February 2014 Climate Digest

Climate Digest GraphicOverview

Each month, we will provide information regarding the previous month’s climate. Overall, preliminary data analysis suggests that February 2014 was the 21st warmest February on record (since 1880).  Major stories include a colder than average United States and warmer than normal Europe.

 

 

Highlights graphic

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Highlights Dataset

Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: February 2014 Highlights
Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: AUDIO February 2014 Highlights
          • This dataset shows some of the major February weather and climate highlights from the National Climatic Data Center’s (NCDC) monthly global climate analysis, and serves as an overview of what can be discussed in the datasets that follow. Highlights are noted below with more information.
          • Argentina: Persistent high temperatures.
          • North America: Much of the U.S. and Canada experienced below normal temperatures.
          • Adelaide, Australia: Record-breaking heavy rainfall on February 14th.
          • Europe: Above average temperatures for much of Europe.
          • United Kingdom: Fourth wettest January on record.
Temperature anomalies graphic

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Global Temperature Anomalies Dataset

Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: February 2014 Temperature Anomaly
Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: AUDIO February 2014 Temperature Anomaly
      • Using the real-time Monthly Temperature Anomalies dataset is a great way to convey where some of the warmer and cooler than average areas were in February, including those mentioned above in the highlights.
      • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for February was the 21st warmest on record (since 1880).

 

SST Anomalies Graphic

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Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Dataset

Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: February 2014 SST Anomaly
Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: AUDIO February 2014 SST Anomaly
          • The real-time sea surface temperature anomaly dataset is a great way to visualize the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean.
          • Global water temperatures were the seventh warmest for February on record.
          • Remember that the blues indicate cooler than average temperatures and reds indicate warmer than average temperatures (white: average).

 

Snow and Ice Graphic

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 Snow and Ice Cover Dataset

Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: February 2014 Snow and Ice Cover
Dataset: 20140328 EarthNow: AUDIO February 2014 Snow and Ice Cover
  • Aside from helping to illustrate seasonal changes, the real-time Snow and Ice Cover dataset is a great way to convey sea ice change through time, including discussing how the current sea ice extent compares to other noteworthy years.
  • The Arctic sea ice extent for February 2014 was the fourth lowest on since satellite records began in 1979.
  • In Antarctica, the sea ice extent was the fourth largest on record.

Seasonal Outlooks

  • Also be sure to check out the newest 3-month seasonal outlooks for April-June 2014.
    • Global Temperature Outlook
    • Global Precipitation Outlook
    • U.S. Drought Outlook
Where do I find the datasets?
  • First, check your SOS system to make sure it’s not already in the EarthNow category.
  • If not, you can download the datasets and playlist files from this FTP Site.
  • Then download and use playlist files at the top of the page (or create your own) and make sure they are in /home/sos/sosrc or /home/sosdemo/sosrc.
  • More detailed information here
Helpful Resources for More Information
Credits:
EarthNow Team
NOAA
References:
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for February 2014, published online March 2014, retrieved on March 24, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/.
Category: Uncategorized

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Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Extreme Weather Video

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Overview

As part of National Severe Weather Preparedness week, the EarthNow team is releasing its latest featured story, regarding extreme weather and climate change. Three out of four adults in America say that global warming is affecting weather in the United States. Global warming is also being blamed on changing weather patterns internationally, including by delegates at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. This piece explores what the science says about these changes and extreme weather.

For more information on how you can “be a force of nature,” visit NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation page at: http://noaa.gov/wrn

About the Dataset

Audio Dataset Name: 20140305 EarthNow: AUDIO Extreme Weather and Climate Change
  • The first part of this dataset shows water vapor satellite imagery over sea surface temperatures, during the time of Typhoon Haiyan. Haiyan is “highlighted” at times as well. This section also includes an image of 3 out of 4 people “highlighted” demonstrating that “three out of four adults in America say that global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
  • Following Typhoon Haiyan, we look at some basics of weather and climate, focusing on Earth being a water planet (pie chart shown) and water’s three phases (shown as circular animations on the globe).
  • Following these schematics, we are introduced to some water vapor satellite imagery, showcasing weather patterns.
  • Then, a simple animation of how water vapor fuels tropical cyclones and what happens as storms move over land and what will happen as oceans warm.
  • At the end, we show lights from the 2012 Earth at night, mentioning how many people live near the coast lines, and then overlay with some transparency, IR satellite imagery from Hurricane Sandy. A PIP-style animation of the June 2013 derecho is also shown, conveying non-coastal extreme weather.
  • Lastly, we provide information about NOAA’s Weather-Ready nation program, including the URL: noaa.gov/wrn.

The Science and Impact

Earth is a water planet. Oceans and lakes cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, as depicted in this pie chart.

Water is the only substance on Earth that exists naturally as a solid, liquid, and gas. The gas phase of water is referred to as water vapor. Did you know that water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere?

While we can’t see water vapor in the atmosphere, instruments on satellites can. Storms in the mid-latitudes draw the warm moisture from the tropics. Weather patterns help redistribute heat and moisture around the planet. This means that the availability of water vapor fuels or limits all atmospheric processes.

Let’s take a closer look at how water vapor fuels tropical cyclones, also called hurricanes and typhoons. Rising air over warm ocean waters carries water vapor upward into colder air. As this happens, warm moist air near the surface rushes in to take its place, creating the strong winds associated with hurricanes. As the warm air rises, the water vapor cools and condenses into clouds, releasing heat. The added heat accelerates this process. The rotating Earth causes the storm to begin spinning. Once a storm moves over land, it weakens rapidly largely because the storm lacks the moisture and heat the ocean provided.

Looking at typhoons and hurricanes over time, researchers see a trend. In a warming world with warmer oceans, there is more evaporation and fuel for storms, leading to more powerful storms. The warmer air can also hold more moisture, meaning heavier rainfall. Finally, rising sea levels mean higher storm surges and more flooding. Basic science points to bigger storms, changing weather patterns, and more extremes.

What does this mean for you? If you live near the coast, like a lot of people, there is an increased vulnerability to storms due to rising sea levels. For example, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the highly populated Northeastern United States. Sandy caused an estimated $77 billion in damage in the U.S.

But even if you don’t live near the coastline, research shows that Earth’s changing climate is altering the frequency, intensity, extent, and duration of other extreme weather events around the world.

Wherever you live, it’s important to understand the type of hazardous weather that might affect you and your family.

Where do I find the datasets?
  • First, check your SOS system to make sure it’s not already in the EarthNow category.
  • If not, you can download the datasets and playlist files from this FTP Site.
  • Then download and use playlist files at the top of the page (or create your own) and make sure they are in /home/sosrc or /home/sosrc.
  • More detailed information here
  • Magic Planet Version
Credits:
EarthNow Team
NOAA
References:
Climate Central, http://go.wisc.edu/wn98lg
Climate Change in the American Mind, http://go.wisc.edu/3jcn2y
Huffington Post, http://go.wisc.edu/yx9743
New York Times: The Future of Storms (Video), http://go.wisc.edu/nj0a7i
NOAA National Preparedness, http://go.wisc.edu/7zt6z1
Satellite Applications for Geoscience Education (SAGE), http://go.wisc.edu/y9u3tu
SAGE: Hurricanes, http://go.wisc.edu/9je3vf
United Nations Environmental Programme, http://go.wisc.edu/79kr3n
Category: Climate, Severe Weather

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Seasonal Outlooks (March – May 2014)

Overview

The data for the global temperature and precipitation outlooks are provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). The IRI was established as a cooperative agreement between NOAA’s Climate Program Office and Columbia University. It is part of The Earth Institute, Columbia University. The data for these maps are constructed primarily from several climate models, with some minor tweaks by climatologists.

The data for the U.S. drought outlook are provided by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Temperature Outlook

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Temperature Outlook

Dataset Name: 20140228 EarthNow: Global Temperature Outlook (Mar – May 2014)
    • What does RED mean on the map? The red shading on the map indicates areas that have a higher probability (greater than 35%) of being “warmer than normal”, than “cooler than normal”, or “normal”.
    • What does BLUE mean on the map? The blue shading on the map indicates areas that have a higher probability (greater than 35%) of being “cooler than normal”, than “warmer than normal”, or “normal”.
    • WHITE indicates areas that have a higher probability of being “normal” than “cooler/warmer than normal” and also areas where the chances for being cooler than normal, warmer than normal, and normal are equal.
    • It should be noted that areas in the “warmer than normal” region may still have cooler than normal days, and may not be “hot”. This outlook only suggests that after the three months are over, those areas in the “warmer than normal” region are more likely to have experienced warmer than normal average temperatures.
Precipitation outlook

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Precipitation Outlook

Dataset Name: 20140228 EarthNow: Global Precipitation Outlook (Mar – May 2014)
    • What does GREEN mean on the map? The green shading on the map indicates areas that have a higher probability (greater than 35%) of being “wetter than normal”, than “drier than normal”, or “normal”.
    • What does BROWN mean on the map? The brown shading on the map indicates areas that have a higher probability (greater than 35%) of being “drier than normal”, than “wetter than normal”, or “normal”.
    • WHITE indicates areas that have a higher probability of being “normal” than “drier/wetter than normal” and also areas where the chances for being drier than normal, wetter than normal, and normal are equal.
    • It should be noted that areas in the “wetter than normal” region may still have drier than normal days, and may not be “flooded”. This outlook only suggests that after the three months are over, those areas in the “wetter than normal” region are more likely to have experienced wetter than normal average rainfall.
Drought outlook

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U.S. Drought Outlook

Dataset Name: 20140228 EarthNow: U.S. Drought Outlook (Mar – May 2014)
  • This dataset shows the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) U.S. drought outlook for March – May 2014
Where do I find the datasets?
  • First, check your SOS system to make sure it’s not already in the EarthNow category.
  • If not, you can download the datasets and playlist files from this FTP Site.
  • Then download and use playlist files at the top of the page (or create your own) and make sure they are in /home/sosrc.
  • More detailed information here
For more information:
http://iri.columbia.edu/our-expertise/climate/
Credits:
EarthNow Team
NOAA
References:
IRI Seasonal Forecasts, http://iri.columbia.edu/our-expertise/climate/forecasts/seasonal-climate-forecasts/
NOAA Climate Prediction Center, Drought Outlook. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
Category: Global Seasonal Outlook, U.S. Outlook

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