Risk of Spring
Curious new words are entering our weather lexicon, like "shower", "T-storm" & "mild". Phrases that simply don't compute, after barely surviving a brutal, Pioneer Winter. Like a therapist handing out free antidepressant samples, I keep reassuring friends, family and Minnesotans brave enough to ask that this too shall pass. And so it shall.
The jet stream finally buckles north this week, sending a therapeutic surge of lukewarm, Pacific air across the Plains into Minnesota. Most of the snow in your yard will be gone by Monday, when a few instability rain showers pop up. Instability shower? Now there's a new concept. By Wednesday highs surge into the 60s; 70F not out of the question, based on ECMWF guidance.
I predict precious little will actually get done around midweek, as Minnesotans abandon their cubicles and wander, zombie-like, toward anything resembling warmth - a Minnesota version of "The Walking Dead".
December through March was the coldest such period since 1936 for MSP. John Johansen points out the following summer was one of the hottest ever observed here. July '36 brought 5 days in a row above 100F, with an all-time record of 108F on July 14, 1936.
Not a forecast, but talk about whiplash!
* image above courtesy of funnypicturesplus.com.
Photo courtesy of KARE-11 and Ronni V, via Facebook.
Graphic credit above: "A hand-drawn map by Ted Fujita showing the 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes in the U.S." Credit: National Weather Service, Wilmington.
TV Industry Take Note: This Is What Being Disrupted By Amazon Looks Like. Will Amazon make a dent in TV viewing, threatening giants like Netflix? It would be wise not to discount their efforts, based on recent history. Here's a clip from Quartz: "Amazon yesterday thrust itself into the increasingly crowded battle for control of your living room, with the launch of its own streaming device, FireTV. The online retailer has an uphill battle ahead in streaming video—a sector dominated by Netflix and, to a lesser extent, Hulu, with Apple also trying to crack the code. But those populating the television ecosystem would do well to remember just how disruptive a force Amazon has been in America’s economy in recent years..."
Google's Sneaky New Privacy Change Affects 85% of iPhone Users - But Most Of Them Won't Have Noticed. Yes, if the product or service is "free", YOU are the product. Privacy? Sounds good on paper, but it's becoming increasingly impossible to pull off. Here's an excerpt from Quartz: "...What Google really wants is for everybody to be signed in to their Google accounts all the time,” a Google insider told me in passing last month. Around the same time, the official Gmail blog put up a 205-word post explaining the latest update to the Gmail app for Apple devices that run on iOS 7. The app now fully supports background app refresh, which means your Gmail messages will be pre-fetched and synced so they’re right there when you open the app—no more annoying pauses while you wait for your inbox to refresh..."
The Remarkable Resilience Of Old-Fashioned Radio In The U.S. Most of us are still stuck in our cars, listening to terrestrial radio. Satellite radio hasn't made much of a dent, overall. Will that change with Internet-connected vehicles coming on line, when you can suddenly call up Spotify or Pandora and listen to your own custom play-list? Quartz takes a look; here's an excerpt: "...Yet while old-fashioned radio has proved remarkably resilient up until now, it could be approaching an inflection point thanks to the advent of the internet-connected car. GMSA, an industry group representing mobile operators, last year said it expects 50% of all new vehicles (pdf) sold by 2015 to be internet-enabled, and 100% by 2025. Internet radio services give listeners a near-infinite amount of options, and advertisers the ability to target specific audiences, but they also face disadvantages..."
* image above: springbuzzle.com
* more details on where you can find the program here, courtesy of TPT.
Climate Meeting To Discuss Future Of Fossil Fuels. Will it be business as usual for the fossil fuel industry, in spite of the changes we're witnessing worldwide? After all, they're only giving us what we want and need, right? A tough problem to crack, but I'm still convinced the marketplace (not government) can make renewables more cost-effective, scaling up with home-grown energy sources from the sun and the wind. It's already happening, the question is how fast prices fall and whether our aging grid needs to be replaced by smaller "smart grids" able to localize energy production and consumption. Here's an excerpt from AP and ABC News: "...A leaked draft of the report sent to governments in December suggests that in order to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) by the end of the century — the stated goal of international climate talks — emissions need to fall by 40-70 percent by 2050. Investments in fossil fuels such as oil and coal would have to drop by $30 billion a year, while spending on renewables would have to go up by $147 billion annually, according to the draft. That message is likely to face opposition from the fossil fuel industry and countries that depend on it..."
Climate Change Is A Game Of Risk. You'll be hearing more about a more volatile climate in the context of risk management in the years ahead. Here's an excerpt of a very good explanation from Time Magazine: "...Risk—you’ll be hearing that word a lot in the context of climate change. That’s because the best way of thinking about the impact of global warming—and especially the economic impact—is as a risk factor. As the climate warms, sea level will rise, which puts coastal communities—from tens of millions of poor people in Bangladesh to ultra-wealthy Manhattanites—at greater risk of flooding. Warming may also intensify tropical weather, potentially increasing the risk of catastrophic storms like Katrina. If climate change cuts into the yield of crops like wheat or corn—as the latest IPCC report predicts—that could raise the risk of violent conflict in already impoverished countries. Climate change is a risk multiplier..."
Image above: vegas.com.
of clarity involves some of its subjects threatening defamation suits..." (photo credit above: B. Rosen).
* The paper "Recursive Fury" that's causing such a furor among climate denialists is here, courtesy of the University of Western Australia.
Global Warming Could Dry Out A Third of the Earth by 2100. Here's a clip of a story from Climate Central and Salon: "...That would potentially push up to 30 percent of Earth’s land area into drought, compared to the 12 percent precipitation trends alone would affect.…The U.S. Central Plains and southeast China showed signs of that long-term drying trend in the models, and these are “two regions where if you just naively assume that it’s just precipitation that matters,” that drought signal might not show up, [study author Ben] Cook said. Even if rain is falling, increased evaporation can mean that “you’re still emptying that soil moisture bucket more than you’re filling it up,” and getting an overall drying trend, he said..." (photo above: AP).