Summer Solstice 2017

Today is the June Solstice, the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. The new season officially began at 04:24 UTC, which is 12:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time.

Our astronomical seasons are a product of the tilt of the Earth’s axis – a 23.5° angle – and the movement of the planet around the sun. During the summer months, the northern half of the Earth is tilted toward the sun. This position allows the northern hemisphere to receive the sun’s energy at a more direct angle and produces our warmest temperatures of the year.

Since the winter solstice in December, the arc of the sun’s apparent daily passage across the sky has been moving northward and daylight hours have been increasing. Today, it reached its northernmost position at the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° north latitude) marking the “longest day” of the year. This observable stop is where today’s event takes its name. Solstice is a word derived from Latin and means “the sun stands still”.

While today brings us the greatest number of daylight hours all year (15 hours and 5 minutes in NYC), it is not the warmest day of the year.  The hottest part of summer typically lags the solstice by a few weeks. This is because the oceans and continents need time to absorb the sun’s energy and warm up – a phenomenon known as seasonal temperature lag.

Earth’s solstices and equinoxes. Image Credit: NASA

NYC Monthly Summary: September 2016

Summer had an extended stay in NYC this September. Overall, 21 out of 30 days posted above average temperatures. These included three days with readings in the 90s, which is two more than what we typically see in September. With overnight lows also running mostly above normal, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 71.8°F, which is 3.8°F above average. That creates a three-way tie with September 1983 and 1884 for NYC’s 8th warmest September on record.

On the precipitation side of things, September was unusually dry and marked the sixth month this year that NYC received below average rainfall. All told, the city received a mere 2.79 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 1.49 inches below normal. As a result, according to the latest report (9/27) from the US Drought Monitor, the city remains in a moderate drought.

September was unusually warm in NYC this year. Credit: The Weather Gamut

September was unusually warm in NYC this year. Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Warmest August and Warmest Summer On Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with August 2016 not only marking the warmest August on record but also closing out the warmest meteorological summer ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for August – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.77°F, which is 1.66°F above the 20th-century average. It surpassed the previous record set just last year by 0.09°F.

August 2016 also marked the 16th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books. Moreover, it was the 380th consecutive month with a temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

The three-month period of June, July, and August – known as the meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere – was also a record breaker. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 1.60°F above the 20th-century average.  That is 0.07°F above the previous record that was set in 2015.

While heat dominated most of the planet from June to August, some places were particularly warm, including Asia and Africa where continent-wide temperature records were broken. Here in the contiguous US, the summer of 2016 tied with 2006 as our fifth warmest on record. While every state in the lower-48 experienced above average temperatures, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were each record warm. Alaska posted its second warmest summer on record.

These soaring temperatures are attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Whereas El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it dissipated in early June. ENSO-neutral conditions have since prevailed across the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Year to date, the first eight months of 2016 were the warmest of any year on record. This increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

 Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

Weather Gamut Writer Talks About Unseasonable Heat in NYC on WUTV

It was both an honor and a thrill to be asked back to The Weather Channel’s WUTV show tonight for my 6th appearance!  As a personal weather station owner based in New York City, we discussed the unseasonable heat and humidity that has been baking – or should I say steaming – the Big Apple the past few days.

The show, which dives into the science behind different weather events, airs weeknights from 6 to 8 PM EST on The Weather Channel.

Weather Gamut writer, Melissa Fleming, talks with Mike Bettes on WUTV. September 9, 2016. Credit: TWC and Melissa Fleming

Weather Gamut writer, Melissa Fleming, talks with Mike Bettes on WUTV. September 9, 2016. Credit: TWC and Melissa Fleming.

NYC Monthly Summary: August 2016

August 2016 was a hot month in New York City. Everyday produced a high temperature of 79°F or higher and seven days saw the mercury climb into the 90s, which is three more than normal. Moreover, August brought the Big Apple its second heat wave of the season. With overnight lows also running mostly above normal, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 79.2°F, which is 4°F above average. That makes August 2016 the city’s 3rd warmest August on record.

On the precipitation side of things, August was unusually dry and marked the fifth month this year that NYC received below average rainfall. All told, the city received a mere 1.97 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 2.47 inches below normal. As a result, according to the latest report (8/30) from the US Drought Monitor, the city remains in a state of moderate drought.

August 2016 was the 3rd warmest August on record for NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut

August 2016 was the 3rd warmest August on record for NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut

July 2016: Warmest Month on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with July 2016 marking not only the warmest July on record, but also the warmest month ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 62.01°F. That is 1.57°F above the 20th century average and 0.11°F above the previous record that was set just last year.

July 2016 also marked the 15th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books. Moreover, it was the 379th consecutive month with a temperature above the 20th century average. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

Since July is climatologically the Earth’s warmest month of the year, the July 2016 global temperature was also the highest temperature for any month on record.

While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm, including various countries in Asia and the Middle East where temperatures hit record levels. Here in the contiguous US, it was our 14th warmest July on record. Florida and New Mexico were each record warm.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were driven by the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. While El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it has since dissipated. In fact, ENSO neutral conditions prevailed across the tropical Pacific Ocean this July.

Year to date, the first seven months of 2016 were the warmest of any year on record. This increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

July 2016 was the warmest July and warmest month on record for planet Earth. Credit: NOAA

July 2016 was the warmest July and the warmest month on record for planet Earth. Credit: NOAA

Second Heat Wave of the Summer Bakes the Big Apple

New York City is sweltering through its second heat wave of the summer.

The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the NYC area it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. Monday marked the city’s fifth.

With dew points – a measure of humidity – in the mid to upper 70s, it felt even hotter. The heat index – the so-called real feel temperature – reached as high as 105°F to 110°F in some spots.

This dramatic rise in heat and humidity was the result of a dominant Bermuda High, a large area of high pressure situated off the east coast. Spinning clockwise, it has been steering hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico toward the northeast.

While these conditions are oppressive, they can also be dangerous. The NWS issued both an excessive heat warning and air quality alert for the city. The last time NYC had this type of heat emergency was July 2013.

How a Bermuda High ushers in hot and humid air to the northeastern US. Credit: Jacksonsweather

How a Bermuda High ushers in hot and humid air to the northeastern US. Credit: Jacksonsweather.com

Summer Colds can be Worse than Winter Ones

Dealing with a cold is annoying anytime of the year. However, during the summer, when you want to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather, it is especially frustrating. Adding insult to injury, summer colds also tend to be worse than the winter variety.

The reason for this, according to infectious disease experts, is that different viruses cause summer and winter colds. Winter colds are the result of rhinoviruses and summer colds are produced by enteroviruses.

Along with the usual coughing and congestion of a winter cold, enteroviruses can cause a host of other nasty symptoms. These include, fever, diarrhea, sore throat, and body aches. They also tend to last for a few weeks and can reoccur. Rhinoviruses, by contrast, usually run their course in a few days.

This resilient virus, according to the National Institute of Health, is present year round, but thrives in mild weather. Most infections occur between June and October.

Since most people spend more time outdoors during the summer months, summer colds are less prevalent than winter ones. Nevertheless, they are spread through contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces. To help reduce your odds of getting sick, doctors recommend you wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

Summer Colds. Credit: mlive

A Summer Cold.  Credit: mlive

NYC Monthly Summary: July 2016

July is normally the warmest month on the calendar for New York City, and this year, despite a relatively cool start, was no exception. Overall, 20 out of 31 days posted above average temperatures. These included ten with readings in the 90s, which is four more than what we typically see for the month. Additionally, July produced our first official heat wave of the summer. With overnight lows also running mostly above normal, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 78.7°F, which is 2.2°F above average.

In terms of precipitation, July was unusually wet and marked the first month since February that NYC received above average rainfall.  In all, we received a staggering 7.02 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 2.42 inches above normal. The majority of this plentiful total fell on four separate days in the form of intense downpours. Nonetheless, despite these soakers, NYC remains in a moderate drought according the latest report (7/26) from the US Drought Monitor.

July_Temp

July brought NYC ten days with temperatures in the 90s, which is four above average. Credit: The Weather Gamut.

July_Rain

More than seven inches of rain fell in Central Park this July. Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Weather Gamut Writer Talks about NYC Heat Wave on WUTV

It was a great thrill to be asked back to The Weather Channel’s WUTV show tonight!  As a personal weather station owner based in New York City, we discussed the heat wave that has been baking the Big Apple.

The show, which dives into the science behind different weather events, airs weeknights from 6 to 8 PM EST on The Weather Channel.

Melissa Fleming appears on WUTV, July 26, 2016.

Weather Gamut writer, Melissa Fleming, talks with Mike Bettes on WUTV. July 26, 2016.