The New Climate Normals: 1991-2020

You may have heard recently that NOAA officially rolled out the new climate normals, but you may not have known exactly what that meant. Alternatively you may not have even heard about the new normals, but you’ve probably heard your local meteorologist refer to the weather and how it relates to normal. We at STM also relate things to climate records in both our reports for our clients and in our blogs. For example, earlier this year we talked about the anomalous cold outbreak across the United States, “With temperatures 40-50 degrees below average across the Heartland, approximately 30% of available U.S. sites set cold maximum records, and about 20% set minimum records.” When temperatures are cold (or hot!), climate normals give us a standard for how extreme (or not!) they are.

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North Atlantic Hurricane Season: Historical Stats and Seasonal Outlook

This week, we are kicking off a four-part series as we approach the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic on June 1. Today, we will be looking at the ‘big picture’, what a ‘typical’ hurricane season looks like, and what the seasonal forecast is for this coming season, which runs from June through November.

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Earth Day 2021

This April 22 marks the 51st annual Earth Day. I remember as a kid in elementary school that we would do activities such as planting trees and flowers, learning about how to reduce waste (although recycling wasn’t common back then), and (gasp!) watching filmstrips about environmental impacts in far-flung places around the world- who remembers being the lucky kid who got to advance the film at each bell ring? This year for Earth Day, I thought it would be fun to look at activities that are going on to raise awareness about sustainable living, decreasing carbon dioxide output, and other climate and environmental issues.

Acadia National Park
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Easter Weather is Like a Box of Chocolates

…or maybe like an egg you grab on an egg hunt; you never know what you’re going to get! This partially has to do with the date which Easter falls, which can range from March 22 through April 25, which makes the climatology of the holiday a bit different than holidays with fixed dates. However, the fact that these “shoulder” months are prime for a multitude of different weather types also increases the uncertainty of the weather.

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A Monster Mashup: Halloween Climatology from Coast to Coast

Can you guys believe that this Saturday is Halloween?! I feel as if this year has flown by (and has been a little scary itself!)….but what a fun treat that this spooky celebration falls on a weekend this year! Halloween can be a tricky one for meteorologists, and revelers alike. Normal high temepratures can range from the 40s to the 80s with low temperatures ranging from the teens to the 70s…which makes planning your costume in advance a little tricky!

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Connection Between Earth’s Temperature and Hurricane Strength

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins in four days, although we’ve already had our first named storm – Tropical Storm Arthur. Tropical cyclones are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena, and scientists are growing more confident that the increase in Earth’s surface temperatures is impacting the intensity of tropical cyclones. A new collaborative study that further explored this hypothesis was published last month by scientists from the Center for Weather and Climate (NOAA/NCEI) and the Cooperative Insitute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisonsin-Madison.

A NOAA GOES East satellite captured this shot of Hurricane Dorian fifteen minutes before making landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 8:35 AM EDT Friday, September 6, 2019. Image courtesy NOAA NESDIS.
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The Decade’s Biggest Weather & Climate Disasters

There is generally always a time of reflection at the end of the year, and even more so at the end of a decade. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is responsible for monitoring and assessing the climate, and one of the ways they so is by tracking and evaluating the climate events that have great economical and societal impacts. These include drought, flooding, freezes, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfires, and winter storms. We’ve gathered together a list of the ten events that had the greatest economic impact between 2010-2019. Note that the total cost of several events from 2019 are still being calculated, including:

  • Tropical Storm Imelda – September 2019; Imelda represents the fifth 500-year flood that has impacted a portion of southeast Texas over the last five years;
  • Hurricane Dorian – September 2019; Dorian’s intensification to a category 5 storm marks the fourth consecutive year, in which a maximum category 5 storm developed in the Atlantic basin – a new record;
  • Mississippi River, Midwest and Southern Flooding – July 2019; historic flooding impacting agriculture, roads, bridges, levees, dams and other assets across many cities and towns;
  • Arkansas River Flooding – June 2019; historic flooding impacts thousands of homes, cars and businesses  due a combination of high rivers, levee failure and persistently heavy rainfall from May 20 through mid-July;
  • Missouri River and North Central Flooding – March 2019; historic Midwest flooding inundates millions of acres of agriculture, numerous cities and towns and causes widespread damage to roads, bridges, levees and dams
Hurricane María approaching Puerto Rico on September 19, 2017. NOAA GOES-16 satellite image overlaid on NASA Blue Marble background image. Image by Tim Loomis, NOAA Satellites group. 
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NOAA Climate Analyses and Statistics

Did you know that NOAA regularly publishes articles that summarize recent weather events and the state of the climate ( https://www.noaa.gov/topic-tags/climate-analyses-and-statistics )? Generally, articles are released about twice or three times a month, and contain information about significant weather events, climate statistics for the United States for the previous month, and notes about significant studies or papers which have been published about the state of the climate. See below for details about some recent articles!

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