WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
Items of Interest:
- Satellite view of Earth on the autumnal equinox and the solstices -- With the passage of the autumnal equinox last Thursday (22 September), a sequence of three true color images was produced from the data collected by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite showing a portion of the Eastern Hemisphere not only for last Thursday, but also for the 2016 summer solstice and the 2015 winter solstice. These three images are meant to show the seasonal cycle in solar illumination. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- Mosaic of New England surface temperatures seen from satellites -- An image generated from data collected from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite nearly two weeks ago shows a complex mosaic of "skin temperatures" across New England and neighboring sections of New York State, New Jersey, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The skin temperature, or radiometric surface temperature, represents the temperature immediately at the Earth's surface that is detected by a radiometer on the satellite. The image is color coded in terms of temperature and the resulting mosaic is due to the numerous surfaces ranging from cold high elevation mountains to warm heat islands and the various water bodies that include lakes, rivers and the North Atlantic Ocean with its Gulf Stream. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- September is National Preparedness Month -- The month of September has been declared National Preparedness Month (NPM), which is aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters. NPM is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which has provided a toolkit of marketing materials to help promote the month, is the lead on this campaign that was originally launched in 2004. The theme for 2016 NPM is "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today," with an emphasis on preparedness for youth, older adults, and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
During Week 5 (25-30 September), the weekly hazard-focused theme is "Lead Up to National Day of Action." [FEMA's Ready.gov]
NOAA's National Weather Service is working with FEMA to communicate the importance of emergency preparedness as a key component of its Weather-Ready Nation campaign. [NOAA Weather Ready Nation]
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2016 Campaign is underway -- The tenth in the series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2016 will continue through Saturday, 1 October. GLOBE at Night is a worldwide, hands-on science and education program designed to encourage citizen-scientists worldwide to record the brightness of their night sky by matching the appearance of a constellation (Cygnus in the Northern Hemisphere and Grus in the Southern Hemisphere) with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars.
Activity guides are also available. The GLOBE at night program is intended to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution.
The next series in the 2016 campaign is scheduled for 21-31 October 2016. [GLOBE at Night]
- Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta climatology is available -- The world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place near the beginning of each October; this year the 43th annual event will start this coming Saturday (1 October) and run through 9 October 2016. This nine-day festival involves as many as 750 hot-air balloons and is held over the Rio Grande Valley in the Albuquerque (NM) metropolitan area at this time of year because of the cool nights, sunny days and the lack of thunderstorm activity. Because of the cool autumn nights, the "Albuquerque Box" weather phenomenon occurs, which features light winds from the north near the surface draining down the Rio Grande Valley, while winds from the south aloft permit the balloons to move up and down in this box like feature so as to hover over a small geographic area. The Albuquerque National Weather Service Forecast Office has posted the Balloon Fiesta Climatology that includes the daily temperature and precipitation data for nearly each year of the event along with a further description of the "Albuquerque Box."
- End of the growing season -- If you live
in the northern portion of the country, the growing season may have
already ended as cold air masses have moved southeastward from Canada.
Check the interactive maps produced by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) that show the date of the first occurrence of 28-degree and 32-degree Fahrenheit temperature readings during this fall across the 48 coterminous United States. (Use the "Current Season Freezes" in the "Shaded Maps Menu" on left to select the desired map.) Comparison can be made with corresponding maps showing the median dates of occurrence of the first 32-degree (or 28-degree) Fahrenheit
temperatures (in the appropriate "Climatologies" sections) across the lower 48 states based upon a 30-year time series. (The median date
means that half of the occurrences of a 32-degree reading over the
30-year normal occur prior to this date, while the other half occur
after this date.) Additional other freeze-climatology maps are available including the earliest and latest dates of first autumnal freeze. Following first frost, some delightful days should
occur during October and early November in what is often called "Indian
- Start of a new water year -- On Saturday,
1 October 2016, the new water year of 2017 will begin. As defined by the US
Geological Survey and used by hydrologists in reports dealing with
surface water supply, the "water year" is defined as the 12 months
commencing on 1 October of any given year and ends on 30 September of
the following year. The water year is designated by the calendar year
in which it ends, such that the 2017 water year runs through 30
- High-quality maps of October temperature and precipitation normals across US available -- The PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University's website has prepared high-resolution maps depicting the normal maximum, minimum and precipitation totals for October across the 48 coterminous United States for the current 1981-2010 climate normals interval. These maps, with a 800-meter resolution, were produced using the PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model) climate mapping system.
- October weather calendar for a city near you -- The Midwestern Regional Climate Center maintains an interactive website that permits the public to produce a ready to print weather calendar for any given month of the year, such as October, at any of approximately 270 weather stations around the nation. (These stations are NOAA's ThreadEx stations.) The entries for each day of the month includes: Normal maximum temperature, normal minimum temperature, normal daily heating and cooling degree days, normal daily precipitation, record maximum temperature, record minimum temperature, and record daily precipitation; the current normals for 1981-2010.
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the Tropics -- Tropical cyclone activity continued in the Atlantic and Pacific basins of the Northern Hemisphere during the last week:
- In the North Atlantic basin, Tropical Depression Julia became a remnant low approximately 110 miles to the south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, SC at the start of last week as it interacted with a midlatitude cold front. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite images on Tropical Storm Julia.
Tropical Storm Karl was traveling to the west and west-northwest toward the Leeward Islands at the beginning of last week. By midweek, Karl began a gradual curve toward the northwest then north, passing approximately 60 miles to the east of Bermuda Saturday morning. As of midday on Sunday, Tropical Storm Karl became a post-tropical low as it traveled quickly to the northeast across the North Atlantic approximately 535 miles to the south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Consult the NASA Hurricane Page for satellite imagery and information on Tropical Storm Karl.
A tropical depression formed at the start of last week to the west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, which eventually became Tropical Storm Lisa, the twelfth named Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2016. During the week, this minimal tropical cyclone traveled toward the northwest across the central North Atlantic. By late Friday (local time), Lisa had weakened to become a tropical depression. As of early Sunday morning Tropical Depression Lisa had begun dissipating approximately 1165 miles to the southwest of the Azores. Additional information and satellite imagery are available from the NASA Hurricane Page on Tropical Storm Lisa.
- In the eastern North Pacific basin, Tropical Storm Paine became the ninth hurricane of 2016 in the basin early Monday morning of last week as it was located approximately 340 miles to the west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. Traveling toward the north-northwest and then north, Paine remained a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale for a little less than 24 hours before weakening to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon. As of Tuesday evening Tropical Depression Paine had become a remnant low and dissipated approximately 85 miles to the west of Punta Eugenia, Mexico. Satellite images and additional information on Hurricane Paine can be found on the NASA Hurricane Page.
Tropical Depression 18E formed approximately 815 miles to the southwest of
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Sunday morning. As of mid afternoon this system was traveling toward the north. Forecasts indicate that TD 18E could develop into Tropical Storm Roslyn on Monday as it would curve toward the north-northeast.
- In the western North Pacific basin,
Typhoon Malakas, a category 4 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, traveled toward the northeast making initial landfall on the Japanese island of Kyushu on Monday (local time). Accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain, Weakening rapidly, Malakas continued along the southeastern coast of Japan's largest island of Honshu. Additional information and satellite images are available on the NASA Hurricane Page for Typhoon Malakas.
A tropical depression strengthened to become Tropical Storm Megi approximately 1100 miles to the east-southeast of Taiwan at the end of last week as it turned to take a track toward the west-northwest. Over the weekend Megi became a typhoon. By Monday afternoon (local time), Typhoon Megi had become a category 2 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. At that time Megi was located approximately 400 miles to the south of Okinawa. The NASA Hurricane Page has a satellite image and some information on Tropical Storm Megi.
- Review of August 2016 (and seasonal) weather and climate for the globe -- Preliminary data analyzed by scientists at
NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) indicated:
- The global
combined land and ocean average surface temperature for August 2016 was 1.66 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average (1901-2000) for
the month, which makes last month the warmest August since a sufficiently dense network of global temperature
records began in 1880. When considered separately, the land surface surface temperature for this recently concluded month also was
the highest August temperature in the 137-year record, with a monthly temperature that was approximately 1.29 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average; the August 2016 land surface temperature was 0.34 Fahrenheit degrees above the previous August record set last year. The monthly
temperature departure of the ocean
surface was 1.39 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average, which was the second highest August temperature on record, slightly (0.04 Fahrenheit degrees) behind the record August temperature that was set one year ago. ENSO neutral conditions prevailed during August 2016 even though sea surface temperatures were below-average across the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
- A global map of Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for August 2016 is available from NCEI.
- During the last three months, which constitutes meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere and meteorological winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the
combined global land and ocean average temperature for 2016 was 1.60 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average, which also was the highest for this three-month period
since 1880, being 0.07 Fahrenheit degrees above the previous record set one year ago. The June-August 2016 temperatures for both the ocean and land, when considered separately, were highest for any boreal summer in the last 137 years.
- According to data provided by
the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) , the average August Arctic sea ice extent in the Northern Hemisphere was approximately 23.1 percent below the 1981–2010 average, making it the fourth smallest August Arctic sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979. In the Southern Hemisphere, the August 2016 Antarctic sea ice extent was the 19th largest August extent in the 38-year record.
State of the Climate]
- Animations made of ENSO forecasts -- A blog was written in the ClimateWatch Magazine by a staff member of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center that included animations of the North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecasts of ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) since early 2015. She noted that the El Niño event of 2015-16 grew rapidly as forecast, but that the La Niña event that had been forecast during this past spring and summer has not developed and its forecast appears to be shrinking. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Major winter storms affecting British Isles to be named -- During the last week the United Kingdom Met Office announced that the UK's national weather, along with its partner Met Éireann (the Irish National Meteorological Service), will name storms approaching the British Isles that appear to be accompanied by a serious threat of strong winds or heavy precipitation beginning in October and continuing through winter. Naming winter storms commenced last year as a pilot project and assignment of given names to storms appeared to result in a better reception of weather warnings by the public. This year, the public will be consulted for suggested storm names. [UK Met Office]
- Power grid across Upper Midwest appears vulnerable to geomagnetic storms -- In a report prepared by scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and other governmental agencies, a strong to severe geomagnetic storm could trigger surges in electrical currents that are 100 times more powerful across sections of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin than elsewhere across the nation. These surges in electric currents could disrupt and damage the power grid across a large area. [Weather.com] and [USGS News]
- Two new world lightning extremes announced -- During the last week, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced two new lightning extreme events determined by a WMO committee of experts: the longest reported distance of a lightning stroke of approximately 200 miles across the Oklahoma skies in 2007 and the longest reported duration for a single continuous lightning flash of 7.74 sections in southern France in 2012. [WMO's World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive – Arizona State University]
- A cleared Northwest Passage detected from space -- Images made from sensors onboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite in early August 2016 revealed ice-free channels representing both the southern and northern routes of the famous Northwest Passage between islands of the Canadian Archipelago. The Northwest Passage, which has been sought by explorers for centuries, is a sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through sections of the Arctic Ocean. Until the last few decades, ice covered the waters of the Northwest Passage, making it impassable. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- An in-depth feature on sea ice -- NASA Earth Observatory has a feature article that provides a detailed description of how sea ice is formed, how sea ice plays a fundamental role in polar ecosystems, the sea ice life cycle and the monitoring of sea ice over decades in both the Arctic and Antarctic. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Aerial surveys made of Greenland's lesser-known glaciers -- A collection of aerial images was made of Greenland glaciers by scientists and crew participating in this year's edition of NASA's Operation IceBridge campaign that is designed to make annual aerial surveys of polar ice in the Arctic basin. These images were obtained in early September from a high-resolution digital camera installed under the HU-25A Guardian aircraft. [NASA Earth Observatory]
Maps are being generated of the undersides of several of Greenland's outlet glaciers by researchers involved with NASA's Operation IceBridge mission who used airborne radar to study the geometry of Greenland’s glacier valleys. [NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System Earthdata]
- Tethered balloon used to track winter ozone production in Utah -- Over the last several winters, NOAA researchers have been obtaining ozone concentration data in the lower atmosphere from a "tethersonde," or an instrumented weather balloon attached to a cable anchored to the ground, in order to track near-surface ozone production in eastern Utah's Uinta Basin. Sunlight can convert emissions from oil and gas emissions into harmful ground-level ozone. The instrument onboard the tethersonde makes measurements at various levels in the atmosphere as the tethered balloon is alternately raised and lowered by a winch. [NOAA Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research News]
- Food security report receives a top award from Ag Department -- A comprehensive report entitled "Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the US Food System" written by 32 experts from 19 federal, academic, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations in the United States, Argentina, Britain, and Thailand warning of the impacts of climate change on the world's food security has won the 2016 Abraham Lincoln Honor Award, considered to be the top US Department of Agriculture (USDA) award. The researchers claim that higher temperatures and altered precipitation patterns can threaten food production, disrupt transportation systems and degrade food safety. Furthermore, the world's poor and those living in tropical regions are particularly vulnerable. [UCAR/NCAR AtmosNews]
- Biocrust 3 Conference to determine how living desert surface affects Southwestern deserts and globe's drylands -- During this week (26-30 September) scientists from 21 countries will meet at the Third International Workshop on Biological Soil Crusts, or BIOCRUST 3 Conference, in Moab, UT to discuss how the living skin of the desert, called biological soil crusts (biocrusts), is critical to climate and ecosystem health in the Southwest US and other dryland areas around the world. [USGS News]
- Perception of changing climate varies among generations in subarctic Alaska -- Researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and their partners recently reported on the results compiled from their interviews conducted in four rural indigenous communities across subarctic Alaska. Their results illustrate that while the residents in these communities agreed that the climate was changing across the region, the magnitude of these changes were perceived differently among different generations of respondents in these communities. The older participants, who had observed more overall change, viewed the observed changes in winter temperatures and snowfall as being outside of normal weather variability, while the younger respondents felt that weather is always variable. [USGS News]
- Impacts of hurricane-generated storm surge identified -- The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) has produced an informational webpage entitled "The Empowered Storm Surge" that investigates the vulnerability of the nation's coastal areas to storm surges that are generated by tropical cyclones. A map is provided that shows the locations of the 13 airports across the nation that are vulnerable to storm surge because of their low elevations. [National Environmental Education Foundation]
- An All-Hazards Monitor-- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA's National Weather Service, FAA and FEMA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
floods. [NOAA/NWS Daily Briefing]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2016, The American Meteorological Society.