43 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
47 F. average high on March 27.
36 F. high on March 27, 2015.
.07″ rain fell yesterday at KMSP.
March 28, 1924: A drought is broken with style in southern Minnesota as up to 25 inches of snow falls.

Maps Look Like Spring – With One (Brief) Exception

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night” joked Steve Martin.

Could you live in a place that’s gray most of the time? My oldest son lives in Seattle, a stunning city, when the sun is out. Which is once or twice a month, according to Walt. He gives me a hard time about Minnesota’s cold fronts. I text him photos of blue sky and stunning sunsets.

There’s a possible link between vitamin D deficiencies and depression, the leading cause of disability, worldwide – impacting an estimated 15 million Americans. I’m no doctor (or rocket scientist) but there’s little doubt people tend to be happier when the sun is out.

Sorry son, I’ll take 30F and sunny over 55F and perpetually-gray.

A surge of spring returns the first half of this week as temperatures climb toward 60F; showery rains Tuesday night into Wednesday. The much-advertised polar smack next weekend is nothing to hyperventilate about. Highs hold near freezing Sunday, then rebound into the 40s and 50s. GFS guidance hints at 60s again in 9 days.

But Sunday will be heavy-jacket-worthy, bringing back brisk memories of February. Did I mention the sun will be out?

Vitamin D and Depression: Where Is All The Sunshine? Here’s a relatively recent study into vitamin D deficiencies and a potential link to depression; hardly a surprise to anyone suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Here’s an excerpt of a paper at The National Center for Biotechnology Information: “…Assessment of vitamin D status will need consideration of other factors, such as light therapy and sun exposure. Exposure to sunlight accounts for over 90% of the vitamin D requirement for most individuals (Holick, 2004). Amount of exposure to ultraviolet B radiation is affected by latitude, season, and time of the day. It has been reported that sun exposure is greatest in spring to early fall and during sunlight hours (Holick, 2004). Although places closer to the equator have greater sun exposure (Hawaii, Arizona, Florida), recently it has been reported that in even in these areas vitamin D insufficiency persists (Binkley et al., 2007; Jacobs et al., 2008; Levis et al., 2005). Since it is possible that persons who are outdoors may be more physically active, it is important to consider whether sunshine alone or in combination with physical activity is related to improved mood….”

60F by Tuesday.  Models are in fairly good agreement that we’ll enjoy mid to upper 50s today; a chance of low 60s tomorrow before showers arrive. NOAA guidance: Aeris Enterprise.

Free Midweek Lawn Watering. Lawns will be supernaturally green by the end of the week after a period of moderate showers Tuesday night into early Thursday. Over half an inch is likely – last (00z) NAM guidance prints out .85″ liquid by Thursday morning. NAM accumulated precipitation: AerisWeather.

Confirming a Wet Week. NDFD and GEFS ensemble data prints out as much as 1.5 to 1.8″ liquid by Thursday as March ends on a delightfully soggy note.

Midweek Puddles – Then A Temperature Slide. No, we’re not talking “January-arctic”, just a quick slap of chilly air by Sunday, followed by rapid moderation next week. The approach of 50s may set off more rain or even a mix by Tuesday of next week.

Sunday: Coldest Day. GFS guidance isn’t nearly as cold as it was 1-2 days ago, showing wake-up temperatures near 20F (above zero!) Sunday morning, followed by mid-50s by the middle of next week.

Spring Regains Its Bounce. After a very jacket-worthy start to next week models show a milder, zonal flow returning with a streak of 50s, even a few 60s by the end of next week. GFS guidance: NOAA.

Disaster-Ready. FEMA has a new app that seems like a good addition to your smartphone – like insurance you don’t need it until you need it. You can load a few different locations and have all the information you need at your fingertips, even if the power goes out. The old Boy Scout motto comes to mind. Be Prepared.

Here Comes La Nina – Or Does It? What History, Models and Experts Tell Us. Bob Henson has an interesting perspective at WunderBlog; here’s an excerpt: “…What’s known as the spring predictability barrier makes this the toughest time of the year to anticipate how the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will behave. ENSO refers to the coupled atmosphere-ocean process that swings between El Niño and La Niña. About half of the time, neutral conditions prevail, with El Niño and La Niña roughly splitting the other 50% of the time. El Niños have been more frequent overall in recent decades, but La Niñas are more likely to recur for two or three years in a row...”

Image credit above: “Projections of various forecast models for the evolution of SSTs in the Niño3.4 region over the next few months. These forecasts were compiled and released in mid-March. El Niño is in place when SSTs are at least 0.5°C above average for five overlapping three-month periods. La Niña is defined the same way, except that SSTs are below rather than above average. The bottom axis shows abbreviations for three-month intervals (e.g., JJA is June-July-August).” Image credit: International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

Howard’s Daily: Finding Infrastructure in the Stimulus Plan. Huffington Post Politics had an article with some stats that made me do a double-take; here’s a link and excerpt: “…Probably the wisest investment is in rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure. This was the focus of the president’s push for the stimulus back in 2009, and also the headliner in the report issued yesterday: The stimulus “initiated more than 15,000 transportation projects, which will improve nearly 42,000 miles of road, mend or replace over 2,700 bridges, and provide funds for over 12,220 transit vehicles,” plus improving 6,000 miles of rail. These all sound like good investments to me, but I was curious how much of the stimulus plan went to these transportation infrastructure projects. Toward the back of the report (Table 8 on p. 34) there’s a chart that gives the number: $30 billion. That’s a little more than 3 percent of the total stimulus plan…” (Image: NASA)

TODAY: Mostly sunny and stunning. Winds: S 5-10. High: 56

MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 39

TUESDAY: Mild wind, late-day showers, thunder? Winds: SE 15-25. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: Wettest day in sight. Rain likely. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 51

THURSDAY: Showers taper, damp breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 38. High: 47

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, sprinkle or flurry. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 33. High: 43

SATURDAY: Colder front approaches, gusty. Winds: NW 15-25+ Wake-up: 35. High: 44

SUNDAY: Chilled sunshine – we can handle this. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 34

Climate Stories…

Published Assessment Concludes Thawing Arctic Permafrost to Impact Climate Change. Tipping points the models don’t anticipate – what could possibly go wrong? Here’s an excerpt of an article at CapeCod.com: “…Woods Hole Research Center scientist Brendan Rogers said, “We are very much in control of the amount of high-latitude carbon that stays in the ground.” The assessment concluded that 85 percent of carbon emissions from the permafrost zone could still be avoided with aggressive international policies, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing. All the scientists involved agreed that the rate and magnitude of current warming is taking us into uncharted territory in regard to permafrost carbon…”

File image above: NASA.

World Waking Up to Cost of Climate Inaction. Shanghai Daily has the story. What, you don’t read Shanghai Daily? Here’s a clip: “…The summit in Paris was, in his words, a “turning point” showing that countries are finally coming together in a “remarkable way” to tackle climate change. Speaking at a regular forum at Fudan’s School of Management, Stern claimed that agreements reached in Paris illustrate that countries are finally realizing the risks of sitting on their hands and doing nothing about global warming. Specifically, the summit was significant in that delegates pledged to pursue a goal of keeping global warming to two-degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — while also pursuing efforts to limit average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees if possible. Citing past scientific studies, the former chief economist of the World Bank warned that a two degree hike in global temperatures could be catastrophic…”

Carbon Emissions Highest in 66 Million Years, Since Dinosaur Age. Here’s the lead to a story at Reuters: “The rate of carbon emissions is higher than at any time in fossil records stretching back 66 million years to the age of the dinosaurs, according to a study on Monday that sounds an alarm about risks to nature from man-made global warming. Scientists wrote that the pace of emissions even eclipses the onset of the biggest-known natural surge in fossil records, 56 million years ago, that was perhaps driven by a release of frozen stores of greenhouse gases beneath the seabed...”

Photo credit above: “A chimney is seen in front of residential buildings during a polluted day in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China, January 21, 2016.” Reuters/Stringer.

Meteorologists Overwhelmingly Conclude Climate Change is Real and Human-Caused. Here’s an excerpt from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: “…Seventeen percent of respondents to the survey said their views about climate change had changed over the past five years and, of those, most (87 percent) said they are more convinced than ever that human-caused changes are happening. They were most persuaded by new peer-reviewed studies, the growing scientific consensus on climate change, and evidence of climate change where they live. “[I]t does appear that more meteorologists are now more convinced that human-caused climate change is happening,” said Ed Maibach, lead author of the survey findings and director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication…”

Map credit above: “Winter 2015-2016 temperature differences from average over globe.” (NOAA).

96% of American Meteorological Society Members Think Climate Change is Happening, Says New Report. Dr. Marshall Shepherd has details at Forbes; here’s a clip: “…The new survey conducted for the AMS by Dr. Ed Maibach (George Mason University) and colleagues clarified several questions. Preliminary results are now available. Key results from the report summary: Nearly all AMS members (96%) think climate change -as defined by AMS-is happening with almost 89% stating that they are either “extremely” or “very sure” it is happening. Only 1% think climate change is not happening. A large majority of AMS members indicated that human activity is causing at least a portion of  the changes in the climate over the past 50 years (see summary for details)….Conversely, 5% think the climate is caused largely or entirely by natural events, 6% say they don’t know….”

South Florida’s Mayors Face Reality of Rising Seas and Climate Change. For Miami, The Florida Keys, even Naples and Ft. Myers, it’s gone from theory to “happening right here – right now”. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed by Fred Grim at The Miami Herald: “…This sense of emergency shared by the mayors makes for a bizarre contrast to our state leadership. Gov. Rick Scott has donned the mantel as Florida’s denier in chief. (Happily proving it with his veto pen.) Florida’s other leading Florida Republican, Sen. Rubio, once talked about making Florida “the Silicon Valley” of green energy. All that was abandoned when the ever changeable Rubio’s ambition for higher office led him to embrace the tea party’s militant denial of climate science. Rubio must find it a bit disconcerting as he limps back home from his failed political campaign to a community where the civic leadership, Republican and Democrat, has utterly rejected his “I am not a scientist” approach to the climate crisis…”

Image credit: “Miami Beach has put into action an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise. As some streets keep flooding from recent king tide events, the city continues rolling out its plan of attack and will spend between $400-$500 million over the next five years doing so.” Emily Michot.