Tag: climate

Climate: U.S. was record warm in June 2016

Deadly heatwaves and flooding part of emerging pattern of extremes

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Utah and Arizona reported a record-warm June average temperature, with most other states also coming in above average.

Staff Report

Blistering, record heat in the Southwest helped propel the lower 48 states to a new high-temperature record in June, with an average reading of 71.8 degrees Fahrenheit for the month. That included a new monthly temperature record set in Death Valley National Park, where the average temperature in June was 101.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

The warmest-ever June reading broke the record set during the Dust Bowl era, in 1933, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The year-to-date is the third-warmest on record, the monthly state of the climate summary report said.

Continue reading “Climate: U.S. was record warm in June 2016”

Emerging La Niña likely to end streak of record-warm years

Pacific Ocean ENSO cycle a key player in global climate

La Niña
Cooler water welling up along the coast of South America and moving west suggests the start of La Niña in the Pacific Ocean.

By Bob Berwyn

The shift from a powerful El Niño to the cooler La Niña phase of Pacific Ocean temperatures will temporarily end the planet’s recent record streak of record-warm years, according to climate scientists who see the cyclical ocean changes as a key factor in the long-term global climate change equation.

Nearly all record-warm global years since 1950 (when accurate records start) have come during during El Niños, when the Pacific Ocean releases heat to the atmosphere and  intensifies global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution. The 2015-16 El Niño was one of the strongest on record, but it has now ended, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which says sea surface temperatures in the central and equatorial Pacific have cooled to average in the past few weeks. Continue reading “Emerging La Niña likely to end streak of record-warm years”

Climate: U.S. cools off a bit in May

Year-to-date the fourth-warmest on record

May 2016 temperature map
For the first time in a while, several states reported cooler than average temperatures in the monthly state of the climate report.

Staff Report

After a string of record and near-record warm months, the contiguous U.S. cooled off a bit in May. More than 10 states, mostly in the midsection of the country, reported a monthly temperature lower than the 20th century average, according to the latest state of the climate report from NOAA.

For the lower 48 states together, the May temperature was just 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, putting it near the middle of the 122-year record. The northern tier of states reported above average temperatures, with record warmth reported from Washington. Continue reading “Climate: U.S. cools off a bit in May”

NASA looks at ‘snow-killing’ atmospheric river storms

Study findings aid forecasters, water managers

atmospheric rivers
Animation of an atmospheric river storm that occurred on Jan. 28 through 30, bringing half an inch to an inch of rain to many locations in central and southern California. Credits: University of Wisconsin/CIMSS.

Staff Report

The famed Pineapple Express touted by skiers in the Western U.S. may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of bringing fresh powder, the the atmospheric river storms, as they’re technically known, more often bring snow-destroying rain to many areas.

A new study by NASA and several other research institutions took a close look at data from satellites and ground observations from 1998 through 2014 to show the connection between atmospheric river storms and rain-on-snow events. According to the study, the atmospheric rivers are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” events, which increase flood risks in winter and reduce water availability the following summer. Continue reading “NASA looks at ‘snow-killing’ atmospheric river storms”

April storms boost Colorado snowpack

Much of West reports record-fast meltdown under El Niño heat

Colorado snowpack May 1 2016
April storms boosted Colorado’s snowpack, with near average runoff and river flows expected during the spring and summer in most parts of the state.
Colorado snowpack map
Southern parts of Colorado have not had above average snowpack readings for several years in a row, which could be part of the “new normal” in the global warming era

Staff Report

April storms helped boost Colorado’s statewide snowpack to above average, but two river basins in the southern part of the state continue to report below normal readings.

The state’s mountain areas benefited the most from a series of wet, El Niño-fueled storms, bringing precipitation for the water year to average, according to Brian Domonkos, the Colorado snow survey supervisor for the USDA Natural Resources conservation service.

“At this time last year the water supply outlook was grim at best,” Domonkos said. “Colorado’s current snowpack and precipitation levels are right where we want to be this time of year. Elsewhere in the Western United States seasonal snowpack during 2016 succumbed to early spring warming and did not recover as Colorado did from recent storms,” he added. Continue reading “April storms boost Colorado snowpack”

Climate: No let up in global warming heat wave across U.S.

Temperature records shattered in Alaska for April and year-to-date

2016 year to date temps US
For January to April 2016, temperatures across most of the U.S. have been far above average.

Staff Report

After a few blistering months, the average temperature across the U.S. cooled down slightly in April in many parts of the country, with the month ending up as the 18th-warmest April on record. But the slight downward tick wasn’t enough to make a big dent in the long-term trend — for the year to date (January-April), it’s the second-warmest such period on record, according to the monthly state of the climate report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Continue reading “Climate: No let up in global warming heat wave across U.S.”

Climate: All U.S. states saw above average temps in March

Alaska is record-warm for year-to-date

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All states in the contiguous U.S. reported above average temperatures for March 2016, according to NOAA’s monthly State of the Climate update.

Staff Report

The average March temperatures across the lower 48 states was 6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century norm — which is a huge anomaly — but in the modern global warming era, only enough to make it the fourth-warmest March on record. According to NOAA’s monthly climate update, compiled by the National Centers for Environmental Information, every state reported above average temperatures for the month, but none was record-warm. See the NOAA monthly climate report here. Continue reading “Climate: All U.S. states saw above average temps in March”