Monday, June 15, 2009

A Cooler Summer?

Weather Headlines

* 84 degree high in the Twin Cities on Sunday. Normal high for June 14: 79 F.

* Today: not as sunny as yesterday, still warm with highs topping 80.

* Best chance of showers/T-storms: south & west of the Minnesota River Valley.

* Tuesday looks wet statewide with a good chance of showers/storms.

* Break in the showery pattern Wednesday midday into Thursday afternoon.

* Next chance of organized showers comes late Thursday into Friday.

* Saturday rain may linger over Wisconsin, clouds and showers can't be ruled out over far eastern Minnesota.

* Sunday appears to be the sunnier, warmer, drier day of the weekend, statewide.

* Long-range guidance: highs mostly in the 80s the last full week of June. No more cold fronts in sight.

Below is the latest CPC (Climate Prediction Center) Outlook for the entire summer season, June, July and August. There's a better than 50/50 chance that the Dakotas and Minnesota will wind up cooler than average, with significantly hotter weather predicted for much of the west, far south and eastern seaboard. The extended (way-out-on-a-limb) forecast is based on trends in the Pacific Ocean, as well as blocks and "oscillations" setting up over the Northern Hemisphere, that all seem to point to an unusual amount of Canadian air emptying southward into the Upper Midwest the next couple of months. Is this proof that global warming is hogwash? No. This is still "weather", not "climate". Even if the forecast verifies (comes true) for Minnesota, it doesn't say anything about what's happening globally. We rely on a constellation of satellites and ground-based climate observations worldwide to help us get a global snapshot over time. We can't use a cool day, or even a cool summer, to disprove climate change any more than a resident of Phoenix or Washington D.C. can use a string of 90 or 100 degree days to "prove" that climate change is, in fact, a reality. It's tempting to look out the window and - assume - that the entire planet is feeling the chill (or the heat) but reality is a bit more complicated. Even meteorologists, who study day-to-day changes in weather patterns have a difficult time gauging what's happening worldwide over a span of months, years and decades. That's why we rely on climate scientists to give us insight into the big picture, and a majority of those scientists continue to believe that the (global) temperature trend is ever-upward. For more stories about climate change check out my ClimateSpot blog, which I try to update daily with new stories. It's a big puzzle, and no one weather event, storm, heatwave or cool front proves anything. Stepping back and trying to take in the big picture is challenging and time-consuming, but there is ample evidence for anyone truly taking the time to look. I HOPE global warming and subsequent climate change winds up being disproven; I hope another theory rises to the surface to explain the worldwide warming trend we're witnessing from the artic regions and Greenland southward to Antarctica, something else that accounts for shrinking glaciers, rising water levels and some of the truly baffling weather we're seeing in both hemispheres. There's plenty of incentive for a hot-shot Phd to find that smoking gun and convince other climatologists there's a better explanation for what we see all around us. I'm keeping an open mind - I hope you will too.

WRF/NAM outlook for 7 pm this evening, showing regions of higher relative humidity (blue equates roughly with 70% RH) entering southwestern Minnesota. The best chance of late-day showers and embedded T-storms should remain southwest of the MN River Valley later today.

Rainfall (in inches) from June 7-13. Note that much of the northern half of Minnesota received less than .50" of rain (most lawns/fields/gardens require about 1" of water every week for sustained, healthy growth of flowers and crops in June). Southern Minnesota is in slightly better shape: 1.5 to 2" of rain fell there last week.

For the latest weekly rainfall estimates for the USA from the High Plains Regional Climate Center click here.

Paul's Outlook

Today: Fading sun, still seasonably warm. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 82

Tonight: More clouds, growing chance of a shower or T-shower. Low: 59

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, showers likely, even a heavier T-storm or two. High: 73

Wednesday: Damp start, then becoming partly sunny. High: 74

Thursday: Sunny start, clouds increase PM hours. Some rain moving in late. High: 76

Friday: Unsettled with a few widely scattered showers. High: 74

Saturday: Mix of clouds and sun. Showers should stay well east of the St. Cloud area. High: 76

Sunday: Nicer day of the weekend. Sunnier and warmer. High: 82

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