Pick Your Poison
The safest state in the USA? Possibly New Mexico. No hurricanes, few earthquakes and tornadoes, but flash flooding takes a toll. Sorry, but I still prefer MSP to Albuquerque.
Our cold fronts can be annoying, the snow & ice makes it hard, even dangerous, to get through a winter. I've said it before, I'll say it again: living close to Canada inoculates us from some of the worst weather extremes on Earth.
Hurricane Raymond is chewing up the Mexican coastline, while massive, potentially historic wildfires are spawning "pyrocumulus", fire clouds, near Sydney. Large fires make their own weather, spewing embers and lightning that can spark more blazes downwind. Just ask residents of Hinckley.
And for the record a wide swath of the south, from Texas to Georgia to North Carolina, saw 3 times more billion dollar weather disasters than Minnesota since 1980. There, I'm feeling better already.
No sign of Indian Summer, but mid to upper 40s will feel pretty good by late week. No snowy drama brewing, but rain showers are likely Monday, maybe a bigger (rain) storm late next week.
It's still early, but Halloween may bring 40s with a chance of rain after dark. Nothing too scary this year.
* billion dollar weather/climate disasters in the USA from 1980 to 2011 courtesy of NOAA NCDC.
With An October Like This Who Needs November? Much of America east of the Rockies is getting off to an early start to heavy jacket season, but it doesn't necessarily mean that a harsh winter is imminent. In fact America's winters are trending milder, and less snowy over time. That's the subject of today's Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the trends of increasingly wimpy winters. You're not getting as many frigid days as your grandparents."
UNC: Why Bosses Want Dreary Weather. Sunny weather is distractingly nice, too nice to work? Possibly. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story at Triangle Business Journal: "Those who enjoy a sunny outdoor day might be disappointed to learn that their bosses probably want it to rain every day. Bosses don’t necessarily have anything personal against sunny weather, it’s just that they get a more productive workforce on bad weather days, according to research from UNC-Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler School of Business. According to two studies by operations and finance professors from UNC-CH and Harvard University, weather actually has an affect on productivity. They measured productivity at one company and matched it against precipitation that day, finding that workers were more productive on rainier days..."
Image credit above: "This is an artist's concept of the FUEGO satellite, which would snap digital photos of the Western U.S. every few seconds in search of hot spots that could be newly ignited fires." Credit: R. E. Lafever, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Photo credit above: "Burned trees from the Rime Fire still stand in Stanislaus National Forest near Tuolumne, California, on September 13, 2013." (Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times/MCT).
I’ve been monitoring Raymond very carefully over the last few days – trying not to hype a storm that poses only a moderate risk of flooding for Acapulco and Manzanillo. There has been considerable flooding at Ixtapa-Zihuatenejo and Petatlan, but Acapulco is on the fringe of the storm. No extreme flooding or storm surge impact to coastal facilities is expected at either Acapulco or Manzanillo. Raymond is still a dangerous Category 3 storm, but is already showing signs of slight weakening, pulling westward, away from the Mexican coastline.
We’re watching the tropics and monitoring the brushfires pushing across New South Wales into the far western suburbs of Sydney, a very early start to what may be an historic fire season for Australia. Facilities in and near Sydney should remain on high alert in the coming days – evacuations of some suburbs is a distinct possibility, especially western suburbs. We’ll watch it carefully.
Photo credit above: "Indian Point Energy Center on the Hudson River in Buchanan, N.Y." Credit: Bobby Magill.
Photo credit above: "A woman wearing a mask walk through a street covered by dense smog in Harbin, northern China, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Visibility shrank to less than half a football field and small-particle pollution soared to a record 40 times higher than an international safety standard in one northern Chinese city as the region entered its high-smog season." (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
Photo credit above: "This file photo shows a waterspout at the south west tip of Wolfe Island at the eastern end of Lake Ontario." (QMI Agency file photo)
Photo credit above: "UK company Pro-Teq's glow-in-the-dark spray coating could prove a cheaper alternative to conventional street lighting." (Photo: Pro-Teq).
Photo credit above: Phonenet. "This bedazzled gold iPhone case has a price tag of more than $38,500. Diamond ring not included."
Photo credit above: "Foliage lines the Ancroscoggin River near a Berlin, New Hampshire pulp and paper plant." National Geographic stock image by Sandy Felsenthal.
Photo credit above: "A Norfolk Southern Railroad train pulls transport cars full of coal near Goodfield, Ill., on Oct. 9, 2012. The United States cut its energy-related carbon dioxide pollution by 3.8 percent in 2012, the second biggest drop since 1990." Photo: Seth Perlman, Associated Press.
How Delayed Gratification, Human Self-Interest May Restrict Early Action Against Climate Change. Medical Daily has a very interesting post about the psychology of facing up to long-term risks; here's an excerpt: "Self-interest and time perception may be the most significant obstacles to climate change action, according to a new study. Researchers at New York University (NYU) have determined that the long-term goals of preventive action are not sufficient incentives for nations who fail to cooperate in the face of global warming. The findings suggest that emphasizing the short-term gains may be the only way to spur a concerted effort against the climate shift that threatens to unravel infrastructures and economic systems worldwide..."
* Time Magazine has more details on the new research paper cited in the article above.
Super-Large-Scale Solar Installations Are Surging In the U.S. Quartz has the article - here's the introduction: "Don’t write Big Solar off yet. With the plunge in photovoltaic panel prices, US utilities that once enthusiastically signed deals for massive solar power plants to be built in the desert began to favor small installations deployed near cities that don’t require the construction of multi-billion-dollar new transmission lines. But a new report shows that so-called utility-scale solar—which supplies more than 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity from a central power plant—hit a new record in the third quarter of 2013. So far this year, 1,081 MW of utility-scale solar has come online, with the flip switched on 282 MW in the third quarter, according to market research firm SNL. That’s a 15% spike over the third quarter of 2012..."
Image credit above: "Five degrees hotter... our climate in 90 years." Digital illustration Photo: Matt Davidson.
Photo credit above: "The rain forest canopy north of Manaus, Brazil." Credit: NASA LBA-ECO Project.
U.S. Oil Supply Looks Vulnerable 40 Years After Embargo. Shale oil helps our overall energy needs, but we are still vulnerable to disruptions in oil supply lines, according to this article at USA Today. Here's a snippet: "...We remain very vulnerable," Panetta says, adding it wouldn't take much for members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — which launched the 1973 embargo — or terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to disrupt supplies. He says the U.S. is using less oil per capita than decades ago and relying on the Middle East for a smaller share of its imports, but those shifts almost don't matter. World oil prices, which largely determine what Americans pay at the pump, remain high, because developing countries including China and India are driving up demand. With global oil supplies so tight as a result, even a small disruption rattles the markets and causes price spikes. That's why, despite a 50% increase in U.S. oil production since 2008, the price for a regular gallon of gas remains so high. It costs, in inflation-adjusted dollars, twice as much as 40 years ago..."
File photo above: AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Matt Strasen.