Today: Just Another Minor Meteorological Miracle

“How complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is” wrote Kurt Vonnegut. I mean who, save for a few prescient epidemiologists, predicted today’s precarious state of the world?

Weather rhymes but never repeats. In terms of meteorological specifics, there has never been a day IDENTICAL to today. You can’t say “Well in 1957 the pattern was the same and so here is what will happen.” Sobering, humbling and simultaneously exhilerating.

According to NOAA the first half of July is historically the hottest period of the year across southern Minnesota, while over the northern half of the state it’s the latter half of July. Odd huh?

After a comfortably soggy Tuesday the sun reappears today, with dry weather the rule into most of the weekend. A swarm of storms may push across Minnesota Friday night, but another lake-worthy weekend beckons. If the sun is out much of Saturday (likely) MSP may see mid 90s. A trickle of cooler Canadian air takes the edge off the heat next week.

Thank you Winnipeg.

Map credit above: NOAA.

A Fine Wednesday. After a sloppy Tuesday with locally heavy rain and a few severe storms, expect sunshine and relatively comfortable temperatures today. Future Radar (NAM) courtesy of NOAA, Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Saturday: Hottest Day. All models show another heat spike on Friday with low to mid 90s possible in the metro area. The heat won’t last long; temperatures are forecast to cool back down closer to average next week.

Hot Saturday – Low Confidence in GFS Numbers. Is the GFS model out to lunch. Yes. ECMWF is consistently cooler, a trend which has emerged during the summer warm signal, and I’m more inclined to believe the European model will be closer to reality in the coming weeks. We will see surges of hot air, but 102 degrees a week from Saturday? I seriously doubt it. Meteogram: WeatherBell.

Trending Hotter. The latest GFS run is a departure from previous solutions, which suggested slight cooling for northern tier states. The latest run shows a chilly/wet closed low over the Pacific Northwest, thrusting a ridge of hot high pressure into the eastern half of the USA by late July.

How a “Heat Dome” Forms – And Why This One Is So Perilous. (paywall) has a good explainer; here’s an excerpt: “…At the same time, a high-pressure system keeps clouds from forming by inhibiting upward vertical motion in the atmosphere. Oddly enough, it’s this same phenomenon that produces extremely cold temperatures in the winter. “If you don’t have that upward vertical motion, you don’t get clouds or storms,” Swain says. “So when it’s already cold and dark, that means the temperatures can get really cold because of clear skies, as things radiate out at night. In the warm season, that lack of clouds and lack of upward motion in the atmosphere means it can get really hot because you have a lot of sunlight.”
That heat can accumulate over days or weeks, turning the heat dome into a kind of self-perpetuating atmospheric cap over the landscape.

NOAA Issues La Nina Watch, the Impetus for an Active Hurricane Season. Details via “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a La Niña watch on Thursday, which means the agency believes La Niña could form this fall. La Niña can cause both more frequent and stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic. Its conditions are characterized by below-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. While sea surface temperatures remained near normal in the Central-Eastern Pacific, they fell below average in the Eastern Pacific last month, NOAA said...”

Chance of Big San Andreas Quake Increased by Ridgecrest Temblors. Well that’s jolly good news. The Los Angeles Times reports: “A new study suggests that last year’s Ridgecrest earthquakes increased the chance of a large earthquake on California’s San Andreas fault. The study, published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday, says there is now a 2.3% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 12 months on a section of the 160-mile-long Garlock fault, which runs along the northern edge of the Mojave Desert. That increased likelihood, in turn, would cause there to be a 1.15% chance of a large earthquake on the San Andreas fault in the next year…”

Illustration credit: “One plausible scenario involves the Ridgecrest, Calif., quakes triggering a large temblor on the Garlock fault, which then triggers a seismic event on the San Andreas. The chances of such an event happening are small. Another plausible scenario, not mapped, involves a rupture of faults southeast of the Ridgecrest quakes.” (Jon Schleuss / Los Angeles Times)

Minnesota: Least Stressed State in the Nation? I knew we were #1. Here’s an excerpt from Mental Floss: “…WalletHub analyzed 41 factors across four different types of stress—work, money, family, and health and safety—and scored each state’s collective stress level on a scale of 100. Nearly all 10 of the most-stressed states are in the South or Southwest, including Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Louisiana came in first with just over 57 points…If you’re looking to move somewhere mellow, your best bet is the upper Midwest. Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa are the four least-stressed states in the land...”

NEOWISE Comet Visible This Month – But Won’t Be Again for 6,000 Years. So you’re telling me I won’t get a second chance? Details via Mental Floss: “On March 27, 2020, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer discovered a new comet in our celestial neighborhood. The C/2020 F3 NEOWISE comet (or comet NEOWISE for short) became visible to more people than ever when it began appearing in northern latitudes during evening hours this month. If you want to catch the spectacle, July is the time to do so: After comet NEOWISE passes by Earth, it won’t be visible for another 6000 years, Lifehacker reports. Recently, comet NEOWISE appeared above the northern horizon in the predawn sky in the northern U.S. and Canada…”

Photo credit: Andre Bernier. Photo taken near Cleveland Monday evening.

.24″ rain fell yesterday at Twin Cities International Airport.

79 F. maximum temperature at MSP on Tuesday.

84 F. average high on July 14.

92 F. high on July 15, 2019.

July 15, 1980: Straight-line winds of nearly 100 mph cause enormous damage, mainly in Dakota County. 43 million dollars in damage is reported and 100 thousand people lose power.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, pleasant. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 81

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, thunder up north. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: 83

FRIDAY: Warm sunshine, T-storms at night. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 88

SATURDAY: Hot sunshine. Go jump in a lake. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 71. High: 93

SUNDAY: Intervals of sun, slightly cooler. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 72. High: 88

MONDAY: Some sun, pop-up PM storm risk. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 83

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, more comfortable. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 65. High: 82

Artwork above courtesy of Susan Spoden. Thank you!

Climate Stories…

Global Offshore Wind Investment Quadrupled Despite Pandemic: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Global investment in offshore wind more than quadrupled in the first half of 2020 to $35 billion, despite the global economic shock precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic. China greenlighted 17 offshore wind projects in the first half of the year alone, according to BNEF, driven in part by a rush by developers to finance and build projects before the government’s subsidy regime ends next year. Offshore wind’s resilience to economic headwinds, BNEF believes, is due in part to a two-thirds fall in cost since 2012. A new report commissioned by the High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, also found sustainable ocean policies, including increasing offshore wind production — along with mangrove conservation and restoration, decarbonization of the shipping industry, and increasing sustainable ocean-based protein — could reap huge returns for the global economy.” (Offshore wind investment: The Guardian: Oceans policy: CNBC, The Guardian, CNN)

Climate Change Will Cause More Extreme Wet and Dry Seasons. ScienceDaily has a summary of new research; here’s an excerpt: “…The higher the temperature, the more variation in water availability, researchers found. Mishra said that his message to the world is that water is a very important resource. “The availability of this resource is an issue everybody is facing,” he said. “We need to take precautions to optimally use how much water we have. As the climate changes and population increases, we should be preparing for the future by improving the technology to efficiently use water for crops…”

Global Temperatures Near Hottest on Record. Climate Central has details: “Using combined NOAA and NASA data, we find that 2020 has been the planet’s 2nd-hottest year on record through June. Year-to-date temperatures are 1.36℃ (2.45℉) above a 1881-1910 baseline—approaching levels from the record-setting year of 2016. This year is 90% likely to finish among the top three. Warming will continue as long as we emit greenhouse gases. While emissions temporarily declined this spring during global shutdowns, they are quickly rising back to normal in much of the world...”

Assessing the Global Climate In 2020. NOAA NCEI has details: “The June 2020 global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.66°F (0.92°C) above the 20th-century average of 59.9°F (15.5°C), tying with 2015 as the third-highest June temperature in the 141-year record. Only the Junes of 2016 and 2019 were warmer.

  • June 2020 marked the 44th consecutive June and the 426th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.
  • Nine of the 10 warmest Junes have occurred since 2010; the seven warmest Junes have occurred in the last seven years (2014-2020)...”

Corporate TV News Needs to Break Its Cycle of Shallow Coverage of Extreme Weather. Media Matters for America has the post; here’s the intro: “Corporate TV news programs’ coverage of extreme weather events — climate-fueled wildfires, superstorms, record-breaking heat waves, and megadroughts — has become as predictable as the events themselves. With few exceptions, they are reported as isolated meteorological phenomena whose magnitude and human impact are mostly defined by statistics and the usual parade of disaster imagery. It’s a choice corporate TV news makes to report extreme weather events this way — and it’s a harmful one. This choice has resulted in national coverage of extreme weather that largely disconnects these events from the climate crisis; allows systemic failures and the racial and economic inequalities exposed by these events to go unchallenged; casts communities that are often hit year after year by climate disasters as helpless victims; and lets those who have failed to mitigate impacts and injustices go unaccountable...”

Illustration credit: Molly Butler / Media Matters.

Fighting Climate Change Requires a New Capitalism. Does it? Maintaining a healthy planet may be a smart way to ensure long-term shareholder appreciation. Here’s a clip from Forbes: “...If I’m living paycheck to paycheck, I’m not going to be a big fan of some pointy headed professor deciding to spend a great deal of money on solar panels. What are solar panels to me? Until people feel secure and believe they can take care of their families and they’re going to have a shot at a good job, it’s going to be tough to persuade people to really invest at the kind of scale we need to transition to a carbon free economy. So, just pragmatically, we need to address inequality if we’re going to make progress on climate change. Moreover, I believe—and I think many business people agree—that it’s fundamentally unfair that more and more people are finding it hard to participate in the modern economy, and that we’re leaving so much human potential and human growth on the table…”