WEEKLY OCEAN NEWS
29 November-3 December 2021
Items of Interest:
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2021 Campaign for early December is underway -- The twelfth and final in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for the calendar year 2021 will continue through Saturday, 4 December. 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 constellations with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars. These constellations are Perseus in the Northern Hemisphere, along with Grus in the Southern Hemisphere in the Southern Hemisphere. Activity guides are also available. The GLOBE at night program is intended to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. The first series in the 2022 GLOBE campaign is scheduled for 25 December 2021- 3 January 2022. [GLOBE at Night]
- Beginning of meteorological winter season -- The winter meteorological season in the Northern Hemisphere starts on Tuesday (1 December). Recall that climatologists and meteorologists have elected to use a standard three-month grouping to identify each meteorological season. Hence, the months of December, January and February are considered the winter meteorological season. You will note that the winter solstice, marking the day where the length of daylight is least in the Northern Hemisphere is still more than three weeks away, falling on Tuesday, 21 December 2021. Since the lowest temperatures typically fall in mid to late January, the meteorological winter tends to be centered on the coldest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
In addition, Tuesday (30 November) marks the end of the official 2021 hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, along with the eastern and central North Pacific basins.
- Watching for high ocean tides along nation's coasts this week and through winter -- -- The NOAA National Ocean Service recently released its High Tide Bulletin for Winter 2021, which provides information on when higher than average astronomical tides can be expected along the nation's Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts during the three months of December 2021 through February 2022, which constitutes meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Higher than average tides should occur along most of the coasts during the weeks occuring early in each of these winter months.
Beginning this week (1 December) and running into the following week (8 December), higher than average astronomical tides should be expected beginning along the nation's West Coast (from Washington southward to California). Within a day, higher than average tides should be expected along the coasts of Alaska (except the southeastern coast), as well as along the entire U.S. Atlantic Coast (running from Florida's Atlantic coast northward to Maine). Hawaii and the Pacific Islands (Guam, American Samoa, Midway, Kwajalein and Wake Island) should start seeing higher tides beginning this Friday. However, no higher than average tides are anticipated during this upcoming week along the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Islands (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands).
Higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides are due to two astronomical events that create a perigean spring tide. The new moon (when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun) will occur early Saturday morning (4 December at 07:45Z), which is slightly more than two hours before lunar perigee. This second astronomical event occurs when the Moon is closest to Earth; this month, perigee will occur on Saturday at 10:02Z); in addition, this upcoming perigee is the closest perigee of 2021 (with a Moon-Earth distance of only 356,793 km or 221,702 miles). The increased angle of the Sun relative to the Earth's equator, which reaches a maximum at the winter solstice (21 December) will contribute.
[NOAA National Ocean Service News]
- CHECK -- Help celebrate Corals Week 2020 -- NOAA's National Ocean Service is celebrating Corals Week 2020 this week (30 November-4 December 2020)
on the agency's social media channels. The public is invited to join NOAA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Look for #CoralsWeek. [NOAA National Oceans Service News]
- SKYWARN™ recognition -- This Saturday
4 December 2021 (starting at 00Z or 7:00 EST PM on Friday night and running for 24 hours) has been declared SKYWARN™ Recognition Day, a day in which the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League celebrate the contributions made by volunteer SKYWARN™ radio operators during the past year's Severe Weather Operations. Recognition Day will be open to all NWS SKYWARN Spotters.
- Exploring ENSO patterns on a global scale -- An activity was created by a geology professor at Earlham College that allows high school and college students who have become familiar with ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) to explore the reality of ocean surface temperature (SST) data. Students analyze a time series of SST anomaly maps for a 14-year interval to create an ENSO timeline. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching]
- Distinguishing between "global warming" and "climate change" -- The question is often asked: "What's the difference between global warming and climate change?" A blog was written several years ago explaining that "global warming" refers only to the Earth's rising surface temperature, while "climate change" includes warming and the side effects of warming. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- It's Sure Dark! -- Have you noticed that the sun is setting quite early these days? During the first ten days of December, many locations throughout the country will experience their earliest sunset times of the year. The exact day for the earliest sunset depends upon the latitude, so you may want to check the date in your locale from the sunrise tables appearing in an on-line, interactive service for many cities in the United States provided at https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/usa. The reason for the
earliest sunsets occurring in early December rather than on the winter solstice (during early morning of Tuesday, 21 December 2021) is that the sun is not as precise a timekeeper as our watches. Because of a combination of factors involved with Earth's elliptical orbit about the sun and the tilt of Earth's spin axis with respect to the plane of the ecliptic, the sun appears to "run fast" by as much as 15 minutes as compared with clock time in November. However, with the approach of the winter solstice and perihelion (the smallest earth-sun distance during the morning hours of 4 January 2022), the apparent sun slows during December and finally lags the clock by 12 minutes in February. Consequently, a noticeable and welcome trend toward later sunsets can be detected by the end of December, especially by those residents in the northern part of the country. However, the latest sunrises occur at most locales in early January, meaning that early risers will continue seeing dark and dreary mornings for another month.
Ocean in the News:
- Eye on the tropics -- During the last week, tropical cyclone activity was limited to the Indian Ocean basin in the Northern Hemisphere:
- In the Northern Indian Ocean basin (located to the north of the Equator from Malay Peninsula west to African coast) --
- Tropical Cyclone Gati was moving westward across Somalia and the Horn of Africa at the start of last week as a tropical storm. Over the previous weekend, Gati had become a major category 3 tropical cyclone (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) as maximum sustained winds reached 115 mph. However, it was a category 2 system as it made landfall late on that Sunday along the eastern coast of Somalia south of Ras Binnah. After moving toward the west-northwest across northeastern Somalia, Gati moved out over the Gulf of Aden, curving toward the west and west-southwest as it followed the northern coast of Somalia. By late Monday, Tropical Storm Gati had weakened to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. At that time, Gati was 180 miles to the east-southeast of Aden, Yemen. Soon thereafter, Gati became a remnant low.
A natural-color image made from data obtained on Sunday (22 November) from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite shows Gati before making landfall over Ras Hafun. Note the distinct eye near the center of the cloud shield surrounding Gati. A map is also provided displaying the satellite-estimated precipitation accumulated over 3 days (21-23 November) as obtained from NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Tropical Cyclone Nivar formed at the start of last week over the waters of the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India. Nivar was the fourth tropical cyclone of 2020 that formed over the Bay of Bengal, Initially, maximum sustained winds surrounding Nivar were estimated to have been 40 mph, making it a minimal tropical storm. Moving toward the northwest, Nivar had strengthened to become a category 1 tropical cyclone, as it reached peak strength with 80-mph sustained winds by Wednesday. Nivar passed to the north of Sri Lanka and headed toward the coast of India. On Thursday, Nivar made landfall near the coastal town of Karaikal in the Indian Union Territory of Puducherryin the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. By early Friday, Nivar had weakened to a remnant low as it headed northward along the coast.
- Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations climb to new record levels in 2019 -- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently released its "WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin No. 16: The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2019." This report describes the state of the heat-absorbing atmospheric greenhouse gases for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) based upon global observations through 2019. Carbon dioxide levels reached 410.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2019, which is 148 percent of pre-industrial levels in 1750. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also rose,
with CH4 reaching 1877 parts per billion (ppb), or 260 percent of 1750 levels, and N2O at 332 ppb, or 123 percent of 1750 levels. The rate at which CO2 increased from 2018 to 2019 was larger than the 2017-2018 rate, while the 2018-2019 change for CH4 was less than the 2017-2018 change and the changes for N2O for 2018-2019 was less than for 2017-2018.
Laboratories involved in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme are helping identify greenhouse gas emission sources by making simultaneous measurements of the content of radiocarbon (14C) in atmospheric CO2 that provide a unique way to discriminate between fossil fuel combustion and natural sources of CO2.
Editor's Note: This nine-page issue of the Bulletin No. 16 with graphs and tables is available. EJH
- Despite COVID-19 lockdown, global CO2 levels
remain at record levels -- According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the industrial slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic during most of 2020 has not curbed record levels of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2)during this calendar year.
[WMO Press Release]
- 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]
- 30 November 1925...An extremely rare late November hurricane began to affect the west coast of Florida as it strengthened during the day. The storm made landfall very early on 1 December south of Tampa Bay, weakened to a tropical storm as it crossed central Florida, and exited around St. Augustine. The storm regained Hurricane strength off Jacksonville late on the 1st. Heavy rain continued over northeast Florida on the 2nd. Gale force winds were reported from the Keys to Jacksonville and over 50 people lost their lives, mostly on ships at sea. Damage along the coast south of Jacksonville was heavy and excessive rain and wind seriously damaged citrus and truck crops. (National Weather Service files)
- 1 December 1969...Ocean swells generated by a storm more than 1000 miles to the north-northwest of the French Frigate Shoals
produced 50-foot high surf along the outer shoals of Tern Island,
submerging the 300-foot wide island under two to three feet of water.
The 19-member Coast Guard contingent was evacuated, but considerable
damage was done to buildings. (Accord Weather Guide Calendar)
- 1 December 1990...Workers from the United Kingdom and
France on the Channel Tunnel construction project met approximately 120
feet beneath the English Channel seabed, to establish the first ground
connection between the British Isles and mainland Europe since the last
Ice Age. (Wikipedia)
- 2 December 1755...The second Eddystone Lighthouse near
Plymouth, England was destroyed by fire. This light had replaced an
earlier light that had been destroyed in the "Great 1703 Storm." The
current structure is the fourth light to be constructed at that site.
- 3 December 1905...On this date the U.S. Weather Bureau received its first weather report from a ship at sea via wireless. (National Weather Service files)
- 3 December 1952...A remarkable display of sea smoke was
seen in Hong Kong harbor. The sea-smoke, induced by a strong surge of
arctic air, poured from the water of Kowloon Bay from 8 AM to 9:30 AM.
The air temperature near the sea wall was 44 degrees F. (Accord Weather
- 3 December 1992...The Greek oil tanker Aegean
Sea carrying 80,000 tons of crude oil ran aground in a storm while
approaching La Coruña, Spain, spilling much of its cargo. (Wikipedia)
December 1999...After rowing for 81 days and 2962 miles, Tori Murden
became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat alone
when she reached Guadeloupe after departing from the Canary Islands.
- 4 December 1786...The first of two great
early December storms began. The storm produced high seas at Nantucket
that did great damage. (David Ludlum)
- 4 December 1887...Tropical storms and hurricanes are very rare in December in the Atlantic. However, on this date not one but two tropical systems existed. One was dissipating after having been a Category 1 hurricane over the eastern Bahamas between 29 and 30 November. The other was just being born and would become a Category 1 hurricane over the open North Atlantic on 7 and 8 December. (National Weather Service files)
- 4-13 December
1991...Tropical Cyclone Val with gusts to 150 mph caused $700 million
damage. Seventeen deaths were reported in American and Western Samoa,
with 95 percent of the houses in Savaii either destroyed or badly
damaged. Savaii was essentially hit twice by Val as the system
completed a loop on the 8th. (Accord Weather
December 2003...A tropical depression became Tropical Storm Odette in
the Caribbean well south of Kingston, Jamaica, becoming the first
December tropical storm of record to form in the Caribbean Sea. Odette
made landfall on near Cabo Falso, Dominican Republic on 6 December,
causing eight deaths and destroying 35 percent of the banana crop.
(Accord Weather Guide Calendar)
- 5 December 1872...A British brigantine, the DeGratia,
discovered the American ship Mary Celeste derelict
and boarded her. The Mary Celeste, a brigantine had
set sail from New York harbor for Genoa, Italy, on 5 November 1872.
Everyone aboard the Mary Celeste had vanished-her captain, his family, and its 14-man crew. The ship,
which appeared to have been abandoned for approximately nine days, was
in perfect order with ample supplies and there was no sign of violence
or trouble. The fate of the crew remains unknown. (Infoplease.com)
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Prepared by AMS Ocean Central Staff and Edward J. Hopkins,
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