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Ask an Applied Climatologist - Q&A - How did observed weather correspond to (El Niño) climate predictions?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Looking back at Oct-Dec; Did observed weather events correspond with expected (El Niño) climate patterns?

January has kicked off with a bang, and the much anticipated super-mega-Godzilla El Nino is upon us.  El Niño conditions have been in place for months (Figure 1: Oceanic Niño Index), but has this El Niño event been impacting the weather of the Southwest in ways that are expected? Sort of, but not exactly. (read more)

El Niño and Media Coverage in the Southwest

Friday, December 18, 2015

What do wildflowers, hantavirus, downhill skiing, locusts, and floods all have in common? The answer is El Niño in the Southwest. These subjects represent a small sample of media stories written during the last 33 years that connect regional impacts to the El Niño phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and help illustrate an evolution in our understanding of the significance of El Niño to the region. (read more)

2015 - Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Recap

Friday, December 18, 2015

The 2015 eastern Pacific tropical storm season was one of the most active seasons on record, with 18 named storms and 13 hurricanes, nine of which reached “major” hurricane status (category 3 or greater). We also saw the strongest hurricane on record, Patricia, in the eastern Pacific in late October, and the latest-forming major hurricane on record, Sandra, in late November (see NOAA’s National Hurricane Center for more details). This meets or exceeds the high end of the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) seasonal forecast (from May 27), which predicted 15 to 22 named storms, seven to 12 hurricanes, and five to eight major hurricanes. The eastern Pacific hurricane forecast was tied to the ongoing El Niño forecast discussion, as conditions linked to El Niño (e.g., decreased wind shear in the tropical Pacific) also favored increased hurricane frequency and intensity in the Pacific region. (read more)

El Niño Tracker - Dec 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

El Niño conditions continued for a 10th straight month, and models continue to forecast a strong El Niño event that will last through spring 2016 and remain strong through the early part of the year. Forecasts focused on the persistence of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (Figs. 1–2) and weakened trade winds, enhanced convective activity in the central and eastern Pacific, and El Niño-related ocean-atmosphere coupling. Notably, the SST values in the Niño 3.4 region were at or above the record values in November. Climate scientists have been quick to point out that numerous factors contribute to the overall strength of El Niño, but we are certainly seeing one of the strongest events on record. (read more)

Image Source - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Image Source - NOAA/NWS - Climate Prediction Center

Southwest Climate Outlook December 2015

El Niño Tracker - Nov 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Originally published as part of the Nov 2015 CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

El Niño conditions continued for a ninth straight month, and models continue to forecast a strong El Niño event that likely will last through spring 2016 and remain strong through the early part of the year. Forecasts focused on the persistence of sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies (Figs.1–2) and weakened trade winds, enhanced convective activity in the central and eastern Pacific, and El Niño-related ocean-atmosphere coupling. (read more)

Image Source - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Southwest Climate Outlook November 2015 - Climate Summary

Friday, November 20, 2015

Originally published as part of the Nov 2015 CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Precipitation: Over the past 30 days, much of Arizona and most of New Mexico recorded above-average precipitation (Fig. 1), as a number of storm systems brought moisture into the region. October rainfall was well above average across most of the southwestern U.S., with top 10 precipitation totals in Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada, and top 15 precipitation totals in Arizona (Fig. 2). November rainfall has been varied, with a mix of above and below-average precipitation.

Temperature: November has been cooler than average, particularly in Arizona and most of New Mexico (Fig. 3). These temperatures represent a stark change from October, which was warmer than average in both states. 2015 is set to rival 2014 as the warmest year on record, and we will watch to see whether early November reflects a short-term swing back towards ‘normal’ cooler winter temperatures, or whether the rest of 2015 will warm back up to make a run at the record. (read more)

Bhuwan Thapa - CLIMAS Climate & Society Fellow

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How farmers are responding to Gorkha Earthquake, climatic and socioeconomic changes in Nepal

Following the Gorkha earthquake in April 2015, many able farmers in the hard-hit Nuwakot district came together and repaired the damaged irrigational canals. They contributed labor and financial resources and where necessary procured additional funding from government institutions. Though some systems could not be repaired immediately due to lack of human and financial resources, the farmers demonstrated the power of collective action in responding to national disasters.

One of the uniqueness of Nepalese irrigation system is the farmer-managed irrigation system where farmers take the responsibility of the overall irrigation management including operation and maintenance. Indeed during the field trip of summer 2015, I learned that these institutions were pivotal in responding to multiple stresses resulting from natural disasters, climatic and socioeconomic changes. (read more)

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