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...
Again, I have to thank you for the informative blogs.
I think weather forecasters and climatologists--warmists and coolists both--need a big dose of humility about what causes the climate and weather to change. In terms of time, the last 150 years of better data collection is only about 2.5% of the previous 6,000 years. The earth is a wonderfully complex system--think of all the possible factors--underwater volcanoes, magnetic fields, radiation, yes people, etc. I don't think we have a high level of confidence yet.
Let the light shine and the truth will stand out. Efforts to muzzle contrary opinions, especially government-inspired efforts to create a monopoly on information, remind me of restrictions on the freedom of the press (you are members of the press, are you not?) that is so common in totalitarian countries.
So, let the weather and climate people freely compete and test their hypotheses with scientific methods, all without governmental intervention or funding. The best forecasters will rise to the top.
So, I was wondering, what is Mark Seeley's forecast for next January?? :)
I like to read Updraft so I can get facts about the weather because I am concerned how the climate impacts our seasonal lifestyle and economy in Minnesota. I'm also concerned about the way humans use the earth's resources. However, if we want to motivate change the way people use the earth's resources based on facts, I'm not sure that climate change is the best source of facts. It doesn't take a meteorologist to inform people how much polluting our water, soil and air is bad for the global environment.
A stronger statement on climate change by the AMS is long overdue. If the AMS continues to ignore the scientific consensus on this issue, they will lose their credibility as a reliable source of information.
TV meteorologists have enormous potential to inform or misinform the public on the issue of climate change. I hope that science, and not politics, will drive their future agenda.
I appreciate your weather information - it is the best by far of all the forcasts I look check. I have a sort of weather related questions: Any idea on how this mild weather is effecting plants? Will the increase in daylight and warmer weather cause daffodils and tulips to begin a month earlier than they should? And what about other early spring plants?
I think it is fascinating how people think weather and climate are the same thing. Everyone with knowledge otherwise has a DUTY to educate the public on the difference. This includes the weather professionals who interact with the public, TV and media weather personalities. They should not be required to 'decide' or give an opinion on if things are changing, rather help people understand what the difference between weather and climate is all about. Then, the public can make better decisions and these issues will not spiral out of control.
Part of the problem is that the AMS apparently still considers these people to be "scientists." They aren't. By and large, TV meteorologists are TV personalities who happen to talk about the weather. They aren't hired for their science pedigree; they're hired because they're cute. Consequently, they'll believe whatever anti-science denial BS they hear.
This shift has happened in my lifetime, and I'm only 34. I remember real weather geeks on TV news when I was a kid. Most of them weren't exactly good looking. That isn't the case these days. You have to look good on HDTV. Knowing what the hell you're talking about is a bonus.
The scientific consensus at one time was the sun went around the earth. Ask Nicolaus Copernicus.
The scientific consensus at one time was the Earth was flat. Ask Christopher Columbus (or at least the Eurocentric thinking of the time).
The scientific consensus at one time was global cooling (1970's).
Is the climate changing, of course. Is it my fault its warming (if its sustained)? I find it rather hard to believe.
A healthy dose of skepticism should is a good thing, but the arguments you bring up are completely irrelevant Chris. Global cooling was never a "consensus" as you claim, and if you'd like to raise two arguments from 500 years ago in an attempt to discredit modern climate science, they personally don't carry much weight with me.
No major scientific body disagrees with the current scientific opinion. The argument over anthropogenic global warming is overwhelmingly a political debate, not a scientific one.
Thank you as always for a great weather blog! I sifted through the previous comments before throwing my 2 cents in. I will also note - I have never done this before. I see that another comment already address' - partially the concept of "scientific consensus". However, I think that rebuttal stops short. There was not a so-called scientific consensus on an earth-centric universe, or the world-is-flat theory. These concepts were the construct of the Church - which had the power to imprison any scientist guilty of "thinking". Global warming is a FACT - it has been happening since the last glaciation... so let's stop philandering to politicians.
Are humans to blame for the observed recent increase in the RATE of global warming? At least this should be the starting point of any meaningful discussion.
Should the AMS require TV personas to educate about climate change versus forecasting the weather? My opinion is no. Anyone who has watched a news cast in recent history knows that the weather is typically sandwiched between ~10 minutes of sound bite "news" and ~5 minutes of sports "news" - which after commercials - leaves ~3-4 minutes to give a forecast... which is what everyone expects. No time for "educating" the public... one way or the other.
I apologize... I previously hit "post" when I meant to hit "preview"... ;-(
It would be a huge step forward if meteorologists simply stopped spreading misinformation with respect to climate change. Our own Dave Dahl of KSTP once said "It is pretty widely accepted that the earth has been cooling for the past several years...".
I agree that meteorologists shouldn't be obligated to address climate change on the nightly forecast, but spreading false statements that don't reflect best science is a problem.