Heat – Smoke – Thunder. June: Warmest Month on Record for World’s Oceans

84 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
83 F. average high on July 31.
83 F. high on July 31, 2013.

.58″ rain predicted for MSP by Monday morning.

Saturday: drier, sunnier day of the weekend. Mid 80s likely, even a few upper 80s nearby.

Hot Smoked Buns

I like my warm fronts like my steaks: medium rare, smoked over a wood flame. Although hardly a heatwave, our current warming trend is accompanied by a thick pall of smoke from a most unwelcome barbecue over western Canada. Hundreds of wildfires are pumping smoke into the upper atmosphere, where prevailing jet stream winds push it southeast over Minnesota. Instead of a deep, topaz-blue, the sky is a milky, hazy eggshell-blue. That’s diluted smoke from fires 2,000 miles upwind.

While we dry out from record June rains – historic heat & drought from a stalled weather pattern is igniting a fiery summer, 1-2 months ahead of schedule.

A stray cumulonimbus thunderhead sprouts around the dinner hour; a warm, dry, lazy Saturday giving way to a better chance of T-storms by Sunday afternoon. Highs poke into the mid-80s both days, warm enough to work up a respectable sweat.

A stalled warm frontal boundary sparks heavy T-storms Monday into Wednesday; NOAA QPF guidance prints out some 1-3 inch rains, with a slight risk of flash flooding by midweek.

No worries: 80-degree sun returns late next week and odds favor a dry, 78-degree sky for Sir Paul McCartney at Target Field Saturday evening.

Canadian Smoke Plume. The late afternoon 1 km visible image showed a few showers sprouting near Mille Lacs and Pelican Lake; heavier T-storms near Spooner and Eau Claire. If you look carefully you can see the outline of smoke drifting out of Canada, giving the sky a milky, hazy-blue appearance. Image: NOAA and HAMweather.

Prime Time Summertime. Summer took its sweet old time, but the maps definitely look summerlike into mid-August, a taste of the mid-July we should have experienced. Expect mid-80s Saturday and Sunday; maybe a T-storm Sunday afternoon and night into Monday. A wave of low pressure tracking along a muggy warm front draped over southern Minnesota may spark heavier showers and T-storms late Tuesday into midday Wednesday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 1-3″ rains close to home. After cooling off Wednesday we warm well into the 80s again by the end of next week. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

East Coast Soaker. Once again weather patterns are slowing to a crawl, a sloppy front stalled over the East Coast may spark some 3-6″ rains across thhe Carolinas by Sunday; maybe 1-2″ from near Charlotte to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The Southwest sees monsoon T-storms, especially New Mexico, with potential flash flooding over Louisiana. 4 KM WRF accumulated rainfall out 60 hours: NOAA and HAMweather.

Weather Causes 2,000 Deaths a year In U.S. A significant percentage of those deaths are cold weather-related. Here’s a clip from a Wall Street Journal article: “The weather kills at least 2,000 Americans each year and nearly two-thirds of the deaths are from teh cold, according to a new government report. That may surprise some people, the researchers acknowledged. Hurricanes, tornadoes and heat waves “get more publicity, for some reason, than cold-related deaths,” said Deborah Igram, one of te report’s authors…”

Klotzbach-Gray Call For Three More Hurricanes This Season. But will any of those predicted hurricanes strike the USA, that’s the multi-million-dollar question. A 38% probability of a major hurricane strike on the USA through the rest of the season? Fort Lauderdale’s SunSentinel has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Storm prognosticators  Phil Klotzbach and William Gray are standing pat, still calling for a slower than normal hurricane season. In an updated outlook released Thursday, they continue to predict 10 named storms, including four hurricanes. They project one of the hurricanes will be major, with sustained winds greater than 110 mph…” (Hurricane Irene file image: NASA).

Rain, Not Heavy Winds or Lightning, Most Dangerous Effect of Hurricanes. People (including meteorologists) often fixate on the Category of the storm and peak winds near the eye, when most injuries and deaths arise from the subsequent storm surge and inland flooding. Forward speed of a tropical system can be more important than wind speed at landfall. A slowing or stalled tropical depression can be even deadlier, in terms of flash flooding, than a fast-moving hurricane. Here’s a video and excerpt from WPRI-TV in Providence: “When it comes to hurricanes, many weather-watchers focus on the storm’s category or its wind speeds while the radar’s colors grow darker. But during this year’s first hurricane, it was actually the rain that caused the most local problems. Of course, the heavy winds and the lightning strikes are all dangerous and life-threatening. It’s flooding, though, that remains the nation’s top weather-related killer…”

Hurricane Sandy Is Ushering In a Smarter Power System. A silver lining from Superstorm Sandy? Here’s an excerpt from The Energy Collective: “…Beyond the shock, New Yorkers found a silver lining in the destruction. The storm made crystal clear that the existing electricity system is not suited to address the challenges of the 21st century. In response, New York State recently released a powerful report illuminating how it plans to create a more affordable, efficient and more reliable grid. Titled Reforming the Energy Vision, this game-changing documentcalls for a new approach to generating, managing, and delivering electricity throughout New York. The state proposes to replace aging infrastructure by investing nearly $30 billion over the next decade to develop a smarter electricity system…”

Photo credit above: Disaster Recovery and Smarter Systems/shutterstock

When Charley Came To Call. We’re 2 weeks away from the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley, a small, compact but ferocious Category 4 storm that slammed into southwestern Florida. Here’s an excerpt of an excellent recap of the storm from Fort Myers Beach News: “…There’s normal time, and there’s hurricane time. When Charley darkened the skies, unleashing raging winds and torrential rain over Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and Captiva, those on the ground could only hold their breath and hang on for the wild ride. Minutes felt like hours, and hours dragged on endlessly. Yet Charley proved to be fast moving and fairly compact for a Category 4 hurricane, blasting through in just a few hours, and saving his harshest wrath for Sanibel, Captiva, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and inland communities in DeSoto, Hardee, and Polk Counties. Fort Myers Beach was spared the worst, but an 8-foot storm surge caused “the Gulf to meet the bay, and seawater covered the entire island for a brief period,” according to WINK-TV Meteorologist, Jim Farrell…”

Thousands of Inmates Serve Time Fighting The West’s Forest Fires. I knew that some prison inmates were involved in fire fighting, but I had no idea of the scope of this, especially in California, until reading an article at NPR; here’s an excerpt: “…Other states like Wyoming and Nevada have similar inmate programs, but the California Department of Corrections program, with about 4,000 inmates, is the largest. Corrections officials say the program saves the state more than $100 million a year. These offenders have been convicted of things like drug crimes, minor battery or robbery. They’re trained by a professional and often work in crews of 16 — always with a professional firefighter in charge, like Capt. Josh Kitchens…”

Photo credit above: “Emir Dunn, an inmate firefighter stationed at the Chamberlain Creek Conservation fire camp in California, at work on a fire. About 4,000 inmate firefighters battle blazes across the state.” Adam Grossberg/KQED.

When Summer is Depressing. The more I read, the more I realize the depths of my ignorance, although my wife is kind enough to remind me of that on a daily basis. I had no idea some people suffered from a summertime version of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It turns out the symptoms are much different. Here’s a clip from a story at The Atlantic: “…While about 5 percent of people are thought to have the winter variety of SAD, about one percent instead feel depressed in the summer months. The two seasonal variants make their suffers feel similarly low, but they’re otherwise very different. Those who get depressed in wintertime tend to get sluggish and put on weight, but summertime SAD sufferers lose their appetites and grow agitated, as the psychologist Jason Goldman explains...”

Coming To A Lake Near You? ICON A5 Amphibian Plane Unveiled. Gizmag has the story; here’s a clip: “…The ICON A5 is designed to be simple to fly with a special flapless wing, spin-resistant airframe, and Angle of Attack (AoA) instrument to prevent stalling. Inside the A5 is an cockpit with an intuitive, distinctly automotive layout marked by a mixture of analog and digital instruments. Weighing in at 1510 lb (686.4 kg), the two-seater amphibian is equipped with both a carbon composite waterproof hull and optional retractable landing gear…”

The Health Benefits of Trees. I come from a long line of German foresters, going back 8 generations to the early 1800s, so there must be something genetic about my love of trees. Like water, I find being in the woods mentally healing – my blood pressure comes down when I’m near trees, and I suspect I’m not alone. Here’s are excerpts from another fascinating article at The Atlantic: “They prevent $7 billion in health costs every year by filtering air pollution—not to mention their psychological effects. New research says the closer you can live to trees, the better off you are…It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this week. And we’re only beginning to understand the nature and magnitude of their tree-benevolence…”

Photo credit above: “Treehotel, Harads, Sweden.” (Matt Cowan/Reuters).

Red Robin Owns Distinction of Serving America’s Unhealthiest Meal. “Hi, I’d like the Monster Special please. Does that come with a heart surgeon? Are you licensed to perform CPR?” Gawker has the gawk-worthy details; here’s a clip: “…Red Robin is home to the unhealthiest meal in America, according to USA Today. In a report released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the “Monster” double burger, “bottomless” fries and a “Monster” milkshake clocks in at 3,450 calories. Also on the list were offerings from The Cheesecake Factory, including a “Brulee French Toast,” which sounds delicious, but also terrifying…”

A Real “Sharknado”? As Likely as a “Tsunami of Unicorns”. USA TODAY gets it right with the science behind why a shower or tornado-fueled sharks is impossible; here’s an excerpt of the explainer: “…Here’s how Freed lays it out: Compare the size and weight of a shark to, say, a piece of hail. At some point, there is a limit to how heavy hail is that it cannot be held up by winds. Even the biggest piece of hail is not the size of a great white. The threshold is smaller for a waterspout, he says, which needs to pick an object up out of the water. Sharks are simply too heavy, Freed said, but waterspouts can and have lifted up small, minnow-sized fish and carried them hundreds of miles away…”

TODAY: AM sun, late PM T-storm. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 81
FRIDAY NIGHT: Isolated evening T-shower, then clearing. Low: 60
SATURDAY: Smoky sun, probably dry. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 84
SUNDAY: Murky sun, few PM T-storms. Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 63. High: 84
MONDAY: Sticky, T-storms late. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 67. High: 85
TUESDAY: Showers and T-storms, very humid. Dew point: 71. Wake-up: 68. High: 79
WEDNESDAY: T-storms, locally heavy rain possible. Wake-up: 68. High: 74
THURSDAY: Skies clear, spirits improve. Dew point: 55. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80

Climate Stories…

June Was The Hottest Month on Record for the Ocean. Simon Donner has more details at Maribo; here’s an excerpt: “The oceans in June may have set an all-time heat record, according to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The global average sea surface temperature may have topped 17 °C for the first time in any month of any year since 1880. The NOAA State of the Climate analysis reported that last month was the warmest June on the planet since records began, thanks in large part to ocean warmth...”

This Happened While Everyone Was Putting on War Paint for the Obama Climate Hearings. Eric Roston has an interesting story at Bloomberg, highlighting General Mill’s rationalization and inclusion of climate change into its long-term business strategy; here’s an excerpt that caught my eye: “…Changes in climate not only affect global food security but also impact General Mills’ raw material supply which, in turn, affects… value to our shareholders,” the policy states, in its clunky bureaucratic prose. Come to think of it, prose this clunky and bureaucratic must actually mean something. If corporate sustainability reports are off-putting because of their gloss and self-congratulatory hyperbole, the Policy on Climate should be credited for having no pictures adorning it and including statements so inscrutable they can only have been written by lawyers who are serious….”

“Peak Soil” Threatens Future Global Food Security. Reuters has the article; here’s a clip: “The challenge of ensuring future food security as populations grow and diets change has its roots in soil, but the increasing degradation of the earth’s thin skin is threatening to push up food prices and increase deforestation. While the worries about peaking oil production have been eased by fresh sources released by hydraulic fracturing, concern about the depletion of the vital resource of soil is moving center stage...”

Photo credit: madison.com.

Climate Change is a Scientific Reality. Here is an Op-Ed penned by one of 100 scientists in Montana who have looked carefully at the data and trends and reached the same conclusion: climate change – climate volatility – is not a hoax – it’s already happening. Here’s an excerpt from Hungry Horse News: “…Some of Montana’s political leaders continue to ignore the most basic scientific findings about climate change. We hear them say, “I’m not a scientist so I cannot be sure.” We are scientists, and let us be clear: The scientific evidence that Earth’s climate is warming is overwhelming. We need to move from debate to solutions. We urge our policy makers to formulate solutions commensurate with the gravity of the issue at hand. Actions are needed at every level of government. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released Clean Power Plan is one of those important actions. It will limit carbon pollution from the largest emission sources — power plants — for the first time ever. It is a necessary step if we hope to avoid catastrophic climate change…”

German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts. Most of us won’t be taking water for granted in the years to come, according to this story at Bloomberg; here’s an excerpt: “German water supplies will become increasingly threatened this century as climate change raises the risk of droughts and water shortages in the country. While Germany is considered water-rich, more water evaporates than falls as rain in the eastern part of the country, according to a report by a German parliamentary committee. Average temperatures may rise 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, resulting in more precipitation in the winter and less in the summer, the authors wrote…”



Here’s some of the stuff that caught my eye in the last 24 hours…

83 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
83 F. average high on July 30.
72 F. high on July 30, 2013.

July 30, 1961: Downpour in Albert Lea with 6.7 inches in 24 hours.


So it’s come to this: a significant percentage of Americans are skeptical of climate change, in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary. Yet many of those same skeptics are probably open to the idea of carnivorous sharks getting caught up in tornadoes and threatening our largest cities.

Yes, I watched Sharknado 2 and it’s all great fun. “Um, I think think we’re going to need a bigger Doppler.” I’m more concerned about a tornado hitting the local sewage treatment plant, but not even Hollywood would touch that one.

I see a welcome absence of tornadoes (and sharks) into the weekend as the heat slowly builds; mid-80s Saturday and Sunday, a few degrees above average. Get the sweating and swimming out of your system because a spell of cooler, wetter weather is shaping up next week as a very slow moving storm pushes across the Upper Midwest.

Weather patterns always slow down in the summer as jet stream winds lift north, but next week’s storm may stall by midweek, dropping heavy rain Monday into Wednesday with highs cooling into the 70s.

Our tentative summer continues to raise a few eyebrows, but my theory: it can always be worse.
Excuse me while I check the Doppler for Grizzly Bears.

* Photo credit above: Stay At Home Brad. Thanks Brad, you brightened an otherwise blah day.

Outlook: Canadian Smoke. The late afternoon visible image, courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather, shows the smoke plume from fires raging in Canada’s Northwest Territories sweeping southeastward, effectively tracing out the trajectory of jet stream steering winds aloft. You won’t actually smell smoke (the plume is too high overhead) but you may notice a milky film dulling an otherwise blue sky, and extra-red sunrises and sunsets in the coming days, especially Upper Midwest and Great Lakes to New England.

Summer The Way It Was Probably Meant To Be. Long-range guidance shows a slight temperature correction by the middle of next week – not quite as extreme or chilly as previous runs (low to mid 70s for highs by next Wednesday?) But first comes a spell of 80s; mid-80s likely over the weekend. An isolated T-shower may flare up Friday, especially around the dinner hour, with a better chance of a few hours of rain and lightning Sunday night as slightly cooler air approaches. ECMWF guidance shows 80s returning by the end of next week. Source: Weatherspark.

Runny Racing Stripes of Heavy Rain. NOAA’s 4 KM WRF model shows more instability T-storms firing up from Wisconsin into New England along the leading edge of cooler air; the heaviest rains soaking Oklahoma, Arkansa and northeastern Texas where some 2-5″ amounts may spark more flash flooding. The tropics remain quiet for now. Source: HAMweather.

Expert. July Storms Can Indicate Strong Hurricane Season. A high amplitude pattern over North America (hot, dry ridge in the west – unusually chilly/stormy trough in the east) may provide a more favorable runway for any tropical systems to push up the East Coast later this summer and autumn, according to this story at WPRI-TV in Providence; here’s an excerpt: “…Dave Vallee of the National Weather Service in Taunton said storms in July can often be an indicator of what’s to come. “I think Arthur was a calling card,” he said. “It’s a little more common to see that as we go into an El Niño event.” El Niño is a warming of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America. The phenomenon can occur every few years. “What it does is change the behavior of the jet stream high in the atmosphere, over the deep tropics of the Atlantic,” Vallee explained...”

Continental Bank Shares 9 Tips for Hurricane Preparedness. Here’s an excerpt of a good hurricane punch list available at InsuranceNewsNet.com:

•  Protect financial documents – In the event of a disaster, you will need identification insurance, and financial documents to begin the recovery process. Safeguard important documents in one of Continental National Bank’s safety deposit boxes, computer storage devices, and/or water and fire proof storage containers. You should save: forms of personal identification; financial account information; insurance policies on all personal property, including appraisals and lists and photos of valuable items; ownership or leasing documentation for homes and vehicles; and all health and medical insurance documentation.

   •  Develop a family communications plan – Know how you will contact one another and where you will meet should you happen to get separated...”

New Wildfire Science Shows That Small Steps Can Save Homes, Communities. I thought this story at National Geographic Daily News was interesting – here’s an excerpt: “…As the summer wildfire season enters full swing in the United States, with more than 700,000 acres now burning in the Pacific Northwest and California, the difference between a surviving house and a charred husk could come down to details as small as screens over attic vents, trimmed trees, or pine needles in the gutters. In fact, in the past ten years scientists have gained a whole new understanding of factors that can help a home survive a wildfire. And it turns out that saving a house has less to do with stopping a forest fire cold or creating a nonflammable moonscape for a hundred feet in every direction. It’s more about lots of minor modifications and regular maintenance...” (File photo: USDA).

Wildfire Risk Across the Southern USA. Here is a powerful interactive tool, The Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, showing risk levels from Texas into the Carolinas and Virginias, courtesy of The Southern Group of State Foresters.

NOAAView Data Exploration Tool. NOAA has a powerful visualization tool with multiple layers – an effective way to keep a global perspective on weather.

2014 Lightning Fatalities. The Miami office of The National Weather Service reports 15 lightning-related deaths so far this year, 6 in Florida, 1 in Wisconsin and 1 in Michigan.

Elliot Founder Reveals His Dread of Electromagnetic Pulse. Hedge Fund manager Paul Singer puts the risk of long-term power grid failures from an X-Class solar flare above nuclear conflict and pandemic, and I suspect his paranoia is well-placed. It’s the things you usually don’t fret about that come back to bite you when you least expect it. The Financial Times (paywall) has the story. (Image credit: NASA).

Probability of a Massive Solar Storm in the Next Decade? About 12% Mysterious Universe has more on the near-miss in 2012; had the X-class solar flare occurred about 1 week earlier, scoring a direct strike on Earth, there’s a statistically significant chance you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Here’s a clip: “…Unfortunately, the Sun spews out massive coronal mass ejections all the time; scientists estimate our odds of being clobbered with one are about 12% over the next ten years. So what happens when it does hit? Maybe nothing; maybe the nightmarish scenario described above; maybe anything in between. It all depends on the strength of the CME, the strength of the resulting geomagnetic storm, and a variety of factors we can’t quite assess yet. But if the data from the 2012 CME is any indication, Earth’s power grid isn’t ready for the consequences…”

What Would Happen If Ebola Came To The United States? Yes, here’s another happy thought. Vox takes a look at why we are better prepared than many nations, but the resulting panic might make the bird flu look tame, by comparison. Here’s an excerpt: “…With air travel as common as it is, borders don’t mean all that much when it comes to disease. It’s entirely possible — though by no means certain — that at some point, someone infected with Ebola could get on a plane and land in the United States. And then what? As it turns out, experts say, we’d probably be able to contain an Ebola outbreak here pretty quickly. But it’s worth exploring why that is. The outbreak in West Africa is so severe for a number of key reasons, including a lack of resources, inadequate infection control measures, and mistrust of health workers. The United States, by contrast, has far better public-health infrastructure. And that makes all the difference…”

Photo credit: AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah.

The Doc About “Bomb Trains” Filled With Crude Oil Will Make Your Head Explode. If you’ve been paying attention (and I trust you have) you just can’t miss the parade of black train cars filled with North Dakota crude chugging across Minnesota, passing right thru the Twin Cities metro area. What can possibly go wrong? Here’s an excerpt from Grist: “VICE News just released Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail, a 23-minute-long documentary investigating the explosive oil trains that regularly run from the Bakken shale to the Pacific Northwest. That might seem a bit long for web video, but you should watch it anyway — mostly because Thomas the Terror Engine is headed to your town, but also because Jerry Bruckheimer has nothing on the terrifying explosions at the 5:09 and 6:00 marks…”

Do You Live In a “Bomb Train” Blast Zone? Yes, I live near one too, and just the thought of this makes me sleep better at night. Here’s an excerpt from VICE News: “The map (above) provides a striking visualization of where crude oil is traveling by rail throughout the United States and Canada. ForestEthics, the environmental group that created it, used industry data and reports from citizens who live near oil train routes to provide one of the first comprehensive visualizations of how many people are at risk from oil trains, and where. The group estimates that some 25 million Americans live within the one-mile evacuation zone that the US Department of Transportation recommends in the event of an oil fire. Do you live in the blast zone of a bomb train?…”

Warding Off Lions With Mobiles Shows African Technology Boom. There’s an app for…that? Bloomberg has the fascinating story of how affordable smartphones coupled with phone-controlled lighting apps are reducing the risk of lion attacks in Africa – here’s a clip: “…Mobile technology is revolutionizing life for many of the more than 1 billion people in Africa for whom services like banking, the Internet and affordable energy were previously considered luxuries, rather than everyday staples. And with wireless operators pioneering their own inexpensive smartphones, the continent with the world’s youngest population will soon have access to 4G networks and apps that will feed a consumer boom that’s driving African economic growth

Photo credit above: M-Kopa Sola. “An M-Kopa Solar information center.”

“Fitle” Gives Users a 3-D Avatar of Themselves For Virtually Trying On Clothes. I do hope my 3-D avatar is better looking (thinner with more hair, please). Shopping for clothing from your favorite couch may be about to get easier – and more accurate. Here’s an excerpt from gizmag.com: “…While these tools can be useful, Fitle says that it can create a 3D avatar of an individual that not only looks like them, but that is morphologically exact. Indeed, it claims to provide a 99 percent accurate representation of the user. Fitle avatars are created using the height measurement of a user and four photos of them. An algorithm is used to extract more than 50 parameters based on how a user looks, while another is used to create a 3D reconstruction of the user. Fitle says the end results are photo-realistic…”

Driven Crazy: One Journalist’s Quest To Get a License in Japan. Yes, it makes our DMV look like a piece of cake, by comparison. Here’s an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: “…The process itself seems to have a purpose: socializing the candidates so they’ll behave properly once they accomplish their goal. Anybody merely casual about the matter gets weeded out. And, as hard as it is to get the license, keeping it isn’t easy either. Best to keep bending over backwards to follow every last rule. Overall, I had to make seven trips to locations around the city over two months, spending about $600. (Canadians and Europeans have it easier, with more streamlined reciprocity driving agreements with Japan)…”

Photo credit above: “Winning the right to join these drivers on Japanese roads is no smooth ride.” Bloomberg News.

It Has Happened. Tofu McNuggets Exist. Now you know what’s in those nuggets, at least in Japan. Huffington Post has the story – here’s an excerpt: “McDonald’s just might have become a tofu lover’s fast food delight. Attributed to the fallout from a Chinese food supplier (though some are claiming the move was planned well in advance) sending rotten meat to restaurant chains, McDonald’s in Japan decided to play it safe and chicken-free by turning to tofu…” (Image: McDonald’s).

TODAY: Warm sun, still pleasant. Dew point: 57. Winds: NW 8. High: 82
THURSDAY NIGHT: Isolated evening T-shower southern MN, otherwise partly cloudy. Low: 63
FRIDAY: Sticky sun, stray late-day T-shower. High: 82
SATURDAY: An SPF 50 day. Warm sun. Dew point: 61. Winds: SW 5. Wake-up: 64. High: 84
SUNDAY: Less sun, few PM T-storms. Wake-up: 66. High: 85
MONDAY: Lingering showers and T-storms. Wake-up: 65. High: near 80
TUESDAY: Unsettled. Nagging thunder risk. Wake-up: 63. High: 79
WEDNESDAY: Heavy rain, storms southern MN? Wake-up: 61. High: 73

Climate Stories….

White House: $150 Billion a Year Will Be Cost of Climate Inaction. From flooding in the east to non-stop wildfires in the west, the federal government is already picking up much of the tab for weather-on-steroids. Here’s an excerpt from Inside Climate News: “…Allowing warming to pass safe levels and reach 3 degrees Celsius could cause damage amounting to 0.9 percent of global economic output each year, according to the new report from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, a three-member group that counsels the president on economic policy. That level of warming would cost the United States about $150 billion a year in today’s dollars. It will come in the form of damage to public health and biodiversity, as well as physical impacts from rising seas and more severe storms, droughts and wildfires...”

White House Climate Change Report: Act Now or Pay Later. The Christian Science Monitor has the story here.

Huge Waves Measured For First Time In Arctic Ocean. Here’s an excerpt from a press release at The University of Washington: “As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water that is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle of this century. Storms thus have the potential to create Arctic swell – huge waves that could add a new and unpredictable element to the region. A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. The results were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters…”

Thinning Arctic Ice. The Navy has a web site that allows you to track the thickness of ice (in meters), in this case since July 10. As you can see much of the ice is gone between Alaska and Siberia, thicker ice being pushed by prevailing arctic winds toward Baffin Island and Greenland. Less ice = larger waves.

Climate Change Research Goes To The Extremes. Here’s an excerpt of a story from Northeastern University that caught my eye: “…What they found may surprise some: While global temperature is indeed increasing, so too is the variability in temperature extremes. For instance, while each year’s average hottest and coldest temperature will likely rise, those averages will also tend to fall within a wider range of potential high and low temperature extremes than are currently being observed. This means that even as overall temperatures rise, we may still continue to experience extreme cold snaps…”

Is This How To Sell Americans on Fighting Global Warming? Put dollars back into the pockets of anyone with a social security number? Sounds like a good start. Here’s an excerpt of an ambitious proposal highlighted at Bloomberg Businessweek: “…The bill would require companies to have permits to produce or import carbon-containing fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. The permits, instead of being allocated politically, would be auctioned off by the government, so they would get into the hands of the emitters who need them the most. A similar auction system drastically reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide—which causes acid rain—quicker and cheaper than experts expected. Here’s Van Hollen’s political twist: The money raised by the permits would make a U-turn and go straight back to the American people—specifically, every person with a Social Security number. The same amount of money to every person, even those who don’t earn enough to pay income taxes...”

What they found may sur­prise some: While global tem­per­a­ture is indeed increasing, so too is the vari­ability in tem­per­a­ture extremes. For instance, while each year’s average hottest and coldest tem­per­a­tures will likely rise, those aver­ages will also tend to fall within a wider range of poten­tial high and low tem­perate extremes than are cur­rently being observed.
This means that even as overall tem­per­a­tures rise, we may still con­tinue to expe­ri­ence extreme cold snaps, said Kodra, who earned the Col­lege of Engineering’s out­standing grad­uate research award in 2014 and is now leading data ana­lytics efforts at Energy Points, an inno­v­a­tive Boston area startup.
- See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2014/07/climate-change-research-goes-to-the-extremes/#sthash.AyPcOnF2.dpuf

Personal Stories about Global Warming Change Minds. Climate Central’s Chief Scientist Heidi Cullen has an important Op-Ed at The New York Times; here’s an excerpt that resonated with me: “…The best films and novels have always tackled the most compelling issues of the time. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “The Jungle” moved people to demand action because of their unique ability to weave together the emotional, rational and moral threads around fraught topics like slavery, poverty and dangerous working conditions. When done right, true stories are explosive. They provide us with new ways of seeing the world and our place in it. The facts themselves may be unable to make global warming feel psychologically proximate, but we still need them to make informed decisions…” (File image: Water Missions International).

Mayor of London Unveils Plan For UK’s First Floating Village. Why do I think we’ll be seeing more floating communities in the years to come? Adaptation and resilience – if water levels rise so does the entire community. Here’s a clip from Gizmag: “Another day, another ambitious architecture project championed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The mayor’s office recently revealed that consortium Carillion Igloo Genesis has won a competition to design and build the UK’s first floating village at the Royal Victoria Dock, East London…”

Opinion: Why Are Conservatives Afraid of Neil deGrasse Tyson? Good question, maybe because the truth about scientific objectivity and the reality of a more volatile climate will start to resonate, especially with younger voters? Yes, by all means let’s be conservative about everything (except the environment that sustains us – there we can afford to take chances). Let’s just roll the dice. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Los Angeles Times: “…No, the danger Tyson brings to the political structure, as he gains an increasingly large foothold in the popular culture, is the threat of an informed populace. “When you’re scientifically literate, the world looks different to you,” Tyson wrote in 2011. “It’s a particular way of questioning what you see and hear. When empowered by this state of mind, objective realities matter. These are the truths of the world that exist outside of whatever your belief system tells you…”

File photo: AP, Frank Micelotta.

Florida Official Describes Efforts, Challenges in Combating Climate Change. Here’s a clip from a story at The Miami Herald: “…Inaction on climate change is not an option for Florida,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island and the subcommittee’s chairman. “The longer the wait for action, the higher the cost. Climate change is stacking the deck against our oceans, our fisheries and our coastal economies,” he said. Jacobs detailed the impact of rising temperatures and seas on South Florida and talked about steps governments in the area have taken to combat it. “Florida, especially South Florida, is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” she said. “Our extensive coastline, low land elevations, flat topography and unique geology combine to put South Florida communities on the front line for combating climate impacts…”


Heating Up Into Sunday – Risks of Urban “Tornado Amnesia”

81 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
83 F. average high on July 29.
79 F. high on July 29, 2013.

July 29, 1971: Cool spell across Minnesota with frost in north and freezing temperatures reported as far south as Pipestone.

Tornado Amnesia

Many residents of Revere, Massachusetts, about 5 miles northeast of Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, were shocked that an EF-2 tornado could strike at 9:30 AM on a Monday morning. It was on the ground for 2 miles, ripping up 100 homes and businesses – a blunt reminder that tornadoes can hit cities and close-in suburbs.

A little concrete & asphalt doesn’t protect you from nature’s most fickle wind. The urban heat island and drier air over metropolitan areas may inhibit small tornadoes, but large twisters pull in moisture & energy from a 5-10 mile radius. A few high-rise buildings won’t stop them from forming. A tornado is more of a process than an object. If you see large hail or rotation, even in the morning in a major city, start looking for an underground shelter.

July has been the deadliest month for U.S. tornadoes since 1978.

The next unusually strong southward bulge in the jet stream may treat us to 60s and 70s by the end of next week. Another premature puff of autumn.

Enjoy 80s into Sunday; the best chance of T-storms late Friday, again Monday. No sizzling heat or controversial dew points.

It’s been an amazing week. And no, I take nothing for granted these days.

Photo credit above: “Master Auto manager Marie Annaloro, left, and Victoria Ohlson,right, sweep glass and debris in the service garage where the roof blew off in Revere, Mass. Monday, July 28, 2014, after a tornado touched down. Revere Deputy Fire Chief Mike Viviano says the fire department in that coastal city has received dozens of calls reporting partial building and roof collapses, and downed trees and power lines. Viviano says there are no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.” (AP Photo/Elise Amendola).

100 Homes Damaged As Tornado Jolts Revere. The photo above looks like something you might see in Kansas or Oklahoma. But it was from Revere, a close-in suburb of Boston, within 5-6 miles of Fanuil Hall, hit by an EF-2 tornado Monday morning. The Boston Globe has a remarkable look at the damage, including photos and videos; here’s a link: “A tornado carrying winds as high as 120 miles per hour roared through Revere Monday, uprooting hundreds of trees, ripping roofs off houses, and spurring an intensive recovery effort that could last weeks…”

Photo credit above: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff. “A look inside N.C.’s Auto Service in Revere after the storm on Monday.”

EF-2 Tornado In Revere, Massachusetts: Damage & Debris But No Serious Injuries. Which is miraculous, considering the population density of the suburb impacted by Monday’s tornado. Here’s an excerpt from Public Safety Reporter: “The National Weather Service in Taunton, MA has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado touched down on the morning of July 28, 2014 in Chelsea and Revere in Suffolk County, MA. The tornado is unusual because of the geographic location that was hit, and the morning time frame that the tornado struck – about 9:32 AM to 9:36 AM EDT. The tornado had a path length of 2 miles and a path width of 3/8 of a mile. Maximum wind gusts were estimated at a range of 100 MPH to 120 MPH…”

Image credit: Courtesy of WCVB-TV in Boston. “Security cameras at a Revere school captured the moment a tornado hit the city Monday morning when trees were knocked down by winds from an EF-2 tornado.”

* More details on the Revere EF-2 tornado from The Boston Herald.

USA Having Deadliest July For Tornadoes Since 70s. USA TODAY has some perspective on the sudden rash of tornadic storms in recent weeks; here’s an excerpt: “…The ferocious tornado that roared through a campground in Virginia on Thursday morning, killing two people, raised the national death toll for July tornadoes up to six. That’s the most tornado deaths in July since 1978, when tornadoes killed 11 people that month, according to meteorologist Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. The worst July for tornadoes was 1893, Brooks said, when 73 people were killed…”

Photo credit above: “Michelle Ellison, left, is among those looking through debris from her home Monday, July 28, 2014, near LaFollette, Tenn. The National Weather Service confirmed a F-3 tornado packing winds of 140 mph slammed into the community Sunday night, leveling 10 homes and and a business.” (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Cary).

Tracking Tornadoes For Your County Since 1950. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) has an impressive online tool that allows you to zoom into your county, or any county in the Midwest, to see all the tornadoes from 1950-2013, filtered by strength (EF-0 to EF-5).

Better Than A Siren: How New Technology Is Keeping People Safe From Tornadoes. Research suggests that if multiple media sources are (simultaneously) sending you the same tornado warning you may be more likely to act on that information – if not only TV and radio is displaying the warning, but you’re getting texts, e-mails and alerts. Here’s an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: “…Capabilities exist today so that when a tornado is coming, people can simultaneously receive phone calls at home and work; texts and push notifications from their mobile phones/tablets; pop-up alerts on their laptops/desktops; messages via LED billboards and signs alongside roads and highways; and automated announcements via loudspeaker and intercoms at schools, athletic events, and malls.  Everything, all at the exact same time…”

Image credit: Aeris/HAMweather.

The National Weather Weather Service in Tuanton, Massachusetts has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado touched on the morning of July 28, 2014 in Chelsea and Revere in Suffolk County Massachusetts. The tornado is unusual because of the geographic location that was hit, and the morning time frame that the tornado struck — about 9:32 a.m. to 9:36 a.m. EDT.
The tornado had a path length of two miles and a path width of 3/8 of a mile. Maximum wind gusts were estimated at a range of 100 MPH to 120 MPH.
- See more at: http://www.publicsafetyreporter.com/2014/07/29/ef-2-tornado-in-revere-massachusetts-damage-and-debris-but-no-serious-injuries/#sthash.gIcdGYFC.dpuf

Annoying Minor Floods Are Increasing on U.S. Coasts. AP reports on the implication of astronomical forcing (tides) and storm surges from Nor’easters and tropical systems – coupled with slowly rising sea levels. Here’s an excerpt of an AP story: “Along much of America’s coasts, the type of flooding that is more annoying than dangerous has jumped more than fivefold in the last 50 years, the federal government reported Monday. Scientists blame rising seas, saying this is one of the ways global warming is changing everyday lives. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied coastal trends in what it calls nuisance flooding, where no one is hurt but people have to deal with flooded roads and buildings…”

File photo above: “This Oct. 30, 2012 file photo shows Sveinn Storm, owner of Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory measuring flood waters outside his store in Annapolis, Md. in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy that passed through the East Coast. A new federal report says that along much of America’s coasts, the type of flooding that is more annoying than dangerous has jumped more than fivefold in the last 50 years. And scientists blame rising seas, saying this is one of the ways global warming is changing everyday lives. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied nuisance flooding, where no one is hurt but people have to deal with flooded roads and buildings.” (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File).

* NOAA has more information on the increase in nuisance flooding along the coast here.

All Wet: USA’s Top 10 Cities for “Nuisance” Flooding. USA TODAY has more details on the recent report; here’s a clip: “…Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880, but it doesn’t rise evenly. In the past 100 years, it has climbed about a foot or more in some U.S. cities. Depending on fossil-fuel emissions, scientists project global sea level will rise about one foot to slightly more than 3 feet (or 39 inches) by 2100, according to last year’s Fifth Assessment Report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the greatest percentage increases in “nuisance” flooding since the 1960s.

City / Percentage increase
Annapolis, Md. 925%
Baltimore 922%
Atlantic City, 682%

Sea Level Rise And Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes Around The United States. The 66 page NOAA Technical Report (PDF) is here. (City Dock in Annapolis, MD courtesy of Amy McGovern).

Looking Back at Hurricane Andrew, Over 20 Years Later. KBTX.com takes a look back at a small but fierce Category 5 storm that struck just south of Miami in August, 1992; here’s a clip: “Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida in August of 1992. The community of Homestead, south of Miami, was one of the locations hardest hit by the Category 5 storm. According to the Miami – South Florida National Weather Service office, Hurricane Andrew caused an estimated $26 billion in damages — making it the most expensive natural disaster in United States history, at that time. Andrew came on land on August 24th, with a sustained wind of 175mph. The storm caused 65 deaths, destroyed over 23,000 homes, and is estimated to have damaged an additional 108,000 more between South Florida and South Central Louisiana, where it made a second landfall after moving back into the Gulf of Mexico…”

El Nino Indicators Ease. Here’s an excerpt of an update from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology: “Despite the tropical Pacific Ocean being primed for an El Niño during much of the first half of 2014, the atmosphere above has largely failed to respond, and hence the ocean and atmosphere have not reinforced each other. As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values. While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific, and the (slight) majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for spring. Hence the establishment of El Niño before year’s end cannot be ruled out. If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event…”

Weather Satellites Criticized Again, This Time For Security Risks. Could our weather satellites be hacked? The idea may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Here’s an excerpt from eenews.net: “…The data from weather satellites could be hacked because of “significant security deficiencies” in the information systems at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a new internal report. The inspector general of the Commerce Department — which houses NOAA — released the report after Greenwire requested it through the Freedom of Information Act. It raises multiple concerns about the security of the systems that collect and disseminate weather data, raising the risk of cyberattacks…” (Image: NASA).

What Makes A Major Disaster? TheHill has an interesting Op-Ed; here’s a clip: “What constitutes a major disaster?  The Senate Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Affairs, and the District of Columbia takes up this question this week, and the answer significantly affects our nation’s response to disasters.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) currently responds to too many disasters, contributing to rising disaster loses.  Congress should significantly raise the threshold for federal disaster declarations to ensure the sufficiency of federal assistance when truly needed...”

Fukushima Study: Think About Unthinkable Disasters. From TMI to Fukushima to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 it’s usually a cascade of unintented consequences, a domino effect of events that nobody could anticipate or model in advance, that magnify the impacts of a disaster in unimaginable and unpredictable ways. Here’s an excerpt of a story from AP and NBC40.net in South Jersey: ” A U.S. science advisory report says Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident offers a key lesson to the nation’s nuclear industry: Focus more on the highly unlikely but worst case scenarios. That means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual, according to Thursday’s National Academy of Sciences report. Those kinds of things triggered the world’s three major nuclear accidents. “We need to do a soul searching when it comes to the assumptions” of how to deal with worst case events, said University of Southern California engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati, the panel’s technical adviser. Engineers should “think about something that could happen once every, perhaps 1,000 years” but that’s not really part of their training or nature, he said…”

File photo above: “In this March 12, 2011 photo provided by GeoEye, Fukushima, Japan is shown. Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns and more than 180,000 people evacuated the quake- and tsunami-savaged northeastern coast where fears spread over possible radioactive contamination.”

Ebola’s Spread. It’s a wonder any of us want to check news headlines after hearing about this one; The Economist has more on the disease and it’s rapid spread, already the worst on record. Here’s a clip: “..Ebola has no vaccine or cure, and kills up to 90% of those infected. It is transmitted to people by wild animals or by other infected patients. Fruit bats, often eaten by people living in West Africa, are thought to be a host for the virus, which starts with flu-like symptoms but can impair kidney and liver function, and in severe cases damages blood cells, leading to external and internal bleeding…”

Get Ready for Generation Z. Younger Americans tend to be more optimistic, altruistic and entreprenurial; here’s an excerpt from Maclean’s: “…The influential author and consultant Don Tapscott is a Gen Z optimist. His 2008 book, Grown Up Digital, features a study of 11,000 kids who were asked whether they’d rather be smarter or better looking: 69 per cent chose “smarter.” So is social researcher Mark McCrindle, of Sydney-based McCrindle Research, who has been looking at Gen Z for seven years. “They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation in history,” he says. “They don’t just represent the future, they are creating it…”

Girl’s Galaxy S4 Smartphone Burns Under Her Pillow As She Sleeps. But was there a fire extinguisher app installed? Good grief. Yahoo Tech has the story; here’s a clip: “…Last week, a 13-year-old North Texas girl plugged her Samsung Galaxy S4 in for its nightly juice-up before hitting the sack, only to be awoken by the smell of something burning hours later. When she got up and searched around for the source of the stench, she realized that she had wedged her charging phone under her pillow. And not only was the backside of the pillow scorched, but the phone was fried into an unrecognizable slab of plastic and melted components…” (Image above courtesy of Fox 4 in Tampa).

Part Car, Part Motorcycle, Polaris Slingshot Is The Inverted Trike Every Kid Dreams Of. I couldn’t agree more. Here’s an excerpt of a story at Gizmag: “…The noted Minnesota-based maker of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles officially unveiled the new three-wheeled roadster this week in the United States and Canada. Because of its open cockpit, this two-seater reversed trike is officially classified as a motorcycle rather than a car, meaning you’ll need a helmet and a motorcycle endorsement on your license to drive one. The unique combination of car and motorbike offers a driving experience that’s also different from both, thanks to its broad stance, sport-tuned suspension and a chassis that rides just five inches above the road…”

TODAY: Lukewarm sun, pleasant. Dew point: 55. Winds: NW 10. High: 80
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy skies. Low: 61
THURSDAY: Plenty of sun. Hard to concentrate. High: 81
FRIDAY: AM sun, late PM T-storm? Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 63. High: 82
SATURDAY: Warm sun, very nice. Dew point: 58. Wake-up: 62. High: 84
SUNDAY: Sun fades, late-day T-storm risk. Wake-up: 67. High: 84
MONDAY: Front stalls, T-storms linger. Wake-up: 65. High: 78
TUESDAY: Still unsettled, scattered T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 77

Climate Stories…

General Mills Takes New Steps To Combat Climate Change. Here’s a clip from a story at The Los Angeles Times: “General Mills said Monday it would take new steps to combat climate change, including expanding its emission reduction targets to include its vast network of suppliers and contractors. About two-thirds of General Mills’ greenhouse gas emissions and 99% of its water use comes from its indirect operations such as the farms it purchases raw materials from. The Minneapolis-based company known for brands such as Cheerios, Pillsbury and Haagen-Dazs pledged to include their supply chain in its emission reporting and greenhouse gas reduction targets...”

Photo credit above: “General Mills, one of the world’s largest cereal brands, also promised not to contribute to deforestation in supply chains such as beef, soy and sugarcane where deforestation has been rampant. That expands on the company’s existing pledge not to purchase palm oil from deforested land.” (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press).

Global Warming May Increase With Rising Water Vapor In The Atmosphere. Scientists are observing an increase in water vapor 3-7 miles above the ground, but what’s triggering this moistening trend aloft? Here’s an excerpt from a story at Science World Report: “…The researchers measured water vapor in the upper troposphere collected by NOAA satellites. Then, they compared this data to climate model predictions of water circulation between the ocean and the troposphere in order to see whether the changes in water vapor could be explained by natural or human-induced causes. So what did they find? It turns out that the rising water vapor can’t be explained by natural forces. Instead, it’s probably due to increased greenhouse gases…”

Image credit above: “What might cause global warming to increase in the next few decades? It could be water vapor. Color enhanced satellite image of upper tropospheric water vapor.” (Photo : NASA)

The Centerpiece of Obama’s Energy Policy Will Actually Make Climate Change Worse. Will natural gas, which has roughly half the greenhouse emissions as coal, save us from ourselves? Naomi Oreskes has the Op-Ed at The Nation; here’s the introduction: “Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that led to it. Yet this is precisely what we are now trying to do with climate change policy. The Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, many environmental groups and the oil and gas industry all tell us that the way to solve the problem created by fossil fuels is with more fossils fuels. We can do this, they claim, by using more natural gas, which is touted as a “clean” fuel—even a “greenfuel….”

Photo credit above: “A fracking operation in Mead, Colorado.” (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley).

NBC Shows How To Report on the Economic Costs of Climate Change. Media Matters has the recap; here’s an excerpt: “…The July 29 edition of NBC’s The Today Show reported on the extreme costs of fighting the dozens of wildfires currently burning in Yosemite National Park and across California, and how they are connected to climate change. The fires, taking place during Yosemite’s driest year on record, have destroyed 20 homes and forced over 1,200 people to be evacuated. NBC correspondent Miguel Almaguer stated that the dozens of California wildfires are “costing big money,” expanding that the state of California will spend $1 billion to fight wildfires this year. Almaguer also highlighted how global warming has had a direct impact on the fire, citing firefighters who are working on “the front lines of climate change”

World’s Religions United For New York Climate Summit. The climate summit will be hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 21. Here’s an excerpt from RTCC: “…Faith leaders of all religion are important voices for people all around the world. No matter what faith, whether Muslims, Christians, Hindus, they have a care for the creation. Gathering such leaders is an important space for creating a voice for this faith movement,” said Mattias Soderberg from ACT Alliance, one of the groups sponsoring the event…”


Temporary Break from the Muggies – Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health

77 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
83 F. average high on July 28.
75 F. high on July 28, 2013.

July 28 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities NWS:

1917: Hottest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota with 114.5 degrees at Beardsley.

1849: Severe storms between 3 and 5 AM at the newly constructed post of Ft. Ripley. W.J. Frazier, Head Surgeon noted: “Rain and hail with much thunder and lightning and very high winds breaking many trees.”

Summer Time-out

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it” wrote Russell Baker. We’ve had a few severe storm outbreaks and brief flashes of summer heat, but it hasn’t been all that bad.
NOAA SPC reports only 20 Minnesota tornadoes in 2014; 134 separate reports of severe wind damage.

Yes, June was the wettest month in recorded Minnesota history, statewide, but we’ve dried out in July. MSP rainfall in July is over an inch below average, for a change. Based on cooling degree days since June 1 we’ve spent about 12 percent less than average cooling our homes and offices.

June monsoons have given way to a fairly pleasant spell of weather, which lingers much of this week. One caveat: a whirlpool of cold air aloft stuck over the Great Lakes may set off a few late-day instability T-showers, especially north/east of the Twin Cities.

The atmosphere normally cools by 3-5F for every 1,000 feet of altitude. If it gets colder/faster, a “steeper lapse rate”, the risk of late day storms rises. Dew points creep up as the week goes on; 80s next weekend with a small chance of late-day pop-up storms.

No stalled fronts, EF-4 tornadoes, biblical floods or beachball-size hail.

I’m OK with that.

A Relatively Quiet Week – Slow Warming Trend into Next Week. Long-range guidance shows comfortable dew points in the 50s much of toda and Wednesday, rising into the low 60s again by Saturday; possibly mid-60s by Monday. Highs rise above 80F by Thursday with some mid 80s from Sunday into the middle of next week. Although a few instability T-showers are possible (especially from the MN Arrowhead into Wisconsin) most towns will stay mostly-dry into the weekend. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

60-Hour Rainfall Potential. NOAA’s 4 km WRF model shows heavy showers and T-storms today across northern New England, another plume of heavy rain and potential flash flooding from the central Rockies into the southern Plains by Wednesday, where some 2-4″ rainfall amounts are possible, helping to take the edge off the drought. Dry weather persists over California and most of the western USA. Source: HAMweather.

2014 Severe Weather, To Date. Here is data from NOAA SPC showing 20 confirmed tornadoes over western and south central Minnesota so far this year – no touchdowns in the immediate Twin Cities metro. Statewide there have been 134 severe wind reports (gusts over 58 mph) and 101 reports of 1″+ diameter hail.

What’s The Hold Up, El Nino? The ocean-atmosphere system in the Pacific isn’t in synch, and that is delaying the warming expected earlier this year. Here’s an excerpt of a good explanation at NOAA’s climate.gov: “In the July 10update and ENSO discussion, we said the atmospheric part of ENSO doesn’t seem to be responding to the ocean.  El Niño requires that both be in sync and coupled with each other.  Why is the atmosphere acting aloof to the rather warm ocean?  This development may be especially surprising to folks given the rumors and speculation of a very strong El Niño that followed March’s oceanic Kelvin wave. In June, the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia made an interesting observation that might shed light on the lack of coupling between the ocean and atmosphere.  They pointed out that an anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) gradient was not in place across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  Like the gradient of a hill on a highway, an SST gradient describes a change in temperature across the ocean surface from one location to another...”

Graphic credit above: “The typical evolution of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies from April through December associated with El Niño.  These maps were created using lagged regression onto the wintertime Niño-3.4 index using monthly data from ERSSTv3b from 1980-2012.  The SST gradient is shown by the difference in near-to-below-average SST (white or blue) across the far western tropical Pacific and Indonesia and the above-average SST (red) across the central and eastern Pacific.” Map by Michelle L’Heureux, Climate Prediction Center.

Parched West Is Using Up Underground Water. NASA JPL has the story – here’s the introduction: “A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years…”

Photo credit above: “Surface-water depletion in the Colorado River Basin has left this “bathtub ring” of mineral deposits on Lake Mead, but groundwater loss is invisible.” Image credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

A Satellite Image Tour of Planet Earth on Fire. Motherboard has a visual recap of fire season launching into full swing over the Northern Hemisphere; here’s a clip: “Believe it or not, the 2014 wildfire season has not yet met its full potential given the widespread extreme droughts across the western United States. According to US Forest Service figures, the number of western fires to date is at about 70 percent of the 10 year average, while the total burned area sits at just less than half of the 10 year average. The tide is turning, however, with new fires bursting out nearly everywhere that they should be expected…” (Image: NASA).

Japan Heat Persists After Hottest Day of 2014 Leaves 11 Dead. Bloomberg has an update; here’s the intro: “The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of extreme heat today in Tokyo and other areas after local media reported 11 people died and almost 1,900 were hospitalized yesterday on the country’s hottest day this year. A quarter of the agency’s 927 observation stations recorded 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher yesterday, the most so far this year, the Mainichi newspaper reported…”

Photo credit above: “A child stands under water fall to cool off at a park in Tokyo, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Heat wave continues in the metro areas as temperature goes up high at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), meteorological bureau said.” (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara).

Bees At The Brink. If you missed this 2-part series at The Star Tribune it’s definitely worth a read; here’s an excerpt that got my attention: “…In a struggle that echoes the scientific discord over climate change, both are striving to win the public to their side in a fight over the pervasive use of pesticides and the alarming decline of bees. Because whoever captures the heart of the public could influence the fate of the honeybee long before scientists or government regulators render a verdict. “Perception becomes reality,” said David Fischer, director of pollinator safety for Bayer AG, a leading manufacturer of the insecticides under debate. “We are a science-focused company. But that’s not going to convince beekeepers and the public…”

The Energy-Efficient Way to Punish Putin – And Protect The Planet. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: “..Energy efficiency makes sense not just to curb imports, but also to cut carbon emissions. The European commission’s work has shown that gas imports could be down sharply with a modest increase in ambition on renewables and energy efficiency. The technology is there: more renewable electricity; more biogas from waste; more insulation to curb heating demand; more ground- and air-source heat pumps to replace gas boilers at home; more solar thermal for hot water...”

Photo credit above: “A Gazprom employee at work in the Sudzha plant, just 200 metres from the Ukrainian border. ‘The share of Russian gas in EU gas imports has been declining for many years.’ Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA.

You Are Not Late. Afraid you missed the Internet Revolution? This author of this post at Medium happens to believe that we’re just getting started, in fact we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible, what’s coming in the near term. There has never been a better time to take a swan dive into the deep end of the pool; here’s a clip: “..So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet. There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!…”

10 Things Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying. Time’s Money.com has an interesting list of items that aren’t nearly as in-demand as they used to be, including white bread, gum, razors and guns. Now there’s a shopping list. Here’s an excerpt: “America is just not the clean-shaven, gun-buying, soda-drinking, Chef Boyardee-eating place it used to be. For a variety of reasons—including but not limited to increased health consciousness, the harried pace of modern-day life, and plain old shifting consumer preferences,—Americans have scaled back on purchases of many items, sometimes drastically so. Here’s a top 10 list of things we’re not buying anymore, at least not anywhere near as frequently as we used to...”

In Photos: The Most Ridiculous Laws in America. Wired.com does a good job highlighting some of the best head-scratchers out there; here’s a snippet of a funny article: “…If you know anything about Wisconsin, you could believe the state once required serving cheese with every slice of apple pie—something of an urban myth inspired by a short-lived law requiring cheese and butter be served with every meal. Some of the laws are totally reasonable anyway; you really shouldn’t fish with dynamite, and Rhode Island’s statute against transparent clothing is pretty clearly for the common good…”

Photo credit above: “In Nevada it is illegal for men who have mustaches to kiss women.” Olivia Locher.

Walmart’s Ice Cream Sandwiches Don’t Melt In The Sun. Hey, right now that’s the least of my concerns, but I did think this WCPO-TV story via Huffington Post was curious; here’s an excerpt: “Last we checked, ice cream is supposed to melt if it isn’t kept chilled. But Walmart’s store-brand ice cream sandwiches don’t even melt in the sun, according to a report from WCPO Cincinnati. The discovery was made by a local mom, Christie Watson, who noticed that a Great Value ice cream sandwich her son left out on their patio table hadn’t fully melted — even though it had been sitting out for 12 hours on an 80-degree day…”

TODAY: Partly sunny, few Wisconsin T-storms late. DP: 53. Winds: NW 10. High: 78
TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, still comfortable for late July. Low: 56
WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, pleasant. Dew point: 54. High: near 80
THURSDAY: Warm sun, stray late-day T-storm. Wake-up: 59. High: 81
FRIDAY: Sun much of the day. Late thunder? Wake-up: 61. High: 82
SATURDAY: Sunny, very lake-worthy. Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 62. High: 83
SUNDAY: Hazy sun, few late PM storms. Wake-up: 64. High: 84
MONDAY: Some sun, murky and humid. DP: 64. Wake-up: 64. High: 83

Climate Stories…

California: Bring Your Own Water. Thanks to David Horsey at The Los Angeles Times.

Now Two New Large Holes Appear in Siberia. The Siberian Times has the story and photo; here’s a clip: “Millions of people around the world glimpsed the first giant hole after it was revealed by The Siberian Times here and on The Siberian Times TV here. Now news has emerged of two new similar formations in the permafrost, prompting more intrigue about their creation. Theories range from meteorites, stray missiles, a man-made prank, and aliens, to an explosive cocktail of methane or shale gas suddenly exploding. The version about melting permafrost due to climate change, causing a release of methane gas, which then forces an eruption is the current favorite, though scientists are reluctant to offer a firm conclusion without more study…”

First Observations of Methane Release From Arctic Ocean Hydrates. Are the mysterious “holes” in Siberia the result of methane release or some other process? Stockholm University reports on new data findings showing methane release in the Arctic Ocean; here’s a clip: “Just a week into the sampling program and SWERUS-C3 scientists have discovered vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor of the Laptev continental slope. These early glimpses of what may be in store for a warming Arctic Ocean could help scientists project the future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean…”

The Military Battles Climate Change. Here’s a clip from a story at Huffington Post: “…Nationally, there are plenty of concerns in store. Our country’s infrastructure is in for major challenges as a result of extreme weather, rising sea levels, and flooding. The Pentagon is taking the correlation between climate change and the national security extremely seriously. Coastal Navy installations are at risk, especially Norfolk, Virginia, home to the “world’s largest naval base.” Military readiness is diminished when troops are diverted to humanitarian concerns brought on by the ravages of nature. Emergency Responders often require the assistance of the federal government…”

What Is Climate Change Doing To Our Mental Health? Grist has the story; including this excerpt that mirrors my experiences with storm survivors here in the USA: “…When you think about what climate change does, it basically increases the risk of weather-related disasters of one sort or another,” she said. “What happens from a psychological point of view is people get knocked down. Whenever people are knocked down, they have to get up again and start over. And the more that happens, the more difficult it is to keep getting up…” (Image credit: Amelia Bates).

Would Jesus Accept Climate Science? An interesting theoretical question and of course the answer is unknowable. But that free will thing keeps coming up in my discussions with other Christians. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Huffington Post: “…Whom should a Christian believe? Should they assume all climate scientists are just furthering a government agenda when they conclude that climate change is real? Or should they accept the science? The answer to that question lies in the exercise of free will. God gave us brains to make good choices. It’s just important to remember that every choice has consequences…”

Extreme Weather – Canadians Better Get Used to It. The Globe and Mail has the Op-Ed; here’s an excerpt: “…Over the last six decades, Canada’s average temperatures have risen 1.5 degrees Celsius, with warming happening much faster in northern Canada. The frequency of cold nights has dropped; the frequency of warm days has increased. The country, as a whole, has become wetter; sea ice is declining (as everyone knows) in the Arctic but also along parts of the Atlantic coast…”


A Break from the Summer Muggies – How Ignoring Climate Change Could Sink the U.S. Economy

78 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
83 F. average high on July 27.
64 F. high on July 27, 2013.

.03″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

Dressed for Success

Old stereotypes die hard. Picture a soft, buttery mid-summer breeze pushing warm whitecaps onto a sandy beach in the North Woods – cold drinks on the dock – The Power Loon playing on the radio – your friend visiting from North Carolina unpacking a parka and gloves up in the cabin.

“Hey, I heard about your little mini-polar-vortex a few weeks ago. I needed to be ready for anything” said Melissa Berryman. Her husband, Bryan, just shrugged. Yes, we have quite the reputation.
In truth our weather has been…off. Since 2010, and some would argue since the late 90s, the pattern has been curiously erratic. I’m just happy we didn’t see that 4th of July blizzard. That would have gone viral.

A comfortable week is shaping up; some of the finest days of summer on the way. Dew points drop into the 50s, afternoon highs near 80 with a few bloated cumulus clouds capable of late-day showers and T-showers, mainly over Wisconsin.

Some in our midst are lamenting the lack of prolonged summer heat. Go figure. Although I can’t promise 90s anytime soon long range models shows mid-80s from Saturday thru the middle of next week.

Shorts & flip flops required.

Winter gloves optional, for now.

A Relatively Quiet, Comfortable Week. Cool, dry Canadian air drops dew points in the upper 40s to mid 50s thru midweek; more hints of September in the air, especially at night. Relatively cold air aloft may set off a few late-day T-storms from Tuesday into Friday, with a better chance over Wisconsin. Temperatures slowly warm, reaching mid 80s by Sunday. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Do You Think Canadians Track “American Air?” For much of the winter meteorologists often refer to “Canadian Air”, and it’s not a compliment. I wonder if the same holds true for our northern neighbors in the summer: meteorologists from Winnipeg to Toronto tracking big, hot, bubbles of “American Air”. A fresh surge of cool air pushes across the Midwest and Great Lakes into New England into midweek, while much of Texas and the southwestern USA continues to sizzle. 12 km. NAM 2-meter temperature forecast going out 84 hours: NOAA and HAMweather.

60-Hour Accumulated Rainfall. NOAA’s 4 km WRF model shows 2-4″ rainfall amounts from near Cleveland into upstate New York by midnight Monday, monsoonal T-storms dropping heavy rain in the 4-corners region of the southwestern USA, with instability showers and T-showers sprouting over the Great Lakes. Animation: HAMweather.

U.S. 2014 Tornado Count Still Below Average. Here’s an excerpt from KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City: “So far this year, there have been 832 tornadoes across the U.S., which is still below the average of 1,105 tornadoes. This time last year, there had only been 674 and 2013 set the record for the lowest annual tornadoes ever...”

This Animation Shows How Awful The California Drought Is This Year. Lady Gaga doing water conservation PSA’s? You know times are tough. The water supply is shrinking dramatically, but the message has yet to get through to Californians – water consumption is actually increasing according to The Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt: “…Despite the drought and their apparent concern about it, Californians increased their water use by 1 percent in May compared with previous years, according to a state survey of water providers. This week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill intended to nudge the state’s conservation efforts by barring homeowner’s associations from enforcing requirements that lawns be kept green during a drought-related state of emergency...”

Pumping Groundwater Is Great, As Long As You Have Groundwater. Bloomberg reports – here’s an excerpt that got my attention: “…The basin lost 64.8 cubic kilometers (15.5 cubic miles) of freshwater — two-thirds of that disappearing from underground reservoirs — over the time period in the study. That’s an amount of water almost twice the size of Lake Mead, the biggest U.S. reservoir, gone from the basin. The study is important because using groundwater has become a way for communities to compensate for reduced surface water levels during drought. That could be a dangerous practice without knowing how much water is down there, or how quickly they’re using it. Drawing on satellite data, the researchers studied surface and groundwater volumes between December 2004 and November 2013...”
Photo credit above: Kevork Djansezian/Bloomberg. “A dead lawn, left, is seen next to a green lawn in Los Angeles on July 18, 2014.”

West’s Water Worries Rise As Lake Mead Falls. USA TODAY has the story – here’s an excerpt: “…Federal water managers say Lake Mead is just 39% full. The water level fell in July to its lowest level since 1937, when water began backing up to form Lake Mead after the dam was completed. The level of the lake fell this month to just over 1,081 feet above sea level, 139 feet below the nearly 1,220-foot capacity. As the water recedes, left behind is a broad white stripe of mineral deposits on the lake’s shoreline, as visible as a dirty bathtub ring. New islands poke through the lake’s lowered surface, and buoys stand amid desert scrub…”
Photo credit above: “A view of Lake Mead’s westernmost edge shows how receding waters have exposed islands and land.” (Photo: William M. Welch, USA TODAY)

NASA Satellites Reveal Shocking Groundwater Loss in Colorado River Basin. AP and Huffington Post have a story that made me do a double-take; here are a couple of excerpts: “…Groundwater losses from the Colorado River basin appear massive enough to challenge long-term water supplies for the seven states and parts of Mexico that it serves, according to a new study released Thursday that used NASA satellites…Since 2004, researchers said, the Colorado River basin — the largest in the Southwest — has lost 53 million acre feet, or 17 trillion gallons, of water. That’s enough to supply more than 50 million households for a year, or nearly fill Lake Mead — the nation’s largest water reservoir — twice…”

The Most Water-Consuming States Are The Ones In Drought. Yes, there’s a contradiction here, as Huffington Post follows up on the story above; here’s the intro: “…A national survey on water use in the U.S. showed that residents in states that get less precipitation use a lot of water in their homes — western states use an average of 138 gallons per capita every day, compared to 82 gallons in the midwest. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is mostly because of the higher amount of landscape irrigation in the west. In other words, people striving for green lawns and lush plants in dry states have to water more often that people in places with lots of rain, or risk fines in some communities…”

The Cost of America’s Forest Fires Has More Than Quintupled In The Past 20 Years. The Washington Post has the stark numbers and trends. Here’s the introduction: “Wildfires are scorching the earth and burning through the United States’ bank account. More than 1.5 million acres of American forest have been burned to the ground so far this year, and that isn’t even all that much. Last year, nearly 4.5 million acres were scorched; the year before, almost 9.5 million. Forest fires have destroyed some 143 million acres since 1985, or roughly 5 million acres a year, on average…”

Graph credit above: “ National Interagency Fire Center.

What Does a 20% Probability of Rain Really Mean? NPR has the quiz, and the answer – it’s probably not what you expect; here’s an excerpt: “…We put the question above to a few folks across the country, and many of them came to different conclusions. Some thought a 20 percent chance of rain means you should definitely bring an umbrella, while others said they would be surprised if it even drizzled. And at least one person looked at the question the other way: There was an 80 percent chance it wouldn’t rain…”

North Korea Is Not Pleased. Dance Video Features Kim Jong Un. The thing is, this is a catchy tune, and a very funny video. Let’s hope it goes viral, as can only happen in great democracies. NPR has the story and video; here’s a clip: “…And while a couple of sequences make fun of Kim’s fascination with weaponry, we’ll note that the video doesn’t accuse the North Korean leader of not having rhythm. As reports, the whole thing is set to “a Chinese pop hit by the Chopstick Brothers, which was .” The Chosun Ilbo says the video is the work of “a Chinese man surnamed Zhang from Suzhou who reportedly studied at Kyonggi University in South Korea…”

Tara Reid “Sharknado 2″. Tornado Picking Up Sharks Can Feasibly Happen. True, right after a hurricane full of old, sunken ships from The Bermuda Triangle washes up on shore, or a blizzard of chocolate milk strikes Duluth. It’s plausiable, just not very likely. Here’s a video clip from Sharknado 2 (which debuts on SyFy this week!” from the Hartford Examiner: “…According to MSN News on July 27, Reid conveys that while the possibilities are extremely slim, a “Sharknado” can feasibly happen. If a tornado picked up a bunch of sharks going over water, then a real “Sharknado” could take place, like the one in New York City, which is the setting of this flying shark sequel...”

TODAY: Partly sunny. Fresh air! Dew point: 55. Winds: NW 10. High: 79
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and comfortable. Low: 58
TUESDAY: Sunny start, PM showers over Wisconsin. High: near 80
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, late PM clouds. Wake-up: 59. High: 81
THURSDAY: Warm sun, stray late PM T-shower. Wake-up: 61. High: 81
FRIDAY: Late-day instability T-storm Dew point: 59. Wake-up: 63. High: 82
SATURDAY: Lot’s of sun. Wisconsin T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 83
SUNDAY: Sticky sun. Feels like July. Wake-up: 62. High: 84

Climate Stories…

Robert Rubin: How Ignoring Climate Change Could Sink the U.S. Economy. The Washington Post has the Op-Ed; here’s an excerpt: “…We do not face a choice between protecting our environment or protecting our economy. We face a choice between protecting our economy by protecting our environment — or allowing environmental havoc to create economic havoc. And a major step toward changing the debate is to change the way we measure the health of our economy, our fiscal conditions, and the health of individual companies and businesses to better reflect the world as it will be.”

Sustainable Capitalism: Moving Beyond GDP To Measure Environmental Impacts of Growth. Joe Romm at ThinkProgress takes a look at Robert Rubin’s recent Op-Ed (above) and how his comments mirror those of Robert Kennedy nearly half a century ago. Does GDP measure all externalities and costs? No. Here’s an excerpt: “…Rubin’s point is that we need a new GDP “that incorporates the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.” Instead of simply tallying up “the goods and services produced by our economy” we need a GDP that can “account for the present and future damage resulting from the emissions involved in producing those goods and services…”

Beltway View: Climate Change Report Warns Florida. Sea level is rising, much of it due to warming of the world’s oceans. That’s not a climate model, that’s reality. Florida Today takes a look at two Florida metro areas most at risk: “…Two Florida cities — Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg — are among the world’s most endangered cities when it comes to climate change, a new report by the National Research Council warns. Both are among eight U.S. cities — and 20 worldwide — facing the greatest risk of “potential average annual losses” from coastal flooding, the report concludes...”

Stanford Biologist Warns of Early Stages of Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction Event. Well here’s a day-brightener. What’s that famous line from George Carlin? “Don’t sweat the thundershowers”. Here’s an excerpt of a press release from Standford University: “…In a new review of scientific literature and analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event. Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life...”

Climate Change May Reduce Corn, Wheat Crop Yields. Here’s an opportunity for new strains of corn, wheat and beans that are more flood and drought tolerant. Bloomberg reports; here’s an excerpt: “Rising temperatures caused by climate change increase the odds that corn and wheat yields will slow even as global demand for the crops for food and fuel increases in the next 10 to 20 years, according to a study published in Environmental Research Letters. There is as much as a 10 percent chance the rate of corn yields will slow and a 5 percent probability for wheat because of human-caused climate change, said David Lobell, the associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, and Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado…”

Photo credit: Trista Dunsmoor.

The Melting Arctic Makes Way For $20,000 Luxury Cruises. File this under climate change porn – here’s a clip from a story at Bloomberg Businessweek: “…Because of climate change and the melting of the Arctic, the cruise line Crystal Cruises plans to send passengers on what it bills as the first luxury ship to “traverse the Northwest Passage.” The ship, Crystal Serenity, will set sail beginning in August 2016 on ”a mystical Pacific-Atlantic sea route far beyond the Arctic Circle that for centuries captured the imaginations of kings, explorers and adventurers.” The cruise will last 32 days and fares start at $20,000…”

Photo credit above: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP Photo.