There will be some overnight/early morning fog + isolated coastal showers the next few days otherwise we're in for a stretch of mild, dry weather with highs in the 70s (a little cooler at the beaches) & lows in the 40s & 50s. Enjoy!
The last day of the hurricane season is Fri. (Nov. 30th). I'll be posting a summary of the season at "Talking the Tropics With Mike" -- click here. From NOAA:
NOAA: Busy 2012 hurricane season continues decades-long high activity era in the Atlantic
Four U.S. land-falling storms include devastating Sandy and Isaac
November 30 marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, one that produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. The number of named storms is well above the average of 12. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three.
Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades.
This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind. Storms struck many parts of the country this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, and post-tropical Cyclone Sandy in New Jersey.
“This year proved that it’s wrong to think that only major hurricanes can ruin lives and impact local economies,” said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We are hopeful that after the 2012 hurricane season, more families and businesses all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts become more “weather ready” by understanding the risks associated with living near the coastline. Each storm carries a unique set of threats that can be deadly and destructive. Mother Nature reminded us again this year of how important it is to be prepared and vigilant.”
An interesting aspect of the season was its early start, with two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, developing in May before the season officially began. Also, this is the seventh consecutive year that no major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) have hit the United States. The only major hurricane this season was Hurricane Michael, a Category 3 storm that stayed over the open Atlantic.
Several storms this year were short in duration, weak in intensity, and went largely unnoticed by the general public because they stayed out over the Atlantic. A persistent jet stream pattern over the eastern portion of the nation helped steer many of this season’s storms away from the United States. The number of named storms and hurricanes was higher than predicted in NOAA’s pre-season outlook, in large part because El Niño – which likely would have suppressed overall storm activity – never materialized as predicted by many climate models.
Hurricane forecasters remind us that a well-established climate pattern puts us in an ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Since that time, more than 70 percent of seasons have been above normal, including 2012. Historically, Atlantic high-activity eras have lasted 25 to 40 years, with the previous one occurring from the mid-1930s until 1970. Several inter-related atmospheric and oceanic factors contribute to these high activity years, including warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures, an enhanced West African monsoon, and reduced vertical wind shear.
(Image below form surf forecasting msw)
Losing ice faster than 20 years ago - from NASA:
PASADENA, Calif. - An international team of experts supported by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has combined data from multiple satellites and aircraft to produce the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date of ice sheet losses in Greenland and Antarctica and their contributions to sea level rise.
In a landmark study published Thursday in the journal Science, 47 researchers from 26 laboratories report the combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica has increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year (equivalent to sea level rise of 0.04 inches or 0.95 millimeters) as they were in the 1990s (equivalent to 0.01 inches or 0.27 millimeters). About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica.
This rate of ice sheet losses falls within the range reported in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The spread of estimates in the 2007 IPCC report was so broad, however, it was not clear whether Antarctica was growing or shrinking. The new estimates, which are more than twice as accurate because of the inclusion of more satellite data, confirm both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice. Combined, melting of these ice sheets contributed 0.44 inches (11.1 millimeters) to global sea levels since 1992. This accounts for one-fifth of all sea level rise over the 20-year survey period. The remainder is caused by the thermal expansion of the warming ocean, melting of mountain glaciers and small Arctic ice caps, and groundwater mining.
The study was produced by an international collaboration -- the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) -- that combined observations from 10 satellite missions to develop the first consistent measurement of polar ice sheet changes. The researchers reconciled differences among dozens of earlier ice sheet studies by carefully matching observation periods and survey areas. They also combined measurements collected by different types of satellite sensors, such as ESA's radar missions; NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat); and the NASA/German Aerospace Center's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).
"What is unique about this effort is that it brought together the key scientists and all of the different methods to estimate ice loss," said Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager in Washington. "It's a major challenge they undertook, involving cutting-edge, difficult research to produce the most rigorous and detailed estimates of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica to date. The results of this study will be invaluable in informing the IPCC as it completes the writing of its Fifth Assessment Report over the next year."
Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom coordinated the study, along with research scientist Erik Ivins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Shepherd said the venture's success is because of the cooperation of the international scientific community and the precision of various satellite sensors from multiple space agencies.
"Without these efforts, we would not be in a position to tell people with confidence how Earth's ice sheets have changed, and to end the uncertainty that has existed for many years," Shepherd said.
The study found variations in the pace of ice sheet change in Antarctica and Greenland.
"Both ice sheets appear to be losing more ice now than 20 years ago, but the pace of ice loss from Greenland is extraordinary, with nearly a five-fold increase since the mid-1990s," Ivins said. "In contrast, the overall loss of ice in Antarctica has remained fairly constant, with the data suggesting a 50-percent increase in Antarctic ice loss during the last decade."
Click here for more info., pictures & images.
NASA Rover Providing New Weather and Radiation Data About Mars
PASADENA, Calif. -- Observations of wind patterns and natural radiation patterns on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover are helping scientists better understand the environment on the Red Planet's surface.
Researchers using the car-sized mobile laboratory have identified transient whirlwinds, mapped winds in relation to slopes, tracked daily and seasonal changes in air pressure, and linked rhythmic changes in radiation to daily atmospheric changes. The knowledge being gained about these processes helps scientists interpret evidence about environmental changes on Mars might have led to conditions favorable for life.
During the first 12 weeks after Curiosity landed in an area named Gale Crater, an international team of researchers analyzed data from more than 20 atmospheric events with at least one characteristic of a whirlwind recorded by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) instrument. Those characteristics can include a brief dip in air pressure, a change in wind direction, a change in wind speed, a rise in air temperature or a dip in ultraviolet light reaching the rover. Two of the events included all five characteristics.
In many regions of Mars, dust-devil tracks and shadows have been seen from orbit, but those visual clues have not been seen in Gale Crater. One possibility is that vortex whirlwinds arise at Gale without lifting as much dust as they do elsewhere.
"Dust in the atmosphere has a major role in shaping the climate on Mars," said Manuel de la Torre Juarez of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. He is the investigation scientist for REMS, which Spain provided for the mission. "The dust lifted by dust devils and dust storms warms the atmosphere."
Dominant wind direction identified by REMS has surprised some researchers who expected slope effects to produce north-south winds. The rover is just north of a mountain called Mount Sharp. If air movement up and down the mountain's slope governed wind direction, dominant winds generally would be north-south. However, east-west winds appear to predominate. The rim of Gale Crater may be a factor.
"With the crater rim slope to the north and Mount Sharp to the south, we may be seeing more of the wind blowing along the depression in between the two slopes, rather than up and down the slope of Mount Sharp," said Claire Newman, a REMS investigator at Ashima Research in Pasadena. "If we don't see a change in wind patterns as Curiosity heads up the slope of Mount Sharp -- that would be a surprise."
REMS monitoring of air pressure has tracked both a seasonal increase and a daily rhythm. Neither was unexpected, but the details improve understanding of atmospheric cycles on present-day Mars, which helps with estimating how the cycles may have operated in the past.
The seasonal increase results from tons of carbon dioxide, which had been frozen into a southern winter ice cap, returning into the atmosphere as southern spring turns to summer. The daily cycle of higher pressure in the morning and lower pressure in the evening results from daytime heating of the atmosphere by the sun. As morning works its way westward around the planet, so does a wave of heat-expanded atmosphere, known as a thermal tide.
Effects of that atmospheric tide show up in data from Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD). This instrument monitors high-energy radiation considered to be a health risk to astronauts and a factor in whether microbes could survive on Mars' surface.
"We see a definite pattern related to the daily thermal tides of the atmosphere," said RAD principal investigator Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute's Boulder, Colo., branch. "The atmosphere provides a level of shielding, and so charged-particle radiation is less when the atmosphere is thicker. Overall, Mars' atmosphere reduces the radiation dose compared to what we saw during the flight to Mars."
The overall goal of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission is to use 10 instruments on Curiosity to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes.
Click here for the video story....click here for the Mars daily weather report.