A dry period remains through Thursday. Next best chance of rain is late Friday with a quick-moving cold front. The fast nature of this boundary will limit rainfall amounts to under 1 inch. Expect cooler weather by the end of the weekend.
Tuesday: Sunny. H: 67 Wind: WSW 4
Tuesday Night: Clear. L: 50
Wednesday: Dry. H: 71 L: 53 Wind: SSW 4
Thursday: Sunny. H: 71 L: 58 Wind: SE 4
Friday: Turning cloudy, rain late. H: 79 L: 65 Wind: SE 10
Saturday: Morning showers, remaining mostly cloudy. H: 76 L: 54 Wind: SW 10
Sunday: Becoming mostly cloudy. H: 73 L: 50 Wind: WNW 4
Fall Trends: Areas west of the Mississippi have had an unmistakable warming trend during the fall season. The Upper Midwest has seen a 0.88 degree increase in warmth per decade.
Precipitation trends have also changed. Fall is leaning towards slightly drier than average conditions across the Midwest. As Climate Central points out, "this warming could lead to a range of impacts nationwide, such as pushing back the fall harvest, delaying the frost/freeze season (which plays into the life cycles of species and ecosystems), extending the wildfire season, and affecting fall foliage displays."
Cirrocumulus Virga: I snapped this picture (below) driving back from Lebanon Hills last Saturday....wispy clouds descending from a tiny parent cloud. The feathery look to the clouds might actually be ice crystals falling from the cloud but evaporating before reaching the ground. These clouds are often referred to as "mares' tails" as they resemble the tails of horses.
Measuring Carbon Footprint:
"Scientists have developed a new approach to estimate carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels -- one that provides crucial information to policymakers. Called the 'Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System,' this system was used to quantify 15 years of carbon dioxide emissions, every hour, for the entire planet -- down to the city scale. Until now, scientists have estimated greenhouse gas emissions at coarser scales or used less reliable techniques." Read more about this study here.
Just when our trails were starting to thaw and dry, two huge back-to-back rainstorms have saturated the soil. Any trail work has been put on a temporary hold. Theo, for example, received 2" of rain just on Sunday alone. Standing water is rampant across the metro and more rain is on the way.
Wednesday: Morning rain/snow showers. H: 49 L: 39 Wind: NW 5-10
Thursday: Cloudy. Showers. H: 52 L: 38 Wind: NW 10
Friday: Showers linger. H: 53 L: 39 Wind: NW 10
Saturday: Broken sun. Isolated rain. H: 57 L: 44 Wind: NW 4
Sunday: Partly sunny. Warmer H: 60 L: 47 Wind: SW 5
Saving Cow Farts
Here's a sobering stat: One cow can produce up to 300 liters of methane per day. If converted to energy this is enough to run a car for 24 hours. Cows are also thought to be a significant cause of climate change. Really?! The business of capturing and harnessing cow flatulence for energy is a serious subject right now.
Besides the backpack experiment to capture cow farts and generate energy, more mainstream studies are ongoing which look at reducing the emissions to begin with. Researchers are breeding lower-emission cows and feeding them lower flatulence-producing food. Some researchers are putting wireless sensors in cow stomachs to the track effects of diet.
Climate Change and Clouds
An old colleague of mine from Penn State University, Mark Zelinka, is determined to crack the code on clouds and their role in climate change. Here's the dilemma:
Clouds both trap and deflect planet-warming energy. Their molecules contribute to the greenhouse effect by lapping up infrared radiation emitted by Earth and redirecting some of that energy back toward the planet's surface. But clouds' white tops also reflect almost a fifth of the solar radiation that reaches the planet, a shading effect.
Mark is using sophisticated radar and lidar data to get the most comprehensive view of clouds that has ever been available. Hoping his research will answer the question of whether clouds will accelerate or dampen global warming.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story