Bring NOAA into Your Classroom This Year!

Across the country, students, teachers, and parents alike have been getting back into the groove of a new school year. I don’t know about y’all, but I always LOVED the start of a new school year (and to be honest, I still love this time of year!) Settling into a comfortable new routine, setting new goals…..it’s almost like a second New Year. There is one group of people that we all would be lost without, and those are our hard-working teachers! Teachers have a huge influence on a student’s ability to learn and get excited about a subject. I am still forever grateful to each of my teachers, from my kindergarten teacher to my high school math and science teachers to my meteorology professors in college. They each instilled in me a desire to continually learn more, and I believe that is likely the goal of every teacher. This post is dedicated to the hard-working teachers across the world, and we want to share with you all some great ways to bring NOAA science and data into your classroom.

Fourth grade educator and NOAA Teacher At Sea alumna, Barney Peterson, makes an impact in her classroom. Photo courtesy NOAA Teacher At Sea Program.
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Weather Recap: August 2019 Severe Weather in Upstate New York

For those of us who live in upstate New York, it may seem like the weather has been exceptionally active during the last two weeks. You are not imagining things; August 2019 has brought numerous rounds of severe weather and damaging winds to the region. Let’s look look back at the last two or three weeks to see what happened:

Wind damage in Albany, New York. Courtesy: Spectrum News.
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Highlights from the State of The Climate 2018

Just three days ago, on August 12, 2019, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) released the newest State of the Climate providing a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected. The State of the Climate in 2018 is the 29th issuance of this international, peer-reviewed publication that is released each summer. The report is based on contributions from scientists around the world and is compiled by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Although we can’t possibly cover all the topics in one blog post, we wanted to share some highlights with you, and we invite you to take a look at the report as well! It is full of valuable information, and we believe that an informed community is a resilient community.

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Weather in the News: July and August 2019

As we change the calendar to a new month, it seems like a good time to review how meteorology has made news headlines this summer. While the weather often makes the news as a front-page headline when there is a high-impact event, the work that meteorologists and other scientists do on a day-to-day basis can help to keep the public safe, project changes in climate that can lead to positive changes in public policy, and engage with schoolchildren and teachers to encourage learning in the field of meteorology. This week, we highlight just a sampling of the many ways that weather, climate, and meteorology has made news headlines recently:

Land-surface temperatures across Europe and Northern Africa, July 25, 2019. Courtesy: WMO.
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Collaborative Citizen Science

Did you know that there are millions of everyday citizens across the world that are helping advance science in a wide variety of disciplines? These citizen scientists (a term that refers to everyday citizens who are intrigued by and passionate about science, but don’t necessarily have a formal scientific background) collaborate with scientists to expand opportunities for scientific data collection and to advance research in nearly every field! Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, notes that “By encouraging everyday Americans to engage in scientific research, our citizen science authorities benefit communities and the country as a whole, as well as advance our science and technology enterprise.” Whether you are interested in public health, astronomy, biology, ornithology (the study of birds!), meteorology, or pretty much anything you can think of…there is likely a project for you!

Three citizen scientists strolling along a sidewalk in Boulder, Colorado to gather data on Earth’s magnetic field using the CrowdMag cellphone app. Photo courtesy: Jennifer Taylor, CIRES
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National Parks and Severe Weather

At this point in midsummer, it is hard NOT to have the outdoor bug, and many of us in the U.S. will head to our National Parks to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways. Did you know that Yellowstone was the first National Park, established in 1872? President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) is possibly the most well-known supporter of the development of the National Park System; during his terms in office, the number of National Parks doubled. The legislation known as the Antiquities Act, which he signed into law, gave him and future presidents the ability to declare historic landmarks and national monuments, many of which are part of the National Park System today. At our wide array of National Parks, Seashores, Reserves, Battlefields, Monuments, and Historic Sites, visitors can learn about the history and culture of our country, as well as enjoy and appreciate the huge variety of climates and beautiful scenery that exist in the United States.

Canyonlands National Park. Credit: NPS/Neal Herbert.
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Scorching Heat Stretching from the Plains to the East Coast

A strengthening upper level ridge across the Central and Eastern United States is resulting in sweltering heat and dangerous conditions across the eastern two thirds of the country. Widespread excessive heat warnings, watches, and heat advisories are in effect, with daytime highs in the 90s to above 100 are expected. These high temperatures, combined with dewpoints soaring into the mid to upper 70s will result in over 70 million people experiencing heat indices over 100 degrees! The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored into the actual air temperature.

Warmest heat indices expected through Monday, July 22.
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Gulf of Mexico Tropical Disturbance/DC Floods/Flood Safety

You may have heard on the news this week that there is a potential tropical system which is forecast to form in the Gulf of Mexico over the next day or two. Satellite imagery shows a broad area of convection over the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama. This convection will be drifting slowly westward over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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Surveying the Storm

Imagine that it’s late in the evening, the sun has set, and you’re a meteorologist or the National Weather Service (NWS) exhausted from working a 13–hour day providing forecasts and warnings for a significant severe weather event that moved through your forecast area. Although the powerful storm system has exited the region, the event is not completely over. As severe weather reports filter into the office, it becomes evident that the storms caused significant damage and you’ll be heading out to conduct a damage survey first thing in the morning. Get some rest…another long day lies ahead.

Damage survey team members (Jim Belles and Benton County officials) inspect homes destroyed in the December 23, 2015 tornadoes in northern Mississippi. Credit NOAA WRN
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This Week’s Roundup of Interesting Weather Stories

A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert has made its way all the way across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean and the southeast United States! Known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), this very dry mass of dusty air normally forms over the Sahara Desert between late spring through early fall and moves out over the North Atlantic Ocean every 3-5 days. The SAL can cover an area as large as the size of the continental United States (!), and extends between ~5,000-20,000 feet in the atmosphere.

This geocolor enhanced imagery was created by NOAA’s partners at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.  Its multi-band imaging capabilities provide high-resolution visible and infrared imaging of atmospheric aerosols, such as dust and sand. Photo courtesy NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.
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