“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles” wrote Sarah Guillory in “Reclaimed”.
Warmer, Soggier September. Dr. Mark Seeley has another solid post at Minnesota WeatherTalk, including a statewide overview of September: “As we near the end of the month it appears that most climate stations will report a mean monthly temperature that ranges from 3 to 5 degrees F above normal, only the 2nd significantly warmer than normal month of 2019. Extremes were 91°F at Marshall on the 18th, and 31°F at Celina (St Louis County) on the 14th. With respect to rainfall, September of 2019 will be among the six wettest in history on a statewide basis. Many areas received between 5 and 10 inches for the month. There were several new daily rainfall records set during the month, including 4.28″ at Lake Wilson and 4.30″ at Pipestone on the 12th. At least 70 new daily rainfall records were set within the state climate network during the month. A handful of climate stations reported over 10 inches of rainfall for the month...”
Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday, September 30th, 2019:
- Typhoon Mitag is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Taiwan this morning U.S. time, with rainfall amounts of over 10” reported and wind gusts over 60 mph.
- This system will continue to move north over the next couple days, moving past Taiwan through early Tuesday and toward eastern China and Shanghai Tuesday into Wednesday local time. Mitag will then turn northeastward, with the system passing near or over South Korea late Wednesday into Thursday and then over Japan late this week at tropical storm strength.
Mitag On Satellite. Heavy rain and strong winds have been battering portions of Taiwan today due to Typhoon Mitag, which is sitting off the east coast of the island. As of 6 PM local time, Mitag had sustained winds around 85 mph and the center of the system was located 185 miles south-southeast of Taipei. So far on Monday, the heaviest rain has fallen in Yilan County, where some areas have reported over 300 mm (11.8”) of rain. There have also been wind gusts to around 67 mph with the system in Taiwan.
Mitag Track. Mitag will continue to move just off the east coast of Taiwan through early Tuesday, with rain bands from the system impacting Taipei bringing wind gusts up to 50 mph and the potential of several inches of rain. The system will then track near eastern China Tuesday into Wednesday, with Shanghai seeing the potential of 2-4” of rain and wind gusts of 40-50 mph. After that point, Mitag will start to move northeastward, bringing a weaker system (tropical storm strength) near or over South Korea late Wednesday into Thursday and then over Japan late this week. The track would have the center pass south of Seoul and north of Tokyo.
Rain Threat. Several inches of rain will be possible with Mitag across portions of Taiwan, eastern China, South Korea, and Japan this week. This could cause the potential of flash flooding and mudslides, especially in areas of higher terrain.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.
600 People Still Missing in the Bahamas Weeks After Hurricane Dorian. CNN reports.
Slow-Moving Atlantic Storms Like Imelda and Dorian Are Growing More Common. Dr. Jeff Masters reports for Weather Underground Category 6; here’s an excerpt: “...Imelda, Dorian, Florence, Harvey, and Idai are examples of storms we have been seeing more often in recent decades: ones that move more slowly over land, resulting in increased flooding and damage. The forward speed of tropical cyclones (which includes all hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions) has decreased globally by about 10% since 1949, according to a 2018 paper in the journal Nature by NOAA hurricane scientist Dr. Jim Kossin. As a result of their slower forward motion, these storms are now more likely to drop heavier rains, increasing their flood risk. Most significantly, the study reported a 20% slow-down in storm translation speed over land for Atlantic storms, a 30% slow-down over land for Northwest Pacific storms, and a 19% slow-down over land for storms affecting the Australia region. (See my June 2018 post, Observed Slowdown in Tropical Cyclone Motion May Portend More Harvey-Like Rainstorms.)...”
September 1 visible image: AerisWeather and Praedictix.
Good & Bad News at Tesla: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “Tesla is edging close to delivering 100,000 cars in the third quarter of 2019, an email sent by CEO Elon Musk to employees Friday reveals, as it rallies employees and company resources to potentially deliver a record number of cars today. This push doesn’t come without some related drama over the company’s treatment of its workers: a judge ruled Friday that Tesla violated labor laws in a tweet Musk sent in May of 2018 that the judge said was equivalent to “threatening employees” who were working to unionize. Tesla may not be the only big player working through tangles of consistently delivering large amounts of electric vehicles to customers: Amazon’s announcement last week that it would order 100,000 electric trucks from startup Rivian has residents of Normal, Illinois looking to the Rivian factory there as a potential new hot spot of EV production, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.” (Car deliveries: Electrek, Bloomberg. Tweet: Reuters, Time, CNN. Rivian: Crain’s Chicago Business)
Bio-Plastic Made From Fish Scales? Kudo to the (inventors) that create a viable alternative to traditional plastic. They deserve whatever windfall comes their way. Big Think reports: “Single-use plastics — among them, straws, cutlery, shopping and sandwich bags — are small, but they have a huge impact on the environment. The vast majority of these plastics end up in landfills or the ocean, where they can take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose. And when you consider that the world consumes about 1 million plastic bottles per minute, the implications of plastics consumption are pretty staggering. To help offset these environmental costs, University of Sussex graduate Lucy Hughes recently used fish waste to create a compostable alternative to single-use plastic. The translucent material, called MarinaTex, is made from fish scales and skin – materials that break down in food-waste bins within about four to six weeks...”
Photo credit: Dyson.
How the U.S. Hacked ISIS. NPR has a fascinating story; here’s an excerpt: “…The one thing on which everyone seemed to agree is that ISIS had found a way to do something other terrorist organizations had not: It had turned the Web into a weapon. ISIS routinely used encrypted apps, social media and splashy online magazines and videos to spread its message, find recruits and launch attacks. A response to ISIS required a new kind of warfare, and so the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command created a secret task force, a special mission, and an operation that would become one of the largest and longest offensive cyber operations in U.S. military history. Few details about Joint Task Force ARES and Operation Glowing Symphony have been made public…”
Graphic credit above: “Neal stands in a room with military cyber operators from Joint Task Force ARES to launch an operation that would become one of the largest and longest offensive cyber operations in U.S. military history.” Josh Kramer for NPR.
Social Poverty. The only metric of success that truly matters is one we usually choose to ignore. A post at Pocket me was a subtle (yet blunt) reminder that social media only goes so far – we are wired to (need) face to face human interaction: “…. Regardless of one’s sex, country or culture of origin, or age or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival.” In 2010, Holt-Lunstad published research showing that people who had weaker social ties had a 50 percent increased likelihood of dying early than those with stronger ones. Being disconnected, she showed, posed danger comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and was more predictive of early death than the effects of air pollution or physical inactivity…When the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed rich countries with the Economist in 2018, it found 22 percent of people in America, always or often felt lonely, lacked companionship, or felt left out or isolated. People crave a sense of belonging. And yet we focus on how to look better, exercise efficiently, and work effectively, often neglecting to take the necessary steps to build and sustain social ties…”
Babies on a Plane. Is this a good idea? The Guardian reports: “Being stuck on a long-haul flight within earshot of a crying baby could be a thing of the past for passengers on Japan Airlines (JAL), after the carrier unveiled an online booking tool that indicates where toddlers will be seated. When passengers with children aged between eight days and two years old reserve their seat, a child icon automatically appears on the seat plan, alerting other passengers who have yet to select their seats…Some travelers love the idea. Others lament a general intolerance towards fellow passengers…”
A Wandering Mind: How Travel Can Change the Way You Think. I’ve noticed it myself. The more you travel and meet new people in new circumstances the more accepting you become of people who have different customs and beliefs. A post at Farnam Street has some good advice; here’s an excerpt: “…Here are some goals we can construct from Wollstonecraft’s approach to travel:
- Try to actively know the place you are in. Observe the customs. Interact with the locals.
- Learn the whys behind the observation. Explore the history. Ask questions. Try to understand the answers in relation to what you are experiencing now, setting aside any previous assumptions.
- Notice how the journey is affecting you. What memories surface? What new insights do you have? Are your opinions and beliefs challenged?
- Don’t plan out every detail. Explore. The map is not the territory...”
Minnesota is Snickers Territory. Hey, the data is the data. Blame Google.
86 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday, one degree F. shy of the all-time record.
72 F. maximum dew point at MSP yesterday (all-time record).
65 F. average high on September 30.
55 F. high on September 30, 2018.
October 1, 1999: One of the earliest significant snowfalls in Minnesota history falls in a narrow track across southern Minnesota. Reported snowfall totals include 4.0 inches in Montgomery (Le Sueur County) and Northfield (Rice County), 3.8 inches in Springfield (Brown County), 3.0 inches in Vesta (Redwood county), and 2.8 inches in Mankato (Blue Earth County).
October 1, 1989: High temperatures across central and southern Minnesota reach the 80’s. Later in the day, a cold front would come through and drop the mercury to the 40’s.
TUESDAY: Cool and damp with showers. Winds: N 10-15. High: 63
WEDNESDAY: Jacket weather. PM showers likely. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 50. High: 57
THURSDAY: Windy and raw with showers. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: near 50
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, almost pleasant. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: 59
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, a few showers. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 61
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and windy. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 49. High: near 60
MONDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 55
Climate Risk in the Housing Market Has Echoes of Subprime Crisis, Study Finds. What can possibly go wrong? The New York Times reports: “Banks are shielding themselves from climate change at taxpayers’ expense by shifting riskier mortgages — such as those in coastal areas — off their books and over to the federal government, new research suggests. The findings echo the subprime lending crisis of 2008, when unexpected drops in home values cascaded through the economy and triggered recession. One difference this time is that those values would be less likely to rebound, because many of the homes literally would be underwater. In a paper to be released Monday, the researchers say their findings show “a potential threat to the stability of financial institutions.” They warn that the threat will grow as global warming leads to more frequent and more severe disasters, forcing more loans to go into default as homeowners cannot or would not make mortgage payments…”
File image: NOAA.
Could Flooding Cause The Next Recession? Climate Nexus has more perspective: “Banks are shifting mortgages for homes in flood-prone areas to the federal government, putting taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in damages as climate disasters continue to amplify, new research suggests. A working paper released today from two economists finds that in areas that experienced at least $1 billion in disaster-related damages between 2004 and 2012, mortgage lenders increased sales to government entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing them to skirt responsibility in the case of default. The paper’s authors found that the chance of a foreclosure is nearly 4 percent higher for mortgages originated in the first year after a hurricane. The risk of the mortgage market to climate change and flooding “could be as large as the losses due to the subprime crisis,” Wharton economist Susan Wachter told the New York Times.” (New York Times $)
Greta Thunberg Isn’t Alone. Meet Other Young Activists Leading the Environmentalist Fight. CNN.com has the post: “Greta Thunberg has become a household name since she began her climate strikes in 2018, inspiring thousands of students to walk out of class and demand action on the climate crisis. The 16-year-old Swede recently appeared on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” met with Barack Obama and delivered a fiery speech this month to world leaders at the United Nations. Greta Thunberg got the world’s attention. But are leaders really listening? And she has company. Around the globe, young people are sounding the alarm on climate change and environmental issues by organizing rallies and confronting policymakers. Meet five others who are leading the fight...”
“They’re Scared”. Parents Back Child Climate Activists With Hope. A story at Thompson Reuters Foundation caught my eye: “...The Climate Psychology Alliance, a UK-based group of psychologists, has warned children are increasingly suffering anxiety and grief about climate change, and advised parents to acknowledge their fears and offer them support in taking action. The American Psychological Association said they were aware of reports of growing “eco-anxiety” in children, but research was needed to establish how common it is. Youth climate advocacy group, Sunrise Kids, arranged an event on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations’ key annual meeting for worried adults to discuss “parenting in the age of climate crisis”. Many echoed a desire to not frighten their children when talking to them about climate change...”
Solutions to Climate Change Cannot Overlook This One Key Factor. How will the law be interpreted? Here’s a snippet from Mother Jones: “...But one thing is missing: any mention of judicial action as a means to accelerate adaptation. Courts can act as a powerful accelerant to flame the adaptation revolutions—particularly in the United States, with its robust independent court system based on precedent. Legal judgments can sharply motivate government agencies, business leaders, and professionals to rethink how they do business. A finding of criminal or civil liability can spur laggards in adaptive behavior to move more quickly. And improvements in the science of attribution—which focuses on determining how human-caused climate change alters the probability and magnitude of weather events—will add to the body of evidence supporting liability determinations. Given the law’s power to drive adaptation, climate litigation has the potential to advance the Commission’s goal of jump-starting the necessary transitions for change…”
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Greta Thunberg. The New Republic parses what Ms. Thunberg is really advocating: “...Greta Thunberg and Barack Obama are not on the same team. The actual content of her speeches—the actual commitments she’s asked us all to make—lie well outside the bounds of conventional politics. Like many climate activists, Thunberg wants us to leave behind many things we now take for granted. The items on her chopping block, however, include not just fossil fuel-burning cars and coal power plants, but contemporary capitalism itself. To address climate change, Thunberg wants us to abandon an economic system designed to run on auto-pilot and instead build a world in which we make difficult decisions, in an emergency mindset, about what we should protect and what we should value. Cumulatively, those decisions might mean an end to the triumphalism that has animated us for centuries—trading the promise of progress for the project of bare survival...”
GOP Congressman Introduces Bipartisan Carbon Tax Bill. Details via TheHill: “A new bill introduced by Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) would place a price on carbon and invest revenue in infrastructure. The bipartisan Market Choice Act co-sponsored with Democratic Reps. Salud Carbajal and Scott Peters of California aims to reduce emissions and invest in infrastructure projects such as those for highways and bridges. It would do so by replacing the federal gasoline tax with a tax on carbon emissions from sources of fossil fuel combustion like power plants. “Efforts to reduce climate risk should protect our Nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply, public health, and public safety and there is bipartisan support for pursuing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through economically viable, broadly supported private and public policies and solutions,” the text of the bill reads…”
Increasingly, Oil and Gas Executives Realize They Need a Plan to Address Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a story at The Washington Post: “In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry...”
Graphic credit: Sarah Grillo. Axios.
Category 4 Hurricane Lorenzo Presents Ominous Climate Signal. Capital Weather Gang provides perspective: “…It’s also only the 10th major hurricane on record east of the 40 degrees west marker. Five of those have occurred in the past decade, a number that National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake called “probably no coincidence.” Ocean water temperatures in the corridor swept over by Lorenzo are up to a few degrees warmer than their former average baseline, making the lower atmosphere replete with fuel to spin up a beastly storm. Hurricanes are the atmospheric equivalent of large heat engines; with more thermal heat input by the ocean as seas continue to warm, scientists have concluded that more of these higher-end storms are likely in the future. A summary of available research from NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory notes that “tropical cyclone intensities globally will likely increase.” An increase in the most intense tropical cyclones, Category 4s and 5s, may already be underway…”
Image credit: “
Italy and France Prepare for Imminent Collapse of Mont Blanc Glacier. This can’t be good. Daily Beast reports: “…Tuesday evening, Italian civil protection authorities took the extreme measure of closing down the Italian side of Mont Blanc due to the imminent threat of around 9 million cubic feet of ice breaking away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses mountain on the Mont Blanc massif. To get an idea of how big that is, that much ice would make 67.3 million gallons of water if it melted. Courmayeur’s mayor Stefano Miserocchi called the evacuation after a damning report by the Safe Mountains Foundation that showed new fissures in the ice. The glacier has been moving at a rate of between 20 and 24 inches a day, which has authorities concerned that it could crumble at any moment. Extreme heat this summer, followed by torrential warm rains this fall, have only made matters worse…”
Photo credit: The Independent. “The Planpincieux glacier (seen on the left) on the southern slopes of the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif.” ( Wikimedia Commons )
Glacier Could Crash Soon, Scientists Say: Climate Nexus reports: “Authorities have closed roads and evacuated buildings in the Italian Alps after scientists warned Wednesday that a massive chunk of a glacier is in danger of collapsing. Experts say a 250,000 cubic meter section of the Planpincieux glacier on Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif could break off at any time as the glacier’s movement has increased rapidly. “This phenomenon once again testifies that the mountain is in a phase of strong change due to climatic factors, therefore it is particularly vulnerable,” Stefano Miserocchi, the mayor of Alpine resort town Courmayeur, said in a statement. The announcement comes on the heels of a devastating UN report on the state of the world’s oceans and ice, which finds that glaciers are increasingly endangered due to climate change, threatening the world’s high mountain economies and communities that rely on glacial melt and snow runoff for agriculture and drinking water–and bringing more wildfires to places like the Arctic.” (AP, NBC, USA Today, New York Times $, The Guardian).
Kathryn Murdoch Steps Out of the Family Shadow to Fight Climate Change. A story from John Schwartz at The New York Times (paywall) caught my eye; here’s a clip: “…So this could be awkward. But to Ms. Murdoch, it is all part of her moment to go public on some 13 years of behind-the-scenes climate activism. “I’m very comfortable staying in the background and continuing to work quietly,” she said, but “I’ve decided doing that means I’m not working hard enough, I’m not doing everything in my power to do.” Ms. Murdoch said that she actually got the inspiration to take on climate change from that Al Gore talk at the Fox retreat in 2006. The former vice president presented a version of the slide show that had just been turned into the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” In particular, the urgency of the climate crisis jolted her. “I decided to switch everything I was doing,” she said. “I wanted to be able to look my children in the eye and say ‘I did everything I could…’”
Photo credit: “Credit: Hilary Swift for The New York Times.