Climate Research

An extensive new study shows that rising ocean temperatures are changing marine life patterns throughout the entire food chain, pushing them toward the poles by 7 kms every year.


This Week in Climate News

Climate & Conflict: Warmer World May be More Violent

NOAA: 2012 One of Globe’s 10 Hottest on Record

For NOAA Head, Obama Tabs 1st U.S. Woman to Walk in Space

Sunburned in Siberia: Heatwave Leads to Wildfires

Methane Leaking in Utah Suggests Higher National Rate of Leakage.


From NASA

Attention meteorologists:

NASA is offering a live satellite interview opportunity Friday, August 9th.

NASA satellites see hotter, dryer conditions fueling more wildfires around the world. They will discuss how they use imagery to study fires and how climate change is having an impact. Click here for scheduling information.


From NOAA

NOAA released their global 2012 State of the Climate report this week. Worldwide, it was one of the ten warmest years on record. The peer-reviewed document provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other land, sea, ice, and sky data.

**In the U.S., 2012 was the warmest year on record. There are multiple graphics covering this on our archive page.


Tweetable Fact

Summer overnight temperatures in Washington have been rising steadily since 1970 http://bit.ly/144qvTr



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Story Highlights

  • Overnight low temperatures are on the rise.

  • Increased greenhouse gases, including water vapor, act to trap more daytime heat during the overnight hours.

  • Rising nighttime temperatures have a big impact on health, especially during heat waves when the body doesn't get a chance to recover from the stress of intense daytime heat.


Click below for a high-resolution version
WITH a title - WITHOUT a title

When you talk about summers getting hotter, the first thing people usually think of are hot days. But rising overnight low temperatures are also an important part of the equation. For example, Hartford, Conn. just experienced their warmest July ever without breaking a single daily high temperature record.

As the graphic above makes clear, summer overnight temperatures in Washington have been rising steadily since 1970, when heat-trapping greenhouse gases began to have a strong effect on Earth’s climate. Click the link below for an interactive chart that looks at these trends from a different angle. This graph shows the number of days each summer when the nighttime temperature stayed above 60 degrees. As you can see, that number has been flat over the past 40 years in Seattle (which is not consistent with the trend of warming summer nights nationwide. However, when you look at the overnight temperatures in the state as a whole, you can see those numbers are on the rise.)

Overnight low temperatures have been rising faster than daytime high temperatures thanks to a number of factors. Greenhouse gases, including water vapor, and clouds can play roles in trapping daytime heat and keeping summer nights sultry. With that trend expected to continue across the U.S., rising overnight temperatures will be an important climate change indicator to track.

Rising nighttime temperatures also have a big impact on health. When a hot day is followed by a night where the temperature stays above 80°, the body doesn't have a chance to recover. Without access to air conditioning, the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke rises dramatically - especially among the ill and the elderly. The risks are even greater when these days group together into a heat wave, which we are seeing more of in a warming world.


Click here for the interactive version

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