Perhaps I'm imagining this. It could be a weather-hallucination, brought on by years of standing too close to The Doppler.
A handful of scientists have theorized that rapid warming of the Arctic is impacting the configuration & speed of the jet stream over North America. More warming farther north = lower winds speeds; more waviness, more big kinks in the steering winds.
It's just a theory, but I could swear I'm seeing evidence of this on the weather maps. The weather, increasingly, seems to be getting stuck - patterns stalling for extended periods of time.
When the weather machine goes into neutral bad things can happen: biblical floods in Boulder, super-droughts in California, and our 2-month cold wave.
The truth: meteorologists have been tracking the "Polar Vortex" since the 60s; every now and then chunks of air over the North Pole break off and dive into the USA. What's unusual is the sheer persistence of this pattern.
Prepare for even more family togetherness. The next cold wave sparks 1-2 inches snow tonight; temperatures tumble Sunday, reaching potentially school-closing levels Monday. Monday's high? -10F. We wake up to -22F Tuesday with a windchill of -45F.
* Monday temperature anomalies above courtesy of Climate Reanalyzer.
...BLIZZARD CONDITIONS POSSIBLE SUNDAY AND SUNDAY EVENING... BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE OVER MUCH OF WEST CENTRAL... CENTRAL... AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA SUNDAY AND SUNDAY EVENING. A BLIZZARD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED... AND IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING... FOR LOCATIONS GENERALLY ALONG AND SOUTHWEST OF A LINE FROM LONG PRAIRIE THROUGH LITCHFIELD AND SAINT PETER TO OWATONNA. A PERIOD OF SNOW WILL OCCUR SATURDAY NIGHT PRIOR TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF BLIZZARD CONDITIONS... WITH 2 TO 4 INCHES OF ACCUMULATION EXPECTED. ALTHOUGH SNOWFALL WILL DIMINISH ON SUNDAY... WITH MAINLY SNOW SHOWERS OR FLURRIES... NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH BY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THE STRONG WINDS COULD CREATE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS DUE TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. WINDS WILL DIMINISH BELOW 20 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT SUNDAY NIGHT... WHICH WILL ALLOW CONDITIONS TO IMPROVE SOME... ALTHOUGH AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW WILL PERSIST INTO MONDAY.
File photo above: "Matt Goff and his daughter Rowan check out a flooded Swan Lake Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Sitka, Alaska. The Goffs were spending the day looking at flooded sites around town. More than 4.5 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period." (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson).
Image credit above: "The variable-mesh MPAS grid can be customized to feature higher resolution where added detail is desired, as illustrated here for North America." Courtesy MPAS.
Photo credit above: "A marina on Lake Folsom sits dry and useless as an unseasonably dry winter in California stokes fears of a severe drought, near Folsom, Calif., Jan. 15, 2014. Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, which will allow California to seek federal aid as it grapples with what could turn out to be the driest year in recorded state history for many areas." (Max Whittaker/The New York Times)
Image credit above: "Satellite imagery of artificial light, like this picture of Italy, can reveal the human activity you might want to avoid." (NASA).
Address: if you want to check it out head to 2700 block of 16th Street Northwest in New Brighton; it's near Totino Grace.
"Emissions have gone up faster than I thought and some of the effects of global warming are coming through more quickly, such as melting of the glaciers and the polar ice caps." - Lord Stern, The Guardian
Photo credit above: AP Photo/Marco Trovati.
Photo credit above: "Global warming is progressing at such a rate that scientists say many previous sites of Winter Olympics would be too warm to host a Winter Games by the last half of this century." (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters).
File photo above: "In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 file photo insulated blankets cover a snow storage unit in the Rosa Khutor Alpine center in the mountain cluster in Krasnaya Polyana outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Sochi will have enough snow for the Winter Olympics in February, Russia's chief weather forecaster vowed Friday. Concerns about a snowless Olympics were raised after two test events in Sochi had to be cancelled last February because of a lack of snow or rainy weather. The resort city on the Black Sea is the only sub-tropical region of Russia." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File).
Industry Awakens To Threat Of Climate Change. When it starts showing up on the top line, or bottom line, many companies are quickly getting past climate denial and trying to figure out viable strategies for dealing with increased climate volatility in their supply chains. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change. Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force. “Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years,” said Jeffrey Seabright, Coke’s vice president for environment and water resources, listing the problems that he said were also disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats...”
Photo credit above: "Andrew Link/Winona Daily News, via Associated Press.
"Climate change is real and man-made ... After year 2070, global warming will become a net cost to the world, justifying cost-effective climate action."Image credit above: "Bjorn Lomborg leads the Copenhangen Consensus Center, which has concluded that more global warming will be worse for the economy." Photograph: Camera Press.
Backers: Report On Rail Risks Boosts Keystone XL. Because there have never (ever) been any pipeline-related spills, right? Here's an excerpt of a story from AP and ABC News: "A government warning about the dangers of increased use of trains to transport crude oil is giving a boost to supporters of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. U.S. and Canadian accident investigators urged their governments Thursday to impose new safety rules on so-called oil trains, warning that a "major loss of life" could result from an accident involving the increasing use of trains to transport large amounts of crude oil. Pipeline supporters said the unusual joint warning by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada highlights the need for Keystone XL, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Oil started flowing Wednesday through a southern leg of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Houston region..."
NTSB Urges Oil Trains Be Routed Away From Population Centers. There were more rail-related accidents involving transporation of oil in 2013 than the previous 37 years, nationwide. Here's a clip from a story at The Star Tribune: "The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) expressed growing concern Thursday that accidents involving oil trains can cause “major loss of life,” and recommended that they be rerouted where possible to avoid populated areas. The safety board’s proposal, a direct response to last July’s oil train disaster in Quebec, reverberates in the Twin Cities, where 100-car crude oil trains have become a common occurrence. But diverting oil tankers away from cities, especially historic rail hubs such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, represents a daunting challenge because most major tracks pass through urban areas..."
Photo credit above: "National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt, right, views damaged rail cars in Casselton, N.D."
The Norwegian Carbon Capture And Storage Nightmare. Will we someday invent technologies to render carbon pollution harmless, turn it into an inert gas, or bury it (forever) in the ground? Perhaps - but it hasn't happened yet, nothing that can be scaled. Here's a clip from a cautionary tale in Norway from The Foreigner: "...In my perspective, the project was doomed to fail from the beginning. It was never true that effective CCS technology was readily available, no more in 2006 than today. Well-working carbon capture and storage that actually benefits the climate requires cost and energy-efficient carbon capture, efficient transport of the CO2, and safe storage. Furthermore, every part of this chain needs to be working well with the others at an industrial scale. None of this was present then, none of it is present now..."
Image credit above: "The only remaining trace of the "Norwegian Moon Landing" is a very big pile of documents." Photo: Nina Aldin Thune/Wikimedia Commons.
* more on carbon capture and storage technologies from Joe Romm at ThinkProgress.