Smog – Minneapolis Style. This midday Tuesday webcam frame-grab was courtesy of KARE-11, a combination of fog and smog trapped in the lowest few hundred feet of the atmosphere by light winds and an inversion (warming temperatures with altitude).
Late Winter Smog. Yes, this is a bit unusual for late February, but with major storms tracking well south/east of Minnesota and a weak area of high pressure producing clear to partly skies and light winds overhead, conditions are favorable for inversions, which allow man-made pollutants to accumulate near ground-level, posing the greatest risk to seniors, and people with heart/respiratory problems. Map from 6:20 am yesterday courtesy ofAIRNow and the EPA.
A Near-Clipping. The ECMWF model (WSI) shows a weak clipper passing south of the Twin Cities Monday, a potential for a few quick inches along the I-90 corridor of southern Minnesota.
Relief At Last? The pattern appears to be shifting; more Pacific moisture reaching the USA. Here’s an excerpt of a story at Discover Magazine: “As I write this late Saturday night, clouds are thickening over the Front Range of Colorado, where I live, and weather models are predicting more than a foot of snow in some places. And this is just the first of three storms that are predicted to blow through Colorado through Thursday. As the image above shows, we can thank a veritable atmospheric fire hose out in the Pacific that is spewing precipitable water at the West coast, and thereby helping to spawn storms…”
NAO: Negative Phase. This graphic from NCEP/NCAR shows average temperatures anomalies of a negative phase of the NAO, Canadian air making a straight shot at the USA; more waves (dips and bulges) in the jet stream, capable of pulling polar air south, spinning up major storms in the process.
Energy Company To Test Floating Solar Islands. Now here’s a novel idea; details courtesy of gizmag.com: “Swiss energy company Viteos has announced that it is to build three floating solar arrays on Lake Neuchâtel. Viteos will work with tech company and “energy enabler” Nolaris to build the 25-m (82-ft) diameter islands, each with 100 photovoltaic panels…”
The Worst Foods For Sleep? So many of us are tossing and turning (and worrying) every night – here’s an article that caught my eye from Huffington Post: “A glass of warm milk, a cup of chamomile tea, a few slices of tryptophan-laced turkey breast — a number of foods are at least rumored to help us drift off to sleep. But, besides the obvious (hello, 4 p.m. Starbucks run), could there be foods that are actually keeping us up at night? For the most part, the research surrounding sleep and diet focuses on how your sleep patterns affect what — and how much — you eat, says Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., M.P.H, a sleep researcher and neurology instructor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. We know that too little sleep clouds our food judgement and that the most sleep-deprived among us are likely to serve ourselves larger portions. We also know that both too little and too much sleep can lead to weight gain, for the reasons above and more…” (image above: MyZeo.com, which has 13 surprising facts about insomnia).
Is iWatch Gesture Control How Steve Jobs “Cracked The Code of iTV?” Calling Dick Tracy – he wants his watch back. Not sure I want to be checking e-mail on my watch, but the (alleged/rumored) watch may be a means to an end, according to this article atGizmag: “In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO is quoted as saying that he finally “cracked the code” of an Apple TV set. “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Isaacson quoted Jobs. “I finally cracked it.” What if Jobs’ secret was Apple’s rumored smartwatch? And what if that secret involved hands-free 3D gesture control? Not long ago, the internet was abuzz with rumors of an Apple smartwatch (iWatch?). Most of us have been focusing on the wearable device as an extension of an iPhone. Flexible touchscreen, voice control, and some version of iOS. Think Pebble on Cupertino-made steroids….”
Polar Regions Will See More Snow Over Next Century, Less Everywhere Else. Snow less often, at our latitude, but when it does snow a better chance of extreme snow/blizzard conditions, especially if you live near the east coast. Here’s an excerpt from redOrbit: “A newly-developed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate model predicts that increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels will lead to less snowfall in most areas of the world – including the United States – over the next 100 years. In fact, research conducted by Sarah Kapnick of the Princeton University Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) program and Thomas Delworth, a senior physical scientist at the NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), forecasts that only the polar regions and the Earth’s highest altitudes will receive more snow over the next century. “The decline in snowfall could spell trouble for regions such as the western United States that rely on snowmelt as a source of fresh water,” Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research at the New Jersey-based university, reportedon Friday…” (photo above: NASA).
Climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning does not mean uniform global warming – in the Arctic, the relative increase of temperatures, amplified by the loss of snow and ice, is higher than on average. This in turn reduces the temperature difference between the Arctic and, for example, Europe, yet temperature differences are a main driver of air flow
Can Accountants Succeed On Climate Where Others Have Failed? Here’s a snippet of an interesting story at National Geographic: ”This past week the Government Accountability Office, the federal government’s independent auditor and watchdog agency, added climate change to its list of “high-risk” threats to the nation’s fiscal health. “Climate change creates significant financial risks for the federal government,” the GAO report said. “The federal government is not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure presented by climate change, and needs a government wide strategic approach with strong leadership to manage related risks.” And for anyone concerned about getting the government to act on climate change, that raises a tantalizing question: Can accountants succeed where scientists and the environmental movement haven’t?”
Long Term Climate Change Trends Worry Experts. Here’s a clip from a story atIndiana Public Media: “…Indiana University Professor of Atmospheric Science Sara Pryor is a lead author of the section that looks at how climate change could affect the Midwest, specifically. She says farmers could see future crops hurt by droughts similar to the ones the region saw last summer. “Both corn and soybean yields are decreased if we have warm summers, and if we have dry summers,” she says “So, given that our climate change projections are that the Midwest will become warmer and dryer in the summer, we certainly have expectations that crop yields will decrease.” She says if current trends continue, the growing region for crops will move gradually north. “Because our region is relatively flat, for one degree of warming, a crop has to move; all plants have to move, about 100 kilometers to keep at that same temperature.” However, she says, the farther north in the Midwest you go, the worst the soil quality gets…”
Can NASA Stop Global Warming? I’m skeptical that any technology can stop the warming altogether, although we may be able to launch solutions that slow the rate of warming. Here’s an excerpt from Project-Syndicate: “…Obama should challenge NASA to address one of today’s most important issues, global warming, by developing safe, cost-effective technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the planet’s atmosphere and oceans. This mission could be accomplished in two phases.During the first phase, which could be completed by 2020, researchers would identify roughly 10-20 candidate geo-engineering technologies and test them in small-scale experiments. The second phase would include large-scale test demonstrations to evaluate the most promising technologies by 2025. Developing these technologies is crucial, given that, over the last half-century, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from roughly 320 parts per million to almost 400 parts per million, heating up the planet and increasing the acidity of the world’s oceans. At this rate, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will exceed 450 parts per million in roughly 25 years…”
Climate Change Is Cutting Humans’ Work Capacity. Climate Central has the story; here’s an excerpt: “It’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity that gets you. That’s the conclusion of a new study that finds climate change has reduced humanity’s ability to work by making the planet hotter and muggier. That one-two punch has already cut the world’s working capacity by 10 percent since humans began burning large amounts of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels at the start of the Industrial Revolution, found the analysis, which was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that dive will continue, reshaping daily life in the most populated areas of the planet as climate change intensifies. By 2050, a combination of rising heat and humidity is likely to cut the world’s labor capacity to 80 percent during summer months — twice the effect observed today…
Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.