• Buresh Blog: Nov. global temps., Geminid meteor shower, Dec. night skies

    By: Michael Buresh


    Dec. 6, 2017 - The very busy 2017 hurricane season is finally over!  Go - here - for a recap in "Talking the Tropics With Mike".

    What's expected to be one of the best meteor showers of the year peaks in mid Dec. on the 13-14th - the Geminid meteor shower originating from an asteroid.  According to Sky &Telescope, there may be as 100 per hour.  Just hope for a clear sky then find a place without light pollution & sit back staring into the heavens.  Look overhead & to the east anytime after 8-9pm.  Diagram below courtesy Sky & Telescope:

    Global temps. for November:

    As part of an ongoing joint project between UAH, NOAA and NASA, Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

    The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. 

    Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

    Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade

    November temperatures (preliminary)

    Global composite temp.: +0.36 C (about 0.65 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

    Northern Hemisphere: +0.33 C (about 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

    Southern Hemisphere: +0.38 C (about 0.68 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

    Tropics: +0.26 C (about 0.47 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

    October temperatures (revised):

    Global Composite: +0.63 C above 30-year average

    Northern Hemisphere: +0.67 C above 30-year average

    Southern Hemisphere: +0.59 C above 30-year average

    Tropics: +0.47 C above 30-year average

    (All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

    Notes on data released Dec. 4, 2017:

    The average global temperature drop between October and November, 2017, tied for the fifth largest one-month-to-the-next drop in the 39-year satellite temperature record, according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Compared to seasonal norms, the average temperature around the globe fell 0.27 C (almost 0.49 degrees F) between October and November. (The largest drop was from January to February 2013, when the global average temperature fell 0.32 C.)

    Despite that temperature drop, however, November 2017 was still the second warmest November in the 39-year satellite temperature record for both the globe and the southern hemisphere. In both cases, the warmest November on record was in 2016.

    Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest spot on the globe in November was in Hudson Bay, near Fort Severn, Ontario. Temperatures there were 2.94 C (about 5.29 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than seasonal norms.

    Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest place on Earth in November was over the Bering Sea near the island of St. George, Alaska. Temperatures there averaged 6.47 C (about 11.65 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms.

    Christy and Dr. Richard McNider, a professor emeritus at UAH, recently published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences a study that mathematically removed from the satellite temperature record the effects of volcanic eruptions and of El Nino and La Nina Pacific Ocean heating and cooling events. This was done in an attempt to identify that part of the overall warming during the 39-year period that might be attributed to human influences. The 0.155 C per decade trend reported in that study differs from the 0.13 C per decade trend reported here in the Global Temperature Report. That is because this most recent research in the APJAS was done using an earlier version of the satellite microwave sounding unit dataset. That dataset was revised and updated, and the revisions published (Spencer et al., APJAS 2017) while the research looking at the effects of natural climatic events was under peer review.

    Night skies from Sky & Telescope:

    Dec. 8–9 (night): A waning gibbous Moon trails Regulus by about 5° low in the east.

    Dec. 13 (dawn): The thin sliver of the waning crescent Moon hovers 4° to 5° above Mars low in the southeast.

    Dec. 14 (dawn): An even slimmer crescent slides down to about 9° below Mars and 4° above Jupiter.

    Dec. 13–14 (all night): The Geminid meteors reach their peak. Expect one per minute from a clear, dark viewing site.

    Dec. 21: The solstice occurs at 11:28 a.m. EST (8:28 a.m. PST). Northern Hemisphere’s longest night.

    Dec. 30 (evening): Look east shortly after sunset to see a waxing gibbous Moon just ½° away from Aldebaran; the Moon occults (covers) this bright star as seen from most of North America and Europe (except the South).

    Jan. 1, 2018 (morning): Mercury appears separated its farthest from the Sun; look in the southeast before sunrise.

    Jan. 1 (evening): The year’s first full Moon coincides with its closest perigee 2018.

    Jan. 3–4 (night): The short-lived Quadrantid meteors peak; nearly full Moon makes viewing them a challenge.

    Moon Phases

    Full Moon            December 3      10:47 a.m. EST  (Cold Moon)

    Last Quarter       December 10     2:51 a.m. EST

    New Moon           December 18     1:30 a.m. EST

    First Quarter       December 26     4:20 a.m. EST

    Full Moon            January 1           9:24 p.m. EST   (Wolf Moon)

    From the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)....


    Colorful neighborhood lighting displays and glowing trees are a sign of the season, dating back hundreds of years! Before Thomas Edison's creation of the first electric lighting display for the holidays in 1880, people used to use candles to decorate for (risky!) seasonal cheer. Since then we've come a long way, with versions of Edison's incandescent bulbs appearing in homes and neighborhoods across the world, in various shapes and colors. However, all those twinkling lights can drive up energy demand and result in big home energy bills, and still manage to cause an average of 230 home fires each year. What’s a decorator to do?

    Show your holiday spirit with LEDs (light-emitting diodes)! LED holiday lights consume about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light strands and provide these great benefits:

    • Safe: LEDs emit less heat than traditional bulbs, reducing the risk of fire and burns.

    • Sturdy: LEDs are less likely to break because they are not made with glass.

    • Long-Lasting: LEDs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs—you could still be using the same LED string 40 years from now!


    Once a light strand has reached the end of its life, you can actually recycle them. Many home improvement stores across the country have holiday light takeback programs to recycle the products. 

    Curious to learn more about how your holiday lights work? This explainer from the US Department of Energy walks you through the what, how, and why of all types of lights—including how to troubleshoot some common issues. Learn more about holiday lights.


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