WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
20-24 November 2017
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Week from the AMS Weather Studies Central Staff and Ed Hopkins!
Items of Interest:
- Nation's newest polar-orbiting weather satellite is launched -- During the predawn hours of Saturday morning, the new JPSS-1 Polar Orbiting Weather Satellite (JPSS-1) lifted off from California's Vandenberg AFB on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket and successfully placed into orbit. JPSS-1, which will eventually be renamed NOAA 20, is the first of four highly advanced polar-orbiting satellites that NASA will be launch for NOAA. [NASA Press Release]
This satellite is equipped with three instruments that will provide meteorologists with observations of atmospheric temperature and water vapor, clouds, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash, and wildfires. It is designed to improve the accuracy of NOAA's weather forecasts out to seven days. [NOAA NCEI News]
Slightly more than three weeks ago, NOAA celebrated the launch of the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite on 28 October 2011. Suomi NPP marks a bridge between NOAA's legacy Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (or POES) and NOAA's next generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) weather satellites. [NOAA Satellite and Information Service]
- Rime ice coats Shenandoah National Park -- The Washington Post's weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist, Jason Samenow, posted a blog that featured a series of gorgeous pictures showing rime ice that coated vegetation in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park in early November on a foggy day with subfreezing temperatures. Rime ice forms when small supercooled water droplets freeze upon contact with a surface that has a temperature below the nominal freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Originally, the blog identified the phenomenon as being hoar frost, which are white ice crystals where atmospheric water vapor is deposited upon on exposed subfreezing objects near the ground. [Washington Post Capital Weather Gang]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics --- Only one tropical cyclone was reported across the tropical ocean basins of the Northern Hemisphere during the past week. Tropical Storm Kirogi formed late last Thursday (local time) from Tropical Depression 31 W (TD 31W) that was located over the waters of the South China Sea approximately 60 miles to the northwest of Puerto Princesa, a city on Palawan Island in the western Philippines. Over this past weekend Kirogi traveled generally to the west across the South China Sea toward the coast of Vietnam as a minimal tropical storm. As of late Sunday (local time), Kirogi had weakened to a tropical depression with signs of dissipating as it was located approximately 160 miles to the east-northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Torrential rains accompanying Kirogi were expected to exacerbate the flooding across southern Vietnam produced by Typhoon Damrey earlier this month. Consult the NASA Hurricane Page for additional information and satellite imagery for Tropical Storm Kirogi (formerly, TD 31W).
- Review of October 2017 weather and climate across the US -- Using preliminary weather data gathered during the month of October 2017 from across the nation, scientists at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) recently reported that the average temperature averaged across the 48 contiguous United States for this past month was approximately 1.6 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th century (1901-2000)
long-term average, making this recently concluded month the 21st warmest October since a comprehensive national climate network began in 1895. All the states in the eastern half of the nation experienced above- to much above-average October statewide temperatures, with the six New England States having temperatures
that were the highest in the 123-year period of record. Nine additional states across the Middle Atlantic and eastern Great Lakes reported statewide October temperatures that ranked within the top ten for their respective state records. In addition, three states (Arizona, California and New Mexico) had above- to much above-average temperatures, with Arizona had its sixth warmest October in the last 123. On the other hand, four states in the Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming) experienced below-average statewide temperatures. Elsewhere, states along the eastern slopes of the Rockies and across the Great Basin had near-average October temperatures.
Preliminary precipitation records for October 2017 indicate that the
nationwide average precipitation total for the month was 0.37 inches above the 20th century average, placing the month as the 31st wettest of the 123-year record.
Relatively wet conditions were found across the eastern half of the contiguous US, with seven states across the Northeast and Midwest reporting statewide October precipitation totals that ranked within the top ten for the 123-year period of record. Michigan had its wettest October since 1895. On the other hand, states across the Southwest and northern Plains had much below-average October precipitation. Arizona and Utah had their fifth driest Octobers on 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]
A map of the surface temperature anomalies for October across the "Lower 48 States" along with southern Canada and northern Mexico
was produced by NASA from data collected by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. The surface temperature anomalies in this map represent the temperature departure of the top 1 millimeter of the land surface during the daytime from the corresponding 15-year average October temperatures (2002-2016) as detected by the AIRS instrument, which is a thermal sensor. These surface temperature anomalies, in Celsius degrees, will vary from the temperature anomalies obtained from the traditional surface weather stations, that have sensors approximately 1.5 meters above the surface. The map shows one large area with positive surface temperature anomalies (higher than average temperatures) across Ontario, Quebec and New England, along with another area in northwestern Mexico and the Southwest. Negative temperature anomalies were detected along the Rockies, the northern Plains and the Northwest. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- October drought report -- The National
Centers for Environmental Information has posted its October
2017 drought report online. Using the Palmer Drought Severity
Index, approximately three percent of the coterminous United States
experienced severe to extreme drought conditions at the end of October,
while thirteen percent of the area had severely to extremely wet
- Updated winter weather outlook released -- Late last week,
forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their updated Three-Month Seasonal Outlook for meteorological winter (the three months of December 2017 through February 2018) across the nation. Specific details of their outlooks include:
- Temperature and precipitation outlooks -- According to their temperature outlook, the southern tier of states extending from southern California along the West Coast eastward to the Carolinas and the Atlantic Seaboard running from Florida northward to northern New England should experience a high chance of above average temperatures for these three upcoming months. The greatest probability of such an occurrence to be found in the Southwest, running across Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Conversely, the region that should have the best chance of below average temperatures would be over the northern tier of states running from western Washington and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest eastward to the Dakotas and Minnesota in the upper Midwest. The outlook indicates that the remainder of the nation would have nearly equal chances of warmer or cooler than normal conditions. These regions would extend eastward from northern California across the northern Rockies, and the central Plains to the Great Lakes and the Midwest.
Their precipitation outlook calls for the southern third of the nation, extending from southern California eastward to the Florida Peninsula and the Atlantic Seaboard northward through the Carolinas have a better than even chance of below average precipitation for meteorological winter 2017-18. The greatest probability for dry winter conditions would be centered on northern Florida and nearby sections of the Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. On the other hand, most of the northern half of the nation would have better than even chances of above average precipitation totals for these upcoming three months. The regions with the highest probability of a wet winter are centered upon sections of the northern Rockies and adjacent high Plains, along with the Midwest. Elsewhere, a narrow section of the coterminous states running from the Pacific Coast to Middle Atlantic and New England coast should have essentially equal chances of below and above average precipitation for this upcoming winter.
A summary of the prognostic discussion of the 3-month outlook for non-technical users is available from CPC. These forecasts were based upon the anticipation that La Niña conditions should continue through most of this upcoming winter. A description is also provided as how to read these 3-class, 3-month Outlook maps.
NOTE: These outlooks can be compared with the public winter outlooks that CPC released in mid-October 2017.
- Seasonal Drought Outlook -- The
forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center also released their US
Seasonal Drought Outlook last week that would run from late-November 2017 through February 2018.
Their outlook indicates that most of those areas across the nation that are currently experiencing drought conditions would continue to experience drought through this upcoming winter. These regions are primarily found in the Southwest (southern California and Arizona), across the northern high Plains (Montana and the Dakotas), the South Central US (Texas, Arkansas and Missouri) and the southern Appalachians (in the Carolinas). Anticipated development of drought conditions would result in the expansion of drought across sections of the Southwest and the Gulf Coast States, running from Texas eastward to the Carolinas. A few scattered areas across the northern Rockies and adjacent high Plains in Montana could see some improvement of their drought conditions, with some areas possibly seeing a removal from drought status. Note: a Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion is included describing the forecasters' confidence.
- Sulfur dioxide emissions into atmosphere have increased over India, but decreased over China during last decade -- Using atmospheric sulfur dioxide data collected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) onboard NASA's Aura satellite, scientists at NASA, the University of Maryland, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Michigan Technological University and Argonne National Laboratory have determined that since 2007, sulfur dioxide emissions have increased by 50 percent, while emissions over China have decreased by 75 percent. Most of the sulfur dioxide emissions originate from coal-burning power plants and factories. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Major smog event this month creates unhealthy conditions in India and Pakistan -- NOAA scientists recently reported that large sections of India and Pakistan have been plagued by persistent smog during November, fouling the air and make it quite unhealthy for humans. Extreme levels of fine particulate matter, called "PM2.5" (airborne particulate matter that is less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) have been reached in some measurements taken in these two countries. Consequently, very poor air quality indices have been reported. The thick smog developed because of widespread burning of crop fields in northern India and the formation of a thermal inversion layer that inhibits vertical mixing, leading to dangerous levels of air pollution in cities across northern India and Pakistan. A satellite image obtained from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite during the second week of November shows the widespread thick smog layer. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Climate models and fossils used to study one of warmest periods in Earth's history -- An article appearing in the ClimateWatch Magazine features the collaborative efforts of a climate modeler and a paleobotanist to understand the environmental and ecological conditions during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), considered to be one of the warmest times in Earth history that occurred approximately 56 million years ago at the boundary between the Paleocene and Eocene geological epochs. At that time, global temperatures may have risen by 9 to 14 Fahrenheit degrees over a span of several thousand years.[NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Shape of Lake Ontario helps generate lake-effect blizzards -- Researchers from several institutions including the University of Utah and the University of Wyoming recently reported that the shape of Lake Ontario plays an important role in creating massive snowfall totals over Upstate New York's Tug Hill Plateau during lake-effect snowstorms. While air circulation needed to produce the intense lake-effect snowstorms is fueled by the heat released by the lake, the shoreline geography of Lake Ontario along with its east-west orientation affects the formation and location of this circulation. [National Science Foundation News]
- The climate observing system of the future is being designed -- A committee of 28 scientists, including the heads of four NOAA research laboratories, recently published an article entitled "Designing the Climate Observing System of the Future" in which they call for climate observations to be made by a system that is planned in a comprehensive, focused manner and adequately addressing the full range of climate needs. They suggest an approach where priority is given to the seven important topics associated with the Grand Challenges identified by the World Climate Research Programme: Melting Ice and Global Consequences; Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity; Carbon Feedbacks in the Climate System; Understanding and Predicting Weather and Climate Extremes; Water for the Food Baskets of the World; Regional Sea-Level Change and Coastal Impacts; and Near-term Climate Prediction. [NOAA Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research News]
- United Nations climate change conference adjourns -- The twenty-third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) and the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13) adjourned last Friday (17 November 2017) in Bonn, Germany. Delegates from over 190 countries agreed to a 12-month engagement focusing on "Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there?" A list of outcomes and highlights of this 2017 UN Climate Conference was provided. The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC will take place from 3-14 December 2018, in Katowice, Slaskie, Poland. [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 23]
- Major shifts in Colorado River found during its history -- Researchers from the University of Oregon and the US Geological Survey have found that over the course of its history spanning millions of years, the Colorado River in the Southwestern US has undergone several major changes in its course from the Colorado Plateau to the Gulf of California. The researchers claim that shifts in underlying bedrock and changing sea levels have influenced the path of lower stretches of the river, including a series of stops and starts between approximately 6.3 and 4.8 million years ago. [University of Oregon Academics & Research]
- 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 email@example.com
© Copyright, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.