Tag: paul douglas blog

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 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...

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...

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...

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...