Dense fog advisories early Wednesday morning!
1/4 mile visibilities in some areas
40s again in southern Minnesota today!
54 record high at MSP today - we won't get there
Controversy? Group pressures AMS on climate change statement
Dense AM fog gradually lifts:
Call it a "pea souper" or London fog. Either way much of Minnesota looks like the Moors from a Sherlock Holmes story this morning.
Visibilities are down to 1/4 mile in some areas and with temps below freezing...the fog is freezing on some roadways.
Tuesday's snow melt added moisture to the lower atmosphere...that helped the fog get thick today in places.
Be careful driving this morning! Use caution when driving into fog banks where visibility can suddenly drop to near zero.
February 1st: More like late March
New month, same mild weather. Our overall pattern is locked in a mild rut. Look for more highs in the low 40s today in southern Minnesota with 30s up north. Just in case you forgot, the average high at MSP for today is still just 25 degrees! And that's after adjusting for the new (milder) 30 year averages.
Get used to it. The brand new CPC 30 day outlooks favor above average temps again for Minnesota.
Warning: AMS climate controversy ahead?
This one is going to get interesting.
A group called Forecast the Facts is on a campaign to get the AMS to draft a stronger statement on climate change. The group attended last week's AMS Annual Meeting in New Orleans. AMS is due to update its policy statement on climate change, and Forecast the Facts wants them to adopt a stronger statement, and encourage TV meteorologists to focus more on educating viewers on climate change.
From the Forecast the Facts website:
"I urge the AMS Council to immediately pass a new information statement that reflects the widespread scientific consensus that climate change is increasingly impacting our planet, and then vigorously promote that statement to AMS members."
About Forecast the Facts
"Intense droughts, fierce storms, increased flooding. Scientists have been predicting for years that human-induced climate change would lead to a future of increasingly dangerous extreme weather events. That future is now upon us.
But when most Americans tune into their local weather report, they won't hear a peep about climate change. Why? Because the majority of TV meteorologists don't believe in it. That's right: the professionals most responsible for informing the public about the weather are systematically missing the most important weather story of our lifetime.
With over 1,000 TV meteorologists across the country, the level of denial varies widely. Some TV meteorologists spout outright falsehoods on air--like the idea that the earth is actually cooling, or that global warming is caused by sunspots (not Co2 and other greenhouse gasses.) In other cases, they cover increasingly extreme weather events like droughts, wild fires, flooding, and winter storms, without ever mentioning the scientific consensus that climate change is making these events more likely and more intense. It's the equivalent of a news anchor reporting on a string of murders without saying that there is a suspect in custody.
Viewers tuning in to their weather report deserve to be told the truth about climate change, and the Forecast the Facts campaign aims to make sure that happens. Our goal is nothing short of changing how the entire profession of meteorology tackles the issue of climate change. We'll empower everyday people to make sure meteorologists understand that their viewers are counting on them to get this story right, and that those who continue to shirk their professional responsibility will be held accountable.
TV meteorologists have worked for years to build respectability for their profession. What began as a glorified announcer position has morphed into a true scientific pursuit, with graduate degrees, a professional association, and standards for certification. That profession now faces a defining question: will TV meteorologists forecast the facts and help Americans understand the science and impacts of climate change, or will they stand on the side of denial, promoting the ignorance and inaction that threatens the future of our country and our world?
The weather report never mattered so much."
And a press release...
"San Francisco, CA - A new campaign, Forecast the Facts (www.forecastthefacts.org), launches Sunday to pressure TV meteorologists to inform their viewers about climate change. The launch coincides with the kick-off of the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.
The campaign will deliver thousands of petition signatures that demand the AMS pass a strong statement on climate change. The current statement--drafted in 2007--is set to expire on Feb1. In the five years since, scientific consensus about climate change has grown even stronger, and the Forecast the Facts campaign is urging the AMS to reflect that consensus in their new information statement. The new statement, drafted by a panel of experts, requires approval by the 21-member AMS Council, which convenes on Sunday, January 22 at their annual meeting.
"This is an important moment in the history of the AMS," said Daniel Souweine, the campaign's director. "It's well known that large numbers of meteorologists are climate change deniers. It's essential that the AMS Council resist pressure from these deniers and pass the strong statement currently under consideration."
In the coming months the campaign plans to launch a full-fledged initiative to educate and activate communities at the local level. Grassroots outreach efforts will include a robust and creative online and offline engagement campaign, including video, advertising, and activist tool-kits, among other interactive elements.
The issue of climate change denial among television weather reporters has gained increasing attention of late, especially with the release of a national study by George Mason University in March 2010. The study found that 63% of T.V. meteorologists think climate change is due to natural causes, and a full 27% think global warming is a scam.
The AMS is the leading national organization for meteorologists, with over 14,000 members. Its information statements are "intended to provide a trustworthy, objective and scientifically up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large." According to the George Mason study, meteorologists trust information from the AMS more than almost any other source, including climate researchers, making the AMS statement on climate change a closely watched document in the meteorological community.
Recent increases in extreme weather have added further impetus for meteorologists to report on climate change. In 2011, the United States experienced a record twelve "billion-dollar" extreme weather events, including flooding from Hurricane Irene, unprecedented tornadoes in the Midwest, and crippling droughts and wildfires in the Southwest. Most scientists believe that climate change exacerbates extreme weather, a conclusion affirmed by the International Panel on Climate Change's November 2011 report on the subject."
One of the most controversial tactics FTF is using is to effectively "out" TV meteorologists on their site who don't believe in human driven climate change.
(Also known as Anthropogenic Global Warming or AGW)
This has stirred some strong discussion in forecast circles, and will no doubt get hotter before it gets cooler.
What do you think? Should AMS draft a stronger statement on climate change? And should TV meteorologists make greater efforts to include credible climate change news and studies in weather reports?
Stay tuned for more on this one...
Posted at 9:06 PM on February 1, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Winter 2011-12
"Fog front" shrouds eastern MN in low clouds & fog
Near Zero visibiity at times into Thursday morning!
Dense fog advisory posted for most of eastern Minnesota until 10 am Thursday
Bright sun in western Minnesota Wednesday!
50s again in Ortonville, Pipestone & Marshall Wednesday
3rd least snow on record in USA in January
19% of the lower 48 USA states covered in snow
52% snow covered last year on this date!
6"-12"+ snowfall possible in parts of Nebraska and Iowa by Saturday
The fog hung tough in eastern Minnesota including the metro Wednesday. Visibilities are below 1/4 mile again overnight into Thursday morning before a clearing trend kicks in.
The definite western edge of the fog bank from near Albert Lea to Willmar created a "pseudo warm front" in western Minnesota Monday. To the east of that front, moisture from snow melt saturated the air and thick fog and low 30s in the Twin Cities and eastern Minnesota.
To the west, drier air and bright sunshine boosted temps on snow free ground into the 50s at Ortonville and Marshall!
USA January snow drought:
Burnsville resident Dale Vaillancourt skis the 2.5 kilometer man-made snow loop at Wirth Winter Recreation Area Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 in Minneapolis. The park is unseasonably snow-free, except for the ski trail groomed with man-made snow.
(MPR File Photo/Jennifer Simonson)
It's not just "Snowless in St. Paul" this winter.
Last winter snow coevred over half the USA on this date. This year? A paltry 19%.
Seth Borenstein from Associated Press has the story.
"Washington (AP) -- Snow has gone missing in action for much of the U.S. the last couple months. But it's not just snow. It's practically the season that's gone AWOL.
"What winter?" asked Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. For the Lower 48, January was the third-least snowy on record, according to the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University. Records for the amount of ground covered by snow go back to 1967.
Last year more than half the nation was covered in snow as a Groundhog Day blizzard barreled across the country, killing 36 people and causing $1.8 billion in damage. This year, less than a fifth of the country outside of Alaska has snow on the ground. Bismarck, N.D., has had one-fifth its normal snow, Boston a third. Midland Texas has had more snow this season than Minneapolis or Chicago.
Forget snow, for much of the country there's not even a nip in the air. On Tuesday, the last day in January, all but a handful of states had temperatures in the 50s or higher. In Washington, DC, where temperatures flirted with the 70s, some cherry trees are already budding -weeks early.
"I am disgusted that golfers are golfing on my cross-country ski course," said New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson, director of the Global Snow Lab."
Snow storm developing south; another miss for Minnesota?
Fire up the snow blowers in Nebraska and Iowa....but it looks like most of Minnesota may once again escape a wintery smack as we approach this weekend.
A major winter storm may dump 6" to 12" snows in Nebraska and Iowa Friday & Saturday. It looks like the system will track south of Des Moines and Chicago. That track is just too far south to get snow in the metro and most of Minnesota. The southern tier of counties along I-90 may get clipped Saturday...stay tuned.