With No Humility – Bad Things Often Result

“When men lack a sense of awe there will be disaster” said 6th century BC Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu. His words are more relevant than ever.

“Tornadoes can’t hit downtowns!” Or “It’s only a Category 2 hurricane. We can ride it out at home!” Or “My truck is high enough off the ground – we can cross this flooded road!” Or “Forget the dial, let’s flip the switch and fully open up the economy now. I’m dying to see how it all turns out!”

To be human is to accept a grudging respect for forces beyond our control. Humility is an asset, not a liability.

With all deference to The Beatles, the path to summer is a long and winding road. Last night’s cloudburst gives way to slow clearing today, but a push of cooler air will leave us reaching for sweatshirts early Friday and Saturday. At least the weekend should be dry with a stiff breeze Saturday and milder 70s returning by Sunday.

Models seem to be retreating from a forecast of 90s next week. We’ll have to be content with a streak of lake-worthy 80s. Oh fine.

Cool Interlude – Followed by a Warm Push. Temperatures cool off again by Friday and Saturday, but there’s little doubt we’ll be sweating it out much of next week. No more significant rain until (maybe) the latter half of next week as a stationary front nearby squeezes out a few showers and T-storms. Map sequence above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Yes Please. I’m a fan of 80s – can live without 90s, but I’m secretly relieved it can still get this hot, considering people were driving on frozen lakes a few months ago. ECMWF hints at highs near 90F next Tuesday through Thursday. We’ll see if this is real, or another meteorological mirage. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Slight Cooling Second Week of June? After a (very) hot first week of the new month, GFS guidance hints at a cool correction by June 9th. By then we may welcome free Canadian A/C.

Precipitation Update. Keep in mind these maps were created (thank you Praedictix) before last night’s torrential rains, so I’ll have to update these later today to reflect the most current data. That long-term precipitation deficit over much of central and northern Minnesota may vanish pretty fast at the rate we’re going. Maps: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Battery Breakthrough Could End Lithium-Ion’s Reign. A story at OneZero caught my eye: “…Scientists are working hard to find other options. Last week, a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described a breakthrough in the effort to make a potassium-based battery. Potassium batteries are considered one of the best potential competitors to lithium-ion batteries because potassium is way more naturally abundant than lithium, and the batteries could perform comparably — once a few obstacles are addressed. “The uneven distribution and scarcity of lithium in the Earth’s crust make relying on lithium-ion batteries as the sole source of energy storage highly impractical and uneconomical,” study co-author Nikhil Koratkar, a professor of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, tells OneZero…”

America’s Patchwork Pandemic is Fraying Even Further. The Atlantic ventures baby-steps on what may be coming down the road: “…A patchwork pandemic is psychologically perilous. The measures that most successfully contain the virus—testing people, tracing any contacts they might have infected, isolating them from others—all depend on “how engaged and invested the population is,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins. “If you have all the resources in the world and an antagonistic relationship with the people, you’ll fail.” Testing matters only if people agree to get tested. Tracing succeeds only if people pick up the phone. And if those fail, the measure of last resort—social distancing—works only if people agree to sacrifice some personal freedom for the good of others. Such collective actions are aided by collective experiences. What happens when that experience unravels?…”

Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Millions of Cicadas Expected to Emerge After 17 Years Underground, Because – Of Course – It’s 2020. What else can go wrong. CNN.com explains: “As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with giant murder hornets invading the US and a global pandemic, millions of 17-year cicadas will emerge from the ground this year. As many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre may emerge, and people living in Southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina and West Virginia could witness this unique phenomenon, Virginia Tech says in a news release. Luckily, cicadas are harmless to humans. At most, the noise they make could become a nuisance…”

Be Like Mike: What Founders Can Learn From the Last Dance. Which I’m enjoying far more than I thought I would. Kudos to ESPN for creating something pretty extraordinary. Here’s an excerpt from a solid story at Medium: “…Phil’s key insight was that an offense based solely around MJ was too predictable and therefore easy to defend against. Prior coach Doug Collins’ playbook was “give the ball to Michael and get out of the way.” Phil’s triangle offense was all about creating threats including but not limited to MJ. It was a flexible system that allowed every player to contribute their strengths and complement each other. Being the best player on the court only gets you so far. To win big, founders need to surround themselves with other greats and role players, working in a system that brings out the best in everyone…”

Image credit: clutchpoints.com.

Interested in Renting Your Own Personal Field of Dreams? Wait for it, there is a Minnesota connection. Reuters explains: “U.S. professional sports may be on hold during the pandemic, but anybody with $1,500 can rent a minor league baseball stadium in Florida on Airbnb to create their own experience. The waterfront home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a team co-owned by two-time Masters golf champion Bubba Watson, has been mostly empty after coronavirus lockdowns forced Minor League Baseball to suspend its season, which had been due to begin in April. This is the first time a professional U.S. sports stadium has been listed on the lodging website, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the ad by the Wahoos, a minor league affiliate of MLB’s Minnesota Twins...”

I Found the Perfect Gift. The King of Jock Straps? The New York Post reports: “You can own the King of all cups later this month when Elvis Presley’s custom bedazzled jockstrap goes up for auction. The rhinestone-studded athletic supporter complete with the King’s initials in blue diamonelles on the waistband is expected to fetch $36,000 when it goes on the block as part of the Elvis Presley Museum collection being sold by Paul Fraser Collectables. The strap was made by a fan and worn by Presley for years until his 1977 death. I’m sure the new owner won’t be able to resist wearing it out on a Saturday night – the Elvis magic will work wonders, I’m certain…”

Photo credit: Paul Fraser Collectibles / CATERS NEWS.

81 F. high in the Twin Cities on Tuesday.

72 F. average high on May 26.

74 F. high on May 26, 2019.

May 27, 1930: The Great Empire Builder Tornado occurs. A direct hit derails a famous train in Norman County.

WEDNESDAY: Damp start, then warm sunshine. Winds: SW 5-10. High: near 80

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, breezy and pleasant. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 76

FRIDAY: Cool sunshine, low humidity. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 55. High: near 70

SATURDAY: A few clouds, windy and cool. Winds: N 15-25. Wake-up: 51. High: 68

SUNDAY: Sunny and milder with less wind. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 74

MONDAY: Warmer winds, isolated T-shower. Winds: S 15-30. Wake-up: 58. High: 81

TUESDAY: Sunny and almost hot. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 86

Climate Stories…

Climate Change Could Dramatically Reduce U.S. Snowstorms. A press release from Northern Illinois University caught my eye: “A new study led by Northern Illinois University scientists suggests American winters late this century could experience significant decreases in the frequency, intensity and size of snowstorms. Under an unabated greenhouse gas emissions scenario, the study projects 28% fewer snowstorms on average per year over central and eastern portions of North America by the century’s last decade, with one-third the amount of snow or frozen precipitation and a 38% loss in average snowstorm size. “If we do little to mitigate climate change, the winter season will lose much of its punch in the future,” said Walker Ashley, an NIU professor of meteorology and lead author of the study, published today (May 25) in Nature Climate Change...”

Graphic credit: Northern Illinois University.

Now’s the Time to Get Ahead of the Climate Crisis. The Economist and Star Tribune have the Op-Ed; here’s an excerpt: “Following the pandemic is like watching the climate crisis with your finger jammed on the fast-forward button. Neither the virus nor greenhouse gases care much for borders, making both scourges global. Both put the poor and vulnerable at greater risk than wealthy elites and demand government action on a scale hardly ever seen in peacetime. And with China’s leadership focused only on its own advantage and America’s as scornful of the World Health Organization as it is of the Paris climate agreement, neither calamity is getting the coordinated international response it deserves. The two crises do not just resemble each other. They interact. Shutting down swathes of the economy has led to huge cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions…”

Photo credit: “42nd Street in New York has very little traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic. The world cut its daily carbon dioxide emissions by 17% at the peak of the pandemic shutdown last month.” Ted Shaffrey, Associated Press.

Coronavirus Shows the Limits of Individual Climate Action. Quartz (paywall) has details: “Coronavirus shutdowns have sent greenhouse gas emissions off a cliff. Early estimates project global emissions will decline by 5% to 8% by the end of the year—which might seem like a win for the climate. Emissions need to drop about 7.6% every year until 2030 to keep global warming in check. But as economies kick back into gear, emissions will return to where they were, or worse. Now, the first peer-reviewed analysis of the pandemic’s impact on carbon dioxide emissions highlights another reason this kind of global crisis makes a poor model for climate action: It’s the most-polluting sector that saw the smallest percent decline in emissions…”

Graphic credit: Quartz | qz.com Data: Le Quéré et al, Nature Climate Change 2020.

“We’re Screwed.” Louisiana Wetland Destruction Past The Tipping Point: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “The Louisiana wetlands that protect New Orleans from hurricanes and help drive the state’s fishing and tourism economies will likely be wiped out by sea level rise within 50 years, according to a new study. The findings show that over the past 8,500 years these wetlands have shrunk whenever sea levels rose more than 3 millimeters per year, a rate that is already increasingly exceeded by current sea level rise fueled by climate change. The study, based on sediment cores from across the Mississippi River Delta, was published in Science Advances last week. The dire implications for the region, however, are likely a best-case scenario. The study only addressed sea level rise, and did not account for other factors that are causing the marshes to sink, including oil and gas drilling and pipelines, and a reduction of sediment caused by upstream dams. “What it says is we’re screwed,” Torbjörn Törnqvist, a professor of geology at Tulane University in New Orleans who led the study, told the Times-Picayune. “The tipping point has already happened.” (Times-Picayune, Washington Post $, WWNO)

Heat Beyond Human Tolerance? Interesting perspective about “wetbulb” temperature limits, which are already being crossed across much of the planet. Here’s an excerpt from ThePrint: “…Modeling studies had already indicated that wetbulb temperatures could regularly cross 35°C if the world sails past the 2°C warming limit set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, with The Persian Gulf, South Asia and North China Plain on the frontline of deadly humid heat. Our analysis of wetbulb temperatures from 1979-2017 did not disagree with these warnings about what may be to come. But whereas past studies had looked at relatively large regions (on the scale of major metropolitan areas), we also examined thousands of weather station records worldwide and saw that, at this more local scale, many sites were closing in much more rapidly on the 35°C limit...”

Climate Change in Deep Oceans Could Be 7 Times Faster by Middle of Century, Report Says. The Guardian summarizes new research: “Rates of climate change in the world’s ocean depths could be seven times higher than current levels by the second half of this century even if emissions of greenhouse gases were cut dramatically, according to new research. Different global heating at different depths could have major impacts on ocean wildlife, causing disconnects as species that rely on each other for survival are forced to move. In the new research, scientists looked at a measure called climate velocity – the speed at which species would need to move to stay within their preferred temperature range as different ocean layers warm…”