Perpetual dusk now; later sunsets begin in 10 days

Perpetual dusk

In the Twilight Zone episode, The Midnight Sunearth’s orbital path has shifted. The earth is racing toward the sun, and the planet is burning up.

It turns out to be a nightmare of course. At the end of the episode, we find out the earth is actually moving away from the sun and plunging into a dark, perpetual deep-freeze. Rod Serling was way ahead of his time. The Midnight Sun explores the concept of a radical climate shift caused by a major change in earth’s orbit.

Longer daylight ahead

Our current Minnesota perpetual dusk comes from a combination of the shortest daylight and cloudiest period of the year in Minnesota. The sun sets in the Twin Cities at 4:31 pm from tomorrow through December 14th. It seems like it starts getting dark after lunchtime these days.

The good news for daylight lovers? A quirk in earth’s elliptical orbit produces later sunsets starting on December 15th even before the December solstice. And the days start getting ever so slightly longer in less than 3 weeks.

Graphic: timeanddate.com

So, we’re about to turn the astronomical corner that will eventually lead us toward longer daylight. And we’ll see more sunshine later this week.

Hang in there, Minnesota.

Numb and number

It’s chilly out there now, but Wednesday night’s Arctic front will get your attention. This will be the coldest air mass so far this season for Minnesota. Most of Minnesota will be below zero Friday morning. The Twin Cities urban heat island likely keeps us slightly above zero Friday morning. Deeps fresh snow cover in southern Minnesota may subtract a few degrees from the map below. -10 in southern Minnesota Friday morning? It could happen.

NOAA forecast lows Friday morning.

Plume-effect

Ever noticed a fat row of cumulus clouds downwind from a big smokestack? Industrial plumes can add moisture and condensation nuclei to the atmosphere. That can enhance clouds and even precipitation downwind. Check out the downwind plume visible from space emitting from the refinery in Rosemount Monday.

Milder next week

The upper air pattern still suggests we’re on track for milder Pacific air next week.

NOAA

Trends suggest 30s are likely. I think the model output below is about 5 degrees too conservative next week.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

Weather observers wanted 

Want to channel your inner weather geek? NWS is looking for volunteer observers. It’s a great way to contrbute ground truth to enhance weather observations.

  • Jeffrey

    Since Oct 1st, there has been several periods of mild weather forecast, but it usually turns out to be 1 day. Hope the extended forecast is correct and we can have a few days above average.

  • John

    Agreed, and usually overestimated by 5-10 degrees. Imo it’s been a frustrating autumn (omg it’s not even winter yet!).