WEEKLY CLIMATE NEWS
WEEK ONE: 5-9 September 2011
ITEM OF INTEREST
Approaching the peak in the Atlantic hurricane season -- The historic or statistical annual peak in the Atlantic hurricane season will occur this coming weekend (10-12 September), as determined as the date during the entire season with most frequent number of named tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes), based upon over 100 years of record. This date corresponds closely with the time of peak sea-surface temperatures across those sections of the North Atlantic considered hurricane-breeding areas. [NWS National Hurricane Center] [Note: So far this Atlantic hurricane season, which commenced on 1 June 2011, twelve tropical cyclones have reached tropical storm or hurricane status. Of these twelve named tropical cyclones, only two (Irene and Katia) have become hurricanes. EJH]
CURRENT CLIMATE STATUS
Rains from Irene led to record stream flow levels -- Rains that accompanied Hurricane Irene as it traveled northward along the Eastern Seaboard last weekend were responsible for major flooding in Vermont. US Geological Survey stream gauges indicated historic river levels in ten states and Puerto Rico. [USGS Newsroom]
Satellite data documents unseasonably hot July across the Plains -- Scientists with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have assembled data collected from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board NOAA's Aqua satellite to generate images that show the distribution of record-breaking high temperatures across North America's Great Plains in July 2011. The scientists also generated wind information from the Goddard Earth Observing System Model to show the impact on the heat wave exerted by the clockwise circulation of winds around high pressure over the North Atlantic. [NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center]
Meteorological link found between extreme Russian fires and Pakistan floods in 2010 -- Using satellite and wind observations, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have found that an abnormal atmospheric circulation pattern produced during the summer of 2010 that was responsible for two of that year's most destructive disasters. This circulation pattern was associated with an abnormal and persistent Rossby wave in the jet stream that created extreme heat and persistent wildfires in Russia as well as heavy rains and flooding in Pakistan. [NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center]
CURRENT CLIMATE MONITORING
New earth-observing research satellite is being readied for launch -- During the last week, the spacecraft that represents NASA's next earth-observing research satellite arrived at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base so that preparations can begin for a launch in October. Known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP), this spacecraft represents the first of a new generation of polar-orbiting satellites that are designed to monitor changes in the atmosphere, oceans, vegetation, ice and solid Earth. [NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center]
Robotic floats used to help monitor ocean acidity -- A team of researchers from the University of Washington and their Canadian colleagues have been employing a method that they developed for determining the relationships between sea water temperature, oxygen, total carbon dioxide and acidity (pH) on temperature and oxygen data collected by the fleet of ARGO submersible floats to monitor the chemistry of the world's ocean. Approximately 3000 active floats are distributed throughout the global ocean at any time. [NOAA News]
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 floods. [NOAAWatch]
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]
Nitrogen from rocks may help forests buffer changing climate -- Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered that forest trees have the ability to extract nitrogen found in rocks, boosting the trees’ growth and their ability to draw more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These scientists claim that research models should consider the importance of how rocks may affect climate change. [UC Davis News]
Cutting soot emissions would serve as effective means to slow global warming -- A scientist from Stanford University recently reported that his calculations indicate a reduction in soot emissions, such as from diesel engines, would slow melting of Arctic sea ice and serve as a faster and more economical method for slowing the increase of global temperatures. [EurekAlert!]
CLIMATE AND THE BIOSPHERE
Warmer streams could signal end for salmon -- Scientists at the University of California-Davis, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Sweden's Stockholm Environment Institute warn that increasing temperatures in some of California's streams could signal the end of spring-run Chinook salmon in the state by the end of the century. [UC Davis News]
Methods used by bacteria to capture carbon in the ocean "twilight zone" are studied -- A team of scientists including those from the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute have been studying how carbon is fixed in those sections of the oceans at depths ranging between 200 and 1000 meters below the surface called the "twilight zone." Although light is insufficient for most microorganisms, some resident microbes capture carbon dioxide that are used to form cellular structures and conduct necessary metabolic reactions. [Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute]
Changes in ice sheets and climate seen during late Pleistocene -- Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Oregon State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and China's Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology have found that massive iceberg discharges into the North Atlantic Ocean during the last Ice Age were caused by changes in climate rather than ice sheet instability as previously thought. [UCAR/NCAR Staff Notes]
Dust in the Southern Hemisphere has major effect on climate during last million years -- Researchers from Spain's Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology who analyzed dust and iron fluxes deposited in the Antarctic Ocean during the past 4 million years have found a close relation between the maximum contributions of dust to this ocean and climate changes occurring in the most intense glaciation periods of the Pleistocene period approximately 1.25 million years ago. Their data confirms the role of iron in the increase in phytoplankton levels during glacial periods, intensifying the function of this ocean as a sink for carbon dioxide. [Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Latest News]
CLIMATE AND SOCIETY
Website for human dimensions of climate change -- An interagency effort within the US federal government that included NOAA, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service, has resulted in a website called HD.gov (for HumanDimensions.gov) that provides users, such as natural resource managers, with information on the human dimensions on a variety of topics of interest such as climate change. [HD.gov]
Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com] Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Concept of the Week: Touring the AMS Climate Studies Website
NOTE: This Concept for the Week is a repeat of that which appeared in last week's Weekly Climate News.
Welcome to AMS Climate Studies! The AMS Climate Studies website is an integral component of the AMS Climate Studies course. The website is intended to deliver a wealth of climate information that is both pertinent to the course as well as being a reference site for you as you study Earth's climate system. The webpage is arranged in several sections. On Monday of each week of the course, we will post the current Weekly Climate News that includes Climate in the News (a summary listing of recent events related to climate), Concept of the Week (an in-depth analysis of some topic related to climate in the Earth system), and Historical Events (a list of past events important in the understanding of climatology). When appropriate, Supplemental Information…In Greater Depth will be provided on some topic related to the principal theme of the week.
You will use the AMS Climate Studies website to access and download the "Current Climate Studies" that complement your Climate Studies Investigations Manual. These materials should also be available by noon (Eastern Time) on Monday. Click the appropriate links to download and print these electronic components of the investigations as well as your Chapter, Investigations and Current Climate Studies Response forms.
Beyond these course Learning Files, sections include Climate Information, Climate Variability, Climate Change, Societal Interactions and Climate Policy, and Extras. As the titles suggest, there are multiple uses for climate data and their interpretation. Here we explore some examples of the information provided in the various sections of the webpage.
The Climate Information section includes access to weather data, the raw material of climate synthesis, from the United States and the world under the heading "Observations and Data." Under this heading, click on "U.S. and World Weather Data." This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) page first directs you to "United States Weather" and provides channels to current weather data as well as radar graphics, weather maps, and aviation and marine weather. It then leads you to International Weather Conditions.
The second major subdivision of the course website encompasses Climate Variability. Climatic variability refers to the fluctuations and oscillations that may occur within the climate system at temporal and spatial scales beyond that of individual weather events. Select the link, "NOAA El Niño Page". The page that appears provides access to a wealth of background and information on El Niño and La Niña, including the animation showing sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific during recent months. To the left of the animation, click on "What's happening today?" The page of current tropical Pacific conditions that appears shows a small map to the right. Click on that map and again anywhere on the subsequent set of map panels to get an enlarged view of the latest conditions of SST and anomalies.
The third major section of the course website is termed Climate Change. Here we provide links to information and analyses that primarily focus on anthropogenic (human-made) change processes and results in the climate system. That prominently includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's ("IPCC") latest classic report on atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions and their effects. Also linked are modeling results ("Models") based on those studies.
The last major section of the website is titled Societal Interactions and Climate Policy. This block contains information on the impacts of projected change on human societies around the world, beyond that listed in the IPCC report, and the international actions and debates regarding those issues. Select and click on "US Global Change Impacts Report" to the left in this section. This webpage introduces you to the latest comprehensive and authoritative report on climate change and its impacts in the United States, now and in the future. You will be directed to this report several times in this course.
Completing the course website is the Extras section of additional handy information for the course and individual study such as dictionaries of terms, maps and materials. Choose and examine one of the Climate Literacy links, either a PDF or the Word version. This document has recently been developed and released by NOAA to provide an overview of general concepts and information the general public and especially students should be aware of regarding the climate and the climate debate.
5 September 1925...The temperature at Centerville, AL soared to 112 degrees to establish a state record. Every reporting station in Alabama was 100 degrees or above that afternoon. (The Weather Channel)
5 September 1950...Hurricane Easy produced the greatest 24-hour rainfall in U.S. weather records up to that time. The hurricane deluged Yankeetown, on the upper west coast of Florida, with 38.70 inches of rain. While this US record has since been replaced by 43 inches of rain at Alvin, TX on 25-26 July 1979, it remains the 24-hour precipitation record for the Sunshine State. (David Ludlum) (NCDC)
5 September 1958...The heaviest hailstone recorded in Britain had a weight of 0.31 pounds (141 grams) and fell at Horsham (Sussex), Great Britain. (The Weather Doctor)
5 September 1970...Heavy rain from the remnants of a tropical system from the eastern Pacific spread across the Southwest as 11.40 inches fell in 24 hours at Workman Creek, AZ to establish a 24-hour precipitation record for the Grand Canyon State, while an estimated six inches of rain fell at Bug Point, UT, setting a 24-hour precipitation record for the Beehive State. (NCDC)
6 September 1840...The first official weather observation in Canada was taken at King's College, University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario by members of the British Royal Artillery. (The Weather Doctor)
6 September 1929...Iowa recorded its earliest snow on record as a few flakes noted in Alton at 9 AM. (The Weather Doctor)
6-7 September 1909...Topeka, KS was drenched with 8.08 inches of rain in 24 hours to establish a record for that location. (The Weather Channel)
8 September 1900...The greatest weather disaster in U.S. records occurred when a hurricane struck Galveston, TX. Waves fifteen feet high washed over the island demolishing or carrying away buildings, and drowning more than 6000 persons. The hurricane destroyed more than 3600 houses, and total damage was more than $30 million. Winds to 120 mph, and a twenty-foot storm surge accompanied the hurricane. Following the storm, the surf was three hundred feet inland from the former water line. The hurricane claimed another 1200 lives outside of the Galveston area. (8th-9th) (David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
8 September 1987...The afternoon high of 97 degrees at Miami, FL was a record for the month of September. (The National Weather Summary)
9 September 1921...A dying tropical depression unloaded 38.20 inches of rain upon the town of Thrall in southeastern Texas killing 224 persons. The 36.40 inches that fell in 18 hours represents a record for the United States. (David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
9 September 1971...Hurricane Ginger formed, and remained a hurricane until the 5th of October. The 27-day life span was the longest of record for any hurricane in the North Atlantic Ocean. (The Weather Channel)
9 September 1994...Hurricane John become an extratropical storm in the central north Pacific Ocean, ending a 29-day life as a hurricane, the longest lived hurricane on record. (The Weather Doctor)
9 September 2000...The Antarctic ozone hole extended to more than 11.4 million square miles over Antarctica, the single-day largest area of depletion ever measured. (The Weather Doctor)
10 September 1900...Elk Point, SD received 8.00 inches of rain that set a 24-hour maximum precipitation record for the state. (NCDC)
10-11 September 1963...A 24-hour rainfall record for the Northern Hemisphere was set at Paishih, Taiwan as 49.13 inches of rain fell as the result of Typhoon Gloria. (Accord Weather Guide Calendar)
11-12 September 1949...Early snowstorm dumped 7.5 inches on Helena, MT on the 11th, the earliest measurable snow for the city to date, then an additional 22 inches followed the next day. (The Weather Doctor)
11-12 September 1976...Japan's 24-hour rainfall record was set as 44.80 inches of rain fell at Hiso in Tokuhima Prefecture as a result of Typhoon Fran, which also was responsible for 167 deaths in Japan. (Accord Weather Guide Calendar)
11 September 1990...The high temperature at Phoenix, AZ reached 112, the highest ever for the date and for so late in the season. (Intellicast)
Return to AMS Climate Studies website
Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2011, The American Meteorological Society.