WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
Items of Interest:
- Planet Earth viewed in a different light from space -- On Earth Day 2016, the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory produced a portrait of planet Earth using near-infrared and shortwave infrared radiation from the sensor onboard the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) sensor onboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite. The colors appearing in this satellite image indicate temperatures of clouds and the planet's surface. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory ]
- Celebrating five successes on Earth Day 2016 -- A feature appearing on the Climate.gov website highlights five big successes that have occurred in the 46 years since the first Earth Day in 1970: Expansion of marine protected areas; cleaner air; cleaner waterways; better prediction of extreme events and progress made in reducing overfishing. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Becoming AWARE -- During this coming week (26-30 April 2016), Severe/Hazardous Weather Awareness Week will be observed in the states across the Northeast that include the six New England States (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware and in the northern Plains (North Dakota and South Dakota). If you live in any of these states, you should take time to become familiar with the various public affairs announcements issued by your local National Weather Service Office.
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2016 Campaign resumes -- The fifth in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2016 will commence on Friday (29 April) and continue through 8 May. 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 (Leo in the Northern Hemisphere and Crux 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 29 May-7 June 2016. [GLOBE at Night]
- National Science Bowl set for next weekend -- The
US Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl®, a nationwide
academic competition for middle and high school students will be held
through next weekend (28 April -2 May 2016) in Washington, DC. This event
will test students' knowledge in all areas of science and is meant to
encourage high school students to excel in science and math and to
pursue careers in those fields. [DOE Office of Science]
- Celebrating National Arbor Day -- This coming Friday, 29 April 2016, many locations across
the nation will celebrate Arbor Day, a day when the planting of trees
is encouraged. Arbor Day was originally proposed in 1872 by J. Sterling
Morton, Nebraska's first newspaper editor, and continues to be most
often celebrated by individual states on the last Friday in April.
However, since planting conditions vary greatly due to the state's
climate it may occur from September to May. In Arkansas, Arbor Day is
celebrated on the third Monday in March, but in Alaska, the date is the
third Monday in May. For your state's observance (and name of the
official state tree), please consult the National Arbor Day
- Between equinox and solstice -- Next Sunday (1 May 2016) will be May Day, which had its
origins as a great Celtic festival Beltane. This date is close to the
traditional "cross quarter" day, roughly halfway between the vernal
equinox (20 March 2016) and the summer solstice (20 June 2016). (Note
that Thursday 5 May 2016 is closer to the halfway point between the
equinox and solstice. EJH)
- K-12 education grants available for weather education -- The National Weather Association has announced that K-12 educators may submit an application to receive funding through the Sol Hirsch Education Fund Grants for the 2016-2017 school year. The educators would need to propose ways that they can improve the education of their K-12 students in meteorology. Applications will be accepted through 3 June 2016. Form more information or submission of applications, go to http://www.nwas.org/grants/solhirsch.php.
Weather and Climate News items:
- Eye on the tropics --- Tropical cyclone activity during the last week was found in the South Indian and western South Pacific basins:
- In the Southern Indian Ocean basin, Cyclone Fantala strengthened to a major category 5 cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as maximum sustained surface winds reached 170 mph at the start of last week as it traveled toward the west-northwest just before reversing direction. Fantala brought strong winds, high seas and heavy rain to northern sections of Madagascar. By the end of the week, Fantala had weakened as it continued traveling to the southeast. As of Sunday, Fantala had diminished to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression approximately approximately 725 miles to the north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius. Check the NASA Hurricane Page for additional information and satellite images on
- In the South Pacific Ocean basin, a tropical depression formed by the midpoint of last week to the northeast of Fiji. Eventually this system formed Tropical Cyclone Amos as it traveled generally toward the east. Becoming a category 1 cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, Amos brought strong winds, high seas and heavy rain to American Samoa over the weekend.
As of late Sunday (local time), Amos was weakening as it traveled eastward approximately
90 miles east-northeast of Pago Pago.
Satellite images and additional information on
Cyclone Amos are found on the NASA Hurricane Page.
- Legendary hurricane scientist passes -- Professor emeritus William (Bill) Gray of Colorado State University, who began seasonal forecasts of Atlantic hurricane activities in the 1980s, passed away one week ago this last Saturday, just a few days after his protégé Phil Klotzbach issued the 2016 Extended-range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability. [Washington Post Capital Weather Gang]
- Spring comes to interior Alaska -- The ice on the Tanana River at Nenana officially went out on the afternoon of Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 3:39 PM (Alaska Standard Time). This date represents the fifth earliest breakup on record in the famous 100-year old Nenana Ice Classic. The earliest breakup occurred on 20 April 1998, while the latest breakup on record was on 20 May 2013. The median date for ice-breakup is 5 May. [Nenana Ice Classic] The jackpot for this year's annual Nenana Ice Classic of $300,000 was to be shared by several winners who had not been identified as of this weekend.
[Alaska Dispatch News]
NOTE: A graph of the date of ice-out for each year since the Classic was started in 1917 has been plotted by this editor. EJH
- Timeline for 2011 tornado outbreaks highlighted on 5th anniversary -- The National Weather Service has assembled a timeline of the six separate tornado outbreaks that pummeled a wide section of the nation beginning in early April 2015 and continuing through late May 2015. These tornado outbreaks, which affected the central Plains, the Midwest, the Southeast and the Northeast, contained 1691 tornadoes and resulted in 553 fatalities. The loss of life resulted in NOAA developing its Weather-Ready Nation initiative. [NOAA Weather-Ready Nation]
- National Weather Service to stop using all capital letters in its forecasts -- Beginning in mid May, the National Weather Service will use mixed-case characters in its forecasts, dropping the traditional all capital characters that were a carry-over from the teletype era. Today, use of all capital letters has become synonymous with angry shouting in email messages and on the Internet. [NOAA News]
- Record flooding in Houston metropolitan area from torrential rain-- Recent heavy and persistent rainfall along the upper Texas Gulf Coast created flooding of many of the creeks, reservoirs and bayous in the Houston (TX) metropolitan area. The flooding was responsible for at least eight people drowning in submerged vehicles. Emergency responders made 1800 swift water rescues. [NOAA News]
- Review of global weather and climate for March 2016 -- Using preliminary data collected from the global network of surface weather stations, scientists at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information have determined that the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for March 2016 was the highest for any March since sufficiently detailed global climate records
began in 1880. This global temperature for March 2016 was 1.22 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th
century (1901-2000) average. Furthermore, the global temperature departure for March 2016 from the long-term average was the largest for any month during the 137-year period of record, continuing the trend of eleven consecutive months when an all-time monthly temperature record has been broken.
When considered separately,
the average land temperature for March 2016 was the highest for any March since
1880. Likewise, last month's average temperature over the oceans was the highest for
March. Although the historic El Niño event was showing signs of weakening, the event was helping maintain above average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific.
The researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center noted the areal extent of the Arctic sea ice
reached its annual maximum extent near the end of the third week of March. The areal extent of this sea ice for March 2016 was
the second smallest since satellite surveillance began in 1979, being slightly larger than the record smallest extent set in March 2015. Conversely, the extent of the Antarctic sea ice was the 14th largest
in the 38-season record. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for March was the second smallest in the 50-year period of record. [NOAA/NCEI
State of the Climate] A global map of Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for March 2016 is available from NCDC.
- Explaining the occurrence of drought in western tropical Pacific -- The drought conditions that have developed across a large section of the western Pacific Ocean and many of the islands of Oceania during the last several months appear to be the result of the El Niño event that resulted in a shift in the east-west oriented Walker Circulation in the equatorial atmosphere. Some of the island nations experiencing the most drought have been Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Ten years of cloud observations made by CALIPSO satellite -- This coming week marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) satellite. This satellite, which is a joint mission between NASA and France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), has been collecting data on the vertical structure and properties of clouds and aerosols using its onboard lasers. Data collected by CALIPSO are combined with data obtained by other NASA satellites orbiting Earth in the A-Train constellation that include CLoudSat Aqua, Aura, Global Change Observation Mission-Water (GCOM-W) and Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2.
- New Seasonal Climate Outlooks released -- During the last week, forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center
(CPC) released their Three-Month (Seasonal) Climate Outlooks for the
three-months running from May through July 2016, which contains the
last month of meteorological spring and the first two months of two months of
meteorological summer. Specific details of their outlooks include:
- Temperature and precipitation outlooks -- According to their temperature outlook, the majority (40) of the 48 contiguous United States should experience a high chance of above average temperatures for these three upcoming months, with the greatest probability of such an occurrence along the Pacific Coast running southern California north to Washington and along the Atlantic Coast, primarily from the Carolinas northward to northern New England. Above average temperatures appear to be likely across the Southeast, primarily over the Florida Peninsula. Only sections of the central and southern Plains along with the southern Rockies were expected to have near equal chances of warmer or cooler than normal conditions.
Their precipitation outlook calls for better than even chances of dry conditions for May through July 2016 across northern sections of the Great Lakes States centered on Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin appearing to have the highest chance of drier than average weather conditions. Conversely, many states across southern and western sections of the nation were expected to have a better than even chance of having above average precipitation. This region extends from central and northern California eastward and southward to the coast of the Carolinas and the Florida Peninsula. The region with the highest probability of above precipitation would be centered on the central Rockies and the Four Corners area (Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico). The rest of the contiguous United States should have equal chances of below and above average precipitation for late spring and early summer. [NOAA Climate Prediction Center] Outlooks for May are also available. A summary of the prognostic discussion of the outlook for non-technical users is available from CPC. These forecasts were based in part upon the continued weakening of El Niño conditions across the equatorial Pacific followed by a transition to ENSO-neutral conditions by late meteorological spring and into early summer 2016 in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Seasonal Drought Outlook released -- The
forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center also released their US
Seasonal Drought Outlook that would run from mid April
through July 2016 in which drought conditions were expected to persist across many of the Western States, especially across most of California, southeastern Oregon and western Nevada, as well as across sections of the Southwest that include southern sections of Arizonan and New Mexico. Improvement in drought conditions was expected across the central and northern Plains, along with sections of the Great Basin. Most of these areas could be removed from drought consideration. Note: a Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion is included describing the forecasters' confidence.
- Counting the ways weather and climate influence human health and behavior -- An article appearing in the Huffington Post has identified "11 crazy ways the weather influences your health and behavior." In addition to the obvious affects of temperature, extreme weather can lead to psychological problems, rain can make allergies worse, sun or the lack thereof can affect mood, summer can lower blood pressure. [Huffington Post]
- New seafloor maps chart melt risks from Greenland glaciers -- A team of researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a variety of other research institutions have combined seafloor data from shipboard surveys of the several fjords in west Greenland between 2007 and 2014 with related data collected from NASA's Operation Icebridge and the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellites to generate comprehensive maps of the ocean floor around 14 Greenland glaciers. According to these new maps, the research team warns that many of these large Greenland glaciers are at a greater risk of melting from below than previously thought, which would affect the predicted rise in global sea level. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
- 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]
Return to DataStreme Atmosphere RealTime Weather Portal
Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2016, The American Meteorological Society.