Minnesota Springs Are Trending Wetter

Data shows Minnesota is trending wetter over time; the signal strongest during the spring months. Ask a farmer in southern Minnesota. More years than not spring planting is delayed, due to standing water in their fields.

USDA reports 2 percent of Minnesota’s corn crop is planted. That’s 3 days ahead of last year but 15 days behind long-term averages. Soggy springs have an impact on baseball practices, not to mention delaying weather-sensitive construction projects. It’s not our fault. We are merely the reluctant messengers. I’m as ready for a hotfront as the next guy.

We dry out a little today, but temperatures hold in the 50s under a moldy blanket of gray. A few T-showers may sprout up late Friday; yet another round of showers possible Sunday morning – even a few strong/severe T-storms next Monday.

It’s been quiet on the severe weather front because it’s been so cool and stable. At some point fairly soon the pattern will flip, and we’ll be tracking red blobs on Doppler.

60s return Friday and Saturday, with a shot at 70s Monday. Whew…

Wednesday Weather. Summer is alive and well from the southern Plains into the Ohio Valley and Southeastern USA. Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

A Legitimate Warming Signal? After a cool, wet start to May for much of the USA, long-range GFS guidance from NOAA suggests a mid-month warming trend for most of the nation. That would be a nice turn of events.

Mapping America’s Wicked Weather and Deadly Disasters. The Washington Post has a good summary of extreme weather in the recent record; here’s an excerpt: “Hurricanes and tornadoes are woven into the fabric of life in certain parts of the country. Storm cellars and tornado drills are common in the Midwest. On the gulf and east coasts, hurricane evacuation route signs line major streets and highways. These areas are home to some of the most violent storms in the world. “Tornado Alley” stretches from the Dakotas south to Texas. Warm, moist air from the Gulf travels north and collides with cold, dry air from Canada and the Rockies. But the deadliest tornado outbreak in decades — meteorologists called it a “Super Outbreak” — took place in “Dixie Alley” in Alabama in 2011. More than 350 tornadoes were confirmed, and 324 people died…”

Impossible to Get an Impossible Burger? Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Burger King plans to roll out the meatless Impossible Whopper at every one of its 7,200 US branches by the end of the year, the company said Monday. The decision follows a successful month-long trial run for the alternative meat burger, a partnership with the Impossible Foods brand, at Burger Kings in the St. Louis area. Consumer demand for the meatless burger that “bleeds” became so high in recent months that restaurants around the country are experiencing an Impossible Burger shortage, Eater reports. Earlier this month, Mexican chain Qdoba said it would begin offering Impossible products, while competitor Del Taco announced they would partner with Impossible competitor Beyond Meat for its meatless options.” (Eater, Vox, CNN, AP, TechCrunchWashington Post $)

It’s the Age of Automation and the Robots Are Coming. But For What? If you’re not just a little bit paranoid you’re not paying attention. A story at Big Think got me…thinking; here’s a clip: “…Alarmed and somewhat intrigued by a University of Oxford study that predicted 47 percent of jobs would be replaced by robots or intelligent computers, journalist Andrés Oppenheimer set out to discover what the future of work held for the potential casualties and benefactors of this new era. Robotics and other assorted automated processes are already radically changing the nature of what we consider work and employment. Unlike past eras of paradigmatic technological shifts, where entire workforces were able to quickly recover and evolve into new burgeoning fields — the coming age of automation isn’t going to be as seamless of a transition…”

Decline in Human Empathy Creates Global Risks  in the “Age of Anger”. Just leave me alone with my best friend, my smartphone, OK? Bloomberg has the post: “…While technological change always causes stress, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is marked by a blurring of the line between the human and the technological, according to the Global Risks Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Zurich Insurance Group. The result of this blurring has been an increase in loneliness, rising polarization and a corresponding decline in empathy. And unlike previous waves of globalization, today’s feelings of discontent aren’t just confined to displaced workers. For business leaders, the challenge is to create a corporate culture of openness and diversity that is responsive to the concerns of employees and customers. “We are going to need new ways of managing technology and globalization that respond to the insecurity that many people experience,” says John Scott, Head of Sustainability Risk at Zurich Insurance Group…”

Conspiracy Theores Are More Destructive Than Ever Before. There’s a Reason For That. A post at Mother Jones offers up food for though: “…There are a bunch of reasons for that. One is that statistically, most Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. People who have access to a lot of education or are extremely media savvy are less likely to believe in conspiracy theories, but they’re not immune. So I don’t see myself as particularly different from these people. I like to say that we’re all in the pool, some of us are just in a deeper end of the pool. That was part of the reason to be empathetic. There’s so much writing about conspiracy theories and subcultures that is really snarky, and I just think there’s been enough of that. I don’t think I need to add anything to that genre.  Some of it too is that I write about this a lot. I think people who get involved in conspiracy theories are often doing it in response to social and economic inequalities…”

A First for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Sports Illustrated explains: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Halima Aden is the newest member of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit family, making history as the first Muslim model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine. The Somali-American model was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where she lived until the age of seven before moving to the United States…From landing the cover of British Vogue to walking on New York Fashion Week runways, Halima has proved that there is a place for modest Muslim women in the fashion industry… At SI Swimsuit, we strive to continue to spread the message that whether you are wearing one-piece, a two-piece, or a burkini, you are the pilot of your own beauty…”

Photo credit: Yu Tsai.

45 F. maximum Twin Cities temperatures yesterday.

65 F. average high on April 30.

84 F. high on April 30, 2018.

May 1, 1966: Winter makes a last stab at Minnesota with a low of 5 at Cook. A widespread freeze hits the rest of the state.

May 1, 1935: An unusually late snow and ice storm hits east central Minnesota. The heaviest ice accumulations are between St. Paul and Forest Lake and westward to Buffalo in Wright County, with accumulations of 1 to 1.5 inches on wires. The downtown Minneapolis weather bureau records 3 inches of snow.

WEDNESDAY: Wet start, drier PM under gray skies. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 52

THURSDAY:Mostly cloudy, cool breeze. Wake-up: 44. High: 57

FRIDAY: Milder with late PM showers, T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 64

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 50. High: 67

SUNDAY: Showers taper, damp breeze. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 48. High: 62

MONDAY: Warmer, a few strong T-storms? Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 75

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler again. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 42. High: 54

Climate Stories….

In a Switch, Some Republicans Start Citing Climate Change as Driving Their Policies. The New York Times reports: “When John Barrasso, a Republican from oil and uranium-rich Wyoming who has spent years blocking climate change legislation introduced a bill this year to promote nuclear energy, he added a twist: a desire to tackle global warming. Mr. Barrasso’s remarks — “If we are serious about climate change, we must be serious about expanding our use of nuclear energy” — were hardly a clarion call to action. Still they were highly unusual for the lawmaker who, despite decades of support for nuclear power and other policies that would reduce planet-warming emissions, has until recently avoided talking about them in the context of climate change. The comments represent an important shift among Republicans in Congress…”

Photo credit: “John Barrasso, a Republican Senator from uranium-rich Wyoming, with President Trump in 2017. Mr. Barrasso has introduced a bill to promote nuclear power that he frames as a climate solution.” Credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press.

Charge a Carbon Fee. Let the Market Fix Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Houston Chronicle: “HR 763 is expected to reduce U.S. emissions at least 40 percent over 12 years and 90 percent by 2050. It improves health by reducing pollution and improves average Americans’ financial security by putting money directly into their pockets. But it is also revenue-neutral, because it will not increase the size of the government. The act would create 2.1 million jobs in 10 years and has both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors. In fact, it enjoys a broad range of supporters , from most oil super majors , to conservative leaders such as James A. Baker III and Rex Tillerson, to a range of environmental groups and progressive thought leaders. Thousands of economists across the political spectrum recently affirmed their support in the Wall Street Journal , and a similar program is being enacted in Canada...”

Why Your Brain Doesn’t Register the Words “Climate Change”. Grist explains: “...Climate crisis,” on the other hand, was the Goldilocks of the study — not too weak, not too strong. Among Democrats, Republicans, and independents, it caused a strong emotional reaction without going overboard. That kind of response leads people to pay more attention and encourages a sense of urgency, Gerrol said. And that urgency is key. Much like retirement planning, another messaging problem SPARK Neuro is tackling, climate change requires planning for the future — not exactly a strength for the human brain. Present bias (valuing today more than tomorrow) is just one of many cognitive biases that inhibit us from taking climate change head-on…”

Along One Minnesota River, Ice and Walleyes Signal Changing Climate. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Star Tribune: “…It’s a telling symptom of climate change, and just one of countless ways that rising temperatures are altering the lives of Minnesotans and the landscape of their state. Around the world, climate change is forcing people to revamp the way they fight wildfires, prepare for typhoons, nurture their crops through drought and manage coastal flooding. In Minnesota, the same forces are changing the state’s response to spring floods, the way foresters choose trees for timber and which lakefronts can have summer cabins or resorts. Ice is just one indicator. Across Minnesota, lakes are losing up to four days of ice every 10 years, according to the state climatology office. And it’s not just Minnesota: Rivers and lakes across the continent are tending to freeze later and thaw earlier...”

Photo credit: “Anglers hit the Rainy River as walleye spawn in spring. But this year, for the first time, the DNR imposed catch-and-release rules on the border river.” Photo by Brian Peterson, Star Tribune.

Carbon Offsets. I fly Delta, and now there’s a fairly easy way to calculate carbon offsets to make up for CO2 released during your next flight. Here’s a clip from Delta: “At Delta, we know that reducing our impact on the environment will improve the sustainability of our planet as well as our business. When it comes to air travel, jet fuel is by far the biggest source of carbon emissions. In fact, it makes up more than 98.5% of our total carbon footprint. In addition to improving fuel-saving measures by ordering new, more efficient planes, adding winglets, and streamlining operations, we partner with programs, like The Nature Conservancy®, that strive to stop deforestation and promote alternative energy. Through The Nature Conservancy, you can now view the environmental impact of your travels and make a donation to support forest protection projects that produce measurable benefits to the atmosphere.  To learn more about the many ways Delta is working to protect the environment, visit delta.com/responsibility.

U.S. Air Force: We Need $5 Billion to Fix Weather-Damaged Bases. Defense One has the story; here’s the intro: “The U.S. Air Force says it needs nearly $5 billion over the next three years to rebuild bases in Florida and Nebraska severely damaged by weather in the past six months. If it does not receive $1.2 billion of those funds by June for repairs at Tyndall Air Force Base and Offutt Air Force Base, service officials warned they would be forced to cut projects at bases in 18 states (here’s the list) and cancel 18,000 pilot training hours. “We desperately need the supplemental funding to recover from the natural disasters that hammered Tyndall and Offutt,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Wednesday at Heritage Foundation event in Washington…”

Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake – U.S. Air Force via AP. “This March 17, 2019 photo shows an aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base and the surrounding areas affected by flood waters in Neb.”