Relief: Cooler front Tuesday; “Perfect” year for some MN farmers?

Close enough 99 in Eden Prairie and 98 at MSP Airport Monday

100F at Madison & Canby Monday afternoon

21 days at or above 90 degrees so far this summer

5 years since we’ve sweated through more 90 degree days

(27 days in 2007)

-Complete Listing of 90 degree days for Twin Cities since 1873

8 heat related deaths in Wisconsin since July 1st

Cool front easing into Minnesota Tuesday

Back to the 80s for high temps Tuesday through Thursday

91% of Minnesota’s corn & soybean crop rated “fair” “good” or “excellent” this week

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74″ average corn height in Minnesota on July 15th

50″ average corn height last year on about July 15th

61% of the USA in “drought” – a record high

$7.72 per bushel price of corn at close Monday – Daily change of +32.25 ( +4.36% )

5 weeks from Thursday- 2012 Minnesota State Fair begins!

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Close Enough: Temps tease 100 degrees in metro

Did we really need to hit 100 again “officially” at MSP?

Temps topped out at 100 degrees in western Minnesota at Madison & Canby late Monday. The mercury in the metro nudged 100 (99 officially) at Eden Prairie and came very close at MSP Airport with a high of 98. In fact 90+ degree heat dominated much of tha nation again Monday.

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Source: U of Illinois

We don’t typically hit 100 every year in the metro. Looking back at records since 1873, the mercury has touched 100 degrees 65 times in the metro. That’s about every 3 to 5 years on average…though the spacing and frequency of 100 degree days is very sporadic, so it’s hard to come up with a meaningful “average” number of years between 100 degree days.

Take a look at the frequency of 100 degree temps in the Twin Cities since 1980. Here’s a more complete listing dating back to 1873 from the MN Climate Working Group.

(Data is from July 6th)

A History of 100 Degrees in the Twin Cities

For the second time in a week, the mercury hit 100 degrees or higher at the Twin Cities International Airport. The last time there were two 100 degree maximum temperatures in the Twin Cities was 1988, when there were four.

July 1-6, 2012 will also finish the warmest first six days of July on record in the Twin Cities with a preliminary average of 87 degrees F, higher than the next closest average (July 1-6 1949) with 84.2 degrees F.

It’s been relatively uncommon to see the mercury reach 100 at the Twin Cities International Airport in recent years. Before 2011, the last time the maximum temperature was 100 degrees or more was on July 31, 2006 when the air temperature reached was 101 degrees. Looking back to 1873, the maximum temperature at the Twin Cities official measuring site has reached 100 or more on 64 occasions. The most was in 1936 with nine days. The last year with more than one 100 degree temperature was in 1988 with four.

Below is a table of all the dates since 1873 of days where the temperature was 100 or more at the official Twin Cities observing site.

Year Month Day Precip High Low Average

1980 7 11 0.3 100 72 86

1982 7 5 0 100 78 89

1985 6 8 0 102 64 83

1988 6 24 0 101 70 86

1988 7 15 0.06 102 79 91

1988 7 31 0 105 72 89

1988 8 1 0 101 74 88

1990 7 3 0 100 72 86

1995 7 13 0 101 75 88

2006 7 31 0.09 101 80 91

2011 6 7 0 103 78 91

2012 7 4 0 101 81 91

2012 7 6 0 102 78 90*

*as of 5pm July 6

Here the history of 90 degree days in the Twin Cities. With 21 in the books so far as of Monday, we’ve now sweated through the most 90 degree days in the metro in 5 years, since we logged 27 days in 2007.

Twin Cities Days with Maximum Temperature Greater than or Equal to 90 degrees F (Going back to 1988 which holds the record of 44 days)

Year # days at or above 90F

1988 44

1989 12

1990 4

1991 12

1992 3

1993 0 (Mt. Pinatubo?)

1994 4

1995 18

1996 8

1997 5

1998 7

1999 18

2000 6

2001 20

2002 18

2003 14

2004 4

2005 24

2006 20

2007 27

2008 6

2009 6

2010 17

2011 17

2012 21 (through July 16th)

A little perspective: Is all this extreme heat caused by climate change?

I’m asked everywhere I go these days if out non-winter and extreme summer is caused by “climate change.” The simple is answer is probably “yes.”

I’ve used the analogy before of a baseball player on steroids. You can’t say any one home run was caused by taking steroids, but the player’s overall “enhanced base state” makes him more likely to hit home runs, and to hit more of them in a season.

Here’s a great animation of this analogy from NOAA/UCAR.

ABC’s Bill Blakemore also has a great piece on easy ways to explain why climate change is having an impact on the increased “frequency and intensity” of heat waves and extreme weather.

You hear phrases like “loading the dice” in favor of warmer weather extremes. That analogy came from NOAA’s James Hansen in 1988 when he used to “loaded dice” to testify before congress. His words from 1988 are simply prophetic given today’s observed trends.

Here’s a good explanation from an interview with the NYT’s Andrew Revkin.

Relief Ahead:

Tuesday’s cold front will bring some relief to Minnesota for most of this week.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

It’s not a strong front by any means, but the cooler northeast breezes should be enough to hold high temps in the upper 80s this week, and keep dew points down around 60 in the south, with comfy 50s dew points up north.

There will be a slight chance for a few cooling T-Storms as the front lingers Tuesday into mid-week.

Temps may nudge 90 again by Friday…and push well into the 90s next weekend.

I don’t know about you…but I’m now looking forward to that first strong cool front in late August that usually blows in during the State Fair with fresh northwest breezes, whitecaps on once again blue lakes and temps in the 70s. Ahhhh.

Minnesota Farmers 2012: The “Perfect Storm” for many?

Let me first say that I know there is still some drought (and significant crop stress) in parts of Minnesota, especially northwest and in the south. Check out the latest Drought Monitor.

That said, this is looking like a great year for many Minnesota farmers as we head into late July.

Monday’s Minnesota Crop Report shows that 91% of Minnesota corn & soybeans are rated in fair (24%), good (56%) or excellent (11%) condition.

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Source: MN Crop Report/USDA

Heat and abundant rainfall in most of “the middle” of Minnesota has promoted crop growth that is way ahead of 2011.

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Source: MN Crop Report/USDA

Looking at the latest maps two weeks out, it looks like most of Minnesota’s crop regions will see enough rainfall (1″+ in many areas) and some temperature relief that most of the crops may mature nicely.

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Source: NOAA/HPC

That should mean a strong crop for many (but not all) Minnesota farmers, especially in the fertile regions between Rochester, Mankato, Willmar, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. These areas have fared the best for timely summer rainfall this year.

When you combine a good Minnesota crop with the deepening drought and resulting lower yields in the southern Midwest “vowel states” of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio…and then throw in record crop prices… it’s going to mean bank for those Minnesota farmers that can bring a good crop to market this fall.

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How are crops doing in your areas in Minnesota? Is this a good year for you and your neighbors? Or are crops still stressed in your area? What will the next two weeks mean?


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