WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
3-7 December 2018
Items of Interest:
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2018 Campaign for December is underway -- The twelfth in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2018 will continue through Saturday, 8 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 a constellation with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars. These constellations are Perseus in the Northern Hemisphere and Grus 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 first series in the 2019 campaign is scheduled for 29 December-7 January 2019. [GLOBE at Night]
- NASA's InSight Lander sends back pictures after making safe landing on Martian surface -- Last Monday, NASA's "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport" (InSight) Lander made a successful landing on the surface of Mars near the Martian equator after making a seven-month journey from Earth. InSight is a robotic instrument package that will study the deep interior of Mars during a two-year mission designed to learn how celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed. A seismometer, called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), placed on the Martian surface will measure seismic activity and provide accurate 3D models of the planet's interior. A heat probe called HP3 will measure internal heat flow to study Mars'early geological evolution. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
Within hours, images from the InSight Lander were being sent back to Earth. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Spaceimages] and [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News]
- Winter Weather Awareness -- During this week (2 -8 December)
Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina will observe Winter Weather Awareness Week in their respective states. Residents of these states should become aware of the hazards associated with winter storms and other cold weather events by reviewing the material prepared by the local National Weather Service Office.
- Celebrate World Soil Day -- This Wednesday, 5 December 2018, has been declared to be World Soil Day, an event that is annually held on the 5th of December "to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing" as made in a resolution by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS). This year's theme for World Soil Day is "Be the Solution to Soil Pollution ," since addressing and combating soil pollution is the only way to minimize the risks for food security, human health and the environment.
[Food and Agricultural Organization of UN - World Soil Day]
- Role of weather in the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 -- Although the weather at Pearl Harbor on the leeward side of Hawaii's Island of Oahu on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, was relatively pleasant when the US Navy base was attacked by Japanese aircraft and submarines, the weather did play a role during the days preceding the attack. Six Japanese aircraft carriers left Japan's Kure Naval Base in late November 1941 and travelled essentially undetected across the western North Pacific under the cover of unsettled weather associated with several large storms moving across the Aleutians and the Bering Sea that had cold fronts trailing to the southwest across the North Pacific. One of the storms did scatter the ships over several hundred miles, but they did regroup with minimal use of radio communication. The Japanese carrier fleet came to a staging point within 275 miles north of Hawaii, where they launched their attack aircraft early Sunday morning. When the two waves of more than 350 aircraft took off from the carriers in the predawn darkness, strong winds were helping produce rough seas. These aircraft flew through and above a thick deck of low clouds until reaching the leeward side of Oahu, where the skies cleared because of the light northeasterly trade winds descending the slopes of the mountain range. The pilots used the local radio stations
The weather also played a role in the planning, as the Japanese government sent codes to their overseas diplomats using
bogus weather reports involving wind directions to announce which countries with which it was cutting diplomatic ties.
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics --- During the past week, several tropical cyclones were reported over the tropical waters of western Pacific in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres:
- In the western North Pacific basin:
- A weakening Typhoon Usagi made landfall on the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam at the start of last week. Moving inland, torrential rains accompanying Usagi caused major flooding in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Usagi became a remnant low and dissipated as it traveled westward across the southern sections of the Indochina Peninsula. The NASA Hurricane Blog has satellite images and additional information for former Typhoon Usagi (also known as Tropical Cyclone 33W).
- Typhoon Man-yi weakened to a tropical storm at the start of last week as it was moving across the western Pacific to the southeast of Okinawa. Man-yi curved toward the northeast and weakened to a tropical depression. As it was approximately 400 miles to the east-southeast of from Okinawa, Man-yi lost its tropical characteristics and became an extratropical cyclone. Additional information and satellite images on Typhoon Man-yi can be found on the
NASA Hurricane Blog.
- In the western South Pacific basin, Tropical Cyclone Owen formed this past weekend over the Coral Sea several hundred miles to the east of north Queensland, Australia. This system, with tropical-storm-strength was traveling toward the south-southeast across the Coral Sea, away from the Australian coast on Sunday. As of Monday morning (local time), Owen was continuing toward the south-southeast approximately 620 miles to the east of Cairnes, Australia. Owen was expected to strengthen on Monday and into Tuesday as it would make a turn toward the west and continue west before weakening by midweek.
- Additional summaries of 2018 hurricane seasons in North Atlantic basins -- At the end of the official 2018 hurricane season in the North Atlantic, eastern North Pacific and central North Pacific basins last Friday (30 November 2018), NOAA scientists issued their preliminary assessment of this hurricane season in the Atlantic basin. They reported that 2018 season in the Atlantic basin was relatively active, with the number of named tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) falling within the range foreseen by forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in their pre-season outlook published in late May. This recently concluded season probably will be best remembered because of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, which made landfall in the southeastern U.S. and caused considerable damage to the region. The scientists also noted that investments in research and forecasting during recent years have paid dividends in more accurate predictions of tropical cyclone tracks in 2018. A one-minute video was made of the 2018 hurricane season using an animation of satellite images obtained from the NOAA GOES-East satellite. Another video shows a Hurricane Hunter airplane entering the eyewall of Hurricane Michael, a category 4 hurricane. [NOAA News]
The forecast team at Colorado State University released their summary of the tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic basin during 2018 along with a verification of their long-range seasonal and two-week forecasts. [Tropical Meteorological Project]
- Satellite sees narrow band of snow deposited across Midwest from Thanksgiving weekend storm -- A false-color image generated from data collected by the MODIS instrument onboard NASA’s Terra satellite last Tuesday shows the relatively narrow band of snow that stretched across the Midwest from Kansas and Nebraska eastward across northern Missouri and southern Iowa into northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. This snow fell on Saturday and Sunday at the end of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. The snowfall gradient was impressive as little snow fell across Iowa to the north of I-80 and the Des Moines metropolitan area, between 10 and 17 inches of snow fell approximately 40 miles to the south. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Aurora produce a dazzling light show over Alaska and northern Canada -- "Day-night" band images obtained from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite on 5 November and on 12 November show narrow bands of light associated with the aurora borealis (or Northern Lights) stretching in an east-west direction across Alaska and across northern Canada. Surface reports also indicate dancing lights associated with the aurora. Solar physicists claim that these aurora would be caused by coronal holes in the Sun, as they are coming at a time close to the solar minimum, which typically would have reduced auroras due to few sunspots and solar flares. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Efforts taken at preserving a regional farming heritage -- A video was produced that shows how the NOAA-funded Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) has reached out to community members in southern Idaho. The ambitious Big Wood Basin Alternative Futures project is linking area farmers with NOAA-funded scientists to become more resilient to the basin's wide swings in snowpack, runoff, and groundwater recharge currently and into future with an anticipated warmer climate. The goal is to enable the farmers to understand what kinds of scientific information they need to cope with the impact of climate variability and change. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Traditional knowledge may be useful for climate adaption planning -- A "Climate Case Studies" blog was written for in the ClimateWatch Magazine describing how members of the Karuk Tribe in northern California maintain an age-old tradition of prescribed burning to remove accumulated fuels and to make room for new growth and change, ultimately helping to ensure the quality of traditional foods and cultural materials. This effort appears as the answer to climate adaptation planning in the Klamath Range. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Help is available to cities adapting to a changing climate -- The Urban Adaptation Assessment (UAA) is a new free analysis tool that allows U.S. city leaders and sustainability officers to explore and plan for climate resilience. UAA was funded by the Kresge Foundation and led by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN). This tool provides a rich dataset within a visual platform that provides city leaders with the data they need to make informed local-level decisions on how best to adapt and prepare for a changing climate. These data are from over 270 U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000 people and permits ranking the cities on climate risk and readiness. [U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit]
- Canadian national seasonal outlook issued -- Forecasters with Environment Canada issued their outlooks for temperature and precipitation across Canada for December 2018 through February 2019, which represents meteorological winter. The temperature outlook indicates that western Canada running from British Columbia's Vancouver Island northward to Nunavut's Ellesmere Island could experience above normal (1981-2010) temperatures for these three months. Above average winter temperatures are possible across southern Nova Scotia in the Maritime Provinces. On the other hand, below average winter temperatures were possible across central and eastern Canada, running from Hudson Bay eastward across northern Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland, along with southern Baffin Island. Elsewhere, average temperatures could be anticipated from British Columbia eastward across the Prairie Provinces and southern sections of Ontario and Quebec to the Maritimes.
The Canadian precipitation outlook for the 2018-19 winter season indicates that above average precipitation was to be anticipated across scattered areas of southern Canada along the U.S. border and over northwestern Canada, primarily in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Conversely, areas in British Columbia, around Hudson Bay and sections of eastern Canada could have below average precipitation. Near-average winter precipitation was expected across wide areas of the nation.
[Note for comparisons and continuity with the three-month seasonal outlooks of temperature and precipitation generated for the continental United States and Alaska by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, one would need to use Environment Canada's probabilistic forecasts for temperature and precipitation.]
- Shrinking Arctic sea ice leads to heightened national security concerns -- The deputy director of the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) and the U.S. Coast Guard’s senior Arctic policy advisor recently discussed the implications of shrinking Arctic sea ice to national security interests. They noted that the amount of multiyear ice remaining at the end of summer is now considerably lower than it was in recent decades, while much of the Arctic sea ice extent during the peak of the ice season is first-year ice, which melts more easily. These changes in Arctic sea ice means that the region has become a more competitive space as accessibility grows to include nation states, entrepreneurs and tourists. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has started developing its own strategy for the region to address the evolving security and sovereignty environment. [NOAA NESDIS 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, 2018, The American Meteorological Society.