55 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
53 F. average high on October 27.
67 F. high on October 27, 2014.

October 28, 1960: A 29 day dry stretch in west central Minnesota ended.

A Gentle Canadian Slap
First Flakes Tonight?

This is going to be even better than the “Wild Thing” at Valleyfair! No risk of barfing, no long lines, and it’s totally free. Every Minnesota is invited to ride the Canadian Express, a temperature roller coaster like no other. A few extra layers, good tires, an ice scraper? You’re all set. Please keep your hands inside and enjoy the ride!
In reality this is just the appetizer, the opening salvo of c-c-cold to come.

Temperatures tumble through the 40s today with a cold rain as a storm spins up over the Great Lakes.
The lowest mile of the atmosphere may be just cold enough for wet snowflakes to mix in tonight. Ground temperatures are still mild; I don’t expect any slush in the metro, but a snowy inch or two may pile up on unsuspecting squirrels from Mille Lacs to Park Rapids.

Rain showers return Saturday, but the sun comes out Sunday as temperatures push into the 60s. I could see 70F here Monday. I feel a sick day coming on.

No full frontal arctic assaults; Canadian air dribbles south in the coming weeks, giving us a chance to catch our breath.

Fasten your seatbelt.
* Photo courtesy of Lisa Valdez, who snapped this photo at Cedar Lake over the weekend. Nice.
Chilly Surge. High-resolution NAM guidance from NOAA shows a relatively mild start this morning, but watch the leading edge of much colder air plow east during the afternoon and evening; temperatures falling through the 40s into the 30s, changing a cold rain over to some wet snow tonight. Source: AerisWeather.
Definition of Raw. Tumbling temperatures, fits of rain and sustained winds of 20-30 mph, with higher gusts. Sounds like a lovely Wednesday. Yes, it will definitely look like October out there today. Source: Aeris Enterprise.
Snowfall Potential. Some of the models aren’t taking mild ground temperatures into account; snow will melt on contact for a time tomorrow night with surface temperatures just above 32F. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked ot hear of some slushy lawns from the MSP suburbs to St. Cloud, maybe an inch or so from Mille Lacs to Brainerd and Bemidji. Source: Aeris Enterprise.
10-Day Snowfall Forecast. Here is NOAA’s GFS accumulated snowfall product, showing Wednesday night’s slush event up north, another potential snowfall for North Dakota by the end of next week.
Accumulated Rainfall. Since we’re comparing model runs here’s the 84-hour NAM model, showing heavy showers and T-storms pushing across the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. Much of this moisture is leftover from Hurricane Patricia, which hit the west coast of Mexico as a rare Category 5 storm last Friday. Source: AerisWeather.
Chilly Midweek – Lukewarm by Monday? All the models are in fairly good agreement that temperatures will moderate over the weekend; reaching low 60s Sunday, possibly 70F on Monday. Hey, what’s 40 degrees among friends? Source: Aeris Enterprise.
Historic High Tides from the Supermoon and Sea Level Rise Flood the Southeast Coast. It doesn’t take a tropical system or even a Nor’easter to whip up serious coastal flooding anymore. You can go right on denying climate change, warming oceans and rising seas – until water shows up in your family room. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang: “Ocean water surged into neighborhoods on the Southeast coast on Tuesday morning during high tide, pushing gauges well beyond predicted levels. Seemingly overnight, we’ve entered an era where king tides compete with hurricanes in the water level record books. Tuesday morning’s high tide peaked at 8.69 feet in Charleston, over a foot and a half higher than the predicted level. The highest crest on record in Charleston was 12.56 feet on Sept. 21, 1989 — the day that Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina. The water level near Savannah, Ga., reached 10.43 feet, which was the third highest on record for the station…”

Photo credit above: “The scene in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday morning during high tide.” (Jessica Hofford)
Rising Seas Pose Growing Flood Threat. Miami and much of south Florida floods now during a “king tide” with a full moon, no storm required. Here’s an excerpt of a story at ClimateWire and Scientific American: “The Atlantic will sneak up to one of its highest points tomorrow as celestial influences create king tides along the East Coast, three years after similar tides and rising seas added to the huge wall of water that crashed onto the coastline during Superstorm Sandy. The king tide comes amid new warnings that electric utilities could face serious flooding as low-lying power plants are exposed to higher oceans over the coming decades. Experts are also concerned that floods reaching farther inland could unlock bacteria that have been stuck in dry soil and spread disease in public waterways...”

Photo credit above: “King tides are natural events that happen twice a year. By 2060 to 2070 we could be experiencing tides of at least this magnitude every month, rather than just twice a year due to climate-change induced sea level rise. Pictured above, the erosive effects of a king tide on the Gold Coast, Queensland.” Bruce Miller/CSIRO, CC BY 3.0

Mexico Exhales, But Hurricane Highlights Weather’s New Extremes. InsideClimate News connects the dots; here’s an excerpt: “…Mexico has had a lot of company in bracing for a superstorm. There have been a record 22 storms falling into Category 4 or 5 storms in the Northern Hemisphere this year, according to the Weather Channel. Eastern Pacific nations have been slammed seemingly nonstop by strong hurricanes in recent years, first with Typhoons Bopha in 2012, Haiyan in 2013, Rammasun in 2014 and several this year, killing tens of thousands of people and causing billions of dollars in damages. Scientists are quick to point out that Hurricane Patricia is indicative of what will likely happen as oceans and the atmosphere warm even more over the next century, fueling stronger hurricanes...”

Image credit above: NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite.

A Hugely Powerful Hurricane Did Surprisingly Little Damage. FiveThirtyEight provides more context on Patricia – here’s a link and excerpt: “…Patricia hit near Cuixmala, Mexico, as a Category 5, with winds estimated to be 165 mph and a low pressure of 920 mb. Fortunately, the landfall area, on the Pacific coast, was sparsely populated, and the storm quickly began losing power. Within three hours, it was down to 130 mph, and though it caused property destruction, there were no reports of deaths as of Saturday morning. Patricia became only the eighth hurricane in recorded history to make landfall in the United States or Mexico at Category 5 status. It was only the second to do so as a hurricane that formed in the Pacific Ocean…”

Photo credit above: “A man is ferried across a flooded street by boat two days after Hurricane Patricia, in the village of Rebalse, Jalisco State, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Patricia roared ashore in Mexico on Friday as a Category 5 terror that barreled toward land with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph). But the arrival of the most powerful hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere caused remarkably little destruction.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

What Is It Like Flying Through 200 MPH+ Winds? Check out the video and perspective from the Hurricane Hunters who made multiple passes through Hurricane Patricia as it was approaching coastal Mexico. You think you’ve been on some rough flights? Not even close to what they experienced. Here’s an excerpt from The Independent: “…Joseph Klippel, a NOAA flight engineer, described the experience on Facebook, writing: “This most definitely is the most powerful storm ever in the western hemisphere. “We were thumped so hard that our flight director’s keyboard flew off his station and all of his data was dumped. “We circled for an hour afterwards as he reconstructed the penetration, made more difficult by the fact the we encountered record setting pressures and airspeeds. This is such a cool job!” Colleague Lonnie Kregelka wrote that they recorded winds of up to 235 mph and pressure of 879 milibars – the lowest ever recorded in a hurricane...”

Patricia Shows Need for Better Hurricane Forecasting. From tropical storm to Category 5 in one day? I’ve never seen that before. The models didn’t catch it – nobody did, so there is still plenty of room for improvement. With rapidly warming oceans (El Nino, warming of the planet, etc) we are going to need new and better tools to stay ahead of increasing weather volatility. Cutting funding for hurricane research seems like a very bad idea. Here’s an excerpt from CNN: “…Patricia intensified not just by 35 mph, but by over 120 mph in 24 hours. That’s not just rapid intensification; that’s mild-mannered Bruce Banner turning into The Hulk in just moments. And Patricia completed the transition less than 24 hours before landfall, which is like Banner turning green while standing in downtown Manhattan. Could forecasters have somehow seen it coming? Not with today’s science. None of the models came close to predicting Patricia’s explosive intensification. Remedying this has been recognized for some time as a top science priority...”

Image credit: Earth Institute, Columbia University.

Is It Time to Rethink What a “Major” Hurricane Really Means? Wind speed is one measure, perhaps not the best measure of the potential threat to life and property. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting article at WXshift: “…Using winds as the only measure of a storm’s major-ness misses rain and storm surge, which can drive flooding and the majority of the damage associated with hurricanes. Hurricane Sandy and Irene were both Category 1 storms (and in Sandy’s case, it wasn’t even technically a hurricane when it made landfall) yet they both cost billions. “Every tropical cyclone is unique,” Steven Bowen, a meteorologist at re-insurer Aon Benfield, said. “As Hurricane Sandy showed the world, just because a storm does not have an official declaration of being a ‘major’ hurricane at Category 3 or above intensity does it mean that consequential societal impacts cannot occur.” That storm caused an estimated $67 billion in damage when it made landfall in the Northeast nearly three years ago, with the vast majority due to flooding and not the storm’s Category 1-level winds...”
States Where Disaster Strikes Most. Looking back over 8 years worth of records the most expensive natural disasters have been in the south, with the exception of Colorado (fire) and New Jersey (Sandy). Here’s an excerpt from Kiplinger.com: “…Working with data from the National Weather Service that covers the last eight years or so, we identified the states that have had the most damage. I’ll tell you about four of them. Number 1 on the list is New Jersey, and it’s almost all due to Sandy, the storm that did billions of dollars of damage to New Jersey’s exposed coastline. New Jersey doesn’t normally get a lot of natural disasters, but that one was a doozy.Superstorm Sandy was the second-most expensive storm in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina was the worst. But the data we have from the federal government starts after Katrina struck in 2005. Yet even without Katrina in the count, Louisiana has still seen the eighth highest damage losses in recent years. That’s life on the Gulf Coast, it would seem — other storms, such as Hurricane Isaac, in 2012, have hit the state hard…” (File photo: FEMA).
One of Earth’s Driest Places is Now A Pink Flower Wonderland. One of the driest spots on the planet is now bright pink. More symptoms of a strong El Nino? Check out the photo essay at Mashable: “Parts of Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, look like a psychedelic wonderland as pink mallow flowers bloom in the valley, following a year of unprecedented rain. Massive downpours in March gave parts of the desert its first taste of rain in almost seven years. Some areas got as much as seven years’ worth of rain in just 12 hours…”

Photo credit above: MARIO RUIZ/EPA.
Crazy Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies. Last night I noticed that Pacific Ocean water temperatures off the coast of Los Angeles are 6F warmer than average for this time of year, more fuel for potentially big storms later this autumn and winter. Source: earth.nullschool.net.

Start-Ups Take On Challenge of Nuclear Fusion. Could there be a radical innovation that speeds up our transition into a clean-energy economy? I sure wouldn’t bet against it. Somewhere, someone in a garage is tinkering on new energy sources that may transform the planet. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “A group of start-ups is promising a new and virtually unlimited source of power, one that produces none of the gases scientists say contribute to global warming. The only problem? A way to harness the energy source, nuclear fusion — the reaction that gives birth to sunlight — still needs to be invented. Such an achievement has long evaded government scientists and university researchers, despite decades of work and billions of dollars in research. But backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital and some of the wealthiest people in the technology industry, a handful of young companies say they can succeed where government has fallen short…”

Photo credit above: “Michl Binderbauer of Tri Alpha Energy, a fusion start-up.” Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times.

Everything You Think You Know About Happiness is Wrong. Picking up on the previous story here’s a snippet from a story at Quartz: “For many of us, happiness is the ultimate goal in life, worth pursuing above all else. If you’d asked me a few months ago, I would have agreed. But recently, I’ve been thinking about the kinds of mistakes we make when pursuing happiness. I’ve been wondering whether the biggest mistake might be seeing happiness as something we should be aiming for at all….”
Note to Self: Try Not to Anger Vegans. If you want to kill a couple minutes of time check out this story at someecards.com, showing the response from a Dublin, Ireland pub owner who posted a request online, asking for notice if diners want non-traditional (non-meat) options. The response was amazingly negative. And then it went downhill from there. Here’s an excerpt: “The White Moose Café seems like a completely normal eatery in Dublin serving a mixture of vegetables and meats (like bacon, which the WHO just tragically announced causes cancer). The White Moose is owned by a man named Paul Stenson. Apparently, back in August, the staff had a run-in with a vegan customer who was perturbed to find few dishes on the menu that worked for her chosen diet. Stenson posted the short rant below about calling ahead to restaurants if you wish to be accommodated...”

TODAY: Cold rain as temperatures fall. Gusty winds. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 46 (falling)

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Showery rains may mix with a few flurries late – an inch of slush up north? Low: 37

THURSDAY: Showers taper, some PM sun. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 49

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, seasonable temperatures. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 37. High: 55

HALLOWEEN: Unsettled, few showers possible. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 57

SUNDAY: Better day of the weekend. Mild sun. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 42. High: 63

MONDAY: A fine, lukewarm November day. Partly sunny. Wake-up: 50. High: 68

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, not bad for early November. Wake-up: 52. High: 61

Climate Stories…

Greenland is Melting Away. The New York Times has a remarkable, interactive presentation focused on measuring the rate of Greenland ice melt and implications for sea level rise, and the Washington D.C. politicians who are attempting to complicate this essential task. Here’s an excerpt: “…But Mr. Overstreet’s task, to collect critical data from the river, is essential to understanding one of the most consequential impacts of global warming. The scientific data he and a team of six other researchers collect here could yield groundbreaking information on the rate at which the melting of Greenland ice sheet, one of the biggest and fastest-melting chunks of ice on Earth, will drive up sea levels in the coming decades. The full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase sea levels by about 20 feet…”
As The Seas Rise. Managing Retreat Along New York City’s Coasts. New Republic takes a look at how rising sea levels are already impacting some of New York’s neighborhoods; here’s a clip: “…The United States is eleventh on the list of the countries most at risk to sea level rise, finishing just behind the canal-riddled Netherlands, deltaic Bangladesh, and the island nation of the Philippines. We are going to have to figure out what to do with our densely populated coasts, and soon, because by century’s end many of our low-lying communities will be underwater. While New York City’s response to coastal disasters has long been to build it back, after Sandy a handful of neighborhoods—like the laissez-faire, climate change denying, right-wing neighborhood of Oakwood Beach—began to experiment with larger scale solutions that most post-disaster plans scrupulously avoid. Like retreat…”
GOP Rep: Congress Should Focus More on Climate Change. Representative Carlos Curbelo’s district is in Florida, on the front lines of rising seas tied to a warming planet. Here’s an excerpt of a story at TheHill: “A Republican lawmaker is pushing Congress to focus more on climate change, calling it “one of the major challenges of our time.” In a Miami Herald op-ed, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) said lawmakers need to a better job of focusing on ways to cut carbon emissions, invest in clean energy and combat climate change. “To view climate change through partisan lenses only detracts from efforts to discover practical solutions,” Curbelo wrote over the weekend. “This debate should not devolve into a petty competition between Republicans and Democrats…” (Photo credit: Greg Nash).
Children’s Health “Uniquely” Affected by Climate Change, Pediatricians Say. The Guardian has more details; here’s a clip: “…Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The statement, published in the online journal Pediatrics on Monday, urged pediatricians and politicians to collaborate to protect children from climate-related threats. Such threats include natural disasters, heat stress, lower air quality, increased infections, and threats to food and water supplies…”
Hurricane Patricia, Climate Change and God’s Call to Protect Creation. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Huffington Post from Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie: “…For people of faith, this is yet another rally cry for action to combat climate change. Faith leaders have issued a statement to those preparing the Paris accord noting that: “Our religious convictions and cosmological narratives tell us that this earth and the whole universe are gifts that we have received from the spring of life, from God. It is our obligation to respect, protect and sustain these gifts by all means.” Increasingly, the fight to address climate change takes on a sense of urgency as we reach milestones where repair of the environment might be past our ability to control. If this occurs, we fail God and sentence our children and their descendants to a future of hardship that is difficult to imagine...” (File image: NASA).
Putting Goldilocks To Work. The Economist takes a closer look at new research showing the potential economic impact of continued warming of the planet; here’s an excerpt that caught my eye: “…A paper published this week in Nature challenges this finding. The authors—Marshall Burke, Solomon Hsiang and Edward Miguel—suspected that economists had been looking for the wrong thing: a linear relationship between temperature and growth. Instead, they looked for an optimal temperature, on the assumption that excessive cold could harm growth as much as punishing heat. That is exactly what they found: hotter-than-usual years benefit countries, rich and poor alike, up to an average annual temperature of 13°C, after which hotter weather begins to sear growth. That allowed them to draw inferences about the likely effect of climate change: for Brazil, for example, an increase in temperature of 3°C will lead to a fall in output of 3%...” (Graphic: The Economist).
For GOP and Climate Change, Time Has Stood Still Long Enough. TheHill has an Op-Ed that puts Republican resistance to getting serious about climate change into a larger context; here’s an excerpt: “…How can it be that today, in 2015—a quarter of a century after Margaret Thatcher underscored the need to act—most of the GOP presidential candidates and a significant majority of Republicans in Congress remain unwilling to take climate change seriously? This disconnect has occurred, in large part, because the Republican Party has been increasingly catering to its most radical elements—which include a vocal minority opposed to action on climate change. Whether it is members of Congress fearing a primary challenge, candidate selection being ceded to a handful of convention delegates, gerrymandered safe districts, GOP leaders giving a vocal minority outsized influence, or just rank partisanship, the Party has been veering ever further towards the fringe...” (File image: NASA).

Middle East May Suffer “Intolerable” Heat, Climate Study Warns. A projected heat index of 170F? Welcome to the suburbs of Venus. It’s not a stretch, considering a town in Iran saw a heat index of 163F in July. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg Business: “…Extreme heat waves with conditions “intolerable to humans” may become a regular occurrence in the Persian Gulf by century’s end, according to a study evaluating the consequences of unchecked global warming. Temperature and humidity levels exceeding anything previously recorded on earth may bake major cities including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Dharhan, according to the research published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Less severe but still “extremely dangerous” heat waves, now seen once every 20 years or so, would become “the normal summer day,” said Elfatih Eltahir, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who co-authored the paper...”
Temperatures Will Be Too High for Human Survival in Persian Gulf. Here’s an excerpt from New York Magazine: “Because of global warming, by the end of this century there will be days when it will be hot and humid enough that a human would not be able to survive outside in the Persian Gulf. A study published Monday predicts that by 2100 muggy conditions would prevent the body from reducing its temperature through sweating, putting anyone without air conditioning — or anyone working outdoors — at risk of death, the Times reports…”
Future Temperature in Southwest Asia Projected to Exceed a Threshold for Human Adaptability. You think it’s hot now in Saudi Arabia and Iran? Give it a few years. Here’s an excerpt from new research at nature.com: “A human body may be able to adapt to extremes of dry-bulb temperature (commonly referred to as simply temperature) through perspiration and associated evaporative cooling provided that the wet-bulb temperature (a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of ‘mugginess’) remains below a threshold of 35 °C. (ref. 1). This threshold defines a limit of survivability for a fit human under well-ventilated outdoor conditions and is lower for most people…”

Catholic Church Leaders Issue Appeal on Climate Change. The New York Times reports; here’s the introduction: “Roman Catholic cardinals, patriarchs and bishops from around the world on Monday appealed to climate-change negotiators to approve a “fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement” when they meet at a widely anticipated United Nations conference in Paris next month. Representatives of the church from five continents signed the appeal in Vatican City. They said it was inspired by Pope Francis’ sweeping encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si,” issued in June, which forcefully calls for action to stem environmental destruction and climate change…”

Financial Fears Fueled Exxon Shift on Climate Change. The Dallas Morning News takes a look at how attention to the bottom line framed the public response to Exxon’s own internal scientific research; here’s an excerpt: “Throughout much of the 1980s, Exxon earned a public reputation as a pioneer in climate change research. It sponsored workshops, funded academic research and conducted its own high-tech experiments exploring the science behind global warming. But by 1990, the Irving-based company, in public, took a different posture. While still funding select research, it poured millions into a campaign that questioned climate change. Over the next 15 years, it took out prominent ads in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, contending climate change science was murky and uncertain. And it argued that regulations aimed at curbing global warming were ill-considered and premature...”
File photo credit above: The Associated Press. “Exxon Corporation chairman L.G. Rawl (right) and president Lee Raymond (center) greeted shareholders after their annual meeting in Dallas in 1992. The company’s shift — from embracing the science of climate change to publicly questioning it — emerged from interviews with former and current Exxon Mobil employees.”

Exxon Sowed Doubt about Climate Science for Decades by Stressing Uncertainty. Manufactured misinformation, weapons of mass confusion, because the truth might interfere with the bottom line? Where have we heard that before (tobacco lobby). Here’s the next story in a powerful series at InsideClimate News: “…Exxon wanted scientists who disputed the mainstream science on climate change to oversee Washington’s work with the IPCC, the authoritative body that defines the scientific consensus on global warming, documents written by an Exxon lobbyist and one of its scientists show. The company persuaded the White House to block the reappointment of the IPCC chairman, a World Bank scientist. Exxon’s top climate researcher, Brian Flannery, was pushing the White House for a wholesale revision of federal climate science. The company wanted a new strategy to focus on the uncertainties…”

ExxonMobil Pioneered Climate Change Research Since the 1970s, and Now It’s Attacking Media Reporting On That. When backed into a corner attack the messenger. Which, based on recent revelations, is what Exxon may have done with its own in-house climate scientists decades ago, because of fears of regulation and impact on the bottom line. Here’s an excerpt from Quartz: “…Along the way, a consensus developed that the ramifications of climate change were perilous. As far as a response, one option was to keep measuring to see whether warming was really happening. The only trouble with that course, one scientist said, was that by the time you had incontrovertible evidence, it might be too late to do anything. In 1990, according to a piece published Oct. 23 in the LA Times, Exxon made a choice—in terms of its public policy, it would ignore the nuances of the climate science and emphasize the uncertainties. Exxon’s manager of science and strategy development told fellow executives that acting against climate change would entail curtailing the use of fossil fuels, or draconian regulation of emissions, that would would “alter profoundly the strategic direction of the energy industry...”

Climate Change is Already Costing Us Billions of Dollars Every Year. Here’s an excerpt from Motherboard: “Climate change has already begun to cost us, and it’s only going to get worse. Hurricanes, intensified in size and frequency by climate change, are taking a massive financial toll already, according to a new paper. The study, published in Nature Geoscience this week, found that an increase in property dollar amounts lost over the past several decades in a case study was due to hurricanes intensified by global warming. Conducted by researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Mexico and VU University in the Netherlands, the researched used statistical models to estimate the economic losses from storms from 1900 to 2005, taking into account societal change and wealth gains over the years…”

File photo credit above: “New Orleans shortly after Katrina“. Image: National Archives.