Tag: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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 “Weather: NOAA predicting active Atlantic hurricane season”


Whales can die a slow death when tangled in fishing gear

North Atlantic right whales. Photo courtesy NOAA.

New study measures effects of entanglement

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Stray fishing gear has long been a problem in the ocean, and a new collaborative study shows exactly how whales struggle when they get wrapped up in abandoned lines. By carefully tracking tangled whales, the scientists documented how the predicament hinders whales’ ability to eat and migrate, depletes their energy as they drag gear for months or years, and can result in a slow death. Continue reading “Whales can die a slow death when tangled in fishing gear”

Climate: Drought conditions edge westward

Wet, cool spring brings relief to Midwest

The most severe areas of drought encompass parts of the central-southern plains, spreading southwest into parts of Colorado and New Mexico.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Drought woes have eased in the Midwest after a wet spring, but the far West,  California in particular, are facing continued dry conditions. California has reported its driest year to-date on record, with only 27 percent of normal precipitation for January through April. That doesn’t bode well for the state’s water supplies, although at least reservoir storage is close to normal in California.

New Mexico and Nevada are in bad shape when it comes to reservoir storage and there’s little relief in sight at the end of the snow season. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said dry soil conditions in the southwest could contribute to higher than average temperatures this summer. Continue reading “Climate: Drought conditions edge westward”

Study helps pinpoint cirrus cloud formation

Cirrus cloud study helps inform climate predictions.

Composition of seed material suggests human activity could be a significant factor

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Mineral dust and metallic aerosols are the key seeding agents for the formation of high-altitude cirrus clouds, which cover nearly a third of the globe at any given time. Often forming more than 10 miles up, cirrus clouds can cool the planet by reflecting solar radiation, and warm it, by trapping heat like a blanket.

A nine-year study of cirrus clouds using using instruments aboard high-altitude research aircraft is helping scientists get a better handle on the mechanisms driving cirrus cloud formation, and that, in turn, could help scientists predict future climate patterns. Continue reading “Study helps pinpoint cirrus cloud formation”

Study links whale songs with specific behavior

Humpback whales in the Northwest Atlantic. Credit: NEFSC/NOAA
Humpback whales breaching in the Northwest Atlantic. Photo courtesy NEFSC/NOAA.

Acoustic research breakthroughs could help inform conservation efforts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Breakthrough software is enabling scientists to better analyze humpback whale songs. For the first time, researchers have provided the a detailed description linking humpback whale movements to acoustic behavior on a feeding ground in the Northwest Atlantic.

“We have monitored and acoustically recorded whale sounds for years, and are now able to ‘mine’ these data using new computer software applications and methods, “ said Sofie Van Parijs, who heads the passive acoustics group at the Woods Hole Laboratory of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Continue reading “Study links whale songs with specific behavior”

Report eyes Pacific Northwest climate change threats

Marine sanctuaries try to prepare for rising sea level, ocean acidification and more extreme weather

A new report identifies anticipated climate change impacts to the Olympic Peninsula. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Managers of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary say they’ll use a new report to try and prepare the resources they steward for the coming impacts of climate change, including increases in sea level; extreme weather events such as winds, waves, and storms; and coastal erosion from those events.

The report also says the region may experience an increase in ocean acidity, rising water temperature, as well as more extreme weather patterns, including Pacific Northwest regional rainfall increases triggering 100-year magnitude floods.

“Climate change poses an increasingly grave threat to the health of the ocean, and its impacts will be felt in marine protected areas like the Olympic Coast sanctuary,” said  sanctuary superintendent Carol Bernthal. “This report begins our work to develop management strategies that will help us anticipate potential challenges and adapt to the changing marine environment through sound science, public outreach, and partnerships.” Continue reading “Report eyes Pacific Northwest climate change threats”

Climate: U.S. temps below average in March

Coolest March readings since 1966, but drought eases in some areas

Maps compiled by NOAA show the contrast between temperatures in March 2012 and March 2013.
Maps compiled by NOAA show the contrast between temperatures in March 2012 and March 2013.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With an average temperature that was .9 degrees below the 20th century average, the contiguous 48 U.S. states recorded the coldest March readings since 2002, when the monthly average was a whopping 2.2 degrees below average.

The monthly readings mark a huge contrast from one year ago, when the U.S. recorded its warmest-ever March, according to the National Climatic Data Center, which released the monthly State of the Climate report today (April 15). Continue reading “Climate: U.S. temps below average in March”