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Observing & Predicting

  • Department: 
    August 2, 2016

    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.

  • Department: 
    June 24, 2014

    The Signal and the Noise is often mentioned in reference to ENSO forecasting and not just in reference to Nate Silver’s bestselling book.  In fact, understanding what is signal and what is noise is critical to interpreting predictions from models and climate science in general.  



  • Department: 
    June 19, 2014

     We’d like our forecasts—both weather and climate—to be simple and certain. Because of the fluid and chaotic nature of the ocean and atmosphere, however, forecasts are never about certainty: they’re about probability.

  • Department: 
    June 13, 2014

    In the midst of a drought in 2008, biologists discovered dead Coho and steelhead trout in a tributary of the Russian River. When the dust settled, the focus turned to how winegrowers and other water users could reduce their impact. The event provided the parties involved—winegrowers, conservationists, and the water agency—an opportunity to find common ground in the realm of science.

  • Department: 
    June 5, 2014

    Chances that an El Niño will occur by summer are above 70%, hitting 80% by the fall. But subsurface temperature anomalies have tapered off some from earlier this spring, decreasing the odds the event will be as strong as the El Niño of 1997-98.

  • June 5, 2014

    On August 25, 2011, Dr. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University’s Extension Climatologist, tweeted to Iowa corn farmers: “Weather based statistics indicate a US corn yield of 149BPA, the prime factor this year is the Aridity Index.” Taylor uses NOAA climate information and seasonal outlooks to help thousands of the region’s farmers manage risk. Nearly 5,000 followers look to his Twitter feed for guidance.

  • Decision Maker's Toolbox Annual Greenhouse Gas Index
    June 2, 2014

    Since 2004, researchers in NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division have released the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index: a single value that compares the total warming effect of each year's concentrations of heat-trapping gases to 1990 levels.

  • September 1, 2009

     The Sun is the main source of power for the Earth's climate machine. Space-based measurements, begun in 1978, indicate Earth receives an average of 1,361 W/m<sup>2</sup> of incoming sunlight, and the amount varies by about one-tenth of a percent over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.