WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
9-13 January 2017
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:
- Historic view of Earth and Moon from Mars -- A composite image was made of planet Earth and its natural satellite, the Moon, in late November from two images produced from data collected by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as this spacecraft was orbiting planet Mars. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
- Perigean spring tide to occur early next week with full moon -- The moon will reach its full moon phase Thursday morning at 6:34 AM EST, 5:34 AM CST (or officially 1134Z on 12 January 2017).
This full moon will occur slightly more than 2 days after perigee, when the moon is closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit.
[Fourmilab Switzerland] The closeness of the moon and increased gravitational pull will cause an increase in the height of ocean tides, resulting in what is called a "perigean spring tide" during this week (10-13 January). [NOAA National Ocean Service High Tide Bulletin]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics --- The weather across the tropical and subtropical ocean basins in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere was relatively quiet during the last week. However, the first tropical depression of 2017 in the western North Pacific basin
formed over this past weekend approximately 600 miles to the southeast of Manila in the Philippines. Identified as Tropical Depression 1W (TD 1W), this low pressure system tracked to the northwest and then to the west-northwest reaching the eastern coast of the Philippine island of Mindanao as of late Sunday (local time). At that time, TD 1W was located approximately 470 miles east of Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island in the western Philippines. Current forecasts indicate that TD 1W would not strengthen into a tropical storm as it would continue traveling westward and pass near Puerto Princesa late Tuesday before dissipating over the South China Sea by midweek.
- Hurricanes making US landfalls are weaker during active Atlantic hurricane periods -- A scientist with NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has found that a protective barrier of vertical wind shear and lower ocean temperatures forms along the US East Coast during periods of greater Atlantic hurricane activity, which serves to weaken the tropical cyclones as they approach land. Conversely, during periods of low hurricane activity, sea surface temperatures are lower and wind shear is stronger, tending to lead to hurricane intensification. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Atmospheric rivers cross central Pacific heading for North American West Coast -- An image was made of the "total precipitable water," or the vertical depth of liquid water that would be condensed out of a column of water vapor in the atmosphere with a unit cross-sectional area, found across the central North Pacific Ocean early last week. This image, obtained from satellite observations, shows several bands containing large quantities of water vapor as indicated by high precipitable water levels running generally from west to east just north of the equator. These long plumes of high atmospheric humidity originating over tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean are called "atmospheric rivers" and are associated with the abundant amounts of precipitation that can fall along the West Coast of North America and the west-facing slopes of the Western Cordillera. The rain and snow from this atmospheric river could help reduce the long standing drought conditions across California and adjacent states. [NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory]
- A climate scientist's view of major weather and climate events of 2016 -- Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), has written a Beyond the Data blog identifying what he felt were five of the more meaningful climate and weather events from the calendar year of 2016. These events were: the possibility that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally; the "noncommittal La Niña"; the massive flooding across the Southeast from tropical systems; drought across several large sections of the nation; and record-setting Alaska heat. For each of these events, he described what happened, discussed why the event matters and then looked beyond the data. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Review of Canada's top ten weather stories in 2016
-- The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society recently released a list of what it considered the top ten weather
events across Canada during the calendar year of 2016. The top story was the major destructive wildfire at Fort McMurray, Alberta in May that was nicknamed "The Beast." Additional
stories on the list included the "Super El Niño" that resulted in the second warmest winter in the nation's history, the hot summer across the East and the shrinking size of the Arctic sea ice. [Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society]
- Satellite altimeters show sea surface height changes as strong El Niño becomes a subdued La Niña -- Two images of the sea surface height anomaly (differences between observed and long-term average sea surface altitudes) across the Pacific Ocean basin were generated from data collected from altimeter sensors onboard NASA's Jason-2 and Jason-3 satellites in January 2016 and in November 2016. The image from last January reflects the strong El Niño event that had developed by that time, featuring above average sea surface heights in the eastern and central Pacific due to warmer than average ocean temperatures and weaker trade winds, while below average sea surface heights were found in the western tropical Pacific. On the other hand, the image from this past November shows a muted La Niña as sea surface heights along the equatorial Pacific were slightly above average. Two additional sea surface height anomaly maps were also presented, with one from late December 1998 and the other from nearly two weeks ago. The image for 1998, obtained from data collected by NASA's TOPEX/Poseidon mission, shows an example of one of the strongest La Niña events on record, featuring well above average sea surface height anomalies across a broad region of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific. In contrast, the recent image (from the Jason-3 satellites) shows a mottled pattern of positive and negative height anomalies, suggestive of a weak La Nina event that was transitioning into an ENSO-neutral event (El Niño/Southern Oscillation) where neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions were present. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- A NASA satellite celebrates 15 years monitoring Earth's upper atmosphere -- Early last month marked the 15th anniversary of the launch of NASA's TIMED (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission, an orbiting spacecraft that has been making observations of the dynamics and chemistry of those sections of the Earth's atmosphere lying between 40 to 110 miles above the Earth's surface in a region called the mesosphere, thermosphere and ionosphere. Data collected by the TIMED spacecraft during its 15 years in orbit have allowed scientists to gain a better understanding of processes in this region of the upper atmosphere that involve the input of solar radiation and high energy particles especially during solar storms and the behavior of atmospheric carbon dioxide and terrestrial winds. The 15-years of data collection has extended over at least one solar activity cycle that is approximately 11 years in length. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- New knowledge of ionosphere and Earth's interface to space revealed -- Scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Catholic University of America, the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California, Berkeley have presented their discoveries about the processes involved with the transfer of heat and energy into and through the ionosphere. This region of the Earth's upper atmosphere is located at altitudes ranging between 50 and 360 miles above the Earth's surface. The researchers considered the energy transfer processes from the Sun and interplanetary space move above the ionosphere and from the Earth below. Interactions between the ionosphere and the thermosphere, another region of the Earth's atmosphere were described, as well as how changes in the upper atmosphere responds to solar storms that can place a drag on satellites in low Earth orbit. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- Addressing stewardship of natural and cultural resources as climate changes -- The US Interior Department's National Park Service recently released a 60-page report entitled "Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy" that addresses the stewardship of the nation's natural and cultural resources in the context of modern climate change. The National Park Service has been charged with conserving not only natural resources, but also cultural resources so that they may be enjoyed by future generations. Four goals were identified for cultural resources and climate change in this report: i.) connect impacts and information; ii.) understand the scope; iii.) integrate practice; and iv.) learn and share. [National Park Service]
- Local Chicago group building city's climate resilience through fortifying its urban forest -- Concerned with the loss of 13 million ash trees that was reducing the tree canopy in Chicago (IL) metropolitan area, neighborhood groups have joined together to form the Chicago Region Trees Initiative. The trees in the Chicago metropolitan area have climate stressors that include increases in temperature, more excessive rain events and local flooding. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is partnering with a climate change specialist with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science and the U.S. Forest Service, to confront the decline in urban trees and develop a program with goals that include improving management skills and knowledge, increasing the region's tree canopy, and incorporating tree species that are resistant to pests and the impacts of climate change. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Huge iceberg on verge of breaking off Antarctic ice shelf -- BBC News recently learned that a rift has rapidly developed on the Larson Ice Shelf C in West Antarctica during the summer month of December in the Southern Hemisphere. Currently, the ice shelf is barely being held to the Antarctic continent. Once broken off, the resulting iceberg would be about a quarter of the size of Wales and one of the ten largest ever. [BBC News]
- "Global warming hiatus" is disproved for another time -- Researchers from the University of California Berkeley and the non-profit research institute Berkeley Earth have used independent data to confirm an earlier claim that no detectable slowdown in ocean warming had occurred in the previous 15 years, during a time span that has been called the "global warming hiatus" – a slowdown in the rate of the increase in global ocean temperature. A recent analysis indicates that modern buoys that are now used to measure ocean temperatures tend to report slightly lower temperatures than older ship-based sensors, leading to the "hiding" of the ocean warming. NOAA researchers correcting this "cold bias" concluded that the oceans had warmed by 0.12 Celsius degrees per decade since 2000, as compared with the earlier estimates of 0.00 Celsius per decade, bringing the rate of ocean temperature rise in line with estimates for the previous 30 years (1970-1999). The newer NOAA estimates are confirmed by the California researchers. [University of California Berkley News] Scientists from the United Kingdom's University of York also confirm this new assessment. [University of York 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, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.