WEEKLY CLIMATE NEWS
This is Break Week One for the Fall 2017 offering of
this course. This Weekly
Climate News contains new information items and historical
data, but the Concept of the Week is repeated from Week 6.
- Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta climatology is available -- The world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place near the beginning of each October; this year the 44th annual event will start this coming Saturday (7 October) and run through 15 October 2017. This nine-day festival involves as many as 750 hot-air balloons and is held over the Rio Grande Valley in the Albuquerque (NM) metropolitan area at this time of year because of the cool nights, sunny days and the lack of thunderstorm activity. Because of the cool autumn nights, the "Albuquerque Box" weather phenomenon occurs, which features light winds from the north near the surface draining down the Rio Grande Valley, while winds from the south aloft permit the balloons to move up and down in this box like feature so as to hover over a small geographic area. The Albuquerque National Weather Service Forecast Office has posted the Balloon Fiesta Climatology that includes the daily temperature and precipitation data for nearly each year of the event along with a further description of the "Albuquerque Box."
- Celebrate Earth Science Week 2017 --
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the
National Weather Service, along with NASA, the US Geological Survey and
several professional scientific organizations such as the American
Geological Institute have recognized this week (8-14 October 2017) as Earth
Science Week 2017 to help the public gain a better
understanding and appreciation for the earth sciences and to encourage
stewardship of the Earth. This year's theme for the 20th annual Earth
Science Week is “Earth and Human Activity” that is designed to promote awareness of what geoscience tells about human interaction with the planet's natural systems and processes. [American
- Observe Earth Observation Day -- On Tuesday 10 October 2017, Earth Observation Day (EOD) will be observed as a celebration of the NASA/USGS (US Geological Survey) Landsat mission. EOD is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational outreach event sponsored by AmericaView, a nationwide, university-based, and state-implemented consortium, and its partners. The goal of EOD is to engage students and teachers in remote sensing as an exciting and powerful educational tool. Lesson plans and educational resources for educators and students are available from the EOD website. [AmericaView]
- Fire Prevention Week -- This upcoming week (8-14 October 2017) is Fire Prevention Week across the nation, held in commemoration of the great Chicago (IL) and Peshtigo (WI) fires that occurred simultaneously on 8 October 1871.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2017 Campaign commences -- The tenth in a series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2017 will commence this Wednesday (11 October) and continue through Friday, 20 October. 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 (Cygnus in the Northern Hemisphere and Grus in the Southern Hemisphere) with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars. Activity guides are also available. The GLOBE at night program is intended to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. The next series in the 2017 campaign is scheduled for 10-19 November 2017. [GLOBE at Night]
- Viewing atmospheric circulation in
three-dimensions -- Read this week's Supplemental
Information...In Greater Depth for information concerning
the average circulation in the lower and upper troposphere.
- Methodology for creation of national billion-dollar weather and climate disaster list is highlighted -- Seven items are identified that describe how the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) produces its list of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the nation. NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events across the US that have great economic and societal impacts as part of its responsibility to monitor and assess the climate. Currently, NCEI monitors and assesses the financial impacts of NCEI currently monitors and assesses the costs and impacts of: hurricanes, drought, inland floods, severe local storms, wildfires, crop freeze events and winter storms. At least 218 weather and climate disasters have been identified by NCEI since the list was initially established in 1980. As of last week, 15 weather and climate disaster events have been identified that have each created at least $1 billion during the calendar year of 2017. While Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have been entered to the list of events, the costs for these three hurricanes have not been included in the tally. [NOAA NCEI News] [Editor's note: These 15 events that have occurred so far this year ties 2011 for the most billion-dollar weather disasters for the first nine months of any year on record. EJH]
- Large area of the nation is experiencing a "flash drought" -- The chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), wrote a Beyond the Data blog describing the rapid development of what could be described a "flash drought" across a large section of the nation centered on the northern Plains during the last several months. He notes that this "flash drought," which he defined as a rapid-onset, regional drought, was driven by combination of factors that are typically found during the summer. He also observed that the nation is in one of its most droughtiest periods since 1900.
[NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Satellite images reveal impact of an unusually warm and dry winter in Australia -- A natural-color image made last month from data collected by the MODIS sensor onboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows water-stressed land cover and less mountain snow as compared with a corresponding MODIS image made from the agency's Terra satellite one year ago. This past winter across Australia has seen maximum temperatures at record high levels and meager precipitation. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- New iceberg recently calved from Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier -- A natural-color image obtained from data recently collected by the OLI (Operational Land Imager) sensor onboard NASA's Landsat 8 satellite confirms the birth of a new iceberg from the Pine Island Glacier located where ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the Southern Ocean' Amundsen Sea. [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Role of ocean data in monitoring Earth's climate is highlighted -- An international team of scientists recently reported that measurement and analysis of the ocean heat content and the changes in global sea level may provide a more reliable answer to how fast the Earth's climate is warming than merely relying upon atmospheric measurements. The oceanic heat content and sea level height measurements are made independently and, along with atmospheric data, are archived with public access at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). [NOAA NCEI News]
- Inspecting national temperature patterns for La Niña winters since 1950 -- A meteorologist for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has written an article for the ClimateWatch Magazine that contains a series of 21 maps showing the winter temperature anomalies (differences between actual and 1981-2010 normal temperatures) across the nation for La Niña winters. These anomaly maps were ranked according to the severity of the La Niña events, defined by the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly for the central/eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean: strong (at least 1.5 Celsius degree below average), moderate (between 1 and 1.5 Celsius degree below average) and weak (between 0.5 and 1 Celsius degrees below average). Seven winters were associated with strong La Niña events, four moderate events and 10 weak La Niña events. These grouping of maps show some recognizable patterns for winters corresponding to strong La Niña events. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- A weak and wobbly polar vortex appears to responsible for recent cold extremes -- An international team of atmospheric researchers recently reported that the upper atmospheric circulation feature identified as the "polar vortex" shifted to a weak and wobbly pattern earlier this decade, which resulted in record cold air across the Northeast US, Europe and Asia, especially in the 2013-14 winter. The winter circulation pattern in the upper troposphere surrounding the North Pole developed numerous waves that resulted in lobes of arctic air to extend farther southward into midlatitudes. [NOAA Climate Program Office News]
- Volcanic theory for Permian Extinction is bolstered by recent study -- Scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York University and Barnard College claim that their chemical analysis of sedimentary rocks in Hungary, Japan and India appears to provide new evidence to bolster the theory that the Permian Extinction (approximately 252 million years ago) was caused by massive volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia. Apparent dramatic warming in the global environment associated with the major volcanic eruptions lasting over a 800,000 year span resulted in 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent on land–to become extinct in what is considered to be the largest of five known mass extinctions in earth's history. Intense global warming recorded in the oceans and on land appears to be the result of large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane directly from the volcanic eruptions as well as from interactions of magma with coal deposits. [Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory News]
CLIMATE AND HUMAN HEALTH
- Planning for future changes in health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa -- A team of scientists from the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Minnesota and the US Geological Survey have been developing a model designed to show how changes in climate and socioeconomic status will likely affect health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, they are investigating potential links between climate effects and two health outcome indicators: malnutrition and low birth weights. [University of California Santa Barbara News]
This Concept of the Week is repeated from last week.
Concept of the Week: Tropospheric
westerly winds, north and south
The theoretical existence of upper tropospheric jet stream
winds was not confirmed until being encountered by World War II bomber
pilots when heading west into strong headwinds at altitudes of
approximately 30,000 feet (10,000 m). Wind speeds sometimes exceeded
170 mph causing their relatively slow, heavily laden aircraft to almost
stand still. Subsequently, westerly jet stream winds were found to
encircle the planet in midlatitudes of both hemispheres above regions
of strong temperature contrasts.
The explanation for these winds involves atmospheric mass
distributions and forces on a rotating planet. Air in tropical
latitudes is warmed, rises and then flows poleward, both north and
south. On a rotating planet, moving air is deflected by the Coriolis
effect, to the right in the Northern Hemisphere (and left in the
Southern). The greater the temperature differences between warm lower
and cold higher latitudes, the stronger the air motions and the faster
the jet streams. The vertical temperature patterns result in the
highest wind speeds near the top of the troposphere.
So Northern Hemisphere air headed northward, deflected to the
right ends up headed east, a "westerly wind." In the Southern
Hemisphere, southward moving air, deflected left will also go east, as
a westerly wind. These "rivers" of strong upper-level winds steer
surface weather systems as they move generally eastward across
midlatitudes. They also provide boosts for jet aircraft headed eastward
with them, but need to be avoided for going west! Of course, the full
story is complex as land (especially mountains) and water surfaces
interact with the heating of the air and eddies form in the turbulent
flows, so jet streams wander. And with them go the storms and the
weather patterns that form our short-term climate.
- 9 October 1903...New York City was deluged with 11.17 in.
of rain in 24 hours at Central Park to establish a state record, while
9.40 in. fell at Battery Park. (David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
- 9 October 1980...Nashville, TN reached 91 degrees, highest
ever for so late in the season. Just three days earlier, a low of 31
degrees was reported, lowest ever so early in the season. (Intellicast)
- 9 October 1981...The temperature at San Juan, Puerto Rico,
soared to 98 degrees to establish an all-time record for that location.
(The Weather Channel)
- 10-16 October 1780...The most deadly Western Hemisphere
hurricane on record raged across the Caribbean Basin, killing 22,000
people on the islands of Martinique, St. Eustatius, and Barbados.
Thousands more die at sea. (The Weather Doctor)
- 10 October 1928...The temperature at Minneapolis, MN
reached 90 degrees, their latest such reading of record. (The Weather
- 10 October 1967...Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
experienced its wettest day ever when 4.19 inches of rain fell. (The
- 10 October 1973...Fifteen to 20 inches of rain deluged
north central Oklahoma in thirteen hours producing record flooding.
Enid was drenched with 15.68 inches of rain from the nearly stationary
thunderstorms, which established a state 24-hour rainfall record.
(David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
- 10 October 1979...A storm blanketed Worcester, MA with 7.5
inches of snow, a record snowfall total for so early in the season for
that location. The earliest measurable snowfall was recorded at Boston,
MA with 0.2 inches falling. Blue Hill Observatory at an elevation of
635 feet had 7 inches. (The Weather Channel) (Intellicast)
- 10 October 1991...Sacramento, CA hit 100 degrees setting a
daily record. It was also the latest 100-degree reading and the warmest
so late in the season. (Intellicast)
- 11 October 1977...The wet community of Ketchikan, AK
experienced its wettest day: 8.71 inches. (The Weather Doctor)
- 11 October 2005...A tropical depression, the former
Hurricane Vince, became the first tropical cyclone on record to make
landfall in Spain. (The Weather Doctor)
- 12 October 1979...The lowest observed sea-level barometric
pressure (870 millibars or 25.69 inches of mercury) was recorded approximately
300 miles west of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean at the center of
Typhoon Tip. This super typhoon had 190-mph winds. Gale force winds extended 1,350 miles out from the eye making it the largest tropical cyclone on record. (The Weather Doctor)
- 12 October 1982...Angoon, AK received 15.20 inches of
precipitation, to set a 24-hour maximum precipitation record for the
49th State. (NCDC)
- 12 October 2006...With 0.3 inches of snow falling at O'Hare
International Airport, Chicago, IL set a new record for the earliest
measurable snowfall since record-keeping began in 1871. The previous
earliest date was 18 October in both 1972 and 1989. An unusually-early
and intense lake-effect snow storm, resulted in 8.3 inches of snow that
was measured at the official Buffalo, NY weather station on the 12th
set a record for the snowiest October day in the station's 137-year
history. The record did not last long, however, as the measurement on
the morning of the 13th totaled 10.9 inches. The two-day event totaled
22.6 inches (57.4 cm), breaking the October record for a single
snowfall event. The storm was the sixth heaviest snowfall on record.
(The Weather Doctor)
- 15-17 October 2005...The summit of Mount Washington, NH, the highest peak in the Northeast received 34 inches of snow between
Saturday and Monday. The 24-hour record for the most snowfall was
broken when 25.5 inches of snow piles up between noon Sunday and noon
Monday. (The Weather Doctor)
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.