What's With The Weather?

We’re already feeling the effects of climate change in the Northeast, just as climate scientists predicted: More extreme heat waves. Rain and snow concentrated in major storms. And more frequent short-term droughts. Drawing on analyses from climate scientists at the Northeast Regional Climate Center, we explain how recent weather phenomena fit the ‘new normal’ we can expect on a warming planet.


Flooded road. Photo by Julie Brustad-Hatch, Oneida, NY

Climate Change Will Bring Wetter Storms

From Climate Change Will Bring Wetter Storms in U.S., Study Says, in the New York Times [2016-12-06]   Decades of research (and perhaps your own recent experiences on hot, humid days) have suggested that climate change will lead to an increase in big storms that cause flash floods, landslides and other natural disasters. Now, a new study shows that such intense .. Read More

Top figure shows rainfall totals for six weeks ending mid-July, (From Jessica Spaccio, NRCC). Bottom figure shows regions considered to be under drought by the US Dought Monitor. The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL)

Drought Takes Its Toll

Posted July 19, 2016. See August 18 and September 1 updates below. From sweet corn to apples, root crops to pumpkins. The drought in much of New York is taking its toll. The dry spring follows a record warm winter, not only for New York (NRCC) but for the contiguous 48 states as a whole (NOAA). .. Read More

Greg Peck, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science, checks apple buds in mid-April. The brown, damaged tissue (circled) is a result of sub-freezing temperatures on April 5. Damaged flowers will not produce apples this year. Click image for larger view of bud damage.

A Record a Day Keeps the Apples Away!

This past year has seen great weather extremes.  The most prominent globally have been the record high temperatures as shown at right for the 2015-2016 winter. For those of us in the US Northeast, one striking feature of this past winter is that our local regional experience was on par with the rest of the .. Read More


What’s El Niño Up To Now?

El Niño is here. It’s a big one.  And it has consequences both global and regional! El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It characterizes the ocean part of ENSO, a phenomenon that is described by Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SST) along the equator and atmospheric pressure patterns.  When .. Read More


2015: A High Temperature Record-Breaker Like None Before It?

With the cold winter just behind us, the return to ‘normal warmth’ in the Northeast in April was a relief.  But at a global level, temperatures continue to be not just warm, but record-breaking. 2014 was considered by several weather authorities to be the hottest year on record, while a few ranked it second.In any .. Read More

'Temperature Anomaly' is how different the current temperature is from the expected temperature. Source: University of Maine.

Why is Eastern North America so cold and the globe so hot?

Temperatures across the Great Lakes and Eastern United States are setting cold temperature records for the first half of February, 2015, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.  Compared to expected temperatures, it is the coldest region of the planet. And even in absolute terms, parts of the Northeast have been colder than Anchorage, Alaska. .. Read More

Click image to view full-size graph.

2014 officially hottest year on record

While the Northeast saw below normal temperatures seven out of 12 months in 2014 according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the planet saw the warmest year since record collection started in 1891 according to the Japan Meteorological Association (JMA). “The upward march of the world’s average temperature since 1891 is a trademark of human-influenced .. Read More

drought map

Is California’s Drought a Harbinger of the Future?

Three dry years in succession have plunged most of California into exceptional drought conditions that have placed a severe strain on both municipal water supplies and agriculture throughout the state.  Water use is being rationed in many areas, and many reservoir allotments to agriculture have been completely eliminated. Some farm fields have been left idle, .. Read More

Satellite view of the 1997 El Niño shows white areas off the tropical coasts of South and North America indicating the pool of warm water.

An El Niño year coming could mean warmer temperatures on the way!

La Niña and El Niño refer to cold and warm extremes of natural variation in sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  This variation in SST is coupled with atmospheric events that change weather patterns around the globe in what is referred to as the El Niño /Southern Oscillation (ENSO). An El Niño .. Read More

report cover

New comprehensive IPCC report released

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its 5th Assessment Report (AR5). The AR5 supersedes the AR4 (now 7 years old), as the most complete synthesis available of everything we know about current climate change. The IPCC reports are written by teams of scientists drawn from all over the world. They summarize the .. Read More

Click image for larger view. Air temperatures (1000mb) for January 5-7, 2014, compared to the 1981-2010 average. Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on NCEP Reanalysis data provided by NOAA ESRL Physical Sciences Division.

Regional extreme cold events despite global warming

The first week of January 2014 had an extreme cold event affecting the Midwest , eastern and southeastern United States. How extreme was it?  100 year low-temperature records for those particular dates were broken at as many as 50 NOAA weather stations scattered across this region, but it did not break any all-time records or .. Read More

While late fall temperatures have been chilly in the Northeast, other parts of the world have been having warmer-than-average or even record warm temperatures, as shown in the map below from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Winter Cold & Climate Change

Whenever we have a period of colder-than-average weather, like we’ve been having in the Northeast since before Thanksgiving and through the first half of December (see the Northeast Regional Climate Center for details), some people will start claiming it proves that global warming and climate change aren’t really happening. Climate scientists, in turn, must explain each .. Read More

Typhoon Haiyan (NASA photo)

Typhoon Haiyan one of the strongest storms in history

Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines was one of the strongest storms in recorded history. But whether climate change is increasing the frequency of typhoons and hurricanes remains unclear. Haiyan was the fourth Category 5 storm in the Pacific Basin this year, while the Atlantic has been relatively quiet.  It is widely accepted that sea .. Read More

Fall color in the Northeast

Warmer than usual Temperatures lead to a Gorgeous Autumn in the Northeast

The first half of fall 2013 was warmer than usual in the Northeast. During the period from September 1 to October 15, 2013, 34 of the 35 major climate sites were recording warmer than normal temperatures. In fact, 10 climate sites ranked the first half of fall among their top 20 warmest autumns ever recorded. Elkins, .. Read More

Photo by Julie Brustad-Hatch, Oneida, NY

Heavy Rainfall Causes Historic Flooding in Central New York

During the month of June, the Empire State went from one wet month straight into another. With a total of 7.60 inches of precipitation, 186 percent of normal, it was the 2nd wettest June since 1895 (only behind 1972 with 8.51 inches). All ten climate divisions of the state received above normal precipitation, with nine .. Read More

precip_april_2013 edit

April Lacking Showers

April showers were lacking in the Northeast in April 2013, as 32 of 35 climate monitoring sites wrapped up the month with below normal precipitation, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. In fact, 18 sites ranked this April among their top 30 driest. The prolonged dryness in southern New England led .. Read More


Less Snow Punctuated by More Blizzards

The 2012-13 winter season in the Northeast turned out to be a warm one. From December 1, 2012 through February 14, 2013, the average temperature at 34 of 35 climate stations ranked in the top 30 warmest seasons ever recorded. Winter temperatures have warmed by 4°F since 1970 in the Northeast, which has caused a .. Read More

Click image for larger view

Warmest Year on Record: 2012

2012 was the warmest year ever recorded for many of the major climate monitoring sites in the Northeast. For example, Syracuse, NY, broke their old record for the warmest year at that site, set in 1931, by 1.1°F. The city of Burlington, VT, had the greatest departure above their old record, set in 1998, by .. Read More