Well, we didn’t set too many records last night but it was very close in most locations. Here in Wausau the low was 34, just 2 degrees away from the record. In Wisconsin Rapids the record low was tied when the mercury dipped to 31 this morning. In Stevens Point the low temperature was 32 which was 1 degree away from the record. The coldest temps in the state were in the far north. Eagle River experienced a low temp of 28, Ashland had 27, and Land O’ Lakes went all the way down to 25.
It looks like the threat of frost is over for a while and hopefully for the rest of the growing season. Really, once we get into June, frost is quite rare outside of the cranberry bogs. We will experience a gradual warming trend for the rest of the week with high temps in the mid to upper 60s today and tomorrow, and near 70 on Friday. High temps should reach the low to mid 70s over the weekend. Rain will be the next concern as we head through the next few days. It looks like the highest chance of rain and thunderstorms will occur from Thursday evening through Friday morning. Computer model projections indicate a couple inches of rain is possible in the southern half of the area while a half inch or less will fall in the northland. The chance of rain is 50% in the north and 80% in the south. By Friday afternoon the rain and thunderstorm activity should diminish but there will be enough moisture in the atmosphere for a slight chance of thunderstorms to continue Friday evening and again Saturday afternoon. With dry conditions expected on Sunday, the weekend should turn out pretty nice.
A few new items have crossed the wire recently about AGW but only one of them will add to the "big list" of bad things that happened or will happen because of AGW. Chesapeake Bay will see dramatic loss of shoreline, beaches, and habitat because rising ocean levels due to AGW. Also, the ocean is becoming more acidic and will cause great loss of sea life. Both of these are already on the list. The new one is Caribou populations will decline because they will have less nutritious vegetation to eat. So here is the update list:
Caribou populations will decline, 1 in 8 bird species could go extinct, eucalyptus leaves will become less nutritious and Koala bears will die, the 2008 tropical storm disaster in Myanmar, Tropical bugs will not reproduce, toxic chemicals will pour out of glaciers, Narwhals will go extinct, more deadly algae blooms, more poverty, a massive increase in volcanic activity, new disease outbreaks from previously frozen corpses, irreversibly alter water circulation in Lake Tahoe, dramatically decreased rice production, fewer flowers in the Rocky Mountains, the Butterfly fish will starve, transportation system will be ruined, air pollution related deaths will increase, tropical fish could go deaf, more “ocean deserts”, more tundra wildfires, collapsing oceanic food webs, sharks devastating Antarctic sea life, the drying up of Lake Mead by 2021, plant-devouring insect invasions, poor food quality, increased human mortality, more solastalgia/mental illness, more wars, the past 1993 conflict in Somalia, more intense heat waves, more heat deaths, polar bears starving, Isle Royale Moose dying, Walruses dying, Penguins starving (including King penguins), Australian bats dying, more hurricanes, less hurricanes, more intense and bigger hurricanes, more stormy weather, rising oceans, more acidic oceans, California wildfires, more droughts, more floods, future disastrous declines in food production, coral reefs (hard and soft) dying, enormous extinctions of plant and animal species, massive loss of fish in the Bering Sea, the earth literally being torn apart, Amazon deforestation, a bigger ozone hole, a smaller ozone whole, less fresh water, more obesity, more hunger, more asthma, more allergies, more infectious disease, …more to come
I am surprised we haven’t heard the record pace of tornadoes being blamed on AGW. I hope the tornado season quiets down before we see any hear in our area. The most recent deadly tornado in Parkersburg Iowa is now being rated as an EF5, the strongest rating in the Fugita scale. Here is a good article on the record pace of tornadoes this year. In the article you will also find a link to some Team Tornado videos which are pretty dramatic. The record number of tornadoes occurred in 2004 when there were 1,817.
With all the hype about AGW, it is good to see many people coming up with new energy solutions. I have been talking about electric cars as the way to go for some time now and it looks like the big car manufacturers are betting on this as well. GM is working on the Chevy Volt, while Toyota is building a new plant to produce the batteries needed for electric cars and hybrids. Toyota is also working on a dual mode vehicle, basically a half train – half bus vehicle. I have seen maintenance vehicles here in the U.S. with combined rail and road capability, but this takes it a step further. According to the article, this vehicle will use one fourth the amount diesel fuel that a regular bus would.
Another bit of good news is that a cellulosic ethanol plant is being built in Louisiana. The plant will make ethanol out of organic waste from sugar cane farms. While corn-based ethanol is a tough sell and doesn’t have a bright future, cellulosic ethanol could survive even in a fully developed electric economy because it uses cheap waste material in order to create fuel.
Speaking of an all electric economy, at least one influential German politician – Hermann Scheer – says it will be easy. (Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to read the entire article). Another thing he proclaimed is that the Kyoto accord is worthless. This is something I have been saying for years. Taxing fossil fuel usage and creating a worldwide economic recession or depression is a dumb move if you want to see new energy technology develop. Fossil fuel usage is a fact of life and it is responsible for our high quality of life. We can’t turn back the clock. We need to leverage our fossil fuel past into a new alternative energy future. Onerous climate regulation will only delay progress.
More pictures from Mars. I am amazed by the clean "sparkly" appearance of the Phoenix spacecraft in this image. I wonder if the camera is better than the cameras on the Rovers or if it is so clean because it just landed and Martian dust hasn’t had time to build up yet. Here is another JPL page with some of the Phoenix photographs from the MRO. Wired also has a nice page with photos.
Here is something interesting: Jupiter’s giant red spot is changing. Two other red spots (storms) are developing near the giant red spot and might take its place, or the spots might temporarily disappear. This would be quite a change since the giant red spot has been visible for 300 years. It is one of the most permanent atmospheric phenomena in the solar system. It really makes you think about how long humans have been peering out into space and recording all we see. The giant red spot has always been there, now it might shrink or disappear.
Speaking of permanence, The Bigelow Aerospace habitat Genesis 1 has now logged 10,000 orbits around the earth. A good sign for those of you hoping for private space tourism in the near future.
Meteorologist Justin Loew.
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This post was written by jloew on May 28, 2008