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A Tale of Two Nations: Southwest Bakes – Parade of Cool Fronts Northern USA Next 1-2 Weeks

4 Aug 2013, 6:56 am
Chaos Theory



Recently I had lunch with a farmer-friend who wanted to get something off his chest. “Paul, you have Doppler, supercomputers – more technology than NASA – why can’t you predict weather at my farm 30 days from now?”



Good question.



Some variation of the weather over our heads today was floating over China or Siberia 2 weeks ago. Incomplete data, imperfect weather models that only approximate how the atmosphere really works? A tall order. It’s like predicting the NASDAQ 30 days from now. Trillions of variables, some unknowable. Good luck with that.



Day 3-7 accuracy improves 1 percent every year, but I doubt we’ll ever be able to forecast precise weather for a location, weeks in advance.



It’s getting too dry out there again, and the timing is right: showers & T-storms tonight & Monday. Pulses of cooler, Canadian air push across Minnesota this week, sparking more T-storms late Tuesday, again Friday. With any luck skies clear again in time for sunshine and 70s next weekend. We’ll be lucky to see 80F over the next 2 weeks; guidance hints at a few days near 90 the latter half of August.



Meanwhile, just think of all the cold cash you’re saving on air conditioning, ice cream & pop.




South Sizzles – Family Of Cool Fronts Northern USA. The soggy remains of “Dorian” pull out into the Atlantic, while a series of Canadian cool fronts push a few waves of showers and T-storms across the northern tier of the nation. The heaviest T-storms: central USA, with persistently hot, dry weather from Texas to the west coast. 84-hour NAM: NOAA.

First Perseids Of 2013. has a great update on the biggest meteor shower of the year. With unusually clear skies, good visibility and low dew points you may have a better chance that most (Augusts) to see a few lucky shooting stars in the next 1-2 weeks. Here’s an excerpt: “Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won’t peak until August 12-13, when Earth hits the densest part of the stream, the first Perseids are already arriving. “Despite poor weather over our network of meteor cameras, we have detected six Perseid fireballs since July 30th,” reports Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. He made this plot showing the orbits of the meteoroids.”

Graphic credit above: “In the diagram, the green lines trace the orbits of Perseid meteoroids. All six intersect Earth (the blue dot). The orbit of the parent comet is color-coded purple. An inset shows one of the fireballs shining almost as brightly as the Moon: video.”

Colorado State Researchers Trim Atlantic Hurricane Outlook. I have little faith in these long-range hurricane forecasts, but in the spirit of full disclosure here’s a clip from The Capital Weather Gang: “Expect an above average Atlantic hurricane season say leading hurricane researchers, but slightly less active than once thought. Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University cut back their prediction for the total number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) by one, compared to forecasts made in April and June. They are now forecasting 18 total named storms (including the four which have already formed), 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher), compared to 18, 9 and 4, respectively in earlier outlooks…” (File photo of Hurricane Irene from NASA).

Hurricane Hunters: Flying Two Storms Difficult, Three Storms Impossible. The “Hurricane Hunters” flying out of Biloxi are watching not only storms in the Atlantic, but their bottom line, as reported by; here’s an excerpt: “Hurricane Hunters are tracking Tropical Storm Dorian while also keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line. Military officials said with sequestration and furloughs, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is facing some tough choices as to which storms they fly into and how often. They said that means the forecast models we depend on to tell people to evacuate may not be as accurate. The mission of the Hurricane Hunters is to fly into the eye of the storm and gather information to help predict where that storm is likely to head next. However, the 403rd Wing Commander is wondering with sequestration and furloughs, how much hunting Hurricane Hunters will be able to do. “I’ll be honest with you, it’s a very significant cut in capability. It’s a 20 percent cut,” said Col Craig LaFave…”

Dorian’s Remnants, Saharan Dust, And Record Heat In Alaska, Greenland, The U.K. And China. Talk about a mixed-up weather map; I guess we should be counting our atmospheric blessings. Much of the southern and western USA continues to bake, unusual warmth reaching unusually far north, but the heating is anything but uniform. In today’s edition of Climate Matters we track the soggy remains of “Dorian”, link African dust to fewer tropical storms, and highlight some of the more unusual warm weather records: “Dorian is brushing the eastern coast of Florida, but other than that the Atlantic is pretty quiet. Could it have anything to do with Saharan Dust? Then there are the heat records where you might least it expect it. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist shows us where the warmth is around the globe. Pop Quiz: Which one of the following three cities was the warmest Thursday? Fairbanks, Los Angeles or New York City. Watch the video and see if you’re right.”

Sunburned In Siberia: Heat Wave Leads To Wildfires. It’s a strange weather map over the Northern Hemisphere – far northern latitudes are setting record highs, while mid latitudes are trending cooler than average, at least from the Upper Midwest to New England. Parts of Russia are overheating, as reported by Climate Central: “An intense heat wave in Siberia has contributed to an unusual flare up of wildfires across the fragile and carbon-rich landscape. Smoke from the fires is lofting high into the atmosphere, and is drifting toward the Arctic, where soot can hasten the melting of snow and sea ice. The Siberian city of Norilsk, the most northerly city in the world with a population greater than 100,000, recorded temperatures above 83°F over eight consecutive days starting on July 18, according to blogger Chris Burt of Weather Underground. During that timespan, Burt reported, the mercury hit 90°F, breaking the record for the hottest temperature recorded for the city. For comparison the average July high temperature in Norilsk is a comparatively chilly 61°F…”

Image credit above: “The map above shows land surface temperature anomalies for July 20–27, 2013, collected by the MODIS imager on NASA’s Terra satellite.” Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Worst Heat Wave In At Least 140 Years Hits Parts Of China; Dozens Of Deaths Reported. Here are a few excerpts from an AP story at Fox News: “…On Tuesday, the director of the China Meteorological Administration activated a “level 2” emergency response to the persistent heat wave. This level requires around-the-clock staffing, the establishment of an emergency command center and frequent briefings. Some Chinese in heat-stricken cities have been cooking shrimps, eggs and bacon in skillets placed directly on manhole covers or on road pavement that has in some cases heated up to 60 degrees C (140 F)…In the port city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province, glass has cracked in the heat, vehicles have self-combusted, and a highway billboard caught fire by itself, sending up black smoke in the air, according to China Central Television. The broadcaster said the heat might have shorted an electrical circuit on the billboard…”

File photo credit above: “A visitor who has his top off tries to cool off in the afternoon heat at the Bund, one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, in Shanhai, China.” (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko).

Rethinking Flood Insurance As Toll Rises. Because in light of the trends: more numerous, extreme (and expensive) flooding disasters, the current model may be unsustainable. Here’s the intro to an Op-Ed at “As society looks toward a future with rising sea levels and more frequent and severe storms, the United States can also expect to see more frequent and severe flooding along rivers and coastlines. That means property owners will increasingly turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Flood Insurance Program to bail them out. But why does the federal government underwrite 5.6 million flood insurance policies — in many cases at highly subsidized rates?…”

Photo credit above: “The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy leaves much of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland under water, including this boat ramp along the Assateague Channel, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.” Credit: J.Fair/USFWS.

South America Might Soon Be Covered In Thousands Of Tons Of Dust From The Sahara Desert. Dust which may be reducing the odds of hurricane formation over the Atlantic, btw. Quartz has the story (and amazing NOAA visualization); here’s a clip: “In the next couple of days, South Americans could get a taste of Africa without even stepping on a plane. That’s because powerful winds over the continent are lifting up thousands of tons of dust from the Sahara Desert, and moving it 5,000-or-so miles over the Atlantic Ocean toward northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and other places around the Caribbean Sea. The great migration of desert granules is in fact a “quite common” occurrence, according to NOAA, raising the startling thought that the dust in our eyes on a windy day could’ve once been stuck in a camel’s foot pad. This most recent movement of grit is somewhat special, though, in that it’s much more concentrated than usual. By Friday and the weekend, it will be flying over South and Central America, with urban areas in its possible path including Caracas, Bogotá, Panama City, Port-au-Prince, and San Juan in Puerto Rico…”



Workplace Bullies Target The Unattractive. So this is why so many people are picking on me at work. And it’s my company! The nerve. Here’s an excerpt from an article at The Wall Street Journal: “More evidence that there’s little difference between the office and a high school cafeteria: workplace bullies tend to pick on colleagues who are considered unattractive, according to a new study. Researchers Timothy Judge of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Brent Scott of Michigan State University surveyed 114 workers at a health-care facility to find out how often coworkers bullied them. Bullying was defined as acting rudely, teasing or saying hurtful statements. Separately, other participants viewed digital photos of the health-care workers, grading their attractiveness. Workers whose photos were graded as unattractive tended to be more likely to have reported being subjected to rude or even cruel treatment by coworkers, said Dr. Judge…” (Image credit here).



Climate Stories….

“…Did you know air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year ?…” – from an Op-Ed at Huffington Post.

Permafrost Melting Faster Than Expected In Antarctica. StateImpact Texas from NPR has the story – here’s the introduction: “New research shows melting at rates comparalbe to the Arctic. Unlike the Arctic Circle up north, where once-permanent sea ice began melting and miles of permafrost began thawing decades ago, the ground ice in Antarctica’s Garwood Valley was generally considered stable. In this remote polar region near the iceberg-encrusted Ross Sea, temperatures actually became colder from 1986 to 2000, then stabilized, while the climate in much of the rest of the world warmed during that same period. But now, the ice in Antarctica is melting as rapidly as in the Arctic…”

Photo credit above: Dr. Joseph Levy / The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. “Research team member Jim O’Connor of the USGS inspects a block of ice calved off the Garwood Valley ice cliff.”

Small Businesses Face “Major Extreme Weather Challenges”. Environmental Leader has the article; here’s an excerpt: “US small businesses — which employ 60 million Americans, or about half of the workforce — are particularly at risk from extreme weather and climate change and must take steps to adapt, according to a report from Small Business Majority (SBM) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). Climate Change Preparedness and the Small Business Sector says the retail, tourism, landscape architecture, agriculture, roofing, and small-scale manufacturing sectors are more vulnerable to the financial implications of climate change than their larger corporate counterpart.

The report finds:

  • Lacking access to the capital and resources of large corporations, small businesses can suffer lasting economic damage as a result of a single extreme weather event. For example, of the 60,000 to 100,000 small businesses negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, up to 30 percent are estimated to have failed as a direct result of the storm…”


America’s Dangerous Pipelines. Generating electricity comes with inherent levels of risk (with the possible exception of solar and photo voltaic). In the ongoing controversy over the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline I thought I’d share this video animation and explanation from The Center For Biological Diversity. is the upside worth the risk? “This time-lapse video shows pipeline incidents from 1986 to 2013, relying on publicly available data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Only incidents classified as “significant” by the agency are shown in the video. “Significant” incidents include those in which someone was hospitalized or killed, damages amounted to more than $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquid were released, or where the liquid exploded or burned. According to the data, since 1986 there have been nearly 8,000 incidents (nearly 300 per year on average), resulting in more than 500 deaths (red dots on the video), more than 2,300 injuries (yellow dots on the video), and nearly $7 billion in damage.  Since 1986 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels every day...”

Data Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Climate Change Occurring 10 Times Faster Than At Any Time In Past 65 Million Years. has the story – here’s a clip: “The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years. If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive…”

Graphic credit above: “Top: The change in annual temperature projected for the late 21st century using simulations from 27 global climate models. The change is calculated as the 2081-2100 mean minus the 1986-2005 mean. Bottom: the velocity of climate change required to maintain the current annual temperature should the late-21st-century climate change occur. The velocity is calculated for each location by identifying the closest location in the future climate that has the same annual temperature as the starting location has in the present climate.” Credit: Noah Diffenbaugh.

Climate Change Becoming A Defining Issue For Young Voters Nationwide. Huffington Post has the details; here’s an excerpt: “The politics of climate change is shifting, and politicians — particularly Republicans — are going to need to make some quick decisions. Whether it’s record heat waves, wildfires, floods or storms, the impacts of climate change are taking hold nearly every day. Our way of life is being violently transformed, and Americans are taking notice, especially younger voters whose future is at stake. And this could have a big impact at the ballot box. LCV recently released a bipartisan poll showing that young voters across the country are concerned about climate change and support federal action to address it. It also showed that young people soundly reject the false choice between economic prosperity and action on climate change that many climate change deniers hide behind. And a solid majority in our poll said they are willing to hold accountable those who ignore the problem, going so far as to describe climate change deniers as “ignorant” and “out-of-touch.” In fact, 73 percent of young voters said they are less likely to vote for someone who opposes President Obama’s landmark plan on climate change…”

Image courtesy of Forecast The Facts.

Top: The change in annual temperature projected for the late 21st century using simulations from 27 global climate models. The change is calculated as the 2081-2100 mean minus the 1986-2005 mean. Bottom: The velocity of climate change required to maintain the current annual temperature should the late-21st-century climate change occur. The velocity is calculated for each location by identifying the closest location in the future climate that has the same annual temperature as the starting location has in the present climate. Credit: Noah Diffenbaugh

Read more at:


The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

Read more at:


The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

Read more at:


Hot Under The Collar: Study Says For Every Degree Warmer, Risk Of Violent Crime, War, Inches Up. Here’s a clip from an AP story at “As the world gets warmer, people are more likely to get hot under the collar, scientists say. A massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree. Researchers analyzed 60 studies on historic empire collapses, recent wars, violent crime rates in the United States, lab simulations that tested police decisions on when to shoot and even cases where pitchers threw deliberately at batters in baseball. They found a common thread over centuries: Extreme weather _ very hot or dry _ means more violence. The authors say the results show strong evidence that climate can promote conflict. “When the weather gets bad we tend to be more willing to hurt other people,” said economist Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley. He is the lead author of the study, published online Thursday by the journal Science. Experts in the causes of war gave it a mixed reception…”

Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want To Kill Each Other. Here’s a slightly different perspective on the new research finding from The Atlantic: “Farmers in Brazil are more likely to invade each others’ land in years that are particularly wet or unusually dry. Americans honk their horns more at other cars when it’s hot outside. Countries in the tropics are more likely to have civil wars in years that are especially hot or dry. They may seem random, but actually, these events are all connected. New research from Princeton University and UC Berkeley published today in Science reveals a link between big shifts in climate and precipitation and a rise in interpersonal violence, institutional breakdown, and especially inter-group violence, such as war. Not only does the paper shed light on past bouts of global conflict, it also offers a warning about the future. The world is expected to warm by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the next few decades, unless governments do something drastic, and the researchers say that increased bloodshed could be a serious side-effect of that trend…”

Consider Signing The Petition. Details on Google’s recent fund-raiser for James Inhofe and an online petition can be found here.

GOP Lawmakers Hit By Weather Tragedies Stay Mum On Climate Change. InsideClimate News has the story – here’s a clip: “…”I’ve lived in my part of Arizona my whole life,” Grijalva, 65, said in an interview. “I’ve never seen conditions like the ones we’ve had the last few years. Watching my constituents deal with the effects of climate change—the droughts, the record temperatures, the fires—how could I not make it a priority?” In the district next door to Grijalva’s, however, the message being conveyed is far different. That area, represented by Paul Gosar, a Republican, is experiencing similar climate extremes. But Gosar rejects the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel and other human activities are causing the earth to warm. And he sees no connection between climate change and the extreme weather raging in his home district—including the Yarnell wildfire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters in June—according to his spokesman, Orlando Watson. Gosar has voted against all climate-related legislation in the past few years…”

Photo credit above: “A home destroyed by the Yarnell Hill fire late last month, in Yarnell, Ariz., July 23, 2013. In Yarnell, where 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died in the line of duty and where the homes destroyed by fire sit next to those mysteriously spared, residents struggle to ascribe meaning to what happened.” (Joshua Lott/The New York Times).

McCarthy: Climate Change Is “Opportunity Of A Lifetime”. National Geographic has more on the new EPA Administrator’s goals and objectives; here’s an excerpt: “Let’s talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime, because there are too many lifetimes at stake,” McCarthy said of regulating emissions, noting the EPA will work to develop a “new mindset about how climate change and environmental protection fits within our national and global economic agenda.” Although the EPA has met some opposition from industry groups and Republicans who say environmental regulation hurts the economy, McCarthy said she planned to continue issuing new rules and felt President Barack Obama’s new Climate Action Plan could “fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing…”



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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