WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
13-17 May 2019
Items of Interest:
- NOAA's 2019 Resilience Webinar Series continues -- NOAA's Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team (SECART) has announced the schedule for its 2019 Resilience Webinar Series, which focuses upon hurricanes and additional topics related to disaster resilience in the Southeast and Caribbean Region of the nation. The fourth in this seven-part webinar series is entitled "NOAA Hurricane Awareness Series: Use of Aircraft Reconnaissance Data in Tropical Cyclone Analysis and Forecasting" will be held between 11:00 AM and noon Eastern Time on Tuesday 14 May 2019. Registration is needed. [NOAA Regional Collaboration]
- Hurricane season to begin in the eastern North
Pacific -- The official 2019 hurricane season in the eastern North
Pacific Ocean basin begins this Wednesday, 15 May 2019. The hurricane
season in the central North Pacific basin and 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 all of these basins end on 30 November 2019.
- Zenithal Sun -- This 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 18-19 May at Hilo; those on Oahu (Honolulu metropolitan area) will experience the noon sun at the zenith in approximately two more weeks (25-27 May). The sun will again be over the Big Island during the last week of July. [US Naval Observatory, Data Services]
- Higher than normal tide anticipated this coming week along East Coast -- According to the NOAA National Ocean Service's High Tide Bulletin for Spring 2019, above average tides are expected between 17 and 20 May for the Atlantic Coast of the US, stretching southward from Maine to the eastern coast of Florida. A new moon occurring on Saturday afternoon (18 May 2018 at 2111Z or 5:11 PM EDT) is responsible for the spring tide. Lunar perigee, when the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit during the month, had occurred nearly five days earlier on 13 May. Tides will increase during the weeks leading up to and after the summer solstice (21 June 2019), due to the position of the sun relative to the equator. Furthermore, mean sea level is typically higher due to changing weather patterns and increasing water temperatures.
[NOAA National Ocean Service News]
- North American Safe Boating Week -- On this upcoming Saturday (18 May), the 2019 National Safe Boating Week will start and run through Friday, 24 May. This week helps launch the 2019 North American Safe Boating Campaign. Check the Safe Boating Week site maintained by the National Safe Boating Council. In addition, Friday 17 May has been designated as "Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day".
Weather and Climate News items:
- Eye on the tropics -- During the last week tropical cyclone activity was found in the eastern South Indian and western South Pacific Ocean basins:
- In the South Indian basin, a weak tropical low pressure system formed over the previous weekend approximately 465 miles to the north-northwest of Darwin, which is situated along the coast of Australia's Northern Territory. During the first several days of last week, this low intensified as it traveled slowly toward the south over the Banda Sea, becoming a tropical storm by late Wednesday (local time). This tropical storm was identified as Tropical Cyclone Lili, as it was approximately 350 miles to the east of Kupang. Entering this past weekend, Lili was heading to the south-southwest. Locally heavy rains accompanying Lili spread across some of the Maluku Islands, an archipelago in eastern Indonesia, causing some flooding. By late Saturday, Lili was weakening to a minimal tropical storm as it was heading west toward East Timor. At the time, Lili was located approximately 310 miles to the northwest of Darwin. Eventually, Lili became a remnant low and dissipated. The NASA Hurricane Blog has additional information and satellite images for Cyclone Lili.
- In the South Pacific basin, a weak tropical low pressure trough developed to the east of the Solomon Islands early last week. A distinct low pressure center developed and began moving slowly toward the southwest last Wednesday, approaching Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands. After traveling toward the southwest, this tropical low turned and began traveling toward the east on Friday, before reversing direction as it started across the Coral Sea. By early Sunday, this tropical low had strengthened to become a tropical storm that was named Tropical Cyclone Ann. Continuing to the west on Sunday, Ann continued to strengthen as it reached a point approximately 570 miles to the east of Cairnes, Australia on Monday (local time). The current forecast indicates Ann to continue heading toward the west as a tropical storm, approaching the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia by Wednesday.
- National Hurricane Center releases its post-storm analysis of Hurricane Florence -- During the past week NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) released a 98-page "Hurricane Florence Tropical Cyclone Report," a post-storm analysis of Hurricane Florence, which made landfall along the southeastern coast of North Carolina on 14 September 2018 as a high-end category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). Earlier, Florence had reached category 4 status. Torrential rains accompanying a slow-moving Florence caused devastating freshwater flooding across much of the Southeastern United States, while strong winds and significant storm surge flooding in portions of eastern North Carolina. Florence was responsible for 22 direct deaths and 30 indirect fatalities in the U.S. Damage from this hurricane was approximately $24 billion, making Florence the ninth-most-destructive hurricane to affect the nation. [NOAA National Hurricane Center]
- Updated El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion is released -- Late last week forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) released their monthly El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion. They reported that during the month of April 2019, both oceanic and atmospheric components of the Earth's climate system generally remained consistent with El Niño conditions. Sea surface temperatures (SST) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean (especially in regions called Niño-3+4) were above average (a positive anomaly), while the SST anomaly in the eastern equatorial regions of the basin (identified as Niño-1+2) was just below the El Niño threshold. Atmospheric conditions suggested continuation of El Niño conditions. Most of the prediction models used by the forecasters indicate El Niño conditions to continue through the remainder of 2019. Therefore, the forecasters maintained their El Niño Advisory under CPC's ENSO Alert System Status, as they give the El Niño a 70-percent chance of remaining through meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere (June-August) a 55- to 60-percent chance through autumn (September-November). Additional information is available for this alert system involving these watches and advisories. [NOAA Climate Prediction Center]
A 5-year anniversary ENSO blog was written for the ClimateWatch Magazine by a contractor with CPC that provides a more simplified discussion of the current states of the ocean and atmosphere across the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans that point to the continuation of El Niño conditions. She also described how the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), an intra-seasonal (30 to 60-day) "pulse" of clouds and rainfall that move eastward along the Equator, strengthened again over the Indian Ocean in April and how the eastward movement of the MJO across the equatorial Pacific in May could help maintain the El Niño over the coming months.
[NOAA Climate.gov News]
- An El Niño forecast from Down Under -- Forecasters with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology recently issued an updated forecast, in which they
reported that ENSO-neutral conditions were continuing currently across the tropical Pacific, as atmospheric and oceanic indicators of ENSO were generally at near average levels. They also noted that most of the international forecast models indicated El Niño would continue through May, but some models would suggest a cooling of the ocean waters through meteorological winter and spring in the Southern Hemisphere (or summer and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere) covering June through November. Several models indicate a weak El Niño later this year. Therefore, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook status remains as "El Niño Alert," as the chance of El Niño developing in 2019 is placed at approximately 70 percent. [Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology]
- Tool helps students describe the ENSO cycle -- A teaching resource from the CLEAN (Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network) collection that is suitable for high school and college-age students helps them interpret maps of ocean temperature and use these maps to describe the year-to-year variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation-La Niña (or ENSO) cycle. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching Climate]
- Wintertime air pollution is studied -- Researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory reported on a study that indicates the same processes responsible for generating summertime ozone pollution can also trigger the formation of smoggy haze in winter. Sunlight triggers chemical reactions in the polluted air containing a mixture of volatile organic carbons (VOCs) and nitrous oxides (NOx) that are concentrated in mountain valleys during temperature inversions when warm air traps cold, polluted air below. In the presence of ammonia, a common fertilizer ingredient, these combine to form ammonium nitrate aerosols, a major component of the fine-particle or PM 2.5 pollution that develops in mountain basins. Their results also suggest that a standard control strategy used to reduce smog by nitrogen oxides from burning fossil fuels could backfire in the mountain basins of the western United States when temperature inversions trap pollution near the surface. [NOAA Research News]
- Water levels on the Great Lakes could reach record high levels -- According to the Great Lakes water forecasts published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with NOAA and Environment and Climate Change Canada in the recent "Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels," all-time high water level records are anticipated on Lake Superior, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie within the next six months, while Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario are expected to also experience high water levels just below record levels. The record or near record levels appear to be due to recent wetter than average conditions across the basin with a significant snowpack across the northern Great Lakes basin and recent heavy rain events. Great Lakes water levels have a significant impact on Great Lakes residents, who should prepare for an increased risk of erosion and minor flooding during storm events due to high water levels. [NOAA Research News]
- Long-term spatially averaged climate data are now available for U.S. counties -- NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is now making county-level data, maps, and rankings of precipitation and temperature available to the public on two web pages. The precipitation and temperature data, which are spatially averaged across each of the 3107 counties or parishes in the contiguous U.S., is generated by averaging the climate data obtained from the stations in the Global Historical Climate Network on a 5-km grid using NCEI's nClimGrid algorithm. The tabular or graphical output for any county or parish can be obtained from the National Temperature and Precipitations Maps web page and by using Climate at a Glance from 1895 through the present Note: Cooling/Heating degree-day and Palmer drought indices data currently are not available for counties. [NOAA NCEI News]
- New solar telescopes on geosynchronous satellites get new view of the Sun -- New NOAA solar telescopes called the "Solar Ultraviolet Imager" (SUVI) have been placed on both the GOES-East (or GOES-16) and GOES-West (or GOES-17) satellites to make images of the Sun's atmosphere in the extreme ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The SUVI sensor uses six wavelength channels that capture simultaneous images of the solar chromosphere and corona (in the Sun's outer atmosphere) at different temperature ranges. Images obtained by SUVI are archived by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). For example, users can download a SUVI Level 1b Solar Imagery: X-Ray product from NCEI that contains an image of the Sun at one of six wavelengths with different exposure times, and metadata required for exploitation and higher-level processing. A sample set of six images shows a large solar flare on 10 September 2017 that caused a powerful extreme-ultraviolet wave to extend outward from the Sun and disrupt much of the corona. In addition to providing data for research by solar physicists, the SUVI data are helping scientists at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center improve operational space weather forecasts. [NOAA NCEI News]
- New report cites climate change as a contributing factor in "nature's dangerous decline" -- The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an independent intergovernmental body established by member states of the United Nations, recently released a report citing climate change as one of the contributing factors responsible for the unprecedented declines in natural species globally. The "IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services" was compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries. According to this report, the average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20 percent, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33 percent of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The report warns that about one million species are threatened with extinction incoming decades. Five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts were identified and listed in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species. [World Meteorological Organization 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, 2019, The American Meteorological Society.