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Climate: What’s up, El Niño?


A NOAA map shows warmer than average ocean temperatures in red developing off the coast of South American during the past few months, but sea surface temps are also remaining warmer than average across the western Pacific, hampering development of a full-fledged El Niño.

Widespread ocean warmth may hamper development

Staff Report

FRISCO — This year’s brewing El Niño may be dampened by widespread warm sea surface temperatures across the Pacific Ocean, according to weather experts. Specifically, ocean temperatures across the far western Pacific have remained so warm that one of the key ingredients for a full-strength El Niño is missing — a significant difference in temperatures between the western and Eastern Pacific.

But so far this summer, warmer than average temperatures are spread across the Pacific from east to west. Just last week, the National Climatic Data Center announced that the average global temperature for June was the warmest on record, driving in large part by warm oceans. Continue reading

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Climate: Greenhouse gases drive Australia drying trend

Since the 1970s, southern Australia has been experiencing declining rainfall in the fall and winter, creating scenes like this one in a 2007 photograph at Lake Hume. (Creative Commons/ Suburbanbloke)

Since the 1970s, southern Australia has been experiencing declining rainfall in the fall and winter, creating scenes like this one in a 2007 photograph at Lake Hume. (Creative Commons/ Suburbanbloke).

New model can resolve some climate impacts on a regional scale


FRISCO — Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and ozone depletion over Antarctica are the main drivers of the long-term decline in rainfall over southwestern Australia, federal scientists said in a weekend press release.

The findings, published in Nature Geoscience, are derived from a new  high-resolution climate model that may help researchers identify more links between heat-trapping gases and regional climate trends, including here in the U.S. Continue reading

Climate: Global temps hit new May record

Year to-date is fifth-warmest through May

You have to look pretty hard for the tiny cool spots.

You have to look pretty hard for the tiny cool spots.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The average global temperature soared to a new record in May, more than 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, according to the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.

Land surface temperatures were well above average in many parts of the world, including Australia and Alaska, but sea surface temperatures were off the charts, driving the global average temperature for the month to an all-time high. Continue reading

Climate: U.S. sees coldest winter since 1985

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Climate story sponsored by the CRWCD. Click the banner for more info on the 2014 State of the River meetings.

In March, record cold readings outnumbered record highs by five to one

A tale of two winters, east and west. Map courtesy NOAA.

A tale of two winters, east and west. Map courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal climate experts this week confirmed what a lot of people already knew instinctively — a long, cold winter stretched well into March in many parts of the country, with the average monthly temperature for the month coming in at 1 degree Fahrenheit below the 20th century average.

Across the country, there were five times as many record cold daily maximum and minimum temperatures (5822) as record warm daily maximum and minimum temperatures (1149) — an anomaly in an era when warm temperature records have consistently outnumbered cold records for months and years at a time. Continue reading

Climate: January 2014 was 4th warmest for Planet Earth

Northern hemisphere snow cover below average



By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The average global temperature for January 2014 was 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average — the fourth-highest for Planet Earth, with record-high readings reported from southeastern Brazil and central and southern Africa. Land surface readings in the southern hemisphere were record warm and record warmth was also reported in the North Pacific. Continue reading

Oceans: NOAA report offers guides for sustainable aquaculture


Fish farms can be operated sustainably with good planning and best management practices, according to NOAA.

Good safeguards can help minimize environmental impacts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite reported environmental problems reported with existing aquaculture operations, federal scientists say coastal fish farming can be done minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment.

The new report by researchers at NOAA’s National Ocean Service finds that water quality impacts are limited to slightly raised levels of nitrogen and phosphorus within a few hundred feet of aquaculture facilites, but that impacts can be limited with good planning and environmental safeguards. Continue reading

Global temps record high in November 2013

Cool U.S. readings the exception in a record-warm month


Planet Earth record-warm in November 2013. Graphic courtesy NASA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — November’s cool temperatures across parts of North America were the exception, as the rest of globe reported all-time record warmth for the month. According to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update, the average global temperature was 1.40 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

Many regions saw all-time record highs, including southern Russia, northwest Kazakhstan, south India, southern Madagascar, parts of the central and south Indian Ocean, and sections of the Pacific Ocean.

Northern Australia, parts of North America, south west Greenland, and parts of the Southern Ocean near South America were cooler than average, but no regions of the globe were record cold during November. Read the full report here. Continue reading

Climate: Report identifies global warming fingerprint on some of the most extreme weather events of 2012


Scientists studied 12 extreme 2012 weather events to look for a global warming signal. Map courtesy NOAA.

Studies partly aimed at finding the best way to pursue climate attribution research

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A new report asserts that global warming was a factor in several extreme weather events in 2012, including the spring and summer heatwave across the central U.S. and flooding in parts of New York and New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy.

But the researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UK Meteorological Office also said they couldn’t find a global warming connection to the U.S. drought, summer extremes in Europe or floods in northern China.

The report covered 12 separate studies that looked for climate-weather links in different ways, including statistical analyses and comparison with analog years. It’s part of an effort to tease out how global warming may be affecting weather in the emerging field of climate attribution studies. View the full report online. Continue reading

NOAA to update marine sanctuary guidelines

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.

Agency taking comments to help shape the nomination and designation process

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to take a grassroots approach to designating new national marine sanctuaries, so the agency is launching a round of public input to update the criteria for the process.

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 1995 deactivated the previous process for nominating national marine sanctuaries. Since then, members of Congress, state officials, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and others have expressed interest in pursuing new national marine sanctuaries. Continue reading

NOAA tallies 2012 weather disaster costs at $110 billion

Hurricane Sandy and the drought had biggest impacts by far


A NOAA satellite captured this image ofHurricane Sandy off the shore of the East Coast of the U.S. on Oct. 28, 2012. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information.

FRISCO — Hurricane Sandy and the year-long drought of 2012 combined caused $95 billion in damage costs, driving 2012 to be the second-costliest year on record since 1980, with total damages of more that $110 billion during the year.

According to NCDC’s 2012 weather and climate disasters information, 2012 saw 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion in damages. The 2012 total damages rank only behind 2005, which incurred $160 billion in damages due in part to four devastating land-falling hurricanes. Continue reading


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