Posted at 5:35 PM on October 9, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Frosty start - Near freezing in the metro Wednesday AM
50s for metro highs through Friday
-10F temps running about -10F degrees vs. average this week
-2.4F October temps vs. average so far in the metro
1" rainfall? Models cranking out 1"+ for parts of Minnesota Saturday
July 24th last 1"+ rainfall at MSP Airport (1.69")
-3.54" rainfall deficit since September 1st in the metro
Saturday thunder? Embedded T-Storms possible in Saturday's system
Wetter pattern ahead? Saturday's rain could be start of a wetter pattern next 2-3 weeks
Chill-tober: Frosty again Wednesday AM
After 16 straight warmer that average months in Minnesota, it appears October is determined to stop the streak.
So far temps at MSP Airport are running -2.4F for the month. With high running about -10F vs. average the rest of this week, it looks like we may be digging a below average temperature hole that we may not be able to climb out of by month's end.
Look for another frosty start Wednesday morning as temps dip to near 32F again in the inner metro core with 20s just about everywhere else in Minnesota.
Highs will struggle to get move past the 50s the rest of the week.
Much Needed Saturday Soaker?
Yes the timing could be better, but Saturday's prospects for rain are welcome for many in drought stricken Minnesota.
The first really decent wrapped up low pressure system in months will spin out of the Rockies and drive toward Minnesota by Saturday. The system appears to have the capacity to tap into some decent moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and that should help boost rainfall totals.
Right now it looks like the first wave of rain could blossom Friday night, with additional rainfall Saturday...ending early Sunday. The models are indicating there could be enough upward vertical motion ("updrafts") to trigger a few embedded T-Storms within the overall rain shield. A "dry slot" may also develop which can limit rainfall totals on the southern end of the system.
The GFS is putting out 1"+ for some areas near the metro. As always, rainfall totals will depend on the track of the surface low and any dry slot that might develop. At any rate, this looks like the first good chance for widespread, meaningful, soaking rains in months for most of southern and central Minnesota.
Wetter pattern next 2-3 weeks?
The GFS and Euro have been hinting at overall changes in the upper wave pattern over North America in the next 2-3 weeks. If the jet stream sets up right, it could send more frequent low pressure systems spinning toward Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Monday night's GFS run cranked out an eye opening 4.98" rainfall total for the next 16 days for the metro area. The latest runs have dropped totals to between 1" and 2". The overall notion of a wetter pattern the next 2-3 weeks seems reasonable given the likely upper air evolution.
Stay tuned as we try and nail down potential soaking rainfall totals in model runs in the coming days.
International Falls as warm as the Twin Cities by 2070?
1 foot less snow on average in Minnesota winters by 2100?
Twin Cities as warm as Omaha or Kansas City by 2070?
Science Museum of Minnesota hosts Yale Climate Change Media Forum:
The event featured an amazing collection of high level, nationally renowned climate change experts and local broadcasters. Many of these researchers have spent entire careers studying climate change and effects from different angles.
The seminar presented a wealth of updated data on how climate changes are unfolding globally and in our backyard. It's almost impossible to capsulize the overwhelming amount of information I absorbed into this space, so I'll highlight what I see as the most salient points for Updraft. This is by no means a complete summary of current climate science; it's just what I could absorb in a weekend.
Note: These are not direct quotes from the presenters, but my notes and input from their power point presentations. Hopefully this post adequately credits and respects the content and spirit of the authors, and the sources they used. Click on images to enlarge.
Anthony Broccoli, Rutgers University
"Essential Background Information for Meteorologists on Climate Science"
97% of all climate scientists agree that human activity (greenhouse gas emissions) is primarily accountable for most of the observed warming in the last half of the 20th Century.
2012 is the warmest year on record since 1895 from the Midwest to the eastern USA.
We can't say that the warmth of 2012 (or any one year) is solely caused by climate change. But we can say a warm year could be evidence of global warming, if it is part of a long-term trend.
Ben Santer, Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Ca.
"Attribution: How Do We Know There's a Human Influence?"
90%+ probability that 20th Century warming is attributable to humans.
Natural climate variability alone cannot explain observed changes.
Modles using only "natural forces" cannot duplicate observed warming so far.
Variations in solar activity cannot account for observed warming.
Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota
"Data Signals of Regional Climate Changes and Observed Consequences,"
Three Drivers of Observed Climate Behavior
Natural Variability (Earth-sun geometry, solar fluxuation, ocean currents, polar ice, volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts, jet streams)
Land Use/Landscape Changes (urbanization, drainage, irrigation, deforestation)
Anthropogenic Emissions (greenhouse gases)
A brief note here:
The graphic below is perhaps the biggest stunner from Mark's presentation.
"Decadal average annual temperature from 16 GCM models runs showing 275 mile northern migration of the 44 degrees F isotherm. Composite of 16 GCMs shows that the 44 degrees F annual isotherm across MN, currently through the Twin Cities Metro Area, will migrate 275 miles north to near International Falls by 2070."
Again my notes: If this magnitude of warming occurs it will cause dramatic shifts in Minnesota landscapes. If the climate of the Twin Cities essentially shifts to International Falls it will have dramatic impacts on norhtern forests and lakes. BWCA lakes as warm as Lake Minnetonka in summer? Twin Cities like living in Omaha or Kansas City? It's entirely possible.
Peter Snyder, University of Minnesota
"Projections of Upper Midwest Climate Change,"
Multiple lines of evidence suggest Midwest climate is changing.
Minnesota projected warming of 4F to 6F by 2100!
Average winter snowfall may drop by as much as 1 foot by 2100 as more winter precip falls as rain in a warmer winter environment.
Jeff Masters, Weather Underground, Ann Arbor, Mi.
"Climate Change and Severe Storms: Frequency and Severity,"
2012 is nearly on pace with the record number of "billion dollar weather disasters" set in 2011.
The USA has broken virtually every major climate record in the past 7 years.
Hurricane intensity will increase as ocean temps warm.
There will be a devastating Los Angeles hurricane one of these years as warmer ocean waters expand north.
The Mediterranean Sea may be able to support tropical cyclones as waters warm and wind shear decreases.
Excessive precipitation events will increase with increased atmospheric water vapor.
Tornado alley is moving north; Michigan recorded 1st EF3 tornado.
The northward shift in plant hardiness zones is one of the strongest indicators of climate change effects.
Keith Dixon, NOAA/GFDL, Princeton, N.J.
"From 'Best Available' Science to 'Actionable Science': Using Climate Model Results,"
Climate Change is solid science. Large scale multi decadal to century trends established.
The "large scale" science on climate change was largely completed in 2007.
"Local scale" science is next. What happens in my region in the next 15-30 years?
Mitigation can be a large scale issue. Adapatiaiton is a local issue.
45% of all emitted CO2 remains in atmosphere
30% is absorbed by plants and soils
25% is absorbed by oceans
When CO2 "sinks" in oceans, plants and soils reach capacity to absorb CO2, rate of atmospheric warming will increase as higher rates of CO2 are injected into atmosphere.
Climate models today have better resolution than the numerical weather forecast models of the 1980s.
The next 50 years will be very different from the last 50 years.
The 3 different colored curves for years 2000-2100 represent different global surface air temperature responses to 3 different emissions scenarios. The different colors are related to the "category 1" uncertainties - the choices made by people.
The shaded areas kind of/partly represent uncertainties associated with the "category 2" uncertainties. Given the same emissions scenario, different climate models will produce somewhat different responses. In some qualitative sense, this can be taken as illustrating some of the modeling uncertainties.
Source: Keith Dixon, NOAA GFDL
John Abraham, University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Mn.
"Understanding Climate Change's Common Top 10 'Myths',"
"Climate science" dates back to 1824.
Since 2000 climate models have underestimated observed warming!
All the world's volcanoes together produce less greenhouse gas emissions that the state of Florida.
Urban heat island and "poor siting" of some weather stations do not affect overall warming results in surface temperature record.
Paul Douglas Weather Nation
"Climate Change: Hype or Scientific Reality?"
Decrease in temp differences between tropics and poles means slower jet stream.
Weather systems moving slower.
Red maples invading northern forests
95% of the earth's lakes are warming according to NASA'a JPL
Joe Witte, George Mason University\NASA-Goddard
"Visualizing Climate and Weather Forecasting: Resources and Examples,"
1 gallon of gas produces 18 pounds of CO2 when burned.
Climate change science is "robust."
We can differentiate "natural" vs. "man made" CO2 molecules in the atmosphere
The gas shortages of the 1970s presented a major opportunity for Honda & Toyota to dominate the auto industry. Who will win the "climate change" opprtunity?
We were very fortunate as Twin Cities broadcast meteorologists to have this incredible collection of climate expertise in one room last weekend. My thanks to Bud Ward at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and The Media, the excellent presenters, and to Pat Hamilton, Sue Landers and everyone at the Science Museum of Minnesota who made the event possible.