WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
12-16 August 2019
Items of Interest:
- The "Dog Days" officially ended on 11 August, having begun the third day in July. Superstition has it that dogs tend to become mad during that time of the
year. But according to Greek and Roman astrology, these days historically represent the period following the rising of the "dog star" Sirius just before sunrise. (The Weather Channel)
- Tsunami preparedness -- The Governor of Guam has declared following week (11-17 August) as "Tsunami Preparedness Week in Guam and Northern Marianas."
- A Nighttime Show -- The annual Perseid meteor shower should peak on Monday, 12 August 2019. The Perseids, which are associated with some bits of Comet Swift-Tuttle, are noted for being fast and bright, and often leave persistent trains. Typically, the Perseids are usually very active for several days before and after the peaks, often producing 30 to 60 meteors per hour. This year between 10 to 15 meteors per hour may be possible. Unfortunately, with a full moon on Thursday, illumination from the Moon will be a factor in viewing the Perseids, resulting in the lower anticipated numbers. If the skies are clear in your area, go to a region that has few lights and look up and to the northeast during the early morning hours. [Space.com]
- New phone app makes earth and space animations available -- NOAA has recently released its "SOS Explorer™ Mobile" app for personal mobile devices that provide animations of observed data of the atmosphere, ocean, land and space that has been obtained from orbiting satellites. This app joins previously released data-viewing tools created by NOAA, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) scientists in NOAA's Global Systems Division. A room-sized animated globe called "Science on a Sphere®" was used to create SOS Explorer Mobile and SOS Explorer in a portable flat-screen exhibit-quality version that is designed to help educators, science communicators, students, and the public tap into SOS datasets from their personal devices. [NOAA Research News]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics -- Tropical cyclone activity was confined to the eastern, central and western sections of the North Pacific during the past week:
- In the central North Pacific basin, Tropical Depression Flossie continued to travel to the west-northwest over the central Pacific several hundred miles to the east of the Hawaiian Islands early last Monday morning. Flossie had been a hurricane in the eastern North Pacific during the previous week. By late Monday afternoon, Flossie had degenerated into a remnant low as it was located approximately 85 miles to the north-northeast of Hilo, HI. Although it had become a remnant low, this system continued to produce several inches of rain over the main Hawaiian Islands, along with hazardous surf from the ocean swells that had been generated by Flossie.
The NASA Hurricane Blog has additional information along with satellite images for former Hurricane Flossie.
- In the western North Pacific basin --
- Tropical Storm Francisco became a typhoon at the start of last week as it was heading to the northwest across the western Pacific toward Japan's Kyushu Island. Typhoon Francisco struck the island on Tuesday (local time), accompanied by torrential rains and strong winds. Weakening to a tropical storm, Francisco curved toward the north-northwest across the Korea Strait and making another landfall along the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula. By midweek, Francisco transitioned into an extra-tropical cyclone as it moved out over the Sea of Japan nearly 200 miles to the northeast of Seoul, South Korea. Consult the NASA Hurricane Blog for satellite images and additional information on Typhoon Francisco.
- Tropical Storm Lekima (which was known as Hanna in the Philippines) intensified to become a typhoon early last week as it traveled initially toward west-northwest and then to the north-northwest toward the coast of mainland China. By late Thursday, Lekima had strengthened to a supertyphoon, which was equivalent to a category 4 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as maximum sustained surface winds reached 150 mph. Typhoon Lekima made landfall in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang early Saturday (local time). Over this past weekend, Lekima continued traveling northward along the eastern coast of China. By early Monday, Tropical Depression Lekima crossed the Shandong Peninsula in eastern China and had become a remnant low located 350 miles to the north-northwest of Shanghai, China. This tropical cyclone caused widespread damage over the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, and East China. At least 28 fatalities were reported and one million people were evacuated in China. [CNN] The NASA Hurricane Blog has satellite images and additional information on former Supertyphoon Lekima.
- The eleventh tropical depression of 2019 formed near the Mariana Islands at the start of last week. This system intensified to become Tropical Storm Krosa by late last Tuesday. Traveling toward the north-northwest, Krosa strengthened to become a major category 3 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale by last Friday, as maximum sustained surface winds were estimated to have reached 115 mph. Over this past weekend, Krosa began weakening as it continued to head slowly toward the north-northwest. On Sunday, Typhoon Krosa was located approximately 150 miles to the south of Iwo To, Japan (also known as Iwo Jima). As of Monday, Tropical Storm Krosa was approximately 820 miles to the south-southeast of Iwakuni, a city at the southern end of Japanís Honshu island. Krosa was forecast to strengthen back to a category 1 typhoon before reaching southern Japan by midweek. Consequently, Krosa would become the third tropical cyclone to hit Japan this year in the wake of Typhoon Francisco and Tropical Storm Nari.
Additional information and satellite imagery for Typhoon Krosa can be found on the NASA Hurricane Blog.
Editor's note: An image obtained from the Advanced Himawari Imager on Japanís Himawari-8 geosynchronous satellite. last Tuesday showed three tropical cyclones traveling across the western North Pacific: Tropical Storm Francisco, which had made landfall on the southern coast of Japan as a typhoon, Tropical Storm Lekima, a former supertyphon that was approaching Japanís Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and eastern China, and Tropical Storm Krosa, which was near Guam. [NOAA NESDIS News] EJH
- Updated El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion is released -- 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 late last week. They reported that oceanic conditions across the equatorial Pacific Ocean in July 2019 were reflective of ENSO-neutral conditions, with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) found across western equatorial Pacific and below-average SST in the eastern equatorial Pacific. An ENSO-neutral situation is one with neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions prevailing. (An El Niño is a "warm phase" event where above average SST values are found in the eastern equatorial Pacific, while a La Niña is a "cold phase" event with below-average SSTs in the eastern Pacific.) In addition, the atmospheric component to the system was suggestive of a transition from weak El Niño to ENSO-conditions. Most of the prediction models used by the forecasters indicate ENSO-neutral conditions should persist from late Northern Hemisphere summer (August) into boreal meteorological autumn. Therefore, forecasters give an approximately 50- to 55-percent chance of the continuation of ENSO-conditions through Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-2020. They also foresee the odds for a return to El Niño conditions would be twice as likely as a transition to La Niña by winter. Therefore, the CPC's ENSO Alert System Status currently is listed as "Final El Niño Advisory." [NOAA Climate Prediction Center] Note: The criteria used for CPC's ENSO Alert System is available.
An ENSO blog was written by a research scholar with NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory that explains why CPC and IRI forecasters have declared the recent weak El Niño has ended and ENSO-neutral conditions have returned, focusing upon changes in the SST values in the region of the equatorial Pacific known as Niño 3.4 used to decide the existence of El Niño. He goes on to explore how lone neutral conditions would last and if El Niño conditions would return later in 2019 (covering boreal autumn and early winter). [NOAA Climate.gov News]
Forecasters with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology recently issued an updated ENSO forecast from a Southern Hemisphere perspective. They reported ENSO-neutral conditions during July. They foresee continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions during austral spring and continuing into austral summer (or the remainder of the calendar year). Therefore, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook status remains at INACTIVE. [Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology]
- Updated 2019 NOAA Atlantic hurricane outlook is released -- Forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their updated Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook for 2019, in which they increased the number of predicted named tropical cyclones for the North Atlantic Basin (including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico) from their initial seasonal outlook that they made in May. Specifically, they are now predicting the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45 percent from the 30 percent chance from their May outlook. Furthermore, the likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35 percent (down from 40 percent), while the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20 percent (from 30 percent). They now envision (with a 70 percent confidence) 10 to 17 named tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms with sustained surface winds of at least 39 mph), as compared with their earlier outlook of 9 to 15 named systems. In addition, they also currently envision between five and nine hurricanes (with maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or higher), up from the four and eight hurricanes. However, the number of two to four major hurricanes (Category 3 hurricanes or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale with winds of at least 111 mph) remains the same. For reference, long-term statistics show that an average Atlantic season consists of 12 named tropical cyclones and the six hurricanes that normally form during each year. Three of these hurricanes typically become major hurricanes. As of the early August, the Atlantic basin has experienced two named tropical cyclones (Subtropical Storm Andrea and Hurricane Barry) so far during 2019.
The CPC forecasters claim that the increased likelihood of above average tropical cyclone activity across the Atlantic basin is due primarily to the end of El Niño (as seen in previous entry), which would contribute to a suppression of Atlantic hurricanes. Without El Niño, more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, would increase the possibility of a more active season. [NOAA News]
- Atlantic hurricane season outlook from Colorado State University is updated -- At the start of this past week, the team of hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University led by Dr. Philip Klotzbach issued its updated August forecast for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. Their "Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2019" calls for near-average Atlantic hurricane activity through the remainder of the season. Additionally, the forecasters indicate that the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean also would be close to the long-term average. The forecasters noted that the sea surface temperatures in the waters of the tropical Atlantic remained near the long-term average. They foresee a decrease in the odds for the persistence of weak El Niño conditions over the next several months coinciding with the typical peak in the Atlantic hurricane season. In addition, they envision vertical wind shear in the Caribbean to remain relatively high, which would tend to diminish activity over the basin.
The forecasters anticipate the formation of 12 additional named tropical cyclones (maximum sustained surface winds of 39 mph or higher) after the end of July, resulting in a total of 14 named tropical cyclones that are now forecast for the entire 2019 season, following the formation of the short-lived Hurricane Barry in July and Subtropical Storm Andrea in May. With the addition of Hurricane Barry, the new forecast calls for five hurricanes (maximum sustained surface winds greater than 73 mph) in the Atlantic basin. The forecasters also anticipated two major hurricanes (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with winds of at least 111 mph). Furthermore, they also foresee a 53 percent probability of at least one major hurricane making a landfall along the entire coast of the continental United States. [The Tropical Meteorology Project]
- A saildrone circumnavigates Antarctica searching for carbon dioxide -- An unmanned instrumented saildrone recently completed a 13,670-mile journey around Antarctica in 196 days, successfully collecting oceanic and atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements. A saildrone is a 7-meter long autonomous sailing drone that travels on the ocean surface, using wind power for transit and solar power for instrumentation. Sensors onboard the saildrone make measurements of the temperature, winds, humidity, air pressure and carbon dioxide in the lower atmosphere, the ocean current bathymetry and fish biomass in the ocean subsurface and a variety of properties such as wave height and period, sea surface temperature and sea water carbon dioxide concentration on the oceanic surface. Although the saildrone that successfully circumnavigated Antarctica suffered damage to some of its instruments after colliding with an iceberg, two companion saildrones had to return to port after being more severely damaged by storms soon after leaving New Zealand in January. [NOAA News]
- An extreme heat toolkit developed for Minnesota -- The Minnesota Department of Health obtained information obtained from various communities around the state to produce a cohesive "Minnesota Extreme Heat Toolkit" that is designed to help communities of all sizes better plan for comping with health risks associated with high Heat Index values. This toolkit describes changing weather conditions in Minnesota, the magnitude of potential health consequences from extreme heat, and key steps that communities can take to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths. [U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit]
- Extreme heat in an urban environment serves as a teaching tool --A two and a half-minute video produced by Wisconsin Educational Communications Board addresses the impact that heat waves have an impact on people of color in the Milwaukee (WI) metropolitan area. The narrative is provided by a young resident of the city. Teaching tips are provided. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching Climate]
- Mapping "near surface" air pollution will involve satellites -- A team of researchers from the University at Buffalo, Boston University and their colleagues have received a NASA grant for a three-year project designed to develop statistical analysis tools and physics-based algorithms that will map "near surface" air pollution. Maps of surface pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and ammonia will be produced for the contiguous U.S. using data collected from satellites, NASA's aircraft observational campaigns, meteorological parameters logged by commercial airlines and various atmospheric models. This "near surface" air pollution is in a region where surface air quality affects the health of humans, crops and ecosystems. [University at Buffalo News]
- First FEMA grants arrive for Houston projects to mitigate flooding since Hurricane Harvey -- The Houston, TX mayor recently announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) finally has awarded the first set of federal grants to the City of Houston for a pair of large-scale flood mitigation projects in areas hit nearly two years ago by the record-high rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. One of the projects that is receiving funds is the Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin on the city's northwest side, while the other project is the first phase of the Lake Houston Dam Spillway Improvement Project. [Houston (TX) Mayorís Office Press Release]
- One-quarter of the world's population face extremely high water stress -- Data provided by the World Resources Institute show that 17 countries around the world, which are home to one quarter of the world's population, are currently dealing with "extremely high" water stress. An "extremely high" water stress occurs where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year. In addition to a changing climate, factors contributing to the water stress levels include withdrawal of groundwater supplies instead of conserving for times of drought; and growing crops that need high volumes of water, such as cotton and rice. Climate change increases risk because it makes deluges and droughts increasingly unpredictable. The Middle East and North Africa appear to be the most water-stressed region on Earth. In the U.S., the Southwestern states are most at risk, with New Mexico ranking in the "extremely high" water stress category. Elsewhere, some states are also experiencing some water stress, including Florida, where the central part of the state is straining its aquifer. [World Resources Institute]
- Links between land use and climate change are assessed -- At a press conference held last Thursday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the "Summary for Policymakers" version of its report entitled Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. This report, which was prepared by over 100 experts from 52 countries, represents the first-ever comprehensive scientific assessment of the links between land and climate change and offers a critical contribution to efforts designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, tackle the impacts of global warming and protect food security. Reliable food production is being threatened by the changing climate. Therefore, changes in the way that the world manages its lands will be crucial to limiting warming, since many farming practices are accelerating warming. Furthermore, dietary changes and limiting food waste are recommended. [ World Meteorological Organization WMO 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.