Doppler Repairs – Perfect Weather Into Sunday

My hope for The Afterlife: no bills, no spam and no maintenance. But in this life we have to keep fixing stuff to keep it going. That applies to Doppler radar, which has revolutionized the prediction and tracking of severe storms, tornadoes and floods.

So it’s with a measured sense of trepidation and paranoia I share news that the local National Weather Service office will take the MPX Doppler radar down for repairs from September 9-30 to replace the pedestal; necessary for antenna rotation. The radar is 25 years old – this retrofit should ensure reliable operation through the 2030s.

By the way, it’s 2019. Where’s my flying car?

Beautiful weather spills into the weekend with a dry sky into Sunday; afternoons in the 70s with low humidity and precious little weather-whining. Monday looks like the wettest day, followed by a cooler splash of Canadian air next week. By late week daytime highs may hold in the 60s up north.

Considering it could be 95F with swamp-like humidity, I’m counting my blessings.

Weather Winning Streak. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, with many of us planning to loiter at the Minnesota State Fair. Graphics sequence above courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Thursday, August 22nd, 2019:

  • Tropical Storm Bailu formed midweek in the western Pacific and could make landfall in Taiwan Saturday local time.
  • As of Thursday morning U.S. time, Bailu had sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving to the west at 8 mph. This system will strengthen some as it moves to the northwest and could become a typhoon by Saturday. On the current track of this system, it would make landfall in southern Taiwan Saturday.
  • This system will bring the potential of strong winds and flooding rains to Taiwan and eastern China.

Bailu On Satellite. Bailu is strengthening out in the western Pacific this morning U.S. time. As of 3 PM local time, Bailu had sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving to the west at 8 mph. The center of the storm was located about 700 miles south of Kadena Air Base.

Bailu Track. Bailu is expected to move to the northwest over the next couple days across the Philippine Sea, slowly strengthening as it does so. This track would bring Bailu close to southern Taiwan by Saturday afternoon local time (Friday Night U.S. time) as a typhoon. Saturday is when a potential landfall in Taiwan could occur, but there is still the potential that the center of this system passes just to the south. The system will continue northwestward, making landfall in eastern China later in the weekend.

Heavy Rain Potential. Bailu will bring the potential of heavy rain to Taiwan and eastern China through the weekend. Some areas of central and southern Taiwan could see upwards of a foot of rain, which could lead to flooding and mudslides.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

Minnesota State Fair Trivia. The Minnesota DNR has a few timely nuggets: “…The Minnesota State Fair has been held at its current site since 1885. Before that it was held at a variety of locations including Fort Snelling. There were some years when the Fair was not held because of war, disease, or for logistical reasons. These years are: 1861 (Civil War), 1862 (Civil and Indian War), 1893 (Columbian Exposition), 1945 (fuel shortage because of WWII), and 1946 (outbreak of Polio.) Beginning in 1975, the fair has a 12-day run each year ending with Labor Day. Thus since 1975, the Fair begins on a Thursday in August. Before 1975, the Fair was held for shorter durations (eleven days from 1972 to 1974, ten days from 1939 to 1971, eight days from 1919 to 1938 and six days from 1885 to 1918)...”

Federal Program Says You Should Keep Your Home Above 78 Degrees. CNN explains: “A federal program recommends people keep their homes between 78 and 85 degrees, and the internet is freaking out. The guidelines come from Energy Star, a government-backed program to promote energy efficiency, and they’ve sparked a fiery debate on social media. The program suggests different settings to automate at various times: 78 degrees when you wake up, 85 degrees during the day and 82 degrees when you’re sleeping. Energy Star says homeowners can save about $180 a year with a properly-set programmable thermostat. The US Department of Energy also encourages homeowners to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees when they’re home…But while some studies have shown higher daytime temperatures help improve productivity for some groups, higher thermostat settings overnight could interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. A room somewhere around 65 degrees makes for the best sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation...”

IG: NOAA, NASA Launched Next-Gen Satellite with Known Issues, Scrubbed Performance Metrics from Contract. has a troubling story; here’s the intro: “Persistent problems with the premier sensors of the GOES-R series satellites—designed to provide the next generation of weather observation for North America—were identified before launch and not properly tested or resolved, according to a new inspector general report. Further, the Commerce Department IG found evidence that program managers changed the evaluation criteria for the contractor after the issues were identified—metrics that would have led to a 40-75% reduction in payment had they remained. The GOES-R series of satellites includes GOES-16—launched November 2016—and GOES-17—launched March 2018—as well as the pending GOES-T and GOES-U still in production. The satellite constellation is equipped with a set of next-generation sensors to better predict weather patterns, including the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, the “most essential instrument for mission success of the GOES-R satellites,” according to the IG...”

Feeling Lucky? Gauging the Risk of a Hurricane Impacting Your Vacation. Some good advice in a post at Forbes: “…Of course, there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to weather. But if you were playing the odds, you would not plan a beachy East Coast or Caribbean getaway that spanned September 10. When you look at more than half a century of data, September 10 is the most common date to have a hurricane occurring somewhere in the Atlantic basin. That’s a Tuesday this year, so it might be just as easy to plan your getaway for another time. The “September 10 rule” has held up in recent years. Last year’s storm season is remembered for hurricanes Florence (Sept. 5-14, 2018) and Michael (Oct. 7-16, 2018), which caused significant damage in the southeastern U.S. And the previous year brought a trio of costly hurricanes — Harvey (Aug. 17-Sept. 2, 2017), Irma (Aug. 30-Sept. 13, 2017) and Maria (Sept. 16-Oct. 2, 2017) — that ravaged destinations from Houston to Puerto Rico…”

Hurricane Patricia file image courtesy of Scott Kelly and NASA’s ISS.

A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires. Food for thought from The New Yorker: “… Throughout the twentieth century, federal policy focussed on putting out fires as quickly as possible. An unintended consequence of this strategy has been a disastrous buildup in forest density, which has provided the fuel for so-called “megafires.” The term was coined by the Forest Service in 2011, following a series of conflagrations that each consumed more than a hundred thousand acres of woodland.Megafires are huge, hot, and fast—they can engulf an entire town within minutes. These fires are almost unstoppable and behave in ways that shock fire scientists—hurling firebrands up to fifteen miles away, forming vortices of superheated air that melt cars into puddles within seconds, and generating smoke plumes that shroud distant cities in apocalyptic haze. Centuries-old trees, whose thick bark can withstand lesser blazes, are incinerated and seed banks beneath the forest floor are destroyed…”

Photo credit: “As megafires become the new normal, prescribed burns give trees breathing room and prevent the worst damage.” Photo by Kevin Cooler for The New Yorker.

Amazon Fires: Record Number Burning in Brazil Rainforest. BBC News has details: “Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country’s space research agency. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data. Smoke from the fires caused a blackout in the city of São Paulo on Monday. The daytime blackout, which lasted for about an hour, came after strong winds brought in smoke from forest fires burning in the states of Amazonas and Rondonia, more than 2,700km (1,700 miles) away. The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming…”
Photo credit: “Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires so far this year.” Reuters.

A Live Reality Cop Show is Cable TV’s Best Bet to Compete with Streaming. It’s pretty addictive, I have to admit. Here’s a snippet from Bloomberg Businessweek: “…The show, now in its third season, is often the No. 1 program on American cable TV on Friday and Saturday nights. A&E is one of only two cable channels to show growth in 18-to-49-year-old viewers since September 2018, along with TLC. A&E, jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., runs six hours of new Live PD episodes a week. There are hours more of reruns and seven spinoffs, including Live PD Presents: Women on Patrol and Live Rescue, which focuses on firefighters and other first responders. Top Dog, which features police dogs competing on an obstacle course, is set to make its debut in the fall. In a way Live PD is a return to the network’s heyday six years ago when it thrived on red-state reality shows such as Duck Dynasty and Dog the Bounty Hunter...”
Photo credit: “Dan Abrams, host of A&E’s Live PD, and Paul Buccieri, president of A&E Networks Group, at the network’s New York studios.” Photographer: Dolly Faibyshev for Bloomberg Businessweek

You Don’t Need All That Internet BandwidthMany of us are paying for a feast, when what we really need is a digital snack. The Wall Street Journal has an eye-opening analysis; here’s an excerpt: “…Broadband providers such as Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. are marketing speeds in the range of 250, 500 or even 1,000 megabits a second, often promising that streaming-video bingers will benefit. “Fast speeds for all of your shows,” declares one online ad from Comcast. But for a typical household, the benefits of paying for more than 100 megabits a second are marginal at best, according to the researchers. That means many households are paying a premium for services they don’t need…“

Yet Another American Divide: “Crunk” vs. “Bible Studies”. Which may be more than you really wanted to know, but Big Think explains: “America is not one nation – not even two, but a seemingly endless procession of opposites: red vs. blue, black vs. white, coastal vs. heartland, Hispanic vs. Anglo, millennials vs. analog natives. Of course, the precise course and depth of each of those fault lines depends on which type of data you decide to crunch, and how. Here is a map of the United States divided into two very different – though perhaps not entirely mutually exclusive – demographics. In one corner: ‘crazy drunk’ – or ‘crunk’, if you’re into the whole brevity thing. In the other: ‘bible study’. The raw data for this map was spooned out of the bubbling vat of megatrends and metadata that is Twitter…”

Image credit: Boyd L. Shearer Jr.

Dancing with the Former Press Secretary. CNN has the joyous details: “Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is hitting the dance floor and joining the cast of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Spicer was announced Wednesday alongside the rest of the cast on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “The nice thing is Sean will be in charge of assessing audience size,” “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron joked on “Good Morning America.” Bergeron later tweeted that he had hoped the show “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations” but that the producers decided to “‘go in a different direction....”

75 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

80 F. average high on August 22.

84 F. high on August 22, 2018.

August 23, 1955: Hail in Houston County results in drifts up to a foot deep at Rushmore.

FRIDAY: Sunny and comfortable. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 77

SATURDAY: Lukewarm sun, another great day. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 59. High: 78

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, still pleasant. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 79

MONDAY: Wettest day. Showers & T-storms. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 74

TUESDAY: Partly sunny with a stiff breeze. Winds: W 15-25. Wake-up: 59. High: 75

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, milder. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 79

THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, low humidity. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 75

Climate Stories….

The Way We’re Talking About Climate Change Is All Wrong. Newsweek has an Op-Ed that resonated; here’s an excerpt: “…First, climate communication must reach our neighbors where they are, versus where experts think they should be. Climate messages should be relevant to and helpful with basic needs: financial stability, health and security. We need environmentalists to make space for more diverse environmental messengers. People need to see themselves and their community’s priorities represented on the climate stage. Climate change will impact all of us—and have a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable communities first. Second, we must use language that most people use. Instead of talking about carbon neutrality, net zero, retrofit accelerators or deep decarbonization, let’s use clear concepts like 100 percent renewable energy and zero waste and discuss the need to electrify and plug in our cars and buildings so they can be powered and heated by wind power and solar power…”

File image: Scott Kelly and NASA ISS.

A New Tone From Some Republicans on Climate Change – Mostly Behind Closed Doors. Here’s an excerpt from POLITICO: “…I don’t understand what it is about people in politics that they seem to be immune from some of these large shifts in opinion out there in the real world. I mean almost all the large-company CEOs are for taking reasonable steps to deal with climate change and sea level rise,” said Rooney, who represents a coastal Florida district and served as an ambassador in the George W. Bush administration. He credited pressure from corporate leaders as helpful for ultimately setting a price on carbon despite ongoing resistance from many in his party. And behind closed doors, Republicans are even more candid in acknowledging that action is needed, according to their Democratic colleagues…”

Climate Change to Slow Global Economic Growth, New Study Finds. has details: “Climate change will exact a toll on global economic output as higher temperatures hamstring industries from farming to manufacturing, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Record-breaking heat across the globe made headlines throughout July, and now researchers say a persistent increase in average global temperature by 0.04 degrees Celsius per year, barring major policy breakthroughs, is set to reduce world real GDP per capita by 7.22% by 2100. The researchers — hailing from the International Monetary Fund, the University of Cambridge and the University of Southern California — found little evidence that precipitation had an impact on GDP, but instead observed a large temperature-related effect...”

Luntz: “I Was Wrong” on Climate Change. POLITICO has another interesting read; here’s a clip: “…Luntz, who said he’s doing work for both Democrats and Republicans, urged Democrats to “personalize, individualize and humanize” the impacts of climate change to make it more relatable to the average person. He advised them to “jettison” language like describing the problem as a crisis in favor of phrases that motivate people to action. “Focus on the consequences of inaction,” he said. “The American people want to know the positive of this, not just the negative. Not just the fear, they want to know the benefit of focusing on it...”

Photo credit: “Republican pollster Frank Luntz entertains a Mississippi crowd in 2008. Luntz urged Democrats to “personalize, individualize and humanize” the impacts of climate change.” | Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo

What U.S. Cities Facing Climate Disaster Risks are Least Prepared.  Here’s an excerpt from CityLab: “…The counties that registered some of the highest resiliency scores tended to be those that scored high on the wealth index. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang was criticized for invoking wealth when asked about his climate change solution at a recent debate, but wealth matters according to the FEMA study.
“Circles of wealth tend to congregate with other circles of wealth and they create … an informal class system, particularly in urban areas,” said Kyle Burke Pfeiffer, an author of the FEMA study in an interview with Scientific American. “Wealth certainly correlates to being able to afford things like insurance and the ability to pull yourself up after a disaster and get a hotel room.

File image: Brian Snyder, Reuters.

Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change. Scientific American has a summary; here’s a clip: “…These recent updates, suggesting that climate change and its impacts are emerging faster than scientists previously thought, are consistent with observations that we and other colleagues have made identifying a pattern in assessments of climate research of underestimation of certain key climate indicators, and therefore underestimation of the threat of climate disruption. When new observations of the climate system have provided more or better data, or permitted us to reevaluate old ones, the findings for ice extent, sea level rise and ocean temperature have generally been worse than earlier prevailing views. Consistent underestimation is a form of bias—in the literal meaning of a systematic tendency to lean in one direction or another—which raises the question: what is causing this bias in scientific analyses of the climate system?…”

Earth’s Future is Being Written in Fast-Melting Greenland. Here’s the intro to an Associated Press story: “This is where Earth’s refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what’s happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it “the end of the planet.” He is referring to geography more than the future. Yet in many ways this place is where the planet’s warmer and watery future is being written. It is so warm here, just inside the Arctic Circle, that on an August day, coats are left on the ground and Holland and colleagues work on the watery melting ice without gloves. In one of the closest towns, Kulusuk, the morning temperature reached a shirtsleeve 52 degrees Fahrenheit…”

Photo credit: “In this Aug. 16, 2019, photo, large Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland. Scientists are hard at work, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice.” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)