52 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
61 F. average high on October 10.
74 F. Twin Cities high on October 10, 2016.
October 11, 1909: A snowstorm hits the state, along with temperatures dropping to 7 degrees over northern MN.
If it weren’t for weather merit badge and a tropical storm named Agnes, which flooded my home in 1972, I might have a real job.
15 Separate Billion-Dollar Disasters So Far in 2017. Harvey, Irma and Maria were all billion-dollar disasters; it remains to be seen if Category 1 Nate produced a billion dollars of damage for the Gulf Coast last weekend. Details via NOAA NCEI: “In short, tropical cyclones are the most costly of the weather and climate disasters. Since 1980, the U.S. has sustained at least 218 weather and climate disasters where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including Consumer Price Index adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 218 events exceeds $1.2 trillion. However, this total does not include the costs for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which are substantial and are still being assessed. Not including hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, 35 tropical cyclones have caused at least $583.5 billion in total damages—with an average of $16.7 billion per event. Accounting for just under a fifth (17 percent) of the total number of events, tropical cyclones have caused almost half (47 percent) of the total damages attributed to billion-dollar weather and climate disasters since 1980. These numbers will dramatically rise once the 2017 hurricanes costs are included…“
Map credit: NOAA NCDC.
“Darwin Award”: These Hurricane Chasers Are Being Ridiculed for Decisions During Nate. Public service or dangerous stunt? Here’s an excerpt from Capital Weather Gang: “…The work that I do here is a public service,” Timmer told The Washington Post via email, “and like first responders who place themselves in harm’s way, we do go into dangerous situations but as top professionals do so in intelligent and cautious ways so that people understand the dangers and when told to evacuate they will do so.” Theiss takes a similar approach to chasing storms. “This is no different than a war photographer going to war or an astronaut going to space in the name of science.” Theiss told The Post. The only difference, he says, is that he’s “going to war with nature...”
I’ve Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now. Are you a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society? A story at The Washington Post explains how clouds shape our moods and cognition: “…Psychologically speaking, clouds also have both positive and negative impact. Overcast weather turns us inward and helps us focus, the experts say. Sunny weather, by contrast, slows cognition. Researchers in Australia tested their theory with an experiment several years ago. They showed — for the first time in a real-life setting — weather-induced moods can significantly affect memory. On rainy, cloudy days, which caused a gloomy mood, the ability to recall objects was three times greater than on sunny days, despite all the positive vibes they triggered…The group, of course, has nothing good to say about lovers of cloudlessness — including beachgoers, most prominently. They call the worship of monotonous cloudlessness “blue sky thinking.” Pretor-Pinney rejects such a limited view of the heavens. “Cloudspotting is a conscious invitation to daydream, a sensitivity to your surroundings,” he said. “It’s a kind of sky geekiness, which is beautiful.”
File photo: NOAA.
There’s a New Type of Northern Lights, Scientists Call it “Steve”. Gomn.com has the details: “Space.com says Steve isn’t actually new. People previously just referred to the phenomenon as “proton arcs.” Now that it (kind of) has a name, scientists will be looking to find exactly what it’s all about. Then it might get an official name. Although it probably couldn’t beat Steve. MLive.com says NASA scientists have recently turned Steve into an acronym: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. Now it’s not quite so random…”
Photo credit: Space.com. “Photographer Dave Markel caught this view of a strange aurora-like feature that appears in the skies of northern Canada. Based on data from European Space Agency’s Swarm satellites, it appears to be a 16-mile-wide (25 km) ribbon of flowing gas in an area whose temperature is 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius) higher than the surroundings; the gas flows at 3.5 miles per second (6 km/s) compared to a speed of 33 feet/second (10 m/s) on either side of the ribbon. They’re calling the feature “Steve.“ Credit: Dave Markel Photography.
Mapped: How the US Generates Electricity. Carbon Brief has a fascinating infographic that highlights the most pervasive source of electricity for the grid from coast to coast. Check it out; here’s a clip: “…Supplying electricity to a nation’s homes, business and industry is an almost uniquely challenging enterprise. For now, electrical energy is either expensive or inconvenient to store, meaning supply and demand must be balanced in real time. It is also easier to generate power close to home than to transport it over long distances. The way electricity is generated fundamentally depends on the fuels and technologies available. The march of progress means this mix is changing – but natural resources and geographies are fixed. Moreover, US states have broad powers to influence the electricity systems within their borders. Putting the US electricity system on a map offers visual confirmation of how important these factors are. Why is solar so prevalent in North Carolina, for example? Or coal in West Virginia?...”
Map credit: “Imagery provided by services from the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), operated by the NASA/GSFC/Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) with funding provided by NASA/HQ.”
Don’t Market EVs as “Green”. Promote something a granola-munching hippy might drive? Not so much, according to the author of a story at Inside EVs: “…Faster, cooler, smarter, more fun to drive… and good for the environment. Electric vehicles (EVs) are all that and more. That’s why I’m calling for an immediate ban on “green” stereotypes from all EV marketing efforts. No more talking flowers, dancing animals or smiling trees—ever. Why? Because EVs don’t need to win the hearts of environmentalists. They had them at hello. The hearts they have to win are those who don’t believe EVs are the future. But alas, the writing is on the wall. More and more manufacturers are committed to producing all-electric vehicles, including big players like GM, Porsche, BMW and Jaguar. If great marketing helps build an emotional connection between your target consumer and your product/service, then these manufacturers must court self-proclaimed “car buffs”—like me. It’s actually quite simple. You go after what drives people to have a passion for cars and driving…”
Maybe It’s Time to Cede US Freeways to Driverless Cars. An article at WIRED.com caught my eye: “…Autonomous vehicles are truly on the way, but until they complete their conquest, they’ll have to share the road with awful human drivers. People are unpredictable. They don’t always follow the rules. They get distracted, brake late and hard, and make aggressive lane changes. They’ve already proved a menace to the robots: A quick check of records from the California DMV shows humans have a nasty habit of rear-ending driverless cars stopped at red lights or stop signs.The solution? Keep ’em separate. Give each class of car its own lanes, or even entire roads. That’s the thrust of a white paper proposal that imagines an “autonomous vehicle corridor” replacing the I-5 freeway between Seattle and Vancouver. In other words, that entire stretch of critical roadway linking two major cities across an international border would be given over to driverless cars by 2040, with no old-fashioned, human piloted, cars allowed...”
Image credit: Madrona Venture Group.
There’s Enough Wind Energy Over the Oceans to Power Human Civilization. A story at The Washington Post made me do a double-take: “New research published on Monday finds there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate “civilization scale power” — assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments. It’s very unlikely that we would ever build out open ocean turbines on anything like that scale — indeed, doing so could even alter the planet’s climate, the research finds. But the more modest message is that wind energy over the open oceans has large potential — reinforcing the idea that floating wind farms, over very deep waters, could be the next major step for wind energy technology…”
Photo credit: “
No, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Turns out the Rolling Stones lyrics have a creation story in lovely Excelsior, Minnesota, as reported by swnewsmedia.com: “…According to local lore, Jimmy ordered a cherry Coke and saw Mick Jagger. In later interviews, Jimmy said he introduced himself to the musician and Jagger called him Mr. Jimmy. When Jimmy’s drink came, it was a regular Coke instead of the cherry he wanted. He pointed it out to Jagger, but added “You can’t always get what you want.” Whether Jimmy actually had anything to do with the song that came out several years later is an issue that’s long been debated. A lot of people believe that the Mr. Jimmy mentioned in the song refers to Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. During the Tapping History presentation, the audience will hear from a woman who was a waitress that day at Bacon, who remembers serving Jimmy a regular Coke because they were out of cherry syrup and hearing him say the famous line...”
That Halloween Costume May Give You Head Lice. Other than that, go for it! Huffington Post reports: “…Doctors usually see a jump in head lice this time of year. Although many people associate it with the start of the school year, the real cause may be even scarier: Halloween costumes. Cherie Sexton, a nurse practitioner in Oregon, Ohio, says trying on Halloween costumes is a real bugaboo. “We have a lot of people going into stores right now, trying on masks, trying on costumes and trying on wigs,” Sexton told Toledo station WTOL-TV. “And a lot of people don’t give much thought to the fact that several people could’ve tried it on before them.” Sexton’s solutions might strike some as nitpicking:
- Never try on a mask in a store without wearing a bathing cap over your hair...”
Ikea Just Launched a Pet Furniture Collection. This is why North Korea hates us. Bored Panda explains: “IKEA is well known for stocking everything you could possibly need to make a house a home (plus plenty of things that you don’t need, yet somehow still end up buying). One thing they’ve always lacked however is a collection of furniture specifically designed for pets, but IKEA aims to change all of that with its new range called Lurvig. What’s a lurvig? It’s the Swedish word for “hairy” (obviously) and the range includes everything from dog beds and couch covers to cat tunnels and scratching posts...”
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” – Helen Keller
TODAY: Partly sunny skies. Winds: SE 7-12. High: near 60
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: More clouds, risk of a shower or sprinkle. Low: 52
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, breezy and milder. Winds: S 10-15. High: 65
FRIDAY: Clouds increase, slight PM shower risk. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 52. High: 62
SATURDAY: Another round of mostly PM showers – windy and cool. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 45. High: 57
SUNDAY: Showers taper, chilling breeze. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 54
MONDAY: Sunny and milder again. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High: 60
TUESDAY: Sunny and very pleasant. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 47. High: 66
Scientists Say Cost of Capturing CO2 Declining. The Associated Press reports: “Technology now in limited use removes about 90 percent of carbon dioxide from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, but energy experts say cost remains the chief obstacle to bringing the “clean coal” touted by President Donald Trump into the mainstream. They cite recent advances in applying the longstanding technology, despite some earlier setbacks, but say the U.S. power sector needs bigger tax credits or other incentives to close the cost gap for using them….The U.S. has successfully cut other smokestack pollutants, including sulfur, nitrogen and mercury. But carbon dioxide is a bigger challenge because there is so much of it. Coal- and gas-fired electrical generators produce about 30 percent of CO2 from human activity. Other industries like cement, steel and fertilizer manufacturing add another 20 to 25 percent. Farming and vehicles are also major contributors…”
Knocking at our Door: Climate Change and Conflict. Minnpost explains the shifts in rainfall, drought and sea level rise impacting local populations and migration patterns: “…Looking beyond Syria, we see the challenges caused by climate change in many places: rising sea levels in Bangladesh, drought in Somalia, and flooding in Pakistan. It is a tragedy when we view these events as a “problem over there,” effectively disregarding their significance. As individuals and entire groups are displaced by these environmental disasters, the risk of conflict increases around the world. It is even more tragic, however, and one of our greatest threats, when climate change is viewed as a hoax or when the underlying scientific evidence is argued as fake. Climate change is a reality, it is a global phenomenon, and the consequences are knocking at our door: witness Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While there certainly are stark differences between Texas and Syria, each new environmental catastrophe brings the risk of social unrest and conflict closer to our door.”
Photo credit: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed. “The Syrian conflict can be viewed, in part, as a product of climate change.”
Climate Change and Harvey. Here’s an excerpt from a story at The Battalion, from Texas A&M: “When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August, the country watched as the storm dumped more than 60 inches of rain throughout South Texas. Now, experts like Andrew Dessler, atmospheric sciences professor at Texas A&M, are saying that climate change played a role in the size and intensity of Hurricane Harvey. According to Dessler, climate change doesn’t create storms, but it does strengthen preexisting storms. “The occurrence of a storm itself is largely [due to] chance and other environmental factors like El Niños and internal variability,” Dessler said. “The way humans have affected it is they have made the impacts of the storms a little bit worse.” Dessler said as humans continue to warm the ocean and climate, storm conditions intensify…”