Although they are related, meteorology and climatology have important differences, particularly in how scientists develop and use weather and climate models. What makes climatologists think they can project climate scenarios decades into the future when meteorologists cannot accurately predict weather more than two weeks in advance? This presentation by Wayne Higgins of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center clarifies the relationships and differences between weather and climate, as well as the differences between natural climate variability and human-induced climate change.
The ongoing drought of 2011-2012 has been front and center for people in the southern United States, including the southwestern United States. Dave Brown, Director of Climate Services for the Southern Region through NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, speaks about the causes, impacts, and outlook for this widepread climate event.
Jake Crouch of the National Climatic Data Center recaps the temperature patterns of 2011, emphasizing the much greater than average warmth across Arctic latitudes and the influence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific.
Following a brief interlude of “neutral” sea surface temperature conditions this summer, La Niña has returned to the tropical Pacific Ocean. The cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern is expected to persist through winter.
Between January and April 2010, temperatures in the Pacific were under the warming influence of a fading El Niño episode. Meanwhile, higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were dominated by a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation.