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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.

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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.

Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

December 8, 2014 Comments off

Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California
Source: NOAA

According to a new NOAA-sponsored study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California’s ongoing drought. A high pressure ridge off the West Coast (typical of historic droughts) prevailed for three winters, blocking important wet season storms, with ocean surface temperature patterns making such a ridge much more likely. Typically, the winter season in California provides the state with a majority of its annual snow and rainfall that replenish water supplies for communities and ecosystems.

Further studies on these oceanic conditions and their effect on California’s climate may lead to advances in drought early warning that can help water managers and major industries better prepare for lengthy dry spells in the future.

NOAA: Another warm winter likely for western U.S., South may see colder weather

October 20, 2014 Comments off

NOAA: Another warm winter likely for western U.S., South may see colder weather
Source: NOAA

Below average temperatures are favored in parts of the south-central and southeastern United States, while above-average temperatures are most likely in the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and New England, according to the U.S. Winter Outlook, issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

New economic study shows marine debris costs California residents millions of dollars

August 16, 2014 Comments off

New economic study shows marine debris costs California residents millions of dollars
Source: NOAA

Marine debris has many impacts on the ocean, wildlife, and coastal communities. A NOAA Marine Debris Program economic study released today shows that it can also have considerable economic costs to residents who use their local beaches.

The study found that Orange County, California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach. Reducing marine debris even by 25 percent at beaches in and near Orange County could save residents roughly $32 million during three months in the summer.

Significant Security Deficiencies in NOAA’s Information Systems Create Risks in Its National Critical Mission

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Significant Security Deficiencies in NOAA’s Information Systems Create Risks in Its National Critical Mission
Source: U.S Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General
From Abstract (PDF):

Information systems connected to NESDIS’ critical satellite ground support systems increases the risk of cyber attacks. The Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites’ (POES’) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites’ (GOES’) mission-critical satellite ground support systems have interconnections with systems where the flow of information is not restricted, which could provide a cyber attacker with access to these critical assets.

NESDIS’ inconsistent implementation of mobile device protections increases the likelihood of a malware infection. In our review of selected Windows components on four NESDIS systems, we found that (a) unauthorized mobile devices had been connected to POES, GOES, and Environmental Satellite Processing Center (ESPC), and (b) GOES and ESPC did not consistently ensure that Microsoft Windows’ AutoRun feature was disabled.

Improvements are needed to provide assurance that independent security control assessments are sufficiently rigorous. We found that 28 of 60 (47 percent) of the independent assessments of security controls have deficiencies and may not have provided NOAA’s authorizing official with an accurate implementation status of the system’s security controls.

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

August 8, 2014 Comments off

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
Source: NOAA

On August 6, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center released updated information on 2013 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters and several new tools to assist users in analyzing the data. These new features allow users to better explore the type, frequency and cost of U.S. billion-dollar events by state and year, from 1980 to 2013.

Based on updated financial information, NOAA is adding two new disasters to the 2013 total to include an Illinois Flooding and Severe Weather that occurred April 16-19, 2013, and a Midwest Severe Weather event that occurred August 6-7, 2013. This brings the total number of 2013 billion-dollar weather and climate events to nine. The estimated cost of damages from these events is $23 billion dollars.

NOAA also reanalyzed the entire period of record to examine events that were close to $1 billion threshold. Based on this reanalysis, 17 were added events to the entire period of record dating back to 1980, including several drought in the early part of the record.

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