47 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
52 F. average high on October 28.
49 F. high on October 28, 2014.

.26″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday as of 7 PM.

October 29, 2004: Exceptionally muggy for October. Dew points surged into the middle to upper 60’s over central and southern Minnesota. Ladybugs are extremely active.
October 29, 1955: Early snow with 2.2 inches in the Twin Cities.
October 29, 1905: Snowfall accumulated in south central Minnesota. Snow totals included 7 inches at Fairmont, 6 inches at Farmington, 4.5 inches at Montevideo, 4 inches at Faribault, and 3 inches at New London.

Slowly Improving Weather
Halloween 2015 Preview

This year I’m dressing up as El Nino for Halloween. Chances are I won’t get much candy, just dental floss and tooth brushes. Oh well. Which reminds me of a Los Angeles resident, Al Nino, who got threatening phone calls during the last big El Nino event in 1998.

No, you can’t fix stupid.

No Halloween Superstorm this year. In 1991 a total of 28.4 inches of snow fell over 3 days, shattering a long list of records. My Saab Turbo couldn’t get out of the driveway; KARE-11 had to send their Chief Engineer in a Suburban to shuttle me to the station. Great memories. MSP picked up 47 inches of snow in November of 1991; a total of 84.1 inches for the winter.

Sometimes early snowstorms and arctic fronts set the tone for the winter to come. Not every winter, but many. El Nino may take some sting out of the coldest cold fronts this year.

Skies clear later today as winds ease. A stray shower can’t be ruled out for Halloween but highs reach the upper 50s, well above the average high of 51F.

Expect sunny 60s Sunday & Monday; a shot at 70F Tuesday before the inevitable temperature tumble.
Thanks to the late, great Chris Farley for participating in today’s weather column. He was the original El Nino, and his skit on Saturday Night Live was legendary. The video clip is here, courtesy of NBC. We miss you, Chris.
Halloween Superstorm Snowfall Totals. This is actually totals over 3 days, from October 31-November 2, 1991, a swatch of 20″ or more from the Twin Cities to the North Shore. Over 30″ fell around Duluth and Superior. Wikipedia has a good summary of the storm, for those of you who want to savor the memories, for some odd reason.
Remembering 1991. 8.2″ fell on Halloween that year, but nearly 47″ fell in November (snowiest ever at MSP) and the entire winter saw 84.1″, about 30″ more than average. Of course most of that extra snow came in one storm. Data source: Minnesota Climate Office.
Halloween Climatology. It won’t be the warmest Halloween on record; that honor goes to 1950. It won’t be the coldest either, or the snowiest or the rainiest. A couple of pop-up showers or sprinkles can’t be ruled out during the PM hours Saturday, but most of the day should be dry with readings in the 50s. Source: AerisWeather.
Halloween Extremes at MSP. The 8.2″ on October 31, 1991 was the opening salvo of the Halloween Superstorm, which went on to dump 28.4″ on the Twin Cities over nearly 3 days. I won’t forget that storm anytime soon.
St. Cloud Numbers. Yes, it really did get down to 10F on October 31, 1951. By comparison this year will be a bargain with morning temperatures at KSTC in the mid and upper 40s, Trick-or-Treat temperatures near 50F. Not bad, considering we could be knee-deep in snow.
St. Cloud Extremes. A 1.42″ soaking was observed on Halloween, 1922, while 1951 brought a cool 2″ of snow on the ground for Halloween fun. This year looks tame, by comparison.

10-Day Snowfall Potential. NOAA’s GFS model shows a little slush potential north and east of MSP this morning; another surge oof snow across the Rockies and Intermountain West next week. Source: AerisWeather.

Calming Down – Lukewarm Start to November. European guidance shows a raw day today, but winds slowly ease after lunch. Showers are possible Friday night with an isolated instability shower possible on Halloween. Sunday looks better (I still think we may nudge 60F). 60s are likely next Monday and Tuesday, when the mercury may hit 70F if the sun stays out. Source: Weatherspark.

Mid-November: Modified Zonal Flow. We’ll see cold pushes of air looking out 2 weeks, but no polar punches are brewing. Not yet. Winds aloft are forecast to blow predominately from the west, from British Columbia, which should deflect the coldest air north of Minnesota. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.
Spring Isn’t The Only Time for Tornadoes. WXshift explains the much smaller, secondary maxima in tornado touch-downs in late October and early November as the wicked winds of winter begin to penetrate farther south, brewing up the dynamics required for supercells and tornadoes. Here’s an excerpt: “…Spring is prime time for these conditions, as winter’s chill transitions to summer’s heat and the wilder movements of the jet stream bring those air masses into more frequent battle. Fall is another transition season, only in the opposite direction, and it can also cause air masses to clash and produce unsettled weather. So while the main peak in tornado activity comes during spring — usually from April through early June — there is a second, though much smaller, peak in late fall. So pretty much now...”

Graphic credit above: “November tornado touchdowns in the U.S. in November (1950-2013).” Credit: United States Tornadoe
Weather on Demand: Making it Rain is Now a Global Business. Bloomberg Business has a fascinating article about what is, and what is not, possible with cloud seeding. Which gets back to a previous thought: any weather modification business would have a handful of mad scientists, and 50 lawyers to deal with the steady stream of lawsuits. Pleasing all the people all the time is just not possible. Trust me. Here’s an excerpt: “…There’s little dispute that if you can actually get the seeding material inside the clouds, it will enhance precipitation,” says Dan Breed, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The question is, by how much?” Just as it’s hard to predict the weather, it’s hard to really know if you’ve made it rain or not. Breed’s own research—a nine-year, $14 million government-funded study he completed last year in collaboration with WMI and the University of Wyoming—found that seeding increased snowfall 5 percent to 15 percent from clouds in two Wyoming mountain ranges...”
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
Study Finds Power Stations at Risk from Storm Surge. Water is essential to cool power stations, which is great, until water levels start to rise – which is already well underway. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Central: “…The paper, which uses sea level rise data compiled by Climate Central scientists, shows that rising seas will allow storm surges to inundate areas farther and farther inland. Sixty-eight electric power plants and 415 major substations along the East and Gulf coasts are vulnerable to storm surge from a Category 3 hurricane today, a number likely to grow as seas rise and storm surges become deeper. The analysis urges regulators to rely less on historical flooding data when planning for future storm scenarios and more on future climate and sea level rise projections…”

Photo credit above: “Power plant in New York City.” Credit: m01229/flickr
High Water. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting analysis at Open Mind: “…Don’t let the name “nuisance flooding” fool you. It’s more than just a nuisance, making roads impassable, backing up storm drains, seriously hurting local businesses, actually threatening important infrastructure, and in some places (like Miami) it’s a major threat to the local water table. Just because it doesn’t threaten to cause local chaos or immediate loss of life, doesn’t mean it won’t cost. Big. In Miami, they’re already spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to deal with it. Hundreds of millions — and that’s just the beginning. When they’re done with their hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars pumping station installation it won’t be enough, because sea level will already be higher than it is now...”
We Need a Federal Plan for Flood Preparation. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the former mayor of Portland, Oregon at The New York Times: “…The risks are mounting. Climate change is warming our oceans, making extreme storms more likely, and rising seas are increasing the threat to coastal communities. FEMA and other federal agencies should be empowered to adopt a more progressive system that rewards cities and towns for investing in resiliency measures. We also need the U.S. government to follow-through on its goals to cut emissions and make our shores and communities safer for the long run. A growing number of voices at the state level are looking for a better national response. This past weekend, elected officials from 18 of the 23 coastal states, with views across the political spectrum, gathered in New Hampshire to discuss the increasing economic costs of sea level rise. But we still need an overarching federal strategy to address this national problem…”

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.

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...”
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.
What Killed America’s Climate-Saving Nuclear Rennaisance? Like it or not, nuclear will have to be part of the equation to avert a worst-case scenario; it’s the only energy source that scales rapidly in the short-term. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg Business: “…One doesn’t hear much about the nuclear renaissance these days. A decade ago, when Southern started on Vogtle Units 3 and 4, nuclear was poised for a revival. It had backing not only from utility executives but also from climate activists feeling new affection for its low-carbon emission profile. With President Obama’s Clean Power Plan—aiming for 32 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and officially enacted on Oct. 23—nuclear ought to be booming right about now...” (Graphic credit: Georgia Power Company).
How America Became Addicted to Air Conditioning. And I’m just as guilty as the next guy. Here’s some perspective in an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: “…Only now is the US waking up to the environmental cost of such massive energy consumption – and to the chilling prospect that the rest of the world may follow its example. The proportion of homes in Chinese cities with air conditioning rocketed from 8% to 70% between 1995 and 2004. US statistics are bracing. A nation with 318 million people accounting for just 4.5% of world population consumes more energy for air conditioning than the rest of the world combined. It uses more electricity for cooling than Africa, population 1.1 billion, uses for everything...”

Image credit: Failblog.org.
In The Past 5 Years At Least 6 Americans Have Been Shot by Dogs. A surreal headline you’d expect to see at TMZ, but this time it’s The Washington Post; here’s an excerpt: “…But we’ve got a lot more guns here in America than people in other countries do — almost half the world’s private stock, by some estimates. So it stands to reason that firearm accidents involving dogs will be more common here too. It’s not scientific proof of anything, but simply a reminder that guns are an ever-present element of many Americans lives. Many of these dog-shoots-man stories often involve hunting mishaps...”
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: Damp start, slow PM clearing as winds begin to ease a little. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 48

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clearing, chilly. Low: 37

FRIDAY: Some sun. Showers possible at night. Winds: S 10-15. High: 53

HALLOWEEN: Sunny peeks, isolated PM shower? Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 57

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

MONDAY: Lukewarm November day. Wake-up: 49. High: 67

TUESDAY: Last day for shorts? Wow. Warm sun. Wake-up: 55. High: 71

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, turning cooler. Wake-up: 50. High: 57 (falling)

* Photo credit above: Michiko Smith.
Climate Stories…
Climate Change and Creation Care. It seems that Pope Francis kicked off the world’s conversation on the moral aspect of climate change. However, for years just about every major religion in the world has a statement on the need to confront climate change on behalf of the poor. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice states, “The earth is a planet of beauty and abundance; the earth system is wonderfully intricate and incredibly complex. But today living creatures, and the air, soil, and water that support them, face unprecedented threats. Many threats are global; most stem directly from human activity. Our current practices may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner we know.”

On Saturday, November 7th at 9a in Prior Lake, MN Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church is hosting a Creation Care event that will examine the intersection of faith, climate change and weather. Presenters include myself, Dr. John Abraham (climate scientist from the University of St. Thomas) and faith leaders from the Lutheran, Methodist, MCC and Catholic church. RSVP at: http://www.sollc.org/creationcare.

Will Hacking Nature Protect us From Climate Change? It will have to be a very large hack, which is possible – perhaps new technologies and innovations we can’t even imagine today will come along. But do we count on that, or take out a (small) insurance policy today? here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at CNN.com: “…What people don’t grasp is the sheer size,” said Dr. Klaus Lackner, director of Arizona State University’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. “If you drive a car, you put out about a pound of CO2 per mile. Per person, we put out 15 tons of CO2 per year.” There are limits, Lackner said, to how much CO2 we can capture and store. Assuming that problem will be figured out eventually, Lackner and other ASU scientists are developing a machine that can pull CO2 out of thin air...”

Image credit above: “An artist’s rendition of CO2-scrubbing Boston Treepods.”

Climate Deal More Important For Your Health Than You Realize: WHO. I think we can all agree that less pollution is a good thing. Here’s an excerpt from Reuters: “A new global agreement to combat climate change, due to be reached in December in Paris, is more important for everyone’s health than many people realise, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday. Apart from the direct impact, disasters like heatwaves and floods increase the risk of infectious diseases spreading, while air pollution in cities causes diseases such as lung cancer and strokes, said Maria Neira, the head of public health at WHO. The WHO estimates that 7 million people a year die as a result of air pollution, which is made worse by rising temperatures, especially in cities...” (File image: NASA).
Prince Charles Warns Financial Sector of Climate Risk. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Change News: “…He said: “All investors must decide if they will be ‘future takers’ – in other words, those who ignore the risks from climate change, to the potential detriment of long-term returns…“…or ‘future makers’ – those who recognise the magnitude of longer-term risks and seek to reduce the level of global warming through their investment and engagement activities.” To avoid the 2C danger zone by the end of the century, two-thirds of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground, scientists say. That would make many coal mines, oil rigs and gas fields worthless, sending shockwaves through the financial system…”

Photo credit above: Flickr/ Glenn Euloth.
Global Warming Could Be More Devastating for the Economy Than We Thought. Here’s a clip from The Guardian: “A new study published in Nature by scientists at Stanford and UC Berkeley has made waves for its finding that thus far we have dramatically underestimated the damage human-caused climate change will do to the global economy. By looking at data from 160 countries across the 50-year period from 1960 to 2010, the authors found that an average local temperature of 13°C (55°F) is economically optimal, particularly for agricultural productivity. That temperature roughly reflects the current climate in many wealthy countries like the USA, Japan, France, and China.…”
Photo credit above: “Long Island farmer Hank Kraszewski Jr., surveying extensive damage to his field of Superior early variety potatoes in Southampton, N.Y., where plants were killed by continued high temperatures and lack of rain. A new study has found that GDP and agricultural productivity fall when average temperatures rise above 13°C.” Photograph: Kathy Willens/Associated Press.

Climate Villains. Are we being too tough on ExxonMobil? They protected their bottom line, but did they protect the common good? Do they, as corporate citizens, have a responsibility to protect the common good. Wait, corporation are now “people” (thank you Citizens United) so this could make for an interesting legal showdown. As usual the lawyers will make out very well in this case, and litigation to come. Here’s an excerpt of a Paul Krugman Op-Ed at The New York Times: “…First, it’s now very clear that Exxon has been spending millions of dollars to prevent public action against a slow-motion catastrophe it itself was well aware was on its way. The company’s own research pointed to global warming as a serious problem almost 40 years ago — but it has gone all out to confuse the issue, basically trying to get itself another few decades of profits at humanity’s expense. The cynicism is remarkable. Meanwhile, David Roberts has a piece pointing out the McCarthyite tactics the House science committee has been using to persecute and intimidate scientists, especially but not only those working on climate...”

File image: Don Ryan, AP.

ExxonMobil’s Funding of Climate Science Denial. Why? Perhaps because acknowledging their own in-house scientists’ growing concerns about fossil fuels warming the planet might be bad for business and the bottom line. Here’s an excerpt from DeSmogBlog: “…As Bill McKibben summed it up best, 

“ExxonMobil, the world’s largest and most powerful oil company, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the mid-1980s, and then spent the next few decades systematically funding climate denial and lying about the state of the science.” But nobody has spent more time and energy researching and exposing Exxon’s climate denial campaign than Kert Davies, the creator of ExxonSecrets while he served as research director of Greenpeace USA. Davies, who now runs the Climate Investigations Center and continues to expose climate denial and attacks on solutions to global warming, worked with many researchers over the years (including DeSmog’s Brendan DeMelle and Kevin Grandia) to assemble a clear record of Exxon’s extensive funding of organizations and think tanks responsible for spreading doubt and denial about climate science...”

U.S. Agency Refuses Request for Climate Records. Is the political process hijacking sound science? Are scientists “cooking the books” to further a specific policy agenda? The agency in question here is NOAA. A valid conspiracy theory (oxymoron) or a witchhunt (with all due apologies to witches)? Here’s a link from Nature News & Comments “…The analysis, published in Science in June1, analyzed NOAA’s temperature records and found that global warming has continued apace in the early twenty-first century. The study contradicts previous findings — often cited by global-warming sceptics — suggesting that warming has slowed since the 1990s. Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who leads the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, asked NOAA in July for the data used in the study and for any internal communications related to it. NOAA has provided the committee with the publicly available data and has briefed committee staff on the research, but the agency has not turned over the communications. Although NOAA’s latest response to the committee skirted the issue, the agency suggests in a 27 October statement to Nature that it has no intention of handing over documents that reveal its internal deliberations…” (Image credit above: NOAA News).
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).