WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
14-18 August 2017
Items of Interest:
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2017 Campaign commences -- The eighth in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2017 will commence this Monday (14 August) and continue through Wednesday, 23 August. 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 (Hercules in the Northern Hemisphere and Sagittarius 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 2017 campaign is scheduled for 12-21 September 2017. [GLOBE at Night]
- State of the Climate in 2016 report indicates record warm year -- During this past week NOAA scientists and their colleagues released a 298-page report entitled State of the Climate in 2016.
This peer-reviewed study, compiled by more than 450 scientists from 60 countries, was based upon their examination of trends in temperature and precipitation, extreme weather and climate events, increases in greenhouse gas concentrations and changes in the polar sea ice around the world in 2016.
The report contained the following key points:
The study, which represents the 27th annual report by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, is available publicly and is published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. [NOAA NCEI News]
- The atmospheric concentrations of the major greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) were the highest on record.
- The global surface temperature for 2016 was the highest on record and marked the third consecutive year for a record high. This record high temperature was aided by a strong El Niño early in the year.
- The globally averaged lower tropospheric temperature was the highest on record.
- The globally averaged sea surface temperature for the year was the highest on record.
- The global upper ocean heat content in the top 700 meters of the ocean was slightly less than the record high set in 2015.
- The global sea level for the year was the highest on record, marking the sixth consecutive year of an increase of global sea level.
- Extremes were observed in the water cycle and in the variability of precipitation around the globe.
- The Arctic continued to warm and the Arctic sea ice extent remained low.
- The waters around Antarctic experienced record low sea ice extent.
- Global ice and snow cover declined during 2016.
- The number of tropical cyclones across all ocean basins in 2016 was well above average overall.
- Collecting global sea level data from space reaches 25 years -- The 25th anniversary of the launch of the NASA/CNES Topex-Poseidon satellite was celebrated last week. This first major oceanographic research satellite, which was a joint venture between NASA and France's space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), measured ocean surface topography to an accuracy of 4.2 cm from 1992 to 2006. Three successors, named Jason 1 (2001-2013), Jason 2 (2008-current) and Jason 3 (2016-current), have continuously mapped global ocean currents and tides through the present time. Data from these satellites have been used to create a 25-year time series of the changes in global sea level and to monitor El Niño and La Niña events. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Feature]
- Count down to the "Great North American Eclipse" -- The "Great North American Eclipse" is set to occur at the start of next week (21 August 2017), when the moon will pass in front of the Sun and create a total solar eclipse that will travel across the North American continent from Oregon on the Pacific Coast to South Carolina on the Atlantic Coast.
- NASA is funding several science teams to conduct scientific experiments during the solar eclipse. Eleven ground-based science investigations will be conducted across the nation, with three looking at the response of the ionosphere (the ionized layer of the Earth's atmosphere at altitudes between 50 and 400 miles above the surface).
[NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- NASA and the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) Program are encouraging the public to make observations of the atmosphere on the day of the total solar eclipse as the eclipse path passes from west to east across the nation. The public is invited to make observations of the clouds (type and amount of cover) and air temperature and then post their results using a special GLOBE Observer app. [Globe Observer]
NASA has provided five tips for photographing the total eclipse.
[NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- The National Weather Service has an informative webpage entitled "2017 Total Solar Eclipse" http://www.weather.gov/source/crh/eclipse.html that contains an interactive map allowing the user to obtain up to seven-day weather forecasts along the eclipse path (beginning on 15 August).
- Follow the recommended eclipse viewing safety rules provided on the NOAA and NASA websites to protect your eyes from potential damage. EJH
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics --- During the last week tropical cyclones were reported in the North Atlantic basin, along with both the eastern and western sections of the North Pacific Ocean:
- In the North Atlantic Basin, Tropical Storm Franklin formed late Sunday evening in the northwestern Caribbean, approximately 100 miles off the Nicaragua-Honduras border.
On Monday, Franklin traveled to the northwest and west-northwest across the northwestern Caribbean toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula before making landfall along the coast near Pulticub, Mexico late Monday night.
On Tuesday, Franklin continued its travels to the west-northwest across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, emerging over the waters of the Bay of Campeche approximately 40 miles to the northwest of Campeche, Mexico on Tuesday evening. Moving out across the Bay of Campeche and the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, Tropical Storm Franklin intensified to become the North Atlantic basin's first hurricane of 2017 by late Wednesday afternoon as maximum sustained near-surface winds exceeded 75 mph. At that time, Hurricane Franklin was approximately 105 miles to the northeast of Veracruz, Mexico. Early Thursday morning the central eye of Franklin made landfall along the coast of Mexico's state of Veracruz as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Traveling inland, Franklin weakened rapidly to a tropical storm and then to a remnant low as it encountered the mountainous terrain of eastern Mexico. Torrential rains and strong winds accompanied Franklin as it moved onshore.
Consult the NASA Hurricane Page for satellite images and additional information on Hurricane Franklin.
Tropical Depression 8 (TD-8) formed late Saturday night over the waters of the western North Atlantic approximately 260 miles to the northeast of the southeastern Bahama Islands. On Sunday TD-8 traveled toward the north-northwest and began to organize. As of late Sunday afternoon, this depression had become Tropical Storm Gert, the seventh named tropical cyclone of 2017 in the North Atlantic basin. At that time, Tropical Storm Gert was moving to the north-northwest as it was located approximately 500 miles to the west-southwest of Bermuda. Gert was forecast to continue strengthening on Monday and Tuesday as it would gradually curve toward the north and then to the northeast-northeast.
- In the eastern North Pacific basin, Tropical Storm Jova formed off the western coast of Mexico last Friday evening from what appeared to be the remnants of the North Atlantic's former Hurricane Franklin. Although the mountains in Mexico to the east of Mexico City had disrupted the near-surface circulation of former Hurricane Franklin as it moved onshore, a rotating circulation feature in the mid-troposphere (approximately 18,000 feet altitude) accompanied by residual moisture continued to travel westward across the mountains of Mexico and reach the eastern North Pacific. The system reformed as Tropical Storm Jova, the tenth named tropical cyclone of 2017 in the eastern Pacific. At that time, Jova was approximately 250 miles to the south of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. Passing approximately 90 miles to the north of Mexico's Socorro Island on Saturday, Tropical Storm Jova headed generally westward and weakened to a tropical depression by Saturday afternoon. As of Sunday afternoon, Tropical Depression Jova was located approximately 580 miles to the west-northwest of Socorro Island. This tropical depression was expected to become a remnant low by late Sunday evening and then dissipate early in the week.
- In the western North Pacific basin, the fourteen-tropical cyclone, identified as Tropical Depression 14W (TD-14W) formed late last week near Wake Island. This depression rapidly strengthened to become Typhoon Banyan over the weekend. As of late Sunday (local time),
Banyan, a category 2 typhoon (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale), was located approximately 250 miles to the northwest of Wake Island. Current forecasts indicate that Banyan should slowly curve toward the north-northwest and then to the northeast over the first half of this week, taking a projected track that will be well away from any large islands in the western North Pacific.
The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information on TD-14W, which became Typhoon Banyan.
- July 2017 weather and climate for the nation reviewed -- Scientists at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) recently reported on their analysis of preliminary weather data collected during the month of July 2017. The average temperature for the contiguous US during July was 75.7 degrees F, or 2.1 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th century (1901-2000) average. Therefore, July 2017 was the tenth warmest July since comprehensive nationwide temperature records began in 1895. Above to much above-average July temperatures were reported across the majority of the 48 contiguous states, with only 16 states scattered across the Mid-South, the Midwest and the Northeast experiencing near-average temperatures. Across the West, eight states (California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming) reported statewide average temperatures that ranked in the top ten highest on record for their respective states. Similarly, Florida in the Southeast had its seventh highest July average temperature over the last 123 years.
The nationally-averaged July precipitation total across the contiguous United States was 2.74 inches (or 0.04 inches above the 20th century average), which made July 2017 the 69th wettest (or 55th driest) July in the 123-year record. Many of the states in the northwestern quadrant of the nation below to much below-average precipitation. Montana, North Dakota and Washington had statewide July precipitation totals that ranked in the lowest eleven in the last 123 years. On the other hand, states across the Four Corners area of the Southwest, the South Central States, the Midwest and the Middle Atlantic reported above to much above-average July rainfall. Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania experienced statewide July precipitation totals that ranked in the top ten over the 123-year period of record. [NOAA NCEI State of the Climate]
NOTE: A description is provided of the climatological rankings employed by NCEI for their monthly and seasonal maps. [NOAA/NCEI]
- Death Valley could have recorded all-time highest monthly average temperature for world in July -- According to preliminary analysis, the cooperative weather observing station in Death Valley recorded an average temperature for July 2017 of 107.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or degrees 41.9 degrees Celsius), which could represent the highest monthly average temperature ever recorded on Earth. For comparison, the normal monthly average July temperature in Death Valley is 102.2 degrees. During July 2017, the highest temperature was 127 degrees and the lowest temperature was 89 degrees. However, this new world record monthly average temperature for Death Valley has been challenged by the report that King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia reported a 107.44-degree Fahrenheit average temperature for August 2014. Further review of the records is pending. [Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang News]
- Pacific Northwest scorched by recent heat wave -- A meteorologist with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center wrote a feature for the ClimateWatch Magazine that describes the recent heat wave across the Pacific Northwest that saw temperatures approaching all-time record highs for many locations across the region. Essentially all of these temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Updated 2017 NOAA Atlantic hurricane outlook is released -- Forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their updated Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook for 2017, which increased the number of predicted named tropical cyclones for the North Atlantic Basin (including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico) from their initial seasonal outlook that they made in May. Specifically, they are now predicting a 60-percent chance of 14–19 named tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms with sustained surface winds of at least 39 mph), as compared with their earlier outlook of a 45-percent chance of 11 to 17 named systems. They also currently envision between five and nine hurricanes (with maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or higher) along with two to five major hurricanes (Category 3 hurricanes or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale with winds of at least 111 mph), which represent slight increases in their earlier forecasts of two to four major hurricanes, while maintaining their earlier outlooks for five to nine hurricanes. At the same time, the CPC forecasters lowered the chances of a below-average season to 10 percent from the earlier 20 percent. These new projections indicate their expectation of a high probability of an above-average hurricane season, as long-term statistics show that an average Atlantic season consists of 12 named tropical cyclones and the six hurricanes that normally form during each year. Three of these hurricanes typically become major hurricanes.
The CPC forecasters claim that the increased likelihood of above average tropical cyclone activity across the Atlantic basin is due to several factors that include more favorable atmospheric conditions along with the marked reduction in the chances for the development of an El Niño event during the next several months during the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. In addition, sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean are also higher. As of the early August,
the Atlantic basin has had five tropical storms (Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don and Emily) and one hurricane (Franklin) during 2017. in the North Atlantic basin (that includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico). [NOAA News]
An updated Atlantic hurricane forecast was issued by Dr. Philip Klotzbach and associates at Colorado State University one week ago in which they predicted a total of 16 named tropical cyclones for the entire 2017 season, including eight hurricanes. The forecasters also anticipated three major hurricanes and an above-average probability of at least one major hurricane landfall along the coasts of the continental United States and the islands in the Caribbean. [The Tropical Meteorology Project]
- Archive of historical radar data available on Google Cloud Storage -- NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the technology company Google have formed a partnership in which the historical archive and near real-time Level-II data obtained from NOAA's Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) will be available to the public from the company's Google Cloud Storage, an online data storage and access service. NEXRAD Level-II data, which have been received from 160 radar sites operated by the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense since 1991, consist of the basic size, shape, and motion of raindrops, hail or debris detected in the atmosphere by each NEXRAD radar. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Winter storm risk and resilience in Northeast are analyzed in view of a changing climate -- Researchers with Columbia University's Earth Institute and colleagues recently reported on their analysis of the risks and economic effects that midlatitude winter storms have upon dense populations across the Northeast in view of changing climate conditions. They analyzed winter storms that affected the tri-state New York City metropolitan area between 2001 and 2014, using the storms' wind, precipitation, storm tide and snow depth to evaluate the strongest 20 storms for that period. [Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory News]
- Earliest traverse of the Northwest Passage in the Arctic made in July by an ice breaker -- During the month of July 2017, the Finnish Ice Breaker MSV Nordica set a new record for the earliest transit time through the Arctic Northwest Passage, as it cut a path from Alaska to Greenland through the fabled passage across northern Canada over a period of just 24 days this summer. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- "Hot spots" of sea level rise found along the Southeast Coast -- University of Florida researchers recently have found that "hot spots" for rapid sea level rise off the Southeast Coast of the US are associated with two large-scale atmospheric patterns, El Niño and the Northern Oscillation (NAO) combining to cause sea water to pile up and inundate coastal areas over recent years. Sea levels in these hot spots have risen at a rate approximately six times greater than the global average between 2011 and 2015. Researchers warn that while the hot spots may move and cause flooding in the area to slow temporarily, communities on the coast must still prepare for longer-term sea level rise. [University of Florida 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 RealTime Weather Portal
Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.