All Weather News

The Quietest (nicest) Week of 2012?

24 Sep 2012, 5:24 am

“…According to a poll conducted by researchers at Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication, four out of five Americans reported personally experiencing one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in 2011, while more than a third were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these events.” – from an article at Health News Digest; story and links below.

“…While there is virtually no mention of climate change in the local news, reporters have turned the weather into a national pastime. Perhaps this is because storms, hurricanes and tornadoes ignite a primal reaction, whereas climate change requires an intellectual one….

….sharks claim about 12 lives per year, while car crash fatalities average around 93 per day. In the case of climate change, fear over problems that will affect us 50 years from now cannot compare with fear of challenges we face today. What people don’t understand is that climate change is, in fact, already affecting our economy.”

– excerpts from a Guardian story on U.S. media misinformation on climate change; details below.

Medical mistakes kill enough people each week to fill four jumbo jets.” – from a jaw-dropping story at the Wall Street Journal; links below.

“Serial Mastery”. A life of continuing education, new skills, perpetual training and reinvention? Sounds like the 21st century to me. The New York Times captures the challenge (for all of us) to stay current and employable in an article below. Photo credit here.

Arctic Melt-Down. This animation, from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory, shows the historic melting at the top of the world; ice volume and aerial extent roughly 18% lower than the previous record low, set in 2007.

Spectacular Aurora. Check out this YouTube clip of a stunning display of the Northern Lights over Wick, Scotland, courtesy of “spider72wtf”.

 

Textbook September. This week sums up how spectacular (and dry) September can be. A series of clippers keep the Great Lakes and New England air conditioned, a few showers and T-storms over the Ohio Valley and South Florida, otherwise it’s a dry, quiet weather map for much of the USA. 84-hour NAM model animation: NOAA.

Down To A Trickle. This is, or was, the Raccoon River at Booneville, Iowa – just southwest of Des Moines. There used to be a river there. Thanks to Sandi Smith for sending this to WeatherNation TV meteorologist Bryan Karrick.

Drought Timeline. NOAA’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows the gradual progression and intensification of the drought covering much of the USA in this animation. The statistics are interesting: 70% of the lower 48 states are now described as “abnormall dry”, moderate drought impacting 54% of the USA (up from 24% at the start of the water year). Severe drought is impacting over a third of America, up from 15.8% at the start of 2012.

 

 

3 Month Guess (Outlook). CPC, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, is forecasting a milder-than-average October thru December for a huge chunk of the USA, drier than average for the Pacific Northwest, wetter across the Gulf coast and southeastern USA (which correlates with an El Nino warming over the central Pacific). Again, buyer beware. Odds favor a mild bias into at least the first half of winter, based on the trends of recent winters, but I sure wouldn’t bet the farm on this. Call me perpetually paranoid, but what’s happening in the Arctic (record melting) may have some blow-back across the lower 48. Hope I’m wrong.

Looking Ahead. Everyone wants to know what the winter will be like. Me too. Can you tell me where the NASDAQ will be in mid-February? Interest rates in early March? Looking at recent trends this winter should be milder than average, especially factoring in a mild to moderate El Nino warming, but that warming is taking place in the central Pacific, and in previous El Nino’s like this the biggest impacts were over the Pacific Northwest and the southeastern USA, with little impact (cold or warm) on Minnesota and the Midwest. As I’ve been mentioning ad nauseum for days now, the Arctic is a huge wildcard. Record warming has created a semi-permanent bubble of warm high pressure at the top of the world, which may displace the cold “polar vortex” farther south, meaning more bitter swipes extending southward into the USA. The truth: models have some skill out to 15-20 days. Beyond that, forget about it. We can use ocean temperatures as cues, but there is still no reliable way to connect the dots and make a winter prediction with high confidence. Here is Mark Seeley’s take in the latest installment of WeatherTalk: “On Thursday of this week the NOAA Climate Prediction Center issued new seasonal climate outlooks. The temperature outlook for Minnesota favors above normal values over the October-December period. Actually this trend is seen for about 75 percent of the USA based on dynamical models and past trends. Little emphasis is placed on El Nino at the moment because it remains in a neutral state. The precipitation outlooks shows equal chances for above or below normal values over the October-December period across most of the USA except the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states which are expected to see above normal values.”

With Extreme Weather Will Insurers Come To The Rescue? Here’s an excerpt of a timely story from meteorologist Andrew Freedman at Climate Central: “Following a damaging episode of extreme weather, communities turn to insurance companies to help them rebuild, but with costly extreme weather and climate events on the rise as the climate continues to warm, insurers may stop coming to the rescue, a new report warns. The report from Ceres, a nonprofit group that advocates for sustainable business practices, calls attention to the threat that extreme weather events pose to the sustainability of the insurance industry, which has been hit hard by record-breaking extreme weather in recent years, on top of lower profits due to other reasons.”

 

“Inliers”: Why Non-Experts Are Better At Disruptive Innovation. Is it possible to be “too close” to your subject matter, too engrossed in your area of expertise, to see (disruptive/revolutionary) solutions? Here’s an excerpt of an interesting article at Huffington Post: “I believe that people who will come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems — ecological devastation, global warming, the global debt crisis and distribution of dwindling natural resources, to name a few — will not be experts in their fields. The real disruptors will be those individuals who are not steeped in one industry of choice with those coveted 10,000 hours of experience, but instead, individuals who approach challenges with a clean lens, bringing together diverse experiences, knowledge and opportunities. And while experts will have a part to play in solving today’s looming crises where incremental evolution is needed, I believe that non-expert individuals will drive disruptive innovation. Here’s why.”

To Stay Relevant In A Career, Workers Train Non-Stop. I keep telling my boys that things have changed. When I graduated from college in 1980 a degree was a passport for a better life. It still is, but the rate of technological innovation has increased dramatically with smaller business cycles. The only predictable thing: change. That means life-long learning, continuing education and reinvention is critical to stay current and employable. I thought The New York Times did a good job capturing this technological treadmill in this article; here’s an excerpt: “…But exhaustion may be a luxury that Mr. Hallock can never afford. The need to constantly adapt is the new reality for many workers, well beyond the information technology business. Car mechanics, librarians, doctors, Hollywood special effects designers — virtually everyone whose job is touched by computing — are being forced to find new, more efficient ways to learn as retooling becomes increasingly important not just to change careers, but simply to stay competitive on their chosen path…..Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at the London Business School, has coined a term for this necessity: “serial mastery.”

To Stay Relevant In A Career, Workers Train Non-Stop. I keep telling my boys that things have changed. When I graduated from college in 1980 a degree was a passport for a better life. It still is, but the rate of technological innovation has increased dramatically with smaller business cycles. The only predictable thing: change. That means life-long learning, continuing education and reinvention is critical to stay current and employable. I thought The New York Times did a good job capturing this technological treadmill in this article; here’s an excerpt: “…But exhaustion may be a luxury that Mr. Hallock can never afford. The need to constantly adapt is the new reality for many workers, well beyond the information technology business. Car mechanics, librarians, doctors, Hollywood special effects designers — virtually everyone whose job is touched by computing — are being forced to find new, more efficient ways to learn as retooling becomes increasingly important not just to change careers, but simply to stay competitive on their chosen path…..Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at the London Business School, has coined a term for this necessity: “serial mastery.”

How To Stop Hospitals From Killing Us. If you read one article today make it this one. I know I’ll be asking tougher questions the next time I check into a hospital for a procedure. The statistics are harrowing. Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal story (subscription may be required for online access): “When there is a plane crash in the U.S., even a minor one, it makes headlines. There is a thorough federal investigation, and the tragedy often yields important lessons for the aviation industry. Pilots and airlines thus learn how to do their jobs more safely. The world of American medicine is far deadlier: Medical mistakes kill enough people each week to fill four jumbo jets. But these mistakes go largely unnoticed by the world at large, and the medical community rarely learns from them. The same preventable mistakes are made over and over again, and patients are left in the dark about which hospitals have significantly better (or worse) safety records than their peers.”

Flat Earth Society. Hey, I’m keeping an open mind. All those (millions) of images from satellites could have been faked, along with the moon landings, for that matter. Here’s an excerpt of an FAQ from theflatearthsociety.org: ”
“Q: “Why do you believe the earth is flat?”

A: It looks that way up close. In our local reference frame, it appears to take a flat shape, ignoring obvious hills and valleys. In addition, Samuel Rowbotham et al. performed a variety of experiments over a period of several years that show it must be flat. They are all explained in his book, which is linked at the top of this article.”

Art In The Era Of The Internet. I found this clip at Brain Pickings interesting: “Over the past few months, the fine folks at PBS Arts have been exploring various facets of creative culture — including typography, product design, generative art, papercraft, and more — and their evolution in the digital age as part of the ongoing Off Book series. The latest installment explores art in the era of the Internet, and features Kickstarter founder Yancey Strickler, Creative Commons mastermind Lawrence Lessig, and my dear friend Julia Kaganskiy, editor of Creators Project, along with her colleague and creative director Ciel Hunter.”

 

Dog Given Up During Hurricane Katrina Turns Up In North Carolina. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating story of survival and true (animal) grit, courtesy of The Today Show’s Animal Tracks: “A dog given up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago has been found wandering along a road in North Carolina, and its original owners in Louisiana say they want him back. The 15-year-old white poodle named Shorty has a microchip and staff at the Cabarrus Animal Hospital in Kannapolis, N.C., were able to trace it to its family in New Orleans.”

Good Enough For Me. Maybe if you’re watching TV you won’t notice the price of gas. I snapped this photo in St. Cloud yesterday. Nice pumps.

Brown and Beautiful

Looking for a nice, stable 8 to 5 gig? If so, step away from the Doppler. 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? Weekend plans? A vacation coming up? If there’s a big storm brewing you’ll be stuck on a (bad) date with Mother Nature.

Why bring this up? Because September and early October brings the lowest odds of life-threatening weather in Minnesota.

The facts: blizzards and wind chill strike from November into March. A week later it’s tornado season. Summers bring flash floods, lightning and extreme heat.

No kidding.

I’d feel better about this amazing, blue-sky weather-vacation if we could negotiate 2 days, back-to-back, of soaking, 4-inch-plus rain.

Returning from our cabin Sunday I noticed knee-deep water in the Mississippi River at St. Cloud; new islands popping up that weren’t there a month ago.

NOAA is leaning toward a worsening drought over Minnesota, and I have to agree, at least thru December. We may not pull out of this dusty rut until spring of 2013.

The same towns that saw a freeze early Sunday will soar into the 70s today; a full week of sunny 60s on tap. Big storms detour south of Minnesota into next week; no cold smacks brewing either.

The outlook: brown & beautiful!

 

 

* photo credit above: Nick Klenchik, who snapped this photo near Binghampton, New York.

 

Climate Stories…

 

America’s Miasma Of Misinformation On Climate Change. No kidding. Here’s an excerpt of an important article at the U.K. Guardian: “…While there is virtually no mention of climate change in the local news, reporters have turned the weather into a national pastime. Perhaps this is because storms, hurricanes and tornadoes ignite a primal reaction, whereas climate change requires an intellectual one. There is also a perception of trust that grows from constant visibility on television – although we poke fun at the weatherman, we still hide in our closets during tornado warnings. On the other hand, we regard PhD-level climate scientists with suspicion, even though their work must hold up to rigorous peer review. The weather versus climate conflict illustrates what behavioral economists have said for years:

“We base our decisions on emotion far more than reason.”

Flawed climate risk perception may also explain why meteorologists have an advantage over climate scientists in making immediate weather more urgent than climate change. Although hard data do influence thinking, the psychology of risk perception is complicated.”

Photo credit above: “Sixty-one per cent of Americans consider themselves ‘cautious’, ‘disengaged’, ‘doubtful’ and ‘dismissive’ on climate change.” Photograph: www.memphisflyer.com

Welcome To A New World Of “Dirty Weather”. It’s the first time I’ve heard this expression – and it makes a certain amount of sense, at least to me. Man’s fingerprints may be showing up on some (not all) extreme weather events; there’s a growing body of evidence greenhouse gases, a warmer atmosphere and 4-5% more water vapor floating overhead are all contributing to spike some weather events, making heat waves hotter, droughts drier, and turbo-charged rainfall amounts. Here’s an excerpt from The Hill: “Al Gore hopes to show links between climate change and the effects of extreme weather worldwide with an online and social media-fueled event built around the idea of “dirty weather.” Gore’s advocacy group, the Climate Reality Project, announced Sunday that its second multi-media “24 Hours of Reality” event will occur Nov. 14-15 and bear the title “The Dirty Weather Report.” “We are in a new era where the . . . extreme weather that is occurring is not fully caused by the natural cycles of time and natural events, but by dirty energy, so it is really important to articulate that and name it more precisely,” said Maggie Fox, the CEO of the Climate Reality Project, in an interview Saturday.

Climate Central Reveals Telling Study Of Climate Change And Wildfires. Here’s an excerpt of an article at SummitDaily.com: “…The study provided a sobering outlook on the new average burn season, which are now two and a half times longer than 40 years ago, adding approximately 75 days to the fire season each year. Across the West, spring snowmelt has come one to four weeks earlier than averages in the 1970s. Since then, years with the most acres burned have been during years with above-average temperatures. “America’s western forests now see seven times more very large fires over 10,000 acres in an average year,” Kenward said. “Over that time, temperatures have increased dramatically.” “In the not-too-distant future, as temperatures continue to rise across the West, we’re likely to see years like this a lot more often,” Kenward said. The report cites wildfire drivers not related to climate change, but say the warmer, earlier springs and longer summers “make conditions ripe for larger and more numerous fires,” according to the study.”

Graphic credit above: “A recent study by Climate Central found a higher risk for wildfires on Forest Service land from warming average temperatures and longer fire seasons.” Special to the Daily / Climate Center

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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 startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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