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Second Annual Climate Adaptation Conference

Some snow this week:

Some snowfall accumulated across central portions of the state on Thursday, November 6th, the first widespread accumulation of the season so far. Many areas of Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin, and Pine Counties reported 1 to 2 inches of snow. The largest reported amount was near Malmo in Aitkin County where 2.4 inches of snow fell. This snowfall is a precursor to another more significant snowfall that is expected statewide over this coming Sunday through Tuesday.

Report on Second Annual Climate Adaptation Conference:

Highlights include:
-Climate trends are clearly showing greater variability in some severe weather elements, including heavier rains, cluster outbreaks of tornadoes, more large hail, and seasonal changes in peak risk periods for hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Peak season for heavy rainfall has shifted to August in our region.
-More research with reanalysis of upper air data and high resolution climate model outputs will be useful in further delineating the future risk of specific severe weather elements over finer scale geography.
-Climate trends are effecting recreation and tourism in terms of number of visitors and seasonal use and activity, e.g. northern MN more stable environment for winter recreation (skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing); Mississippi River accessibility for educational programs has recently been restricted due to many high flow periods.
-The American Society of Adaptation Professional (ASAP) is an organization designed to foster a community of climate change adaptation practitioners.
-Through this organization and others it is evident that community organizations and local units of government will lead us into the future with successful examples of climate adaptation strategies that may be more effective than legislated federal incentives…at least in the short term, though nearly all units of our federal government have been instructed to develop climate adaptation plans at the highest level.
-The Climate Adaptation Partnership gave the first-ever awards for outstanding leadership in Minnesota climate adaptation education and practice to the following:
Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light which has mobilized the faith community on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoted practical methods to improve environmental stewardship.
Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science which helped landowners adapt better practices to cope with a changing climate, especially MN forested landscapes.
Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District which has promoted climate adaptation practices related to tillage, cover crops, and soil health, helping to mitigate erosion and nutrient runoff episodes.
Paul Douglas, founder of Media Logic Group who has done outstanding work with all media to promote climate change awareness and approaches to adaptation, better stewardship, and mitigation.

Weekly Weather potpourri:

NOAA- National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) now offers an online tool to examine the geographic distribution of major snow storms.  This can be done to look at the entire country or specific regions, and you can zoom in or zoom out for specific locations. 

NOAA released a report on Antarctica sea ice this week utilizing not only the modern era satellite measurement records but also going all the way back to the Nimbus satellite imagery of the mid 1960s. The report shows the waxing and waning of the sea ice extent and that 2014 only just surpassed the level of sea ice detected there back in 1964.

A Community on Ecosystems Services (ACES) will host a conference titled "Linking Science, Practice, and Decision Making" in Washington, D.C. over December 8-11, 2014.  Many speakers will address topics related to valuing and integrating ecosystem services into public and private policy decisions.

The Meteo France reported this week that heavy rains have caused flooding across parts of France and devastated many vineyards in southern parts of the country. In some areas the grape harvest will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent. Nice, France reported rain on November 4th of over 6 inches, their 2nd highest daily amount in history. Many rivers overflowed, some landslides reported, and up to 10,000 residents were left without electricity.

Remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri in the Northern Pacific Ocean will merge with another low pressure system as it approaches the Bering Sea later this week and begins to affect the Gulf of Alaska area with strong winds, high seas, and intense rainfall. Who knows where this storm will go next week as it approaches North America but it may bring some significant weather, including snow and/or a polar air mass to our region.

The IPCC 5th Assessment Synthesis Report for Policymakers was released earlier this month and is available to download (40 pages).

MPR listener question:

You have often mentioned that November is the month with the most cloud cover in Minnesota. Does that also lead to a smaller difference between daytime  and nighttime temperatures?


Good question. Indeed this is the case. There are more days with cloud cover during November than any other month of the year. This condition tends to reduce heating of the air near the ground during the day and also prevents too much heat loss at night. The daily range of temperature, called diurnal fluctuation by climatologists, is from 20 to 30 F degrees much of the year in Minnesota. But in November it is typically only 14 to 16 degrees F. This is due primarily to increased cloud cover, but it is also due to the combined effects of shorter day length, declining sun angle, increased atmospheric humidity, and generally greater wind speeds (keeping the air mixed). November is the second windiest month of the year, trailing only April for most Minnesota counties.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 7th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 30 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 7th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 72 degrees F in 1874; lowest daily maximum temperature of 15 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily minimum temperature is -6 degrees F in 1991; highest daily minimum temperature of 51 F in 1874; record precipitation of 1.67 inches in 1915; and record snowfall is 4.2 inches in 1947.

Average dew point for November 7th is 30 degrees F, with a maximum of 62 degrees F in 1915 and a minimum of -10 degrees F in 1991.

All-time state records for November 7th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 78 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1931. The state record low temperature for this date is -23 degrees F at Wild River State Park (Chisago County) in 1991. State record precipitation for this date is 2.30 inches at Garrison (Crow Wing County) in 1991; and the state record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1943 and at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1947.

Words of the Week: Sierra, Tango, and Zulu:

These are the code words used in AIRMETs (acronym for "AIRman's METeorological information, including statements and advisories) routinely issued by the Aviation Weather Center and the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit and Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Sierra refers to a message about IFR (instrument flight rules) weather or mountain obscuration. Tango refers to a message about turbulence, strong surface winds, and windshear. Zulu refers to a message about icing and freezing levels in the atmosphere. All of these messages are of critical importance to pilots and updated every six hours, or more frequently if needed.

Past Weather Features:

A short-live return to summer-like conditions over November 7-8, 1931 produced dozens of daily maximum temperature records around the state. Over 30 communities reported daytime highs of 70 degrees F or greater, under bright, sunny skies.  Temperatures fell off into the 30s and 40s F by mid-month.

A large winter storm brought mixed precipitation and a good deal of snow to the state over November 6-9, 1943. Rain, sleet, glaze, and snow were reported around the state, bringing down power lines in northern Minnesota. Many parts of central and northern Minnesota reported 10 to 25 inches of snowfall, with drifts up to 15 feet in depth blocking roads in western counties. Hundreds of autos were abandoned on roads and trains were delayed for up to 48 hours. The locomotive of a train stranded near Windom was completed encased in a snow drift. High waves on Lake Superior caused some erosion damage, but most ships were safely anchored in Duluth Harbor. Farmers reported some loss of livestock and turkeys.

Perhaps the coldest November 7th in state history occurred in 1991. Nearly every observer in the state reported a morning low temperature that was below 0 degrees F, with some ranging from -10 to -20 F. This was the week following the famous Halloween Blizzard so there was ample snow on the ground as well.

November 5-7, 2000 saw a slow moving low pressure system cross the state and bring a great deal of rainfall to many counties.  Most observers reported 1-2 inches of rain. Twenty-seven communities reported over 2 inches of rainfall, with St Francis reporting 3.37 inches a record amount for November.


Cooler than normal temperature trend will be dominant for the weekend, with a good deal of wind on Saturday.  Chance of snow late Sunday and into Monday and Tuesday, then continued cold and dry much of next week.  Some possible single digit lows in northern counties.

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