For the first time in over 2 weeks the mercury will rise above freezing today. Prepare to be serenaded by the soothing sounds of dripping icicles and gurgling drain-spouts. Happy noises.
NOAA reports the first half of December saw the 4th coldest daytime highs and 21st coldest nighttime lows in the Twin Cities since 1873. Nothing like easing into winter.
A puff of Pacific air treats us to mid-30s today. More waves of Canadian air slosh south, chilling us back down through the weekend - but not as Nanook as the first week of December.
As long as steering winds are howling from the west-northwest Minnesota's weather will be dominated by a family of Alberta Clippers; each one preceded by a brief warm-up, followed by cold winds and flurries. These fickle low pressure swirls moving in from Edmonton move quickly; starved for moisture, unable to tap a deep, rich layer of water vapor in the Gulf of Mexico.
One such storm may dump significant snow this weekend from Kansas City to Chicago. On the warm side of the storm highs surge into the 70s on the east coast - 60s into Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Talk about weather-whiplash!
The January Thaw may come early this year.
Photo credit above: "The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions play on a snow-covered Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. Will this season's Super Bowl at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey play out a similar scene?" (David Maialetti / Associated Press / December 8, 2013)
Unraveling The Mysterious Impacts Of Lightning On The Human Body. Remind me not to get struck anytime soon. Here's a clip from National Geographic: "...Randolph-Quinney hopes the emerging research will help forensics investigators pinpoint cause of death from lightning. That's currently a challenge, he said, because there are 17,000 unclaimed bodies in Johannesburg-area morgues each year. When it comes to lightning injuries, there has also been little research on the mechanisms of what exactly happens to the human body when struck, other than well-established complications that can arise, such as memory loss, insomnia, and depression, said Wits electrical engineering graduate student Harry Lee...." (Photo: AP).
Don't skimp. About 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk areas. If you live near any body of water, consider buying a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (few private carriers offer policies). Even melted snow can cause flooding.
Brace for price shock. FEMA is phasing out subsidies for pre-1970s homes, raising rates roughly 25% a year..."
Photo credit: Christopher Sturman. "Staten Islanders Michael Motherway and Jennifer Schanker point out how high the storm waters from Superstorm Sandy rose."
File photo above: AP Photo/Japan Pool.
Photo credit above: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg. "The silhouettes of Vestas Wind Systems turbines are seen in this photograph taken with a tilt-shift lens at a wind farm in Lowville, New York. The market value of Vestas, Europe’s biggest turbine supplier, increased 86 percent in the second half through yesterday and it’s expected to report net income in the current quarter for the first time since since mid-2011."
Photo credit above: "A view of houses with solar panels in the Mililani neighbourhood on the island of Oahu in Mililani, Hawaii, December 15, 2013." Credit: Reuters/Hugh Gentry.
Having A Dog Protects Against Asthma And Infection, Study Says. I've heard this before, and the data seems to suggest that there may, in fact, be a link. Here's an excerpt from a story at The PBS NewsHour: "....Dog owners already know their four-legged friend is good for their health, but they have more proof thanks to a recent study from scientists at the University of California San Francisco and University of Michigan. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a child's risk of developing asthma and allergies is reduced if the child is exposed to a dog in a household during infancy. While the results of the study come from mice, researchers believe the results explain the reduced allergy risk of children who were raised in homes with dogs from birth...."
5 Surprising Things That Will Happen In The Next 5 Years. Local retail will beat online shopping? And I won't have to try and remember 52 different passwords? That's one of 5 counterintuitive claims by IBM, highlighted in a Gizmodo story; here's a clip: "IBM Research's 5 in 5 list—five things that will happen in the next five years—is here. Some are quite surprising and awesome. The bad news: no flying cars and/or realistic sex robots yet. The good news: doctors routinely using your DNA information to heal you effectively. But even while that may seem kind of surprising, given the current state of things, their futurists are always pretty accurate—perhaps because they're scientists who base their estimates on actual data rather than dumb planet alignments and tea leaves. So, without further ado, here are five things that, according to them, you will see as normal by 2018..."
Artificial Sweeteners Found In River Water And Drinking Supplies. This story may illicit One Giant Yuck, something to keep in mind the next time you take a dip in your favorite lake or river. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "...The research, detailed in a paper published Dec. 11 in the online journal PLOS ONE, adds to a growing body of evidence that people are spiking waterways and their drinking supplies with an array of compounds that pass through not just them, but even advanced treatment systems. Antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids and fragrances are among the products that have been detected in surface waters. Some of the contaminants have been found in fish tissue. Some compounds not only get through sewage plants, they also survive purification of drinking supplies and have been measured in trace amounts in municipal tap water..."
Vikings Concussions in 2013. PBS Frontline has a web site called Concussion Watch, with a running list of all NFL teams, and the players who have reported concussions in 2013. Here is the list for the Vikings.
What Did The World Search For In 2013? Don't Ask. But if you absolutely must know Google has kept a record of the people and events that topped their lists this year.
●Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and TVs
●Finding you have no idea what “young people” are talking about
●Needing an afternoon nap..."
Photo credit above: "Santa could make his home on floating sea ice, but the Arctic may be ice free as early as 2016, according to the U.S. Navy." Image via NOAA.
In a second study reported in the same , Ranney and his colleagues presented college students with a somewhat longer version of this explanation (a full 400 words), and found that doing so not only increased students' understanding of global warming, but also their acceptance that it's actually occurring..."Earth transforms sunlight's visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowly – raising Earth's temperature.
Photo credit above: Shutterstock/alphaspirit
The Global Temperature Jigsaw. More on the alleged temperature "pause" from RealClimate: "...First an important point: the global temperature trend over only 15 years is neither robust nor predictive of longer-term climate trends. I’ve repeated this now for six years in various articles, as this is often misunderstood. The IPCC has again made this clear (Summary for Policy Makers p. 3):
Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.You can see this for yourself by comparing the trend from mid-1997 to the trend from 1999 : the latter is more than twice as large: 0.07 instead of 0.03 degrees per decade (HadCRUT4 data)..."
Graphic credit above: "The global near-surface temperatures (annual values at the top, decadal means at the bottom) in the three standard data sets HadCRUT4 (black), NOAA (orange) and NASA GISS (light blue). Graph: IPCC 2013."
A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared.“There are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest,” as New Scientist explained five years ago. “The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations...”
Graphic credit above: "The corrected data (bold lines) are shown compared to the uncorrected ones (thin lines)." Via RealClimate.
Photo credit above: "Evidence from studies of past climate change suggest if longer-term factors are taken into account, the Earth's sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 could also be double than predicted." Credit: world.edu.