Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Global Climate Coalition, an advocacy group financed by the oil, coal and auto industries and other trade groups throughout the 1990s, kept fanning doubts that emissions of heat-trapping gases were leading to global warming even though the group's own experts were telling it that the science was "well established and cannot be denied." The New York Times' Andy Revkin reported Friday that a document filed in a federal lawsuit gives a peek into how the coalition leaders not only ignored their own scientific and technical experts, but also appear to have suppressed a document that soundly rejected the arguments of climate change skeptics. Here's what the coalition's own scientists said in an internal report compiled in 1995: "The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied." Here is the complete article in the Oregonian.
Last year marked the worst year for catastrophe losses from tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with preliminary statistics showing 1,691 tornadoes in 2008—second only to 2004, when there were nearly 1,820 tornadoes. Many of the storms broke out in the early half of the tornado season, with seven states in the southeastern United States experiencing more than 200% of their average annual tornado frequency in just the first half of the season, according to catastrophe modeling firm Risk Management Solutions Inc.
(Are we really experiencing an uptick in tornadoes? Or are we just doing a better job finding and documenting the tornadoes that have always been there? A fluke or a trend? Click here to read the entire article documenting this apparent - statistically valid - increase in tornadoes across the USA).
Friday, April 24, 2009
Hey, I'm not making this up: why carry an umbrella when you could stick your head into a big, transparent, waterproof......uh....THING! It looks like something out of Star Trek or Lost In Space. I'm going out on a limb here, but my hunch is that this device will NOT help you attract members of the opposite sex. Just a gut feel. But if you're determined to plunk down $50 for your own Nubrella, click here.
* Cool air surges southward, 88 in Austin, only 38 in Bemidji.
* Severe storm risk greatest over Wisconsin, Iowa and extreme southeastern Minnesota.
* Light rain possible late Friday night/Saturday morning, some drying/clearing possible Saturday PM hours.
* Next surge of rain Sunday afternoon/night, could be heavy at times.
* Weekend jackets: Highs hold in the 50s Saturday and Sunday, some 40s just to our north.
* Fire threat should ease considerably over the weekend as temperatures tumble, humidity levels increase and rain moistens vegetation, farms, fields and lawns.
Considering that extreme southeastern MN is in a "severe drought", with moderate drought extending into much of the metro area, I won't whine about the rain, even though it's going to fall on a Sunday. Lousy timing, but welcome puddles nonetheless.
More great graphics and meteorological eye-candy can be found here.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Check here for more: www.spc.noaa.gov
This image is from NOAA's HPC - it shows accumulated rain through Saturday evening. The dark blue coloring indicates 0.50" of rain, where the lighter blue through Wisconsin indicates nearly 1.0" or more. A slow moving cold front will be the focal point for shower and thunderstorm development over the next couple of days. The first round of storms will develop in central Minnesota Thursday night and the second (stronger) batch of storms will develop from northeastern Nebraska, northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin Friday night through early Saturday. The weekend is looking a little wet, so have a plan B, especially Saturday. It'll be nice to get the rain, but unfortunately, it'll come over the weekend when most of want to be outside to take advantage of 'sublime' weather. Not this weekend...
Check here for more: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/day1-3.shtml
I took this picture early Wednesday morning ~ 6:30am. A little shaky (no tripod) but it shows the close encounter of the crescent moon and Venus. Occulation "eclipse" occurred around around 7:30am in the Twin cities, but it got too bright for me to see. There were, however, others who were able to see the occulation in California, check here:
Full story from Spaceweather.com:
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Two Things happening early tomorrow morning - don't forget!!
MORNING : Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Thatcher,
the source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower
to peak on Wednesday, April 22nd, with a display of 10 to 20 meteors per
hour over the northern hemisphere. Occasionally, Earth passes through a
dense region of the comet's tail and rates surge five- to ten-fold. In
1982, for instance, observers were surprised by an outburst of 90 Lyrids per
hour. Because Thatcher's tail has never been mapped in detail, the outbursts
are unpredictable and could happen again at any time. The best time to
look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn on
Wednesday morning April 22nd. Visit http://spaceweather.com for full
Here's another link from SpaceWeather.com:
The 2nd happening is...
LUNAR OCCULTATION OF VENUS: Even if the Lyrids fizzle, there is still
something wonderful to see on Wednesday morning, April 22nd. The crescent
Moon and Venus are going to have a close encounter of jaw-dropping beauty.
Look low and to the east just before sunrise. Observers in western parts of
North America will see a lunar occultation: Venus will disappear behind the
Moon's limb just after 5 am PDT and reappear again an hour or so later.
Details may be found in this Science@NASA story:
See you outside bright and early tomorrow morning with a fresh cup of coffee!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Severe Weather Awareness Week begins today for Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota .
This is the List of topics for the week:
- Day 1: Thunderstorms, Hail, Straight-Line Winds, Lightning
- Day 2: Severe Weather Warnings
- Day 3: Floods, Flash Floods
- Day 4: Tornadoes
- Day 5: Heat
Information on Minnesota Tornado History and Statistics:
*Thursday, April 23rd - Minnesota and Wisconsin will be conducting statewide tornado drills (with the exception of far NW Minnesota because of flooding concerns)
This is from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:
"Tornado Watch/Warning Drills
The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Weather Awareness Week activities. On Thursday, April 23rd, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. The schedule for April 23rd is as follows:
(all times CDT)
9:00 AM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Minnesota (except the northwest portion of the state).
1:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Wisconsin.
1:40 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for 9 counties of western Wisconsin (Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk and St Croix). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota counties (except those in the northwestern part of the state). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
2:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue an "End of Test" message using the Severe Weather Statement product. It should be stated that outdoor warning sirens will not be sounded again for this all clear, nor will there be any warning tone on NOAA Weather Radio.
6:55 PM: Another simulated tornado warning will be issued for participating counties in Minnesota. Those counties are: Anoka, Benton, Big Stone, Brown, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lake, Le Sueur, Lyon, Martin, Mc Leod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pine, Pipestone, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona and Wright.
A graphic of the counties participating in the evening drill is available at http://www.severeweather.state.mn.us/Documents/Participating_Counties_Drill_Map_2009.pdf
The 6:55 PM warning will be issued by five of the National Weather Service offices that serve Minnesota. It will be issued as a test of family preparedness in the home and for second shift workers."