Climate: U.S. sees coldest winter since 1985

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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

Weather: NOAA predicting active Atlantic hurricane season


Hurricane Sandy near peak strength on Oct. 25, 2012. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Feds say now is the time to get ready

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal weather experts said they are expected an above-average to active Atlantic Hurricane season this summer, urging residents of coastal and near-coastal areas in the southeastern U.S. to start preparing now.

Based on a combination of climate factors, NOAA predicted as many as 13 to 20 named storms, with seven to 11 of them developing into full-fledged hurricanes and potentially three to six major hurricanes with winds of more than 100 mph.

Factors involved in the forecast include a continuation of overall climate conditions that have resulted in an active pattern since the mid-1990s: Above average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and ENSO-neutral conditions in the Pacific which leads to less windshear, lower air pressure and overall atmospheric circulation that’s more conducive to hurricane formation. Continue reading

Climate: Parts of western Atlantic reach record-high temps

NOAA documenting shift in marine species as water warms


Looking down the East Coast from Cape Cod toward Long Island from the International Space Station. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With sea surface temperatures at a 150-year high off off the mid-Atlantic and New England coastlines, scientists are document significant shifts in the distribution of commercially important marine species, with as-yet uncertain consequences for the entire ecosystem.

Those temperatures reached a record high of 57.2 degrees in 2012, exceeding the record high set in 1951. The average sea surface temperatures in the region — extending from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina — has typically been lower than 54.3 degrees during the past three decades, according to a NOAA advisory. Continue reading

Climate: Are ice-free Arctic summers coming soon?

Study compares models to estimate a range of dates


Scientists explore the melting ice of the Arctic. Photo courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO— No matter which you slice it, the Arctic Ocean is likely to almost free of summer ice by mid-century, and possibly within the next couple of decades. according to a new study by federal scientists.

By comparing three different predictive models, the researchers came up with a range of dates when most of the Arctic Ocean ice will melt away for at least a couple of months during the northern hemisphere summer.

The most aggressive models, which weigh recent trends more heavily, suggest ice-free conditions could come as soon as 2020. Under a second group of models that rely on weighing the future probability of “extreme” but random ice-melt events, the ice-free date is pushed back to 2030. The most conservative predictions are based on global climate models that use global climate models to forecast atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice conditions over time. Continue reading


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