Talia from Key West asks: The Keys are feeling hotter lately... am I wrong?
Phil Ferro says:
Funny you should ask. Just today the National Weather Service office out of Key West issued a statement on April heat for the Keys.
AN ABNORMALLY WARM APRIL OBSERVED IN THE FLORIDA KEYS...
IN CONTRAST TO THE MONTH OF MARCH...THE MONTH OF APRIL IN THE
FLORIDA KEYS WAS ABNORMALLY WARM. AT KEY WEST...THE MONTH OF APRIL
2013 WAS THE 9TH WARMEST SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1872. THE AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE DURING APRIL AT THE KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WAS
79.6 DEGREES WHICH WAS 3.0 DEGREES ABOVE THE 30-YEAR NORMAL VALUE OF
76.6 DEGREES. AT MARATHON...THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WAS 81.6 DURING
APRIL WHICH IS CORRESPONDINGLY 4.3 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.
RAINFALL DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL WAS UNEVENTFUL WITH ONLY SIX DAYS
OF MEASURABLE RAINFALL RECORDED. THE HIGHEST RAINFALL TOTAL WAS ON
APRIL FIFTH WITH 1.41 INCHES OF RAIN AT THE KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT. THE MONTHLY TOTAL...2.12 FOR KEY WEST...WAS FAR LESS THAN
THE RECORD OF 12.00 INCHES SET IN APRIL 1985.
ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING FEATURES FOR THE MONTHLY CLIMATE RECORD
IS THE FACT THAT KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TIED...OR EXCEEDED
THE DAILY RECORD WARM MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR A PERIOD OF 9
CONSECUTIVE DAYS DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH. THIS PROLONGED
PERIOD OF WARM OVERNIGHT LOW TEMPERATURES WAS ENCOURAGED BY SERIES
OF LONG-LIVED ATLANTIC RIDGES THAT INDUCED PERSISTENT EAST
SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW ACROSS THE ISLAND CHAIN. CONSEQUENTLY...
ABNORMALLY MOIST CONDITIONS DURING THAT PERIOD LIMITED THE DIURNAL
RANGE OF TEMPERATURES THAT WERE OBSERVED. BELOW ARE THE DAILY RECORD
WARM MINIMUM VALUES THAT WERE SET THAT WERE MET OR EXCEEDED DURING
THAT PERIOD. RECORDS OF NO OTHER TYPE WERE SET DURING THE MONTH. ALL
VALUES ARE PROVIDED IN DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
DATE NEW RECORD PREVIOUS RECORD PREVIOUS YEAR
---- ---------- --------------- -------------
THURSDAY, APRIL 11TH 78 78 1995
FRIDAY, APRIL 12TH 79 78 2001
SATURDAY, APRIL 13TH 79 78 1980
SUNDAY, APRIL 14TH 79 79 1975
MONDAY, APRIL 15TH 80 78 1999
TUESDAY, APRIL 16TH 81 79 1982
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17TH 80 79 1982
THURSDAY, MARCH 18TH 79 78 1982
FRIDAY, APRIL 19TH 80 78 2011
NOTE: ALL DATA IS PRELIMINARY AND HAS YET TO GO THROUGH QUALITY
CONTROL AT THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER.
Bill Beveak from Deerfield Beach asks: What does the hurricane season look like?
Phil Ferro says:
Here we go.....
This is the time of year when just about everyone who follows, tracks, and forecast hurricanes, issue their predictions for the upcoming season.
The Weather Channel and some others have already made their numbers public and now so has the team at Colorado State University headed by Dr. Bill Gray.
Dr. Gray, along with fellow researcher, Phil Klotzbach, is expecting a busier than average season with 18 named systems, out of which, 9 could become hurricanes, and out of that number maybe 4 could grow to major status (those with winds greater than 110 mph).
An average year sees 12, 6, and 3 storms respectively.
The reasons for the higher than average forecast:
They suggest that the Tropical Atlantic waters have warmed over the last few months (this could provide some extra energy for systems to form and grow).
Plus, data from the Pacific Ocean say the phenomenon known as El Nino, may not happen this year. As you know, El Nino, is a warming of the Equatorial waters of the Pacific and they impact marine and atmospheric currents worldwide. These currents make conditions in the Atlantic hostile for hurricanes to form. With its absence, the chances for storm formation are greater.
The CSU team released the odds of a storm impact:
Plus they add, we remain in a long term cycle of increased tropical activity.
A 48% chance of one major hurricane impacting the Nation's East Coast (including the Florida peninsula).
A 72% chance of one major hurricane impacting the Nation's entire East Coastline.
A 47% chance of one major hurricane impacting the Gulf Coast region from the Panhandle, to Brownsville, Texas.
Florida has not had a direct hit by a hurricane since 2005.
Hurricane season starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Now is the time to start gearing up your preps, remember, it only takes one storm to hit and make a mess of things.
Pete asks: Do you believe in Global Warming?
Phil Ferro says:
This is a hot issue question... really! I'll start by asking you:
Do you know the difference between our earth and say... the moon, or a dead planet?
The answer: A thin blue line.
That is the layer of gas around 10 - 12 miles up that holds our atmosphere in place. That's about the distance from Miami Beach west to MIA international. Next time you drive that stretch of road it will hit you how thin this layer of life can be.
This picture shows the curvature of the earth with the sun at the horizon. With the atmosphere back lit by the sun, it clearly shows the Thin Blue Line.
This is how NASA describes it:
THE THIN BLUE LINE: Earth’s thin atmosphere is all that stands between life on Earth and the cold, dark void of space. Our planet's atmosphere has no clearly defined upper boundary but gradually thins out into space. The layers of the atmosphere have different characteristics, such as protective ozone in the stratosphere, and weather in the lowermost layer.
Gravity keeps this layer in place. It is here that clouds form, our weather happens, and we live. Our atmosphere nurtures us and protects us from the sun's radiation.
So if you know that this is all that separates us from oblivion, wouldn't you take care of it? Wouldn't you make sure it was healthy?
In the past our atmosphere has made the planet hotter and colder and even changed the mixture of gases.
This could all happen again.
We were and still are at its mercy. So why would we want to gamble and add anything that could make it hiccup?
Mother nature will recoup from whatever "hiccup" happens. we may not.
So the question of climate change and global warming is always asked. Is it natural our man-made?
My father raised me with this little saying, "There are so many things you can't control, only worry about the ones you can."
I base my opinion on this : If our climate is changing due to an earthly natural cycle then there is nothing we can do but try to adapt. If its a man made effect... then we can change. We can stop whatever is aggravating our atmosphere.
We have brilliant scientific minds that can lead the way, but we as a society need to make the change... no we need to demand it. If not for our sake, then for that of our children.
Roman from Key Largo asks: Did I hear right? 2012 was hottest ever?
Phil Ferro says:
NOAA says last year was the warmest since records began over 100 years ago.
Here are their numbers:
2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average
2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.
The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as landfalling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.
Mario Paredes from Miami Springs asks: Why is it so warm in December? It feels like April!
Vivian Gonzalez says:
Mario great question!
It has been very warm lately... In fact, yesterday Miami tied our old record of 85 degrees set back in 1997. Today we will be nearing or surpassing afternoon high temperatures once again give or take how much sunshine will be available.
The reason for the warmth is due to a three features:
1) Jet stream- The jet stream is a fast flowing river of air in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere that helps the weather travel around the nation from West to East. Whenever it dives South, it allows for a greater push of cold air to make it to South Florida. Since the jet stream has been Zonal (flat- like pattern) cold fronts come through or fall apart, but it stays warm with no temperature change.
2) Stalled cold front over Central Florida- Right now we have a weak front stationed over Central Florida and it is juicing up the atmosphere.
3) Weak high pressure- As high pressure is weak due to a weak front over Central Florida our winds our out of the South-Southwest. This draws in warm, humid, tropical type air across South Florida.
As a result, warmer than normal temperatures are around with all these features in place. Hope this answer helps!
WSVN Channel 7