The term "blizzard" originally meant a "flurry of punches" during a boxing match. In 1870 the Vindacator Newspaper in Esterville, Iowa used the term to describe an especially fierce snowstorm. The term caught on. In 1876 the U.S. Signal Corp Weather Service adopted the word, and it's stuck ever since.
Alberta Clippers seem innocent enough - most are fairly harmless. But air accelerating into the core of these miniature atmospheric vacuum cleaners marking the leading edge of Canadian invasions can accelerate to 30-50 mph, whipping up snow already on the ground, producing white-outs, ground blizzards.
This is especially true when it's very cold, snow cover light and powdery, more prone to blowing & drifting, than when the mercury is closer to 32F.
Winds ease a bit today under a chilled blue sky; your commute a bit more tolerable. The next clipper arrives Saturday with a couple inches (heaviest amounts north/east of the Twin Cities metro).
An all-too-brief puff of Pacific air boosts the mercury well into the 30s Sunday; we'll all be serenaded by the sweet sound of dripping icicles for a few hours.
Canada goes on the offensive again next week, although not as cold as last week. No mega-storms, just dribs & drabs of snow.
* File photo above: Wikipedia.
Graphic credit above: Climate Extremes Index, 1910 to 2013 (NOAA).
Photo credit above: "A helicopter carrying water flies over the residential area as a man sprays water on his home on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Azusa, Calif. A wildfire burned out of control near homes in the dangerously dry foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains early Thursday, fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds that spit embers into neighborhoods in the city below, igniting trees. Evacuations were ordered for houses at the edge of the fire." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong).
Photo credit above: "Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S. receives treatment for heat related illness during her second round match against Simona Halep of Romania during her second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014." (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Far West Got Drier Last Year, Data Shows. Following up on the story above here's an excerpt from a New York Times story: "Drought conditions in California and elsewhere in the Far West intensified last year, government scientists said Wednesday, adding to concerns about water supplies in the region. Although on the whole 2013 was a wetter than average year for the contiguous 48 states, the scientists said, that statistic masked sharp regional differences. Many states east of the Rockies had much higher than average precipitation, helping to alleviate drought in the central United States and the Southeast..."
* latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.
Beijing Has Worst Smog In A Year. Check out the story at video clip at The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "Beijing's skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog on Thursday as the capital suffered the season's first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe. The air took on an acrid odour and many of the city's commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they headed to work. The city's air quality is often poor, especially in winter when stagnant weather patterns combine with an increase in coal-burning to exacerbate other forms of pollution and create periods of heavy smog lasting days..."
What Is Consciousness Anyway? Here's a clip from a thought-provoking piece at medium.com: "There’s a quiet revolution underway in theoretical physics. For as long as the discipline has existed, physicists have been reluctant to discuss consciousness, considering it a topic for quacks and charlatans. Indeed, the mere mention of the ‘c’ word could ruin careers. That’s finally beginning to change thanks to a fundamentally new way of thinking about consciousness that is spreading like wildfire through the theoretical physics community. And while the problem of consciousness is far from being solved, it is finally being formulated mathematically as a set of problems that researchers can understand, explore and discuss..."
Where Are The U.S's Millionaires? Two words: North Dakota. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at The Wall Street Journal: "The state making the fastest climb up the millionaire rankings doesn’t have a single Tiffany or Saks Fifth Avenue store. The closest BMW dealership is a six-hour drive from the capital. Welcome to North Dakota, which jumped 14 spots in the annual rankings of millionaire households per capita released by Phoenix Marketing International. The firm derives its figures from a combination of data from the Federal Reserve, Census Bureau and polling firm Nielsen Co. (See a slideshow of the top 10 states). There were approximately 53,000 more millionaire households in the U.S. last year than in 2012, according to Phoenix, a market research firm based in Rhinebeck, N.Y..."
Photo credit above: "The author, at "work". (Pete Souza/The White House).
* Wacky, vaguely troubling snowman photo courtesy of WeatherNation TV meteorologist Todd Nelson.
Photo credit above: "A fire restriction sign is partially burnt by the Rim Fire near Buck Meadows, Calif., Aug. 22, 2013." Max Whittaker/Reuters.
* Joe Romm's take on the apparent decline in climate coverage at Think Progress.
* The has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013). But about two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening, a number that has been consistent since spring 2013...."
The most recent national Climate Change in the American Mind survey found that 1 in 4 Americans think that global warming is not happening, and half say they are "worried" about it.
Other highlights include:
Other highlights include:
- There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013). But about two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening, a number that has been consistent since spring 2013.
- The proportion of Americans who say they “don’t know” whether or not global warming is happening has dropped 6 points – from 20% to 14% – since spring of 2013.
Photo credit above: "A data collection site on the frozen Arctic Ocean with instruments to measure mercury and ozone." Credit: Alexandra Steffen.