WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
Report from the Field:
- Dr. Steve LaDochy, a DataStreme LIT Leader and meteorology professor from Cal State University, Los Angeles, reported on this past week's heat wave across Southern California that resulted in daily high temperature records being reached on Thursday at Long Beach Airport (98 degrees), Camarillo Airport (98 degrees), Los Angeles International Airport (97 degrees) and Oxnard NWS Forecast Office (97 degrees). He also mentioned that the small rain that fell last Monday broke a 165-day stretch of dry weather. So, "38 million folks in the state and not much water. Its hot...but its a dry heat (like an oven)." Finally he reported that all schools in the region participated in "drop, cover and hold" exercises as part of the annual Great LA Shakeout, which prepares for "the Big One" - a hypothetical earthquake of at least a magnitude 8 that is expected to occur someplace along the San Andreas Fault.
Items of Interest:
- Nation's precipitation superlatives are featured – Following a corresponding blog on temperature extremes across the nation, Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), wrote a Beyond the Data blog entitled "Back to the Basics: Precipitation Patterns" in which he identifies the wettest and driest places around the nation, obtaining a set of Top 10 lists provided by NCEI's "US Climate Extremes" interactive webpage. The ten snowiest places in the US were also listed. [NOAA Climate.gov News] (Editor's Note: The US Climate Extremes webpage is an interesting site that should be explored. An overview is provided with more background information. EJH)
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2016 Campaign is underway -- The eleventh in the series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2016 will continue through Sunday, 31 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 (Pegasus 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 20-30 November 2016. [GLOBE at Night]
- Winter Weather Awareness -- New Mexico and North Dakota will be observing Winter Weather Awareness Week during this coming week (24-28 October 2016). In addition, South Dakota will have Winter Weather Preparedness Day on Wednesday, 26 October 2016. Residents of these states should become aware of the hazards associated with winter storms and other cold weather events by reviewing the material prepared by the local National Weather Service Office. Other states will be observing their own winter weather awareness events during subsequent weeks. Stay tuned for further announcements.
- Fall Severe Weather Awareness --
Since autumn represents a secondary season for severe weather across sections of the Deep South,
Mississippi will be observing its Fall Severe Weather Awareness Week during this week (24-28 October). Residents of the Magnolia State should become aware of the hazards associated with late season severe weather events by reviewing the material prepared by the local National Weather Service Office.
- New Earth Observatory magazine with stories just for kids -- NASA's Earth Observatory mission recently announced the launch of the first issue of the agency's newest magazine EO (for Earth Observatory) Kids, which is designed to bring engaging science stories to a younger generation. Hands-on activities and experiments are also featured. This first issue focuses upon fresh water. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Debunking the legend of the woolly bear caterpillar and winter severity -- The long-held folklore legend that the size of the band on the midsection of the woolly bear caterpillar in early autumn can be used to forecast the severity of the upcoming winter is described and shown to be a myth. [National Weather Service Forecast Office, La Crosse WI]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the Tropics -- During the last week, tropical cyclone activity was confined to the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins:
- In the North Atlantic basin,
Hurricane Nicole continued to travel toward the northeast several hundred miles to the southeast of Newfoundland at the start of last week. Nicole traveled toward the northeast during the remainder of the week. By late Monday evening, Hurricane Nicole had weakened to tropical storm as it was located approximately 600 miles to the east of Cape Race, Newfoundland. As of early Tuesday morning, Nicole had lost its tropical characteristics and became an extratropical cyclone (or midlatitude storm). The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite imagery on Hurricane Nicole.
A map showing the sea surface temperature anomaly (differences between observed and long-term average surface temperatures) across the western North Atlantic during mid-October from data collected by NASA satellites shows the track of cold water in the wake of Hurricane Nicole as it traveled across the region around Bermuda. The winds surrounding Nicole mixed cold water upward to the surface from the depths. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- In the western North Pacific basin,
Typhoon Sarika traveled toward the west-northwest at the start of last week across the South China Sea and weakened to a tropical storm before reaching China's Hainan Island. After crossing Hainan Island, Sarika crossed the Gulf of Tonkin and made landfall on the southern coast of mainland China near the Vietnam border by midweek. At landfall Sarika had weakened to a tropical depression. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information along with satellite imagery on Typhoon Sarika.
Typhoon Haima strengthened to become a category 5 super typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale last Wednesday (local time)
as maximum sustained surface winds reached 167 mph, when it was headed to the west-northwest toward the northeastern coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Haima weakened slightly as it crossed northern sections of Luzon and then headed toward the northwest, making landfall along the southeast coast of China near Hong Kong this past weekend.
Heavy rains, strong winds and high seas were brought to northern parts of the Philippines by Super typhoon Haima. Travel was also disrupted in Hong Kong. Additional information and satellite images for Super typhoon Haima can be found on the NASA Hurricane Page.
A true-color image made from data collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument onboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite at the start of last week shows former Typhoon Sarika and Super Typhoon Haima moving across the Northwest Pacific Ocean. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- In the eastern North Pacific basin, Tropical Depression 20E formed during the predawn hours of this past Sunday morning slightly more than 400 miles to the south of Manzanillo, Mexico. Direction of motion was to the west-northwest. By late Sunday afternoon, this tropical depression had strengthened to become Tropical Storm Seymour, the eighteenth named tropical cyclone to form in the eastern Pacific in 2016. At the time the center of Seymour was located approximately 370 miles to the south-southwest of Manzanillo and moving to the west-northwest. Current forecasts indicate that Tropical Storm Seymour should continue traveling toward the west-northwest during the first several days of this week, with possible strengthening to a hurricane as of Tuesday.
- Nation's next generation weather satellite launch delayed by Matthew -- The launch of GOES-R, the nation's next generation weather satellite has been delayed from its originally scheduled date of 4 November 2016 by the passage of Hurricane Matthew close to NASA's Kennedy Space Center nearly three weeks ago. Some structures around the launch facility sustained damage from the offshore category 3 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). Pending approval from the US Air Force's 45th Space Wing, a new range date is scheduled for Wednesday, 16 November. [NOAA/NASA GOES-R News]
- Assessing the devastation from "record-breaking" Hurricane Matthew -- An "Event Tracker" feature in NOAA's ClimateWatch Magazine follows the path of destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month as it developed in the Caribbean and then tracked across western Haiti, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas before paralleling the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Matthew, which reached category 5 hurricane status briefly because of its maximum sustained surface winds reaching 160 mph, set a variety of records as described in this article. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- September 2016 weather and climate for the globe reviewed -- Scientists at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
recently reported on their analysis of preliminary weather data collected from around the world during the month of September 2016. They found:
- The global combined land and ocean average surface temperature for September 2016 was 2.32 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average (1901-2000) for the month, which makes last month the second warmest September since a sufficiently dense network of global temperature records began in 1880. The September combined global temperature record was 0.07 Fahrenheit degrees below the monthly record temperature, set only one year ago (September 2015).
When considered separately, the land surface surface temperature for this recently concluded month also was the highest September temperature in the 137-year record, with a monthly temperature that was approximately 2.32 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th-century average. This new September record surpassed the previous record set last year by 0.20 Fahrenheit degrees. Over the oceans, the September globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.33 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th century average, which tied September 2014 for being the second highest temperature on record for the month.
- According to data provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) , the September Arctic sea ice extent in the Northern Hemisphere was approximately 27.8 percent below the 1981–2010 average, making it the fifth smallest September Arctic sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979. In the Southern Hemisphere, the September 2016 Antarctic sea ice extent also was the fifth smallest September extent in the 38-year record.
- A global map of Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for September 2016 is available from NCEI.
[NOAA/NCEI State of the Climate]
- Tabulating top 15 warmest months -- Scientists at NCEI ranked the top 15 warmest months since 1880 in terms of the largest monthly temperature departures from the 20th century. Based upon this ranking, September 2016 was the 11th warmest month in the last 137 years, tying the months of January 2007, February 2016 and June 2016 for that position. Furthermore, 14 of the 15 largest monthly temperature departures in the record have occurred since February 2015.
[NOAA/NCEI Global Analysis]
- New Winter season Climate Outlooks issued -- Late last week, forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their initial US Winter Climate Outlooks for the nation covering meteorological winter (in the Northern Hemisphere) that includes the three months of November, December and February. They foresee a good chance for warm and dry weather across southern sections of the United States, running from the deserts of the Southwest eastward to Florida and the Southeastern Atlantic coast. On the other hand, a cooler and wetter than average winter across northern sections of the country, especially over the northern Rockies, the northern Plains and sections of the Great Lakes. These outlooks were based upon CPC anticipating the development of a La Niña event that would favor these conditions. [NOAA News]
A 3-minute video of a CPC forecaster delivering the outlook is posted.
At the same time, CPC also released its new national Three-Month (Seasonal) Climate Outlooks for November 2016 through January 2019, corresponding to the last month of the meteorological autumn season (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the first two months of meteorological winter. Specific details of the outlooks include:
- Temperature and precipitation outlooks -- According to their temperature outlook, more than two-thirds of the contiguous United States should experience a high chance of above average temperatures for the three upcoming months. The greatest probability of such an occurrence should be found across the Southwest, especially in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The outlook indicates that the northern tier of states, extending from the Washington in the Pacific Northwest eastward to the Midwest and the eastern Great Lakes would have nearly equal chances of warmer or cooler than normal conditions for late autumn and early winter.
The CPC precipitation outlook calls for a better than even chance for below average precipitation during the next three months across the southern tier of states, especially along the Gulf Coast States running from Texas eastward to the Florida Panhandle. On the other hand, the northern Rockies and adjacent high Plains in Montana would have the best chances of above average precipitation through next January. The area around the northern Great Lakes could also have above average winter precipitation. The remainder of the contiguous states were given essentially equal chances of below and above average precipitation through the first half of winter 2016-17.
A summary of the prognostic discussion of the 3-month outlook for non-technical users is available from CPC. These forecasts were based in part upon the anticipated transition of the current ENSO conditions (neither an El Niño or La Niña event) to La Niña conditions during the upcoming winter.
A description is also provided as how to read these 3-class, 3-month Outlook maps.
- 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-October 2016 through January 2017. Their outlook would call for the persistence of extensive drought conditions across the southwestern sections of the nation, running from central and southern California eastward into Nevada and Arizona. Drought conditions across the Southeast should also continue especially over the Tennessee and lower Mississippi Valleys as well as expand along the Gulf Coast westward into the southern Plains. In the Northeast, drought conditions were expected to remain primarily along coastal areas, extending from New Jersey northward to Downeast Maine. On the other hand, sections of the West (northern California and interior Oregon) that had been experiencing drought, could see sufficient improvement in drought conditions that would result in the possible removal from drought status. Similarly sections of the interior Northeast (Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and northern New England) could also see elimination of drought conditions by the end of January 2017. Note: a Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion is included describing the forecasters' confidence.
- Operation IceBridge is launched for eighth year in Antarctica -- A NASA research aircraft containing sophisticated instruments and a team of scientists has flown its first mission in mid-October from Punta Arenas, a city at the southern tip of Chile. The flight marks the beginning this season's survey of Antarctic ice in the eighth year of Operation IceBridge, a NASA mission that aims to monitor changes in polar ice from a fixed-wing aircraft. Flights were expected to continue through the third week of November. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- Examples of marine forecasting of "storms without names" -- A feature article describes the experiences of Captain William M. Hopkins, a retired ship captain with the Alaska Marine Highway System, regarding the importance of the National Weather Service in providing marine forecasts to him on powerful midlatitude storms as he guided his ship for more than 30 years in the often stormy waters off Alaska. [NOAA Weather-Ready Nation News] [Editor's Note: The captain is no known close relative of this reporter. EJH]
- Historical tide gauge records may underestimate global sea level rise -- A team of researchers from the University of Hawaii, Old Dominion University and NASA's Jet Propulsion recently claimed that the longest and highest-quality records of historical ocean water levels made by tide gauges may have underestimated the amount of global average sea level rise that occurred during the 20th century due to Greenland ice melt by as much as 25 percent. The scientists base their claim on their analysis of measurements of derived sea level rise from Greenland using NASA's GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites measurements. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
- Full life cycle of flooding and its impacts on land and Gulf waters documented -- An oceanographer from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and her colleagues used data from NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite and five other satellite instruments to trace the chronology of the 23-24 May 2015 flood event in Texas, commencing with rains that fell weeks prior to the flood and ending with an unusually shaped plume of freshwater that lingered in the Gulf of Mexico months later. This study documented the potential impacts on the Gulf's marine life. [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 RealTime Weather Portal
Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2016, The American Meteorological Society.