From Theory to Reality
You don't predict the weather, you live it. It's the rough equivalent of getting undressed - in public - every day. Over time you develop an appreciation for the rhythm of weather patterns; the natural ebb and flow of the elements.
In the late 90s I noticed changes in Minnesota's weather: more summer downpours & humidity, erratic winters and stupefying examples of whiplash - going from one extreme to another, in an impossibly short period of time. I started talking about it at The Star Tribune & WCCO-TV. Some found the message threatening, and pushed back hard. I doubt it helped my on- air career, but reporting observations and trends shouldn't be a popularity contest.
The data is the data and the science is clear: our climate is changing. Symptoms are already showing up in our weather; sea levels are rising. More details on the latest National Climate Assessment below.
Storms brush southern Minnesota this morning; a better chance of strong to severe storms Thursday afternoon as readings spike into the upper 70s.
Yes, it would be nice to have a warm front without the sirens singing in unison. We salvage some sun Saturday before the next round of stormy weather arrives early next week.
* image above: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation.
* Growing severe storm risk along the I-35 corridor Wednesday and Thursday.
* Wednesday risk focused from Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls to Abilene and San Angelo, Texas - a few large tornadoes are likely.
* Thursday threat shifts farther north, including Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City and Des Moines, where an afternoon squall line may spark a few large, violent tornadoes. Isolated tornadoes are possible as far north as the Twin Cities of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
* Extreme fire danger lingers over the southern Plains: combination of intense heat, strong winds and low humidity increases fire risk.
* I expect severe storm, possibly tornado watches, to be issued as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin by Thursday afternoon.
Summary: after a couple of relatively quiet days after last week's major tornado outbreak and record floods from Pensacola to the Delaware Valley, we're heading into a more volatile weather pattern once again. Although probably not as severe or widespread as last week, tornadoes are likely, and a few may be large, long-track twisters capable of extensive damage and injury. Flash flooding is likely with some of these storms pushing toward the Mississippi Valley, while the risk of wildfires is unusually high for the southern Plains into midweek, symptomatic of a deepening drought. We'll keep you posted.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
Budget Cuts Mean Weather Forecaster Shortage in Tornado Alley. NBC News has the story - here's the introduction: "With tornado season underway the National Weather Service is short nearly 200 meteorologists, including vacancies in Tornado Alley and at the office responsible for predicting tornadoes, according to documents obtained by NBC News. NBC owned and operated station KXAS in Dallas/Ft. Worth has acquired union documents showing as many as 500 vacancies at NWS offices around the country, including nearly 200 unfilled jobs for front-line meteorologists...."
Oklahoma Texas Kansas Florida
Scroll down for the answer (which is definitely non-obvious).
Quiz courtesy of howtogeek.com.
Photo credit above: "
File Photo credit above: "CBS correspondent, arrives for the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday, April 30, 2011 in Washington." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon).
Drone footage shot by Brian Emfinger.
Photo credit above: "University of Colorado-Boulder unmanned aerial aircraft and graduate student Kevin Rauhauser on June 17, 2013." (Photo: University of Colorado-Boulder).
Climate Change Study Finds U.S. Is Already Widely Affected. Justin Gillis summarizes the latest National Climate Assessment at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects. Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century..."
* Observed Changes in Very Heavy Precipitation (1958 to 2012) courtesy of the latest National Climate Assessment.
Highlights of the National Climate Assessment, courtesy of Climate Nexus:
Not Your Imagination: Allergy Season Really IS Longer. The Culprit? Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from a story at Rick Kupchella's BringMeTheNews.com: "Ragweed pollen season has lengthened by 24 days in the Minnesota-North Dakota region between 1995 and 2011. In other parts of the Midwest, pollen season has gotten longer by anywhere from 11 days to 20 days. These are just two of the many findings in a new federal report, called The National Climate Assessment, which analyzed regional and state-level effects of global warming..."
* Changes in Precipitation from 1901 to 2012, from the latest National Climate Assessment.
** Stanford University to Purge $18 Billion of Coal Stock. The New York Times reports.
Graphic credit above: New York Times, Pew Research Center, June 2013.
I'm all for renewables, and I hope and expect there will come a day when most of our energy comes from clean sources. But short-term wind, solar and even cleaner-burning natural gas can't provide the scale we need to keep the lights on and the energy powered up. I realize this is a sensitive subject for many environmentalists, but I'm not sure we have any other viable, short-term options. That said, we need to find safer, smaller, cheaper, more sustainable forms of nuclear power that address the long-term waste challenge head-on. Here's an excerpt of a recent story at Forbes that resonated with me: "...I used to be anti-nuclear. But, several years ago I had to reevaluate my thinking because if you agree with the world’s leading climate scientists that global warming is real and must be addressed immediately then you cannot simply oppose clean, low-carbon energy sources. As a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator and former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, I have long championed clean air and the need to limit the dangerous pollutants that contribute to climate change. In doing so, I have come to fully appreciate the role that our current nuclear energy facilities play in meeting our energy needs without increasing carbon pollution..."
File photo: CNN.