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CRS — U.S. Tsunami Program: A Brief Overview (February 20, 2015)

March 5, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Tsunami Program: A Brief Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Weather Service (NWS) manages two tsunami warning centers that monitor, detect, and issue warnings for tsunamis. The NWS operates the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) at Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) at Palmer, Alaska.

The tsunami warning centers monitor and evaluate data from seismic networks and determine if a tsunami is likely based on the location, magnitude, and depth of an earthquake. The centers monitor coastal water-level data, typically with tide-level gauges, and data from NOAA’s network of Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) detection buoys to confirm that a tsunami has been generated or to cancel any warnings if no tsunami is detected. As of January 20, 2015, 12 of the United States’ 39 DART buoys were not operational. According to NOAA, the inoperable stations would not prevent the issuance of tsunami warnings, which are primarily a function of seismic data from an earthquake or landslide, combined with location information about the event. However, lacking these stations could mean the warnings encompass a larger area than would be the case if all stations were operating, and it could lengthen the time a warning remains in effect.

NCDC Releases 2014 Global Climate Report

January 16, 2015 Comments off

NCDC Releases 2014 Global Climate Report
Source: NOAA

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA scientists. The December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was also the highest on record.

See also: NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

NCDC Releases 2014 U.S. Climate Report

January 9, 2015 Comments off

NCDC Releases 2014 U.S. Climate Report
Source: NOAA

The 2014 annual average contiguous U.S. temperature was 52.6°F, 0.5°F above the 20th century average. This ranked as the 34th warmest year in the 1895–2014 record. Very warm conditions dominated the West, while the Midwest and Mississippi Valley were cool.

The average contiguous U.S. precipitation was 30.76 inches, 0.82 inch above average, and ranked as the 40th wettest year in the 120-year period of record. The northern United States was wet, and the Southern Plains were dry; the national drought footprint shrank about 2 percent.

In 2014, there were eight weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These eight events resulted in the deaths of 53 people. The events include: the western U.S. drought, the Michigan and Northeast flooding event, five severe storm events, and one winter storm event.

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview
Source: NOAA

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and 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 and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2014. The U.S. has sustained 178 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2014). The total cost of these 178 events exceeds $1 trillion.

Snows of Christmas past

December 24, 2014 Comments off

Snows of Christmas past
Source: NOAA

Like many people do at this time of year, the Climate.gov communications team has spent some time reminiscing about the holidays of our childhoods. Many of us wondered whether we could trust our memories of how snowy the holidays were when we were kids compared to now.

So, just for fun, we asked the experts at the Rutgers Snow Lab to show us what their data (based on NOAA satellite images) had to say about whether the U.S. snow extent during the week of Christmas has changed at all in the past 50 years. Fortunately, the team was in the holiday spirit, and they made some time to run a little analysis for us.

The map at right shows the change in the average number of snow-covered days between the 1990-2013 decades and the 1966-1989 decades for the week of Christmas —in other words, the most recent two decades of the time series minus the first two. Places where the ground was snow-covered up to 25% more frequently in recent decades are colored in shades of blue, and places that were snow-covered up to 25% less frequently are colored shades of brown.

NOAA — Arctic Report Card: Update for 2014

December 19, 2014 Comments off

Arctic Report Card: Update for 2014
Source: NOAA

What’s new in 2014?

Rising air and sea temperatures continue to trigger changes in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth.

However, natural variation remains, such as the slight increase in March 2014 sea ice thickness and only a slight decrease in total mass of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2014.

NOAA — Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

December 12, 2014 Comments off

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?
Source: NOAA (Climate.gov)

Minnesota. Maine. Upstate New York. The Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Practically anywhere in Idaho. And of course, the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the places where weather history suggests you want to be if you’re looking for the best chance of a white Christmas.

The map at right shows the historic probability of there being at least 1-inch of snow on the ground in the Lower 48 states on December 25 based on the latest (1981-2010) U.S. Climate Normals from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Dark gray shows places where the probability is less than 10 percent, while white shows probabilities greater than 90 percent.

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