Posted on May 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study identifies wind patterns that could lead to better El Niño forecasts
El Niño affects global weather patterns.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate researcher say they’ve discovered an atmospheric pattern that helps explain why El Niño often peaks during the first part of winter and usually fades away in late winter and early spring.
El Niño phases are part of a cycle when sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than average. The various phases of the so-called ENSO can have pronounced impacts on weather around the globe, spurring droughts in some areas and flooding in others.
The new study from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Meteorology Department and International Pacific Research Center identified an unusual wind pattern that straddles the equatorial Pacific during strong El Niño events and swings back and forth with a period of 15 months as a key driver in the annual cycle. The findings were reported in the May 26 online issue of Nature Geoscience. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: climate, El Nino, Pacific Ocean, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Seasonal shifts in the North Atlantic Oscillation have a strong effect on European weather.
New study helps track seasonal shifts in North Atlantic storm track
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just as weather forecasters in the western U.S. look at El Niño and La Niña to help get a handle on season outlooks, European meteorologists are carefully analyzing the North Atlantic Oscillation for climate clues. The job is easier in some years, according to a new study carried out by the National Oceanography Centre.
The research shwoed that the relationship between our winter weather and the strength of the airflow coming in from the Atlantic – one of the factors used by forecasters to predict the weather – is stronger in some years than others. The results were recently published in the Royal Meteorological Society publication Weather.
“There are two major atmospheric pressure systems centred around Iceland and the Azores that are very influential for the weather in Europe. Air flows between these two systems, bringing mild air from the North Atlantic to Europe,” said co-authors Joël Hirschi and Bablu Sinha from the National Oceanography Centre. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, seasons | Tagged: Atlantic Ocean, climate, Europe, NAO, National Oceanography Centre, North Atlantic Oscillation, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Upper Midwest experiences record and near-record cold
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. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, seasons | Tagged: April 2013 temperatures, climate, global warming, National Climatic Data Center, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
NASA Airborne Snow Observatory measurements of snow water equivalent (top image) and snow albedo, or reflectivity (bottom image) for the Tuolumne River Basin in California’s Sierra Nevada on April 21, 2013. The snow water equivalent measured the total water contained as snow in the basin on that date at 375 million cubic meters, or enough to fill the Rose Bowl about 1,180 times. The albedo map expresses the percentage of sunlight reflected back to space by the snow. The lower the albedo, the faster the snowmelt rate and runoff. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Aerial surveys with high-tech instruments will create detailed snow maps, yielding better runoff forecasts
FRISCO — Data from an ambitious new NASA aerial program could help resource managers get a jump on global warming, with more precise and timely snowpack measurements.
By Summit Voice
NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory began it’s three-year demonstration mission in April, with weekly flights over the Tuolumne River Basin in California’s Sierra Nevada and monthly flights over Colorado’s Uncompahgre River Basin. Scientists involved in the program hope to start covering the entire Upper Colorado River Basin.
The data is already paying off for power companies and water managers, who can use real-time updates to allocate water resources more efficiently, for storage, irrigation and municipal supplies.
Most snowpack measurements are currently collected via ground-based surveys and from automated SNOTEL sites. Airborne mapping can cover more ground and gather data from areas without observation stations, resulting in more accurate forecasts. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, global warming, Snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Sierra Nevada, snow, snowpack, Upper Colorado River Basin, weather | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Gotta love the way that March snow sticks to the branches.
FRISCO — Finally, in the first few days of spring, winter weather showed up for real, with one of the biggest single-day snowfalls of the season here in Frisco. The snow was wet and heavy and settled quickly, so it was hard to get a good measurement of the daily total, but at least five inches piled up here in town. And it’s getting that time of year when you really appreciate the snowfall, knowing it could be the last (although the weather forecast is calling for more wintry weather this weekend). It’s kind of like that tingly feeling feeling when the first snows of autumn fall, except in reverse. Sometimes in the middle of the winter, we take it all for granted (but not this year), and some years, we even get fed up (although we shouldn’t). But Thursday’s snowfall was just about perfect. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Morning photo, photography, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado snow, snow, Summit County Colorado, Summit County photography, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The three-month temperature outlook from NOAA indicates warmer than average temperatures across much of the contiguous U.S.
Drought expected to persist across the middle of the country
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Although March has been cold and snowy across large parts of the U.S., NOAA forecasters say the chances are better than even that temperatures will rebound to above average across much of the continental United States, including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains, with little drought relief for those areas. Florida is expected to stay dry as well, but river flooding is possible in some areas, especially North Dakota.
“This outlook reminds us of the climate diversity and weather extremes we experience in North America, where one state prepares for flooding while neighboring states are parched, with no drought relief in sight,” said Laura Furgione, deputy director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We produce this outlook to help communities prepare for what’s likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. A Weather-Ready Nation hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, global warming | Tagged: climate, drought, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, NOAA, spring weather outlook, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Regional pressure fluctuations the key to unraveling monsoon mysteries
The first week of August 2010 brought extreme flooding and landslides to many parts of Asia. By August 11, floods in the Indus River basin had become Pakistan’s worst natural disaster to date, leaving more than 1,600 people dead and disrupting the lives of about 14 million people, reported Reuters. Across the border in northeast India, flash floods killed 185 with 400 still missing, reported BBC News. Floods in North Korea and northeast China buried farmland and destroyed homes, factories, railroads, and bridges. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Hawaii-based scientists say that tracking hemispheric climate patterns can help develop more accurate forecasts for the critical Asian monsoon season, which is critical to the agriculture, economy, and people in the region.
Better monsoon forecasts have been a sort of Holy Grail for meteorologists, but season seasonal predictions of these two types of weather phenomena are still poor. But the research done at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, shows the strength of the East Asian summer monsoon and storm activity in the western North Pacific depend on fluctuations in the western Pacific Subtropical High, a major atmospheric circulation system in the global subtropics centered over the Philippine Sea.
When this system is strong in summer, then monsoon rainfall tends to be greater than normal over East Asia, and in the western North Pacific there tend to be fewer tropical storms that make landfall. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: Asian monsoon, climate, Pacific Ocean, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, weather, Weather forecasting | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Record highs still outpacing record lows
A snapshot of recent temperature records, courtesy NOAA?NCDC.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — If you were to pay attention to the yowling of some of the noisiest global warming deniers, you’d think that our little January cold snap means the end of global warming, and the start of a new ice age.
Well guess what? It’s winter. It’s January and it’s supposed to be cold. Global warming doesn’t mean that it’s never going to be cold. Global warming means that, on average, around the world, temperatures are increasing over the long run. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, global warming, temperature records, weather | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Drought expected to persist; water supply outlook grim
Colorado’s snowpack hasn’t been above average since the big winter of 2010-2011.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Temperatures will begin to moderate across the Colorado high country the next few days, with highs climbing back to near seasonal norms, which is only in the lower 30s, but that should feel downright balmy after enduring an Arctic air mass the past few days.
Dry conditions persisted across Colorado in the autumn of 2012, especially in the plains.
The nicest weather will be up on the mountain slopes, because warmer air aloft will trap cold air on the valley floors, and with no incoming weather systems to stir up the atmosphere, those inversions are likely to persist for the foreseeable future. That also means there’s no snow in the forecast for the next 10 days unless there’s a dramatic shift in the jet stream, which will stay far to the north for the next week at least. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Climate Prediction Center, Colorado, Colroado snowpack, drought, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
December snowfall slightly above average
December snow boosted ski area prospects, but state snowpack is still lagging.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Colorado’s snowpack is lagging behind even last year’s meager Dec. 1 readings and water storage is even farther behind, indicating that the state’s water managers and users face another rough year unless some big late winter and spring storms roll through the Rockies.
As of Jan. 1, the statewide snowpack was at 70 percent of average and 9 percent behind last year’s reading on the same date — the fourth-lowest total in the past 32 years.
“Conditions could have been much worse if we had not received the moisture we did in December,” said Phyllis Ann Philipps, sttate conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, snow, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado snowpack, drought, water, weather | Leave a Comment »