we’ve seen these things happen before. But taken as a connected cycle, well, it becomes a dizzying merry-go-round..."
* The Iowa Climate Statement, focused on the Drought of 2012, and how it is consistent with a warming climate, is here (pdf).
The map above is from Climate Central's interactive "Surging Seas" tool, which is worth a look. Experts calculate that warming (expanding) sea levels have risen roughly 8" in the New York City area in the last 100 years. Did this make Sandy's storm surge worse? Absolutely. And there's a way to calculate the incremental impact of sea level rise, as described at Global Warming: Man or Myth: "Superstorm Sandy produced record storm surge levels for locations in and around the NY City metropolitan region. One way that global warming made Sandy worse is because global warming is causing sea levels to rise. Sea levels have risen more than a foot in the New York City region since the Industrial Revolution. So what difference did this extra foot make for the citizens of New York City? Quite a lot. 6,000 more people impacted for each inch of rise!..."
70,929 more people and 30,551 more homes flooded.
Photo credit above: "John Fasullo, right, and colleague Kevin Trenberth work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorad." (Photo by John Fasullo.)
Photo credit above: "Low water levels expose the sandy lake bottom on Lake Michigan." Photo by Jeff J. Cashman.
Photo credit above: " ."
A changing world
The report, issued by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics for the World Bank, urges nations to work to prevent the Earth from warming 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) past preindustrial averages. Already, global mean temperatures are running about 1.3 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) hotter than before the onset of the industrial revolution..."
Photo credit above: Huffington Post.
- Extreme heat waves, that without global warming would be expected to occur once in several hundred years, will be experienced during almost all summer months in many regions. The effects would not be evenly distributed. The largest warming would be exptected to occur over land and range from 4° C to 10° C. Increases of 6° C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States.
- Sea level-rise by 0.5 to 1 meter by 2100 is likely, with higher levels also possible. Some of the most highly vulnerable cities are located in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.