Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shifting Gears: New England Chill - Central USA Warms Up - California Cooling Trend

It's Safe

Everywhere I go people come up and ask me the same pained question. Is it safe? "Can I remove my driveway stakes? No more snow, right Paul?" Nervous laughter. "Is it safe to plant my annuals? Can I put my boat in without ice forming on my engine block? Is it safe to finally come out of my weather bunker?"


Although I may have said something similar in late March.

Son Of Polar Vortex shows signs of (finally!) retreating north. The jet stream buckles northward over the next 72 hours, sending a well-timed warm front surging across the Great Plains.

We should hit 70F later today; mid-70s are likely Tuesday, another string of 70s as we sail into Memorial Day weekend. Long-range ECMWF models prints out 82F on Memorial Day, which made me want to give my laptop a hug.

Don't do it. People will stare.

"But will there be complications, gangs of thunderstorms to spoil our lukewarm fun?" T-storms are likely Monday, some heavy, but a puff of slightly drier Canadian air keeps most of the action south of Minnesota Tuesday into Sunday. A few storms may pop by Memorial Day, especially up north, after daytime highs nudge 80 degrees.

Frost and jackets to shorts in 48 hours?

Only in Minnesota.

Warming Trend. Sweet Mana from Heaven! Warm air finally surges north in the coming week; highs near 70F today with 70s Tuesday - a longer run of continuous 70s the end of the week and next weekend. Lukewarm for a holiday weekend? Right now it sure looks that way. T-storms are likely Monday, most of the showers and T-storms pushed south/west of Minnesota Tuesday PM into much of Sunday.

7-Day Predicted Rainfall Amounts. NOAA model ensembles show some .5" rains for drought-stricken Texas, as much as 1" from Des Moines and the Twin Cities to Pittsburgh and Albany. Lake Tahoe and far northern California will see significant rain, but none is predicted from the Bay Area to San Diego.

A Jet Stream Correction. 500 mb forecast winds (above) show a ridge of high pressure expanding warm air across the central USA over the next 84 hours, a storm pinwheeling into the west coast, but precious little rain is forecast to fall from California to Texas. New England gets off to a chilly start to the week, but moderation is likely by late week. Winds aloft and 500 mb vorticity: NOAA NAM model and HAMweather.

Developing Omega Block? In the coming 7-10 days upper level winds over North America may vaguely resemble the Greek letter omega, cool and stormy weather persisting over New England and the Pacific Northwest, a ridge of warm high pressure sandwiched (and temporarily stalled) in-between. Surface temperatures courtesy of NOAA's NAM model and HAMweather.

Moore Tornado Victims Rebuild With New Rules. Yes, strengthening building codes in the heart of Tornado Alley sounds like a very good idea; here's an excerpt of a story and video at NBC 5 in Dallas: "...Burkhart's home was one of nearly 1,200 that were damaged or destroyed. The storm generated enough debris to cover the basketball court at the American Airlines Center in Dallas in a stack nearly two miles high. Parts of Moore now look like a new housing development in North Texas. But with the new homes, come new rules. In April, Moore became the first city in the country to require all new homes to stand up to 130 mph winds with stronger frames, additional bracing and sturdier garage doors..."

Shelter From The Storm: Cannon Blasts Test Walls for Tornado Safe Rooms. I had no idea this was going on in Madison, Wisconsin. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Shooting two-by-fours out of a cannon seems like a waste of perfectly good wood, but a lot can be learned from splinters that might one day save people from a tornado's deadly debris. And to frightened folks freaking out in the middle of a tornado, it doesn't matter what researchers do to ensure their safety, they just want to survive. In a large building at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, researchers are trying to simulate the effects of debris whipped by twisters. To do that, they are re-creating 250-mph winds that suck up everything in a tornado's path and fling it in all directions..."

Photo credit above: Gary Porter. "A two-by-four is shot out of a cannon to simulate debris being whipped about by 250-mph winds, during testing at Forest Products Laboratory in Madison."

Climate Stories...

Climate Change Lawsuits Filed Against Some 200 U.S. Communities. This is the legal tip of the iceberg. Yes, there will be plenty of billable hours for aggressive lawyers uncovering liability related to more extreme waether events sparked by a changing, morphing, more volatile climate in the years to come. Here's an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor: "Climate change lawsuits: Farmers Insurance filed class action lawsuit last month against nearly 200 communities in the Chicago area for failing to prepare for flooding. The suits argue towns should have known climate change would produce more flooding..."

Photo credit above: Chicago Tribune, which has a slightly different perspective on the suit here.

An Illustrated Guide To Our Collapsing Antarctic Glaciers. Quartz has a very good, visual explanation of what's really going on - here's an excerpt: "...But scientists think that rising sea temperatures are now eroding the ice shelf faster than the snow can rebuild it. Intensifying southern sea wind forces—likely a product of climate change—also exacerbate ice erosion (pdf, p.1,141). The lighter the ice shelf becomes, the more of it starts floating, exposing more ice to water. That process pushes the “grounding line”—the point where the ice separates from land and begins to float—further inland..."

Screenshot from presentation: "Recent Changes in Greenland & Antarctica," Joughin & Poinar.

Inaction on Climate Change Risks Global Chaos. Here's a clip from a story at Forbes that made me do a double-take: "...What a growing chorus of top generals and admirals and senior business executives is saying is this: The proliferation of renewable energy sources, the spread of energy efficiency and conservation measures, and the reduction of reliance on fossil fuel imports from volatile (or hostile) states aren’t just feel-good green policies; they’re critical strategic responses to the harsh realities of climate change and growing resource conflicts.  The world leaders who would resist a price on carbon include Vladimir Putin, whose expansionist tendencies and contempt for the censure of Western democracies is based on his country’s energy might..."

Global Warming Behind Loss in Area of Glaciers in Himalayas. has the story; here's the introduction: "The area coverage of the glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas has decreased nearly 12 times due to global warming, which raising serious concerns for the environmental balance of the region, a study released in Nepal said today. The area coverage has been reduced to 3,902 km in 2010 from 51,687 km in 1980 due to shrinkage and fragmentation as a result of global warming. However, the number of glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas has increased to 3,808 in 2010 from 3,430 glaciers in 1980, the report said..."

Photo credit above: "In this Oct. 27, 2011 file photo, the last light of the day sets on Mount Everest as it rises behind Mount Nuptse as seen from Tengboche, in the Himalaya's Khumbu region, Nepal." AP Photo.

World's Top Companies Already Feeling Impacts of Climate Change. Bloomberg Businessweek has the story; here's a clip: "Drought, hurricanes and rising seas are becoming more significant threats to the world’s biggest companies and the risk is accelerating, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Companies planning for various threats related to climate change say they’re grappling now with about 45 percent of the potential risks, or will be within five years, according to a report issued today by the London-based non-profit group. That’s up from 2011, when members of the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index expected 26 percent of the potential risks to affect them within five years..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

8 Pseudoscientific Climate Claims Debunked By Real Climate Scientists. has the complete list; here's an excerpt of the skeptical claim that "heating has stopped since 1998": "...What’s going on? “1998 was the warmest year in the last century,” explains Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “There was a big El Niño event in 1997 and 1998, and we have a lot of evidence that there was a lot of heat coming out of the ocean at that time. So that’s the real anomaly — the fact that we had what was perhaps the biggest El Niño event on record.” “That’s one of the cherrypicking points for deniers — they take the highest value and then compare it” with lower points in the natural temperature fluctuation we know as “weather...”

Warning Signs. Why The Struggle Over Climate Is Moving To The Executive Branch. National Journal has the article; here's the introduction: "Miami will likely be underwater before the Senate can muster enough votes to meaningfully confront climate change. And probably Tampa and Charleston, too—two other cities that last week's National Climate Assessment placed at maximum risk from rising sea levels. Even as studies proliferate on the dangers of a changing climate, the issue's underlying politics virtually ensure that Congress will remain paralyzed over it indefinitely. That means the U.S. response for the foreseeable future is likely to come through executive-branch actions, such as the regulations on carbon emissions from power plants that the Environmental Protection Agency is due to propose next month. And that means climate change will likely spike as a point of conflict in the 2016 presidential race..."

Climate, God and Marco Rubio. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Hill: "...St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan theologian, described the created universe as the fountain fullness of God’s expressed being. As God is expressed in creation, creation in turn expresses the creator. Rubio’s God must not be one of endless love. What kind of a God would create such a beautiful, wondrous creation filled with such awesome beauty only to later change his mind and allow it to be destroyed? What it is about our nature that allows us to believe it is okay to destroy our planet? Do we not feel “the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement?”  Does Rubio not see the divine beauty in all of creation?  Could it be that we have become so isolated, so focused on the individual that we have lost sight of our connectedness, our relationship to God, and all that God has created?..."