WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
Items of Interest:
Becoming AWARE -- During this coming week of 24-28 April 2017, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the Middle Atlantic States and the northern Plains States of North Dakota and South Dakota will conduct Severe Weather Awareness Week in their respective states. These weeks are usually scheduled before the onset of the severe weather season in that particular state. 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 2017 Campaign is underway -- The fourth in the series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2017 will continue through Thursday, 27 April. 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 2017 campaign is scheduled for 17-26 May 2017. [GLOBE at Night]
- Higher than normal tide anticipated this coming week along East Coast -- According to the NOAA National Ocean Service's High Tide Bulletin for Spring 2017, above average tides are expected between 27 and 29 April for most of the Atlantic Coast of the US, stretching southward from Maine to the eastern coast of Florida. A new moon occurring on Wednesday, 26 April, coupled with lunar perigee one day later when the Moon is closest to Earth, is responsible for the perigean spring tide with higher than normal high tides. [NOAA National Ocean Service News]
- Celebrating National Arbor Day -- This coming Friday, 28 April 2017, 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
- 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 (27 April -1 May 2017) 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]
- Planet Earth seen between Saturn's rings -- An image of Earth was recently generated from data collected by a sensor onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft that is currently passing planet Saturn. This image, obtained in mid April, shows Earth as a point of light appearing between the icy rings of Saturn; a zoomed-in image also shows Earth's moon as a fainter nearby point of light. At the time the image was obtained, the Cassini spacecraft was 870 million miles from Earth. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics -- During the last week tropical cyclones were monitored in the Northern Hemisphere:
In the North Indian Ocean basin, Tropical Storm Maarutha traveled toward the northeast over the Bay of Bengal, making landfall along the coast of Myanmar at the start of last week. After making landfall, Maarutha weakened rapidly.
Locally heavy rainfall and strong winds accompanied Maarutha as it moved inland. Satellite imagery and additional information on Tropical Storm Maarutha is available on the NASA Hurricane Page
- In the western North Pacific Ocean basin, the remnant low pressure system that had been known as Tropical Depression 2W continued to travel to the northwest at the start of last week, crossing the Philippines and then out across the Luzon Strait. Ultimately, Tropical Depression 2W dissipated to the southeast of Taiwan. The NASA Hurricane Page has a satellite image and additional information on Tropical Depression 2W.
- In the North Atlantic basin, a subtropical depression formed nearly 900 miles to the west-southwest of the Azores at the midpoint of last week. Traveling to the north-northwest and then northwest, this subtropical depression intensified and gained tropical characteristics, becoming Tropical Storm Arlene last Thursday afternoon. At that time, the center of Arlene was located approximately 810 miles to the west of the Azores. The formation of an Atlantic tropical storm in April is rare, as Tropical Storm Ana in 2003 is the only other April tropical storm on record. On Friday, Arlene merged with an extratropical cyclone (midlatitude storm) approximately 1235 miles to the west of the Azores. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite imagery on Tropical Storm Arlene.
- The 2016 hurricane season reviewed -- The
2016 hurricane season in the North Atlantic along with the eastern and central North Pacific is
reviewed and compared to the more than 150 years of record keeping in
the North Atlantic and the 40 years in the eastern North Pacific. [AMS
- Hurricane awareness tour commences to Mexico and the Caribbean -- NOAA and US Air Force Reserve hurricane experts will embark this coming week (24-29 April 2017) on a six-day, five-city tour to Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, and Puerto Rico in a "hurricane hunter" aircraft designed to raise public hurricane awareness in communities in several countries surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. A series of events will be hosted that would include tours aboard the Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft. [NOAA Media Release]
- Review of global weather and climate for March 2017 -- Using preliminary data collected from the global network of surface weather stations, scientists at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) have determined that the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for March 2017 was the second highest for any March since sufficiently detailed global climate records
began in 1880. This global temperature for March 2017 was 1.89 Fahrenheit degrees above the 20th
century (1901-2000) average. This global temperature departure for March 2017 fell behind the record March departure set last year (2016) by 0.32 Fahrenheit degrees.
When considered separately,
the average land temperature for March 2017 was the second highest land temperature for any March in the 138-year period of record, falling below the record set in March 2016. Likewise, last month's average temperature over the oceans was the second highest for
March, running behind the record departure set one year ago. Interestingly, the March 2017 monthly global combined sea-land temperature departure from the 20th century average for represents the first time that a monthly departure exceeded 1.80 Fahrenheit degrees in the absence of an El Niño episode across the equatorial Pacific.
The researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center noted the areal extent of the Arctic sea ice for March 2017 was
the smallest since satellite surveillance began in 1979. In addition, the extent of the Antarctic sea ice was the smallest
in the 39-season record. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for March was the 24th smallest in the 51-year period of record of satellite observations. [NOAA/NCEI
State of the Climate] A global map of Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for March 2016 is available from NCEI.
A summary article describing the global climate for March and the year to date is available. [NOAA News]
- 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 2017, 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, essentially all 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 being found along the Atlantic Seaboard, the Gulf Coast and sections of the Southwest. Only sections of the northern Rockies and northern Plains were expected to have nearly 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 2017 across the northern and western Great Lakes States with the highest chances of dry weather centered on northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Conversely, many states across along the Rockies and the western Gulf Coast were expected to have a better than even chance of having above median precipitation. These regions extend from Montana southward to New Mexico and from the lower Texas Gulf Coast eastward to the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana. The rest of the contiguous United States should have equal chances of below and above median 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 anticipated continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions through late meteorological spring and into early summer 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere. However, atmospheric conditions appear to contain a residual component of the weak La Niña event that ended earlier this year.
- Seasonal Drought Outlook released -- The
forecasters at CPC also released their US
Seasonal Drought Outlook that would run from mid April
through July 2017 in which drought conditions were expected to persist or expand across the Southeast, extending from the Tennessee Valley in Mississippi and Alabama eastward across Georgia and South Carolina. Some of this region is currently under moderate to extreme drought conditions. The region in the Southwest currently under moderate drought should also expected to see continued drought conditions into midsummer. This region is primarily along the US-Mexican border in Arizona and California and in the region around Los Angeles.. Improvement in drought conditions was expected across the scattered areas in the central and northern Plains, along with sections of the Florida Peninsula, the Middle Atlantic States and southern New England. Most of these areas could be removed from drought consideration. Note: a Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion is included describing the forecasters' confidence.
- Climate-related planting zone maps reveal effects of changing climate --In recognition of Earth Day, a member of NOAA's Climate Program Office wrote a feature for ClimateWatch Magazine investigating how changing climate conditions across the nation could have an effect upon when a garden should be planted in spring. She focuses upon maps of Plant Hardiness Zones and how they have changed over the last five decades. Plant Hardiness Zones are based upon the average lowest winter (minimum) temperatures across the nation for 1981-2010 that are then put into 10-Fahrenheit degree bins. Interactive planting zone maps show how these zones have changed over time, as comparison has been made with the Plant Hardiness Zones computed for 1971-2000. These maps represent a collaboration between NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information and the American Public Garden Association. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Life-detecting devices being tested in one of the Earth's driest climate --A team of researchers from NASA and several research universities tested devices that are meant to detect life on distant planets last February on Chile's Atacama Desert, arguably called the world's driest climate. One of the devices was a portable chemistry lab called the Chemical Laptop developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that checks liquid samples for a set of 17 amino acids from which the presence of life may be inferred. The Atacama Desert was selected as it has little precipitation, which would provide water needed for life. Some weather stations on the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and southern Peru have never reported measurable precipitation, while others have received as much as 0.6 inches of rain per year on average. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
- Trace gas found to be a key to estimating how plant growth surges with increases in carbon dioxide -- Scientists have found that a trace atmospheric gas, carbonyl sulfide (COS), can be used to estimate how plant growth increases along with rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. An international team of scientists from the US, France and Finland have reviewed the 54,000-year record for atmospheric carbonyl sulfide from measurements of air trapped in the snowpack at the South Pole. They found that as emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels increased since the start of the 20th century, plants around the world are utilizing 30 percent more carbon dioxide, spurring plant growth. [NOAA News]
- California's Sierra snowpack in 2017 is larger than last four snow seasons combined -- Data recently collected by NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) show that the snowpack in California's Tuolumne River Basin in the Sierra Nevada is currently greater than that of the four previous years combined. This finding is good news as the snowpack in this basin represents a major source of water for San Francisco and California’s Central Valley. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Monitoring the replenishment of California reservoirs from space -- Three sets of images obtained from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on NASA's Landsat 8 satellite show how this the heavy precipitation that fell this past winter across California has replenished the surface water supply in some of the Golden State's reservoirs following a five year drought. Satellite images were made of three reservoirs (Trinity Lake, Don Pedro Reservoir and Castaic Lake) in 2015 when water levels were exceedingly low and during the last two months after the reservoirs had refilled following a sequence of atmospheric river events that brought abundant moisture from the tropical and subtropical Pacific. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- 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.