Autumn 2016: Warmest in U.S. Weather History

The autumn of 2016 was the warmest ever observed in records going back to 1895 for the 48 contiguous U.S. states, according to data released on Wednesday by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The nation’s average September-to-November temperature of 57.63°F was a full 1.05°F above the previous autumn record, set way back in 1963, and it was 4.08°F above the 20th-century average (see Figure 1). The record-setting margin of more than ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Climate Change Won’t Stop in 2016, Despite Misleading Reports

With just three years left to go, it’s virtually certain that the 2010s will be warmer than any decade on record, barring a massive volcanic eruption. As greenhouse gases produced by human activity continue to build up in the atmosphere, it’s also a very good bet--again barring a volcanic or geopolitical cataclysm--that the 2020s will be warmer than the 2010s. You wouldn’t know about these perfectly reasonable, science-based inferences if all you had to go by ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

U.S. Weather Returns to Its Climatological Senses, and Then Some

After a markedly mild November marked by thousands of daily record highs and less than 100 record daily lows (more on that in our upcoming monthly roundup), it will feel much more like December across the bulk of the contiguous U.S. over the next couple of weeks. Some locations may see their coldest weather in years as a series of Arctic high pressure cells swing through western Canada and southward across all but the Desert Southwest.

A sneak preview of ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

More Tornadoes in the Biggest U.S. Outbreaks--for an Unexpected Reason

The largest U.S. tornado outbreaks have been spitting out an ever-increasing number of twisters, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The new paper, led by Michael Tippett (Columbia University), reinforces prior work showing that U.S. twisters are increasingly concentrated in big outbreaks, with the quiet periods becoming even quieter. Tippett and colleagues also threw in a noteworthy curve ball. It appears the growing number of tornadoes ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Early, Late, and Far-Flung: The Eclectic 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season

After three relatively quiet seasons, the hurricane-generating waters of the North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean returned in 2016 to the busy production schedule they’ve maintained in most years since the mid-1990s. Assisted by the switch from a record-strong El Niño to a borderline La Niña, which reduced vertical wind shear, the 2016 season ended up above the long-term average for all of the most commonly tracked indices, with the largest number of hu...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

On Giving Tuesday, Support Increasingly Embattled Climate Scientists

Climate science and climate scientists in the United States are likely to be under unprecedented assault by powerful politicians in the coming four years. Climate-change-denying politicians are already in high positions in Congress, and soon we will have a president who has publicly denied climate change science. On Giving Tuesday, November 29, I urge you to make a tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) to help protect th...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Catastrophic Fire Hits Southeast Tennessee Homes and Resorts

What appears to be the most damaging wildland fire to strike a Southeast U.S. community in many decades tore into the tourist mecca of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on Monday night. The Chimney Top Fire has burned hundreds of structures in and near this much-loved city and has injured at least four people. Nearby Pigeon Forge, home of the Dollywood theme park, has also been affected by the fire, which began in the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains. At least 14,000 people were...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

The Upcoming Benefits of GOES-R for Hurricane Monitoring and Forecasting

A new era in satellite monitoring of the Western Hemisphere began on November 19 with the successful launch of the GOES-R satellite. GOES-R is the latest in a sequence of GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) satellites that began in 1975. Both polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites gather crucial data for incorporation in computer forecast models, but it’s the geostationary birds--stationed at fixed spots tens of thousands of miles above t...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Otto Shifts from Atlantic to Pacific after Historic Landfall in Central America

Tropical Storm Otto is now in the Eastern Pacific, headed westwards away from Central America, after making landfall on Thursday as a top-end Category 2 storm with 110-mph winds over southern Nicaragua. Otto’s heavy rains are being blamed for four deaths on November 22 in Panama, and at least five others are missing there. These deaths are the second latest deaths on record from an Atlantic named storm that we are aware of; the only killer storm on record later in...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>