WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
5-9 November 2018
Items of Interest:
- Weather Awareness -- During this week (5-9 November 2018), the Midwestern states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will observe Winter Weather Awareness Week in their respective states. In addition, Iowa and Nebraska will conduct their Winter Weather Awareness Days on Wednesday (7 November) and Thursday, respectively.
Residents of all 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. Other states will be observing their own winter weather awareness events during subsequent weeks. Stay tuned for further announcements.
- Flood Awareness Week --Nevada will observe its Flood Awareness Week this coming week (4-10 November 2018).
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2018 Campaign for November is underway -- eleventh in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2018 will commence continue through Thursday, 8 November. 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 twelfth and last series in the 2018 campaign is scheduled for 29 November-8 December 2018. [GLOBE at Night]
- World Tsunami Awareness Day -- The United Nations General Assembly has designated Monday, 5 November 2018, as World Tsunami Awareness Day in recognition of the hazards that tsunamis pose around the globe. This year, World Tsunami Awareness Day will be aligned with the International Day for Disaster Reduction and the "Sendai Seven Campaign" and will focus on Target "c" of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which aims at reducing direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP. [United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction]
- Free admission into the National Parks -- The National Park Service has designated Veterans Day (Sunday, 11 November 2018) as being a part of its fee-free days program, which in this case is to honor the nation's veterans. This fee waiver will cover entrance and commercial tour fees in many of the national parks and monuments administered by the Park Service. [National Park Service Fee Free Days] Special observances for veterans will be held at several military parks, battlefields and historic sites. [National Park Service Military Honor]
- Snow climatology tools are available -- The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) is providing the public with an interactive set of maps for the 48 contiguous U.S. that provide some important snow climatology information. The user can access a default map that shows the average number of days at more than 1800 individual climate-reporting stations nationwide for the 1960-61 through the 2016-17 "snow years" with at measurable snow (0.1 inches or greater) for any month. (A "snow year" runs from 1 July through 30 June.) Additional maps can be selected for two- or three-day snow events, for threshold snowfall totals ranging one to 24 inches, and for individual months. A corresponding set of maps can be accessed showing snow depth or the reported depth of snow cover on the ground. Detailed maps along with tabular data for individual stations are available. (Some scrolling, or panning, may be necessary be necessary to access other sections of the nation, including Alaska). Documentation is available.
[MRCC Snow Climatology]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Several tropical cyclones were reported across the waters of the Northern Hemisphere during the last week:
- In the North Atlantic basin:
Hurricane Oscar was a minimal category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) early last Monday morning as it was heading toward the west, approximately 620 miles to the southeast of Bermuda. Over the course of Monday, Oscar continued strengthening as it began curving to the northwest and then to the north, becoming a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained surface winds of 105 mph by late Monday evening. At that time, Hurricane Oscar was approximately 515 miles to southeast of Bermuda, as this storm was traveling to the north. The central eye of Oscar passed nearly 500 miles to the east of Bermuda late Tuesday afternoon, as this hurricane weakened. forecast to strengthen on Monday and into Tuesday as it would head to the west and then northwest, without becoming a threat to any landmasses. As of early Wednesday evening, Hurricane Oscar lost its tropical characteristics, becoming a hurricane-force post-tropical cyclone as it was heading to the north-northeast approximately 540 miles to the south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, or 975 miles to the northeast of Bermuda. At that time, Bermuda was still experiencing high ocean swell generated by Oscar. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite images for Hurricane Oscar.
- In the eastern North Pacific basin:
A tropical depression formed last Friday afternoon over the waters of the eastern Pacific approximately 450 miles to the southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. Traveling toward the east-northeast, this tropical depression quickly intensified to become Tropical Storm Xavier by Friday evening. Xavier became the 22nd named tropical cyclone of 2018 in the basin and it was the first tropical storm with an "X" name on the Eastern Pacific naming lists since 1992 (when the last named storm was Tropical Storm Zeke that formed in late October of that year). Xavier continued strengthening on Saturday as it traveled toward the east-northeast and then to the northeast. By Sunday morning, Xavier had turned toward the north, as torrential rains from this tropical storm spread onshore across southwestern Mexico. As of Sunday evening, Tropical Storm Xavier was traveling to the north off the coasts of the Mexican States Colima and Jalisco with little change in intensity. At the time, the center of Xavier was located approximately 100 miles to the west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. Locally heavy rains and gusty winds were continuing over southwestern Mexico. Xavier was expected to turn toward the northwest and then west-northwest on Monday, with a projected track that would keep Xavier offshore of Mexico. Weakening should occur, with Xavier expected to become a remnant low on Tuesday.
- In western North Pacific Basin:
The former Super typhoon Yutu was traveling toward the west-southwest as a major category 3 typhoon (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) last Monday toward Luzon Island in the Philippines. Yutu made landfall on the eastern coast of Luzon as a category 2 typhoon on Tuesday. Traveling westward across Luzon, Yutu weakened to a tropical storm before moving out over the South China Sea. Torrential rains accompanying Yutu resulted in landslides and mudslides across sections of Luzon, with the loss of as many as 15 people as of Thursday. Yutu curved toward the northwest and weakened to a tropical depression. Eventually Yutu dissipated by early Saturday approximately 175 miles to the southeast of Hong Kong. Satellite images and additional information for Super typhoon Yutu are available on the NASA Hurricane Blog Page.
- Europeans to launch new polar-orbiting satellite needed for predicting Earth's weather and climate -- The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is intending to launch a new polar-orbiting satellite identified as Metop-C on Tuesday, 6 November 2018 from French Guiana. Metop-C is a joint effort between EUMETSAT, the European Space Agency, NASA, and NOAA that is designed to collect valuable data about Earth's atmosphere, land, and oceans needed for the preparation of daily weather forecasts around the globe. Its predecessors in the EUMETSAT Polar System series include Metop-A launched in 2006 and Metop-B in 2012. Metop-C will be placed into an orbit that has an altitude of approximately 505 miles and will carry 14 instruments designed to make temperature humidity measurements, readings of wind speed and direction, and determine atmospheric ozone profiles. [NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service News]
- Preparation of NOAA's Monthly Global Climate Report is highlighted -- A member of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information recently posted a blog on the ClimateWatch Magazine that describes how colleagues have been preparing NOAA's Monthly Global Climate Reports that are released by around the 18th day of the following month. These climatologists compile and analyze observed temperature and precipitation data that have been collected by land-based stations, ships and buoys from around the globe during the previous month, producing their report in timely fashion. In addition to producing tabulated data sets, they create a variety of global anomalies and percentiles maps showing the departure of the observed monthly temperatures from a long-term average or the temperatures ranked in terms of percentiles. Attention was also given to the early portion of the global records that extend back to 1880, while the continental record only goes back to 1910. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Animations show possible future October temperature patterns across the nation -- The editor of NOAA's ClimateWatch Magazine posted a blog that features an animated sequence of gif images showing how October average temperatures across the contiguous United States are projected to change over individual forthcoming decades based upon the output from climate model simulations using a high emissions scenario run on 32 separate global climate models. These graphical simulations that were run through 2100 are compared with the observed October average temperatures for the current 1981-2010 normals interval. Most of the contiguous United States currently has average temperatures that are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but over the next eight decades, more than half the nation is expected to experience October average temperatures exceeding 60 degrees. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Canadian national seasonal outlook issued -- Forecasters with Environment Canada issued their outlooks for temperature and precipitation across Canada for November 2018 through January 2019, which represents the last month of meteorological autumn and the first two months of meteorological winter. The temperature outlook indicates that a large section of western and southern Canada should experience above normal (1981-2010) temperatures for these three months. This region would extend from the Yukon Territory and British Columbia eastward across the Prairie Provinces, Ontario and sections of the Maritime Provinces. A portion of the Canadian Archipelago in the Nunavut Territory could also be warmer than average. Sections of northern Labrador and Baffin Island could experience below average temperatures for the November through January span. Elsewhere, near normal temperatures are forecast.
The Canadian precipitation outlook for late autumn 2018 and the start of the 2018-19 winter season indicates above average precipitation should be anticipated across southwestern section of Canada, extending from British Columbia northward into the southern Yukon Territory and eastward into Alberta and Saskatchewan. Sections of southwestern Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley, the Maritimes and Newfoundland in eastern Canada also should experience above average precipitation for the upcoming three months. Below drier than normal conditions could occur in sections of eastern Canada to the north of Quebec and Labrador. Elsewhere, near average precipitation should be expected.
[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.]
- Warming of the deep Southern Ocean documented by research cruises -- A feature posted in the ClimateWatch Magazine describes how data collected by repeat cruises around the global ocean over the last three decades have been used to document the long-term heat storage trends at ocean depths between 2,000 and 6,000 meters associated with human-caused global warming. "CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) profilers" were lowered from the research ships traversing the oceans on predetermined routes to collect temperature data at depths of at least 2000 meters. Analysis of the data at the University of Washington indicated that the largest rates of warming have occurred in the deep waters of the Southern Ocean, where the rate of heat gain was as much as 1 watt per square meter between the mid-1990s and 2010. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Earth's oceans absorb heat at a higher rate than previously thought -- Researchers at Princeton University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and their colleagues recently reported that the Earth's ocean have absorbed an amount of heat energy each year between 1991 and 2016 approximately 150 times the energy humans produce as electricity annually, or 60 percent more heat per year than previously stated in the 2014 Fifth Assessment Report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The researchers base their findings of the amount of ocean heat uptake by using hydrographic temperature measurements and data from the Argo float program, which expanded its coverage after 2007. [Princeton University News]
- Antarctic "ozone hole" in 2018 slightly larger than average -- Researchers with NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center report that their analysis of ozonesonde and satellite data shows the Antarctic "ozone hole," or the region of low ozone concentrations in the stratosphere that forms in austral spring over Antarctica, reached its peak size on 12 October 2018, before beginning to decline in size. The peak size in mid-October was 8.83 million square miles (or nearly three times the size of the 48 contiguous United States), For comparison, the size of last year's ozone hole was only 7.6 million square miles, which was the smallest amount of ozone depletion since 1988. The scientists claim that this season's hole was somewhat larger due to very cold air in the polar stratosphere (at altitudes between 7 and 25 miles) that resulted in more ice crystals in stratospheric clouds. These ice crystals in the high-altitude clouds would serve as sites upon which ozone-destroying chlorine could attach. While the cold stratosphere would tend to expand the ozone hole size, chlorine levels in the stratosphere have been falling because of the Montreal Protocol, a 30-year-old global environmental treaty designed to phase out the production of numerous substances found to be responsible for ozone depletion. [NOAA News] [NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research News]
A 1:11-minute video made at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows the development of the 2018 Antarctic ozone hole beginning in August, along with an animation of the maximum extent of each year's Antarctic ozone hole beginning in 1979 and running through 2018. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Feature]
- Investigating the persistent gap in natural gas methane emissions estimates -- A team of researchers from Colorado State University and colleagues from the University of Colorado and NOAA recently conducted a study that explains the differences between the two types of estimates of methane emissions from a natural gas production region in Arkansas. One method is called the "bottom-up" (BU) emission estimate is an accounting method that involves the multiplying of average emission factors for each known source category by an activity factor for that source category to estimate the annual emissions from a facility or emission source. The other method is the "top-down" (TD) method that involves the regional scale with atmospheric methane concentrations measured from aircraft being used in models to infer emission rates. Usually, most of the estimates using the TD method have been statistically higher than those obtained using the BU method. [NOAA Research News]
- Investigating how marine life recovered after a major mass extinction event -- Researchers at the China University of Geosciences and the United Kingdom's University of Leeds recently reported on their investigations into how life recovered on Earth after the historic Permian-Triassic (PT) mass extinction using a new global fossil database. This mass extinction, which occurred approximately 252 million years ago, resulted in more than 95 percent of the marine species being killed in less than 100,000 years. Massive volcanism in present day Siberia appears to be the trigger of the PT extinction, especially in the oceans, as greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) were emitted from the volcanoes; the increased levels of these greenhouse gases resulted in a warming of the oceans to the point where the amount of dissolved oxygen became insufficient to sustain life. However, the researchers found that some of the marine organisms at the top of the food chain appeared to have been faster at emerging in the oceans and starting the re-population of the marine ecosystem during the Triassic following the extinction event. Some of the animals at the top of the chain emerged in 5 million years as compared with 50 million years for the underlying ecosystem. [EOS Earth & Space Science 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright, 2018, The American Meteorological Society.