The last time investors had a similar-sized net short position in futures linked to the Vix volatility index, a flicker of turmoil caused several Vix-linked funds to implode, hammering US stocks and contributing to one of their sharpest corrections in history. Now, some observers fear a repeat of the "Vixmageddon" of February Betting on markets remaining placid — shorting volatility, in trader parlance — has been a big feature of the post-crisis market environment. The attraction is obvious. Vix futures are usually in "contango", jargon for when near-term contracts are cheaper than longer-term ones.
After all, the distant future is more uncertain than tomorrow. By shorting longer-term Vix futures and waiting for them to expire at a lower price of actual, realised volatility, investors can make a bundle. Profits from this strategy vary over time. However, this is akin to selling hurricane insurance after a period of balmy weather. When a storm finally does strike, the premiums collected may not be enough to compensate for the damage caused. For example, XIV, a short-Vix exchange-traded note popular with day traders, returned over 1, per cent in but was wiped out in just one torrid day on February 5 Because of the structure of XIV and a few similar funds, when turbulence began to mount in early February they were mechanically forced to buy more Vix contracts, triggering a feedback loop that ultimately ripped them apart and sent shockwaves rippling through the broader stock market.
Some investors are therefore worried about the signal sent by the renewed build-up in short-Vix futures. Nonetheless, analysts stress that it should not be a cause for panic. Firstly, the net positioning is so deeply short, mostly because of slumping "long" bets on the Vix. The gross number of short positions is elevated, but still comfortably below levels. Secondly, the heft of Vix-linked funds has shrunk significantly. At the moment, they are actually net long volatility. Why spend money on developments that may get washed away in a future flood?
Extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and unpredictable in the future , and increase in severity. And the cost of climate-related disasters — like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes — is higher than ever. If we're not careful America will miss out on an inevitable clean energy revolution.
Turns out there are far fewer professional climate skeptics in China, according to a story at National Geographic : " While Trump's order casts uncertainty over U. As part of the Paris agreement, China aims to peak its carbon emissions and get a fifth of its energy from non-fossil sources by Some reports suggest it is already ahead of schedule on the former Photo credit : " Workers install solar panels on a rooftop in Wuhan, China, in a country where renewable energy is booming.
Here's an excerpt of a book review from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette : " Their book is thick with supporting data on the warmest years on record but the tone and cadence, if not the content, can sound downright Trumpian. Take this passage from Mr. Climate change is global. Here's an excerpt from PBS Frontline : " Twenty-five thousand science teachers opened their mailboxes this month and found a package from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. The material will be sent to an additional 25, teachers every two weeks until every public-school science teacher in the nation has a copy, Heartland president and CEO Joseph Bast said in an interview last week.
If so, the campaign would reach more than , K science teachers Image credit : " The Heartland Institute says it will send the book "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming" to every public school science teacher in the nation. Sign up for a webinar at Climate for Health : " Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance chronicles the impacts of climate change on Americans' health and psychological well-being, including increases in stress and anxiety, loss of community identity, heightened aggression and violence, and many others.
It builds from our Beyond Storms and Droughts research, and is intended to further inform and empower health and medical professionals, community and elected leaders, and the public. The report discusses the pathways through which these and other impacts on human well-being will arise, why some communities will be hit harder than others, and how psychological impacts interact with physical health.
Here's an excerpt from NOLA. This is a plan for all of Louisiana, not just one agency and not just for the coast," Edwards said. I look forward to discussing these plans with the Legislature. America already has its first climate refugees, due to rising seas, land subsidence and coastal beach erosion in Alaska and Louisiana.
This is a question that will be asked with greater frequency and urgency in the years to come. Here's an excerpt at The New Yorker : " In a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, a trio of Stanford researchers examined twenty-seven recent cases of managed retreat affecting twenty-two countries and 1. Likewise, after the Australian state of Queensland suffered a series of catastrophic floods in late and early , more than two hundred and fifty people in the Lockyer Valley chose to leave, first with local government support and later with assistance from the state and national governments The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.
The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots. Exxon Urges Trump to Keep U. Here's an excerpt at Financial Times : " ExxonMobil , the largest American oil group, has written to the Trump administration urging it to keep the US in the Paris climate accord agreed at the end of Northwest Public Radio has more information: " The Trump Administration is expected to announce plans to reverse drafts of Obama-era climate change policies this week.
Governors and mayors along the West Coast have stated their opposition to the move. The Los Angeles Times reports: " T his sprawling metropolis morphed in a matter of decades from a scorching desert outpost into one of the largest cities in the nation. Today, Phoenix is a horizon of asphalt, air conditioning and historic indifference to the pitfalls of putting 1. Now, however, the city faces a reckoning. It is called climate change, and it is expected to further expose the glaring gap between how the city lives and what it can sustain.
The future, scientists say, will be even hotter and drier, the monsoons more mercurial. Summertime highs could reach degrees before the end of the century — think Death Valley, but with subdivisions Finding Common Ground on Climate Issues. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at newsminer. An independent study of this type of revenue-neutral fee and dividend found that it would significantly reduce harmful carbon emissions while creating millions of jobs and preventing thousands of premature deaths by improving local air quality.
Every American would get an equal share of revenues from the carbon fee, and a large majority of Americans would actually come out ahead, with dividends larger than increased fees. It would be hard to find a more effective, efficient and fair way to start mitigating climate pollution at the national level.
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The political situation has made it hard for Republicans to speak up on climate change. Responsible use and protection of natural resources is important to many conservatives. And it would be foolish to think only Democrats want a healthy environment for their children and grandchildren. CO2 Spike. NASA has more details on carbon dioxide measurement and trends.
Breathtaking Supercell Storm Photos Captured in US by Storm Chaser
Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for various media and corporate interests at Praedictix. He is co-host of a radio program, weekdays from 3 to 6 p. Send Paul a question. Home All Sections Search. Log In Welcome, User. Minneapolis St. Inheritance fight lays bare decades of tension in Jacobs family.
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Tornado warning issued for counties in central Minnesota. Seward neighborhood vandalism suspect is released, but could still be charged. Youth leaders at UN demand bold climate change action. Vikings' pregame pyrotechnics temporarily extinguished by NFL. The Replacements get a redo on the album that purportedly 'ruined' them. How one of the oldest homes in Marine on St. Croix was rescued and restored. Minnesota wind-solar hybrid project could be new frontier for renewable energy.
U doctor goes viral with anti-vaping video reaching teens. Blog By Paul Douglas. FiveThirtyEight has a fascinating tale: " The records, which originally existed only in federal archives, are now available to anyone who wants to read them on a website called Old Weather.
Newer Post Feverish Friday. Cloudy with showers late weekend. More from Star Tribune. Music The Replacements get a redo on the album that purportedly 'ruined' them pm. Local Inheritance fight lays bare decades of tension in Jacobs family 12 minutes ago. National Biden: Trump 'deserves' to be investigated over Ukraine call 10 minutes ago. Croix was rescued and restored pm. More From Paul Douglas on Weather. Blogs am. Our last weekend of summer will feature sticky and somewhat unsettled weather today, followed by cooler and less humid weather tomorrow. If your plans take you fall color peeping, Sunday looks like the driest most comfortable day to do so.
Check the blog for more details. Blogs September Friday will be a warm and sticky day with showers and storms arriving overnight into Saturday. As they flee, two cars hurtle down a nearby dirt road in the opposite direction—straight at the tornado. Tim Samaras, a year-old electronics engineer from Denver, and his storm-chasing partner, Pat Porter, are in a van that carries six probes, often called "turtles"—squat, pound kilogram metal disks that look like flying saucers.
Through embedded sensors, the probes can measure a tornado 's wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature. Samaras's mission, and his passion, is to plant them in the path of the funnel. His hope is that both he and the instruments survive. Photographer Carsten Peter hangs halfway out the window of the other speeding car, which is driven by veteran storm chaser Gene Rhoden.
With them is another kind of probe, a pyramid-shaped aluminum casing loaded with a video and three mm still cameras. Tinman, the team calls it, based on the character from The Wizard of Oz. No one has ever filmed the inside of a tornado—where wind can chew asphalt off a road and drive wooden splinters into tree trunks. Carsten wants to be the first. The chasers can hear the tornado's jet engine roar and see it snapping power poles as they veer east onto a paved road, past the Geyers' farm and directly into the path of the funnel.
Tim skids to a halt to make a drop. We don't have time! The monster is plowing up ground only a hundred yards 91 meters away, and the inflow wind is revving up as Tim leaps out just long enough to deposit a probe before scrambling back in. As the chasers speed away, they can see debris roaring in above them: Nails, wire, two-by-fours whip by in winds that will soon reach miles an hour kilometers an hour.
See a map of the Tornado Alley region. Moments later the cars stop again a short distance down the road. Carsten and Gene haul the pound kilogram Tinman from their car onto the roadside and activate the cameras while Tim drops another turtle. Two so far. Good, good. But now the tornado is chasing them. They blast down the road once more, and Tim deploys a third probe.
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Tinman and two of the three probes take direct hits. The tornado reaches one probe a mere 80 seconds after Tim sets it in place. But suddenly the fury is spent. The tornado changes shape, stretching out long and ropey before rolling limply to the side. And then it simply evaporates. Tornadoes are among Earth's most violent natural acts. About a thousand of them touch down in the United States each year, more than in any other country in the world. Some are wispy and last only seconds, others rampage across the landscape for more than an hour, but few are as destructive as the one that obliterated Manchester.
By definition tornadoes are rotating columns of air that extend from swelling cumulonimbus clouds to the ground. No one fully understands tornado dynamics, but certain ingredients seem essential to the witches' brew from which twisters emerge: warm, humid air near the ground, colder air aloft, and shearing winds that change direction and speed with height.
How a Legendary Storm Chaser Changed the Face of Tornado Science
The most destructive and deadly tornadoes form under the bellies of supercells, large long-lived thunderstorms whose winds are already in rotation. It was a supercell that gave birth to the Manchester tornado. Forty percent of all U. In such open country you can see entire supercells, some 30 miles 48 kilometers wide, bulling over the land, spitting rain and hail, their cauliflower tops bursting into the stratosphere. But only one in a thousand thunderstorms becomes a supercell, and only one in five or six supercells spawns a tornado.
Because it's so difficult to measure tornado winds and power, scientists measure tornadoes by the damage they cause. On the Fujita scale, developed by Ted Fujita of the University of Chicago, an F1 storm does moderate damage with hundred-mile-an-hour kilometer-an-hour winds. An F5 is horrific. The Manchester tornado was an F4. Today's warning time for tornadoes—the time a family faced with catastrophe has to gather essentials and bolt for the basement or nearest storm shelter—averages 13 minutes.
Most warnings rely on the radar stations of the National Weather Service, but conventional weather radar can miss the birth of a tornado in the five to six minutes it takes a unit's single beam to cover its range. Navy—the Spy-1 phased array radar—for meteorological use. Spy-1 sends out multiple beams in continuous rotation and is five times faster than conventional radar. For three springs Carsten Peter and I pursue supercells and tornadoes with Tim Samaras, with Anton Seimon, a geographer from Boulder, Colorado, and with some other of America's best storm chasers.
We cover more than 50, highway miles 80, kilometers , lugging Tinman around faithfully. We hit severe weather that rattles our teeth and pits our cars with hailstones. We witness skies of transcendent beauty. And we endure the gypsy life of the storm chaser—truck-stop motels, late-night Subway sandwiches, and dogged resolve.
Mostly we tilt at windmills; we see only a few tornadoes.
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And, as it turns out, we won't really succeed until the last hours of our last day afield. We base ourselves in Boulder in the foothills of the Rockies, where the Great Plains stretch before us like a giant stage. From here we can reach nearly anywhere on the plains with a day's drive. For the first season, , we hook up with Anton, Tim, and an all-star group of scientists in a six-car chase motorcade. Guiding us are several "nowcasters," meteorologists who continuously monitor weather information and send directions to us on the fly by cell phone. Our main nowcaster is Erik Rasmussen, a tornado researcher with the University of Oklahoma and one of the brightest stars in severe-storm meteorology.
Through numerical computer models, constantly flowing weather maps, and intuition, he can sit at home in his bathrobe and calculate where the best supercell will arrive each day by six o'clock p. On May 25 Erik points us to the Texas Panhandle, where conditions look right for spawning a supercell.
Our task is to find this incipient monster, if it forms, get just to the southeast of it the best position for Garsten to get revealing backlight , watch it develop, and ensure we can make a getaway if things get dicey. When we arrive in Texas, we're not alone. In tornado country, especially since the motion picture Twister , storm chasing has become a phenomenon.
During peak season hundreds of people fan out over Tornado Alley, a belt between South Dakota and Texas. Their vehicles bristle with radio antennas and radar dishes, their dashboards outfitted with computers and satellite-linked televisions. We don't hide it. So we all know where to go.
Some tornado chasers think of it as a clever computer game come to life. Others become intimate with the atmosphere, the way a trail guide learns to know the woods. Recently, skilled chasers have formed companies that take tourists on "tornado safaris," competing to see who can get clients the best views of the storms. But it's not like going to, say, Niagara Falls, which stays put.
Tornadoes are unpredictable, and a wrong decision can be hazardous. I have seen tour buses with windows shattered from hail, the passengers shaken but exhilarated. Research scientists are out there forecasting and chasing too, of course—teams from meteorological departments at universities and from the NSSL in Oklahoma, where much of today's pioneering work is done. But science of this kind is challenging, for tornadoes resist analysis, and creative computer models can take researchers only so far. To get a better handle on that question, research meteorologists Howard Bluestein, from the University of Oklahoma at Norman, and Joshua Wurman, from the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, join in the hunt each spring.
Stationary radar can't see fine detail in distant storms because a radar beam loses focus over long distances, so Wurman's Doppler on Wheels DOW radar trucks intercept the storms and study their hidden structure at close range.
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