Extreme Weather Affecting Moving Plans?
A recent Redfin.com survey shows nearly half of Americans considering a move are factoring extreme weather events and climate change into their plans. It’s hard to find a spot with no weather-risk, but certain areas are more vulnerable: rising seas and consistently stronger hurricanes for Florida and the Gulf Coast. Bigger fires and more smoke in California and much of the western US. Concerns are growing about water shortages from Las Vegas to Phoenix.
Simulations suggest a slow, inexorable northward migration in coming decades. Minnesota may be a net beneficiary of these trends. We’ll see.
30th Anniversary of Halloween Blizzard. Where were you when this monster-storm stalled out over Minnesota, prolonging snowfall for 2 days with 2-5 foot drifts? The Minnesota DNR has a great summary; here’s an excerpt: “…By November 2nd, the snow was winding down, but the storm’s fierce winds ushered in a reinforcing push of cold air, forcing temperatures to fall into and through the teens across much of the state during the day. Cold air kept filtering in the proceeding days, with a low of -3 F at the Twin Cities Airport on November 4, the earliest below-zero low on record, back to 1872. Duluth wound up with 36.9 inches of snow from this storm, establishing a record as the largest single snowstorm total for Minnesota, until 46.5 inches fell from January 6-8, 1994 near Finland in Cook County. The storm total in the Twin Cities (at MSP) was 28.4 inches, establishing a single-storm snowfall record for that station. Other final accumulations in Minnesota, many of which set storm-total records, included: 36 inches at Two Harbors; 32 inches at Brimson; 30 inches at Gunflint Lake and Eveleth; 25 inches at Lutsen, Cambridge, and Chaska; 21.8 inches at Hibbing; 20 inches at Young America, Litchfield, and Waseca; 17.4 inches at St. John’s in Collegeville; and 17.3 inches at International Falls…”
1991 Halloween Blizzard Records. It’s a long list, and no, this extreme weather event will not be forgotten anytime soon. Why so much snow? A storm stalled off the coast of New England (the “Perfect Storm”) documented in Sebastian Junger’s book and subsequent movie. Because that storm stalled, the storm over Minnesota stalled – weather systems were in a holding pattern. Weather models (and meteorologists) were caught flat-footed by this development, which helped to produce record snowfall amounts and a premature blast of bitter, January-like air that dropped temperatures below zero in the wake of the storm. I’ve been in therapy ever since…
Low Odds of a White Halloween. Looking at the data only a 1-5% for the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Rochester, but 10-25% of Halloweens have had an inch or more of snow on the ground October 31. This won’t be one of them.
Latest GFS Solution: Storm Machine Eastern U.S. Second Week of November. There’s little doubt the maps are taking on a more wintry stance, and the latest upper air forecast 2 weeks out carves out a massive long-wave trough over the eastern U.S. capable of cranking out a parade of coastal storms; possibly snow. It’s a cold flow for Minnesota but we may not have sufficient moisture available for significant snowfall amounts.
Longer, More Frequent Outages Afflict the U.S. Power Grid as States Fail to Prepare for Climate Change. The Washington Post (paywall) reports; here’s an excerpt: “…As storms grow fiercer and more frequent, environmental groups are pushing states to completely reimagine the electrical grid, incorporating more batteries, renewable energy sources and localized systems known as “microgrids,” which they say could reduce the incidence of wide-scale outages. Utility companies have proposed their own storm-proofing measures, including burying power lines underground. But state regulators largely have rejected these ideas, citing pressure to keep energy rates affordable. Of $15.7 billion in grid improvements under consideration last year, regulators approved only $3.4 billion, according to a national survey by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center — about one-fifth…”
Changing Ocean Currents are Driving Extreme Weather. ScienceDaily has details on new research: “Throughout Earth’s oceans runs a conveyor belt of water. Its churning is powered by differences in the water’s temperature and saltiness, and weather patterns around the world are regulated by its activity. A pair of researchers studied the Atlantic portion of this worldwide conveyor belt called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, and found that winter weather in the United States critically depends on this conveyor belt-like system. As the AMOC slows because of climate change, the U.S. will experience more extreme cold winter weather. The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment was led by Jianjun Yin, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences and co-authored by Ming Zhao, a physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory…”
FOX Weather is Stockpiling Meteorologists and Taking On The Weather Channel. Bloomberg reports: “Amid all the droughts, forest fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes that have battered America this year, Rupert Murdoch sees an opportunity to make it rain. On Oct. 25, Murdoch’s media empire will launch Fox Weather, a new 24-hour streaming service, aiming to take on meteorological incumbents like the Weather Channel and capitalize on the increasingly frightening state of Earth’s daily forecasts. As weather events grow more intense, Fox Corp. executives are betting that consumers are hungry for more than just an iPhone app that tells them the temperature and whether they should be carrying an umbrella. “We’re lookig to make weather more than just this utility,” said Sharri Berg, president of Fox Weather…”
COP26. The global climate conference kicks off this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland. Climate Central has an overview of the next U.N. Climate Conference: “The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, will take place from October 31 to November 12th in Glasgow, Scotland. During COP26, world leaders are expected to review and increase their national-level plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 1.5-2°C (2.7-3.6°F). The outcomes of COP26 are locally relevant, as demonstrated in Climate Central’s new temperature projections for 246 locations across the U.S. Projected warming across the U.S. could range from 1-5°C (1.8-9°F relative to 1991-2020) by 2100, depending on how quickly emissions are cut. The strongest warming is projected in the Midwest region and some upper parts of New England…”
The World is Still Falling Short of Meeting Its Climate Goals. National Geographic has a good summary of where things stand today; here’s the intro: “On the cusp of an international meeting beginning Sunday that could well determine whether the world can bring climate change under control, it can be revealing to assess how the largest emitters of global emissions are doing at curtailing them. Many countries are expected to announce new targets, the first time since the Paris Agreement of 2015 tried to put the world on a path to sustainable carbon emissions. But many of these countries already are falling short at meeting their current targets, including the world’s five biggest carbon polluters: China, United States, India, Russia, and Japan, which account for almost six-tenths of all emissions. According to the annual UN Emissions Gap Report, the G20, a group of industrialized countries, is not on track to meet its existing pledges—a “significant reason the world remains on a path toward worsening climate catastrophes,” the report says…”
6 in 10 Blame Oil Companies for Climate Change: Poll. TheHill breaks it down: “A poll released today found that 60 percent of Americans view oil and gas companies as ”completely or mostly responsible” for global warming. The poll from The Guardian, YouGov, Vice News and Covering Climate Now showed that most Americans want to see these companies face accountability for their contributions to global warming. The fossil fuel industry has long attempted to deny climate science despite the Environmental Protection Agency noting that “burning fossil fuels changes the climate more than any other human activity.” In the U.S., the survey showed divisions along party lines in terms of acknowledging the climate crisis at all. A total of 69 percent of U.S. adults who took part in the survey agreed that global warming was happening. However, when divided by party, 89 percent of Democrats agreed about the reality of global warming compared to 42 percent of Republicans…”
Gulf Arab States Squeezed by Climate Change, Still Tout Oil. Associated Press reports; here’s an excerpt: “The global energy transition is perhaps nowhere more perplexing than in the Arabian Peninsula, where Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies are caught between two daunting climate change scenarios that threaten their livelihoods. In one, the world stops burning oil and gas to cut down on heat-trapping emissions, shaking the very foundation of their economies. In the other, global temperatures keep rising, at the risk of rendering unlivable much of the Gulf’s already extremely hot terrain. The political stability of the six Gulf states — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — is rooted in profits from fossil fuels. This includes exports that energy-hungry China and India will want even more over the next two decades…”
Majority in US Concerned About Climate: AP-NORC/EPIC Poll. Associated Press has details: “President Joe Biden heads to a vital U.N. climate summit at a time when a majority of Americans regard the deteriorating climate as a problem of high importance to them, an increase from just a few years ago. About 6 out of 10 Americans also believe that the pace of global warming is speeding up, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. As Biden struggles to pass significant climate legislation at home ahead of next week’s U.N. climate summit, the new AP-NORC/EPIC poll also shows that 55% of Americans want Congress to pass a bill to ensure that more of the nation’s electricity comes from clean energy and less from climate-damaging coal and natural gas…”
Blackrock CEO Larry Fink: Next 1,000 Unicorns Will Be in Climate Tech. Here’s an excerpt of a post at CNBC.com: “Larry Fink, the CEO and Chairman of Blackrock, sees addressing climate change as a massive potential for new businesses. “It is my belief that the next 1,000 unicorns — companies that have a market valuation over a billion dollars — won’t be a search engine, won’t be a media company, they’ll be businesses developing green hydrogen, green agriculture, green steel and green cement,” Fink said Monday at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Climate change is a business opportunity, Fink said, because addressing it will require that virtually every segment of industry will have to be reinvented...”
“Shameful” Failure to Meet Climate Finance Goal Threatens COP26. What’s that old expression? “All hat – no cattle” seems to sum up the current state of global attempts to rein in emissions. Here’s an excerpt from Thomson Reuters Foundation: “Wealthy nations that promised climate finance for vulnerable countries conceded on Monday that an annual $100-billion goal, due to be met from 2020, will not be reached until 2023, which campaigners warned could thwart progress at upcoming U.N. talks. Alok Sharma, the senior British official who will preside over the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow starting on Sunday, said a delivery plan – put together by Germany and Canada – aimed to “restore trust” between richer and poorer governments. But he admitted the failure to meet the 2020 deadline for raising the yearly sum – which wealthy governments committed to back in 2009 – was “a source of deep frustration” among developing countries, though some welcomed the plan…”
Total Accused of Campaign to Play Down Climate Risk From Fossil Fuels. Here’s the intro to a story at Inside Climate News: “The French oil and gas giant TotalEnergies was aware of the link between fossil fuels and rising global temperatures 50 years ago but worked with other oil majors to play down the risks for at least three decades, according to internal company documents and interviews with former executives. The research, published on Wednesday by three historians in the peer-reviewed Global Environmental Change journal, outlines alleged efforts by the French energy group to cast doubt over emerging climate science in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, while pushing back against emissions reduction and climate-related taxes…”
‘Way Off Track’ — Atmospheric GHG Levels Rose At Above Average Rate Even During Pandemic Slowdown: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses hit a new record high last year and rose faster than the 10-year annual average despite temporary slowdowns induced by the coronavirus pandemic, a report from the UN WMO detailed Monday. The stark World Meteorological Organization ‘Greenhouse Gas Bulletin’ report, coming just days before world leaders meet at the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow, said CO2 levels hit 413.2 ppm, and levels of even more potent methane and nitrous oxide also rose. “At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 C above preindustrial levels,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “We are way off track.” (AP, NPR, Washington Post $, Reuters, CBS, Axios, The Hill, The Guardian, Reuters, Axios, ABC).