WEEKLY CLIMATE NEWS
19-23 August 2013
DataStreme Earth Climate Systems 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
- Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume -- A meteor weighing 10,000 metric tons exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. Unlike similar past events, this time scientists had the sensitive instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite to deliver unprecedented data and help them track and study the meteor plume for months. NASA News]
- "My Climate & Me" website launched -- Earlier this month the United Kingdom's Meteorological Office launched a new web site called "My Climate & Me" that enables British citizens to put questions about weather and climate to leading experts using an online video magazine and roving reporter. The Met Office hopes that this site will help educate citizens about climate and its effects on our quality of life and allow for better understanding of climate change and its implications. [My Climate & Me]
- Free admission into the National Parks -- This coming Sunday 25 August 2013 has been designated by the National Park Service as fee-free days in honor of its 97th Birthday. This fee waiver will cover entrance and commercial tour fees in many of the national parks and monuments administered by the Park Service. [National Park Service Fee Free Days]
CURRENT CLIMATE STATUS
- July 2013 weather and climate for the nation reviewed -- Scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center
recently reported on their analysis of preliminary weather data collected during the month of July 2013:
- National weather and climate -- When averaged across the coterminous United States, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 74.3°F, 0.8°F above the 20th century average, and ranked as the 30th warmest such month on record. The nationally-averaged July precipitation total of 3.47 inches was 0.71 inch above average and was the 5th wettest July on record for the contiguous United States. [NOAA National Climatic Data Center]
- July national drought report -- The National Climate Data Center has posted its July 2013 drought report online. Based on the Palmer Drought Index, severe to extreme drought affected about 20 percent of the contiguous United States as of the end of July 2013, a decrease of about 9 percent from last month. About 16 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories.
- Taking a 360-degree View of Water -- Escaping from the ocean, then surfing on clouds until taking that fateful fall back to Earth, water is on a journey. NASA's new short film "Water Falls" invites the public along for the ride as scientists follow water around the globe — on a globe. [NASA]
- Search On for Climate Clues Across Southern U.S. Skies -- NASA research aircraft began flights Aug. 12 from Houston's Ellington Field to investigate how the combination of summer storms and rising air pollution from wildfires, cities, and other sources can change our climate. [NASA]
- 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, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
- Antarctic ice core sheds new light on how the last ice age ended -- Analysis of an ice core taken by the National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide drilling project reveals that warming in Antarctica began about 22,000 years ago, a few thousand years earlier than suggested by previous records. This timing shows that West Antarctica did not "wait for a cue" from the Northern Hemisphere to start warming, as scientists had previously supposed. NSF]
- Earth is breathing deeper: Multi-agency study reveals widening seasonal swings in CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere -- Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise and fall annually as plants take up the gas in spring and summer and release it in fall and winter through photosynthesis and respiration. Now the range of that cycle is growing as more CO2 is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, according to a study published in Science by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, with CIRES and NOAA co-authors. [ NOAA Research]
- Fall season climate outlook for the nation issued -- Near the end of last week, forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released their new national Three-Month (Seasonal) Climate Outlooks for September through November 2013, corresponding to the meteorological autumn season (in the Northern Hemisphere). Specific details of their outlooks include:
- Temperature and precipitation outlooks -- According to their temperature outlook, it'll be warmer than average in northern New England, northern Midwest and northern Alaska. Their precipitation outlook calls for an above chance of rain around Montana and the Mississippi River. A summary of the prognostic discussion of the 3-month outlook for non-technical users is available from CPC. These forecasts were based in part that assuming that the current ENSO-neutral conditions (ENSO = El Niño/Southern Oscillation) should continue through the autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, where neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions should prevail. A description is also provided as how to read these 3-class, 3-month Outlook maps.
- Seasonal Drought Outlook released -- The forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center also released their US Seasonal Drought Outlook last week that would run from late-August through November 2013. Their outlook would call for the drought that engulfed half the country to remain.
Note: a Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion is included describing the forecasters' confidence.
- Atlantic Basin Primed for an Above-Normal Hurricane Season -- With five named storms already in the books this summer, the 2013 hurricane season is shaping up to be above normal, and there is a possibility that it could be very active during the peak of the season from mid-August through October. An additional 9-15 named storms are likely, of which 6-9 are predicted to become hurricanes, with 3-5 reaching major hurricane status. [NOAA Climate.]
CLIMATE IMPACTS ON THE BIOSPHERE
- Warming climate pushes plants up the mountain -- In a rare opportunity to directly compare plant communities in the same area now with a survey taken 50 years ago, a University of Arizona-led research team has provided the first on-the-ground evidence that Southwestern plants are being pushed to higher elevations by an increasingly warmer and drier climate. The findings confirm that previous hypotheses are correct in their prediction that mountain communities in the Southwest will be strongly impacted by an increasingly warmer and drier climate, and that the area is already experiencing rapid vegetation change. [EurekAlert!]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com] Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- 19 August 1939...Tuckerton, NJ received 14.81 inches of rain,
which established a 24-hour maximum precipitation record for the Garden
- 19 August 1955...Rains from tropical Storm Diane fell on ground
saturated from Tropical Storm Connie a week before. Westfield, MA
recorded 18.15 inches in 24 hours, to set a statewide record for the Bay
State, while the 24-hour precipitation record for the Nutmeg State was
set at Burlington, CT with 12.77 inches. Extreme flooding occurred in
all of New England. (Intellicast)
- 19 August 1960...The heaviest recorded 24-hour precipitation
accumulation to date for the Arctic drenched Mould Bay, Northwest
Territories with 1.88 inches of rain. (The Weather Doctor)
- 19 August 1969..."Never say die" Camille let loose a cloudburst in
Virginia resulting in flash floods and landslides that killed 151
persons and cause 140 million dollars damage. Massies Hill in Nelson
County, Virginia received an estimated 27 inches of rain in 24 hours.
This amount is an unofficial record for the state, while the official
24-hour maximum precipitation record is 14.28 inches at Williamsburg on
16 September 1999. (David Ludlum) (NCDC)
- 19 August 1986...The temperature at San Antonio, TX soared to an
all-time record high of 108 degrees. (Sandra and TI Richard Sanders
- 21 August 1983...The temperature at Fayetteville, NC soared to 110 degrees to establish a state high temperature record. (The Weather Channel)
- 21 August 1992...The earliest recorded snowfall in Edmonton, Alberta since record keeping began in 1884. (The Weather Doctor)
- 21 August 2007...Hail with diameters of up to 5.25 inches fell in southeastern South Dakota, resulting in considerable damage to roofs of buildings. The largest hailstone had a circumference of 18.00 inches and weighed 1.0 pound, which represents the largest documented hailstone in South Dakota since records began in 1950. (NCDC)
- 22 August 1816...The growing season for corn was cut short as damaging frosts were reported from North Carolina to interior New England in the "Year-without-a-Summer". (David Ludlum)
- 22 August 1976...The temperature soared to record high for Newfoundland: with a 98.1-degree reading at Botwood. (The Weather Doctor)
- 24 August 1992...Hurricane Andrew slammed into south Florida, devastating the community of Homestead with 181-mph winds. With a central pressure at landfall of 922 millibars (27.22 inches of mercury), which at the time was the third lowest ever recorded in a hurricane at landfall in the United States. Camille (1969) and the Labor Day Hurricane (1935) were more intense. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina became the third most intense landfalling hurricane with a 920-millibar pressure reading (or 27.17 in Hg) when it reached the Louisiana Gulf Coast. (The Weather Doctor)
- 25 August 1910...The temperature at Bowen, MT dropped to 5 degrees, the lowest ever for the 48 states in August. (Intellicast)
- 25 August 1940...New Jersey experienced its coldest August morning of record, with lows of 32 degrees at Layton and Charlotteburg. (The Weather Channel)
- 25 August 1987...A new record for monthly rainfall was set at Chicago when a storm brought the total to 15.73 inches erasing the previous record for any month, which had been 14.17 inches in September, 1961 (Storm Data) (Intellicast)
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2013, The American Meteorological Society.