Minnesota's rare October warm spell delights residents, terrifies scientists

Categories: Weather
sunset
Say goodbye to the enemy... for now.
Minnesota's Indian summer is ending this week. As always, the temperature itself will be a matter of precise measurement, while the meaning of the bizarre warm spell of October 2011 is up for interpretation.

Over the first 10 days of this month, the Twin Cities has experienced a remarkable string of late-year warmth, the likes of which hasn't been seen in nearly 60 years.

Of all the verbs that one uses with the phrase "October weather" in Minnesota -- "suffer," most often, "endure," if possible, and definitely, always, "bemoan" -- it's so rare that the word "enjoy" sneaks its way into our autumn sentences.

Paul Douglas, meteorologist and professional downer, wants to use a different word: Beware.

First, the digits. Minneapolis-St. Paul hit 82 degrees yesterday, making for an eight-day string of 80-plus degree temperatures. That's the first time we've put together a streak like that since 1953, WCCO reports.

mn drought october 2011.jpg
NIDIS
Drought conditions covered huge parts of the state, as of last week.
That kind of weather gave everyone one last week of unseasonably perfect weather for golfing, or protesting, depending on your personal hobbies and tax bracket. But the warm-wave ends today, or at least it'll begin to end: Thanks to light rain and extensive cloud cover blowing in from the Dakotas, Minnesota likely won't be topping 80 degrees again today, according to the National Weather Service.

It's unclear if the rain itself will actually fall on Minneosta, but right about now we could really use it. Last week, three-quarters of Minnesota -- including the Twin Cities area -- was declared to be "abnormally dry," while huge swaths were labeled as in moderate or severe drought. That ought to break late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the NWS reports, as another light storm system rolls through from the West.

Even with those clouds and showers, the temperature will only edge its way down to the 60s. Besides a terrible delay in the debut of your new fall wardrobe, what does it all mean?

Certain, imminent death, according to Paul Douglas's blog for the Star Tribune. Well, he's using safer words. But essentially, Douglas is putting his money where his meteorology is, and declaring this strangely sweaty October a symptom of global climate change. Writing late last night on his blog, Douglas sounds the alarm bell thusly:

PaulDouglasthumb.jpg
"You can't prove it scientifically, but there's probably a better than 50/50 chance that this incredible warm spell is (in fact) linked with anthropogenic climate change. For the longest time climate scientists were very careful not to link any one storm or unusual weather event to climate change. No more. Their point: background temperatures are rising; there's more water in the air, and that's going to impact day to day weather, make the extremes more frequent. Like it or not, freakish weather is becoming the norm, not the exception."
Douglas goes on to hedge just a bit, conceding that you can't exactly blame yesterday's high temperature on your neighbor's Hummer. But, he writes, this October, when traced back to the historically hot period around here in July, is part of a larger pattern of events that are within our control but beyond our attention span.

Go ahead, bust out your chunky sweater and toss around the football like it's actually autumn. Let's leave a few things for the surviving cockroaches to identify us.


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20 comments
Jens Kristian Larsson
Jens Kristian Larsson

@ Doug StarPete, I recognized your nickname! are you playing kasino online by any chance? I remember you got some serious cash some 2 weeks ago or smth. My nick is Xpander if you are interested :) 

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Here is one for the global warming goof to answer-

air has an average molecular weight of 28vs carbon dioxide having a molecular weight of 44

how does CO2 "trap atmospheric heat" when it's heavier than atmospheric air and collects near the ground?

It would be more beleiveable if they claimed Methane (CH4) was a the primary cause of global warming with a molecular weight of 16 (lighter than air).  But wait, cars don't produce methane, so that does not fit their agenda.

mel
mel

A useful idiot for the good guys for a change. If only more people paid attention.

Dancoffey
Dancoffey

"You can't prove it scientifically, but there's probably a better than 50/50 chance..."

Does anybody else find that to be the dumbest start to a sentence proffering a scientific theory ever? It doesn't matter what your opinion is of climate change. Making statements like this are uneducated, and repeating them in print is just downright idiotic.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

"the Twin Cities has experienced a remarkable string of late-year warmth, the likes of which hasn't been seen in nearly 60 years"

I wonder if it was "climate change" that caused the unseasonable sting of warm day in the 1950's.   Oh, but wait,they also claimed it was "global cooling" in the mid 1970's. 

No wonder Paul Douglas had gained the nick name, "the Goof on the Roof."

East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

The last glacial period ended about 12,500 years ago.  Some parts of Minnesota were covered with 2 miles of ice!  The earth warmed and the ice melted.  Could it possibly be that the earth is warming again?   Do the scientists think that the earth should be in a 'steady state' and have a constant predictable temperature?  Historically there have been many periods of warming/cooling.

Volcanic activity could put more particles / CO2 into the atmosphere than all that is man made.

Human induced global warming is junk science at it's worst.

Kareem Ahmed
Kareem Ahmed

Mike. I like your writing style. Thanks for being pretty funny!

green23
green23

And clouds are ice crystals. Isn't ice heavier than air? Therefore, either clouds are a hoax or it's more complex than you make it out to be.

It's amazing that wingnuts will doubt the opinions of 99.99% of scientists and hold out for 'absolute certainty ', but will accept virtually any unsourced conspiracy involving Obama, Soros, or Clinton as indisputable truth.

And methane has ALWAYS been considered a greenhouse gas by scientists. There can be more than one cause.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

I didn't know Air was a molecule.  What is the molecular structure of the Air molecule, Kirk?

DougStarPete
DougStarPete

Hey Jerk, What do you CO2 is heavier than air? Is "Air" a chemical? Air is usually defined as a mixture of N, O, and a bunch of other stuff INCLUDING CO2.Also, if you want to compare chemicals and evaluate their capacity to "trap" energy, you should consider there radiation absorption spectra. 

You need to go back and read your basic greenhouse effect science if you want to be a better skeptic.

Guy
Guy

Please explain what the problem is with that statement. He isn't writing a thesis; it's just a blog post. He's not trying to prove the theory of climate change. His approach here is measured and reasonable, unlike yours.

Spuriousclaimsneverprevail
Spuriousclaimsneverprevail

There were no automobiles 12,500 years ago. There was no industrial pollution 12,500 years ago.  There was no freedom to dump whatever you want into the oceans 12,500 years ago. I'm not sure you understand the impact humans have on our planet... 

poot259
poot259

Well, Doug, if you say so, it must be true, after all, you're some guy no one knows, just talking on the internet like you have a clue. What's next, your renowned treatise on economics, or will it be something on the New World Order?

Guy
Guy

Volcanic CO2 emission is about 1/150th the amount of anthropogenic CO2 emission. It's nice that people can just go on the internet and make any claim they want. Rick Perry secretly keeps slaves...and he fathered one of their children!

Guy
Guy

Actually, CO2 emissions from volcanoes amount to 1/150 of human-related emissions. (grist.org)

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

First, nice exaggeration of %'s.  Secondly, are not the economist with liberal views in a minority?  So, people like the President, MUST be "wingnuts," for believing people like Paul Krugman, a minority "liberal economist." 

Now, do not water and ice, much like small dust particles, float?  Doesn't dust have a molecular weight heaver than air?

Damn you guys are slow! 

The correct argument would have been-  Kirk, the atmosphere has currents, and thus it will not allow for gasses to fully settle into layers of the gasses respective molecular masses.  In addition, there is this little known thing called absolute vapor pressure, which deviates the molecular mass of gasses.

See, water vapor SHOULD be the thing the goofs are screaming about.  Oh wait, corn sweats at night.  In doing so, it increases air water vapor saturation. (aka humidity) But, corn is used in the production of ethanol.  Wouldn't want to do any harm to that huge energy subsidy.  Billions from you and I, being transferred to millionaires, to produce something "green".

I try to make it easy for all ya, but apparently easy, is not easy enough.

I bet you all know how to make quality art, using a glass of piss, and a crucifix. at least you have that understanding.

Hey, I might have misspelled something. Now, hurry up with the school yard comeback

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

I said it "had an average molecular weight", not that it was is own "molecule". 

Atmospheric composition of dry air (by volume) =

Major composition : 78.1% Nitrogen (N2), 21% Oxygen (O2)

Minor composition is so minute that it has to be measured in parts per million (ppm): Argon - 9300Carbon Dioxide - 350Neon - 18 Helium - 5.25Methane - 1.7Krypton - 1.14 Hydrogen - 0.55

Chadhinson
Chadhinson

You can't prove it scientifically, but there's probably better than 50/50 chance that the size of my dumps are directly related to my girlfriend's menstrual cycle and the positioning of the moon. What? I'm not trying to prove a thesis. My approach is measured and reasonable.

RiteofPassage
RiteofPassage

Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch. Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us. Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches? Peasant 1: Burn them. Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches? Peasant 1: More witches. Peasant 2: Wood. Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn? Peasant 3: ...because they're made of... wood? Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood? Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her. Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone? Peasant 1: Oh yeah. Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water? Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw her into the pond! Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water? Peasant 1: Bread. Peasant 2: Apples. Peasant 3: Very small rocks. Peasant 1: Cider. Peasant 2: Gravy. Peasant 3: Cherries. Peasant 1: Mud. Peasant 2: Churches. Peasant 3: Lead! Lead! King Arthur: A Duck. Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically... Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood. Sir Bedevere: And therefore... Peasant 2: ...A witch! Classic...

Hencra2212
Hencra2212

Check out this guy's links.  He's not just a boneheaded conservative jerk, he's a paranoid menacing asshole.

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