Tag: Paul Douglas

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 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...

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...

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...

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...