Although most drifting buoys start their journeys with a crude send-off—usually heaved into the ocean from the stern of a moving ship—NOAA oceanographer Rick Lumpkin describes today's drifter as "a high-tech message in a bottle."  Insignificant on their own, but an army of drifters 1,000 strong patrols the world's oceans and records key data for climate monitoring and research.

On any given day or any given month, somebody somewhere– maybe even where you live– experiences colder-than-average temperature, even though the globe as a whole is warmer than average.

Winter storms in February improved drought in the Southeast and Midwest, but well below average precipitation in parts of the West in recent months has worsened drought in other places.

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