U.S. moved closer to being drought-free in April

May 8, 2019 – April showers indeed brought May flowers as well as sizeable drought relief for the United States, with a near-record low of 2% coverage for the country. April 2019 was also, however, a climatological mixed bag: A major, late-season blizzard hit the northern Plains, while unusual warmth was felt in Alaska and across the Mid-Atlantic. Here’s a snapshot of highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly climate report: Climate by the numbers April 2019 The average temperature during April across the contiguous U.S. was 52.9 degrees F (1.8 degrees above average),…

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How Atmospheric Sounding Transformed Weather Prediction

May 2, 2019 – Each day, weather satellites take hundreds of thousands of atmospheric soundings to gather data for forecasting. The groundbreaking idea of using this method dates to the late 1950’s, when Earth-observing satellites were a brand-new technology. Scientist Lewis Kaplan, who worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, developed a way to calculate temperature in the atmosphere for weather forecasting: by measuring the vibration of molecules at different altitudes. Fast forward 60 years, and the ideas that Kaplan laid…

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