A Cool and Comfortable Minnesota State Fair

Studying the weather maps, this may very well wind up being one of the most comfortable Minnesota State Fairs on record. No complaints about heat and humidity this year. What will we talk about?

Much of America is sizzling, but the cool bias that kicked in last spring is hanging on. Plan on a streak of 70s; a few models hinting at 60s for highs by late next week. I predict a majority of Minnesotans will be
just fine with a premature taste of September.

At the risk of editorializing, today will be close to perfect, with low humidity and 70s by afternoon. Dry weather spills into Saturday, but the next inevitable cool front sparks a few hours of showers and T-storms Sunday.

Next week brings a parade of cool fronts, each one a little cooler than the last. Within 7-8 days metro highs may be holding in the 60s with 50s north! Say what? Lake water readings will be warmer than air temperatures.

Frost up north by Labor Day? Maybe. Unusual, but on September 1, 1974 the metro woke up to 36F.

A/C optional.

Trending Milder First Week of September. After a (very) cool end to August, GFS guidance hints at some recovery in temperatures the first week of September; maybe back into the 80s for a few days before cooling off again. I’m not ready for this, either.

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)...”

Wednesday 2 PM Temperatures. Yesterday’s 2 pm temperatures courtesy of mesonet.org.

When is the Heat Index Dangerous for Outdoor Activities. You can make a sound argument that people living in the southern USA are more acclimated to heat than people living in northern tier states. But at some point everyone becomes vulnerable to the combination of heat and humidity. Climate Central explains: “Outdoor sports are profoundly affected by heat—the leading cause of death or disability among high school athletes. Of course, extreme heat affects all levels of sports, from youth and amateur leagues to the collegiate and professional levels. 64 football players have died from heat since 1995, and tennis players have collapsed from triple-digit temperatures at recent Australian and U.S. Open tournaments. And this summer, the New York City Triathlon and other events were cancelled due to dangerous heat. The threat spikes at high levels of heat and relative humidity—the two variables that are used to determine the National Weather Service’s heat index. A new Climate Central report finds an increase in days with a dangerous heat index, heightening health risks for outdoor activities.”

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. Nextgov.com 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...”

Bees Are Dropping Dead in Brazil and Sending a Message to Humans. Bloomberg reports: “…Around half a billion bees died in four of Brazil’s southern states in the year’s first months. The die-off highlighted questions about the ocean of pesticides used in the country’s agriculture and whether chemicals are washing through the human food supply — even as the government considers permitting more. Most dead bees showed traces of Fipronil, a insecticide proscribed in the European Union and classified as a possible human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January, Brazil has permitted sales of a record 290 pesticides, up 27% over the same period last year, and a bill in Congress would relax standards even further…”
Photo credit: “A beekeeper inspects his newborn European bees in Sao Roque, Sao Paulo state, Brazil.” Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg.

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.

The Amazon Is Burning: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “Wildfires raging in the Amazon are setting records and causing blackouts in Brazil. Data from Brazil’s space research agency show that fires have increased 83 percent this year from over the same time period last year. The agency logged 73,000 fires between January and August this year and spotted 9,500 new fires raging on Thursday alone, as smoke caused a daytime blackout in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, for an hour Monday. State agencies confirm that the overwhelming amount of wildfires could not be attributed to the usual dry season in Brazil, and environmentalists say that increased land clearing and deforestation under President Jair Bolsonaro are helping to increase fire frequency.” (Al Jazeera, BBC, CBSUSA Today, CNNBuzzfeed, Vice)

The Robots are Coming – But Take a Breath. Many jobs will be lost, but many (more) will be created. Are we ready for what comes next? Good advice at Big Think:

  • While automation and robots will displace millions of jobs, they’re poised to create millions more.
  • Our current round of technological unemployment might just be a transitionary phase.
  • The fear of automation has been around for decades.

Automation, and the rise of robots with superior A.I. promises to bring about a new era of industry and civilization. Our wildest sci-fi dreams could be realized within the century. Yet, the clamor and hoopla surrounding the topic has been overwhelmingly pessimistic — bordering on neo-Luddism at times. That is, the fear is that advancements in automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics will destroy millions — if not hundreds of millions — of livelihoods...”

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.

77 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

80 F. average high on August 21.

77 F. high on August 21, 2018.

August 22, 1910: Daylight is dimmed in Duluth due to smoke from Rocky Mountain forest fires.

August 22, 1870: Downpours across southern Minnesota produce 5 inches at Sibley, and 3.49 at Ft. Snelling. Much of the wheat crop is damaged.

THURSDAY: Sunny and beautiful. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 74

FRIDAY: Cool start, lukewarm finish. Sunny. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 55. HIgh: 77

SATURDAY: Fading sun, still very nice. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 59. High: 79

SUNDAY: Few showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 76

MONDAY: Showers taper, slowly drying out. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 63. High: 75

TUESDAY: Unsettled, a few passing showers. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 72

Climate Stories….

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)

Some Retirees Fleeing Florida as Due to Fears of Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a story at CNN Money: “Florida, with its plentiful beaches, warm weather, and lack of a state-income tax, is the most popular destination for older adults in the U.S. But some who have lived in the Sunshine State for years are moving in the opposite direction. As damaging storms and other effects of climate change have hit Florida particularly hard in the past few years, some older adults living there have become concerned about their safety and their ability to enjoy retirement. So they’re fleeing this otherwise balmy state...”

File image: NASA.

Climate Deniers Get More Airtime Than Experts. A post at Big Think got me…thinking; here’s an excerpt: “Climate change — and humankind’s role in it — is settled science. Some 97% of climate scientists have reached the conclusion that the Earth is warming and that our activities are the cause. This is a remarkable level of consensus. That anyone still harbors doubts makes little sense. Denial is one explanation. Another one is revealed in a new study led by University of California’s Alexander Petersen and published in Nature Communications: Climate contrarians – climate deniers — actually enjoy 49% more English-language media coverage than climate scientists. Maybe print and electronic news editors are predisposed toward conflict as being more exciting; maybe it’s just an ill-considered attempt at balanced reporting. Whatever the reason, such outlets are doing a shocking, reprehensible disservice to their audience at a critical time when there’s not a minute to be wasted…”

Perspective on Minnesota’s Warming. Here’s an excerpt from last week’s edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk, where Mark Seeley described longterm changes in temperature across the state: “…I wanted to point out however that there is some disparity in the net change of temperature across the state that has occurred over the past 100 years or so. Listed below (from NOAA-climate data) is the net change in mean annual temperature and mean winter temperature (Dec-Feb) over the past 100 years in Minnesota’s northern most counties compared to one of the southernmost counties (Fillmore). Numbers are rounded to nearest whole digit:

County                         Net Change in Mean Annual Temp         Net Change in Winter Temp
Cook                                        +3.0F                                                              +5.0F
Lake                                         +4.0F                                                              +6.0F
St  Louis                                  +5.0F                                                               +7.0F
Koochiching                            +5.0F                                                               +8.0F
Lake of the Woods                   +5.0F                                                              +9.0F
Roseau                                     +6.0F                                                             +10.0F
Kittson                                     +6.0F                                                             +10.0F
Fillmore                                   +3.0F                                                               +5.0F

The winter season has obviously warmed much more than the annual temperature, and certainly the northern counties have warmed more dramatically than the southern counties…”

Climate Change Could Cost the U.S. 10.5% of GDP by 2100. The Washington Post reports: “…At a time when there’s concern about a global economic downturn, the new study, circulated as a working paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research, warns of a far bigger cut to economic growth if global warming goes unchecked. The study is unique in that it finds higher potential costs from climate change, particularly in the industrial world, compared with past research. For example, the study found that continued temperature increases of about 0.072 degrees per year (0.04 Celsius) under a roughly “business as usual,” or high-emissions, scenario would yield a 7.2 percent cut to GDP per capita worldwide by 2100. (This is relative to a world in which countries see temperature increases equal to their 1960 to 2014 rate of change…)

Climate Change Bad News For Economy: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Climate change could drag the United States’s GDP down by more than 10 percent by the end of the century, a new working paper posits. The study, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research this week, finds that no action on climate change would lead to a 7.7 percent reduction in global GDP per capita by 2100–but that sticking with the goals of the Paris Agreement would keep losses down to 1.1 percent. “What our study suggests is that climate change is costly for all countries under the business as usual scenario (no matter whether they are hot or cold, rich or poor), and the United States will be one of the countries that will suffer the most (reflecting sharp increases in U.S. average temperatures by 2100),” study co-author Kamiar Mohaddes told the Washington Post.” (Washington Post $, Fox News)

Life in Miami on the Knife’s Edge of Climate Change. The New Yorker has a photo essay; here’s an excerpt: “…Miami is raising some of its roads and sidewalks, hoping a few feet will be enough, but enough for what? Enough to keep next season’s tourists from going elsewhere? Enough to assure citizens that matters are under control? There are serious concerns that the limited fresh water is turning salty. Mostly the place carries on, as do most of America’s coastal states, knowing what is coming yet unable, or unwilling, to change. Is disaster more easily imaginable than the painful steps that might avert it? Yes, is the horrifying answer. Disaster will come of us doing nothing, while the painful steps would—will—have to be taken actively, and by us all. A poverty of imagination may be our biggest challenge…”

Image credit: “Road,” 2018.