Climate change is a complex scientific subject with a plethora of data-rich reports that detail its causes and diverse impacts. Not everyone, however, responds to facts and figures or charts and graphs. That is why art can help broaden the public conversation and help create new pathways to understanding this critical issue.
On Sunday, February 28th, I will be giving my presentation, The Art and Science of Climate Change, at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Art Gallery in Westchester County, NY. Blending my two passions, it introduces the basic science of climate change and explores how artists from around the globe are reacting to its various impacts and possible solutions.
Currently on view in the gallery is Climatic Visions, a group exhibition in which I am showing images from a number of different projects, including my ongoing series American Glaciers. Audrey Leeds curated the show, which runs through March 7th.
If you are in the area, please stop in and say hello. The program begins at 3:30 PM.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve Art Gallery
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570
Please contact me to arrange a presentation for your organization.
Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with January 2016 marking the warmest January ever recorded for the entire planet.
According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 55.47°F, which is a whopping 1.87°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set in January 2007 by 0.29°F. It also marked the second highest departure from average for any month on record, trailing only December 2015 which was 2°F above its long-term norm.
Continuing the trend from 2015 – the warmest year ever recorded – January 2016 was the ninth consecutive month to set a monthly temperature record. It was also the fourteenth consecutive month that the global temperature ranked in the top three for its respective month.
This record warmth, scientists say, was fueled by a combination of continued global warming and El Niño. Not to discount the strong influence El Niño has on the climate, it should be noted that no other El Niño year has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.
Global temperature records date back to 1880.
In any given winter season, a few cold snaps and an occasional warm spell are not that uncommon. This year, however, the temperatures in the northeastern US have been swinging from warm to cold to warm again as if on relentless rollercoaster. This week the region saw another round of this type of weather whiplash, albeit more dramatic than usual.
Here in New York City, the temperature went from a record low of -1°F on Sunday to a high of 54°F on Tuesday. That is a 55° difference in just two days. Our normal high for this time of year is 42°F and our normal low is 29°F.
For the past two winters, multiple extended artic outbreaks courtesy of the polar vortex kept the region colder than average for most of the season. This year, with a strong El Niño in place over the Pacific, warmer than normal conditions have made a strong showing. But, it seems like neither El Niño nor the Polar Vortex has been able to maintain a leading role this winter in the northeast. Rather, they seem to be alternating their appearances leaving us somewhat uncertain as to what will come next.
Dramatic Temperature Swing in NYC this week. Credit: The Weather Gamut
An arctic blast sent NYC into a deep freeze this weekend. With temperatures dipping below 0°F on Sunday, it was the city’s coldest Valentine’s Day in one-hundred years!
According to the NWS, the temperature in Central Park fell to -1°F early Sunday morning. That is a staggering 30°F below average and shattered the previous record of 2°F set in 1916. It was also the first time the city’s temperature dipped below 0°F in 22 years. The high only made it to a frigid 15°F, a new record minimum maximum temperature for the date. When factoring in the wind chill, it felt as cold as -20°F. Our normal high for this time of year is 41°F and our normal low is 29°F.
As cold as it was on Sunday, it was not the coldest day the Big Apple has ever experienced. That dubious honor belongs to February 9, 1934, when the temperature fell to a brutal -15°F.
A weakened Polar Vortex and deep dip in the jet stream drove this weekend’s record cold conditions. But, temperatures are expected to rebound to above average levels by Tuesday. So, it seems this winter’s weather rollercoaster will continue moving forward.
A frosty heart for a record cold Valentine’s Day. Credit: Baltimore Sun/AP
Climate change is a complex scientific subject with a plethora of data-rich reports that detail its diverse impacts. Not everyone, however, responds to facts and figures or charts and graphs. That is why art can help broaden the public conversation and help create new pathways to understanding this critical issue.
On Monday, February 15th, I will be giving my presentation called The Art and Science of Climate Change for the Park West Camera Club at Soho Photo Gallery in NYC. Blending my two worlds, it introduces the basic science of climate change and explores how artists from around the globe are reacting to its various impacts and possible solutions.
If you are in the area, please stop in and say hello. The program begins at 7 PM.
Soho Photo Gallery
15 White Street
New York, NY 10013
Please contact me to arrange a presentation for your organization.
Given the fact that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the hottest year on record and that nearly 200 countries signed an agreement to limit their greenhouse gas emissions this past December, you would think that climate change is an accepted reality. But, it seems that cold weather and snow can still lead some people to question its validity.
While walking across mid-town Manhattan recently, I saw an example of this literally written in snow (see photo below). It is hard to say if the person who wrote it was joking or trying to be ironic, but it made me think of the Arnold H. Glasgow quote, “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.”
For more information on how arctic outbreaks and snow events do not disprove global warming, please read my previous post: Cold Winters and Climate Change.
Global warming message written in snow on the back of a car parked mid-town Manhattan, Winter 2016. Photo Credit: Melissa Fleming
Today is National Weatherperson’s Day in the United States. While not an official federal holiday, it is a day to recognize the work of all individuals involved in the field of meteorology – not just prognosticating groundhogs.
According to the NWS, February 5, 1744 was the birthday of Dr. John Jeffries – one of America’s first weather observers. As a Boston based physician with a deep interest in weather, he kept detailed records of daily weather conditions from 1774 to 1816. He also took the first known upper air observations from a hot air balloon in 1784.
Recognizing the significant contributions Dr. Jeffries made to the science of meteorology, this date was chosen in his honor.
Dr. John Jeffries taking weather measurements high above the ground in a hot air balloon. Source: Wonderful Balloon Acesnts
It was wet and windy on Wednesday in New York City with 0.73 inches of rain measured in Central Park. Below is a short time-lapse video that was sent to us by @dmadeo showing the Empire State Building peeking through the thick clouds as they moved through the city.
Today is Groundhog Day, the midpoint of the winter season.
On this day, according to legend, the weather conditions for the second half of winter can be predicted by the behavior of a prognosticating groundhog. If the groundhog sees its shadow after emerging from its burrow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring will arrive early.
The practice of using animal behavior to predict future weather conditions goes back to ancient times. The particular custom that we are familiar with in the United States grew out of the old world tradition of Candlemas that German settlers brought to Pennsylvania in the 1880s. Today, many communities across the U.S. and Canada continue this age-old ritual with their own special groundhogs.
The most famous of these furry forecasters is Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania – he was portrayed in the 1993 film, “Groundhog Day”. Here in New York City, our local weather-groundhog is Charles G. Hogg – more popularly known as “Staten Island Chuck”. This year, neither groundhog saw its shadow and both are predicting an early spring.
Long-range forecasts can be a tricky business, so we will have to wait and see what actually happens. Either way, the spring equinox is 47 days away.
Punxsutawney Phil held in the gloved hands of one of his handlers at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA. Credit: Syracuse.com/AP
January is usually the coldest month on the calendar for New York City, but this year it felt like a weather rollercoaster. We had highs that ranged from an unseasonably balmy 59°F to a frosty 27°F. In the end though, with 19 out of 31 days posting above average readings, the warmth won out. These multiple extended warm spells helped push the city’s mean temperature for the month up to 34.5°F, which is 1.9°F above normal.
On the precipitation side of things, snowfall was abundant. In all 27.2 inches was measured in Central Park this January. Most of this impressive total fell during a single storm – The Blizzard of 2016. This classic nor’easter moved up the coast during one the city’s cold snaps and brought us 26.8 inches of snow – the second largest snowfall total from a single storm on record. On average, the city normally sees 7 inches of snow during the month of January and 25.8 inches for the entire winter season.
Rainfall was also plentiful during the first month of the year. The city received 4.41 inches, which is 0.76 inches above normal. Again, most of this came down during a few heavy precipitation events, including January 10th when 1.8 inches was measured in Central Park setting a new daily rainfall record for the date. As a result of all this precipitation, the city is no longer listed in any category on the US drought monitor.
Temperatures in NYC this January felt like they were on a rollercoaster. Credit: The Weather Gamut