WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
13-17 May 2013
Items of Interest:
- Hurricane season begins in the eastern North Pacific -- The 2013 hurricane season in the eastern North Pacific Ocean basin begins on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. The hurricane season in the North Atlantic basin, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico will begin in two weeks on 1 June. The official hurricane seasons in both basins end on 30 November 2013. NOAA has declared the week of 26 May-1 June 2013 to be Hurricane Awareness Week across the nation.
- North American Safe Boating Week -- Commencing this coming Saturday, the week of 18-24 May has been declared 2013 National Safe Boating Week, to help kick off the 2013 North American Safe Boating Campaign. Check the Safe Boating Week site maintained by the Safe Boating Council.
- Zenithal Sun -- The end of this upcoming week marks one of the two times during the year when the noontime sun is directly overhead to residents on the Big Island on about 14 May at South Cape (Ka Lae at 18.9 deg North latitude and 155.68 degrees West longitude) and on the 18th and 19 May at Hilo; those on Oahu (Honolulu metropolitan area) will experience the noon sun at the zenith in approximately one more week (25-27 May). The sun will again be over the Big Island during the last week of July. [US Naval Observatory, Data Services]
- Time-lapse satellite image sequences chronicle global change for nearly three decades -- Google, Inc., the American corporation specializing in Internet services, recently released a compilation of time-lapse sequences of images made of Earth from space that cover more than a quarter of a century. The images, which display changes to Earth's surface over time, were generated from data collected from the Landsat Program managed by the US Geological Survey, the images display an historical perspective on changes to Earth's surface over time. [NASA Headquarters] or [USGS Newsroom] For some of the image sequences, attention is directed to the Google Official Blog.
Weather and Climate News items:
- Eye on the tropics -- Two tropical cyclones formed over the waters of the Indian Ocean in both hemispheres during the last week:
In the Southern Indian Ocean basin, Tropical Cyclone Jamala formed nearly 800 miles east of Diego Garcia last Wednesday. This tropical storm (originally identified as Tropical Storm 24S) initially moved eastward and then southward during the late week, well away from any land area. Eventually, this system weakened to a tropical depression and dissipated as of the start of this past weekend. For more information and satellite images on Tropical Cyclone Jamala, see the NASA Hurricane Page.
The first tropical cyclone of 2013 in the North Indian Ocean basin formed last Friday near the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This tropical cyclone was originally designated as Tropical Cyclone 1B, as it was the first to form in the eastern sector of the North Indian Ocean that includes the Bay of Bengal. This system has also been called Tropical Storm Mahasen. Over the weekend, Mahasen intensified as it traveled toward the northwest into the Bay of Bengal. Forecasts indicate that Mahasen would gradually turn and move toward the north and then northeast, possibly becoming a category 1 tropical cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Mahasen could make a possible landfall on Myanmar (formerly called Burma) by this coming Wednesday, accompanied by strong winds, high seas and torrential rains. Additional information and satellite images on Tropical Storm Mahasen (or Tropical Cyclone 1B) is available on the NASA Hurricane Page.
- Mauna Loa Observatory measures new carbon dioxide level milestone -- Late last week NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory measured a daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide that surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm). This reading was the first time that the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm since these measurements began in 1958 by the late Charles Keeling. Scientists noted that the rate of increase in carbon dioxide has accelerated from about 0.7 ppm per year in the late 1950s to 2.1 ppm per year during the last decade. [NOAA Research]
- Dust found in high-level ice clouds -- Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NOAA have found that the majority of the ice crystals that comprise high level cirrus-type clouds have nucleated around mineral dust or metallic aerosols. The researchers collected samples of these particles from cirrus clouds over a nine-year span and conducted chemical analysis using high-resolution electron microscopy. Other possible nucleating agents such as black carbon and fungal spores were not detected. Although most of the mineral dust appears to be from natural sources, the metallic aerosols are the result of human activity. These thin cirrus-type clouds influence the global climate in opposing ways: cooling through reflection of incoming solar radiation and warming through trapping outgoing terrestrial or infrared radiation. [MIT News]
- Funding awarded to help upgrade New York and New Jersey water facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy -- At the start of last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that grants of over $500 million would be provided to the states of New York and New Jersey for improvements to wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy last October. [EPA Newsroom]
- Post-Sandy hydrographic surveys commence for this year -- During the last month, NOAA commenced its post-Hurricane Sandy hydrographic work for 2013 as the NOAA Coast Survey's Navigation Response Team 5 (NRT5) began a survey of the waters of New York Harbor surrounding Liberty Island and Ellis Island in an attempt to reestablish safe navigation and docking at the Statue of Liberty. This team is using multi-beam echo-sounding technology and side scan sonar to identify storm debris that followed last October's Hurricane Sandy. [National Ocean Service]
- New Interior Department climate change advisory committee appointed -- Early last week the US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the members of the newly created Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science that will provide guidance about the Interior Department's climate change adaptation science initiatives and advise the Interior Secretary about the activities of the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers. [US Department of Interior Press Release]
- Climate data used to track cicadas --The anticipated return of the 17-year cicadas along the Eastern Seaboard this spring has sparked an interest by the public. A commonly held belief is that the cicadas will reemerge from underground when the soil temperature at an 8-inch depth would exceed approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit. In an attempt to forecast the emergence of the cicadas, the National Public Radio's Radiolab has developed a citizen-science project that invites the public to plant a homemade temperature sensor in the ground and report their findings. In addition, the Radiolab's Cicada Tracker project is also using soil temperatures obtained from the National Climatic Data Center's U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). [NOAA NCDC News]
- Ground measurement campaign launched to improve flood forecasting --At the start of May, NASA and the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa have begun collecting surface precipitation observations across northeastern Iowa as part of the a six-week Iowa Flood Studies experiment designed to evaluate the accuracy of NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission satellite rainfall data that would be used for flood forecasting. The GPM international satellite mission will be launched in early 2014. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]
- An ice-free Arctic may be a future reality -- An international team of scientists lead by a researcher from the University of Massachusetts Amherst warn that the current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are similar to levels between 3.6 and 2.2 million years ago when the Arctic was very warm and without ice sheets. The team based its assessment following the analysis of a sediment core collected from under ice-covered Lake El'gygytgyn, the oldest deep lake in the northeast Russian Arctic. This sediment core is the longest ever collected on land in the Arctic, extending the reconstructed climate record backward from 140,000 years ago to nearly 3.6 million years ago at the time of the lake's formation. [University of Massachusetts Amherst News]
- Studying the weather and climate of exoplanets -- Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and several academic research institutions have been using data collected from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to assess the weather and climate of at least 800 "exoplanets" that have been found to revolve around stars located outside of our solar system. The researchers are currently studying the "species" of exoplanets called "hot Jupiters" or roasters that are gas giants like Jupiters, but they orbit closely to their stars, making them blister under the heat. These planets appear to have a wide variety of climates. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory]
- An All-Hazards Monitor-- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
- Global and US Hazards/Climate Extremes -- A review and analysis of the global impacts of various
weather-related events, including drought, floods and storms during the
current month. [NCDC]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com] Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2013, The American Meteorological Society.