Friday, November 30, 2012

Lake Michigan Water Level is Much Below Normal

Drought Drastically Lowers the Level of Lake Michigan

The two attached photos, from Judy Richardt, are of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin.  The photos are from the same area in June 2009 and earlier this Autumn 2012.  The view is looking off the northern tip of the Door County Peninsula toward Washington Island.  The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers reports Lake Michigan is 16" below last year's level and 29" below the long term November average since 1918.

The graph at the bottom shows the Lake Michigan monthly elevation from January 1922 through November 2012.  Note that the elevations on this graph have a unit of measurement in meters.  The red line is the long term average for the data period 1922-2012. The lowest elevation on the graph is 175.6 meters (576.1 feet) and the highest elevation is 177.5 meters (582.3 feet) for a range of 1.9 meters (6.2 feet).  The current elevation of Lake Michigan is 175.7 meters (576.4 feet) and is nearing the record lowest for the time period 1922-2012..




 




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winter 2012-13 Outlook

Winter 2012-13 Temperature and Precipitation Outlook

From "Climate Watch" A NOAA Website:

Back in late summer, it seemed as though El Niño would become a factor in helping to shape U.S. weather and climate conditions this winter. When NOAA announced the Winter Outlook in October, El Niño still seemed possible. But the appearance of an El Niño this winter now seems unlikely, according to the updated Winter Climate Outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center on November 15.
The lack of an El Niño or a La Niña event heading into winter usually means less predictable U.S. winter climate conditions and is one reason why the areas for well-above- or well-below-average temperature or precipitation this winter in the updated outlook are smaller than what was issued back in October.
Still, much of the western and southern central United States could be in for a warmer-than-average winter this year, while the upper Midwest and Florida peninsula could experience colder-than-average temperatures. In terms of precipitation this winter, most of California and western Nevada could experience well-below-normal conditions while parts of the southeast could receive well-above-normal precipitation. Much of Alaska’s southern coast could experience colder and drier-than-normal conditions this winter while temperatures along the state’s northern coast could be well above normal.
Red and blue areas in the top map above show the percent chances that temperatures will be in the upper or lower third of average winter conditions observed in those regions during the period from 1981-2010, respectively. The second map shows the percent chances that precipitation will be in the upper third of the observed range of winter precipitation from 1981-2010 (green) or in the lower third of the observed range (brown). No shading over an area means there are equal chances for any given temperature or precipitation conditions this winter.
This outlook is potentially bad news for many residents of the Great Plains, Midwestern and Southern Central regions of the United States, which have been in the grip of a prolonged and severe drought. However, there could be some drought relief in store for watersheds in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, where wetter-than-normal conditions are favored this winter.
Outlook data provide by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Maps by Hunter Allen, NOAA’s Climate Program Office. Reviewed by Mike Halpert, NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Caption by David Herring, NOAA Climate Program Office.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Climate Change, The Basics

I found this wonderful Climate Change Summary at "The Earth Story"on Facebook.

I highly recommend that you "like" them on Facebook and get their frequent stories about our Planet Earth.


Climate Change and Climate Forcing- the basics.

Climate change is a natural occurrence which has been observed throughout our time here on Earth. The natural variability of our climatic systems is based on many parameters. These include volcanic activity, slow changes to the Earth’s orbit, axial tilt and axial rotation; known as the Milankovitch cycles and changes in solar output. Natural variations in carbon dioxide are also an important additive. CO2 is a natural "Greenhouse Gas" which hinders some solar radiation from escaping back out to space. The relationship between CO2 and temperature is well established science and without these natural CO2 levels it is probable that Earth would be more like Mars- freezing and uninhabited due to a runaway albedo effect.

Luckily for us though, intelligent life has thrived here on Earth. But with intelligent life comes the ability to alter our planets natural climatic systems. With the dramatic increase of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels accompanied with the destruction of much of our rain forests; we as a global nation are at a critical point in the Earth’s history.

We now face a time where natural climatic variation has been overtaken by the effects of anthropogenic climate change (or climate forcing) and at an unprecedented rate. It is this rate of change that is undeniable, indisputable and available for us all to see. Continuous and updated data is provided by several governmental and nongovernmental bodies, including our friends at NASA. From reconstructed temperatures using ice core data and real time analysis of current and past atmospheric CO2 levels, it can be clearly seen that since the industrial revolution levels of CO2 have increased dramatically. The current concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is 394.42 ppm as of October this year (see:http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/) .This is the highest level in 400,000 years of available C02 data- regardless of natural climate variations.

Some people may deny climate change is happening, but this too is natural. After all, most scientific theories have faced the burden of human scepticism, including evolution and the positioning of our Earth in the solar system. Luckily these things have been accepted (mostly) over time.

Unfortunately, anthropogenic climate change may not award us copious amounts of time to debate and watch it unfold.

The message is out there: our planet is changing in ways and at rates never seen before. It's time to face up to it.

-Jean at Earth Story

Further reading:

Milankovitch Cycles: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Milankovitch/milankovitch_2.php
Greenhouse effect: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview-interactive/
 Special thanks to NASA’s Climate Department; find them on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/NASA-Climate-Change/353034908075; or alternatively their website: http://climate.nasa.gov/

Image courtesy of FOTOLIA/KWEST
Photo: Climate Change and Climate Forcing- the basics. 

Climate change is a natural occurrence which has been observed throughout our time here on Earth. The natural variability of our climatic systems is based on many parameters. These include volcanic activity, slow changes to the Earth’s orbit, axial tilt and axial rotation; known as the Milankovitch cycles and changes in solar output. Natural variations in carbon dioxide are also an important additive. CO2 is a natural "Greenhouse Gas" which hinders some solar radiation from escaping back out to space. The realationship between CO2 and temperature is well established science and without these natural CO2 levels it is probable that Earth would be more like Mars- freezing and uninhabited due to a runaway albedo effect. 

Luckily for us though, intelligent life has thrived here on Earth. But with intelligent life comes the ability to alter our planets natural climatic systems. With the dramatic increase of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels accompanied with the destruction of much of our rainforests; we as a global nation are at a critical point in the Earth’s history.

We now face a time where natural climatic variation has been overtaken by the effects of anthropogenic climate change (or climate forcing) and at an unprecedented rate. It is this rate of change that is undeniable, undisputable and available for us all to see. Continuous and updated data is provided by several governmental and nongovernmental bodies, including our friends at NASA. From reconstructed temperatures using ice core data and real time analysis of current and past atmospheric CO2 levels, it can be clearly seen that since the industrial revolution levels of CO2 have increased dramatically. The current concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is 394.42 ppm as of October this year (see:http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/) .This is the highest level in 400,000 years of available C02 data- regardless of natural climate variations.

Some people may deny climate change is happening, but this too is natural. After all, most scientific theories have faced the burden of human scepticism, including evolution and the positioning of our Earth in the solar system. Luckily these things have been accepted (mostly) over time. 

Unfortunately, anthropogenic climate change may not award us copious amounts of time to debate and watch it unfold.

The message is out there: our planet is changing in ways and at rates never seen before. It's time to face up to it.

-Jean 

Further reading:

Milankovitch Cycles: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Milankovitch/milankovitch_2.php
Greenhouse effect: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview-interactive/


Special thanks to NASA’s Climate Department; find them on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/NASA-Climate-Change/353034908075; or alternatively their website: http://climate.nasa.gov/

Image courtesy of FOTOLIA/KWEST 

Friday, November 16, 2012

October 2012 Global Temperature Anomalies


October 2012 Average Global Land and Ocean Temperatures
5th Warmest on Record (133 years of data)

Global Highlights

  • The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for October 2012 tied with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record, at 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F). Records began in 1880.

  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for October 2012 was the eighth warmest October on record, at 0.92°C (1.66°F) above average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature tied with 2004 as the fourth warmest October on record, at 0.52°C (0.94°F) above average.

  • The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January–October 2012 was the eighth warmest such period on record, at 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nebraska Drought Outlook Winter 2012-13

As of November 15, 2012, Lincoln, NE year to date precipitation is 9.66 inches below normal for the year and Omaha, NE is 8.00 inches below normal.  The seasonal Outlook issued today by the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C. show no improvement, i.e. "persistence" of drought conditions out through February 28, 2013.  Climatologically, our Winter months typically average the lowest precipitation totals compared to Spring and Summer making it virtually impossible to make up this deficit before Spring 2013.   For example, the "normal" January precipitation for Lincoln, NE is only 0.64 inches yet the "normal" June precipitation for Lincoln, NE is 4.29 inches.   Click here for all of the Lincoln, NE Normals.  The "normal" total precipitation for the three months combined of December, January and February in Lincoln, NE, is only  2.36 inches (see below).


Normal Monthly Precipitation:
Lincoln December: 0.95 inches
Lincoln January: 0.64 inches
Lincoln February: 0.77 inches
Lincoln Dec.-Feb.: 2.36 inches
Lincoln Normal Wettest month = June with 4.29 inches

Normal Monthly Precipitation: 
Omaha December: 0.97 inches
Omaha January: 0.68 inches
Omaha February: 0.83 inches
Omaha Normal Wettest month = May with 4.66 inches

Monday, November 12, 2012

January-October 2012 Climate Update

As of October 31, 2012 The State of Nebraska was experiencing its 2nd warmest year on record and driest year on record for this time period.

The statewide rankings for temperature and precipitation are mapped below.  There are 118 years of data in the data archive.

Nebraska is not alone for having a very warm year, almost half of the states are experiencing their "warmest year on record" and almost have are experiencing a "much above normal" year in temperatures.  Only one state is experiencing near normal temperatures and one other state is merely "above normal".  None of the conterminous states are experience a colder than normal year in 2012.

Several states join Nebraska in having much below normal precipitation for this January 1- October 2012 time period.  Wyoming joins Nebraska in also having its driest year on record.






Friday, November 9, 2012

October 2012 Statewide Temperature Rankings



According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during October was 53.9°F, 0.3°F below the long-term average, ending a 16-month streak of above-average temperatures for the lower 48 states that began in June 2011.  Nebraska had its 16th coldest October on record (118 years of data).

 
U.S. climate highlights - October
  • Below-average temperatures stretched from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico during October with 19 states having monthly temperatures below their 20th century averages. The Southwest and the Northeast were the only two areas of the country with above average temperatures.
  • Wetter-than-average conditions stretched from the Northwest, through the Northern Plains, into the Midwest and the Northeast. Washington, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Maine had October precipitation totals among their ten wettest. Below-average precipitation was observed across the Southern Rockies and Central and Southern Plains. Texas had its ninth driest October on record.
  • The October 30, 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor showed 60.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, smaller than the 64.6 percent at the beginning of October. Drought conditions improved slightly across parts of the Midwest and Central Plains, while drought conditions worsened across the Northern Rockies.
Warmest Year on Record????
"Even with a cooler October, 2012 is still on track to be the warmest year on record in the U.S., propelled by a widespread March heat wave, the warmest spring on record, and the third-hottest summer on record. The month of July, for example, set the record for the hottest month of any month since weather records began in 1895."  Read more about this at:
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/cool-october-in-u.s.-wont-stop-hottest-year-record-from-being-broken-15222