Before getting into other discussions in the weather blog, how about some weather? The most important thing to know is that there is a heat advisory in effect for the far southern part of the viewing area from noon to 8pm. The counties included in the advisory are Juneau, Monroe, Adams, and Jackson. It is in these areas that the heat index could rise above 100. Highs will be in the 90s across the area so be careful to not over-exert yourself outside. Drink plenty of water and find some shade or air conditioning. It will be quite warm again tomorrow – in the upper 80s but then big changes are on the way later this week. If you don’t like the heat, then just wait until Thursday. From Thursday through Saturday, high temps will likely only reach the mid to upper 60s. An additional note: the record high in Wausau today is 91 set back in the drought year of 1988. I am forecasting a high of 93.
The heat over the weekend, yesterday, today, and tomorrow is putting a dent in the remaining snow on Rib Mountain. We are getting closer to the end of the snwomelt contest. I will be heading up there today to get a new picture of the snow that remains. Stay tuned to the blog or the snowmelt update story for pictures and details in the next 24 hours.
The heat has also brought talk of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) to the forefront. In particular, a recent Stanford study suggests that we should get used to hot Summers for years to come. If current AGW is substantially correct and if nothing changes in our fossil fuel usage over the next few decades (unlikely) then between 20 and 60 years from now, our Summers will routinely be warmer than the average over the last 50 years. For our area, this would likely mean many more 90 degree days each Summer. During a dry year, 100 would be more common. We have had some very hot Summers in years past in Northcentral Wisconsin, some with multiple 100 degree days, but they are not too common. If they become more common in the near future then it adds weight to the AGW theory. The Stanford study also makes the claim that the changes would be irreversible, which is a very bold claim, considering that according to AGW theory we have engineered a warmer climate. We can certainly engineer a cooler climate if we put our minds to it. I am not saying it would be easy, but we will have much more advanced technology to help modulate our effect on the environment within 20 to 60 years. As you know, many are predicting the end of the “human age”by 2030. If so, then it would also be likely that we can significantly reduce our impact on the environment and/or engineer a favorable climate.
A few other recent articles highlighting potential trouble from AGW:
Record world-wide carbon emissions were recorded last year. Thankfully, here in the U.S. we have been good at reducing our emissions, and are not the main contributing factor for setting the new record. Keep up the good work everyone. Less fossil fuel usage means a cleaner environment.
AGW could make it harder to grow fruits and nuts in many parts of the world.
The warmer Pacific is leading to faster melting of the west Antarctic ice sheet.
Ocean acidification (due to fossil fuel usage) could destroy the Great Barrier Reef in 10 years.
Sounds like a lot of doom and gloom. I could add many of these to the “Big List of Bad Things” (things blamed on AGW) if I was still officially tracking the various predictions. Thankfully there are a lot of good things going on as well. I will list some of those developments in the blog later this week.
Have a good Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.