Articles in the News

Flood Facts, Types of Flooding, Floods in History   Live Science - June 26, 2017

In terms of lives lost and property damaged, floods are just behind tornadoes as the top natural disaster. In the United States, flood damages totaled $8.41 billion in 2011. There were 113 flood-related deaths. Floods can affect any area to some degree; wherever rain falls, flooding can occur. As water falls to the Earth in the form of rain or snow, it seeps into the ground. But if the ground is frozen or the surface impervious (asphalt or concrete are two contenders) or the soil is already saturated and cannot absorb the water faster than it falls from the sky, problems arise.

NASA examines Peru's deadly rainfall   PhysOrg - March 23, 2017

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM constellation of satellites provide data on precipitation rates and totals. Recently the GPM core observatory measured the heavy rainfall that caused extensive flooding and loss of life in Peru. Extreme flooding and frequent landslides that occurred in March have forced many from their homes. An El Nino-like condition with warm ocean waters developed near Peru's coast. This extremely warm water off Peru's western coast has been blamed for promoting the development of these storms. Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are about average elsewhere in the central and east central Pacific.

North Pole Forecast To Be 50 Degrees Warmer Than Normal This Week   Huffington Post - December 22, 2016

Temperatures in the Arctic are predicted to soar nearly 50 degrees above normal on Thursday in a pre-Christmas heat wave that will bring the frozen tundra scarily close to the melting point. It's the second year in a row the North Pole - now in perpetual darkness after saying goodbye to the sun in late October - has seen abnormally high temperatures around the Christmas holiday. It's also the second time this year. In November, temperatures in the region skyrocketed 36 degrees above normal.

Snow falls in Sahara for first time in 37 years   CNN - December 22, 2016

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure are better musicians than they are meteorologists. Their 1984 Band Aid prediction that "there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime" has once again been proven wrong -- and this time in spectacular fashion. The Algerian town of Ain Sefra, deep in the dry, hot Sahara desert was hit by a freak snowfall on December 19. It's the first time snow has fallen in the region in 37 years.

Stunning picture of rare 'white rainbow' captured in Scotland as storms hit the UK - November 25, 2016

The beautiful 'fog bow' stunned onlookers with its magical aura shining against the bright blue sky. The rare white rainbow was captured on Rannoch Moor in Scotland. The image from Rannoch Moor in the west of Scotland was captured by Melvin Nicholson. Out walking on the moor, south of Glen Coe, he said the unbelievably beautiful white rainbow appeared before him. It is a colorless rainbow that is made up of tiny water droplets that cause fog.

Streak of Record-Breaking Hot Months Breaks Record   Live Science - October 18, 2016

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its global temperature data for September. It shows that the month was a scant 0.07°F (0.04íC) below September 2015's record, making it the second-warmest September on record. That ends a streak of 16 consecutive record-setting hot months in NOAA's dataset, a record-setting streak itself. The run of planetary heat has rewritten the record books. On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its global temperature data for September.

The Science of Monster Storms   Scientific American - October 7, 2016
Extreme weather events are nothing new, but they appear to be gaining strength. Scientists have risked life and limb to help us better understand - and better survive - these storms. The deadliest and most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history, however, were both hurricanes: the great Galveston hurricane of 1900, which killed some 6,000 to 12,000 people, and the notorious Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused an estimated $149 billion in damages.

Currently we are dealing with Hurricane Matthew

Oldest pine fossils reveal fiery past   Science Daily - March 10, 2016

The oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today has been found by researchers. The 140-million-year-old fossils (dating from the Cretaceous 'Age of the Dinosaurs') are exquisitely preserved as charcoal, the result of burning in wildfires. Scientists have found the oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today. Scientists from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London have found the oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today. The 140-million-year-old fossils (dating from the Cretaceous 'Age of the Dinosaurs') are exquisitely preserved as charcoal, the result of burning in wildfires. The fossils suggest that pines co-evolved with fire at a time when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were much higher and forests were especially flammable.

Ocean temps predict US heat waves 50 days out   Science Daily - March 29, 2016

The formation of a distinct pattern of sea surface temperatures in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean can predict an increased chance of summertime heat waves in the eastern half of the United States up to 50 days in advance. The pattern is a contrast of warmer-than-average water butting up against cooler-than-average seas. When it appears, the odds that extreme heat will strike during a particular week--or even on a particular day--can more than triple, depending on how well-formed the pattern is.

  Cold Atlantic 'blob' puzzles scientists   CNN - September 30, 2015
At first glance, it stands out like a sore thumb. That blob of blue and purple on the map. One of the only places on the globe that is abnormally cold in a year that will likely shatter records as the warmest globally. It's being called the Atlantic "blob." It's a large area in the North Atlantic that is seeing a pronounced cooling trend. The ocean surface is much cooler than normal and in fact record cold in some locations. Scientists began to notice it developing over the last couple of years, this cooling in the Atlantic is the complete opposite of the warming over in the Pacific. Much of the warming is attributed to El Nino, a natural process where warm water sloshes over the Central Pacific and extends to South America, but scientists are unable to completely explain what has been dubbed the Pacific Blob. This pronounced warming over large areas of the entire Pacific basin has fueled a well above average season for hurricanes and typhoons over the entire Pacific, and could have contributed to everything from the California drought, impacts on the salmon industry, and even tropical sharks seen in waters further north than ever before.

Should we fear the North Atlantic Blob? Climate scientists warn record cold in ocean may be a sign of changes to ocean currents   Daily Mail - September 30, 2015
The planet is on course to experience one of its warmest years on record, but scientists have been left baffled by a massive cold patch in the North Atlantic Ocean. The area, which lies just to the south of Greenland and Iceland, is showing some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded for the region. It comes at a time large parts of the world are experiencing some of the hottest on record, raising fears the recent 'pause' in global warming has come to an end.

Chinese Cave Graffiti Tells of Ancient Droughts & Strife   Live Science - August 20, 2015
An ancient cave with centuries of Chinese characters written on the walls reveals the history of severe droughts. By tying the cave graffiti to ratios of chemical elements in the stalagmites growing in the cave, a team of scientists created a snapshot of the climate over the last 500 years, said study co-author Sebastian Breitenbach, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Cambridge in England. The findings also suggest how vulnerable people in this region could be to drought.

What is a Dirty Thunderstorm?   BBC - March 26, 2015

A series of astounding images of a 'dirty thunderstorm', captured by volcano film-maker Marc Szeglat earlier this month, show the earth's power at its most terrifying and breath-taking. Dirty thunderstorms are a rare phenomenon, associated with large volcanic eruptions. But unusually and perhaps uniquely, they occur regularly at Sakurajima volcano in Japan, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

No more pause: Warming will be non-stop from now on   New Scientist - August 31, 2014
Enjoy the pause in global warming while it lasts, because it's probably the last one we will get this century. Once temperatures start rising again, it looks like they will keep going up without a break for the rest of the century, unless we cut our greenhouse gas emissions. The slowdown in global warming since 1997 seems to be driven by unusually powerful winds over the Pacific Ocean, which are burying heat in the water. But even if that happens again, or a volcanic eruption spews cooling particles into the air, we are unlikely to see a similar hiatus, according to two independent studies.

Epic Drought in West Is Literally Moving Mountains   Scientific American - August 23, 2014
Climate change is driving the Greenland Ice Sheet to melt, which is contributing to sea level rise. But imagine that the same amount of water melting from Greenland each year is being lost in California and the rest of the West because of the epic drought there. What happens? The land in the West begins to rise. n fact, some parts of California's mountains have been uplifted as much as 15 millimeters (about 0.6 inches) in the past 18 months because the massive amount of water lost in the drought is no longer weighing down the land, causing it to rise a bit like an uncoiled spring, a new study shows.

Photographer Captures Drought Turning California Farms Into Kingdom of Dust   National Geographic - June 17, 2014

Sheep dash from their corrals at dawn to feed in a field recently harvested of melons in Firebaugh, California. Photographer Matt Black isn't just covering a story when he's capturing the lives and landscapes of California's historic drought. He's showing us how modern farming and natural forces are irrevocably altering his own childhood home.

World's oldest weather report could revise Bronze Age chronology   PhysOrg - April 2, 2014

An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world's oldest weather reports - and could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East. A new translation of a 40-line inscription on the 6-foot-tall calcite block called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and "the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses." Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera - the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea. Because volcano eruptions can have a widespread impact on weather, the Thera explosion likely would have caused significant disruptions in Egypt.

Megafloods: What They Leave Behind   Science Daily - January 17, 2014
South-central Idaho and the surface of Mars have an interesting geological feature in common: amphitheater-headed canyons. These U-shaped canyons with tall vertical headwalls are found near the Snake River in Idaho as well as on the surface of Mars, according to photographs taken by satellites. Various explanations for how these canyons formed have been offered -- some for Mars, some for Idaho, some for both.

1st Antarctica Atmospheric River Found   Live Science - December 16, 2013
A wild weather phenomenon that causes massive winter flooding in California also dumps snow in East Antarctica, wetting one of the driest places on Earth. This is the first time scientists have spotted an atmospheric river snaking from the Indian Ocean south to Antarctica. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow water vapor plumes stretching hundreds of miles across the sky. California weather forecasters call them the "Pineapple Express," known for transporting tropical moisture from Hawaii to the West Coast during winter. But the weather pattern can appear any time of the year, and atmospheric rivers have been spotted dropping rain and snow in Europe and even in the Arctic.

Lunar Orbiters Discover Source of Space Weather Near Earth   Science Daily - September 27, 2013
Solar storms -- powerful eruptions of solar material and magnetic fields into interplanetary space -- can cause what is known as "space weather" near Earth, resulting in hazards that range from interference with communications systems and GPS errors to extensive power blackouts and the complete failure of critical satellites.

Superstorm Sandy Shook the U.S., Literally   Science Daily - April 19, 2013
When superstorm Sandy turned and took aim at New York City and Long Island last October, ocean waves hitting each other and the shore rattled the seafloor and much of the United States - shaking detected by seismometers across the country.

Tree ring sampling shows cold spells in Eastern Europe led to unrest over past thousand years   PhysOrg - January 15, 2013

A team of Swiss, Czech, Canadian and German researchers has found that prolonged cold spells in Eastern Europe over the last thousand years has led to wars, plagues and civil unrest.

A Wild Start for Weather in the New Year   National Geographic - January 15, 2013

From record Australian heat to Middle Eastern snow, the climate is changing.

How a Rare Snowfall Hit Jerusalem, Middle East   Live Science - January 11, 2013
An unusual storm brought snow and chaos to the Middle East yesterday (Jan. 10). The weather system dumped 4-6 inches (10-15 centimeters) of snow on Jerusalem Wednesday night (Jan. 9) and yesterday morning, according to Jason Samenow, chief meteorologist with the Washington Post's CapitalWeather Gang. The same system was responsible for heavy rain and scattered flooding, before the rain turned to snow. This storm system is responsible for at least eight deaths, and the United Nations reported that millions of people inside Syria and 600,000 refugees outside the country need assistance.

Bitter Cold Drives Southwest Dust Storm   Live Science - January 15, 2013
Just how cold is it in the Southwest? The answer, my friends, is blowin' all the way to Kansas. NASA's Aqua satellite spotted the bitter cold front now sweeping through the Rocky Mountains on Jan. 11. The descending mass of frigid air drove winds that scooped up dust in the Colorado Front Ranges and carried it through the air to Kansas. Cold, dense air wedging under warmer air can create strong wind gusts. The dust was thickest in Kansas, but the source was the Arkansas River canyon in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, along with the river's tributaries.

Big Chill vs. Global Warming: What's Going On?   Live Science - January 14, 2013
The recent, rare snow in Jerusalem and parts of Lebanon, along with freezing temperatures for Southern California have not nixed the reality of climate change. The planet is warming, and chilled weather doesn't negate that fact, say climate experts.

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide   New York Times - January 11, 2013
Britons may remember 2012 as the year the weather spun off its rails in a chaotic concoction of drought, deluge and flooding, but the unpredictability of it all turns out to have been all too predictable: Around the world, extreme has become the new commonplace. Especially lately. China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a dreadful heat spell. Eastern Russia is so freezing - minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and counting - that the traffic lights recently stopped working in the city of Yakutsk.

Freakish dust storm causes 'red wave' on Australia's west coast   New York Daily News - January 11, 2013
The dust storm, or haboob, passed over Onslow, a coastal town in Western Australia. The haboob is just one of the record-breaking weather events happening Down Under.

  Giant sandstorm caught on camera in Western Australia   BBC - January 11, 2013

Near Hurricane Force Wind Gusts for New Mexico, Texas   Live Science - January 11, 2013
Howling winds out of the west will race across the western Plains on the southern side of a gathering storm that will bring blizzard conditions to the northern Plains. Gusts up to 65 mph are likely in a corridor from northwest New Mexico to southeast Kansas across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Larger cities that can be rocked by the winds include Clovis and Las Vegas, N.M., Amarillo, Texas, Lamar, Colo., and Dodge City, Kan.

  I-5 at Grapevine closed as cold storm pounds Southern California   LA Times - January 11, 2013
Interstate 5 at the Grapevine remained closed early Friday morning as a cold winter storm continued to pound Southern California. Heavy snow and icy roads stranded thousands of motorists on Thursday night, backing up traffic for miles. The cold winter blast is bringing temperatures that are near or below freezing to the valleys and mountain areas. Frost advisories remain in effect through Friday morning for the valleys of the Inland Empire and Ventura County coastal and interior valleys. Additionally, frost advisories and freeze watches have been issued for Friday night into Saturday morning for much of the Southland. Many communities were also dealing with strong winds, with wind advisories in effect through early Friday for the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.