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Update on National Hurricane Center Products and Services for 2014

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Update on NHC Products and Services for 2014 (PDF)
Source: NOAA (National Hurricane Center)

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will implement the following changes to its text and graphical products for the 2014 hurricane season…

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NOAA State of the Climate — January Global Temperature Fourth Highest on Record

February 21, 2014 Comments off

January Global Temperature Fourth Highest on Record
Source: NOAA

According to NOAA scientists, the globally-averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January 2014 was the highest since 2007 and the fourth highest for January since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 38th consecutive January and 347th consecutive month (almost 29 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average January global temperature was January 1976 and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985.

Most areas of the world experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, with the most notable warmth across Alaska, western Canada, southern Greenland, south-central Russia, Mongolia, and northern China. Parts of southeastern Brazil and central and southern Africa experienced record warmth, contributing to the warmest January Southern Hemisphere land temperature departure on record at 2.03°F (1.13°C) above the 20th century average. Temperature departures were below the long-term average across the eastern half of the contiguous U.S, Mexico, and much of Russia. However, no regions of the globe were record cold.

NOAA: Slow Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close

December 3, 2013 Comments off

NOAA: Slow Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Saturday, Nov. 30, had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, thanks in large part to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean. This year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes.

NOAA Releases NERRS Climate Sensitivity Report

August 7, 2013 Comments off

NOAA Releases NERRS Climate Sensitivity Report
Source: NOAA

The nation’s 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) are experiencing the negative effects of human and climate-related stressors according to a new NOAA research report from the National Ocean Service. Results of the new national study, Climate Sensitivity of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, point to three East Coast located reserves, Sapelo Island NERR (GA), ACE Basin NERR (SC) and Waquoit Bay NERR (MA), and one on the California-Mexico border, Tijuana River NERR (CA), as the most sensitive to climate change.

Researchers determined the extent of relative climate sensitivity in the reserves by looking at five factors: social, biophysical, and ecological sensitivity, and exposure to temperature change and sea level rise.

High social sensitivity to climate change was indicated where there is higher employment within natural resource-dependent industries, lower per capita income and median home values, higher percentages of minority populations, and a higher percentage of individuals lacking a high school education.
• Social sensitivity to climate change was generally highest in the southern portions of the East and West coasts of the U.S., the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Biophysical sensitivity summarizes each reserve’s relationship between annual spring atmospheric temperature and rainfall data and water quality factors such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH.
• Temperature change exposure risk was greatest for reserves located in the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Mid- Atlantic, and Northeast regions of the country, while reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, California, and Oregon showed the greatest risk of seal level rise exposure.

New From the GAO

July 29, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source:  Government Accountability Office

1. Farm Programs: USDA Needs to Do More to Prevent Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals. GAO-13-503, June 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-503
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655650.pdf
Podcast: http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/655727

2. Insurance Markets: Impacts of and Regulatory Response to the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis. GAO-13-583, June 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-583
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655613.pdf

3. Grant Workforce: Agency Training Practices Should Inform Future Government-wide Efforts. GAO-13-591, June 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-591
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655677.pdf

4. Status of the Department of Education’s Inventory of Its Data Collections. GAO-13-596R, June 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-596R

5. NOAA: Overview of the Strategy, Execution, and Evaluation Budgeting Process. GAO-13-649R, June 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-649R

6. Medicare: Ownership Status of Inpatient Prospective Payment System Hospitals That Qualify for Payment Adjustments. GAO-13-667R, June 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-667R

Endangered Species Act: Our Update on Recovery Progress

July 12, 2013 Comments off

Endangered Species Act: Our Update on Recovery Progress
Source: NOAA Fisheries

This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, signed into law on December 28th, 1973. By passing this law, Congress recognized that the natural heritage of the United States is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” They understood that without protection from human actions many of our nation’s living resources would become extinct.

We are pleased to release our 2010-2012 Biennial Report to Congress on the Recovery Program for Threatened and Endangered Species, which includes the known population status of the imperiled species in our charge. During the period of this report, we were responsible for 70 listed domestic species.

This report includes highlights of nine recovery stories that illustrate the types of partnerships and scientific research necessary to put our species on the road to recovery.

New From the GAO

July 11, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Statement for the Record
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. NOAA: Initial Response to Post-Storm Assessment Requirements. GAO-13-559R, July 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-559R

2. Transit Asset Management: Additional Research on Capital Investment Effects Could Help Transit Agencies Optimize Funding. GAO-13-571, July 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-571
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655838.pdf

Statement for the Record

1. Compacts of Free Association: Guidelines Needed to Support Reliable Estimates of Cost Impacts of Growing Migration, by David B. Gootnick, director, international affairs and trade, before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. GAO-13-773T, July 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-773T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655830.pdf

NOAA, partners predict possible record-setting dead zone for Gulf of Mexico

June 19, 2013 Comments off

NOAA, partners predict possible record-setting dead zone for Gulf of Mexico

Source: NOAA

Scientists are expecting a very large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and a smaller than average hypoxic level in the Chesapeake Bay this year, based on several NOAA-supported forecast models.

NOAA-supported modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are forecasting that this year’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic “dead” zone will be between 7,286 and 8,561 square miles which could place it among the ten largest recorded. That would range from an area the size of Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia combined on the low end to the New Jersey on the upper end. The high estimate would exceed the largest ever reported 8,481 square miles in 2002 .

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, often from human activities such as agriculture, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also impact the size of dead zones.

The Gulf estimate is based on the assumption of no significant tropical storms in the two weeks preceding or during the official measurement survey cruise scheduled from July 25-August 3 2013. If a storm does occur the size estimate could drop to a low of 5344 square miles, slightly smaller than the size of Connecticut.

Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters

June 14, 2013 Comments off

Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters

Source: NOAA

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather/climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCDC is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather/climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2012. The U.S. has sustained 144 weather/climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2013). The total cost of these 144 events exceeds $1 trillion.

NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season

May 24, 2013 Comments off

NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season
Source: NOAA

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

New NOAA report examines national oil pollution threat from shipwrecks

May 21, 2013 Comments off

New NOAA report examines national oil pollution threat from shipwrecks
Source: NOAA

NOAA presented to the U.S. Coast Guard today a new report that finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation’s coastal marine resources. Of those, 17 were recommended for further assessment and potential removal of both fuel oil and oil cargo.

The sunken vessels are a legacy of more than a century of U.S. commerce and warfare. They include a barge lost in rough seas in 1936; two motor-powered ships that sank in separate collisions in 1947 and 1952; and a tanker that exploded and sank in 1984. The remaining sites are 13 merchant marine ships lost during World War II, primarily along the Atlantic Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico. To see a list of the ships and their locations, visit: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/ppw/.

The report, part of NOAA’s Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats (RULET) project, identifies the location and nature of potential sources of oil pollution from sunken vessels. Knowing where these vessels are helps oil response planning efforts and may help in the investigation of reported mystery spills–sightings of oil where a source is not immediately known or suspected.

2012 State of the Climate National Overview

January 28, 2013 Comments off

2012 State of the Climate National Overview

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The latest State of the Climate National Overview report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reveals that 2012 was the United States’ warmest year on record by a wide margin.

According to the latest statistics from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature for the contiguous United States for 2012 was 55.3° Fahrenheit, which was 3.2° Fahrenheit above the twentieth-century average and 1.0° Fahrenheit above the previous record from 1998. Every state in the contiguous United States had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. The year consisted of the fourth-warmest winter, a record-warm spring, the second-warmest summer, and a warmer-than-average autumn.

2012 was warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.

January 8, 2013 Comments off

2012 was warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.
Source: NOAA

2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.

The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.

The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as landfalling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.

Busy 2012 hurricane season continues decades-long high activity era in the Atlantic

December 6, 2012 Comments off

Busy 2012 hurricane season continues decades-long high activity era in the Atlantic

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

November 30 marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, one that produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. The number of named storms is well above the average of 12. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three.

Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades.

This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind. Storms struck many parts of the country this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, and Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy in New Jersey.

NOAA raises hurricane season prediction despite expected El Niño

August 9, 2012 Comments off

NOAA raises hurricane season prediction despite expected El Niño

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date, and may have a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (which includes the activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:

  • 12 to 17 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 5 to 8 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 2 to 3 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

State of the Climate — July 2012: hottest month on record for contiguous United States

August 8, 2012 Comments off

State of the Climate — July 2012: hottest month on record for contiguous United States

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Precipitation totals were mixed during July, with the contiguous U.S. as a whole being drier than average. The nationally averaged precipitation total of 2.57 inches was 0.19 inch below average. Near-record dry conditions were present for the middle of the nation, with the drought footprint expanding to cover nearly 63 percent of the Lower 48, according the U.S. Drought Monitor.

NOAA — State of the Climate

June 21, 2012 Comments off

State of the Climate
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Climatic Data Center)

The State of the Climate Report is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.

NOAA predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

May 30, 2012 Comments off

NOAA predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, NOAA announced today from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.

For the entire six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

See also: NOAA predicts near-normal Eastern Pacific hurricane season
See also: NOAA expects below-normal Central Pacific hurricane season

March 2012 Heat Wave

April 13, 2012 Comments off

March 2012 Heat Wave
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Numerous cities broke temperature records for January-March (year-to-date, or YTD). The following map and table present some of these record averages. Each city listed observed its warmest YTD period. Also included are the running minimum and maximum temperatures with respect to the top 5 average YTD temperatures.

Risk of major flooding in spring is low for the first time in four years

March 22, 2012 Comments off

Risk of major flooding in spring is low for the first time in four years
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

For the first time in four years, no area of the country faces a high risk of major to record spring flooding, largely due to the limited winter snowfall, according to NOAA’s annual Spring Outlook, which forecasts the potential for flooding from April to June.

“We’re not forecasting a repeat of recent historic and prolonged flooding in the central and northern U.S., and that is a relief,” said Laura Furgione, deputy director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The severity of any flooding this year will be driven by rainfall more so than the melting of the current snowpack.”

The Ohio River basin including portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, along with parts of Louisiana and Mississippi are the only areas with an above-normal risk of flooding as soil moisture and river levels are currently above normal. Additionally, odds favor above-average April rainfall for the Ohio River basin.

River and stream water levels are normal to below normal for most of the country and there is less snow pack than in previous years. As a result, there is a normal flood risk from the Northeast, through the mid-Atlantic, across most of the northern Plains and into the Northwest. However, heavy spring rainfall can lead to flooding at any time, even in areas where overall risk is considered at or even below normal.

+ National Hydrologic Assessment

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