WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
5-9 December 2016
DataStreme Atmosphere will return for Spring 2017 with new Investigations files starting during Preview Week, Monday, 23 January 2017. All the current online website products, including
updated issues of Weekly Weather and Climate News, will
continue to be available throughout the winter break period.
Items of Interest:
- NOAA's Climate Stewards Education Project Webinar features assessment of climate change impacts on food safety -- The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project (CSEP) has arranged to have Dr. Marianne Fatica, Consumer Safety Officer at the US Food and Drug Administration, as this month's featured speaker in its Webinar that is scheduled for Monday, 5 December, at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. Dr. Fatica's topic is "Weathering Food Safety: Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Our Food." Since space is limited, reservations are needed to be made. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching Climate Feature]
- Winter Awareness -- Georgia and South Carolina will observe their Winter Awareness Weeks during the upcoming week (4-10 December). Residents of these states should review the winter weather safety rules issued by their local National Weather Service Offices.
- Role of weather in the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 -- Although the weather at Pearl Harbor on the leeward side of Hawaii's Island of Oahu on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, was relatively pleasant when the US Navy base was attacked by Japanese aircraft and submarines, the weather did play a role during the days preceding the attack. Six Japanese aircraft carriers left Japan's Kure Naval Base in late November 1941 and travelled essentially undetected across the western North Pacific under the cover of unsettled weather associated with several large storms moving across the Aleutians and the Bering Sea that had cold fronts trailing to the southwest across the North Pacific. One of the storms did scatter the ships over several hundred miles, but did regroup with minimal use of radio communication. The Japanese carrier fleet came to a staging point within 275 miles north of Hawaii, where they launched their attack aircraft early Sunday morning. When the two waves of more than 350 aircraft took off from the carriers in the predawn darkness, strong winds were helping produce rough seas. These aircraft flew through and above a thick deck of low clouds until reaching the leeward side of Oahu, where the skies cleared because of the light northeasterly trade winds descending the slopes of the mountain range. The pilots used the local radio stations
The weather also played a role in the planning, as the Japanese government sent codes to their overseas diplomats using
bogus weather reports involving wind directions to announce which countries with which it was cutting diplomatic ties.
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics --- Tropical cyclone
activity was extremely limited last week:
- In the western North Pacific basin, Tropical Storm Tokage began breaking apart at the start of the week as it traveled across the South China Sea west of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite images on Tropical Storm Tokage.
- In the North Indian Ocean basin, Tropical Storm Nada formed early last week over the Bay of Bengal to the east of Sri Lanka. Over the following two days this minimal tropical storm traveled generally to the west-northwest toward the coast of southeastern India. Nada began to break apart just before landfall on the Indian coast. Consult the NASA Hurricane Page has satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Nada.
- Additional summaries of 2016 hurricane seasons in North Atlantic and the eastern and central North Pacific basins -- After the end of the official 2016 hurricane season in the North Atlantic, eastern North Pacific and central North Pacific basins last Wednesday (30 November 2016), NOAA scientists issued their preliminary assessment of this hurricane season in all three basins, stating that all three basins experienced above-normal seasons. They noted that for the first time since 2012. the Atlantic basin experienced above average tropical cyclone activity in 2016, as five tropical systems made landfall along the US coasts. [NOAA News]
The forecast team at Colorado State University released their summary of the tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic basin during 2016 along with a verification of their long-range seasonal and two-week forecasts. [Tropical Meteorological Project]
- Florida airport is awarded a 10-year lease to house NOAA aircraft and operations center -- During the last week NOAA announced that it awarded a 10-year lease to the city of Lakeland in the central Florida Peninsula to house the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The city will provide an aircraft hangar and office space for the AOC, the the main base for NOAA's fleet of nine specialized environmental data-gathering aircraft, including the agency's three "hurricane hunter" planes. [NOAA News]
- Space Station instrument to monitor ocean winds concludes its mission -- Early last week NASA officials decided to terminate operations on the International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat) Earth science instrument, following attempts to revive the instrument after a power issue that developed during the last three months. ISS-RapidScat was placed on the outside of the orbiting International Space Station in September 2014 and outlasted its original decommission date as it made measurements of wind speed and wind direction over the ocean surface using microwave radiation emitted from the instrument's radar from an altitude of approximately 250 miles above the oceans. The data collected by ISS-RapidScat were used operationally by various meteorological agencies around the world to monitor tropical cyclones and for making weather and marine forecasts. [NASA Mission Pages]
- Late November deadly tornadic thunderstorms tracked across Southeast by satellite -- Data collected from the Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments onboard NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite were used to create 3-Dimensional views of the tornadic thunderstorms that developed along a squall line stretching from Louisiana to Tennessee early last week. Five people were killed by tornadoes in northern Alabama. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Feature]
- Wildfires in the Southeast are seen from space -- Several satellite images have been made produced over the last two weeks that show the smoke emanating from the numerous wildfires that continue to blaze across the drought-stricken sections of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia in the southern Appalachians. A natural color image of the smoke near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was made from data collected by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. A pair of special "day-night band" satellite images made on two separate nights from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite shows the destructive wildfires near Gatlinburg, TN. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Waters of the Great Lakes remain relatively warm for late November -- Maps generated by the NOAA Coastwatch's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory depicting the Great Lakes surface temperatures for late November in 2014 and 2016 indicates the lake surface temperatures during this just concluded month were higher than those two years ago. The data for these plots were collected from several satellites. With the Great Lakes being as warm as in November 2010, the lakes should remain open and the potential source of ample amounts of lake effect snow on locations downwind of the lakes if cold winds blow across the lakes in a favorable direction. Graphs of average surface water temperatures over the last five years for each of the Great Lakes are available.
More information on satellite-derived measurements of sea (and lake) surface temperature is available here.
[NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- "Night shining" (noctilucent) clouds seen from a satellite perspective -- A mosaic image of the array of noctilucent or polar mesospheric clouds over Antarctica was produced from data collected during the last two weeks of November by NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) spacecraft, a sun synchronous and polar orbiting satellite. The cloud image was of the cloud albedo, or the reflectivity of the cloud tops that are situated at altitudes between 30 to 55 miles above Earth. These observations made by AIM indicates an earlier than usual start to the noctilucent cloud season in the Antarctic. Some scientists believe that the early start to the noctilucent cloud season is a sign of the impact the build-up of greenhouse gases is having on Earth's climate. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Feature] or [NASA Earth Observatory]
- A fiery sunset seen from space -- A digital photograph taken by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station shows a brilliant sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean in late October. The fiery red colors in the sunset were caused by aerosols in the atmosphere that were carried out over the Atlantic by winds from the arid Patagonian deserts of South America. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- More frequent and more intense storms causing heavier spring rains in nation's midsection -- A team of researchers from the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has found an explanation for the more frequent and longer-lasting mesoscale convective systems (MCS)of spring that move across the Great Plains and Midwest during the last 35 years, creating excessive rainfall events. Studying satellite, radar and rain gauge data, the researchers found the frequency of very long-lasting MCS events increased by about 4 percent per decade, most notably in the northern half of the central region just to the southwest of the Great Lakes. They feel that the temperature difference between the Southern Great Plains and the Atlantic Ocean produces winds that carry abundant quantities of water vapor northward from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Plains. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory News]
- Has a changing climate been responsible for increasing tornado outbreaks? -- A professor at Columbia University's Engineering School and his colleagues have found that the average number of tornadoes that develop during large scale multi-day day severe weather outbreaks has risen since 1954. They found a trend in the severity of tornado outbreaks, defined as the number of tornadoes per outbreak, has been increasing most rapidly for the most extreme outbreaks. However, they still remain uncertain as to what has been responsible for this recent trend and the role of a changing climate has on the tornado outbreaks. [Columbia University Engineering News]
- South American wet season starts dry --A map of the cumulative precipitation anomaly (the difference between observed and long-term average precipitation) across a large section of South America through October 2016 reveals that most of the region was experiencing rainfall deficits. This map was obtained from data compiled by the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre, a German contribution to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The wet season in South America typically runs from October through March. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Regional outlooks issued for winter 2016-17 -- Forecasters for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center are predicting some impacts from La Niña conditions this winter in outlooks for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Missouri basin. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Canadian national seasonal outlook issued -- Forecasters with Environment Canada issued their outlooks for temperature and precipitation across Canada for December 2016 through February 2017, which represents meteorological winter. The temperature outlook indicates that the eastern two-thirds of Canada could experience above normal (1981-2010) temperatures for these three months. However, sections of the western third of Canada could see average temperatures, with western sections of the Yukon Territory possibly receiving below average winter temperatures.
The Canadian precipitation outlook for the 2016-17 winter season indicates that above average precipitation was to be anticipated across many large areas scattered across southern, northern and eastern Canada. Only a small area eastern Canada between Baffin Island and northern Labrador could have below average precipitation. Elsewhere, near-average winter precipitation was expected.
[Note for comparisons and continuity with the three-month seasonal outlooks of temperature and precipitation generated for the continental United States and Alaska by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, one would need to use Environment Canada's probabilistic forecasts for temperature and precipitation.]
- Assessing the impact of coldest decade of the last millennium upon humans -- An international team of researchers from Switzerland, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the US have been investigating the social and economic impacts that the exceptionally cold decade of the 1430s had upon northwestern and central Europe. The cold conditions led to harvest failures in many places, which then resulted in rising food prices, famine and epidemic diseases. The team reconstructed the climate of the 400 year interval (1300 to 1700 CE) from proxy indicators such as tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and historical documents, finding that winters across the region during the 1430s were extremely cold while summers were normal to warmer than normal. However, the origin of this anomalous climate still remains uncertain and could involve external factors such as increased volcanic activity or changes in solar activity or even natural variability internal to the climate system. [European Geosciences Union 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, 2016, The American Meteorological Society.