Extreme cold warnings, Minnesota record lows below -40F

From Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=56649

Brutal cold has invaded the upper-Midwest.  A record low at International Falls is not an easy thing to break.  No problem today (01/21/11), as temps have fallen into the minus 40s F (or C, if you prefer).  The cold air pushes eastward and reinforces during the next several days over New England.  This is due to winter.

53 thoughts on “Extreme cold warnings, Minnesota record lows below -40F

  1. Anthony:
    I repeat: Since mid December 2010 the satellite temperature site has been reporting no data due to “unresolved channel problems”. A few days ago they resumed reporting data at 14,000 feet, but all other channels still out. Isn’t there a story in here somewhere?

  2. “This is due to winter.”
    Sure! Stay in denial. Like winter has anything to do with temperatures. What’s next, the sun? It has already been established that CO2 is the cause of everything that happens with climate. Make believe consepts like “winter” has been debunked by thousands of scientists. 145% of scientists who are actively publishing on climate science agrees. There is a strong consensus that CO2 is in the driver’s seat and that the sky is falling by 2050.

  3. Yes, I grew up in Minnesota, and learned to ski “up North” along Lake Superior, not far from the Lakes of the Boundary Waters area where International Falls sits.
    Little did I know then that the “Ice Box of the Nation” title was disputed by tiny Fraser, Colorado – not far from better known resorts like Winter Park.
    Ryan – it might be worth revisiting the dispute, best covered by the Wall Street Journal in the 1990s; large royalty monies from auto battery makers was a stake. I recall they decided to diplomatically “split the difference” and agree to use different titles.
    I found an update from last summer, showing that the dispute gets renewed when city funds to wage the dispute are available.

  4. From the report, can anyone explain how mist is sustained at these low temperatures? This is genuine puzzlement, not scepticism.

  5. Well, that explains the existance of “Minnesoteans for Global Warming”.
    -7C here in sunny Lincolnshire & that’s chilly enough!

  6. What – the record cold in the heart of winter is “due to winter”? Who would have thought?
    It’s funny, I am yet to see an article or post that reports record warmth in the heart of summer and attributes it to summer.

  7. I’m in Bemidji, which is 110 miles southwest of International Falls in north central MN. It’s -35˚F right now. If we reach -40˚F here, which is quite possible given that we still have 4 hours of darkness to go, it’ll be the first time since January 2005. What makes the difference in widespread deep cold like this is snow cover. There is a deep snow cover over all of Minnesota and much of the Dakotas as well. This keeps any moderated winds from non-snow covered ground from reaching us. On top of that, the depth of the snow, at least two feet across most of northern Minnesota, keeps any ground warmth from radiating out and warming the air. Temperatures plummet on clear, calm nights. On the same coin, a high pressure system with Pacific origins can see temperatures shoot into the 40s… and in winters like 1999/2000 with almost no snow and very warm… temperatures can easily get into the 50s. But I look at the past couple years as what we’re due for having a decade of snowless, warm winters that all but killed the winter tourism economy in northern Minnesota. And on top of that? The trend on summer temperatures since the early 70s has been down down down with the 2 coldest summers ever being 2004 and 2009. We haven’t had a good, old fashioned hot summer in northern Minnesota since 1988. Warmer winters, cooler summers… blech.. who wants that?

  8. I live in south-west Minnesota and the temp has already reached –20F by 3:30 AM and rapidly falling. This is going to be an interesting day.

  9. “Claude Harvey says:
    January 21, 2011 at 12:24 am”
    Thats interesting. It reminds me of the satellite which was launched to find out “where all the CO2 goes” crashed. It seems like the decline is being hidden across the board.

  10. I live in the UK West Country. Last night our local weatherman was reporting on the cold we are having (not as cold as it was before Christmas, but below freezing) and made a very deliberate and very pointed statement that, despite the cold, 2010 was the warmest year ever recorded, as confirmed by Met Office, NASA and (whatever the 3rd one is)!!! Sounds like propaganda being pumped out to me.
    Glad you Minnesotans are doing your bit to counter the argument. That is cold!

  11. NOAA is the 3rd one. Just read the press release in the thread below. That’s why the good ole BBC is pumping out the mantra.

  12. From Claude Harvey on January 21, 2011 at 12:24 am:

    I repeat: Since mid December 2010 the satellite temperature site has been reporting no data due to “unresolved channel problems”. A few days ago they resumed reporting data at 14,000 feet, but all other channels still out. Isn’t there a story in here somewhere?

    Not much of one. It was mentioned here on WUWT. This is the matching link from Dr. Roy Spencer’s site:

    The rest of the channels come from the AMSU on the 12 year old NOAA-15 satellite, WHICH IS NOW EXPERIENCING LARGE AMOUNTS OF MISSING DATA AS OF AROUND DECEMBER 20, 2010. This is why some of you have noted exceptionally large temperature changes in late December. While we wait for NOAA to investigate, it seems like more than coincidence that the NOAA-15 AMSU status report had a December 17 notice that the AMSU scan motor position was being reported incorrectly due to a bit error.

    Channel 5 (ch05 v2, 14,000 ft) comes off the AMSR-E on the AQUA satellite thus it’s still reporting just fine.

  13. That’s a bit chilly.
    I remember visiting Minneapolis on a business trip in January 2004. Temps were down to -40 then, too. It was so cold, they closed the Ice Festival.

  14. It’s “only” -2F in Chicago at daybreak this morning.
    Regarding the “warmest year ever”, Hadcrut (the UK’s temperature record) shows that 2010 ranks well behind 1998 as the warmest year. Of course, the BBC will pick and choose their sources to push their agenda.

  15. Hell…….thats still T-shirt weather for us in the Midwest, or at least it is when I’ve got a pint of Maker’s Mark in me. 🙂
    OT….as I drove to work this morning along the fallow fields of Central Illinois I wondered if anyone has every considered how the dramatic changes in agricultural practices over the last several decades may be affecting surface temperature records (an agricultural heat island?). Before you laugh me off this blog consider:
    Up until the mid 1970s stardard practice was field rotation wherein a typical field would be planted to corn, the next year it would be left fallow to “rest”, the next year it would be planted to a legume (usually alfafa) to build up nitrogen reserves and feed the 80 or so head of cattle most farms had, then back to corn.
    These practices ended abruptly in the 1970s when the modern era of row crop farming was ushered in. Today the old hedge rows and fallow/alfalfa fields are long gone and bare black dirt is exposed over enormous swaths of land from mid November until late May. Surely this has had some effect on the very few rural temperature stations remaining.

  16. Look here, I don’t understand why it has been so cold lately. I drive an SUV and I’ve traded out all my mercury light bulbs for the old-fashioned incandescent varieties. Why isn’t the world warming??

  17. Peter Plail:

    From the report, can anyone explain how mist is sustained at these low temperatures?

    It’s called ice fog.
    I lived in Edmonton for eight years and this was a regular occurrence during the winter. The fog was kept in place by inversion layers and, at times, it was so thick that driving became hazardous.

  18. Temprature is lower than the Dew Point. I’m sure it’s a suspended mist, not percipitation.
    From the report, can anyone explain how mist is sustained at these low temperatures? This is genuine puzzlement, not scepticism.

  19. Yea Winter! So this summer when it’s 100F in the NE, which happens pretty frequently in my 40+ years living here, make sure you simply say, “Well, duh, it’s summer!”.

  20. I noticed that the record maximum was 48F set in 1908. Did the GISS team miss that one when adjusting the past?

  21. Just east of St. Paul, MN in the hole at Lake Demotreville, -26 F.
    At the St. Paul border on I94, -19 F. UHI effect is alive and well. A co-worker claims when he watches the temperatures coming to work, the official temperature station at the airport is about the warmest spot, -17 F officially. No wind this morning and a clear sky last night so quite a bit of radiative cooling.
    Please sir, I want some more global warming.

  22. It should be a little warmer here in New Hampshire this weekend – low temperatures around -20 F, highs around 5 F. If there’s any wind at all, it will be brutally cold. We also got another shot of snow today. This is one of the snowiest winters in the 15 years I’ve lived here.
    This is a good time to have another “blast from the (recent) past”:

    Snow Melts, Industry Feels Heat

    As average global temperatures rise, America’s $4.5 billion ski industry is taking notice. (NSAA) “If we don’t have snow, our whole economy is dead,” said Isaacs about the resort town of Mammoth Lakes, adding, “Everybody is hurt.”

  23. Anthony and Ryan and Joe (Badstardi via Natsman)), thanks for the heads-up – “this is due to winter”. If we are heading into a mini(?) ice age, this seems to mean historically that one or more governmental regimes are heading for a fall. Maybe the American-global anti-fossil fuel powers (those living off the affluence created by the “fossil-fuel age”), represented by by the CO2-demonizing, anti-scientific MET, NASA, NOAA will be among the first. They seem to be in hysteria-mode. Hope they don’t suck out all the affluence before they go belly up to the cold.

  24. RomanM – many thanks for the link. Despite the cold weather in the UK we have nothing like the extremes suffered by more northerly climes, so I have never witnessed the phenomenon of ice fog, although I did see “diamond dust” one winter in Sweden and that was a truly magical experience: shimmering ice crystals dropping gently from a clear blue sky with the sun reflecting off them.

  25. Why are the Fahrenheit and Celcius temperatures shown the same?
    If you lived in one of the colder spots in the world like I unfortunately do [Winnipeg] you would know at -40 Fahrenheit and Celcius are the same.

  26. When the going gets tough.. the TOUGH get going!
    Flew away from MN yesterday to PHX. Plan to “wait out” the meteorlogical cold trough and fly back in Feb.
    Yep, nippy here this morning..42. But now 9:30 AM and already 59, heading to 74.
    Let’s see that’s almost 100 Degree F. difference.

  27. The Department of Agriculture needs to come out with a NEW Spring Planting Map for 2011. With the Wacky Jet we’ve been having this winter, no bout adoubt it, it’s going to be August before Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, and Alabama thaw out enough to plan cotton.

  28. Anhydrous ammonia condenses at about -33 C. So if you wanted to experiment with liquid ammonia without special equipment, you could do so outside in Minnesota.

  29. “”””” Baa Humbug says:
    January 21, 2011 at 4:11 am
    Orr____ This station is not reporting
    It’s frozen? “””””
    Well that’s because they banned putting incandescent bulbs in those owl boxes to read the dipstick; so you have to use CFLs, and the Mercury in those doesn’t like waking up at -40FC .
    Haven’t see I-Falls in the News for many a moon; it used to be front page all the time; well maybe that was back in the latter 1970s; when the coming ice age was fashionable. You need to change your licence plates from “Land of 10,000 lakes” to “Land of 10,000 skating rinks .”

    Minus 10F this morning at my place in southern Wisconsin (southern being a relative term here). We are freezing our a**es off.

  31. “”””” xyzlatin says:
    January 21, 2011 at 6:52 am
    Fahrenheit and Centigrade are not equivalent – why is it shown the same? “””””
    So you add 40 to get T+40. Then multiply by 5/9 or 9/5 depending on which way you want to go; which gives you:-
    (5/9)T + 200/9 or else (9/5)T + 72 depending on which way you want to go, and then you subtract 40 to get:-
    (5/9)T – 160/9 or else (9/5)T + 32 depending on which way you want to go.
    See how easy that is. Now all you need to know is which way you want to go. I like K which would be 233.15 and never goes negative; so you stay nice and warm.

  32. “”””” Pull My Finger says:
    January 21, 2011 at 5:39 am
    Temprature is lower than the Dew Point. I’m sure it’s a suspended mist, not percipitation.
    From the report, can anyone explain how mist is sustained at these low temperatures? This is genuine puzzlement, not scepticism. “””””
    You must have mist that water turns into ice at zero deg C or 32 deg F or 273.15 K so at -40CF the mist will be ice crystals which are very common in high altitude clouds; you know the ones that warm up the earth (cloud positive feedback); but these ones are at ground level and the low altitude clouds (or mist) cool the earth (cloud negative feedback); which is why the Temperature is -40CF.
    Very simple.

  33. Well good old wikedpedia. “ice fog” they say is water droplets that stay liquid at -40 CF if you have nearly 100% humidity.
    This one sounds like a repeat of the dry ice snow in Antarctica.
    NO ya dummies; it’s ICE which is why they call it ice fog; see how that works !
    I would guess (by the stick in the sand method) that you need near 100% relative humidity (dew point Temperature) PLUS some effective condensation nucleation sites; like in a city maybe carbon soot from diesel trucks. Water just hates to condense; well without something to land on like a microbe, or a cosmetic ray ionisation track, or particulate pollutants, aerosoles.
    Maybe it’s not such good air to be in at any temperature.

  34. You guys see this completely the wrong way.
    Carbon dioxide freezes below -70 F and the Minnesotans are just doing their very best to cool the place down to that level. All the Carbon dioxide will freeze out of the atmosphere and, hey presto, solved Global Warming, saved the Planet.
    You have to admire their cunning!

  35. <img src="Peter, you haven’t lived until you have had to change a flat tire at -40 in the middle of the ice fog.
    Cars zipping past you in and out of the mist. You fumble with the lug bolts with mittens on and your fingers freeze to the metal when them off. I think that that is one of the reasons that we moved. 😉

  36. What amazes me is people live there. On purpose.
    (She said from not-going-get-above-freezing-tomorrow central Virginia.)

  37. erik sloneker says:
    January 21, 2011 at 5:25 am
    You might be off a bit on your decades. In my area of the Midwest, the practice of fall plowing, exposing black dirt throughout the winter was well established by the 1960s. Then by the 90s, conservation concerns and technology developments enabled farmers to largely cease this practice. Then in the fall of 2009, I was amazed to see fall plowing emerge again as a widespread practice. I asked my relatives in farming — who knew I would be dismayed by erosion-inducing technique — what was going on. The answer surprised me: “The spring and summers are getting cooler, and the risk of a fall frost is increasing. We are plowing to expose black dirt to help the soil soak in the sun’s rays. That way the soil will be warmer, and we can plant earlier in the spring.”

  38. Piers called it thusly:
    ” More USA deluges of very heavy thundersnow and very cold blasts South & East of the Great Lakes and notably in NE /E USA (see link Extreme Events Word Exc Europe via http://www.weatheraction.com/member.asp for more detail as issued Jan 7th) around 25th Jan and again around 28th-30th Jan. ”
    Note the Jan. 7th forecast date.
    And a few days to go before the worst of it. (!?!)

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