This confirms my theory that Minnesota's first settlers, the hardy fur traders and homesteaders who migrated west, probably didn't arrive during the winter. They must have set up those first camps during the luxuriously buggy months of summer, then held on for dear life.
With January coming early I wanted to dispel a few urban myths. 1). Cars feel the windchill. Unlike people & pets most cars don't perspire. It's the evaporation of sweat off your skin that has an additional cooling effect. It's true that a strong wind will cool your vehicle's engine block down to the air temperature faster. 2). Rub snow on frostbite. Bad idea. You'll just make it worse. Warm the affected area slowly and head to Urgent Care ASAP.
All this fresh, invigorating arctic air has shoved the main superhighway for snowstorms well south & east of Minnesota. A scrawny clipper may spark a coating of flakes tomorrow.
I don't see any mega-dumpings between now and Christmas. ECMWF guidance shows 20s early next week; a shot at 32F on Wednesday. Woo hoo!
Steering winds buckle again, sending more polar air into Minnesota next weekend. More fun with negative numbers. I fear Santa's jingle bells may freeze up.
Sunday Punch. After basking in the teens (never used those words in a sentence before) another spike of cold air pushes south Sunday, before more significant moderation much of next week. Watch the freezing line (solid red) setting up just south of Philadelphia and New York, setting the stage for a major snowfall in the Northeast this weekend. NAM model guidance courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.
Melting Arctic Sea Ice Could Be Altering Jet Stream. I've been talking about this since late 2012, when record melting of arctic ice seemed to be having a ripple effect on the configuration and speed of the jet stream at lower latitudes, a higher amplitude pattern overall. Here's an excerpt from a story at Ars Technica: "...They found modest correlations with the behavior of high-level winds and the differences in atmospheric pressure that drive them, more so for sea ice than snow cover. Over most regions, the average position of the jet stream moved a little northward when summer sea ice was smaller, while the opposite was true for the western edges of continents. The high-level, west-to-east winds of the jet stream also slowed a bit. Those two factors are consistent with the hypothesized link between sea ice and weather extremes. When the jet stream slows, it gets wigglier, with ponderous meanders extending north and south. Because the temperature difference across the jet stream is so large, these slow-moving excursions can lead to temperature extremes. The early loss of snow cover can exacerbate this, as it means soils can dry out earlier in the summer. Not only does that make a region susceptible to drought, but low soil moisture allows temperatures to rise higher..." (Image: NASA, GSFC).
Photo credit above: "The skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District with the high-rise buildings is covered with heavy smog in Pudong in Shanghai, China, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. The dirty air that has gripped Shanghai and its neighboring provinces for days is attributed to coal burning, car exhaust, factory pollution and weather patterns, and is a stark reminder that pollution is a serious challenge in China." (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko).
Photo credit above: "The East Peak Fire near La Veta, Colo., in June 2013." Colorado Air National Guard/Capt. Darin Overstreet.
Photo credit: "Scientists have found huge freshwater reserves under the world's oceans."(Photo: Shutterstock).
Photo credit: "Financial analysts say the Tar Sands in Canada could meet the U.S.' energy needs for the next 30 years if 170 billion barrels of oil are recovered."
1) The price of renewable energy is plummeting. Solar panels have shown the most staggering price decline: down 99% since the 70s, and down 60% since early 2011. Wind has been falling steadily as well, but not as fast.
2) U.S. renewable investment is skyrocketing. Here’s a representative fact: This year, the U.S. will probably beat Germany in total yearly installations. In some ways this isn’t so surprising — the U.S. is much larger, and German insolation is comparable to Alaska — but on the other hand, Germany has been a world leader in solar due to an extremely aggressive feed-in tariff policy. Here’s another: last year, nearly 10 percent of Texas’s electricity was generated by wind..."
Photo credit above: "Snow outside the Capitol! See? Climate denialists are right!" (AFP photo/ Jim Watson).