El Niño and La Niña Redefined

By: Saturday February 9, 2013 12:30 pm

Just a few short weeks after NOAA operations wrote that 2012′s La Niña was the warmest on records, NOAA researchers announced they recalculated historical La Niñas because of warming global temperatures. NOAA confirmed something that occurred to me while I was writing that post: eventually, historical El Niños will be cooler than future La Niñas.


NASA & NOAA: 2012 Was in Top-10 Warmest Years for Globe On Record

By: Tuesday January 22, 2013 6:30 pm

According to data released by NASA and NOAA this week, 2012 was the 9th or 10th warmest year (respectively) globally on record. NASA’s analysis produced the 9th warmest year in its dataset; NOAA recorded the 10th warmest year in its dataset. The two agencies have slightly different analysis techniques, which in this case resulted in not only different temperature anomaly values but somewhat different rankings as well.

2012: Hottest Year On Record For United States

By: Wednesday January 9, 2013 3:47 pm

It’s official: 2012 was indeed the hottest year in 100+ years of record keeping for the contiguous U.S. (lower 48 states). The record-breaking heat in March certainly set the table for the record and the heat just kept coming through the summer. The previous record holder is very noteworthy. 2012 broke 1998′s record by more than 1°F! Does that sound small? Let’s put in perspective: that’s the average temperature for thousands of weather stations across a country over 3,000,000 sq. mi. in area for an entire year.

Arctic Report Card 2012

By: Sunday December 16, 2012 5:03 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks changes in the environment and has released the Arctic Report Card: Update for 2012. Based on multiple observations, the report finds “strong evidence of widespread, sustained change driving Arctic environmental system into new state.”

No Rain Is Apparently Not News

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 9:01 am

While the Pacific coast is getting battered by storms, and while the Northeast coast continues to recover from Sandy, the only falling water that farmers in Nebraska, Kansas, and the great plains can see are the tears on their own faces. Drought may not make for gripping television, and it didn’t end once October’s lower temperatures arrived. Things are still dry — exceptionally so — and in many places, it’s getting worse.

Yet to the national media, “no rain today” in the Midwest and Plains remains “not news”.

Possible Impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the NYC Area

By: Monday October 29, 2012 6:01 am

The biggest threat will be from the storm surge. Though Sandy is only a Category 1 storm with maximum winds of 75 mph now – and some intensification still possible – it has a large wind field and is a large (in are) storm. Reports from buoys and ships and recon aircraft already show that it has a large storm surge associated with it. If you look at this storm surge map you can see it will be very high and likely inundate the lower part of Manhattan from Battery Park south and possibly even a bit north. The surge could be from 6-12 feet above sea level and with a high tide at around the same time as Sandy hits the coast just south of NYC, could mean extensive flooding as Dr. Masters points out.

NASA & NOAA: July 2012 Was 12th, 4th Warmest on Record

By: Wednesday August 15, 2012 6:30 pm

According to data released by NASA and NOAA this week, July 2012 was the 12th and 4th warmest July (respectively) globally on record. NASA’s analysis produced the 12th warmest July in its dataset; NOAA recorded the 4th warmest July in its dataset. The two agencies have slightly different analysis techniques, which in this case resulted in not only different temperature anomaly values but rather different rankings as well.

Something Fishy: CRS Report Downplays Fukushima’s Effect on US Marine Environment

By: Saturday April 7, 2012 11:30 am

Late Thursday, the United States Coast Guard reported that they had successfully scuttled the Ryou-Un Maru, the Japanese “Ghost Ship” that had drifted into US waters after being torn from its moorings by the tsunami that followed the Tohoku earthquake over a year ago. The 200-foot fishing trawler, which was reportedly headed for scrap before it was swept away, was seen as potentially dangerous as it drifted near busy shipping lanes.

Coincidentally, the “disappearing” of the Ghost Ship came during the same week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released its report on the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on the US marine environment, and, frankly, the metaphor couldn’t be more perfect.

Floods, Floodways, and Katrina in Reverse

By: Saturday May 14, 2011 10:15 am

Sometime today, the US Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Floodway in Louisiana for the second time in its history. The object is to divert some of the huge flow of water coming down the Mississippi away from the usual path that streams past Baton Rouge and New Orleans into the Mississippi delta, and into a largely agricultural region of Louisiana instead. It’s a Hobson’s choice, where agricultural fields and various small towns will be flooded in order to help save many the lives and livelihoods, and communities of millions of Louisiana residents nearer to the Mississippi’s regular pathways.

This is Katrina in reverse, with the water coming from the north rather than from the Gulf. Let’s hope the lessons learned from flooding in the past that led to the creation of the floodways will help, and that the post-disaster recovery efforts that failed so spectacularly with Katrina have been improved this time around.

House GOP Budget Cuts Funding for Tsunami Monitoring

By: Friday March 11, 2011 10:03 am

I’m reminded of Bobby Jindal scoffing in his response to the State of the Union in 2009 at money to be spent on “volcano monitoring,” when not but a few weeks later a massive volcano erupted in Alaska. Silly as it may seem, the government has a role to play in actually preparing for contingencies to protect its people. And traditionally, the US government has played a role in providing humanitarian and disaster relief to allies harmed by natural disasters. There are major cuts in those areas as well.

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