2017 was 3rd warmest year on record for U.S.

2017 will be remembered as a year of extremes for the U.S. as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, fires and freezes claimed hundreds of lives and visited economic hardship upon the nation. Recovery from the ravages of three major Atlantic hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. and an extreme and ongoing wildfire season in the West is expected to continue well into the new year.

Ethiopian Herders Get Automated Weather Stations

Automated weather stations (AWS) are being installed in some of Ethiopia’s lowlands to help herders and other climate-vulnerable residents respond better to recurring shocks related to climate change. 

Forty Per Cent of Global E-Waste Comes From Asia

Humans generated a staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) in 2016 — the equivalent of 4,500 Eiffel Towers, and five per cent more than the electrical and electronic goods discarded just two years earlier, says a new study. 

Climate change: Self-enhancing effect cannot be explained by soil animals

When the soil warms up, it releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) – an effect that further fuels climate change. Until now, it had been assumed that the reason for this was mainly due to the presence of small soil animals and microorganisms that would eat and breathe more in warmer temperatures. However, a new study in Nature Climate Change has shown that this is not the case. Quite the contrary: If warmth is accompanied by drought, the soil animals eat even less. In order to improve the predictive power of climate models, it is now crucial to understand the biological processes in the soil better, say the scientists.

Globe had 3rd warmest year to date and 5th warmest November on record

With a warm start to the year and only one month remaining, the globe remains on track to go down as the third warmest year in the 138-year climate record.   So, let's get straight to the data and dive deeper into NOAA’s monthly analysis to see how the planet fared for November, the season and the year to date:

Are You Dreaming of a White Christmas?

For those of you dreaming of a white Christmas, you can find places that have the best chance of being a winter wonderland according to weather history. The “Historical Probability of a White Christmas” map shows the climatological probability of at least 1 inch of snow being on the ground on December 25 in the contiguous United States. On the map, dark gray shows places where the probability is less than 10 percent, while white shows probabilities greater than 90 percent.

Heavy Oils and Petroleum Coke Raising Vanadium Emissions

Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth’s atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry’s growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen and petroleum coke for energy, a new Duke University study finds.“Human emissions of vanadium to the atmosphere now exceed those from all natural sources combined -- by a factor of 1.7,” said William H. Schlesinger, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biogeochemistry at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study.“Less than two decades ago, the ratio of human to natural emissions was 0.59 to 1, or less than half the current level,” Schlesinger said. “Our analysis suggests that much of this rapid rise can be traced to the increased use of unconventional heavy-petroleum fuels.”

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. One-third of the planet’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Now, these vulnerable creatures are facing a new foe: the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) fungus, which is the source of an emerging amphibian disease that caused the die-off of wild European salamander populations.

Brittle Starfish Make Tough Ceramics

An international research team led by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has discovered how a beautiful, brainless brittle star can create material similar to tempered glass underwater at ambient conditions. The findings, published in the December 8 issue of Science, may open new bio-inspired routes for toughening brittle ceramics in various applications.

Arctic saw 2nd warmest year, smallest winter sea ice coverage on record in 2017

A NOAA-sponsored report shows that the warming trend transforming the Arctic persisted in 2017, resulting in the second warmest air temperatures, above average ocean temperatures, loss of sea ice, and a range of human, ocean and ecosystem effects.Now in its 12th year, the Arctic Report Card, released today at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in New Orleans, is a peer-reviewed report that brings together the work of 85 scientists from 12 nations.