76 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Monday (KMSP).
82 F. average high on June 27.
83 F. high on June 27, 2015.
June 28, 1876: The latest ice breakup in history for Duluth occurs on Lake Superior.

Game of Fronts – 4th of July Holiday Edition

The holiday weather outlook is dark and full of terrors. HBO’s Game of Thrones is addictive, and they talk about the weather! “Winter is coming” could be Minnesota’s official state motto.
Amnesia has set in; we simply can’t remember that 4 months ago people were driving on area lakes. Now we’re using them to search for walleye and solace from buzzing smartphones. Summer has arrived.

So why does it feel like mid-September out there? The same persistent high pressure bubble sparking record heat and wildfires out west has turned our jet stream winds aloft to the northwest. A family of cool fronts will treat us to a touch of autumn into Saturday, dew points more typical of early October than late June.

Today will be postcard-worthy with cobalt-blue skies & less wind. Showers sprout on Thursday as a reinforcing push of cool air arrives. Comfortable sunshine Saturday gives way to 80F Sunday; 80-85F on the 4th of July with sticky humidity levels and a few T-storms on the 4th of July. Monday looks like a typical summer day.

Hopefully no White Walkers or Winnebego-size dragons showing up on Doppler radar.

Comfortable Week – Minor Summer Sweat Returns Early Next Week. ECMWF (European) temperature guidance predicts 70s for highs at KMSP into Saturday with lows in the 50s. Surface winds swing around to the southeast by Sunday, then southerly on Monday, pulling warmer air back into town. Graphic: WeatherBell.

July Sweatshirts. Temperatures may start out in the 40s Friday morning for the Brainerd Lakes area into the Arrowhead. If you’re out early you will want to bring along a sweatshirt or light jacket. You’ll swear it’s September out there. Temperature model ensemble: NOAA and Aeris Enterprise.

Wind Forecast. Winds are forecast to ease up a  bit today, but increase over the holiday weekend as the pressure gradient tightens up overhead with warmer air approaching from Iowa and the Dakotas. Sustained winds on Lake Calhoun, White Bear and Minnetonka are forecast to be in the 10-20 mph range on the 4th of July, with higher gusts.

“Historic”  Flood Engulfs Greenbrier Golf Course, Home to PGA Event in 2 Weeks. Here’s an update at The Capital Weather Gang: “A relentless torrent of rain swept over West Virginia Thursday, flooding many areas in the state. Greenbrier County, home of the famed Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, was among the hardest hit. Floodwaters inundated the Greenbrier’s signature golf course, where the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour’s Greenbrier Classic is scheduled in two weeks. It’s unclear whether the course will recover in time. “It’s like nothing I’ve seen,” said Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier in a statement…”

Photo credit: “A view of the flooded Greenbrier golf courses on June 24.” (Richard Puckett via Terry Deremer, Greenbrier Resort).

Heat Waves Make for Less Friendly Skies. More heat = less lift, which has implications for your next flight. Here’s an excerpt of an interview at Science Friday: “Last week, a United Airlines flight to Phoenix was forced to turn back to Houston just before landing. The culprit? Extreme heat, which affects an airplane’s lift during takeoff and landing due to reduced air pressure. Other factors, such as the amount of oxygen available to engines, the altitude of the airport, and runway length also play a role, says Marilyn Smith, an aviation expert at Georgia Tech. And as global temperatures rise, some experts say climate change could hit the aviation industry, flooding runways, increasing turbulence, and changing trans-Atlantic flight times…”

Study Links 6.5 Million Deaths Each Year to Air Pollution. The New York Times reports: “A sobering report released on Monday by the International Energy Agency says air pollution has become a major public health crisis leading to around 6.5 million deaths each year, with “many of its root causes and cures” found in the energy industry. The air pollution study is the first for the agency, an energy security group based in Paris, which is expanding its mission under its executive director, Fatih Birol...”

What It Might Take to Protect the World’s Biggest Naval Base From Rising Seas. PRI, Public Radio International, takes a look at the vulnerability of the Tidewater region to the 1-2 punch of rising seas and land subsidence, with impacts already observed by the U.S. Navy: “…Norfolk is the home port for the cruisers, destroyers and battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. Rising sea levels and increasing storm surges there are already having an impact on military readiness. “It’s not the boats that are the issue, they’re designed to be in water,” said Captain Pat Rios, who until May was the head engineer for the Navy’s mid-Atlantic region. “The issue with sea-level rise is less about the ship, it’s more about the system that supports the ship.” That system sits on more than 6,000 acres in Norfolk, on a point of land in southern Virginia near where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean…”

Photo credit: “Naval Station Norfolk may experience as much as six feet of relative sea-level rise by the end of the century. Defense officials are beginning to work with nearby city governments to ensure vital infrastructure is protected.” Credit: Navy handout obtained by Reuters in 2013.

Fading Fishermen: A Historic Industry Faces a Warming World. Here’s a clip from a Washington Post story: “…Though no waters are immune to the ravages of climate change, the Gulf of Maine, a dent in the coastline from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, best illustrates the problem. The gulf, where fishermen have for centuries sought lobster, cod and other species that thrived in its cold waters, is now warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, scientists have said. The warming waters, in the gulf and elsewhere, have caused other valuable species, such as clams, to migrate to deeper or more northern waters. Others, such as lobsters, have largely abandoned the once-lucrative waters off the southern New England states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, having become more susceptible to disease or predators…”

Photo credit: “In this April 23, 2016 photo David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country’s most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England’s most recognized fish for more than 30 years.” (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press).

We Are At Risk of Loving Our National Parks To Death. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Seattle Times Editorial Board: “…The parks have inspired a century of poetry and prose — including writer Wallace Stegner’s succinct comment that national parks are “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Amid record attendance, the parks system is, conversely, also at peril for being taken for granted. The challenge of underfunding threatens the parks’ present while climate change threatens the parks’ future. Both demand attention and collaborative action at the local and federal level to ensure the wilderness gifts are multigenerational…”

Photo credit: “Lenticular or cap clouds form around Mount Rainier in February 2015.” (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Sweden Opens World’s First Electric Highway. EcoWatch has the details: “A 22 kilometer (or roughly 13 miles) stretch of the E16 road—which connects Oslo, Norway, to Gävle, Sweden—is fitted with power lines overhead, developed by Siemens, providing electricity to hybrid trucks. The system works like a tram system. A current collector on the trucks will transfer energy from the power lines to the trucks’ hybrid electric motors, Sputnik News reported. The electric lines help trucks operate longer between recharges. “Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions,” Lena Erixon, director general of transport authority Trafikverket, said...”

Photo credit: “Electric-powered trucks are expected to cut 80 to 90 percent of fossil fuel emissions in Sweden.”

Solar Power to Grow Sixfold as Sun Becoming Cheapest Resource. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg Technology: “The amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Solar plants using photovoltaic technology could account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said in a report Wednesday. The average cost of electricity from a photovoltaic system is forecast to plunge as much as 59 percent by 2025, making solar the cheapest form of power generation “in an increasing number of cases,” it said..”

Here’s Where Solar Energy Shines in the U.S. Climate Central has the story – here’s a clip: “…The price paid for electricity varies across the country, depending on how it is generated and other factors. But according to the Department of Energy, the average national price of electricity to residential customers is about 12 cents per kWh. If a home gets 400 kWh a month from solar, it would cut the annual energy bill for the average home by around $600. Since 2008, the cost of generating electricity from solar panels has been cut in half. The number of U.S. solar installations have increased by a factor of 17 over that period, and they now have the capacity topower the equivalent of 4 million average American homes. With solar panel costs expected to continue falling, solar energy may become an increasingly attractive proposition to homeowners…”

The World’s Losers are Revolting, and Brexit Is Only The Beginning. Here’s a clip from a Washington Post story: “…A British exit, or Brexit, will make the country poorer in the short run, perhaps in the long run too, and might drag the rest of Europe down with it. That’s because Britain is essentially ripping up its free trade deal with the rest of Europe. But of far greater concern than just dollars and cents is that this is the most significant setback in Europe’s 60-year quest for “ever closer union,” and the most shocking success for the new nationalism sweeping the Western world. Brexit, in other words, is the end of the end of history…”

Did NASA Fake the Moon Landing? Yes, you have the right to believe whatever nonsense you want to believe, but that doesn’t make it right. Here’s an excerpt of a gentle debunking at Quora: “…The MLDs (Moon Landing Deniers) are not taking into account one very important human tendency: the tendency to blab. The “moon landings” happened nearly 50 years ago. Yet no one has come foward to collect a million dollars from Oprah or whoever to blab the inside story of Apollo. And show covert photos of Neil and Buzz sharing a laugh with their helmets off on the “lunar surface” set. Is this conceivable? In 50 years!..”
File photo: NASA.

An Incomplete if Exhaustive Tally of Recent Highway Truck Spills. I had no idea, but Atlas Obscura set me straight: “…If 2015 is any indication, though, 2016 probably has some catching up to do, because last year was a strong one for truck spills. Very strong. Among the things that spilled: ramen noodles under a bridge in North Carolina; ammonium nitrate, which can be used for bombsin Missouri; 80,000 pounds of human excrement in California (it was headed for a treatment plant); around 1,200 gallons of gas in California; a lot of printer ink on a highway in Virginia; exactly 6,500 gallons of yellow paint in Maryland; in Minnesota, a mysterious “liquid” spilled, reported to be slippery; concrete spilled over a quarter-mile stretch of highway in North Carolina; Budweiser beer all over a roadway in Florida, shutting it for three hours (the truck driver said he was distracted by a small dog he kept in the cab…”

TODAY: Sunny and perfect with light winds and low humidity. Winds: NW 3-8. High: 77
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 60
WEDNESDAY: Some sun, T-showers late up north. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 81

THURSDAY: Wettest day. Widespread showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 64. High: 76

FRIDAY: Sunny with low humidity. Wow. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 57. High: 74

SATURDAY: Plenty of mild sun, breezy. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 56. High: 78

SUNDAY: Sunny & warmer. Lake-friendly. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 82

4th of JULY: Sticky & warm. Few T-storms possible. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 62. High: 83

Climate Stories…

It’s Official: Humans Are Making The Earth Much Greener. Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post: “Earlier this month, NASA scientists provided a visualization of a startling climate change trend — the Earth is getting greener, as viewed from space, especially in its rapidly warming northern regions. And this is presumably occurring as more carbon dioxide in the air, along with warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons, makes plants very, very happy. Now, new research in Nature Climate Change not only reinforces the reality of this trend — which is already provoking debate about the overall climate consequences of a warming Arctic — but statistically attributes it to human causes, which largely means greenhouse gas emissions (albeit with a mix of other elements as well)…”

Image credit: “Using 29 years of data from Landsat satellites, researchers at NASA have found extensive greening in the vegetation across Alaska and Canada. Rapidly increasing temperatures in the Arctic have led to longer growing seasons and changing soil for plants.” (Cindy Starr/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center).

Climate Change Forcing Builders to Rethink How They Design Structures, Expert Says. Resilience isn’t a passing fad, it’s a trend. Here’s an excerpt from a story at CBC News: “…It’s becoming more accelerated with the extreme weather events we’re experiencing, whether it’s a snow event or a fire event in Fort McMurray or even the flooding that occurred a few years ago in Toronto,” Schroeder says. “People are now asking questions like, ‘How do I design my building to be more resilient?’ It’s becoming more difficult to put these things out of your mind when they’re happening with more frequency. It’s much more forefront in people’s minds…”

Photo credit: “After a wildfire destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, one expert says cities should begin rejecting proposed developments located near fire-prone forests or on flood plains in order to mitigate the damage from future natural disasters.” (Terry Reith/CBC).

U.S. States, Rockefellers Clash with U.S House Panel on Exxon Climate Probes. Here’s the intro to a story at Reuters: “With a number of U.S. states proceeding with investigations of Exxon Mobil Corp’s (XOM.N) record on climate change, the attorney general of Massachusetts and investment funds of the Rockefeller family on Friday told a Congressional committee it lacked powers to oversee those probes. The pushback is the latest chapter in a high-stakes fight between the world’s largest publicly traded oil company and a coalition of state attorneys general who have said they would go after Exxon to try and force action to tackle climate change…”

Photo credit: “Storage tanks are seen inside the Exxonmobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 6, 2015.” Reuters/Lee Celano.

Attorneys General Are Right to Pursue Exxon Mobil. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands at The Wall Street Journal: “…The Virgin Islands, along with other attorneys general, is seeking information to determine whether Exxon Mobil misrepresented what the company privately knew and publicly said about climate change. If it did, that could constitute fraud and violate our laws and the laws of other jurisdictions. Exxon Mobil and CEI are attempting to argue that the First Amendment protects them from producing the information that can shed light on whether they broke the law—a proposition the courts have routinely rejected…”

Exxon Mobil Is Abusing the First Ammendment. Here’s an excerpt of a Washington Post Op-Ed from the Dean of the Yale Law School: “…If ExxonMobil has committed fraud, its speech would not merit First Amendment protection. But the company nevertheless invokes the First Amendment to suppress a subpoena designed to produce the information necessary to determine whether ExxonMobil has committed fraud. It thus seeks to foreclose the very process by which our legal system acquires the evidence necessary to determine whether fraud has been committed. In effect, the company seeks to use the First Amendment to prevent any informed lawsuit for fraud.…”
Photo credit: “Activist Danna Miller Pyke protests near the Dallas site where the ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting is taking place in May.” (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press).

Not Just West Virginia. It’s a Hard Rain Fallin’. No, it’s not your imagination – warm season rains are falling harder, worldwide. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Denial Crock of the Week: “…So not only does a loading up of the hydrological cycle with moisture result in heavier rainfall events generally, it also results in a greater fraction of overall rainfall coming in the form of heavy rain. In other words climate change causes heavier rain on top of heavier rain. The worst events, as a result do not just get worse, they get much, much worse. And this is due to the added convection — or updrafts — that keep moisture in the air longer. In other words, the rain in a hotter world needs to be heavier to fall out of clouds that are pushed higher and with greater force by heat rising up off the Earth’s surface…” (Graphic: Lehmann et all, 2015).