WEEKLY OCEAN NEWS
12-16 August 2013
DataStreme Ocean will return for Fall 2013 with new Investigations files starting during Preview Week, Monday, 2 September 2013. All the current online website products will continue to be available throughout the summer break period.
Items of Interest:
- Use Twitter to ask questions of forecasters at NOAA's National Hurricane Center -- The public is invited to ask the staff of NOAA's National Hurricane Center via Tweet Chat questions concerning hurricane forecasting and preparedness this coming Tuesday, 13 August 2013. The season will begin at 2 PM EDT on the @NOAALive Twitter feed using hashtag #HurriChat. [NOAA News]
- How volcanic eruptions impact climate and aviation -- A fact sheet was produced by "Earth Gauge" (an initiative by the National Environmental Education Foundation and the American Meteorological Society) that identifies how volcanic eruptions impact climate and human activity, such as aviation. This sheet also provides links to live webcams for some of the potentially active volcanoes that are found along the Cascade Range extending from northern California northward into southern British Columbia and in Hawaii. Links are also provided to the US Geological Survey's Volcano Alerts network. [Earth Gauge]
- NOAA's Barrow (AK) Observatory celebrates 40 years of monitoring carbon gases in Arctic -- In late July, NOAA's atmospheric observatory at Barrow, AK celebrated its 40th anniversary for taking measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with a continuous analyzer. These measurements, which are made at the nation's northernmost city, provide a record of the increases in carbon dioxide that are slightly higher than those made at NOAA's other measurement sites, such as at Hawaii's Mauna Loa and at American Samoa. [NOAA News]
- NOAA's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index shows 2012 was a record year
-- Scientists at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory recently reported that the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) continued to increase in 2012, resulting in a record year with a value of 1.32. The AGGI is a dimensionless index, based on measurements of the concentrations of various greenhouse gases from the agency's global air sampling network, . The AGGI determines the direct climate influence of many long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are added to the atmosphere by human activity, measured as a percentage of the base or "index" year of 1990. Consequently, the 2012 AGGI value of 1.32 means the combined heating effect of long-lasting/human-caused emissions with that of existing gases trapped in the atmosphere has increased by 32% since 1990. [NOAA Research News]
- Revised Statement on Climate Change published by American Geophysical Union -- The American Geophysical Union (AGU), a professional organization of more than 61,000 geophysicists in 146 countries, recently revised its position statement on climate change that was adapted in December 2003 and subsequently revised and reaffirmed in 2007 and 2012. The current revised statement, which is based upon recent data analysis and research, indicates that humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years and that this change requires urgent action. This AGU statement advocates for a set of policy priorities that include both climate adaptation and mitigation planning and activity. [NOAA News]
Ocean in the News:
- Eye on the tropics --- During the last week the weather across the tropical North Atlantic basin was relatively quiet with no organized tropical cyclone activity, while several tropical cyclones were moving across the eastern, central and western sections of the North Pacific:
- In the eastern North Pacific Basin, tropical depression Gil continued its westward travels at the start of last week. At the end of the previous week, Gil had become the fifth hurricane of the season in the eastern Pacific and was rated a category-1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. By last Tuesday, Tropical Depression Gil moved across longitude 140 degrees West, the boundary between the eastern and central basins of the North Pacific. At that time, Gil intensified, briefly becoming a tropical storm before it turned into a post-tropical cyclone approximately 935 miles to the east-southeast of Hilo, HI. For additional information along with satellite images on former Hurricane Gil, see the NASA Hurricane Page.
Tropical Storm Henriette intensified to become a category 2 hurricane by midweek as it traveled initially to the west-northwest and then west across the eastern North Pacific. By late in the week, this hurricane entered the central North Pacific basin as it gradually turned to a direction that was toward the west-southwest. By this past weekend, Henriette weakened to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression before becoming a post-tropical cyclone as it passed within 430 miles to the south-southwest of South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday afternoon. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information on Hurricane Henriette, including a satellite image that shows two other low pressure areas were being watched for further development.
- In the western North Pacific, Tropical Storm Mangkhut formed at the start of last week over the waters of the central South China Sea between the Philippines and the central coast of Vietnam. Taking a track that was slightly to the south of what Tropical Storm Jebi took the previous week, Mangkhut traveled to the northwest passing to the south of China's Hainan Island and into the northern Gulf of Tonkin before making landfall in the northeastern provinces of Vietnam approximately 90 miles south of Hanoi by midweek. Satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Jebi can be found on the NASA Hurricane Page.
During the second half of last week, Tropical Depression 11-W formed at least 780 miles to the east of Manila in the Philippines. By the weekend, this depression quickly intensified to a tropical storm and then a typhoon called Utor as it traveled to the west-northwest toward the Philippine Island of Luzon. By Sunday (local time), Typhoon Utor had become a super typhoon as maximum sustained surface wind speeds were nearly 150 mph as it was approaching Luzon. Forecasts indicated that Utor would pass across Luzon and then continue across the South China Sea early this week, possibly reaching the southern China coast near Hainan Island by midweek. The NASA Hurricane Page had some preliminary information on Super typhoon Utor while it was Tropical Depression 11-W.
- NOAA updates its Atlantic hurricane season outlook -- Late last week, forecasters at
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center(CPC) issued their updated Atlantic hurricane season outlook, which calls for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season for named tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic basin that also includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This update is similar to their earlier outlook made in the "pre-season outlook" made in May and includes the activity that has occurred this season to date due to Tropical Storms Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian. Specifically, the updated outlook calls for 3 to 19 named tropical cyclones (maximum sustained surface winds of 39 mph or higher), including 6 to 9 hurricanes (maximum winds of 74 mph or higher), of which three to five could be major hurricanes (Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with winds of at least 111 mph). These ranges are above the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The August outlook update continues to project an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season because of high sea surface temperatures, low wind shear, and above normal convection in western Africa. However, the update contained a slight reduction in the upper range in the number of anticipated major hurricanes made in May (three to six). This reduction was motivated by the decreased likelihood for development of La Niña conditions that would have reduced wind shear; the lack of hurricanes through July; more variability in the wind patterns across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and slightly lower hurricane season model predictions. [NOAA News] Note: A satellite derived image shows the distribution of sea-surface temperatures across the entire North Atlantic basin in early August. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion-- NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society recently released their El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion in which they found a persistence of ENSO-neutral conditions (with neither an El Niño nor La Niña event) during July 2013 as near-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) continued across the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, while slightly below-average SSTs were detected in the eastern Pacific. Since the ENSO-neutral conditions were anticipated to continue (60 percent chance or greater) through this upcoming Northern Hemisphere autumn (September through November 2013), NOAA's ENSO Alert System Status remains "Not Active." [NOAA CPC/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society]
- State of the climate examined for 2012-- Last week, NOAA, in coordination with the American Meteorological Society, released a peer-review report entitled the 2012 State of the Climate that reported the globally averaged land and ocean temperature for 2012 was being ranked as either eighth or ninth highest, with the ranking depending upon the temperature time series used. Furthermore, the United States and Argentina reported their warmest year on record. This 23nd annual State of the Climate report was complied by an interdisciplinary team of 384 scientists from 52 nations and is based on the measurements collected by a global network of environmental monitoring stations and instruments onboard satellite platforms of global scale climate data sets and not upon model projections. Therefore, the report provides a detailed update on numerous global-scale climate indicators, notable weather events and other data. Summaries of the annual climate were prepared for more than 120 countries and territories. The scientists reported that the end of a weak La Niña event and unprecedented warmth in the Arctic influenced climate conditions across the globe in 2012. In addition to the temperature and precipitation trends and patterns, the report noted that many extreme events occurred at regional and local levels, including historic drought, record flooding, major heat waves and numerous tornado outbreaks. [NOAA News]
- Application denied to import beluga whales for public display -- NOAA Fisheries recently denied the application made by the Georgia Aquarium for a permit to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display in the US. The decision denying the application, which followed public hearings, was based on requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. [NOAA News]
- Ocean explorers discover interesting seafloor features off US Northeast coast -- Researchers on land and explorers onboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer recently discovered a variety of seafloor features and marine communities of life in the deep-sea canyons off the coast of the Northeastern States. The public is invited to participate in the mission as "citizen scientists" through this coming week by accessing oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos to see live seafloor video and listen as scientists discuss their observations in real time. [NOAA News]
- Nation's estuaries are threatened by climate change -- A national research report entitled Climate Sensitivity of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System was recently released by NOAA's National Ocean Service indicating the 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) around the country are experiencing negative effects associated with human and climate-related stressors. Reservoirs identified as being the most sensitive to climate change included three East Coast reserves (Sapelo Island NERR in Georgia, ACE Basin NERR in South Carolina and Waquouit Bay NERR in Massachusetts) and one along the West Coast (Tijuana River NERR in southern California). The research for the report was conducted by a collaborative, interdisciplinary team from NOAA and the University of Wisconsin. The extent of relative climate sensitivity in the reserves was determined by looking at five factors: social, biophysical, and ecological sensitivity, and exposure to temperature change and sea level rise. [NOAA News]
- Urgency is warranted in abalone recovery -- A recent study made by scientists at NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center and colleagues have found that Southern California's white abalone population has been declining by approximately 14 percent annually, meaning species' numbers would be cut by half every five years. The white abalone, a deep-water marine snail, was the first marine invertebrate protected under the Endangered Species Act and, according to this research, has an average lifespan of approximately 30 years. The scientists believe that the only way to save the abalone is through captive breeding for eventual release in the wild. [Sea Grant California News]
- As oceans warm, marine life tends to spawn sooner -- An international team of scientists from Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Spain and South Africa recently conducted the first global analysis of climate change impacts on marine life, assembling a large database of 1735 biological changes as determined by peer-reviewed studies. The conclusions from this analysis indicate that as ocean temperatures increase, marine species are shifting their geographic distribution toward the poles and this poleward migration is occurring at an average rate of 72 km per decade, which is a faster rate than their land-based counterparts, with an average of only six km per decade. Plankton and bony fish showed the largest shifts. [News @ CSIRO]
- An All-Hazards Monitor -- This Web portal provides the user
information from NOAA on current environmental events that may pose as
hazards such as tropical weather, drought, floods, marine weather,
tsunamis, rip currents, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and coral bleaching.
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com] Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- 12 August 1778...A Rhode Island hurricane prevented an impending British-French sea battle, and caused extensive damage over southeast New England. (David Ludlum)
- 12 August 1955...During the second week of August, hurricanes Connie and Diane produced as much as 19 inches of rain in the northeastern U.S. forcing rivers from Virginia to Massachusetts into a high flood. Westfield, MA was deluged with 18.15 inches of rain in 24 hours, and at Woonsocket, RI the Blackstone River swelled from seventy feet in width to a mile and a half. Connecticut and the Delaware Valley were hardest hit. Total damage in New England was 800 million dollars, and flooding claimed 187 lives. (David Ludlum)
- 12 August 1958...USS Nautilus (SSN-571) arrived Portland, England after completing the first submerged under ice cruise from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. (Naval Historical Center)
- 13 August 1979...Fifteen yachtsmen died and 23 boats sank or were abandoned as storm-force winds, along with high seas, raked a fleet of yachts participating in an annual race between southwestern England and Fastnet Rock off southwestern Ireland. (Accord's Weather Guide Calendar)
- 13 August 1987...Thunderstorms deluged the Central Gulf Coast States with torrential rains. Thunderstorms in Mississippi drenched Marion County with up to 15 inches of rain during the morning hours, with 12.2 inches reported at Columbia. Floodwaters swept cars away in the Lakeview subdivision of Columbia when the Lakeview Dam broke. Flash flooding caused more than three million dollars damage in Marion County. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
- 13 August 2004...Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 tropical low-pressure system on the Saffir-Simpson scale, struck the Gulf Coast of southwest Florida, making landfall north of Captiva, FL. At landfall, sustained winds of 145 mph, along with an unofficial gust of 173 mph on a medical building tower in Punta Gorda near Fort Myers. The greatest destruction occurring at Punta Gorda. Fifteen fatalities were directly attributed to the hurricane, with another 20 indirect deaths. Damage estimates were approximately $14 billion. A gust of 104 mph hit Arcadia, where a storm shelter with 1200 people inside lost a wall and part of a roof. (Wikipedia) (Accord's Weather Guide Calendar)
- 15 August 1281...The Divine Wind, the Kamikaze, struck down the
Chinese fleet attempting an invasion of Japan at Kyushu. This wind was
likely due to a typhoon crossing the Sea of Japan. (The Weather Doctor)
- 15 August 1914...The Panama Canal was officially opened to traffic
as the American ship SS Ancon completed its first transit of the canal,
sailing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. (Wikipedia)
- 15 August 1934...After a series of earlier dives since June 1930,
each progressively deeper, American zoologist William Beebe and Otis
Barton made their pioneering, record-breaking ocean descent of 3028 feet
in a bathysphere designed by Barton, withstanding over 1360 pounds of
pressure. (Today in Science History)
- 15 August 1971...Hurricane Beth soaked Nova Scotia with up to 12
inches of rain. The deluge caused considerable crop damage and swamped
highways and bridges, temporarily isolating communities on the eastern
mainland of Nova Scotia. (The Weather Doctor)
- 16 August 1858...U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurated the new
transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen
Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal would force a
shutdown of the service in a few weeks. (Wikipedia)
- 17 August 1915...A hurricane hit Galveston, TX with wind gusts to
120 mph and a twelve-foot storm surge which inundated the city. The
storm claimed 275 lives, including forty-two on Galveston Island, with
most deaths due to drowning. Of 250 homes built outside the seawall
(which was constructed after the catastrophic hurricane of 1900), just
ten percent were left standing. (The Weather Channel)
- 17 August 1969...Camille, a Category 5 hurricane (on the
Saffir-Simpson Scale) and the second worst hurricane in U.S. history,
smashed into the Mississippi coast, making landfall at Pass Christian,
MS with sustained winds of 190 mph and gusts well over 200 mph. The
hurricane produced winds to 200 mph, and a storm surge of 24.6 feet.
Winds gusted to 172 mph at Main Pass Block, LA, and to 190 mph near Bay
Saint Louis, MS. The hurricane claimed 256 lives, and caused 1.3 billion
dollars damage. Several ocean going ships were carried over seven miles
inland by the hurricane. Complete destruction occurred in some coastal
areas near the eye of the hurricane. (David Ludlum) (The Weather
- 18 August 1904...The Belle Isle Aquarium opened in Detroit, MI.
This facility is the oldest, continuously running aquarium in America.
Several other institutions opened earlier but since have closed or moved
to multiple different buildings. Belle Isle Aquarium is still in its
original building and site as the one in which it opened. (Today in
- 18 August 1983...Hurricane Alicia (a category 3 storm on the
Saffir-Simpson Scale) ravaged southeastern Texas. The hurricane caused
more than three billion dollars property damage, making it one of the
costliest hurricanes in the history of the U.S. Just thirteen persons
were killed, but 1800 others were injured. The hurricane packed winds to
130 mph as it crossed Galveston Island, created a storm surge of 12
feet and spawned twenty-two tornadoes in less than 24 hours as it made
landfall. (The Weather Channel) (Storm Data) (Intellicast)
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Prepared by AMS DS Ocean Central Staff and Edward J. Hopkins,
Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2013, The American Meteorological Society.