Climate: May precipitation sets all-time U.S. record

Wettest month ever, federal climate trackers say

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Wetter-than-average conditions prevailed across a huge swath of the central U.S. during May, leading to a record-wet month for the U.S.

Staff Report

FRISCO — May 2015 was wet, not just in Colorado, but across the country, with average precipitation smashing the all-time record for the month — and for any month — during the 121-year span that records have been kept.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center, the May precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 4.36 inches, 1.45 inches above average. For the spring season (March-May), the precipitation total for the lower 48 states was 9.33 inches, 1.39 inches above average, and the 11th wettest on record.  Continue reading

New NOAA study says there’s no global warming slowdown

NOAA says there's no global warming hiatus.

NOAA says there’s no global warming hiatus.

Greenhouse gases heating the world faster than ever

Staff Report

FRISCO — After carefully analyzing the best global temperature data available, including more readings  from ocean buoys and the Arctic, federal climate scientists concluded that there has been no slowdown in the rate of global warming the past 15 years.

“Adding in the last two years of global surface temperature data and other improvements in the quality of the observed record provide evidence that contradict the notion of a hiatus in recent global warming trends,” said Thomas R. Karl, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Our new analysis suggests that the apparent hiatus may have been largely the result of limitations in past datasets, and that the rate of warming over the first 15 years of this century has, in fact, been as fast or faster than that seen over the last half of the 20th century,” Karl said. Continue reading

NOAA pushes recovery of 8 endangered ocean species

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The southern resident population of killer whales is one of eight species targeted for a new federal conservation push. Photo via NOAA.

‘People can help turn around the slide to extinction’

Staff Report

FRISCO — From rare white abalones along the California coast to playful monk seals in Hawaii, federal marine biologists want to make an all-out push to try and protect some of the oceans most endangered species. Continue reading

Feds propose taking some humpback whale populations off the endangered species list

Conservation efforts seen as successful

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Some humpback whale populations are no longer endangered. Map courtesy NOAA.

A humpback whale in the Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

A humpback whale in the Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With humpback whales rebounding after 40 years of conservation efforts, federal biologists this week said they want to revise the marine mammals’ endangered species status, taking some of the geographically separate populations off the endangered species list.

Reclassifying humpbacks into 14 distinct population segments would enable tailored conservation approach for U.S. fisheries managers. Currently, humpback whales are listed as endangered throughout their range, but 10 of the 14 populations don’t need the highest level of protection anymore, according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Continue reading

Feds tout progress in rebuilding fisheries

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Fishing and shrimping boats at anchor in Appalichola, Florida. @bberwyn photo.

6 valuable fish stocks removed from overfishing list, according to annual fisheries report

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal biologists said they’re making progress rebuilding important fisheries, including valuable species like bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic, which along with five other species, was removed from the “overfishing” list.

Overall, the number of domestic fish stocks listed as overfished or subject to overfishing has dropped to an all-time low since 1997, according to a report released in mid-April by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Continue reading

El Niño arrives – better late than never?

Impacts unclear, though Gulf Coast could see rain surplus

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NOAA’s El Niño map shows widespread above-average sea surface temperatures.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A long overdue El Niño once anticipated as a potential drought-buster for California has emerged, but may not have a huge impact on North American weather.

Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center made the announcement this week after measuring ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific. Those temps have been running above average for several months but just now crossed the El Niño threshold. the climate experts said in their monthly outlook. Continue reading

Coral reefs to take big global warming hit this year

NOAA scientists say warm oceans pose risk to reefs

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Vast areas of the world’s oceans are so warm that coral reefs may take a big hit this year, according to the latest coral-bleaching outlook from NOAA.

Pink coral at Rose Atoll in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Pink coral at Rose Atoll in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — After reporting major coral-bleaching events in 2014, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are warning that continued warm ocean temperatures are setting the stage for a repeat in 2015.

The warning is spelled out in the most recent outlook from NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, a weekly product that forecasts the potential for coral bleaching up to four months in the future. Just last summer, the federal government put 20 coral types on the Endangered Species List, citing climate change as a major threat. Continue reading

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