75 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Friday.
71 F. average high on May 22.
71 F. high on May 22, 2014.

May 22, 2001: Record cold high temperatures set in over 30 cities in Minnesota including a chilly 47 in the Twin Cities and 39 at Grand Rapids and Pine River. A half-inch of snow fell at International Falls.

May 22, 1925: Temperature takes a nosedive from 100 to freezing in 36 hours at New Ulm and Tracy.

Not Bad For A Holiday

When in doubt, mumble. There is no shame in obfuscation. So here’s what we know: a) there will be weather this holiday weekend, b) it will change from time to time, and c) you’ll only be impacted by weather when you’re outside. Everything else is pretty much up in the air.

Which reminds me of my favorite British (BBC) forecast verbiage; when they have NO IDEA what will happen: “Expect sunny intervals with showery spells.” Uh huh. Can you be any more vague?

The holiday weekend won’t win awards but it won’t be a complete wash-out. A few headlines: today still looks like the best day, with fading sun but a dry sky into this evening. ECMWF guidance is consistently keeping most of the T-showers over southern Minnesota Sunday.

The farther north you go the smaller the risk of groan-worthy weather. Memorial Day still looks like the wettest day, statewide – sticky with heavy thunderstorms capable of downpours and a small severe threat. A few hours of rain is likely Monday; have a Plan B (indoors) for part of the day.
Maybe Netflix a sunny movie?

At least it won’t snow. No beachball-size hail, blowing sand, wildfires or volcanic ash either. Let’s all give thanks for a hurricane-free holiday!

1.14″ rain predicted by Monday evening at KMSP.
Today: nicest, sunniest, driest day of the holiday weekend.
Best chance of heavy rain/T-storms: Sunday night into Monday morning. Have a Plan B.

Looks Like a Holiday Weekend! Get out there today and make the most of a fairly decent Saturday, in spite of high and mid clouds on the increase. Temperatures should hit or just exceed 70F with dry weather the rule until late tonight and Sunday. The best chance of rain and embedded heavy T-storms will come late Sunday, Sunday night into Monday morning. Source: Weatherspark.

Ill-Timed Streak of Moisture. Texas went from drought to flood in less than 3 weeks. Thank you El Nino, which has energized the southern branch of the jet stream. Some of that prolific southern moisture supply will surge north Sunday and Monday, fueling scattered showers and T-storms, some heavy. GFS data: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Significant Drought Reduction, Followed By Cold Temperatures. I pray the frosty mornings are behind us now, but the heavy thunderstorm season is just getting wound up. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley’s WeatherTalk blog: “…May total rainfall is significantly above normal now for several Minnesota climate stations, including:
6.21″ at Moorhead
5.07″ at Georgetown
5.98″ at Artichoke Lake
6.48″ at Cass Lake
5.32″ at Park Rapids
5.00″ at Pokegama Dam
4.53″ at Kabetogama
6.72″ at Morris.

El Nino Like To Ensure 2015 Breaks Warming Records. Here’s an excerpt from a summary at rtcc.org: “Last year was the hottest since 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), part of what it said is a continuing trend. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), May 2014 to April 2015 is the joint-warmest 12-month period in 136 years. Those figures could rise further if the weather phenomenon known as El Nino continues to intensify, as scientists RTCC has spoken to believe it will…”

Last year was the hottest since 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), part of what it said is a continuing trend.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), May 2014 to April 2015 is the joint-warmest 12-month period in 136 years.
Those figures could rise further if the weather phenomenon known as El Nino continues to intensify, as scientists RTCC has spoken to believe it will.
– See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/21/el-nino-likely-to-ensure-2015-breaks-warming-records/#sthash.ALmaQ1Uu.dpuf

Improving Drought Conditions. There’s some good news in the latest Drought Monitor update. The percentage of Minnesota in moderate drought dropped from 92% to roughly 50%; severe drought was eliminated altogether. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet, but the trends are encouraging.

Trending Wetter. I’m encouraged by the emerging pattern, highlighted by persistent heavy rains last weekend across central Minnesota and the Red River Valley. May rainfall, to date, courtesy of NOAA, shows the heaviest amounts from central Minnesota into the Dakotas; much drier for Wisconsin.

Your Contribution To The California Drought. Much of our food is grown in California – I remember reading that the average distance from where food is grown to where it’s consumed is about 1,000 miles. More incentive to buy (and eat) local, when possible. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “…California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up. The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week...”

The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears. Your job may eventually be replaced by a robot, but The Matrix is still years away. Right? Ramez Naam takes a look on an intellectually dense and thought-provoking post; here’s an excerpt: “…And, indeed, should Intel, or Google, or some other organization succeed in building a smarter-than-human AI, it won’t immediately be smarter than the entire set of humans and computers that built it, particularly when you consider all the contributors to the hardware it runs on, the advances in photolighography techniques and metallurgy required to get there, and so on. Those efforts have taken tens of thousands of minds, if not hundreds of thousands. The first smarter-than-human AI won’t come close to equaling them. And so, the first smarter-than-human mind won’t take over the world. But it may find itself with good job offers to join one of those organizations...”

The Best State in America for Women: Minnesota. So says The Washington Post, and they have the data, maps and graphics to prove it; here’s the intro: “Minnesota is the best state for women in America. That’s according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit that on Wednesday published the final two reports in a sprawling seven-part series exploring how women are faring in the states. The “Status of Women in the States” series, an update on a set of reports from 2004, represents an ambitious attempt to quantify gender inequality in the states—and provide fodder for the national discussion…”

Study Finds That Lyrics Of Many Number 1 Songs Are At Third Grade Reading Level. Why am I not shocked by this? Yes, this is why they hate us – here’s an excerpt from Buzzfeed: “…The Flesch-Kincaid test uses a formula that takes into account the number of words and syllables used in a passage and assigns a number based on a grade so it’s easy to understand. Basically, if a song gets a score of 4.2, that means your average fourth-grader would be able to comprehend it. Powell-Morse only measured songs that spent at least three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard music charts…”

TODAY: Increasing clouds – more sun over far northern Minnesota. Winds: S 10. High: near 70

SATURDAY NIGHT: More clouds, chance of a shower or T-shower late. Low: 57

SUNDAY: Best chance of showers and T-storms, some heavy late Sunday and Sunday night. Winds: SE 15. High: 69

MEMORIAL DAY: Wet start, showers and T-storms linger – some peeks of PM sun possible. Wake-up: 58. High: 72

TUESDAY: More sun, drying out. Wake-up: 60. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: Hello summer. Warm, sticky sun. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80

THURSDAY: Heavy T-storms rumble into town. Wake-up: 62. High: 77

FRIDAY: More T-storms flare up. Wake-up: 61. High: 75

* right now models suggest that it will dry out and cool down by next weekend.

Climate Stories…

Saudi Arabia Ministoer Sees Day When Nation Exports Solar Power, Not Oil. This caused quite a stir, an acknowledgment that relying on fossil fuels, for a variety of compelling reasons, may be unsustainable. Here’s an excerpt from The Boston Globe: “Saudi Arabia’s oil minister predicted an eventual end to the nation’s fossil fuel exports, anticipating instead the day the world’s largest crude exporter will sell solar power. “In Saudi Arabia we recognize that eventually, one of these days, we’re not going to need fossil fuels,” Ali Al-Naimi said at a climate conference in Paris on Thursday. “I don’t know when — 2040, 2050 or thereafter. So we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy.” He later said fossil fuels will still dominate the world’s energy supply through 2050...”

Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering A Secretive Climate Research Program. Mother Jones has a curious story; here’s a clip: “…Under the program, known as Medea, the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites—in an effort to glean insights about how global warming could create security threats around the world. In theory, the program benefited both sides: Scientists could study environmental data that was much higher-resolution than they would normally have access to, and the CIA received research insights about climate-related threats. But now, the program has come to a close…”

Photo credit above: “Polar bears approach the submarine USS Honolulu near the North Pole.” .

10 Reasons Why President Obama Says Global Warming Poses a Threat to National Security. In honor of David Letterman’s retirement here is the format that helped to make him famous, courtesy of onEarth:

1. Batten down the hatches!
U.S. coastal areas—home to important military installations (including, duh, the Coast Guard), major infrastructure, and a growing percentage of the population—are increasingly vulnerable to rising seas, storm surges, and flooding.

2. A (new) sea of troubles.
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. As a result, melting sea ice is opening new shipping routes that our military will need to keep tabs on. The warming waters also fuel the need to regulate commercial fishing for species like Arctic cod.

The Dirty Dozen: The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Polluting League Table. Not exactly the list you want to find yourself on. Here’s a clip from a story at rtcc.org: “Led by Russia’s Gazprom, the coal, oil and gas multinationals emit 8.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTCO2e) a year, according to a report by Thomson Reuters. Crunching data on the footprint of 500 companies’ supply chains, the findings underscore the contribution of the energy sector to global warming through extraction, transportation, to marketing to the consumer…” (Image: Wikipedia Commons).

Obama Says Climate Change Is An Immediate Threat To National Security. Here’s an excerpt of a story at VICE News: “…A White House document released as Obama headed for New London summarized the kind of problems the newly commissioned ensigns will be facing. Sea levels are projected to rise as much as a foot along much of the Atlantic coast by 2050. Military installations even far inland have suffered flood damage from unusually heavy storms. And the Coast Guard would be the lead agency to respond to any oil spills as energy companies like Shell attempt to drill in the Arctic, which is warming at twice the rate of the globe as a whole…” (Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP).

Jeb Bush Rails Against “Intellectual Arrogance” In Climate Change Debate. Isn’t the real arrogance in assuming you know more than scientists who deal with this issue every day? Or putting the needs of special interests ahead of the common good? Here’s the intro to a story at CNN Politics: “Jeb Bush hit back against President Obama’s claim that climate change runs an immediate risk, saying Wednesday that while it shouldn’t be ignored, it’s still not “the highest priority.” As he has before, Bush acknowledged “the climate is changing” but stressed that it’s unknown why. “I don’t think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted,” he said at a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire…”

The Surprising Links Between Faith and Evolution and Climate Denial – Charted. Chris Mooney attempts to connect the dots at The Washington Post; here’s an excerpt: “…In any case, while the pattern above may require more analysis, one clear punchline of the figure is that it really doesn’t make sense to say that religion is at war with science. You can say that for some people, religion is clearly linked to less science acceptance — especially on evolution. But for others, clearly, religion presents no hurdle at all. I would also agree that these data reinforce the idea that the pope’s coming encyclical on the environment could really shake matters up...”