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March 2017
March 2017

<p>The battleground between stubborn cool air and advancing mild air will continue to lie across the northeastern United States for the final days of March.</p>
<p>Another round of snow returning to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday will be a setback for travelers but a boon to ski resorts nearing the end of the season.</p>
Storms packing tree-tumbling winds and car-denting hail could strike parts of the Plains on Sunday, the latest round in a turbulent week of wild weather across the Midwest and the South, forecasters said.
<p>A collection of the week's best weather photography.</p>
An area of disturbed weather near Hispaniola is being monitored for potential tropical development early next week. “Although the official start to the...
Storms demolished mobile homes in Arkansas and a church in Louisiana as a menacing weather system threatened several states across the South and Midwest, authorities said.A tornado destroyed four mobile homes and damaged others near Cato, Arkansas, about 15 miles north of Little Rock late Friday night, the National Weather Service confirmed on...
<p>El Niño may make a comeback later this year, impacting the weather across the United States during fall and winter.</p>
Within a day of Rex Tillerson’s swearing in as secretary of state, the State Department’s climate change website began to change. The changes signal a shift away from leading international climate actions that the Obama administration pursued and a pivot toward a more passive role. The Environmental Data Governance Initiative tracked the changes to the Office of Global Change web page and shared them with Climate Central. They are the first changes to the State Department site documented by EDGI after Tillerson took over on Feb. 1, according to Toly Rinberg, a researcher at EDGI who caught the change. Changes were made to the State Department's Office of Global Change web page shortly after Rex Tillerson was sworn in. The image on the left shows it in its Obama-era format. Click images to enlarge. Credit: EDGI Nearly the entire description of the office was changed. Deleted from the text was: “The United States is taking a leading role by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures at home and abroad.” Also stricken were references to mitigation efforts and other mentions of leading on climate change. In its place is more generic language, solely referencing that the office represents the U.S. at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international forums. It does use the word “lead” once, but only saying the office leads the U.S. government in participating with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The new language does note foreign assistance for clean energy and adaptation. The addition of adaptation language mirrors changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Other changes to the page that occurred prior to Tillerson’s swearing in include paring down the sidebar menu that had links to reports and statements about climate change that included how the U.S. was addressing its international climate commitments. On their own, they are small changes and are to be expected with any new administration. But they didn’t happen in a vacuum and taken with other actions, they offer insights into America’s climate change strategy abroad. The G20 finance ministers recently axed climate finance from a communique under U.S. pressure, a move that business leaders promptly decried. That stands in contrast to the 2016 communique, when G20 finance ministers lauded the Paris Agreement and pledged to provide assistance to developing countries for clean energy and adaptation projects through mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund, which aims to raise $100 billion by 2020. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a meeting in Japan. Credit: Frank Robichon/Reuters President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal also represents a major departure from recent years. The blueprint slices more than $10 billion off the current State Department budget, including zeroing out U.S. commitments to the international climate process and funding. That’s in addition to cuts into clean energy innovation and domestic climate programs (though the final budget passed through Congress will likely look different). In a letter to State Department staff, Tillerson endorsed shrinking the budget. “It acknowledges that U.S. engagement must be more efficient, that our aid be more effective, and that advocating the national interests of our country always be our primary mission,” Tillerson wrote, according to the Washington Post. “Additionally, the budget is an acknowledgment that development needs are a global challenge to be met not just by contributions from the United States, but through greater partnership with and contributions from our allies and others.” What happens to the Paris Agreement itself will be perhaps the strongest signal of how the U.S. approaches climate change on the international stage. Reports indicate that presidential advisor Steve Bannon and the more populist faction of Trump’s inner circle want the U.S. to exit the agreement, which Trump said he would “cancel” during the campaign. Another faction of the White House is in favor of staying in the Paris Agreement, of which Tillerson is likely a part. During his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said “I think we're better served by being at that table than leaving that table,” though he also puts the brakes on a bit by noting “as we commit to those accords, are there any elements of that that put America to a disadvantage?” Any changes to how the U.S. acts — or doesn’t act — on climate change come at a crucial time for the world. The planet just endured its third straight year of record-setting heat, and 16 of the 17 hottest years have all occurred since 2000. While renewable energy investments are at an all-time high, there’s still a vast amount of work the world will need to do to shift away from fossil fuels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. What role the U.S. plays in that remains to be seen.
Celebrate with some amazing photos of the fluffy stuff. Claudia Hinz | International Cloud Atlas The iridescence is caused by diffraction of sunlight in all the tiny, uniform clouds. Clouds are a lot like Baskin-Robbins. They’re timeless, can be found all over America, and come in 31 flavors. And induce nostalgia. Yes, there are 31 species of clouds—yes, they’re called species, just like plants and animals—in the new International Cloud Atlas. Bonus: there are also five new “supplementary features” recognized plus five “special clouds,” including the beautifully named flammagenitus, which sounds less like a localized collection of air moisture formed near wildfires and more like a wildly painful STD. And there’s a new accessory cloud, the flumen, which I can only assume is a small storage unit from Ikea (it’s actually a long, flat cloud associated with severe storms). But the pièce de résistance is the single new species: the volutus. Long, round, and rotating, in motion they look a bit like cloud hot dogs roasting on a spit. Only prettier. Amusing as cloud names are, categorizing them is serious business. The World Meteorological Organization, a subsection of the United Nations, has spent years collecting data from around the world to put together the newest edition of the Atlas. And it’s not just a fun resource to look at lots of pretty cloud pictures—it’s also a reference tool. They’ve basically compiled a massive database of every cloud type along with key information about each image, such that professional cloud observers (yes, that’s a real thing) have an up-to-date source to reference. It’s been published periodically since 1896, when it was an impressive feat just to have color photographs of the clouds, much less understand complex atmospheric science. Today we know far more about how clouds form and what weather they portend, so our classifications can be more complex. There are 10 overall types called genera, which are divided into different species—31 in all. Those 31 species can be further subdivided into several varieties, which describe the arrangement and visibility of the cloud parts. So in honor of the 21st-century Cloud Atlas, here are some beautiful cloud pictures (and also some actual information): Christy Gray | International Cloud Atlas Wakulla County, FL Volutus clouds are long, tube-shaped, and seem to rotate around the horizontal axis such that they look like they’re rolling. They’re the newly recognized species of cloud, but only occur in altocumulus and stratocumulus types (the ‘cumulus’ suffix means they’re both puffy). This stratocumulus volutus is unusual in that it has layers, much like ogres and onions, where normally it would be smooth and rounded. Michael C. Hanna | International Cloud Atlas Wayland, NY Besides the A+ fall foliage, this photographer managed to get all five species of cirrus cloud at once. All cirrus clouds are wispy, but some types are more wispy than others. Mostly what you’re seeing here are uncinus, especially right in the middle of the image. At the bottom right, where the clouds are longer and more straight, you can see the fibratus species. That floofy line just above the tree line in the center is a castellanus, and the last two species (floccus and spissatus) are the extra wispy bits dispersed throughout. Matthew Clark | International Cloud Atlas Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom Lenticularis or simply lenticular clouds, named for their lens-like shape, form when there’s stable, moist air currents that create rotating masses of air. The rotation makes for circular clouds and also for a lot of turbulence, which is why pilots often avoid them. It’s also possible that people have mistaken them for UFOs given their nice round shape, which would be especially understandable at twilight and under the influence of less-than-legal drugs. Stephen Burt | International Cloud Atlas Montreux, Switzerland Most of these clouds are cumulus congestus, which—much like a congested nose—have begun to drip with moisture. Cumulus clouds are those stereotypical dense, rounded towers that look a bit like cauliflower with dark, flat bottoms. If they keep growing vertically they can become cumulonimbus, which bring massive thunderstorms or even tornadoes. Joanne Kelly | International Cloud Atlas Great Harrowden, near Wellingborough, East Midlands, United Kingdom Stratocumulus clouds come in big sheets, with small undulations that make parts of it darker and gives the greyish-white blob some character. The individual waves in this sheet aren’t organized enough to be designated as undulatus, but they are opacus, since they block out the sun’s light. Mok Hing Yim | International Cloud Atlas Honolulu, Hawaii These altocumulus floccus clouds form little tufts throughout the sky. The trails behind them are actually falling ice crystals called virga, which will evaporate before they hit the ground and in the meantime look like little comma tails on the fluffy floccus puffs. Matthew Clark | International Cloud Atlas Campo, Colorado Tornadoes form when the swirling air under a cumulonimbus cloud reaches down to make contact with the earth below. This one is already brownish red from all the dust it’s picked up. Rita Ho | International Cloud Atlas Kowloon City, Hong Kong, China These are altocumulus stratiformis translucidus perlucidus undulatus, which basically translates to “high altitude sheet of thin, regularly spaced waves of cloud.” Fabrizio | International Cloud Atlas Pace del Mela, Italy This cumulonimbus capillatus has the classic anvil shape and dense bottom that you probably instinctively equate to a thunderstorm. And you’re right—they almost always produce intense weather like hail storms and lightning. George Anderson | International Cloud Atlas Wokingham, England, United Kingdom All of these clouds came from airplane activity. The more distinct trails—called contrails—are formed directly from flight paths, but that fluffy area in the middle formed as the contrails spread out and developed into a larger cloud. Irene Ho Pik Har | International Cloud Atlas Vancouver, Canada Flammagenitus clouds form above the rising hot air from fires. In this case, most of the “cloud” in this picture is actually smoke, but if you look up towards the top of the plume you can see a white, puffy formation—that’s the flammagenitus. Yoshiaki Sato | International Cloud Atlas Niagara Falls, NY, United States of America Plenty of water spray comes off of Niagara Falls, and sometimes that aerosolized water can condense into actual clouds, in this case stratus cataractagenitus, with a “spray bow” (a rainbow that forms from the spray of a waterfall) below. Javier Ceberio García | International Cloud Atlas Peñalara summit, Madrid, Spain From beneath this stratus cloud, it would be a gloomy day. From above, it’s bright and sunny. Hideyuki Oguri | International Cloud Atlas Russian Federation Wind moving across a large cloud like this can form Kelvin-Helmholtz waves, also called fluctus. For more amazing cloud pictures, head over to the International Cloud Atlas image gallery.
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Salt found deep below the Dead Sea floor shows how climate change can cause an extreme drought that could potentially hurt millions of people.
<p>The extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has set a new record low for the wintertime in a region strongly affected by long-term trends of global warming, scientists said on Wednesday.</p>
Meteorologist Ari Sarsalari looks at the places across the country that had the best and worst winter this year.
<p>Humans are in the process of changing the planet in a way that hasn’t happened in more than 2.5 million years.</p>
<p>Some myths surrounding tornadoes could be deadly to believe.</p>
On August 21, 2017, a 121-mile wide shadow will sweep across North America as millions of people revel in a total solar eclipse — the first one to run from sea to shining sea since 1918.
<p>Even with intense winter storms, the United States felt the sixth warmest winter in the 123 years on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).</p>
<p>With this year's wet weather in California, its deserts have turned into a blanket of beautiful wildflowers, called a "superbloom." We take a look at some images from this year's magical bloom!</p>
From cities in Alaska to California, WeatherDB, a weather data site by Graphiq, found the 50 American locales that get the most snowfall in the spring.
Lets take a look at vintage springtime memories from around the world.
We take a look at some of the beautiful pictures of spring 2017 from around the world.
<p>February was the second hottest on record for the planet, trailing only last year’s scorching February — a clear mark of how much the Earth has warmed from the accumulation of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.</p>
The agency's blizzard forecasts this week were off the mark
<p>From increases in deadly diseases to choking air pollution and onslaughts of violent weather, man-made climate change is making Americans sicker, according to a report released Wednesday by 11 of the nation's top medical societies.</p>
<p>Large swaths of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia died last year due to warmer seawater, reports the journal Nature in a cover story about research done by the James Cook University in Australia. We take a look at some of these areas of the reef and look at how healthier sections of one of the world’s greatest reefs appear.</p>
The survival of Australia's natural wonder relies on tackling warming, new research warns.
The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India.
Winds from Lake Ontario helped cover this home in Webster, NY in a sheet of ice.
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