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News Article | November 25, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Is there reason to doubt climate change because some of the nation's hottest days happened in 1898, as President-elect Donald Trump told the New York Times in an interview yesterday? In an exchange with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and staff about climate change on Tuesday (Nov. 22), Trump said, "I have an open mind to it," but later added, "You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you can make lots of cases for different views." However, it's misleading to single out a weather event — such as a particularly hot day in 1898 — as evidence for or against climate change, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service (NOS). [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted] "Weather is what you see outside on any particular day," the NOS reports. "So, for example, it may be 75 degrees and sunny or it could be 20 degrees with heavy snow." In contrast, climate is an average of weather over time. "For example, you can expect snow in the Northeast in January, or for it to be hot and humid in the Southeast in July," the NOS said. Extreme values, such as record rainfall or record high and low temperatures, are known as climate records because they stand out in a long period of time, the agency added. In 1898, both Oregon and Maryland reached their highest temperatures on record: 119 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius) in Oregon and 109 F (60.5 C) in Maryland, according to The Weather Channel. But these record-hot temperatures are simply climate records in two states, not evidence for widespread climate change, according to experts. Rather, looking at the climate for an extended period of time gives researchers a better idea about the direction the climate is heading. For instance, 2016 is expected to be the hottest year on record by a significant margin, with world temperatures an average of 2.2 F (1.2 C) above preindustrial levels, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, as reported by Climate Central. Moreover, 2011 to 2015 is the hottest five-year period on record, according to a separate WMO report released this month, according to Climate Central. When 2016 officially becomes the hottest year on record, 16 of the 17 hottest years will have happened since 2000, with the El Niño year of 1998 being the only exception, Climate Central reported. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that this rapid warming is not due to natural causes, but due primarily to the result of human activity, according to NASA. These increasing temperatures are "consistent with our expectations for the response of the climate system to increases in greenhouse gases," Jennifer Francis, a research professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told Live Science last week. During the interview with Trump, Sulzberger also conflated a single weather event — Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States in 2012 — with climate change, saying, "Well, since we're living on an island, sir, I want to thank you for having an open mind. We saw what these storms are now doing, right? We’ve seen it personally. Straight up." However, there is debate about whether Hurricane Sandy was a consequence of climate change. In general, scientists are hesitant to say that climate change caused the 2012 hurricane, but some say that climate change contributed to it, Live Science reported in 2012. For instance, warm oceans and moist air give strength to existing hurricanes, Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Live Science. Moreover, it's possible that future flood-causing surges from hurricanes and other storms will be more severe as climate change causes sea levels to rise, according to study published in October in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


MacFadyen A.,National Ocean Service | Watabayashi G.Y.,National Ocean Service | Barker C.H.,National Ocean Service | Beegle-Krause C.J.,Genwest Systems Inc.
Geophysical Monograph Series | Year: 2011

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific support for oil and chemical spills. During the unprecedented Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico, the Emergency Response Division (OR&R/Emergency Response Division) provided daily 72 h tactical forecasts for movement of the surface oil. Surface oil distribution was initialized daily from analysis of satellite imagery and incorporation of visual overflight observations. Computation of oil trajectories utilized currents from a number of hydrodynamic models allowing an ensemble forecasting approach. Results from the suite of trajectories were combined to produce a final forecast product for distribution to the Incident Command Posts. These forecasts were utilized during the Deepwater Horizon response for planning, allocation of resources, and direction of response assets. © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


News Article | June 11, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

The Dead Zone that grows annually in the Gulf of Mexico could stretch to over an area the size of Connecticut, according to new predictions. In all, this area of the Gulf where little life can exist will cover near 5,900 square miles. The hypoxic zones are created because of the runoff of agricultural waste into waterways. Phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizers and waste from livestock can rob regions of water bodies of their oxygen. As a result, plants and animals in the area are unable to take in the vital element, and die of suffocation. Although the size of the dead zone may sound large, the predicted area is about average for the summer season, researchers contend. The Gulf of Mexico is known for its great diversity of life, including many species essential for commercial and recreational purposes. "Dead zones are a real threat to gulf fisheries and the communities that rely on them. We'll continue to work with our partners to advance the science to reduce that threat. One way we're doing that is by using new tools and resources, like better predictive models, to provide better information to communities and businesses," said Russell Callender of the National Ocean Service. The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force has struggled since 2001 to bring the average size of the dead zone in the waterway down to and average of 1,950 square miles. However, the size of the hypoxic zone averaged 5,941 square miles between 1995 and 2015. "And while the latest forecast calls for an average-size dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, it is important to recognize that these averages are unacceptable," said Don Scavia, an aquatic ecologist from the Graham Sustainability Institute. "The bottom line is that we will never reach the action plan's goal of 1,950 square miles until more serious actions are taken to reduce the loss of Midwest fertilizers into the Mississippi River system." A series of four computer models were used to develop the new prediction. Individual models varied in their analysis between a low of 5,204 square miles to a high of 6,823 square miles. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) develops predictions each year for the extent of hypoxic zones in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Lake Erie and Chesapeake Bay. Although researchers have developed their prediction for the Gulf of Mexico, the actual extent of the zone will depend on several environmental factors, including tropical storms and hurricanes. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.csmonitor.com

The moon's proximity to the Earth is creating 'king tides' that could threaten US Eastern coastal communities. Climate scientists say the king tides offer a preview of high tides of the future. A full moon is seen over the Manhattan Bridge during the eve of the 'supermoon' in New York, Sunday. As the moon passed closer to Earth than at any point since 1948 early Monday morning, it put on a spectacular show, appearing bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual. But while many amateur astronomers looked up at the largest "supermoon" in 68 years travel across the sky last night, officials in coastal areas are keeping a wary watch earthward – specifically, at sea levels. While the supermoon will not be quite as close to Earth Monday evening as it was in the morning, the moon is still much closer to our planet than usual. Because of this proximity, the moon is exerting a much stronger gravitational pull on the Earth's oceans than usual, creating higher tides than would ordinarily be expected at this time of year. Across the East Coast, and especially in southern Florida, communities are preparing for potential flooding from these "king tides" caused by the supermoon. As climate change continues to melt Arctic ice and glaciers and raise ocean levels around the world, lunar events like this may have the potential to become far more destructive than they have been in the past. A supermoon occurs because the moon orbits around the earth in an elliptical orbit. Since ellipses have an oval shape, rather than a perfectly circular curve, the moon is closer to the Earth at some points during its orbit than others. When the moon is at its closest position to the Earth in the ellipse, it is referred to as a perigee-syzygy. When the moon is at this closest point, it can be as much as 14 percent closer than when it is at the farthest point from the Earth (a point known as the apogee-syzygy), and appears to be as much as 30 percent brighter to observers on the ground. The moon is not expected to get this close again until November 2034. The extra-close proximity of this particular supermoon means the gravitational pull of the moon will have an exceptionally pronounced effect on ocean waters. As such, the supermoon is causing greater high and low tides than at any other time between 1948 and 2016. This, in turn, is sparking an increased flood risk along the East Coast during these so-called king tides. "Tides are generally stronger when the moon is new or full since – at those phases the sun – earth and moon are all in a line, and the tidal effects of the sun and the moon are pulling on the earth's oceans in the same direction," Robert Boyle, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Dickinson College, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "The distance between the moon and the earth also has a strong influence on tides so – in general – tides will be stronger during a supermoon and tidal flooding more likely. If, in addition, the earth is at its closest point to the sun – which happens during January – the effect is increased still more." But while the moon may be partially to blame for flooding this week, the world has changed a great deal since 1948. Since then, carbon emissions have raised global temperatures and caused extensive melting of glaciers and Arctic ice. This year had the fifth lowest total Arctic ice coverage on record, and the second lowest minimum ice coverage (in a statistical tie with 2007), as the Christian Science Monitor previously reported. As a result of the ice melting, sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate. According to the National Ocean Service, levels have been rising by about 0.6 inches every decade since 1900, but since 1992, that rate has increased to 1.2 inches per decade. That level of increase can be highly destructive when the difference between high tide and a flood in many low-lying coastal areas is measured in inches, not feet. Some climate scientists point to king tides as a glimpse into the future of sea level rise. Climate models suggest rising seas will push daily high tides as far inland as today's king tides. "By 2030, we expect up to another six inches of sea level rise to occur," Tiffany Troxler, director of Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center, told CBS. "We might see another six inches on top of this." In southern Florida, king tides happen once or twice a year, flooding many low-lying neighborhoods. But as sea levels rise, such flooding is expected to occur on a regular basis and king tides will become more of an issue, especially during supermoons of this magnitude. "This all depends on location," Stephen Strader, geography and environmental science professor at Villanova University near Philadelphia, tells the Monitor in an email. "For instance, locations that are closer to sea-level and near the ocean will be subject to significant flooding with the high tides. Places like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, etc. have witnessed fairly significant flooding caused by high tides and the supermoon’s gravitational pull." Drivers in the affected regions are being told not to drive through flooded areas, and some roads have already been closed due to flooding, which is expected to last through the remainder of the week in some places. While most destructive floods are associated with storms and hurricanes on the coast rather than king tides, climate change will likely continue to make such extreme weather events more likely, thereby contributing to destructive flooding on both counts. And as Brian McNoldy, a tropical weather expert and Miami resident points out, the combination of the two can be especially destructive. "Since records began in 1996 at Virginia Key, the top four high-water events have all been associated with nearby hurricanes, and typically ones that coincided with the September and October king tides," Mr. McNoldy told The Washington Post in October. "But on Sept. 27, the fifth highest water level was measured at the location, and there was no influence from a hurricane."


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.csmonitor.com

The moon's proximity to the Earth is creating 'king tides' that could threaten US Eastern coastal communities. Climate scientists say the king tides offer a preview of high tides of the future. A full moon is seen over the Manhattan Bridge during the eve of the 'supermoon' in New York, Sunday. As the moon passed closer to Earth than at any point since 1948 early Monday morning, it put on a spectacular show, appearing bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual. But while many amateur astronomers looked up at the largest "supermoon" in 68 years travel across the sky last night, officials in coastal areas are keeping a wary watch earthward – specifically, at sea levels. While the supermoon will not be quite as close to Earth Monday evening as it was in the morning, the moon is still much closer to our planet than usual. Because of this proximity, the moon is exerting a much stronger gravitational pull on the Earth's oceans than usual, creating higher tides than would ordinarily be expected at this time of year. Across the East Coast, and especially in southern Florida, communities are preparing for potential flooding from these "king tides" caused by the supermoon. As climate change continues to melt Arctic ice and glaciers and raise ocean levels around the world, lunar events like this may have the potential to become far more destructive than they have been in the past. A supermoon occurs because the moon orbits around the earth in an elliptical orbit. Since ellipses have an oval shape, rather than a perfectly circular curve, the moon is closer to the Earth at some points during its orbit than others. When the moon is at its closest position to the Earth in the ellipse, it is referred to as a perigee-syzygy. When the moon is at this closest point, it can be as much as 14 percent closer than when it is at the farthest point from the Earth (a point known as the apogee-syzygy), and appears to be as much as 30 percent brighter to observers on the ground. The moon is not expected to get this close again until November 2034. The extra-close proximity of this particular supermoon means the gravitational pull of the moon will have an exceptionally pronounced effect on ocean waters. As such, the supermoon is causing greater high and low tides than at any other time between 1948 and 2016. This, in turn, is sparking an increased flood risk along the East Coast during these so-called king tides. "Tides are generally stronger when the moon is new or full since – at those phases the sun – earth and moon are all in a line, and the tidal effects of the sun and the moon are pulling on the earth's oceans in the same direction," Robert Boyle, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Dickinson College, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "The distance between the moon and the earth also has a strong influence on tides so – in general – tides will be stronger during a supermoon and tidal flooding more likely. If, in addition, the earth is at its closest point to the sun – which happens during January – the effect is increased still more." But while the moon may be partially to blame for flooding this week, the world has changed a great deal since 1948. Since then, carbon emissions have raised global temperatures and caused extensive melting of glaciers and Arctic ice. This year had the fifth lowest total Arctic ice coverage on record, and the second lowest minimum ice coverage (in a statistical tie with 2007), as the Christian Science Monitor previously reported. As a result of the ice melting, sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate. According to the National Ocean Service, levels have been rising by about 0.6 inches every decade since 1900, but since 1992, that rate has increased to 1.2 inches per decade. That level of increase can be highly destructive when the difference between high tide and a flood in many low-lying coastal areas is measured in inches, not feet. Some climate scientists point to king tides as a glimpse into the future of sea level rise. Climate models suggest rising seas will push daily high tides as far inland as today's king tides. "By 2030, we expect up to another six inches of sea level rise to occur," Tiffany Troxler, director of Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center, told CBS. "We might see another six inches on top of this." In southern Florida, king tides happen once or twice a year, flooding many low-lying neighborhoods. But as sea levels rise, such flooding is expected to occur on a regular basis and king tides will become more of an issue, especially during supermoons of this magnitude. "This all depends on location," Stephen Strader, geography and environmental science professor at Villanova University near Philadelphia, tells the Monitor in an email. "For instance, locations that are closer to sea-level and near the ocean will be subject to significant flooding with the high tides. Places like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, etc. have witnessed fairly significant flooding caused by high tides and the supermoon’s gravitational pull." Drivers in the affected regions are being told not to drive through flooded areas, and some roads have already been closed due to flooding, which is expected to last through the remainder of the week in some places. While most destructive floods are associated with storms and hurricanes on the coast rather than king tides, climate change will likely continue to make such extreme weather events more likely, thereby contributing to destructive flooding on both counts. And as Brian McNoldy, a tropical weather expert and Miami resident points out, the combination of the two can be especially destructive. "Since records began in 1996 at Virginia Key, the top four high-water events have all been associated with nearby hurricanes, and typically ones that coincided with the September and October king tides," Mr. McNoldy told The Washington Post in October. "But on Sept. 27, the fifth highest water level was measured at the location, and there was no influence from a hurricane."


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.csmonitor.com

The moon's proximity to the Earth is creating 'king tides' that could threaten US Eastern coastal communities. Climate scientists say the king tides offer a preview of high tides of the future. A full moon is seen over the Manhattan Bridge during the eve of the 'supermoon' in New York, Sunday. As the moon passed closer to Earth than at any point since 1948 early Monday morning, it put on a spectacular show, appearing bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual. But while many amateur astronomers looked up at the largest "supermoon" in 68 years travel across the sky last night, officials in coastal areas are keeping a wary watch earthward – specifically, at sea levels. While the supermoon will not be quite as close to Earth Monday evening as it was in the morning, the moon is still much closer to our planet than usual. Because of this proximity, the moon is exerting a much stronger gravitational pull on the Earth's oceans than usual, creating higher tides than would ordinarily be expected at this time of year. Across the East Coast, and especially in southern Florida, communities are preparing for potential flooding from these "king tides" caused by the supermoon. As climate change continues to melt Arctic ice and glaciers and raise ocean levels around the world, lunar events like this may have the potential to become far more destructive than they have been in the past. A supermoon occurs because the moon orbits around the earth in an elliptical orbit. Since ellipses have an oval shape, rather than a perfectly circular curve, the moon is closer to the Earth at some points during its orbit than others. When the moon is at its closest position to the Earth in the ellipse, it is referred to as a perigee-syzygy. When the moon is at this closest point, it can be as much as 14 percent closer than when it is at the farthest point from the Earth (a point known as the apogee-syzygy), and appears to be as much as 30 percent brighter to observers on the ground. The moon is not expected to get this close again until November 2034. The extra-close proximity of this particular supermoon means the gravitational pull of the moon will have an exceptionally pronounced effect on ocean waters. As such, the supermoon is causing greater high and low tides than at any other time between 1948 and 2016. This, in turn, is sparking an increased flood risk along the East Coast during these so-called king tides. "Tides are generally stronger when the moon is new or full since – at those phases the sun – earth and moon are all in a line, and the tidal effects of the sun and the moon are pulling on the earth's oceans in the same direction," Robert Boyle, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Dickinson College, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "The distance between the moon and the earth also has a strong influence on tides so – in general – tides will be stronger during a supermoon and tidal flooding more likely. If, in addition, the earth is at its closest point to the sun – which happens during January – the effect is increased still more." But while the moon may be partially to blame for flooding this week, the world has changed a great deal since 1948. Since then, carbon emissions have raised global temperatures and caused extensive melting of glaciers and Arctic ice. This year had the fifth lowest total Arctic ice coverage on record, and the second lowest minimum ice coverage (in a statistical tie with 2007), as the Christian Science Monitor previously reported. As a result of the ice melting, sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate. According to the National Ocean Service, levels have been rising by about 0.6 inches every decade since 1900, but since 1992, that rate has increased to 1.2 inches per decade. That level of increase can be highly destructive when the difference between high tide and a flood in many low-lying coastal areas is measured in inches, not feet. Some climate scientists point to king tides as a glimpse into the future of sea level rise. Climate models suggest rising seas will push daily high tides as far inland as today's king tides. "By 2030, we expect up to another six inches of sea level rise to occur," Tiffany Troxler, director of Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center, told CBS. "We might see another six inches on top of this." In southern Florida, king tides happen once or twice a year, flooding many low-lying neighborhoods. But as sea levels rise, such flooding is expected to occur on a regular basis and king tides will become more of an issue, especially during supermoons of this magnitude. "This all depends on location," Stephen Strader, geography and environmental science professor at Villanova University near Philadelphia, tells the Monitor in an email. "For instance, locations that are closer to sea-level and near the ocean will be subject to significant flooding with the high tides. Places like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, etc. have witnessed fairly significant flooding caused by high tides and the supermoon’s gravitational pull." Drivers in the affected regions are being told not to drive through flooded areas, and some roads have already been closed due to flooding, which is expected to last through the remainder of the week in some places. While most destructive floods are associated with storms and hurricanes on the coast rather than king tides, climate change will likely continue to make such extreme weather events more likely, thereby contributing to destructive flooding on both counts. And as Brian McNoldy, a tropical weather expert and Miami resident points out, the combination of the two can be especially destructive. "Since records began in 1996 at Virginia Key, the top four high-water events have all been associated with nearby hurricanes, and typically ones that coincided with the September and October king tides," Mr. McNoldy told The Washington Post in October. "But on Sept. 27, the fifth highest water level was measured at the location, and there was no influence from a hurricane."


Bamford H.A.,National Ocean Service | Kavanagh C.,National Ocean Service
Marine Technology Society Journal | Year: 2015

The National Ocean Service (NOS), a line office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the nation’s ocean and coastal agency. Our activities span a broad range that includes charting our nation’s coastline; defining the National Spatial Reference System; providing the national network of coastal tide and water level sensors; serving as the lead federal agency of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System; administering the Coastal Zone Management Program; providing the scientific foundation and socioeconomic information to local, state, and regional decision makers to adapt to the impacts of coastal hazards and climate change; serving as the authoritative resource for science related to debris, oil, and chemical spills; managing marine sanctuaries; and supporting the management of estuarine research reserves, coral reefs, and marine protected areas. Today, our coasts and coastal communities face increasingly significant impacts of higher intensity coastal storms; changing sea levels and Great Lakes levels; increased coastal development; increased demand on natural resources and infrastructure; and increased demands on our marine transportation system. In response to these issues, NOS aligns its activities along three priorities: (1) supporting coastal resilience; (2) advancing coastal intelligence; and (3) promoting place-based conservation. NOS relies on coastal observations and data products to carry out our mission. Characteristics of future coastal observations include lower cost coupled with greater efficiency, diverse platforms, multiuse data collection, and crowdsourcing. Data products will need to be increasingly geographically tailored; result from a greater degree of coordination and integration; and result in greater data access. © 2015, Marine Technology Society Inc.. All rights reserved.

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