Gusty wet Tuesday; Pagami Fire soaker; Arctic Sea ice minimum

30+ mph gusts today in much of Minnesota

.95″ NAM model output rainfall for Ely & Pagami Creek Fire

.22″ NAM output for MSP

75 degrees – high temp Monday at MSP

50s by Wednesday!

60s return for the weekend.

Cold front!

A cold front is slicing through Minnesota today. Look for bands of showers, gusty winds and scattered rainfall.

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More rain north:

The heaviest, steadiest rain will fall in the northern half of Minnesota. Model output is running around an inch for the Ely area…including the Pagami Creek Fire zone.

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This will be a welcome rain to help douse the fire, and may be a turning point in the overall battle for firefighters.

Gusty winds too:

Wind advisories and high wind warnings have been pared back a bit and shifted west today, but gusty winds will still be the rule in Minnesota. The cold front will drop temps by about 20 degrees Wednesday compared to Monday’s balmy highs in the mid 70s to near 80 degrees.

Arctic Sea Ice near record lows in 2011:

Satellite measurements indicate that ice cover in the Arctic Ocean came very close to an all time record low in 2011. The ice melt peaked on September 9th, and ice cover is gradually growing again as we head toward the winter freeze up.

The details form the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

September 15, 2011

Arctic sea ice at minimum extent

“Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its lowest extent for the year. The minimum ice extent was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007, and continues the decadal trend of rapidly decreasing summer sea ice.

(Please note that this is a preliminary announcement. Changing winds could still push ice floes together, reducing ice extent further. NSIDC scientists will release a full analysis of the melt season in early October, once monthly data are available for September.)

Overview of conditions

On September 9, 2011 sea ice extent dropped to 4.33 million square kilometers (1.67 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year, and may mark the point when sea ice begins its cold-season cycle of growth. However, a shift in wind patterns or late season melt could still push the ice extent lower.

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This year’s minimum was 160,000 square kilometers (61,800 square miles) above the 2007 record minimum extent, and 2.38 million square kilometers (919,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum. Note that our estimated uncertainty for extent is plus or minus 50,000 square kilometers (about 20,000 square miles). The minimum ice extent this year is very close to 2007, and indeed some other research groups place 2011 as the lowest on record. At this point, using our processing and sensor series, the 2011 minimum is a close second.

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Conditions in context

The last five years (2007 to 2011) have been the five lowest extents in the continuous satellite record, which extends back to 1979. While the record low year of 2007 was marked by a combination of weather conditions that favored ice loss (including clearer skies, favorable wind patterns, and warm temperatures), this year has shown more typical weather patterns but continued warmth over the Arctic. This supports the idea that the Arctic sea ice cover is continuing to thin. Models and remote sensing data also indicate this is the case. A large area of low concentration ice in the East Siberian Sea, visible in NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery, suggests that the ice cover this year is particularly thin and dispersed this year.”

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