mellowtigger: (flameproof)
Okay, here's one of those "update" messages that I wanted to avoid. But...

it's hot out there.

Summer isn't letting go just yet. Minneapolis is currently under a heat advisory:
* TEMPERATURE...highs in the lower 90s.
* HEAT INDICES...upper 90s to around 100.

And there's basically no wind.  I look at the trees, and I see only an occasional small branch rustle.  Hot, humid, stultifying.
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
It was hot yesterday, it's hot today, and it'll be hot tomorrow.  Weather Underground currently shows a heat index here of 41C/106F.

heat index 41C/106F

I still don't have air conditioning, so it's even hotter upstairs in my bedroom.  I spent last night on a cot in the basement, where the temperature is actually comfortable.  I bought a fan to use on the ground floor, but even its usefulness is limited in this kind of heat.

On Friday of last week, the electricians did their work to prepare for the air conditioning unit that was prepaid by the prior owners of the house.  They had to have an actual, physical unit here, because Minnesota had recently changed its laws about "truth in advertising".  The house was listed with central A/C, so they could not give me a cash equivalent in an escrow account that I could use later to install air conditioning.  They had to buy the unit and prepay the installation, even though we agreed to delay the installation until after the snow banks had melted.

The electricians said this unit is actually very good.  They were concerned, however, that the coils that should go in the basement are too big to fit the central air unit.  If the A/C guy knows it, then maybe that's why he has not returned my calls recently.  So, in spite of having a unit here, I might not have air conditioning until I can replace the entire central air... which means not in a very long while. 

I paid on my own to have the electricians come out, because the A/C guy said they had to do their work first.  The electricians, on the other hand, said it was usually the opposite, so they simply finish hooking up wires to a unit already in place.  Regardless, I am now electrically ready for installation, if it ever happens.  I'll certainly be registering my discontent at online ratings sites if this prepaid guy doesn't actually get my A/C working.

There are good portable units that I could use just for the bedroom or living room.  I'd be happy to use that solution, if I knew for certain that the technician will not actually be installing the main A/C after all.  For now, though, it's just a waiting game... during a period of high temperatures.

Life in the basement is okay.  The cot isn't great for the arthritis in my back, and the mold spores are making my sinuses riot.  The temperature, though, is very survivable.  I've turned on a very old allergen filter to sit alongside the dehumidifier.  So now I sit in the dark cave and type my blog posts.
mellowtigger: (Saturn vortex)
Cities in the diagonal stretch from Minneapolis to Fargo experience a greater range of temperatures than anywhere else in the United States.  This spring is proof enough of the short-term variability that we experience.

March started out with -21C (-7F) followed a few days later with 17C (63F) temperatures.  It was a very strange transition.  The snow had already melted away from the landscape, which was unusual enough so early in the year.  On the day with high temperatures, though, I was driving down the road rolling down the windows because I was feeling too warm in the car, then I looked to the side and saw that the ponds were all still completely frozen over with ice.  Hot and cold at the same time.  The landscape hadn't adjusted to the warm air.

snow 2015 March 23 MondayWe went back down to sub-freezing temperatures again.  Then we saw some more snowfall on March 23rd (photo at right).  It didn't last long, though.  Temperatures went back up, and the snow melted away quickly.   The next week or two saw temperatures fluctuate some more, but not as widely.

snow 2015 April 10 FridayOn Friday morning of last week, we actually had snowfall for a few minutes (photo at left).  It only lasted about 10 minutes, but there were some large snowflakes in that downpour.  By Saturday, though, we were back to 20C (68F), and I was out in the garden planting seeds already.

If our growing season keeps lengthening, then maybe one of these years I'll finally be able to grow some carrots for 2 years in a row.  That duration is important, because carrots do not produce seeds in their first year.  So far, all my carrots have died during the winter when the soil freezes.

Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, though.  I'm cautiously optimistic for 2015.
mellowtigger: (snow)
We finally have cold weather and snow. That polar vortex is back too. This morning is barely "subzero" (-1F/-18C, windchill -14F/-25C), but it's been a lot colder recently.

I spent this week a little farther north than usual. Where I work (with The Nature Conservancy), they have a conference once every three years that brings together employees from Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We met at a location close to all of us, a small resort in Ottertail, Minnesota. Unfortunately, the weather there reached a low of -13F/-25C (windchill -30F/-34C), so I never went outside during the event. The weather didn't cooperate, so they cancelled the sleigh ride, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and even the evening campfire.

The experience was good, though. I have a much better sense of what my coworkers are doing. I learned some cool stuff too. The state of Minnesota makes available some great datasets from LiDAR surveys. They are very detailed, and they can detect both tree canopy and ground level. I also learned that North America's grasslands are useful as carbon sinks, storing several tons per acre under the roots of those grasses. Unfortunately, we're losing grasslands at a faster pace than the world is losing rainforest. Meanwhile, I gave a presentation with my tech support coworker on what to do when your email inbox reaches its quota. It's not a particularly exciting topic, but people seemed to take away tidbits that they thought were useful to their own work life.

drive in snowWe heard the bad weather forecasts, so organizers sent the South Dakota people home early to escape the expected bad driving conditions. The next morning, however, it seemed that South Dakota escaped the snowfall while the rest of us were just beginning to receive it. Instead of a final buffet lunch, we got boxed sandwiches so we could get in our carpools and head home immediately. No luck, though, because the weather system was already covering our route. It took much longer than usual to get back.

I took this photo while we were traveling slowly along the interstate highway back to Minneapolis. We saw several accidents and near-accidents, but I was delivered by my carpool safely back home.

We're forecast for above-freezing days soon, so we'll get more thawing in January.  Winters here are getting easier each year.  Normally, we'd have an arctic landscape outside, with boring snow cover from first snowfall (November or December) until thaw (around April).  Now, though, it seems that we will have "punctuated" winters where the snow actually melts between downpours.

Climate change is interesting, at least.
mellowtigger: (twitch)
Okay, I lied. Here is one more post involving the weather.

I scheduled the whole day for vacation from work today, because I knew from 4 years ago what an electromyograph experience is like. It's basically just legalized torture where they electrocute and stab you with needles repeatedly for an hour. Once again, I walked away from the experience leaving several large spots of panic sweat behind me on the paper gown and paper exam table cover.

snow 20140417 ThursdayMy body didn't cooperate by offering any twitches during the exam, but my feet joined wholeheartedly by developing full blown muscle cramps while he was sticking me with needles. It was the same kind of cramp that I get while driving. We triggered it by having me press my foot hard against his hand, similar to stepping on the accelerator pedal. (Except that I also had a needle probe stuck in my lower leg too.) The doctor doing the exam just commented that, like 4 years ago, I was showing "abnormality" only in a single nerve. If it is multiple sclerosis, then all of my nerves should be affected nearly the same. I think they still have no clue what it might be. If it's not an incredibly slow-progressing MS, then I'm out of guesses too.

They didn't offer me any valium this time, but I prepared for the EMG yesterday by stockpiling some alcohol at home beforehand. I wanted to have booze available as soon as I got home. I was right; it has helped. I'm feeling a lot less fight-or-flight now, which is good. My muscles in many places are a lot more sore this time than they were after the first EMG test. It takes a while to calm down from such intense alarm, though. Or it does for me, at least.

I got home and started "chilling out" right away. Literally. The house conspired with the weather to turn cold. The heater went out early yesterday, and we got about 3 inches of snow last night. The temperature inside the house stabilized around 14C/57F, so after my exam I drove straight home and began drinking local Saint Paul beer "Cygnus X-1 Porter" while sitting under a blanket on the couch.

The repairman arrived about 2 hours ago and has the heater working again.  Life is nearly back to normal today. I'm still wishing for a daily job experience that didn't keep me unduly stressed. It would be good for my nerves... metaphorically and literally. For now, though, I'll settle for a day off from work and another beer to help forget the morning torture session. Cheers!
mellowtigger: (dumb)
We had above-freezing nights recently, and the snow was melting away quickly.

Thursday night, however, we had another bout of cold weather and precipitation.  I worked at home via internet on Friday so I could stay home and avoid the unplowed roads.  The street in front of the house was not plowed until about 9:30am that day.  The warm weather returned, though, and the snow is almost all melted again.   Here are images from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

snow 2014 April 04 Fridaysnow 2014 April 05 Saturdaysnow 2014 April 06 Sunday

It'll still take a few weeks for the ground to be anything other than a block of solid rock (ice), but at least the worst is behind us now.

With the weather no longer a point of discussion, I'll have to find something else to write about.  I haven't had the energy/focus to construct paragraphs of substance lately.  Even my game-playing has been very ADHD, skipping from one unsatisfying game to the next in quick series. It seems that I mostly commute-work-commute-sleep every weekday.  In "spare" time, I'm mostly not thinking about anything at all.  Then on weekends I catch up on all the tv shows that I recorded during the work week.

But... no more excuses, right?  Focus.  Focus.
mellowtigger: (snow)
deep snow March 8thIt's so disappointing to read posts from other people who are already preparing for their gardens.  Here's the view outside my bedroom window today.

The temperature is almost up to freezing today.  In Minnesota, that means it's wonderfully warm.  People are driving with their car windows cracked open.  I expect to see joggers at some point this weekend.  I went to see the movie Frozen at matinee prices earlier today, and I almost skipped bringing my light coat with me.  I think everyone else was already outside enjoying the warmth, because I was the only person in the theater for that movie.  The Twin Cities have above-freezing weather in our forecast for many days, but it will still require many weeks for all of this accumulated snow to finally melt away.

I've been ill for over a week now with a sinus/throat infection that transformed into crud in my lungs.  The fever seems to be gone finally, but I'm still coughing.  Work is still stressing me out, and I'm pursuing both a medical explanation for it and a less complicated work process.  We'll see which alternative offers a solution first.  This winter has been hard for people other than me, too.  My former database administrator is dealing this weekend with a sister who died a few hours ago.  Another renter in this household is recovering from a stroke that he experienced last weekend.  I think he finally got out of the hospital yesterday, but he's staying elsewhere at the moment.

I thought we had an arrangement, 2014.  Better days ahead, you know?  Ah, well.  At least this warmth is good.
mellowtigger: (snow)
backyard snowIt's been colder than usual in Minnesota this winter.  We've also received a respectable amount of snow.  Here's the view outside my window now.  The snow (after shoveling and snow blowing since December) is as tall as my car.

Minnesota Public Radio aired a 5-minute story saying that we haven't had a winter like this one since 1981.  We've had 5 ground blizzards this winter, ice covering 91% of Lake Superior, frost depth to 1.2 meters (4 feet), and 40 consecutive days of subzero Fahrenheit temperatures here in the Twin Cities.

I've never known Minnesota to simply "shut down" because of the cold, but it happened on January 3rd this winter because of the deadly windchill.  That Monday morning, I tried driving to work when it was -27C/-16F (-39C/-38F windchill).  My engine soon overheated, though, because the radiator was frozen. I turned around to drive back home, but I had to stop 4 times to let the engine cool down before continuing.  Unfortunately, the frozen radiator meant that I had no heat inside the car either, so my hands and feet were bitterly cold by the time I made it home again.

T'Reese licking condensationOne side effect of the cold temperature is the condensation.  All of the windows drip with air moisture that has condensed onto the cold glass.  Occasionally, I'll hear a leak that spills water out, but when I go to investigate I just find that a window sill has collected too much water and it finally leaks over the edge in a small torrent.  Both of the cats have learned to enjoy it, though.  T'Reese favors licking the water from the sill (pictured here), while Hope licks the water directly off of the window panes... both the upper and lower panes.  They keep my bedroom window from spilling any water.

Later that cold day, when I drove a short distance to the repair shop to have my radiator fluid flushed and replaced with something more cold-hardy, I heard a guy there parrot word-for-word the conservative media talking points about global warming being nonsense because, you know, it's cold now.  I see 3 problems with this opinion.

First, it's winter.  Give me a break.  Of course this time of year is when you'd expect it to be cold, and especially here in Minnesota.  Second, this kind of weather used to be typical for Minnesota, back decades ago before climate change had become so noticeable.  Now, weather that used to be common for this area has instead not been seen in an entire generation... until finally this year.  Third, while Minnesota experienced its burst of cold, Alaska was baking in a comparative heatwave.  Places there have actually lost their snow cover to the melting... in Alaska... in winter.

As I keep saying, an atmosphere with more energy will become "well mixed", with currents breaking usual patterns of air circulation to spiral off into unusual locations.  The more heat you add, the more frenetic those eddies become.  I expect it to behave much like the phenomenon you see while watching a pot of boiling water.  So, yeah, it's cold; yet climate change is real.  At least the conspiracists this time made an interesting observation.  We briefly saw the meme that fake snow was falling on Georgia because it wouldn't melt over a flame.  My first thought was to wonder if the ice somehow sublimated, but the water simply absorbs into the snowball, instead.

Me, I think this winter is really cold.  I've pondered a time or two the idea of throwing a pot of boiling water into the subzero air to watch it burst into snowflakes, but... it's cold out there!  I'll just stay inside and watch the cats lick the windows instead.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
If you can't tell from the trees, then the cats are a sure giveaway. Cold weather has arrived in Minnesota.

I took these photos from the living room window last month. We had a brief period of cold weather that turned all the leaves. One of these days, I really should do a time lapse series from a fixed camera.

foliage 2013-10-26 foliage 2013-11-02

Since then, I saw sleet for about 20 seconds, I saw a dusting of snow, and my car slid twice on icy unsalted bridges during cold days. For the most part, though, we've had above-freezing weather during the days.

My car windshield got a nick a few weeks ago from a rock. I scheduled someone to repair the windshield with their magic resin, but 24 hours before they were due to arrive, the temperature sank down to the -13C/+8F range, and that single spot of damage cracked across the whole width of the windshield. I had the entire glass replaced that day. I see frost on my car windshield this morning, but the temperature is forecast to get almost up to freezing today.

T'Reese on pcThe cats make it obvious that cold weather has arrived. Both cats enjoy sitting on top of my high-airflow computer case. The top panel is made up entirely of airholes (like the metal screen on microwave ovens), so all the heat from the electronics can flow upward and out. Here you see my old cat, T'Reese, enjoying the warmth from the silicon furnace.

A serious design flaw of this case is the top-located power button. You can't see it in this shot, because T'Reese is sitting on it. As the cats step up or down from this perch, they often hit the button and prompt immediate shutdown of my pc. Unhappy me. I've developed the habit of opening a Notepad text document with nothing in it, just so it prompts me briefly if I want to cancel the shutdown or not. It gives me the seconds that I need to halt the shutdown before I lose my pc game or browser window.

Hope under blanketsT'Reese also has the habit (only during cold weather) of laying down in bed at night at my feet. She started doing that again last week. Not to be outdone, Hope has learned to cover herself in blankets by digging and rolling.

I enjoy winters in Minnesota when the snow arrives late.  The problem with snow here is that it lingers on the ground for months.  The snow usually doesn't begin disappearing from the ground until March or April.  If snow first arrives in October, then it makes a very long and dreary winter of the bland, bright, snowy landscape.  It's almost December this year, though, and still no snow pack on the ground.

I keep saying it, but global warming will be good to Minnesota.
mellowtigger: (disconnect)
storm waterThe Twin Cities experienced a sudden, brief, and powerful storm on Friday night a few minutes before 8pm.  We lost power at the house for nearly a full day.

During the wind gusts and downpour, my landlords were driving around the city.  They took shelter in a bank parking garage and shot some video of the water rushing into the storm drains there.  I couldn't find a way to share the video, so I took this snapshot of it (pictured on the right).  You can see power flickering in the fluorescent light.

flooded roadWe still didn't have power in the morning, so I drove out to work to see if there were issues at any of our 5 sites.  I saw tree limbs everywhere, tree trunks snapped in half, and trees uprooted.  I had to stop and turn around where a stream had flooded the road (pictured on left).  I didn't want to risk messing up my "new" car.  I turned around and found another route to work.  I spent about 2 hours sorting through what issues were fixable until such time as electricity and internet were restored at all sites, then I returned home.

It's amazing how little people know about enduring time without electricity.  It seems that not many people keep candles around.  And far too many people treat "lighted" intersections without power as a free and unregulated road.  People were just speeding on through intersections as if they weren't there!  When I realized how dangerous the roads were (because of ignorant drivers), I kept my car safely in the back yard until power was restored.

Kudos to the staff of Taco Bell #2365 who manned the rare fast food restaurant on Friday night that still had electricity.  They were clearly unprepared for much of the city stopping in for food all at once.  They handled the stress like true professionals.  My one suggestion is that maybe they should have just shut down the drive-through to force everyone to stop and park.  With the drive-through operating, though, the line was long and slow, so in-house customers could not exit until the slow parade of cars made advancement.

And boo to the city of Fridley which had several "lighted" intersections without battery power, without temporary stop signs, and without any reflective material on the light posts so people could even see by their headlights that an intersection was supposed to be controlled. With so much of the metro without electricity, there just was not the usual glow of city life to illuminate anything.  Intersections were quite dark that night.

Nothing is ever so bad that it couldn't be worse, eh?  Fun times.
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow 2013.05.03It's snowing again in Minneapolis today. It won't accumulate, but it's surprising to see snowfall this late in the year.  We have our annual fundraiser tomorrow to raise money for the animal shelter where I work.  Bad weather decreases turnout and fundraising, unfortunately.  Freezing precipitation today does not bode well for tomorrow morning.

I keep experiencing electric jolts in my foot and leg.  They are painful reminders that I'm not ready to put weight on my left leg yet.  At least the nerves haven't suffocated and died. There's enough circulation to keep them registering pain.  That's a good sign, at least.

If the swelling and electric shocks keep getting worse over the weekend, though, I'll call Monday and schedule a doctor appointment to get checked out.  I expected the clot to have withered sufficiently to have decent blood circulation in my leg by now.

Today marks 6 weeks since my leg injury, and I'm still on crutches.  I'm starting to get pessimistic about my long-term prospects.


Apr. 11th, 2013 07:00 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow 2013.04.11The winter storm has finally arrived in Minneapolis.  We're supposed to get a few inches of snow and ice as it passes through the Twin Cities.

I need to go to downtown Minneapolis for a conference today (and Friday and Saturday).  My choices are:

A) Drive in rush hour to an unfamiliar destination on new snow.
B) Commute by bus and roam outside on a cane and a bad leg.

I'm opting for the bus.  I think it might be the better choice for my safety and sanity.

It's so very tempting to just stay home today and forget it all.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I've reached three milestones, sort of.

1) The weather here has been quite warm lately (read: mostly above freezing) only small patches of snow are still left on the landscape.  We have forecast for some snow on Thursday, but at least it will be sure to melt away quickly.

2) I had a muscle cramp last night around 10pm.  It was the first cramp in over a year of good luck. I'm somewhat bummed about it.  Luckily it was in my right foot instead of my left foot where it could have aggravated my injured leg. I got up early today so I can drive out to the Autism Society Of Minnesota and make sure I get registered for the annual autism conference in 2 weeks.  I want to visit other adults on the spectrum and ask which local neurologists they've used before.  I want to find a specialist that doesn't treat me like a hypochondriac when I report symptoms.  I mailed my Minnesota Care application yesterday.  We'll see how long the bureaucracy takes to get me into a program.

3) The local gay library, Quatrefoil, is moving to a new location.  The new development will also be providing housing for low-income, elderly GLBT folk.  I emailed my information to them (in a pdf linked to by Quatrefoil for their followers) so they should contact me about my possible eligibility when units open up.  If I qualify, it would be an awesome place to call "home" for the rest of my life.  It would mean commitment to continue working in the Twin Cities too, but I think it would be worth it to be part of that new little enclave.

The seasons are changing.  Into what, I don't yet know, but it seems worthwhile to keep looking forward.


Jan. 21st, 2013 08:54 am
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
It's been a few years since the day's high temperature was still sub-zero (Farenheit), but today is such a day.  It's currently -23C/-9F (windchill -32C/-26F).

We've had rain recently.  Yes, rain in January (thanks, global warming!) and the temperature has been above-freezing a few different times (thanks, again!), so there are patches of land showing through the snow cover already.  The jet stream currently has a high northern loop in it, so it's bringing arctic air to Minnesota.  Today is colder than the recent trend.  It also happens to be a holiday from work today, so I don't have to drive anywhere.

I'm curious, does the Celsius world have any equivalent to the Farenheit concept of "sub-zero" as "really, really cold"?  I don't know of one.  It strikes me as similar to southerners using the word "yankee" to describe northerners.  There isn't really a reverse equivalent, is there?
mellowtigger: (snow)
20121210.snowA snowstorm dumped a daily record (Dec 9th) of snow in Minneapolis.  Now, it's -12C/11F (windchill -19C/-2F) outside, and I still need to dig my car out of the snow again. 

Unfortunately, the worker bees (2 landlords and 1 guest) who did most of the work yesterday dumped their snow right at the edge of the walkway.  Hopefully warm weather will return and melt it all away, so I don't have to throw snow over that hump all winter long.

After yesterday's short workout, I ended up sleeping 12 hours last night in recuperation.  I've mentioned that I'm tired of being tired, right?  *laugh*

Well, I guess I better get outdoors and dig my way out so I can get to work this afternoon.  :(

20121210.snow.catp.s. 11:00am

Done shoveling.  There's a new pile of snow from this second round of shoveling. Car is ready to head to work.

I'm late for a special potluck luncheon at work today, but at least I'll still be able to serve the two pumpkin pies that I baked yesterday.

That furry lump in the foreground is my cat, Hope.  She was looking out the window too, when I came around to take my picture.

first snow

Oct. 26th, 2012 08:32 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow.20121025We had our first snowfall in the Twin Cities yesterday. It did not accumulate, but it lasted about 20 minutes that I saw.  You'll need to click the photo to see the larger version that makes all of the snowflakes obvious.

I keep saying that global warming will result in the atmosphere becoming "well mixed", pushing air pockets off to farther places than usual resulting in weird or off-season combinations. I can't imagine any more unusual combination than a hurricane-blizzard like Sandy that is now approaching the USA coastline.

Brad Panovich is the chief meteorologist for WCNC tv news, and he says on Facebook that "Sandy combined with the strong trough will create a unique type of storm system. ... It's very rare to see a strong tropical system merge with such a strong winter like trough of low pressure. ... This system is 1 part Hurricane, 1 part Nor'easter and 1 part Blizzard potentially. Impacts of all 3 types of storms are possible depending on location."

An Associated Press story is also reporting that "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.”"

They're estimating $1 billion in damage from Hurricane Sandy.  For comparison, that figure is nowhere near the $81 billion property damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  A blizzard hurricane, though, does add to strange weather like the winter tornadoes that we've had in recent years.  Why do Americans still doubt global warming?  Oh, yeah, Faux News uninforms its viewers, that's why.
mellowtigger: (snow)
The temp has been cold recently, but there was snowfall in northern Minnesota last night. It arrived a month earlier than usual. Here, you can see photos taken by some local people.

Remember what I said about global warming causing the atmosphere to be "well mixed", like turbulence in a pot of boiling water? I expect out-of-season weather as a result, as that increasing turbulence grows strong enough to draw air currents from different areas than seasonal patterns would normally support. Overall, the trend is still for rising temperatures.


Nov. 10th, 2011 10:43 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
I saw flakes of snow falling from the sky this morning as I walked to the local convenience store.

Hennepin County has voted unanimously to prevent sleepovers at the county plaza, staring Monday.  I absolutely intend to be there Monday night with my sleeping bag, body bag, and protest poster.

I was thinking about sleeping out there tonight, but I might wait until tomorrow to do it instead.  The Veterans For Peace are holding an all-night vigil from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday in honor of Veterans Day on Friday.

mellowtigger: (bicycle)
Dodge Stratus 1996I put on my bike clothes, did my situps, put on my helmet, and filled my water bottle.  I stepped outside the door to go to my bicycle for the commute to work, and suddenly I thought, "Whoa! It's cold!"

So I came back inside and changed to my work clothes.  I'm going to drive to work today.  :)  I hadn't posted about it yet, but I did buy a car on Saturday.  It's a Dodge Stratus 1996 with 104,000 miles on it.  I updated my car insurance at a meeting on Tuesday morning.  As sparingly as I drive it, it may take a while to use up a tank of gas to figure out it's gas mileage.  I'm expecting it to be at least 20 miles per gallon, though.

I checked just now, and we have a freeze warning.  Yes, it's actually supposed to reach freezing temperature tonight.  Brrrrrr!  I bought my car just in time.  The weather is already too cold for me to commute by bicycle every day unless I spend some money on proper clothing.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Wow, "news" agencies sure have gotten lazy. I find many reports of the entire state of Texas as a drought disaster area (213 counties out of 254, so 84% of them actually), but nobody bothers to link to the primary source of the actual government announcement.

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 213 counties in Texas as primary natural disaster areas after one of the worst droughts in more than a century. The state sustained excessive heat, high winds and wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres. ... The drought, wildfires and other natural disasters - which began Jan. 1, 2011, and continues - caused 30 percent or more loss of forage crops, pasture, corn, oats and wheat in the following counties...

The obvious point to liberal treehuggers like me is that global warming deniers are finally getting to roast in their own juices as U.S. weather goes haywire this year. There's even a good-but-scary video making the rounds that makes it seem ludicrous for deniers to continue denying.

Objective scientists are more hesitant to make such declarations, but they're obviously leaning to the same conclusion.

Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather. ...

"This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we've seen in the last century since we've had good records," said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While it's not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring's extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future. "In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods," he told AFP.

The connection is so obvious that even people who would normally know better than to associate a single instance (the year 2011) with a long-term trend (global climate change) find themselves unable to outright evade the possibility.

And of course there's this million dollar question: "Does any research point to climate change as a cause of this wild weather?"

"Global warming is certainly happening," asserts Patzert, "but we can't discount global warming or blame it for the 2011 tornado season. We just don't know ... Yet."

And this is just short-term speculation.  The long-term forecasting is much worse, even if you take into account solar decline.

It's hard to deny the link when you try to imagine a potential "teachable moment" about global warming, and you end up with scenarios exactly like what we're really experiencing already.  I'm glad I've managed to commute by bicycle this month.  I regret that I plan to go back to gasoline-guzzling transportation before the summer ends.  I offer my lame apologies to future generations of humans (and plants and other animals) who will have to suffer for my convenience.


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