WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
9-13 July 2018
Items of Interest:
- Webinar in the Climate Science Special Report Seminar Series will be conducted this week -- The first seminar of eight in the Climate Science Special Report Seminar Series will be held at noon (Eastern Time) on Thursday (12 July). This webinar, entitled "Climate Science: What's New?" will feature Katharine Hayhoe, Atmospheric Scientist, Texas Tech University as the speaker. She will highlight key results from the first volume of the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment, on which she was a lead author. In addition, she will outline what can be expected from the second volume on how climate change is affecting regions and sectors across the U.S. The Climate Science Special Report Seminar Series is co-sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and NOAA's National Ocean Service. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching News]
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2018 Campaign for July is underway -- The seventh in the series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2018 will continue through Friday, 13 July. 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 Hercules in the Northern Hemisphere and Scorpius 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 eighth series in the 2018 campaign is scheduled for 2-11 August 2018. [GLOBE at Night]
- Higher than normal ocean tides anticipated this coming week along nation's coasts -- According to the NOAA National Ocean Service's High Tide Bulletin for Summer 2018, higher than average tides are expected between 11 and 16 July for most of the Pacific Coast of the US, stretching southward from Alaska to California and along the nation's Atlantic Coast, running from Maine southward to Florida's East Coast. Higher than average tides also can be expected surrounding Hawaii and the US Pacific Islands. A new moon occurring on Thursday evening (12 July), coupled with lunar perigee (when the Moon is closest to Earth) that follows five hours later on Friday morning, will be responsible for the perigean spring tide that creates higher than normal high tides. [NOAA National Ocean Service News]
Weather and Climate News items:
- Eye on the tropics -- Several tropical cyclones were reported to have been traveling across the North Atlantic and both the eastern and western North Pacific basins during the past week:
- In the North Atlantic basin, the second tropical depression formed last Thursday that eventually became Hurricane Beryl, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2018. As the time of formation, this tropical depression, identified as Tropical Depression TD-2) was nearly 1400 miles to the east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Traveling westward, this tropical depression strengthened to become Tropical Storm Beryl on Thursday afternoon. Beryl intensified to become a hurricane early Friday morning as maximum sustained surface winds reached 75 mph. At that time, this hurricane's center was located approximately 1140 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. This relatively compact-sized hurricane took a slight turn to take a path toward the west-northwest. By late Saturday morning, this category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale had weakened sufficiently to cause it to be downgraded to a tropical storm when maximum sustained surface winds fell to 65 mph as Beryl was within 760 miles to the east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Beryl began to become disorganized as it continued toward the west-northwest on Sunday afternoon. By late Sunday evening, remnants of former Tropical Storm Beryl were spread over the northeastern Caribbean, approximately 80 miles to the west-northwest of Dominica or 300 miles to the southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Current forecasts indicate that the remnants of Beryl should move across the northeast Caribbean, passing to the south of Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday. Additional information and satellite images associated with Hurricane Beryl (or TD-2) are available from the NASA Hurricane Page
The third tropical depression of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season (TD-3) formed last Friday afternoon approximately 235 miles to the south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. After heading toward the Carolina coast on Saturday, TD3 slowed and became stationary as it strengthened to become Tropical Storm Chris on Sunday morning. At that time, this new tropical storm was located approximately 150 miles to the south of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. During the rest of Sunday, Chris strengthened as it wandered over the offshore waters nearly 200 miles to the south-southeast of Cape Hatteras. Tropical Storm Chris should become a hurricane on Monday as it would travel slowly toward the east-southeast.
- In the eastern North Pacific, Tropical Storm Fabio continued to travel toward the west away from the western coast of Mexico at the start of last week. By midmorning on Monday, Fabio had strengthened to a hurricane as maximum sustained surface winds had reached 75 mph. At that time, the center of Fabio was located approximately 700 miles to the south of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. Fabio continued to strengthen as it headed toward the west-northwest on Monday and into Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, as Fabio was approximately 680 miles to the southwest of Cabo San Lucas, maximum sustained surface winds surrounding the hurricane's center had reached 110 mph, making Fabio a strong category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. During the remainder of last week, Fabio weakened to a tropical storm during the predawn hours of Thursday as it traveled toward the west-northwest and northwest. Fabio weakened to a post-tropical cyclone or remnant low during the hours after sunrise on Friday as it was located approximately 1285 miles to the west of Cabo San Lucas. Although Fabio remained well offshore of the North American continent, ocean swells generated by Fabio created high surf and potentially dangerous rip currents along sections of the coasts of southern California and the Baja California Peninsula late last week. The NASA Hurricane Page has satellite images and additional information on Hurricane Fabio.
- In western North Pacific basin, Typhoon Prapiroon was continuing to travel northward across the East China Sea at the start of last week after passing just to the west of Okinawa during the previous weekend. Prapiroon then began curving toward the north-northeast as it passed just to the west of southwestern Japan's Kyushu Prefecture and to the east of the Korean Peninsula. Moving over the Sea of Japan, Prapiroon dissipated after traveling across northern Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture by midweek. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information on Prapiroon.
The tenth tropical depression of 2018 in the western North Pacific basin (TD-10W) formed last Tuesday evening (local time) to the southeast of Guam. TD-10W strengthened to a tropical storm on Wednesday and then to Typhoon Maria as it headed toward Guam during the second half of last week. Strong winds on Wednesday and Thursday caused damage to US Air Force aircraft located at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base. By Friday, Maria had undergone explosive intensification as it became a super typhoon with maximum sustained wind speeds approaching 160 mph, which is equivalent in strength to a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Maria weakened slightly as it continued traveling to the west-northwest across the East China Sea over the weekend. As of Monday (local time), Typhoon Maria was traveling toward the west-northwest as it was located slightly less than 500 miles to the southeast of Okinawa. Maria was forecast to make landfall along the eastern coast of China by midweek.
Check the NASA Hurricane Page for additional information and satellite information on Super typhoon Maria (formerly TD-10W).
- Updated Atlantic hurricane season outlook foresees less activity -- Philip Klotzbach and fellow hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University, issued their updated July forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season that contained changes to their earlier April and late May forecasts. In their newly issued forecast they now foresee below-average tropical cyclone activity, which is in contrast to their April forecast when they envisioned slightly above-average activity. They changed their current outlook for the number of named tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms with sustained surface winds of at least 39 mph) from 14 to 11 because of the formation of Subtropical Storm Alberto over the Gulf of Mexico in late May; thus, the total seasonal forecast for named storms would remain the same as earlier envisioned. They also reduced their number of anticipated hurricanes (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) from six at the end of May to four and their number of projected major hurricanes (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) would drop from two to one. The probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean also has been decreased. This change in their outlook is due to colder than average surface waters in the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic and the increased odds that a weak El Niño would develop during the next several months, which would include the main portion of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. [The Tropical Storm Project]
- Measuring snowfall in Antarctica's harsh environment -- Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University of Colorado-Boulder and UNAVCO, a non-profit university-governed consortium, have recently deployed four precipitation monitoring stations as part of the first suite of advanced snowfall measuring tools in Antarctica designed to more accurately determine the snowfall budget on the Antarctic continent. The snowfall feeds the ice sheets that hold approximately 90 percent of the world's ice. Snowfall data from Antarctica is needed to help predict the future of Antarctica's ice and, ultimately, global sea level. The four stations measure snow height, snow mass, snowflake size, wind speed, and number of snowflakes falling in a specified time period. A snowfall collection system was designed that can make the distinction between falling snow and blowing snow, as well as having the ability to withstand hurricane-force winds and temperatures well below -40 degrees (Fahrenheit/Celsius). [NCAR/UCAR AtmosNews]
- New temperature and precipitation outlooks help bridge gap between weather and climate -- A researcher from the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory recently wrote an ENSO blog for the EarthWatch Magazine in which he describes the Week 3-4 temperature and precipitation outlooks for the contiguous United States and Alaska issued weekly by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC). These CPC outlooks, which were made operational in May 2017, are probabilistic forecasts with a lead time of three to four weeks into the future, are meant to bridge the gap between the operational 8- to 14-day weather forecasts and the monthly climate outlooks already prepared by CPC. He notes that research efforts over the last decade into dynamical model forecast systems involving the impacts of ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation), the Madden-Julian Oscillation, long-term trends, the influence of sudden stratospheric warmings, and soil moisture have helped provide increased forecast skill for this time frame lying between the short-term weather and longer-term climate domains. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Drones and other remotely piloted aircraft collect data and help in future weather and climate research across the Arctic -- NOAA scientists have been participating in several field campaigns in which autonomous unmanned vehicles such as drones and tethered weather balloons have been used as platforms to collect environmental data over tundra, ice and water in northern Alaska. These data are then used to help improve weather and climate predictions. The field campaigns, which have been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, have been conducted along the Beaufort Sea coast of northern Alaska near Prudhoe Bay. Later this summer, two additional field campaigns will be conducted, with one in support of the Year of Polar Prediction, while the second will be in support of Stratified Ocean Dynamics in the Arctic (SODA), which is an interagency effort led by the US Office of Naval Research. [NOAA News]
- Satellites track Saharan dust layer spreading westward across the Atlantic Ocean -- A map was generated that displays a relatively thick dust layer spreading westward across the tropical North Atlantic from the Sahara Desert to the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico in late June. A map shows the dust column mass density that was generated from data collected by the MODIS sensors on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. The dust plume that continued for approximately 10 days was affecting the air quality in North and South America and could also be responsible for suppressing formation of Atlantic hurricanes and in the decline of coral reefs. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- New primary driver of extreme Texas heat waves has been found -- A team of scientists from Columbia University and several universities in China recently reported finding that a strengthened gradient or change in ocean temperatures from west to east across the tropical Pacific during the preceding winter appears to be the main driver of more frequent heat waves in Texas during the following summer. With the enhanced ocean temperature gradient, convection is enhanced in the western Pacific, while convection is suppressed in the eastern Pacific. These changes in convection can affect the atmospheric flow pattern, which eventually forms a high pressure circulation pattern over the Texas region in the summer. [NOAA Research News]
- Forecasting wildfires around the globe -- Researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies recently created a computer model that analyzes various weather factors, such as rainfall, that lead to the formation and spread of wildfires. This model, which is called the "Global Fire WEather Database" (GFWED), accounts for local winds, temperatures, and humidity, while also being the first fire prediction model to include satellite–based precipitation measurements. An animation was generated that shows the fire danger around the world that was calculated by GFWED for the three calendar years running from 2015 to 2017. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Red clay runoff discolors western Lake Superior-- A digital photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station shows the discolored appearance of the waters of western Lake Superior along the shore to the southeast of the twin ports of Superior, WI and Duluth, MN following torrential rains in mid-June. The rains sent increased quantities of red clay sediment down the Nemadji River and into the Lake Superior Harbor. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- 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]
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2018, The American Meteorological Society.