80 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Friday.
72 F. average high on May 26.
81 F. high on May 26, 2016.

May 27, 1930: The Great Empire Builder Tornado occurs. A direct hit derails a famous train in Norman County.

Partly-Showery Holiday as We Ease Into Summer

It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. Until you lose.

Minnesotans become extra-sensitive to weather the next 3 months, jealously guarding 12 precious summer weekends. People become indignant when it rains on their up-north weekends, especially on major holidays. There’s no compelling evidence that raindrops are mysteriously attracted to fishing boats, campfires or swimming pools. It’s just we’re outside more; truly weather-aware. When it rains we make a mental note.

Today looks like the mildest day of the weekend with the sunniest weather over central and northern Minnesota. An area of showers overspreads southern Minnesota ahead of a cool front. The best chance of rain comes south of the Minnesota River; a shower may reach the MSP metro area by late afternoon or evening.

Winds swing around to the northwest Sunday and Monday with a cooling trend; the best chance of instability showers comes each afternoon. Sunday still looks salvageable, but Memorial Day may be a bust with highs near 60F and a leaky sky. 70s return next weekend but it seems summer is in no big hurry.

Persistent Rain in May. Dr. Mark Seeley takes a look at what is turning into another historically-wet May for much of Minnesota in this week’s installment of Minnesota WeatherTalk: “Over the calendar period May 15-22, some Minnesota climate observers reported rainfall every day (8 consecutive days), and a large number of them reported rainfall on 7 of the 8 days. In addition, on some individual days the rainfall was slow but persistent, lasting for as much as 12-14 consecutive hours. Over May 15-22 within the Minnesota daily climate observation network there were 36 new daily rainfall records set. Some examples include: 2.96” at Hokah (Houston County) on May 16; 1.95” at Red Wing Dam (Goodhue County) on May 17; 2.09” at Morris (Stevens County) on May 18; and 1.32” at Milaca (Mille Lacs County) on May 21st. Total rainfall for the month of May is well above normal in most places, and in some areas is approaching values close to the historically wettest May. Many areas of the state report 4 to 7 inches of rainfall so far this month. This is the 6th time in the past seven years that May has been wetter than normal across the state….”

Significant Tornado Risk Mid South Today. NOAA SPC has a “moderate risk” for much of Missouri and northern Arkansas. Conditions are ripe for a few large, violent, long-track tornadoes by afternoon and evening. The significant risk area includes St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri.

Ill-Timed Weekend Storm. The atmosphere is still predisposed to a holding pattern, the pattern is stuck. A storm stalled over Ontario, Canada keeps showery rains in the forecast from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes, Mid South and Mid Atlantic. The best weather over the holiday weekend comes from the Rockies to California and the Pacific Northwest. 84-hour NAM forecast: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.

Cooling Trend into Midweek. If the sun stays out for a few hours today and Sunday (likely) we should hit 70F, but more clouds and showers on Memorial Day will keep temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s with a northwest wind gusting over 20 mph. If it’s any consolation relative warmth returns next weekend. Twin Cities ECMWF forecast: WeatherBell.

Slow-Motion Summer Warming Trend. Sizzling heat is likely from the Desert Southwest to the Southern Plains within 2 weeks (highs well up into the 90s and low 100s). Even the northern tier of the USA will heat up closer to average by the second week of June.

This Is Why Homeowners Insurance Rates Have Risen. Rain is falling harder during the spring months, but only 10,700 of Minnesota’s 1 million homes have purchased flood insurance. Large hail appears to be on the increase, based on data from Dr. Mark Seeley. At a recent talk Mark Kulda, VP of Insurance Federation of Minnesota, reported that average homeowner premiums in Minnesota rose from $368 in 1998 to $1140 in 2012; a 310% spike in just 14 years. Some of that increase is the result of more frequent hail and flash flood events. We’re not alone: 8 of America’s 10 costliest hailstorms have occurred since 2000. Fluke or trend?

Minnesota Storm Trends. The PPT slides above are from a recent presentation in Plymouth, courtesy of Mark Kulda, VP of Insurance Federation of Minnesota.

Harnessing Nature to Manage Rising Flood Risk. Phys.org has a story focused on natural defenses against rising water: “…Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk, accounting for nearly half of all weather-related disasters during the past 20 years. Exposure and vulnerability to flood risks are on the rise: the proportion of the world population living in flood-prone river basins has increased about 114 percent and population exposed to coastal areas has grown 192 percent during the last decade. “We can’t afford to continue to invest in short term solutions that don’t take into account how weather patterns, sea levels and land use are changing the nature and severity of flooding,” said Anita van  Breda, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of environment and disaster. “The traditional approaches we’ve used to manage flooding in the past – like sea walls and levees – in most cases, won’t work in isolation for the types of floods we’re likely to experience in the future…”
Photo credit: Walt Jennings, FEMA.
Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk, accounting for nearly half of all weather-related disasters during the past 20 years.  Exposure and vulnerability to flood risks are on the rise: the proportion of the world population living in flood-prone river basins has increased about 114 percent and population exposed to coastal areas has grown 192 percent during the last decade.
“We can’t afford to continue to invest in short term solutions that don’t take into account how weather patterns, sea levels and land use are changing the nature and severity of flooding,” said Anita van Breda, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of environment and disaster. “The traditional approaches we’ve used to manage flooding in the past – like sea walls and levees – in most cases, won’t work in isolation for the types of floods we’re likely to experience in the future.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-harnessing-nature.html#jCp

Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk, accounting for nearly half of all weather-related disasters during the past 20 years.  Exposure and vulnerability to flood risks are on the rise: the proportion of the world population living in flood-prone river basins has increased about 114 percent and population exposed to coastal areas has grown 192 percent during the last decade.
“We can’t afford to continue to invest in short term solutions that don’t take into account how weather patterns, sea levels and land use are changing the nature and severity of flooding,” said Anita van Breda, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of environment and disaster. “The traditional approaches we’ve used to manage flooding in the past – like sea walls and levees – in most cases, won’t work in isolation for the types of floods we’re likely to experience in the future.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-harnessing-nature.html#jCp

Damaging Hail Trends. Now this is for baseball size hail in Minnesota (2.75″ in diameter). Nature never moves in a straight line but the frequency of baseball size hail has increases from 3-5/year to closer to 10-15/year. Data: Dr. Mark Seeley, Minnesota Climate Office.

Above-Normal Hurricane Season Is Most Likely This Year. A weak or non-existent El Nino is a big factor in the prediction of a busier-than-average hurricane season, according to NOAA: “For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. “As a Florida resident, I am particularly proud of the important work NOAA does in weather forecasting and hurricane prediction,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These forecasts are important for both public safety and business planning, and are a crucial function of the federal government.” Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes…”
File image: NASA.

The Hurricane-Prone U.S. Coast Keeps Growing and Growing. Meteorologist Matt Lanza takes a look at population growth in some of America’s most hurricane-prone coastal communities at Medium: “...So what is the takeaway here? As a meteorologist, seeing that Eastern United States coastal areas have added over 4.6 million people since 2010 is a bit unsettling, especially given how many of those people have gone to Texas and Florida, two of the most hurricane prone states in the country. If there’s a glimmer of good news, it may be that as a whole, coastal counties in the United States are adding residents at a slightly slower pace than they were earlier in this decade. But those hurricane-prone places, Florida and Texas, show no signs of slowing down. In fact, Florida continues to slam on the accelerator...”
Graphic credit: “Texas continues to add plenty of people.” Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

NOAA’s Newest Geostationary Satellite Will Be Positioned as GOES-East This Fall. Details via NOAA: “GOES-16, the most advanced weather satellite NOAA has ever developed, will be moved to the GOES-East position at 75 degrees west longitude, once it is declared operational in November. Top officials from NOAA announced the long-awaited decision at today’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook news conference in College Park, Maryland...”

Tornado Test Part 4: Two Tornadoes for TWIRL. KHQA.com has an update: “…Like the eye of a hurricane, the tornado can be seen on radar. The DOW measures winds of 195mph just 600 feet above the ground. Unfortunately pods were not able to be put in the path so the ground winds are unknown. The damage caused by tornadoes is exactly what TWIRL is trying to better understand, how buildings are ripped apart. How pieces of roof become projectiles in tornadoes. They want to better understand the structure of them in order to better engineer structures to make buildings safer, also to lead to better forecasts to be better able to predict when a tornado may hit and where…”

Tornado-Spawning Eastern US Storms Examined by NASA’s GPM Satellite. EurekaAlert! Science News explains: “On Wednesday May 24, 2017 severe weather affected a large area of the eastern United States. That’s when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over the area and found extremely heavy rainfall and towering clouds in the system. Tornadoes were reported in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio on that day. The National Weather Service noted that rainfall in Tallahassee, Florida set a record at 1.52 inches on May 24. The GPM core observatory satellite flew above a line of tornado spawning storms that were moving through the Florida panhandle on May 24, 2017 at 10:26 a.m. EDT (1426 UTC). GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments collected data showing that very heavy downpours were accompanying some of these storms…”
Image credit: “The GPM core observatory satellite flew above a line of tornado spawning storms that were moving through the Florida panhandle on May 24, 2017, at 10:26 a.m. EDT. GPM data showed the storm tops located north of the extreme storms in the Gulf of Mexico reached altitudes above 9.2 mile (16 km) dropping rain at a rate of over 8.5 inches (215 mm) per hour.” Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce.

Percentage of Tornado Warnings Between 4 PM and 9 PM. Much of the USA experiences the greatest tornado risk late afternoon and evening, immediately after maximum heating, when the atmosphere is most unstable. Credit: Daryl Herzmann, Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

Overnight Tornadoes. The greatest risk of late-night tornadoes is along the Gulf Coast, where nearly 30% of all tornado warnings were issued between midnight and 8 AM from 2002-2017. Late-night tornadoes produce a disproportionate number of injuries and fatalities – people are sleeping, not monitoring media, more vulnerable to severe storms.

How to Improve the Health of the Ocean. We would be wise not to take anything for granted. The Economist has a must-read article: “…Humans have long assumed that the ocean’s size allowed them to put anything they wanted into it and to take anything they wanted out. Changing temperatures and chemistry, overfishing and pollution have stressed its ecosystems for decades. The ocean stores more than nine-tenths of the heat trapped on Earth by greenhouse-gas emissions. Coral reefs are suffering as a result; scientists expect almost all corals to be gone by 2050. By the middle of the century the ocean could contain more plastic than fish by weight. Ground down into tiny pieces, it is eaten by fish and then by people, with uncertain effects on human health. Appetite for fish grows nevertheless: almost 90% of stocks are fished either at or beyond their sustainable limits (see Briefing). The ocean nurtures humanity. Humanity treats it with contempt...”

A Little-Known Reason Why Consensus on Energy Policy is Possible. You may not acknowledge man-made climate change, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to save money on energy, becoming more resilient and self-sufficient at the same time. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Wall Street Journal: “Anyone who watched the results of the last election roll in, or who simply turns on cable news, would see a country enormously divided on key issues. And, judging by the rhetoric on coal jobs, environmental regulation and climate change, energy policy is no exception. But the national dialogue is largely missing a revolutionary change in the energy industry that’s sweeping across the country, creating real opportunities for convergence. Driven by new resources and fuels, large swaths of the nation that historically accounted for very little in terms of energy investment and production are becoming major players. It is a trend that has already boosted local economies and could now be opening the door to a surprising possibility: Americans across the political and ideological divide may increasingly be drawn together around a common set of ideas and goals on energy policy...”

Wind Power Catches a Mountain Breeze. The largest wind installation in the USA in Wyoming? TIME has the story: “…Despite enormous potential, wind-power development in the Western mountain states has lagged behind other parts of the nation. The sparsely populated states don’t need more electricity, and the excess power didn’t have anywhere to go. But that’s changing fast, as demand for wind power increases around the country and technological advances make it cheaper and easier to transmit.The biggest strides are being made in Wyoming, where two companies are racing to build massive wind farms to supply the West Coast. In Carbon County, the Power Company of Wyoming has broken ground on what will be the largest wind-power installation in the country. The completed project, which is projected to create 1,000 local jobs, calls for 1,000 wind turbines generating enough energy to power nearly a million homes…”

File photo: Matt Young, AP.

Weight Loss: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working. I found a story at TIME.com fascinating and vaguely depressing: “…They also know that the best diet for you is very likely not the best diet for your next-door neighbor. Individual responses to different diets–from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo–vary enormously. “Some people on a diet program lose 60 lb. and keep it off for two years, and other people follow the same program religiously, and they gain 5 lb.,” says Frank Sacks, a leading weight-loss researcher and professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If we can figure out why, the potential to help people will be huge.”Hall, Sacks and other scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized rather than trendy diets. And while weight loss will never be easy for anyone, the evidence is mounting that it’s possible for anyone to reach a healthy weight–people just need to find their best way there…”

Can Opioid Addiction be Cured? Here’s a clip from an eye-opening story at Science Friday: “…According to experts, including the HHS’ own drug abuse agencies, substance use disorder can be successfully treated, but it can’t be cured. This is because of the way addiction affects the psychology and brain of an individual. First, to be diagnosed with opioid addiction, or substance use disorder more broadly, an individual must meet at least two out of 11 criteria, including developing a tolerance to a drug, experiencing withdrawal symptoms after not taking a drug and not fulfilling responsibilities because of drug use. Developing a tolerance to opioids means the same amount of the drug will produce less of a euphoric effect. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sweating, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting…”

They Were Supposed to Help People Suffering From Addiction. Then They Overdosed. Opioids truly are the devil’s drug, a point driven home after reading a post at Vox: “The two counselors at a drug treatment halfway house in Chester County, Pennsylvania, were supposed to help others recover from their addictions. But they were overwhelmed by their own drug problems — and on Sunday, they both overdosed and died on a mix of the opioids heroin and fentanyl. “If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. “The staff members in charge of supervising recovering addicts succumbed to their own addiction and died of opioid overdoses. Opioids are a monster that is slowly consuming our population...”

Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer. Computers? What computers? Walt Mossberg’s last column proves why he’s been in a different league now for many years. We’ll miss you Walt. Here’s an excerpt from Recode: “…I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought. Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices. This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all...”

Photo credit: The one and only kingmaker.” Asa Mathat

The $11 Million Spent on Star Wars in 1977 Was The Best Film Investment Ever Made. Serious ROI, as described by Quartz: “…The original $11 million put into filming Star Wars (eventually renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope years later) is arguably the best investment ever made in Hollywood. Even when adjusted for inflation, the film would’ve only cost about $45 million in today’s dollars, or less than 20% of what the seventh Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, cost to produce in 2015 and far less than the $200 million that this summer’s action blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ran...”

Photo credit: “This ragtag group of rebels went on to great victories.” (Reuters/Fred Prouser)

Texas Approves Feral Hog Hunting by Hot Air Balloon. Quite possibly my favorite headline of the week, courtesy of KXAN.com: “…Texas’ growing hog population causes millions of dollars’ worth of damage to crops every year. Texas has an estimated two million feral hogs. Their high breeding rate and lack of natural predators has seen their population explode The state already allows the shooting of feral hogs from helicopters, but that is expensive and has not been very unsuccessful because the aircraft often scare the animals away. Hot air balloons are quieter and offer a more stable shooting platform…”

Photo credit: “Feral hogs seen 1/23/16 at the In N Out Burger at 4251 N IH 35 in Round Rock.”

A German Music Festival Installed a 4-Mile Beer Pipeline. My kind of pipeline, as described by Atlas Obscura: “A full, standard keg of beer weighs just over 160 pounds and is pretty unwieldy. So it’s no surprise that the folks at the Wacken Open Air music festival in Wacken, Germany, are sick of schlepping them across fields every year, and have decided to do something about it. Come August, they’ll be able to pour 105,000 gallons of beer at stands around the festival grounds thanks to four miles of underground piping...”

TODAY: Clouds increase, PM showers. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 72
SATURDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then drying out. Low: 53

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, late-day pop-up shower possible. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 71

MEMORIAL DAY: Cloudier, cooler, more showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 52. High: 62

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze lingers. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 49. High: 63

WEDNESDAY: More sunshine, low humidity. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 46. High: 66

THURSDAY: Blue sky, no weather complaints. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 48. High: 71

FRIDAY: Plenty of sunshine, milder. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 50. High: 74

Climate Stories…

So Much Water Pulsed Through a Melting Glacier That It Warped the Earth’s Crust. Details via The Washington Post: “NASA scientists detected a pulse of melting  ice and water traveling through a major glacier in Greenland that was so big that it warped the solid Earth — a surge equivalent in mass to 18,000 Empire State Buildings. The pulse — which occurred during the 2012 record melt year — traveled nearly 15 miles through the Rink Glacier in western Greenland over four months before reaching the sea, the researchers said. “It’s a gigantic mass,” said Eric Larour, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It is able to bend the bedrock around it.” Such a “wave” has never before been detected in a Greenland or Antarctic glacier…”

Photo credit: “Rink Glacier on Greenland’s west coast.” (NASA/John Sonntag).

Alaska’s Sea Ice is Melting Unusually Early, “Another Sign Arctic is Unraveling”. InsideClimate News has more information: “The Arctic’s record-warm winter has allowed thousands of square miles of sea ice off Alaska to melt more than a month early, leaving the shoreline vulnerable to waves and exposing dark ocean water to absorb more heat from the sun. The loss of ice in the Chukchi Sea will boost the regional temperature and could increase precipitation over nearby land, said Alaska-based climate scientist Rick Thoman. As of May 24, the ice cover on the Chukchi Sea had melted away from the shore along a 300 mile stretch, from Point Hope all the way to Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States. Satellite and radar data show the ice-free area totaled about 54,000 square miles…”

Rising Seas May Wipe Out These Jersey Towns, But They’re Still Rated AAA. Bloomberg reports: “Few parts of the U.S. are as exposed to the threats from climate change as Ocean County, New Jersey. It was here in Seaside Heights that Hurricane Sandy flooded an oceanfront amusement park, leaving an inundated roller coaster as an iconic image of rising sea levels. Scientists say more floods and stronger hurricanes are likely as the planet warms. Yet last summer, when Ocean County wanted to sell $31 million in bonds maturing over 20 years, neither of its two rating companies, Moody’s Investors Service or S&P Global Ratings, asked any questions about the expected effect of climate change on its finances...”

NATO Joins the Pentagon in Deeming Climate Change a Threat Multiplier. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has the story: “A new NATO special report concludes that climate change is the ultimate “threat multiplier” – meaning that it can exacerbate political instability in the world’s most unstable regions – because by intensifying extreme weather events like droughts, climate change stresses food and water supplies. In poor, arid countries already facing shortages, this increased stress can lead to disputes and violent conflicts over scarce resources…”

Exxon Investors Rally to Back Climate Change Plan Board Opposes. Bloomberg explains: “Almost 90 Exxon Mobil Corp. investors plan to back a proposal that would pressure the company to bolster its disclosure of climate change risks and opportunities. The shareholders include the New York State and city pension funds and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, according to data compiled by investor advocacy group Ceres. Vanguard is evaluating the proposal in line with its proxy policies. “Vanguard, like other investors, views direct engagement with the board as a critical channel through which important matters can be discussed,” said Glenn Booraem, the firm’s investment stewardship officer. “Directors at any company who don’t engage with those on whose behalf they serve risk losing investor support...” (File photo: Mike Mozart).

“Put Up or Shut Up”. WRAL’s Greg Fishel Goes Off on Climate Change Deniers. Greg is Chief Meteorologist at WRAL, and my oldest friend (we were resident weather-nerds in our high school and went on to attend Penn State at roughly the same time). Greg is brilliant and a terrific communicator, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Here’s an excerpt from News & Observer: “Popular local weatherman Greg Fishel had strong words for climate change deniers on his Facebook page on Sunday. Fishel, chief meteorologist at WRAL, went off on people who question the science behind climate change, telling them to “put up or shut up.” The post had earned more than 3,500 reactions by Monday afternoon. “You know everybody reaches their breaking point and quite frankly I have reached mine with the folks who post all over the internet about the scientific fallacies of man induced climate change,” Fishel wrote. “All of them are guest bloggers or essayists. None of this stuff has ever been published in a peer reviewed atmospheric science or climate journal. But we live in an age today where higher education and research are no longer respected. Heck, think of all the money my parents wasted on my education when I could have waited for the age of twitter and Facebook and declared myself as an expert in the field of my choice…”

Climate Change May Force Millions of Americans to Move Inland. We already have climate refugees in coastal Louisiana and Alaska – this may be the tip of the (melting) iceberg, according to research highlighted at HuffPost: “…Using migration data from the Internal Revenue Service and climate migration models, Hauer concluded that a 6-foot increase in sea levels would cause every U.S. state to experience climate-related migration by 2100. Scientists are predicting a 6-foot global sea-level rise by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions are left unchecked. In a study last year, Hauer had estimated that a 6-foot rise in regional sea levels would put 13 million people in more than 300 U.S. coastal counties at risk.  The new report, published in the journal Nature, finds that nine states could see population declines as rising waters force people to flee. Florida would be worst off with millions of people leaving the state. Other states would be taking in climate migrants. Texas could absorb as many as 2.5 million internal migrants...”
Photo credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters. “Rising sea levels could threaten the homes of millions of people in coastal states around the nation by 2100. Remember how neighborhoods were still flooded two weeks after Hurricane Katrina went though New Orleans?

Infectious Disease Collides With Changing Climate. Keep an eye on the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil and a possible link with “weather whiplash”. Milwaukee’s Journal-Sentinel reports: “…The current outbreak is the nation’s worst on record; yellow fever deaths in the first four months of 2017 already exceeded all those from 1989 through 2008. At the epicenter of this epidemic is a group of states that had just recovered from their worst droughts in 80 years. This intersection of drought and disease raises a complex and troubling question for scientists: Is our changing climate contributing to flare-ups of infectious diseases? “Yes, this is a factor that is present in our modeling,” says Márcia Chame, a researcher who has been examining the outbreak for the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. But climate alone cannot account for Brazil’s latest bout with yellow fever, according to Chame, coordinator of the foundation’s biodiversity research unit…”

Photo credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Scientists Really Aren’t the Best Champions of Climate Science. Food for thought from Vox: “...The repeated failures of the scientific community to get the world to act on climate change are often chalked up to framing problems: If only the data were presented in a way that people understood, people would feel a sense of urgency and demand action. But reframing the argument isn’t a magic fix: Regardless of the topic, people actively seek out ways to reinforce what they already believe. The message matters, but it’s often the messenger that matters more…”

Why Science Denial Isn’t Necessarily Ideological. Annie Murphy Paul has an intriguing article at The Washington Post: “…The problem is that our intuitive theories are, scientifically speaking, often wrong. We suspect that we came down with the sniffles because we were drenched by a cold rain. We surmise that the weather is hotter in the summer because the Earth is closer to the sun. We embrace intuitive theories because, in Shtulman’s words, “we are built to perceive the environment in ways that are useful for daily living, but these ways do not map onto the true workings of nature.” Many of our intuitive theories are formed early in life, before formal science instruction takes place. And because all children encounter the same physical world, interpreted through the use of the same limited biological equipment, they tend to formulate similar ideas about how that world works (creating a shared social reality that further entrenches intuitive theories)...”

Scientists Just Published an Entire Study Refuting Scott Pruitt on Climate Change. The Washington Post reports: “In a sign of growing tensions between scientists and the Trump administration, researchers published a scientific paper Wednesday that was conceived and written as an explicit refutation to an assertion by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about climate change. The study, in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, sets up a direct test of a claim by Pruitt, made in written Senate comments following his confirmation hearing, that “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.” After reviewing temperature trends contained in three satellite data sets going back to 1979, the paper concludes that the data sets show a global warming trend — and that Pruitt was incorrect...”

Image credit: Nature.com.

Trump Administration Sued Over Climate Change “Censorship”. Climate Home reports: “The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against four US federal agencies over what it called “censorship” of climate change information. Filed at a district court in Washington DC, the legal challenge targets the Environmental Protection Agency and Departments of Interior, State and Energy. It concerns the removal of information on climate science and policy from government websites and public communications since the advent of Donald Trump’s presidency…”

Image credit: “A search for climate change information on the EPA website redirects to this holding page.”