Friday, February 8, 2008

Climate Corner: Acting Locally

100-year flood plain, from Maryland Department of the Environment. Click on image to enlarge.

A working group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change met today in Reisterstown, as reported by AP (via Baltimore's WJZ-TV), to work on its recommendations for the state's response to global warming. Gov. O'Malley established the Commission via executive order last April to "undertake an assessment of climate change impacts, calculate Maryland's carbon footprint, and investigate climate change dynamics." In addition, the group is to make recommendations for reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change on the state, with particular emphasis on coastal hazards.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

El Niño Update: La Niña Strengthens

Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature deviations from average, courtesy the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center released the latest monthly El Niño update today. If you're happy with the winter so far, then to the extent it's been influenced by sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific, you can expect more of the same.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mediarology: Six Degrees on NGC, AMS on iTunes, Challenger on TWC

New shows available in audio and video, online and on TV

Coming soon to the National Geographic Channel is Six Degrees Could Change the World, based on the book, Six Degrees, which was just released in the U.S. after being published last year in the U.K. The show premieres this Sunday, the 10th, at 8 p.m. DC time, 9 p.m. Pacific. Streaming videos are available on the show's web site.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS), the country's oldest and largest organization of professional meteorologists, has gone multimedia. There are now four programs in the AMS Video Journal series on the Research Channel. The full set of shows are also available in both audio and video format for downloading free of charge from iTunes. The AMS appears to be the first professional scientific society to appear on iTunes U, the educational section of Apple's podcast web site. The presentations currently available include:

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Soaker: Record Rain Recap

This morning's showers, while generally minimal across the metro area (a couple hundredths of an inch), helped add to a nice surplus for February built up from Friday's record-setting rainfall. The regional 24-hour precipitation map (popup image) ending 7 a.m. Saturday from the National Weather Service (NWS) Precipitation Analysis shows that National Airport and a good chunk of the eastern half of the District were in the sweet spot, with the heavier amounts (shaded in yellow) blossoming out even wider through the entire Baltimore Beltway vicinity and northeastward toward Pennsylvania. Some amounts as high as 3" were reported just over the Mason-Dixon line. Even in the less-rainy parts of the immediate metro region, amounts up to 1.5" (dark green) were widespread.

The virtual rain gauge for the three major local reporting stations (click image to enlarge) shows the rainfall accumulation in three-hour intervals from 4 a.m. through 7 p.m. Although precipitation started earlier at Dulles (0.01" actually fell before 4 a.m.), the three totals were coincidentally precisely equal at 0.81" by 10 a.m. Notice that, after diminishing somewhat in the morning, the rainfall rate picked up dramatically at both National and BWI in the afternoon. Nearly half of the final total at National fell from 1 to 4 p.m. This is a typical pattern in large storms; the precipitation begins slowly as warm air overrides colder air near the surface, then increases in intensity toward the end as deeper, more convective-type showers take over. There were a few unofficial reports of thunder with this storm.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.