Archives

Chairs on a beach facing the water at sunset, docks in the background. Image by Paul Douglas.
September 30

Dangerous Air: Wildfire Smoke and Dangerous PM2.5 Increasing Plains to West Coast Since 2016

A magnificent meteorological mirage…Paul Douglas Exposure To Wildfire Smoke Is A Health Risk What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, and the recent swirl of western wildfire smoke didn’t stay in California. New research shows an average of 8-10 weeks of smoke every year in Minnesota between 2016 and 2020. This past summer was Exhibit A, both eye-opening and eye- watering. A few nearby towns experienced air quality worse than Beijing or New Delhi. Which has me thinking about masks and air filtration systems at home and in our vehicles. PM2.5 pollution is especially dangerous, responsible for over 4...

Image of the world from space with wavy line in red, green, and yellow representing the polar jet stream as it passes over the Earth's surface. Image rom NASA.
September 29

Tracking “Sam” – Running Out of Hurricane Names – Is Jet Stream Shifting Poleward?

Paul Douglas Weather Entering An Unusual Holding Pattern ”Paul, what’s the jet stream up to these days?” Great question. Glad you asked. Upper level steering winds are unusually light for late September. In fact, weather models predict an odd holding pattern into early October as weather systems stall. That’s more typical in mid-July than October, by the way. Warmer air holds more water vapor, increasing the potential for heavier downpours (exhibit A was the soggy remains of Hurricane Ida, a 1-in-1,000 year flood from Philadelphia to New York City). But it’s a 1- 2 punch of wetter systems AND lighter...

Entrance gate for University of Minnesota, with a red sign and gold lettering.
September 28

Summer Warmth Lingers – New Study: Today’s Kids Will Experience Three Times More Climate Disasters Than Their Grandparents

Paul Douglas A Taste of Autumn Into Thursday ”80s in late September. Paul, is this a symptom of a warming planet?” Yes and no. Most of this is natural weather variability, amplified by the warming signal we see all around us. Warmer background temperatures (atmosphere and oceans) are flavoring all weather now – today’s rerun of August may be a few degrees warmer than it would be otherwise, in a world where CO2 levels hadn’t doubled since the mid-1800s. Fickle winters, wetter springs (this year notwithstanding) and longer, milder autumns seem to be a trend. Minnesota DNR Low Lake Levels...

September 24

Ranking Severity of Southwestern Drought – Every Season Trending Shorter, Except for Summer

  You Might Want To Get Your Boat Out Soon I’m increasingly baffled by the definition of “nice weather”. A 3-day, 3-inch rainstorm would qualify as great weather news amid the worst drought since 1988. ”If you wait a few more weeks you may not be able to get your boat off the lift – and it may have to stay in all winter!” joked Dan Hause at Bayside Marina in Excelsior yesterday. On second thought, maybe he wasn’t joking water levels are down 2 feet on Lake Minnetonka, lower than any time since Hause started monitoring lake levels in...

September 23

Ripening Fall Colors – Using Satellite Wind Lidar to Improve Hurricane Forecasts – Summer Wildfire Smoke Emitted More CO2 Than India Does In a Year

Fall Color FinderMinnesota DNR Falls Colors Peaking Over Minnesota Arrowhead The outlook for the next few weeks calls for a blizzard of color, caravans of determined leaf-peepers, and backyard workouts involving rakes. The leaves are leaving, but not before a crescendo of color, nature’s exclamation point, coming at the end of the hottest summer on record for Minnesota and the nation. Colors are peaking over the Minnesota Arrowhead, but the most vibrant hues of magenta, rust and lemon may be 2 weeks away in the metro area. Trees are stressed from the ongoing drought, so colors may be more muted...

Trees by Paul Douglas
September 22

30% of USA Impacted by Extreme Heat – Timeline of Most Disruptive Weather – Odds Favor Milder Than Average Autumn for Much of Nation

File image near Pequot LakesPete Schenck So Why Do We Call This Season “Fall”? Today at 2:21 pm the sun’s direct rays will fall on the equator, marking the official start of autumn. Which is all fine and well, but if you look at the 90 warmest days of the year, on average, “Meteorological Fall” really started back on September 1. The term “fall” may be a contraction of Middle English expressions like “fall of the leaf” or “fall of the year”. And if anyone asks, sex drives apparently peak in the fall. More people go from “single” to “in...

Exxon station damaged by Hurricane Ida by John Taggart for The New York Times
September 21

Consensus of Climate Models Predicts Mild Bias Into December

  A Handful of Cooler Fronts In Sight – Mild Bias into December? The only predictable thing is change. our weather patterns are changing, with longer growing seasons and fickle winters with brief, concentrated polar blasts. Wets are wetter and dries are trending drier. I am cautiously optimistic the pattern that brought us a hot and dusty summer is finally easing. But pulling out of the drought will take months, not weeks or days. Think dimmer switch, not on-off. NOAA’s climate models show a mild bias lingering into December, and I have every reason to believe Minnesotans will enjoy a...

Dixie Fire damage - Noah Berger, AP
September 9

NOAA Climate Models Predict Milder Autumn – Tracking Fall Warming Trends Over the Years

Septembers Tend To Be Quiet in Minnesota Ah, September. The biggest weather-related questions are: 1). When will we check out a kaleidoscope of dazzling fall color? and 2). Shorts or jackets? June brides should consider the month of September, when Mother Nature is (usually) on her best behavior. This summer we all got a front row seat to the New Normal: wilting drought, fire and smoke from Minnesota westward to the Pacific. Tornadoes in unlikely places (New Jersey) and epic floods from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. I’m hoping we all get a nice, long break before frozen...

Earth from Space via NASA ISS
September 8

Europe Experiences Warmest Summer on Record – How Climate Warming Super-Sized “Ida” – 1 in 3 Americans Experienced a Climate Disaster This Summer

Paul Douglas In Praise Of Our Favorite Teachers We are the sum of the people we’ve met and the experiences we have had. I owe my meteorology career to weather merit badge in the Boy Scouts, a tropical storm that flooded the home I grew up in, and a series of remarkable teachers. I remember their names, faces and continuous encouragement. Mr. Batzer and Mr. Danner were science teachers who turned the weather unit into an event. Mrs. Eisenhart was an advanced placement English teacher who admonished me to use “action words”. As we start the new school year a...

September 6

Category 3 “Larry” Brushes Bermuda – Most Climate-Safe US State?

Paul Douglas Minnesota May Benefit From Slow Warming A recent study suggests that Vermont is the most “climate-safe” state in the US. That may be so, but I suspect Minnesota will get its fair share of climate refugees in years to come. How so? Californians worried about wildfires and months of choking smoke. Arizonans concerned about hotter hots and water shortages. Residents of the Gulf Coast unable or unwilling to put up with a parade of increasingly intense and wet hurricanes. Minnesotans will still wrestle with snow, ice and polar pops, but in the Pantheon of Weather Extremes slapping on...