Archives

Wind turbines against a sunset sky, via Xcel Energy
October 15

Climate Models Hint at Mild Bias Into January – Worst California Drought Since Late 1800s

Pete Schenck Thursday Conditions, 11 am CDTmesonet.org Frigid West, Warm East – Nation Divided Between Clash of Seasons. Capital Weather Gang has a good summary of some of the crazy extremes we’re witnessing around the USA: “An active jet stream is slicing across the center of the country and bringing a wild clash of seasons, with unseasonable warmth in the East and a frigid taste of winter in the West. Parts of the Rockies and western Plains are digging out from feet of snow that fell Tuesday and Wednesday, while a renewed dose of summer spreads over the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast...

October 14

Over 2 Feet of Snow Black Hills – “Lumpy” Hurricane Data – Advantages of “Wet Bulb” Over “Heat Index” to Predict Heat Impacts

Paul Douglas Reflecting On Another Supersized Summer The outlook calls for more cold fronts in the weeks to come. A temperature recession is as inevitable as gravity as longer nights brew up increasingly nippy airmasses to our north. That said, we just had another super-sized summer season. A 6-month boating season, in Minnesota? Yep. Of course, the downside was the worst drought in decades – a big price to pay for more simmering warmth. I’m grateful for a tame autumn, to date. We could easily be butt-deep in snow. On this date in 1820 settlers at Ft. Snelling were digging...

October 13

Meteorology is a Steep Learning Curve – Insane Precipitation Extremes Across USA Last 12 Months

A Reminder why today’s rain is welcomeBrian Brettschneider The Profound Perils of Predicting Weather You can only learn so much out of a book. Exhibit A: predicting the weather. Meteorologists study calculus, physics and chemistry, but at the end of the day we learn by making mistakes. Lot’s of mistakes. It’s a painful (and public) learning curve. The technology has improved (Doppler radar, better satellites and models) and as weather has trended more extreme over time fewer people are falling victim. We have new ways to receive warnings (smartphones and social media) and our National Weather Service is arguably the...

October 12

2021: Nearly as Many Billion Dollar Disasters as Record 2020 Season – Drought Spells Trouble for Hydropower – Can Grid Handle Renewable Revolution?

Maps Still Don’t Look Like Late October. NOAA’s GFS model roughly 2 weeks out shows a massive ridge of high pressure over the western US and much of western Canada, which suggests another warming trend by the third of fourth week of October. At this rate I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few more 70s within 2 weeks or so. World Meteorological Organization Sharpens Warnings About Both Too Much and Too Little Water. Inside Climate News reports: “The global supply of fresh water is dropping by almost half an inch annually, the World Meteorological Organization warned in a report...

Lock bride in park during fall
October 7

Fall Color Factors, As Explained by Paul Douglas!

The leaves are leaving, but not before a brilliant, Technicolor explosion of color! Why do leaves even change color? As the days get shorter in the fall, there is less sunlight for photosynthesis. Plants convert carbon dioxide in the air into sugars (glucose and starch) and oxygen by using energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is the green pigment necessary for photosynthesis. A decrease in photosynthesis that comes with less daylight means trees stop producing chlorophyll. As the green pigment fades over time other pigments present in the leaf are revealed, producing a veritable explosion of...

October 7

Fall On Hold For Much of USA – Disaster Fatigue – Calculating Your Home’s Flood Risk

Weather BlissPaul Douglas Weather Models Are Only A First Guess My father still thinks I forecast weather by looking out a west-facing window. I have nothing against using an “Amish Doppler” to gauge the current state of the clouds and sky. To be able to predict the future one needs to first grasp the present. Meteorologists have dozens of weather models to choose from. Which one works best in a pattern like this? What are the trends in models (wetter, drier, warmer, etc?). George Box said “all models are wrong, but some are useful”. They are merely a guide, not...

October 6

Fall Brings Secondary Tornado Peak to Parts of USA – Relative Risk of Climate-Fueled Extremes

Paul Douglas Extended Forecast Is Up In The Air ”Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground” wrote Andrea Gibson. With weather, every day is different and every autumn is different. The patterns may be similar, but never identical. Talk about humbling. Which means it’s simplistic to go back in time and say “Well here’s what happened in 1968…so this is precisely what will happen next!” Nope. Weather models are good and becoming more accurate over time, but the 7-Day is as confounding as when I became...

Fires burn on a farm next to a forest in Sao Paulo. Photo by Jonne Roriz, Bloomberg.
October 5

Robotic Surfboards Refine Hurricane Predictions – Using AI to Pinpoint Precipitation Forecasts

WCCO Radio Producer David Josephson A Year Without a Winter? Dream On No, winter has not been canceled. Delayed by a few weeks? Yes. I vaguely remember dreaming about a year without a winter in Minnesota: 30s and 40s, no snow to speak of, just rain and ice. That scenario is unlikely through mid-century, and will hopefully never come to pass if we get serious about lowering climate-warming greenhouse gases. But we are experiencing more (unprecedented) ‘Black Swan’ weather extremes, and we don’t know all the tipping points yet. Expect the unexpected. 70s continue this week, with an outside shot...

Earth from space, via NASA
October 1

Hurricane Ida’s Continued Impact on Louisiana Education – “Tornado Alley” Shifted to Mid Atlantic States in 2021

Beware of Extended Winter Outlooks Beware of gloom and doom winter forecasts. They’re rarely right. The science just isn’t there. It’s the rough equivalent of predicting where the stock market (or pandemic) will be in February. Nope. Keep in mind, only 1 in 4 Minnesota winters since 2000 has been colder than average. Our winters are trending shorter, milder and more fickle over time (sometimes it rains in January). June through August was 3.9F warmer than average in Minnesota. Nationwide we tied 1936 (height of the Dust Bowl) for hottest summer on record, according to NOAA. Minnesota’s drought is holding...