WEEKLY CLIMATE NEWS
28 November- 2 December 2022
- News about NOAA's newest polar-orbiting satellite During the early morning hours of Thursday, 10 November 2022, NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) was launched from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base and successfully placed into a polar orbit. Since launch, the following noteworthy news items concerning NOAA's newest satellite have been made available:
- A name change to NOAA 21 -- According to tradition, the name of the JPSS-2 spacecraft was changed to NOAA-21 one week ago once the new satellite was placed in its intended polar orbit. NOAA-2, the 21st polar-orbiting satellite that NOAA has operated since the launch of NOAA 1 in December 1970, now joins its operating predecessors, Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20, in NOAA's fleet of Earth-orbiting satellites.
[NOAA NESDIS News]
- "First light" image is obtained from NOAA-21 NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), released a "first light" image (a term used by astronomers to identify the first use of a telescope or a new instrument to take an astronomical image) of the global water vapor using the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS). one of four instruments that are onboard NOAA-21. The ATMS instrument provides weather forecasters with a global 3-D image of the atmospheric temperature and humidity that are used in numerical weather prediction models.
[NOAA NESDIS News]
- NOAA’s international programs and partnerships featured in White House announcements at COP27 -- During the recently-concluded COP27 (also known as 2022 United Nations Climate Change) Conference held in Egypt earlier in November, the White House released several announcements that included President Biden announcing new initiatives to strengthen U.S. leadership tackling the climate crisis and galvanize global action and commitments. In addition, the President highlighted several of NOAA's Climate Program Office international programs and partnerships. [NOAA Climate Program Office News]
- Beginning of meteorological winter season -- The winter meteorological season in the Northern Hemisphere starts on Thursday (1 December). Recall that climatologists and meteorologists have elected to use a standard three-month grouping to identify each meteorological season. Hence, the months of December, January and February are considered the winter meteorological season. You will note that the winter solstice, marking the day where the length of daylight is least in the Northern Hemisphere is still more than three weeks away, falling on Wednesday, 21 December 2022. Since the lowest temperatures typically fall in mid to late January, the meteorological winter tends to be centered on the coldest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
In addition, Wednesday (30 November) marks the end of the official 2022 hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, along with the eastern and central North Pacific basins.
- High-quality maps of December temperature and precipitation normals across US available -- The PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University's website has prepared high-resolution maps depicting the normal maximum, minimum and average air temperatures, the daily average dewpoint temperatures, precipitation totals and several solar radiation elements for December and the other 11 months across the 48 coterminous United States based upon the current 1991-2020 climate normals interval. These maps, with a 800-meter resolution, were produced using the PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model) climate mapping system.
- December weather calendar for a city near you -- The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) maintains an interactive website that permits the public to produce a ready to print weather calendar for any given month of the year, such as December, at any of approximately 270 weather stations around the nation. (These stations are NOAA's ThreadEx stations.) The entries for each day of the month include: Normal maximum temperature, normal minimum temperature, normal daily heating and cooling degree days, normal daily precipitation, record maximum temperature, record minimum temperature, and record daily precipitation; the current normals for 1991-2020.
MRCC also maintains a page titled "Weather on Your Birthday" where you can generate a printable certificate showing the weather data (maximum, minimum and average temperature; precipitation and snow) on the day you were born as observed at a close weather station.
- Celebrate World Soil Day 2022 -- Next Monday, 5 December 2022, has been declared to be World Soil Day 2022, an event that is annually held on the 5th of December to focus attention upon and celebrate the importance of healthy soil as a critical component of the natural system. This year's theme for World Soil Day is "Soils: Where food begins" that is designed "to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health." [Food and Agricultural Organization of UN - World Soil Day]
- Ocean altimetry as seen from space helps monitor sea level rise --NASA's Earth Observatory team has a feature article describing how Earth-orbiting environmental satellites have been used to measure and monitor sea level rise over the last three decades. Beginning with TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 in the 1990s, these altimetry satellites have been measuring the ocean surface topography, or shapes and heights of the ocean surface peaks and valleys, using radar altimeters onboard the satellites. Currently, satellite altimetry measurements cover a significantly greater expanse of the global oceans than the more traditional tide gauges that typically are located along the coasts of the continents and islands. Comparison of the data collected by the satellites and tide gauges reveals an agreement between the two, showing that the global mean sea level has increased by 95 millimeters (3.7 inches) since the mid-1990s.
[NASA Earth Observatory]
- Tracking global sea level changes since 1880 -- A contractor at NOAA's Climate Program Office wrote an "Understanding Climate" blog for the ClimateWatch Magazine that considers several questions concerning global sea level rise over the last 141 years. Global sea level has risen by about 10 inches (254 mm) since 1880, with the largest increases having occurred since the start of satellite surveillance in 1993. She describes how sea levels are measured, identifies what is causing sea level to rise, and what to expect in the future. An interactive graph of the time-series of sea level since 1880 can be used to see the annual global sea level each year.
[NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Online tool is available to assess daily weather records -- NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has a readily accessible Daily Weather Records Data Tool that provides summaries of recent global and U.S. daily weather records with options to view monthly, annual, all-time, or selected records. This tool, which provides insight into recent weather and climate behavior, analyzes maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation and snowfall records from a selected set of weather observing stations in NCEI's Global Historical Climatological Network. [NOAA NCEI News]
- "Modeling Marine Ecosystems" can help high school students explore scientific models -- NOAA Ocean Service and NOAA Fisheries have developed an interactive virtual reality model called "Modeling Marine Ecosystems with Virtual Reality" that has been designed to help high school students explore how scientific models work. Three modules offer interactive investigations where students use real data and models to explore human-caused changes in ocean ecosystems and the impacts they have on plants and animals. These three models are titled: "Ocean Food Webs". "Observations and Models", and "Predators and Prey." Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are addressed along with other teacher resource information is provided in each module.
[NOAA Ocean Service News]
- A lot about snow -- With the beginning of meteorological winter season across the Northern Hemisphere, attention is turning to snow. Several items address the topic of snow:
- Viewing current snow and ice cover maps across the nation -- NOAA's Climate.gov has a snow and ice cover map viewer in its Dataset Gallery the permits the user to look at daily image maps showing the extent of snow and ice cover over the contiguous United States, Alaska, or the whole Northern Hemisphere. Sequences of daily maps show changes in snow cover as obtained by satellite observations. [NOAA Climate.gov Dataset Gallery]
- National snow analysis maps include additional data -- The National Weather Service's National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) provides comprehensive information on snow observations, analyzes, data sets and map products on a real-time basis. A variety of national maps generated by NOHRSC that are available on an interactive map server display snow water equivalent, snow depth, average snowpack temperatures, snow water equivalent change, snow/non-snow precipitation, snow melt and sublimation. These maps may be of importance to water supply managers or emergency management officials. [U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit]
- Exploring the role of snow cover in climate – a student activity -- An activity produced by a team of educators and content specialists from NOAA and NASA is designed to help high school (Grades 9-12) students explore the role of snow cover in shaping climate. In this activity, students download satellite images displaying land surface temperature, snow cover, and reflected short wave radiation data from the NASA Earth Observation (NEO) website. They then explore and animate these images using the free tool ImageJ and utilize the Web-based analysis tools built into NEO to observe, graph, and analyze the relationships among these three variables. [NOAA Climate.gov Teaching Climate]
- Details on the updated NOAA’s 2022-23 Winter Outlook are explained -- A scientist at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory posted a feature on the NOAA Climate Program Office's ENSO blog during the past week that is meant to provide insight into the updated NOAA's 2022-23 Winter Outlook and how a third La Niña winter in a row could influence the average temperature and precipitation patterns across the U.S.
Forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) had produced a preliminary Winter Outlook for December 2022 through February 2023 that was provided to the media and the public in October. A revised CPC Winter Outlook was released nearly two weeks ago. He described the methodology for developing the revised Winter Outlook based upon the current and anticipated La Niña conditions. He provides arrays of winter (DJF) precipitation and temperature maps for the 48 contiguous United States during the 20 strongest La Niña events since 1950. These maps show the winter precipitation patterns were more consistent than the winter temperatures nationwide. Drier-than-average conditions tended to occur across much of the southern tier of states during most of those last 70 winters with the 20 strongest La Niña events. The Gulf Coast was the region that was the driest. A region of above average precipitation was often found across the Pacific Northwest and around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. However, these patterns across the northern states were not always consistent. Some tendency existed for above-average winter temperatures across the southern U.S. during a strong La Niña winter. Areas along the U.S.-Canadian border tended to have below average winter temperatures, but mainly prior to 1990. Long-term winter warming across the nation is a major reason for milder La Niña winters.
The author of the blog discusses what tends to happen in the third winter of a “three-peat La Niña," since CPC forecasters have high confidence that this 2022-23 winter appears will have La Niña conditions, which follow back-to-back La Niña winters in 2020-21 and 2021-22. Such a "three-peat" in La Niña winters is rare, since this would be only the third such occurrence since 1950. National maps for winter precipitation and temperature for each of the previous two triple-dip La Niña events. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Larger than normal Atlantic Warm Pool can cause increased U.S. heat waves -- A team of researchers from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, and Mississippi State University’s Northern Gulf Institute conducted a study that found an increase in summertime heat wave occurrence over the U.S. Great Plains appears to be linked to a larger than normal tropical Atlantic warm pool. This Atlantic warm pool is a large warm water mass located in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The team used observational data and model simulations, finding that the year-to-year variability of the tropical Atlantic warm pool influences heat wave occurrence over the US Great Plains during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months of June through September. A larger than normal Atlantic warm pool appears to influence atmospheric circulation patterns over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, promoting a “heat dome” pattern over the Great Plains that reduces cloud cover and enhances surface warming and heat wave occurrence, such as the number of heat wave days with maximum temperatures exceeding the 90th percentile.
[NOAA AOML News]
CLIMATE AND HUMAN HEALTH
- New heat-health project launched to build equitable response to extreme heat in four U.S. cities -- NOAA and partners in Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; Miami, FL; and Charleston, SC recently launched an 18-month project that is designed to help these communities in the Southwest and Southeast pinpoint local impacts of extreme heat upon humans. The pilot project, “Building Equitable Resilience to Extreme Heat,” will support state and local initiatives that are meant to reduce the negative health effects of extreme heat events, especially upon disproportionately affected populations. This pilot project is one of seven across the nation developed in response to NOAA’s 2021 Climate and Equity Roundtables. NOAA is supporting activities in each of the four cities with a 2022 fiscal year investment of $187,800. The work in each city will be specific to local needs and will include heat monitoring; summarizing existing heat-related activities; planning exercises to better understand roles and responsibilities of federal and community stakeholders both during extreme events and to support cross-sector planning for increased heat on multiple time scales; and identifying heat risk reduction strategies. [NOAA News]
Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
- 29 November 1975...Red River was buried under 34 inches of
snow in 24 hours, establishing a record for the state of New Mexico.
(The Weather Channel)
- 29 November 1985...The temperature at Bismarck, ND plunged
to 30 degrees below zero to establish their record low for the month of
November. The high that day was 4 degrees below zero. (The Weather
- 29 November 1989...Sault Ste Marie, MI finished the month
of November with a record 46.8 inches of snow. (The National Weather
Summary) (Storm Data)
- 30 November 1976...MacLeod Harbor, AK reported a
precipitation total for November of 70.99 inches, which established a
state record for any month of the year. (The National Weather Summary)
- 30 November 1991...Minneapolis, MN ended the month with
46.9 inches of snow, the most ever for November and for any month.
Although the official start of winter was still 3 weeks away, the city
had already surpassed the normal seasonal snowfall record with 55.1
inches since 1 October (normal for the entire winter is 49.2 inches).
- 30 November 2001...For the first time in 122 years of weather records, Buffalo, NY finished the entire month of November without any snowfall. (National Weather Service files)
- 1 December 1831...The coldest December of record in the
northeastern U.S. commenced. Temperatures in New York City averaged 22
degrees, with just four days above freezing, and at Burlington, VT the
temperature never did get above freezing. The Erie Canal was closed the
first day of December and remained closed the entire month. (David
- 1 December 1913...A six-day Front Range snowstorm began,
ultimately producing 45.7 inches of snow at Denver, CO, the biggest
single snowstorm on record for that city. It produced a record total of
46 inches at Denver, CO. (David Ludlum) (Intellicast)
- 3-10 December 1926...Record rain fell on Yuma, AZ over a
one-week period. On the 4th 1.10 inches of rain
fell, and by the 10th a total of 4.43 inches had
fallen, to set an all-time December monthly record. The mean annual
precipitation for Yuma is only 3.38 inches. (Accord Weather Guide
- 3 December 1982...Big Fork, AR received 14.06 inches of
rain, setting a 24-hour maximum precipitation record for the state.
- 4 December 1982...The temperature in New York City's
Central Park reached 72 degrees to establish a record high for
December. The month as a whole was also the warmest of record. (The
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