DISCUSSION: As people living in hundreds of cities and communities spread across the contiguous United States gear up for the heart of Summer, many are bracing for what they expect to be "climatologically normal" weather trends. The current forecast thinking for the next week to 10 days is certainly no exception. As detailed in the graphic above, there are substantially warmer conditions anticipated across many parts of the western United States over the next 6 to 10 days. Moreover, some of the anomalously warmest conditions are expected to be felt across much of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This will be largely due to a large ridge moving over the western United States which will allow for sufficiently strong subsidence that will help to generate anomalously warm temperatures across that part of the country.
The second half of the story is tied to the largely anticipated increase in the prevalence of heavier precipitation across a large portion of the southwestern United States. This increase in both the intensity and coverage of regional precipitation will be chiefly due to a greater influence of the southwestern U.S. monsoon circulation. As is usually the case, the southwestern U.S. monsoon circulation will be emanating from the far southeastern Pacific Ocean domain just offshore from southern California and northwestern Mexico. As the flow on the backside of the incoming ridge turns from being southerly to more southwesterly, this will help to amplify the surge of this "wetter" air mass into the southwestern U.S. As this moisture-laden air mass moves over elevated areas spread across states in the "Four Corners region," there will be associated orographic enhancement of regional rainfall which may also lead to flooding and/or flash flooding. Therefore, it is imperative to remain "weather-ready" and never attempt to drive through flooded roadways, if you do encounter any while traveling through this part of the southwestern US in the coming days.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Discussion: It’s a week into the official start of summer and NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information has released the State of Climate summary for Spring 2017. So how did May stack up against the rest of the spring? This May, the average temperature across the contiguous United States was 60.4° F which was only 0.4° F above average. May’s average temperature ranked near the middle of the 123-year period that the record has been kept. Precipitation across the country for the month of May was 3.31 inches, 0.40 inches above the average.
For the entire spring (March-May) in the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 53.5° F. Which was 2.6°F above average. The warmth at the beginning of the spring season helped bump the temperature above average. This past spring was the eighth warmest spring on record. Across the Rockies, Southeast, Southern Plains, and Midwest nineteen states saw spring temperatures that were much above average. Precipitation for the entire season (March-May) was 9.39 inches making it the 11th wettest spring on record. To learn more about other regional climate stories from around the world, please click here.
© 2017 Meteorologist Shannon Scully
DISCUSSION: Air temperatures are warming about twice as fast near the poles than the global average rise. The associated rise in ocean temperatures can impact the environment in many different ways. The valuable ecosystems and fisheries in the waters around Alaska are especially vulnerable to warming ocean temperatures. The figure above shows sea surface temperature anomalies (degrees Celsius) valid for 12 May 2017. Much of the coastal waters of Alaska and along the Aleutian Islands are abnormally warm, some areas by as much as ~4 degrees C. One impact of these warm waters is on Arctic cod, a fatty fish that is especially important for the food web near Alaska and people. Research has shown that in warmer waters, Arctic cod eggs are less likely to survive and hatch properly. Instead the warmer waters are more favorable for such species as Pacific cod and walleye pollock, fish that are less fatty and provide fewer calories to whales and other animals that eat them. Other research suggests that in years with abnormally warm springs when sea ice retreats early, krill abundance declines. Krill also serves as important food source for the marine ecosystem near Alaska. Another impact of warmer ocean temperatures may be more frequent algal blooms, some of which may emit toxins that are dangerous to mammals and birds. Thus, warmer ocean temperatures can influence ecosystems in various ways, many of which are not beneficial. For more information on the impacts of warmer ocean temperatures near Alaska, please see the story posted by Alaska Dispatch Publishing.
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©2017 Meteorologist Dr. Ken Leppert II
DISCUSSION: Increasingly warm temperatures throughout the years will eventually cause ice sheets to break off from Earth’s poles, particularly Antarctica. This will lead to a rise in sea level. Although the majority of the world contributes to the effects of global warming, the United States has been the biggest culprit, releasing a quarter of all pollution on the planet since 1850.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have released a report on the extreme sea level rise scenario in the United States. This report has many American coastal cities left almost completely submerged. The floods would affect 172,000 and 222,000 people in Boston, Massachusetts and Virginia Beach, respectively. Miami, Florida will see a total of 296,000 people affected. New York City will have the biggest impacts, as an estimated 832,000 people will be vulnerable to sea level rise.
In some regional areas, the start of the ice sheet’s collapse can raise the sea level by 10 to 12 feet by the year 2100. This dramatic increase would mean ocean waters would cover land that is currently home to more than 12 million Americans and nearly $2 trillion in property. More information about this extreme sea level rise can be found here and here!
(Pictured above is Mar-a-Lago, an estate and national historic landmark in Palm Beach, Florida.)
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©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri
DISCUSSION: Climate research and information on mitigation and adaptation has certainly been a topic for all and is of concern to many. As some residents are beginning to see the effects of changing precipitation patterns, environmental impacts, increased temperature extremes signs of such climate change have become important as people assess what these changes mean to them.
Climatology in general is a relatively new science which is aimed at the science of the daily weather over a longer period of time and the study of those influences of climate as a climatologist may study. However as climatology and meteorology remains in its infancy, new tools are emerging yearly to enhance the study of the atmosphere. To aid in some of the understanding about climate change the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has partnered with the Climate Program Office and the National Centers for Environmental Information to create the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, of particular interest the Climate Explorer.
The Climate Explorer’s original version was released on November 2014, not gaining much exposure until the new version release in July 2016 garnering significant improvements that can assist communities to assess risks and opportunities for mitigation and/or adaptation to climate based effects. In particular, the Climate Explorer “offers graphs, maps and data of observed and projected temperature, precipitation and related climate variables for every county in the contiguous United States,” according to NOAA. Within the application users are able to search by location, variable and topic. All available to explore maps on observed and modeled data, providing information on lower and higher emissions as well. This is a ultimately a great learning tool for those curious of extreme environmental impacts, while learning about their area. Current limitations are to contiguous United States with expected launch for Hawaii and Alaska in the future.
Checkout NOAA's Climate Explorer and input your location, variable or topic.
For information on this and other great meteorological and climatological tools visit the Global Weather and Climate Center daily for updates!
©2017 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
"U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit." Climate Explorer-Visualize Climate Data in Maps and Graphs | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2017.
National Short-Term Climate Outlook! (credit: NWS Climate Prediction Center via NWS Detroit, Michigan)
DISCUSSION: Though this is typically a colder time of the year for much of the northern United States, the shorter-term temperature outlook for many parts of the North-Central United States and the Northeast United States is everything but that. As you can clearly see in the graphic above (courtesy of the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center), the eastern half of the country is expected to see anomalously warm weather as compared to the climatological average temperatures typically observed across the eastern United States by this point in the Winter season. Attached below is an exact quote from forecasters over at the National Weather Service office located in Detroit, Michigan about this upcoming temperature outlook.
"If you don't like winter, take time to enjoy January 2017. On the left is the Climate Prediction Center's outlook for 6 to 10 days from now. On the right is their Week 2 outlook for 8 to 14 days from now. This will be occurring during what is typically the coldest part of winter around here. Confidence is growing that most, if not all, of the remainder of the month will be warmer than normal. Today's high in the low 20's will be the coldest day we see for awhile."
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Second Warmest November on Record for the United States of America! (Credit: NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction)
Winter is days away and the sunny, mild days of fall are far behind us! NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information has released the State of Climate summary for Autumn 2016. So how did this November stack up against the rest of the Autumn?
This November was the second warmest on record, in the 122-year period that the record has been kept. The average temperature across the contiguous United States was 48° F, 6.3°above the 20th-century average. In the lower 48, all of the states experienced a temperature that was above average. Three states: Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington all recorded a record warm month. North Dakota had an average temperature that was 12.8°F above normal. This was 2°F above the record set in 1999. For the western half of the country, 15 states saw their second or third warmest November, as near-record warmth blanketed that side of the country. November temperatures seem to be trending upwards as the years pass by. Since 1970 November temperatures have been warming at a rate of 6.6°F per century.
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© Meteorologist Shannon Scully
Looking at the Past Year of 8-14 Day National Climate Outlooks! (credit: NWS Climate Prediction Center)
DISCUSSION: As part of national climate research, the NWS Climate Prediction Center issues daily updates on the 8 to 14 day climate outlook (i.e., for both precipitation and temperature) across the contiguous United States. Note how the majority of the temperature outlooks which were issued during the past 12 months were associated with above-average temperature forecasts across parts of the northwestern, south-central, and southeastern United States. This is always very interesting to see over a longer period of time and will be neat to see how this trend evolves over the next couple and ultimately several years!
It is imperative to note that the consistent trend for much of the country to be projected for having anomalously warm temperatures is not axiomatically symbolic of definitive climate change since climate signals are examined over periods of time which are generally between 30 and 40 years long.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: The NOAA Climate Prediction Center has officially announced that La Niña is here and is expected to stick around for the upcoming winter. This year’s La Niña follows a very strong El Niño; however, this La Niña is forecast to be relatively weak. La Niña conditions are only expected to last a few months. La Niña occurs when there are cooler than average surface waters in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, which can impact where the Pacific jet stream is located. This in turn, influences the weather and climate patterns across the Globe.
For the United States, La Niña is likely to contribute to the continued dry and warm weather conditions and could have a negative impact on the drought conditions across the southern United States. Across the Pacific Northwest and the northern parts of the United States, conditions are forecasted to be wet and temperatures are expected to be cooler than average. For other interesting global climate content from around the world, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Shannon Scully