78 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Friday.
68 F. average high on September 25.
77 F. high on September 25, 2014.

September 26, 1980: Cold morning across Minnesota, with a low of 20 degrees at Tower and 16 at Embarrass.
September 26, 1942: 1.8 inches of snow fell in St. Cloud.

Supernaturally Green
Super-Sized Summer Continues

I’m thinking of moving to Bemidji. I drove north to give a talk to the American Planning Association on Thursday. I was reminded that most of Minnesota is still undeveloped. Untouched. Pristine. I was amazed to hear that Bemidji has 1 gigabit Internet speeds. Holy bandwidth!

But I was baffled to see so much green, so far north, in late September. A few splashes of yellow on sugar maples, but no vibrant Crayola colors just yet. Our extended summer may dull fall colors a bit; peak times pushed back at least 1-2 weeks from average.

Symptoms of the warmest year on record, worldwide, and El Nino? Probably.

One more weekend of shorts and T-shirts: 70s today, 80F tomorrow before cooling off next week. No full-frontal Canadian belch of cold air is brewing; more of a minor correction, with highs in the 60s. You know, “average”. More showers and storms are possible Wednesday; again next weekend, as a temperature tug-of-war plays out overhead.

Finally, the ECMWF (European) model prints out a possible tropical system near New Jersey on the first Sunday in October. What can possibly go wrong?

Sunday Night’s “Super Blood Moon”. It may be a spectacular lunar eclipse, if the weather cooperates, the last one of these until 2013. here’s an excerpt from Discover: “…Every object in the solar system casts a shadow. Large objects, like Earth, create big shadows that can engulf entire worlds, even if those worlds loom bigger than normal. On the night of September 27/28, the Full Moon plunges through Earth’s shadow for the second time this year, and this time, it’s the biggest Full Moon of 2015. The resulting total lunar eclipse lasts more than an hour and occurs during the evening across the Americas…”

Photo credit above: “Earth’s shadow will cover the Moon in shades of orange and red the evening of September 27, just as it did during this August 1989 eclipse.” Credit: Bill and Sally Fletcher.

Prime Time for Fog. September is peak month for fog, lazy clouds that form on the ground as temperatures fall to the dew point. The atmosphere is still moist (rain lingered longer than expected Thursday) and nights are longer, allowing the temperature to drop further, increasing the potential for dense fog. The midday visible satellite on Friday showed morning fog and stratus giving way to slow clearing. Loop: WeatherTap.

Monday Cool Front – Watching the Tropics. NOAA’s NAM model brings a puff of cooler, more seasonable air to Minnesota and the Upper Midwest by Monday, possibly sparking a few showers (ECMWF is wetter for Monday – we’ll see). There’s little doubt we’ll cool into the 60s for highs next week with some 50-degree highs up north. Meanwhile we’re watching a plume of moisture pushing across the Gulf of Mexico, and NHC says a 10% chance of tropical storm development in the coming days well south and east of the Carolinas.

Monsoon Season. NOAA’s 7-day rainfall model ensemble shows some 2-4″ amounts for the Gulf Coast, as much as 5-7″ for the Outer Banks of North Carolina – next week promises to be very wet for the east coast with a nagging flash flood risk.

Brisk Second Week of October. No major storms are brewing, but troughiness over the Upper Midwest may spark bouts of showers with 50s and a few 60s the second week of October, maybe a few degrees cooler than average. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.

The Ultimate Cold and Flu Survival Guide. CNN has some timely tips on steps you can take to lower your risk of a nasty bug this winter; here’s a snippet: “Each year, the typical adult can expect to contract two or three colds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Skip the annual flu vaccine and you set yourself up for a bout of that as well. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Aside from good hand washing (with soap, for at least 20 seconds), “there’s a lot you can do to drastically cut your risk of getting sick,” says Holly Phillips, MD, a general internist in New York City. “And even if you do catch a bug, you may be able to cut short the duration of your illness.” Arm yourself with these tips from the experts, and make this cold and flu season your healthiest yet...”

Breathing By The Numbers: Real-Time Global Air Pollution Data. Here’s an excerpt of a story at onEarth: “…Last week, a staggering environmental health statistic emerged: Air pollution is responsible for about 3.3 million premature deaths every year, more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. The authors of the study noted that quantifying pollution’s toll has been difficult due to a lack of data. But the World Air Quality Index, a new interactive map that broadcasts air-quality measurements from around the globe in real time, is helping us see where in the world we need to clear the air. Based in Beijing, the project works with international environmental agencies to glean information from more than 8,000 government monitoring stations across 1,000 cities...”

Scientists Discover “Weather” on Rosetta’s Comet. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting post at Gizmodo: “…Earth’s favorite comet is chock full of surprises. The latest? Weather, of sorts. According to research published this week in Nature, Comet 67P has a small weather system driven by an intense day-night cycle. We got our first hint of comet weather last August, when the Rosetta probe’s VIRTIS instrument sniffed a square kilometer-sized patch of ice in 67P’s “neck” region. Turns out, that ice patch sublimates into a cloud of water vapor when the sun rises, growing again when the neck rotates into darkness...”

When Tesla and Apple Compete to Out-Do Each Other on Electric Cars, the Planet Wins. Here’s a clip from a story at ThinkProgress: “…Whatever the outcome of this fight — and there is room for both companies — the real winner will be the public and the planet. Because electric cars are by far the best bet for the carbon-free car of the future as we’ve discussed many times. If an affordable mass-market EV can be built, hydrogen fuel-cell cars don’t have a value proposition. Apple’s entry into the arena — including its decision to triple the size of its car team to 1,800 — makes the electric car future that much more likely….”

Can Local TV Adapt To An On-Demand World. I’ve asked myself that question countless times; how do local broadcasters evolve their content to go from speech to conversation? What will make younger consumers want to watch clips on their smartphones? Relevance comes to mind. Here’s an excerpt from TVNewsCheck: “…For network affiliates, this powerful on-demand trend has been mostly bad news. Stuck in the linear rut, they not only have lost their exclusivity to network programming (and thus viewership), but they have not been able to take advantage of the trend themselves. That’s because pretty much the only programming they own is news. And, as I said, news has limited on-demand value. But is does have some. Whatever it is, stations have to milk it and many are — by liberating newscasts from the daily schedule and making them available along with news clips through various digital media…”

Always Wear Your Seatbelt In a Tornado. I have no idea where this was shot (Thailand?) but it’s a subtle, yet blunt, reminder that your seatbelt should be on at all times. I think the person who got sucked out of the vehicle is OK, but I have no other details. The video clip is quite remarkable, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Almost like it’s CG from a Hollywood movie, but this YouTube clip was real.

TODAY: Warm sun, beautiful. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 78

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 60

SUNDAY: Sunny, warm winds. Total lunar eclipse Sunday night. Winds: South 10-20. High: 82

MONDAY: Clouds increase – showers develop. Wake-up: 63. High: 72

TUESDAY: Blue sky, cooling off. Wake-up: 57. High: 64

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, comfortable. Wake-up: 51. High: 65

THURSDAY: Mix of clouds & sun, quiet. Wake-up: 49. High: 67

FRIDAY: Some sun, average temps. Wake-up: 51. High: 68

Climate Stories….Because Weather & Climate are Flip-Sides of the Same Coin:

Pope Francis Tells Congress: Be Courageous, Do Something About Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from Newsweek: “In his address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress Thursday morning, Pope Francis minced no words when it came to climate change. Referencing his recent influential encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, the pope called on the United States to make a “courageous and responsible effort” to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity…”

Photo credit above: “Speaking slowly and clearly in English, Pope Francis addresses the joint meeting of Congress.” Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.

Pope Francis Addresses Congress: Full Remarks. Vox has a transcript of the Pope’s remarks on Thursday; here’s an excerpt focused on stewardship: “…In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead...”

We Must United to Safeguard God’s Creation: Column. Four religious leaders have an Op-Ed at USA TODAY; here’s a clip: “…We also have the responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Climate change and poor air quality are already posing risks to economic stability and human health. From increases in heat related deaths to higher numbers of asthma attacks, from lost job opportunities to increases in food prices, low-income communities, Indigenous communities and communities of color suffer disproportionately from climate change impacts, particularly in nations that lack the resources to help these communities adapt...”

Purdue Study: Climate Change Consensus Extends Beyond Climate Scientists. Here’s an excerpt of a press release from Purdue University: “A Purdue University-led survey of nearly 700 scientists from nonclimate disciplines shows that more than 90 percent believe that average global temperatures are higher than pre-1800s levels and that human activity has significantly contributed to the rise. The study is the first to show that consensus on human-caused climate change extends beyond climate scientists to the broader scientific community, said Linda Prokopy, a professor of natural resource social science. “Our survey indicates that an overwhelming majority of scientists across disciplines believe in anthropogenic climate change, are highly certain of these beliefs and find climate science to be credible,” Prokopy said…”

Musk: We’re Headed for a Climate Refugee Nightmare. Tech Insider has the story – here’s a clip: “Billionaire visionary Elon Musk painted a bleak picture of the future on Wednesday when he said the current refugee crisis is just a glimpse of what we can expect if nothing is done to address climate change. “Today’s refugee problem is perhaps a small indication of what the future will be like if we do not take action with respect to climate change,” Musk said during his opening remarks at a business seminar organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin on Thursday…”

File photo above: Michael Nagle/The New York Times.

Exxon’s Global Warming Projections Were Nearly Spot On. Here’s the intro to a story at Clean Technica: “Look at the graph at the top of the post. This is a graph from the now famous Exxon documents that date to 1981, explaining how Exxon scientists were projecting global warming with continued release of the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere. There is a lot written about that work which remained secret until just a few days ago. The timing of this expose is interesting because it comes at about the same moment as a call to use US RICO laws to investigate and possibly prosecute those who seem to have been conspiring for a long time muddy the waters about the science of climate change in order to put off taking action that might financially hurt Big Petrol...”

China to Launch National Pollution-Trading System to Cut Emissions. It’s a version of cap and trade; China appears to be serious about lowering (all) forms of pollution. Their leaders realize they have a problem that could lead to civil unrest, even revolution. Across much of China you can’t breathe the air, drink the water or eat the food. Other than that things are going well. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg Business: “China will start a national pollution-trading system to cut global warming emissions and make a substantial financial commitment to help poorer countries move away from fossil fuels, two U.S. officials said. In a joint announcement with the U.S., China also will outline changes intended to favor electricity produced domestically by sources that will pollute less, the officials told reporters on a conference call Thursday...”

Obama Takes on Climate Change. The reaction I get from a lot of Republicans is: “If Al Gore and President Obama are for it a). it must be wrong, and b). I should do exactly the opposite. Probably not the most intellectually sound reaction, but this issue has gotten caught up in the political food-fight. Where can we find consensus? Here’s the excerpt of an interview at RollingStone: “…But if we’re going to get our arms around this problem, which I think we can, then we are going to have to take into account the fact that the average American right now, even if they’ve gotten past climate denial, is still much more concerned about gas prices, getting back and forth from work, than they are about the climate changing. And if we are not strategic about how we talk about the issue and work with all the various stakeholders on this issue, then what will happen is that this will be demagogued and we will find ourselves in a place where we actually have slower progress rather than faster progress. So the science doesn’t change. The urgency doesn’t change. But part of my job is to figure out what’s my fastest way to get from point A to point B — what’s the best way for us to get to a point where we’ve got a clean-energy economy…”

Photo credit above: “President Obama in Kotzebue, Alaska.” Photograph by Mark Seliger.

Climate Change Reporting in Nation’s Leading Newspapers Influenced by Management’s Political Leanings, Study Finds. Is the media “fueling polarization” or merely reporting on the politcal polarization around climate change? I know…shocking; details and an excerpt from phys.org: “When it comes to reporting on climate change, the nation’s four most widely read newspapers are being influenced by management’s political positions, despite the tradition in American print journalist that editorials should not have any effect on straight news coverage…”

Image credit: “Rutger’s Lauren Feldman says study makes her feel concerned about the media’s role in potentially fueling the polarization around climate change.”

The Deeply Moving Video on Climate Change That Every World Leader Should See. Future Tense at Slate has a link to the video; here’s an explanation excerpt: “...It’s rare to find a way to explain all that in two minutes that’s easily accessible, but that’s exactly what this video does. The poet Savon Bartley’s message reminds me of another poem, by the Marshall Islands’ Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, which brought leaders to tears at last year’s General Assembly. It seems the U.N. is beginning to realize that impenetrable diplomatic jargon just isn’t enough when you’re talking about the fate of the planet. “We have to reach the audience that isn’t being spoken to,” Bartley told me. “There’s an entire generation that has no idea what’s going on...”