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National Adaptation Forum in St Paul

National Adaptation Forum in St Paul:

The St Paul River Center hosted the National Adaptation Forum this week, with well over 1000 people from 49 states attending. There were many panel discussions and presentations about climate adaptation related to transportation, energy, water, agriculture, public health, natural resource management, architecture, and extreme weather, as well as city and rural infrastructure. It was my privilege to give out awards for outstanding examples of leadership in climate adaptation advocacy and practice: Among our Minnesota award winners were:

Dr. Olivia LeDee, from the DNR-Fish and Wildlife Division
University of Minnesota-Morris Sustainability Office for institutional leadership
Climate Generation for their work in greater Minnesota in finding and showcasing community solutions
Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate for being proactive about the health risks of climate change and educating health care providers
Murphy Warehouse for moving towards renewable energy resources and encouraging sustainable behaviors from their employees and clients

Paul Douglas and I also co-chaired a session on "faith-based" climate adaptation which was well received and emphasized how common stewardship of our resources and care of each other is a common covenant across all religions.

Fishing Opener:

The Governor's Fishing Opener scheduled for this Saturday in the Greater St Cloud area looks to have perfect weather conditions with a morning low in the upper 40s F and afternoon highs in the 70s under bright sunshine and with very light winds. In fact most of the state should see pleasant weather for fishing. This will probably be one of the most pleasant Fishing Openers in history, which dates back to 1948. You can read more about Fishing Opener weather history at the DNR-State Climatology Office.

Rapid Progress in Planting:

The USDA reported that as of May 7th Minnesota farmers had planted over a third of the corn acreage in this state, and some of the soybean acreage. Since that time, we have recorded a string of warm, sunny days that have dramatically accelerated the pace of planting around the state. Since May 7th, temperatures have been averaging 3 to 6 degrees F warmer than normal, precipitation has been relatively light and farmers have been putting in 12 to 16 hour work days. I suspect by next week over two-thirds of the corn crop will be planted and a significant fraction of soybeans will be in the ground as well. Soil temperatures are now ranging in the 50s and 60s F, suitable for rapid germination of both corn and soybean crops.

Anniversary for Balloon Measurement of the Atmosphere:

This past Tuesday (May 9th) marked the 155th anniversary of the famous balloon ascents of British scientists James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell. They made 18 ascents in a gas filled balloon, the first of which was on May 9, 1862. They were the first to carry meteorological instruments aloft to make measurements of the character of the atmosphere. They established that nocturnal inversions were common and that lapse rate (change in temperature with altitude) can vary dramatically. They read their instruments on night ascents by wearing miner's lamps (the balloon was filled with highly combustible hydrogen!). In one famous ascent to an altitude of 30,000 ft, Glaisher lost consciousness and Coxwell, who was groggy and had numb, frozen hands, still found a way to pull the valve-cord hard enough with his teeth so that enough gas was released to allow them to descend back to Earth.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

I just returned from a trip to Nova Scotia with my wife Cindy last weekend. While visiting there we toured Cape Breton, known for its beautiful scenery. We learned that the native (or First Nation) Canadians called Cape Breton "Unama'ki" which means Land of Fog. It was foggy everyday there, lesson learned. Best time to visit is June to October.

NOAA and Environment Canada offered a summary of the recent floods across portions of Ontario and Quebec this week. Some areas have had twice normal spring precipitation so far this year.

The US Geological Survey reported this week that 39 glaciers in Montana have shrunk dramatically since 1966, by an average of 39 percent, and individually by as much as as 85 percent. Many of the glaciers studied are in Glacier National Park.

MPR listener question:

We have received over 2 inches of rain so far this month here in Pipestone County, so our planting season has been somewhat delayed. What are some of the record amounts for rainfall during the month of May in southwestern Minnesota?


Monthly record rainfall values in southwestern Minnesota communities include 8.05 inches at Marshall and 11.06 inches at Pipestone om May of 2012. Worthington received 10.92 inches of rain during May of 1903. Single day rainfall records in southwestern Minnesota include 4.23 inches at Pipestone (May 25, 1953) and 6.03 inches at Marshall (May 15, 1986). And of course these events brought flash flooding. I might add that it looks like this May will be wetter than normal the rest of the way, but not record-setting values.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 12th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 68 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 48 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 12th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1900 and 1961; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily minimum temperature of 28 degrees F in 1946; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 F in 1887, 1896, and 1944; record precipitation of 1.52 inches in 1906. Record snowfall on this date is 0.2 inches in 1946.

Average dew point for May 12th 21st is 40°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 67°F in 1983; and the minimum dew point on this date is 10°F in 1989.

All-time state records for May 12th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 98 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1900; the all-time state low for today's date is 11 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1946. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 4.48 inches at Warroad (Roseau County) in 2004. The all-time state record snowfall for this date is 2.5 inches at Babbitt (St Louis County) in 1953.

Past Weather Features:

On May 12, 1895 north shore locations along Lake Superior were receiving 1 to 2 inches of snow.

The warmest May 12 in state history was in 1900 when over 30 climate stations reported an afternoon high temperature of 90 degrees F or higher.

Morning low of 26 degrees F, afternoon high of 96 degrees F, where else but Minnesota. That was on the Morris climate observer's report on May 12, 1922.

The coldest May 12 in state history was in 1946. Morning lows across northern Minnesota were in the teens F, while most of the rest of the state saw temperatures in the 20s F. Only Winona escaped frost that morning.

A strong low pressure system brought very heavy rains to northern Minnesota over May 11-12, 2004. Many areas received over 2 inches, while Roseau and Warroad received over 4 inches.


Sunny and warm over the weekend, with daytime highs well above normal. Increasing cloudiness on Monday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms. Chance for showers and thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Cooler by Thursday and Friday.
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