Today’s weather forecast

Enjoy this.

Susan Hassol and Michael Mann say, “Enjoy the weather. Worry about the climate.”. No. I refuse to enjoy this weather. “Warm” in Minnesota means hovering around freezing, and we’ve got deep piles of snow everywhere, and another storm on the way that’ll dump more snow on us. I’m not looking forward to what other parts of the country call “Spring,” because for us it’ll be the time everything melts producing seas of mud and slush, with sheets of ice lurking underneath. There’s nothing enjoyable about this season.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better is my feeling.

This week sees a “meteorological battleground” setting up across the continental U.S., pitting a massive winter storm from the West against far-too-early Spring heat in the East. This major winter storm is dumping heavy snow and ice across the northern U.S. from the West Coast to the Northeast. Widespread very strong, gusty winds are expected across the West and High Plains while heavy rain with the potential for flash floods and severe weather are predicted for the Midwest and Plains. Meanwhile, historic heat is building across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states, with record-breaking February temperatures soaring into the 80s. Almost the entire country is experiencing some form of extreme weather this week.

It’s miserable here in the upper Midwest, so don’t try to tell me to enjoy the weather, which has been nothing but bad news all winter long. Maybe there’s good news about the climate?

The good news is that clean energy and other climate solutions are abundant and available. Although there is much work that remains to be done, recent U.S. legislation makes it increasingly profitable to tap into natural flows of renewable energy, such as from the sun and the wind, and to use that clean electricity to power our buildings, transportation and more. We do not have to simply accept an ever-worsening torrent of tempestuous weather. We can act with urgency to rein in the climate emergency and remake our civilization into one that respects the gift of a stable climate we inherited — one that we can pass on to our children.

What, that’s the good news? We can hope that the US government acts with urgency to switch to clean renewable energy sources? Right. Or we can pray that a host of fairies shows up with magic wands that will make everything all better.

I’m sorry, I’m a pessimist.


  1. robro says

    Is the “storm on the way that’ll dump more snow on us” the one dumping rain on us right now in coastal California? It’s really pouring at the moment (and has been for at least an hour). And, no, the old man ain’t snoring. Guess it could be the one that dumped on us on Saturday/Sunday.

    Not to worry you, but it looks like there’s another storm heading in the from the Pacific for the coming weekend. Another soggy Sunday farmer’s market.

    The word from NOAA is that the La Nina that’s been affecting drying out California weather the last couple of years has broken down. So, less concern about drought this year. Perhaps less concern about fire…this year.

  2. Erp says

    Between the rain and springing forward in time, I just want to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. At least I have that option; as usual poorer people suffer the most with a Pajaro river levee failing and flooding an area where many migrant farmworkers live and/or work (and fields flooded mean no work and no pay).

  3. René says

    I think PZ’s lattitude is more or less the same as Madrid, Spain. I’ve always felt some Schadenfreude about it. That may come to an end when the Atlantic Gulfstream shuts down — which may well happen in my lifetime. So, yes, I’m also VERY pessimistic realistic.

  4. René says

    @6. As a European who cannot live with just ASCII, I hate it when people are too lazy to get our characters right. And it is so very simple: type el nino, feed it into wikipedia, double click and shift-click. Et voilà:

    El niño

  5. wzrd1 says

    In S. central PA, we’re getting gale force gusts.
    Maybe I should build a kite, I’d likely get carried off and see my grandkids two hours away! ;)
    Naw, I’d end up stuck up a in a tree, after breaking the trunk with my face.
    Auntie Em, auntie Em, I promise I won’t do LSD again! There’s no place like home.

    Oh well, dinner planning will be easy tonight. Made a gallon of pasta sauce yesterday, froze most of it, but some leftover from dinner yesterday will make for an easy dinner tonight, alongside some left over Italian green beans.

  6. Dennis K says

    @7 – As usual, never let pass as opportunity to derail a message with anal retentiveness. I quoted Hansen’s spelling from his paper.

  7. René says

    @9: You’re familiar with quote marks? And the word verbatim? Yoe could have used those.

  8. Steve Morrison says

    Part of the reason Minnesota weather is so extreme is that we’re located near the middle of the continent, so we don’t get the moderating influence of the oceans.

  9. Tethys says

    I’m thoroughly tired of winter weather, though this winter has been fairly normal by MN standards. (Long, cold, snowy) The increasing daylight and todays sunshine are very welcome.

    Meanwhile, human activity is causing ever increasing sargassum blooms in the Atlantic which creates problems when it swamps beaches in and around the Gulf of Mexico.

    Vast fields of sargassum, a brown seaweed, have bloomed in the Atlantic Ocean. Fed by human activity such as intensive soya farming in the Congo, the Amazon and the Mississippi, which dumps nitrogen and phosphorus into the ocean, the sargassum explosion is by far the biggest seaweed bloom on the planet. The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, as it’s known, is visible from space, stretching like a sea monster across the ocean, with its nose in the Gulf of Mexico and its tail in the mouth of the Congo.

  10. magistramarla says

    robro @ #3
    I’m just down the coast from you in Monterey. We’re tired of all this rain and wind, too.
    One of my husband’s co-workers just reported that a huge pine tree just fell and split her house in half.
    She lives in the fancy area near Pebble Beach. The people in Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Carmel and any of the forested highlands around here are dealing with long power outages and falling trees.
    We were lucky to buy a home near the airport and fairgrounds in Monterey. It’s definitely not forested, is high enough up the hill to be out of the tsunami zone, and we’re convinced that we have very robust utilities because we’re on the same line as the airport.
    Just to be extra careful, we’ve installed solar panels and a battery.
    When the electricity flickered, we heard our battery system switch on. Since our electronics are all connected to UPS, there wasn’t even a blip on our TV or computers.
    It’s been very interesting to watch while we sit comfortably in our snug home. And yet, there are conservatives around here who scream about the unfeasability of solar power.
    I hope that you aren’t too soggy up there in SF.

  11. springa73 says

    I also don’t like the early part of spring, with its melting snow and mud. I do really like the later part of spring with everything greening up as the ground dries out. Unfortunately, here in Massachusetts that lasts about two weeks before the heat and humidity of summer set in, and that is only getting worse as the overall climate gets warmer.

  12. wzrd1 says

    magistramarla, what’s the battery longevity on the batteries on the system? Last time I looked, they were lasting at a reliable level for around 5 years, but I’m hoping that more current models are lasting longer.

  13. magistramarla says

    Because we are both over 65, we decided to lease instead of own the solar panels.
    With the 20 year lease, SunRun provided the battery, and will replace it twice during the lease agreement.
    Since we will both be over 85 by the time the lease agreement ends, we’re not very worried about it.
    Considering the expense of those batteries, it’s a good deal.

  14. wzrd1 says

    Indeed! Those batteries used to have around a 5 year life, they bumped to 7 when I lost track, but it sounds like a solid decade before they replace them before failure.
    Given the mild geomagnetic storm we’ve just had and my need to reboot the TV and computer, I’ll likely be getting an online UPS for both. This area seems rife with ground currents that do interesting things during such storms, crashing equipment and spiking the power. As I’m in an apartment, installing solar just isn’t going to happen.

  15. Kagehi says

    One of the tech guys one Youtube did a vid on why he “isn’t” encouraging people to run out and solar panel their houses – in a nutshell, while it may be theoretically good for the environment, “power storage” is not part of the solution, and almost all deals for subsidizing the panels and providing power back to the grid is explicitly staged in such a manner that the times you get money “back” from the grid is when you most need the power, so are not providing it, and the highest “return” from supposedly selling your own power back to the grid is… at night, when you are never going to be producing any. This means that its not such a great thing, unless you already have the money to install it, because everyone is, weirdly, trying to penalize you for using it, instead of you making the money back by having it.

  16. Kagehi says

    Not to say its not still a necessary long term goal, just.. as usual, the big companies are all trying to screw you over for having it.

  17. wzrd1 says

    Kagehi, solar is fine, but overlooked the most is the environmental havoc played in both making the cells themselves, the electronics to drive the charger and transfer unit and making and disposing of the batteries.
    It’s more than simply silicon, it’s the chemical superpurification, then dopant purification, then etching (oh boy, are those chemicals nasty!), similar true for the metals utilized in the batteries, then disposal, especially landfill disposal adds to the entire hot mess. Worse, I’ve not even gone into the contributions from fossil fuel usage in each stage of manufacturing.
    All needs to be factored in. Then, once balances power reliability, energy needs, etc into deciding whether or not to implement solar or wind energy. Sell back to grid is, frankly, bullshit, as the US energy grid has little to no provision for it, so it’s all pen and paper, credits are issued and the excess energy literally countered, rather than distributed.

  18. StevoR says

    @3. robro : “The word from NOAA is that the La Nina that’s been affecting drying out California weather the last couple of years has broken down. So, less concern about drought this year. Perhaps less concern about fire…this year.””

    For you in the USA sure. For those of us in Oz, not -so-much. The opposite actually El Nino means heightened risk of deadly bushifres and heatwaves and drought here. I’m dreading it. Another in a series of ever angrier Summers?

  19. StevoR says

    ^ Also :

    Plus :

    Note the bit where it says “Bushfire seasons started much earlier, lasted longer, and burned in areas that would not be expected to burn, despite there not being an El Niño event. “

    So. If this is what we get in a La Nina then how bad will an El Nino be given Global Overheating exacerbating it?

    As well as :

    I used to love Summers once. Now I’ve come to really fear them. Of course it sucks extra when you work outside.