WEEKLY CLIMATE NEWS
30 April-4 May 2018
- Between equinox and solstice -- Tuesday (1 May 2018) is May Day or Beltane, which has its origins as a great Celtic festival Beltane that included bonfires, May Poles and May Queens. This date is close to the traditional "cross quarter" day, roughly halfway between the vernal equinox (20 March 2018) and the summer solstice (21 June 2018). (Note that Sunday 6 May 2018 is closer to the halfway point between the equinox and solstice. EJH)
- High-quality maps of May temperature and precipitation normals across US available -- The PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University's website has prepared high-resolution maps depicting the normal maximum, minimum and precipitation totals for May and other months across the 48 coterminous United States for the current 1981-2010 climate normals interval. These maps, with a 800-meter resolution, were produced using the PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model) climate mapping system.
- May weather calendar for a city near you -- The Midwestern Regional Climate Center maintains an interactive website that permits the public to produce a ready to print weather calendar for any given month of the year, such as May, at any of approximately 270 weather stations around the nation. (These stations are NOAA's ThreadEx stations.) The entries for each day of the month includes: Normal maximum temperature, normal minimum temperature, normal daily heating and cooling degree days, normal daily precipitation, record maximum temperature, record minimum temperature, and record daily precipitation; the current normals for 1981-2010.
- May is American Wetlands Month -- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with other federal agencies and environmental groups, has designated May as American Wetlands Month in an effort to increase public awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving the nation's wetlands. [EPA-Wetlands]
- Kentucky Derby climatology -- With the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby set for next Saturday (5 May 2018), the National Weather Service's Louisville (KY) Forecast Office has posted a climatology for Derby Day, including the historical weather extremes. [Louisville NWSFO] A climatology for the Longines Kentucky Oaks, a lucrative race for three-year old fillies (female horses) held each year on the day before the Kentucky Derby, is also available.
- "Be Air Aware" -- National Weather Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention have announced that this upcoming week (30 April-4 May 2018) is Air Quality Awareness Week , which has the theme "Air Quality Where You Are". The goal is "to promote events that increase air quality awareness and inspire people to take steps, no matter how large or small, to reduce their contribution to air pollution." Americans are urged to "Be Air Aware." [NOAA Air Quality] Individual states and localities will have specific Air Quality Awareness Week activities. Air quality curriculum resources, activities and materials are available in Tools for Teachers.
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2018 Campaign for May commences -- The fifth in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2018 will commence this Saturday (5 May) and continue through Monday, 14 May. 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 with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars. These constellations are Bootes in the Northern Hemisphere and Crux for 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 sixth series in the 2018 campaign is scheduled for 4-13 June 2018. [GLOBE at Night]
- "Stratospheric polar vortex" may have brought late season wintry weather to midlatitudes -- A research scientist at the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences recently wrote a guest post for the ClimateWatch Magazine in which she describes how the flow pattern of west-to-east winds encircling the Northern Hemisphere's polar latitudes at altitudes between 6 and 30 miles experienced a massive breakdown in mid-February. This breakdown, which resulted in a reversal of the winds (to a east-to-west direction), was caused by a somewhat rare sudden stratospheric warming, where stratospheric temperatures rose by more than 50 Fahrenheit degrees in several days. The breakdown of the polar vortex into two smaller vortices then created changes in the tropospheric flow pattern with a southward shift in the jet stream over the North Atlantic and the development of a blocking pattern south of Greenland. This pattern was responsible for the occurrence of four nor'easter winter storms in March along the East Coast. [NOAA News]
- Five new tools are becoming available to "Earth Watchers" during 2018 -- In recognition of Earth Day, NOAA's Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) posted a list of five new tools that will be made available to Earth-watchers worldwide during this year:
1.) Real-time satellite data will be available to everyone with expanded NOAA satellite maps of Earth.
2.) Weather information across Western States will be available in high-def when the new NOAA GOES-17 satellite assumes role of GOES West and provides a stream of high definition observational data more quickly to the National Weather Service.
3.) Sea-level and sea-surface measuring capabilities will be continued as NOAA will be able to access data from the Sentinel-3B Land & Ocean-Sensing Satellite that was launched last week to become a part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Copernicus Earth Observation Constellation
4.) A new polar orbiting satellite will provide more weather data, as the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) will launch its newest polar-orbiting satellite, Metop-C, which will become a partner to the recently launched NOAA-20 satellite and its back-up, the NOAA/NASA Suomi-NPP satellite.
5.) Small satellites will be launched to collect continuous atmospheric data, as NOAA and its partners will launch the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate-2 (COSMIC-2) satellite mission, which is a network of six remote-sensing microsatellites. [NOAA NESDIS News]
AND THE BIOSPHERE
- Annual report of National Phenological Database for 2017 released -- The National Phenological Network recently released their annual report that shows that the number of local phenological projects and active participants in the network continued to increase in 2017, as more than 2.9 million reports were filed during the year, representing an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The number of participants increased by 16 percent over 2016. The USA National Phenology Network monitors the influence of climate on the phenology of plants, animals, and landscapes, which helps serve science and society by promoting a broad understanding of plant and animal phenology and its relationship with environmental change. [National Phenological Network]
- Explaining how climate change affects coral reefs with graphics -- A downloadable infographic, or a graphic visual representation of information, was prepared by NOAA's National Ocean Service that explains how climate change is causing changes in the oceans, which dramatically affect coral reef ecosystems. Recommendations are made for how the public can mitigate some of the changes in climate. [NOAA Infographic]
AND HUMAN HEALTH
- "State of the Air 2018" report released -- Just before the start of Air Quality Awareness Week, the American Lung Association released its 17th annual "State of the Air Report" for the United States, which uses data compiled and analyzed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) obtained from air quality monitors around the nation. The EPA data involve the two most widespread types of pollution - ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM 2.5, also known as soot). The 167-page State of the Air 2018 reports a significant worsening of ozone pollution during the 2014-2016 interval as compared with the 2013-2015 interval used in the previous annual report. Some improvements have been noted in the year-round particle pollution and in fewer episodes of high particle days. The 2018 report also notes that it adds to the evidence that protection of human health is harder to achieve because of a changing climate, especially since record-setting heat in 2016 caused high ozone days to increase dramatically, which added challenges to the work cities across the nation are employing to reduce ozone pollution. Finally, the report encourages the nation to ensure that the 48-year old Clean Air Act must remain intact and the tools needed to enforce this act need to remain in place, funded and followed so as to protect all Americans from the dangers of air pollution.
An interactive website permits the public to view their state's air quality, including high ozone days, particle pollution and groups at risk on the "Report Card: What's the Grade for Your Air?" by entering a state's name. [American Lung Association]
- Identifying the nation's spring "Allergy Capitals" for 2018 -- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently released its annual rankings of the top 100 cities across the nation identified as the "most challenging places to live with allergies" for the spring allergy season based upon measured pollen levels (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores), allergy medications administered per capita and the number of board-certified allergists per capita for each major city. This year's report named McAllen, TX, as its top Spring Allergy Capital for 2018 due to the city's higher than average pollen levels, higher than average medicine use and lower availability of certified allergists. [Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America]
- Many low-lying atoll islands could become uninhabitable by mid-century -- A team of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA's National Ocean Service, the University of Hawaii and Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the Netherlands, recently published a report that sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding will negatively impact freshwater resources on many low-lying atoll islands, potentially making many uninhabitable by the year 2050. In addition to damaging terrestrial infrastructure and habitats, this flooding of these islands in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean would make the limited freshwater resources non-potable, thereby directly threatening the sustainability of human populations. In preparing their report, the scientists focused on Roi-Namur Island on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands from November 2013 to May 2015. [USGS News]
- European heat wave approximately 12,000 years ago could have been caused by sluggish ocean currents in Atlantic -- A team of researchers from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom recently reported that their analysis of plant fossils and new high-resolution global climate simulations indicates that European summers approximately 20,000 years ago could have been warmer than previously suggested. These warm summers would have been during the Younger Dryas cold reversal, which was a sudden cooling that has been typically linked to an abrupt slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in response to meltwater discharges from ice sheets. The researchers claim that cold winds from the west were blocked from flowing over Fennoscandia as key mechanism counteracting the cooling impact of the slowing of the AMOC-slowdown during summer. Although short warm summers persisted, the Younger Dryas was dominated by a shift to a continental climate with extreme winter to spring cooling and short growing seasons. [Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory News]
- NCEI highlights its outreach and educational activities -- Although NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) primary mission is the stewardship of environmental data, NCEI scientists and staff also go "outside the science" to communicate with many audiences, The NCEI Outside the Science series highlights their outreach and educational activities and engagement with data users, such as weather and climate data for Native American tribes, mentoring young scientists and "education in the Gulf." [NOAA NCEI News]
- Photovoltaic energy generation in China is reduced by smog -- Researchers from Princeton University recently reported that photovoltaic energy production from solar panel arrays in China can be reduced by smog that can spread across large sections of China, especially in winter. The smog contains aerosols from industry and urban areas along with liquid cloud droplets that scatter the incoming sunlight. The researchers found that in the most polluted areas across northeastern and northwestern China experienced a decrease in available solar energy by as much as 35 percent between 2003 and 2014. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
- 30 April 1888...World's deadliest hailstorm occurred at
Moradabad, India as enormous hailstones killed 230 persons and many
livestock. An additional 16 people died in another town. (The Weather
- 30 April 1991...Memphis, TN set a new monthly rainfall
record for April with 17.13 inches of rain. The old record was 13.90
inches set back in 1877. (Intellicast)
- 30 April 1994...The rain finally stopped on the Kaneohe
Ranch on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, ending a streak of 247
consecutive days of rain that began 27 August 1993. (The Weather
- 30 April 2011...There were 758 tornadoes in the U.S. in April 2011, the most ever recorded in a month (beating the old record by 216). (National Weather Service files)
- 1 May 1854...After 66 hours of steady rain, the Connecticut
River reached a level of nearly twenty-nine feet (28 feet 10.5 inches)
at Hartford, CT (the highest level of record until that time). The
record height was reached in the midst of a great New England flood
that followed sixty-six hours of steady rain. (David Ludlum)
- 1 May 1935...Snow, ice and sleet brought winter back to
parts of southeast Minnesota. Minneapolis received three inches of snow
to tie their May record that was established in 1892. (1st-2nd)
(The Weather Channel)
- 1 May 1954...The temperature at Polebridge, MT dipped to 5
degrees below zero to establish a state record for the month of May.
(The Weather Channel)
- 1 May 2003...A record setting 516 tornadoes occurred during the month of May 2003. In particular, during the period May 4-10, 2003, an unprecedented number of tornadoes affected the central and southern United States. During this period, 393 tornadoes occurred across the central and southern U.S. resulting in 39 deaths across 4 states. Six of these tornadoes were classified as violent (F4) on the Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale. (National Weather Service files)
- 2 May 1899...A storm buried Havre, MT under 24.8 inches of snow, an all-time record for that location. The water equivalent of 2.48 inches was a record 24-hour total for the month of May. (The Weather Channel)
- 2 May 2010....Historic rains swept much of Tennessee. Nashville received 13.53" of rain in two days, double the old record. 7.21" of that fell today, making it the wettest day ever seen in Nashville. New records were also set at Nashville for the most rain in 6 hours (5.57") and 12 hours (7.20"). The Cumberland River peaked at 51.9 feet which was the highest since the Flood of '37. (National Weather Service files)
- 4 May 1774...Snow was reported in the Williamsburg Gazette to have fallen in Dumfries, VA. George Washington's weather diary logged at Mount Vernon, that it was a cold day with spits of snow and a hard wind from the northwest. Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville logged that the Blue Ridge Mountains were covered with snow. The late snow and frost killed most of the fruit crop in the northern part of the state. Farther north, snow fell across Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. (National Weather Service files)
- 5 May 1987...Unseasonably hot weather prevailed in the western U.S. A dozen cities in California reported record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 93 degrees at San Francisco, 98 degrees at San Jose, 100 degrees at Sacramento, and 101 degrees at Redding were the highest of record for so early in the season. The high of 94 degrees at Medford, Oregon was also the highest of record for so early in the season.
(National Weather Service files)
- 6 May 1933...Charleston, SC was deluged with 10.57 inches
of rain, an all-time 24-hour record for that location. (The Weather
- 6 May 1978...A record late season snowstorm struck
Colorado. Denver checked in with 14 inches for its greatest May
snowstorm on record. (Intellicast)
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2018, The American Meteorological Society.