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Global climate report for 2012 full of warning signs

Strongest climate signals coming from Arctic and extreme weather events

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Many parts of the globe reported record and near-record temps in June 2013.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Some of the most compelling signs of global warming impacts continued to come from the Arctic in 2012, where sea ice extent reached a record low and Greenland experienced record surface melting last summer.

Another worrying sign is the warming in permafrost regions, where significant thawing could release a new surge of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that would intensify warming.

The average global temperature for the year was among the top-10 warmest on record, and other climate observations also are consistent with what to expect in a warming world, according to climate experts who released the 2012 State of the Climate report this week. Continue reading

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May 2013 global temps tied for 3d-warmest on record

Warmer than average temperatures prevailed across nearly the entire planet in May 2013

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May temperatures were above average on nearly every corner of the globe.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The nearly ceaseless yapping by climate-science deniers about a slowdown in global warming has not been confirmed by ongoing global temperature observations — far from it. May 2013 temps around the world were once again the near-record realm

According to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly global analysis, the average global May temperature was 1.16 degrees above the 20th century average, tied with 2005 and 2008 as the 3d-warmest May on record.

May temperatures globally have been above average 37 years in a row, dating back to the coolish 1970s. The last time any month was below average was February 1985.Large areas of major northern hemisphere land masses were warmer than average, including most of northern Siberia, western Russia, northern and eastern Europe, and central Australia.

Western Siberia, northeastern Kazakhstan, western Europe, southwestern Greenland, parts of the central and southeastern United States, and Alaska were below average for the month.

Parts of Scandinavia reported record and near-record temperatures, including Norway and Sweden. Norway on the whole reported a monthly temperature that was 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Several weather stations in Sweden reported record-high readings, including Sarna in northern Dalarna  and Östersund/Frösön that were 18.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 18.9 degrees Fahrenheit above their respective averages.

According to the NCDC, 2013 so far is lining up as the eighth-warmest year on record based on the January to May period, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.06 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

See the entire report at the NCDC website.

Climate: May 2013 U.S. temps slightly above average

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A large part of the central U.S. recorded near average temperatures in May, 2013, with the contiguous 48 states averaging slightly above average for the month.

Wildfirs  near record low for year to-date

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The average May temperature across the Lower 48 was exactly 61 degrees, running 0.9 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the monthly report from the National Climatic Data Center.

For the spring season (March through May), the contiguous 48 states recorded cool conditions, running 0.5 degrees below the 20th century average, and well below last year’s record warmth.

The last time spring temps were below normal was in 2011, which was a little cooler, at 0.8 degrees below average. Continue reading

April 2013 ranks as 13th-warmest on record

Widespread above-average sea surface temps reported in monthly report

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Despite some pockets of chilly weather, April 2013 global temps ranked as the 13th-warmest on record. Graphic courtesy NOAA/NCDC.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite a wide swath of cooler-than-average temperatures stretching from Alaska across parts of Canada and into Central North America, the average global temperature for April was well above average, ranking as the 13th-warmest April on record.

For the year to-date, global temperature across land and ocean surfaces are tied with 2009 as the eighth warmest on record, at 1.01 degrees above the 20th century average.

It also marked the 37th consecutive April and 338th consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average April temperature was April 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.

Given the absence of El Niño, global sea surface temperatures were especially notable, ranking as the seventh-warmest on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center, which this week released its monthly global climate analysis. Continue reading

Climate: Drought conditions edge westward

Wet, cool spring brings relief to Midwest

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The most severe areas of drought encompass parts of the central-southern plains, spreading southwest into parts of Colorado and New Mexico.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Drought woes have eased in the Midwest after a wet spring, but the far West,  California in particular, are facing continued dry conditions. California has reported its driest year to-date on record, with only 27 percent of normal precipitation for January through April. That doesn’t bode well for the state’s water supplies, although at least reservoir storage is close to normal in California.

New Mexico and Nevada are in bad shape when it comes to reservoir storage and there’s little relief in sight at the end of the snow season. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said dry soil conditions in the southwest could contribute to higher than average temperatures this summer. Continue reading

Climate: U.S. temps cooler than average in April 2013

Upper Midwest experiences record and near-record cold

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Extremely cold temperatures in the heartland of the USA pushed the average temperature across the country to well below normal for April 2013. Graph courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — For the first time in quite a while the U.S. experienced a month with temperatures running below the historic average. The average temperature across the contiguous 48 states for April 2013 was 49.7 degrees, 1.4 degrees below the 20th century average. It was the 23d-coolest April on record and the coolest since 1997, when the average temperature was 48 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly summary.

For January through April, temps for the Lower 48 states are near the 20th century average.

The coldest readings prevailed across the central part of the country, especially north, where North Dakota reported its coldest April on record with an average temperature of 31 degrees — 9.9 degrees below the 20th century average. South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all tallied top-10 coldest readings for the month. Continue reading

Climate: March global temps 10th-warmest on record

Central Asia and western Arctic are hot spots for the month

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Much of the globe recorded above-average temperatures in March, 2013, with the month ending up as tied with 2006 as the 10th-warmest on record. Graphic courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite well below-average temperatures across some parts of the U.S. and Europe, global temperatures in March 2013 averaged out to equal March 2006 as 10th-warmest on record, at 1.04 degrees above the 20th century average.

Warmer-than-average temperatures were recorded across big stretches of the Atlantic Ocean, almost all of Africa, northern South America, Australia, the Middle East and Southern Asia, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update.

For the year-to-date (January to March), the globally averaged temperature was the 8th-warmest on record, also at 1.04 degrees above the 20th century average. Land-surface temperatures were the seventh-warmest and global ocean temperatures were the eighth-warmest on record, with record warmth over a large area of the Indian Ocean south of Australia. Continue reading

Climate: U.S. temps below average in March

Coolest March readings since 1966, but drought eases in some areas

Maps compiled by NOAA show the contrast between temperatures in March 2012 and March 2013.

Maps compiled by NOAA show the contrast between temperatures in March 2012 and March 2013.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With an average temperature that was .9 degrees below the 20th century average, the contiguous 48 U.S. states recorded the coldest March readings since 2002, when the monthly average was a whopping 2.2 degrees below average.

The monthly readings mark a huge contrast from one year ago, when the U.S. recorded its warmest-ever March, according to the National Climatic Data Center, which released the monthly State of the Climate report today (April 15). Continue reading

Global warming: More extreme rainfall events nearly certain

Warmer atmosphere, more moisture, more rain

Breckenridge, Colorado recently recorded an all-time 24-hour record rainfall event during a summer thunderstorm. Bob Berwyn photo.

Breckenridge, Colorado recently recorded an all-time 24-hour record rainfall event during a summer thunderstorm. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Large parts of the northern hemisphere could see a 20 to 30 percent increase in extreme precipitation events by the end of the century. Extra moisture due to a warmer atmosphere dominates all other factors, leading to notable increases in the most intense precipitation rates, according to a new NOAA-led study.

The study shows a 20-30 percent expected increase in the maximum precipitation possible over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases continue to rise at a high emissions rate.

“We have high confidence that the most extreme rainfalls will become even more intense, as it is virtually certain that the atmosphere will provide more water to fuel these events,” said Kenneth Kunkel, Ph.D., senior research professor at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-North Carolina and lead author of the paper. Continue reading

Climate: February warmer than average across the U.S.

Dry and cool conditions prevail across most of the West

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Dry conditions prevailed across much of the West in February and early March.

SUMMIT COUNTY — The winter of 2012-2013 cracked the top 20-warmest list, with the average temperature across the lower 48 states well above the 20th century average. Specifically, the average temperature across the contiguous U.S. for December through February was 34.3 degrees, which is 1.9 degrees above average, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly State of the Climate report.

That may not sound like a lot, but consider that 20th century average is just barely above the freezing mark. A jump of almost two degrees above that has huge implications for snow cover, as well as for ice formation on lakes and streams.

February wasn’t quite so warm on its own — at 34.8 degrees the monthly average was 0.8 degrees above the 20th century average, federal climatologists said, adding that precipitation for the month was near the long-term average. Significant snow and rain across parts of the country helped improve drought conditions in the Midwest and Southeast, but dryness persisted across the Central Plains and Mountain West. Continue reading

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