Temperature extremes have been pretty unusual across the United States so far in 2014. Looking back over this time period quickly reveals at least part of what was going on: the polar jet stream got into a serious rut.
Through June, the eastern Pacific was warmer than average, but the lack of a strong gradient in sea surface temperature anomalies between the eastern and western Pacific may have kept the atmosphere from getting in sync with the developing El Niño.
For the billions of people in Asia who depend on the Indian Monsoon for the majority of their yearly rainfall, the precise location where the Pacific warms during El Niño may be the difference between a relatively normal year and a devastating drought.
Every year hundreds of scientists from scores of countries team up to give the Earth's climate a comprehensive physical. Edited by NOAA scientists and published by the American Meteorological Society, the State of the Climate in 2015 draws on tens of thousands of observations of everything from forest fires to fish migration to catalog climate variability and change.
Last summer, climate conditions were primed to deliver an above-average—possibly very active—hurricane season in the Atlantic. And then...? The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season produced the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982. What happened?
Add a new item to the list of things that have migrated in response to climate change: the latitude where hurricanes reach their maximum intensity. The shift was accompanied by increasing vertical wind shear near the equator.