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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 2000 - January
Global Regional Analyses

National Climatic Data Center, 14 February 2000

Global Blended Temperature Product Alaskan Avalanches

Large negative temperature anomalies were observed this month across portions of east central Siberia, Mongolia, then into northern China. These anomalies were due to a persistent upper level ridge of Arctic air over the region. This polar air extended eastward into parts of Alaska. Cold anomalies were also noted across Australia, most of the Mediteranean basin of Europe and Africa, eastward into the Middle East. Temperatures from southeastern Europe eastward into Turkey were much cooler than usual due to frequent storms; in fact, many mountainous locations experienced snow during the month. Heavy snows during the month blanketed the mountains around Jerusalem and snow was observed over the Negev desert for the first time in 50 years. Heavy snowfalls in south central Alaska triggered avalanches. In contrast, warm anomalies were noted over much of North America, parts of Scandinavia, and across the Former Soviet Union, east of the Caspian Sea. Some of the warm anomalies over the North American continent were 5-7 degrees C above the long term mean. These and additional global regional variations are discussed in this report. A special report highlighting January extremes is available at Climate Watch.

Top of Page Europe / Asia Snow Cover

Snow cover was above average in the eastern half of Europe and into Turkey. Snow and cold temperatures resulted in 14 deaths in isolated villages throughout Romania. Neighboring Bulgaria and Serbia also have reportedly been affected by snow storms and freezing temperatures. The frequent snow storms in this region kept the area fairly cloudy and cold which resulted in lower than average temperatures for the month as well. The only area in this region with below average snow cover was across southern Kazakhstan where most of the precipitation fell as rain rather than snow. Snow cover was also above average across parts of northern China and Mongolia. Media sources reported that various snow storms, since October 1999, have caused damage in the northern Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Inner Mongolia and Xingjiang. European / Asia Snowfall
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snow cover animation

Top of Page Wetness Anomalies in Europe

Europe Wetness Anomalies
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The broad extent of the large negative wetness anomalies over eastern Europe are directly related to the above average snowfall. These negative wetness anomalies are observed because this satellite bandwidth measures liquid water, not snow cover. Areas that had snow cover return a negative wetness signal. Large areas across central and eastern Europe had above average snow cover which results in a negative wetness anomaly. Above average snow cover also led to negative wetness anomalies in the mountainous regions of Spain and Portugal. Positive wetness anomalies were observed across parts of southern Scandinavia where temperatures were warmer than average. Much of the precipitation in this region fell as rain rather than snow, leading to positive anomaly values. In fact, across southern Norway and Sweden snow cover decreased during the month.

Top of Page Wetness Anomalies in Asia

Wetness Anomalies for Asia
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The largest positive anomalies of surface wetness in southeast Asia and east central China are a result of scattered rainfall and liquid water observed on the surface due to irrigation. The positive wetness anomalies over the Bangladesh region are mainly indicative of surface wetness due to residual surface moisture. In contrast, across a good deal of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan pockets of negative wetness values were observed. This agrees climatologically, since much of this area is dry and cool at this time of year with mainly clear skies and light winds.

Top of Page Wetness Anomalies in Africa/Middle East

Storminess across portions of the Middle East, Turkey and the Atlas mountains in north Africa brought precipitation at higher elevations in the form of snow rather that rain. The wetness anomaly in these areas is negative because this satellite bandwith observes liquid water on the surface and not snow cover. Areas at lower elevation near the eastern Mediterranean coast observed positive wetness anomalies. Interior areas of the Middle East reported neutral or negative wetness anomalies due to little or no precipitation.
Liquid Water in Africa
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The African continent had a variety of weather this month. The rainy season brought deadly floods to portions of Angola and South Africa. Days of rainfall caused flooding in the eastern, northern, and southern regions of South Africa. Heavy rains also caused flooding in southern Mozambique along the Incomati, Umbeluzi, and Limpopo rivers. Serious drought disrupted much of Kenya with some 1.8 million people reportedly affected. According to the regional "governor" in the southern Bakol region of Somalia, drought resulted in 21 deaths.

Top of Page Featured Warm Temperature Time Series

Warm Time Series
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This region from 60-70 North and 10-20 East covers much of Norway and Sweden. This region is no stranger to above average wintertime warmth in the last decade or so. In fact, 12 of the last 13 Januaries had above average temperatures. Temperatures have been strongly above average this month; about 4 degrees C above the norm. Historically, 12 of the last 13 Januaries were 2 degrees C or higher above the long term mean; 4 of the 13 have been 4 degrees C or higher above the mean. The last significantly cooler than normal January in this region was in 1987.

Top of Page Featured Cold Temperature Time Series

This region from 30-40 North and 30-40 East covers much of the eastern Mediterranean region northward across Turkey. This area saw frequent storminess and precipitation with cool temperatures. In fact, snow fell across many mountainous areas in the region. Some of the snow was unusually heavy. Fifteen inches of snow blanketed Jerusalem near the end of the month. This was the coolest January in this region since 1992.
Middle East Temperature
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Top of Page Snow Cover Anomalies in North America

A dominant ridge of high pressure in the west prevented the normal accumulation of snowfall for the central and southern Rockies and the northern Plains. An onshore flow in the Pacific Northwest provided positive snowfall anomalies in the Washington and Oregon Cascades and the Bitterroots of Idaho and eastern Washington. Three different storms affected the eastern seaboard area during the last third of the month. One storm, on the 24-25th, dumped heavy snow from the Carolinas into New England with at least five deaths reported. Raleigh-Durham, NC reported a snowfall total from the storm (beginning Monday evening the 24th through 3 PM on the 25th) of 20.3 inches, breaking the old record for a single storm event of 17.9 inches measured on February 15-17, 1902. Additional information on these and other events is available in the Climate Watch report. Snow Cover Anomalies in North America
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Top of Page South American Wetness

Contitions across the continent varied greatly. Local flooding and landslides associated with heavy rainfall since the beginning of the month over southwestern Brazil have killed 28 people and displaced some 40,000 people. Scattered wetness anomalies were also reported across parts of Peru, and in the northwestern part of South America, but no additional major flooding was reported. A persistent ridge of high pressure aloft off the Brazil-Uruguyian coast kept most of these coastlines dry and warm. South American Wetness
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Top of Page References:

Basist, A., N.C. Grody, T.C. Peterson and C.N. Williams, 1998: Using the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager to Monitor Land Surface Temperatures, Wetness, and Snow Cover. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 37, 888-911.


Peterson, Thomas C. and Russell S. Vose, 1997: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature data base. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 78, 2837-2849.

For all climate questions other than questions concerning this report, please contact the National Climatic Data Center's Climate Services Division:

Climate Services Division
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue, Room 120
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4876
phone: 828-271-4800
email: ncdc.orders@noaa.gov

For more information, refer also to ...
SSMI Derived Products
Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)
The Blended GHCN - SSM/I Product
The Global Temperature Anomalies


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For further information on the historical climate perspective presented in this report, contact:

Tom Ross
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4499
email: tom.ross@noaa.gov

-or-

Alan Basist
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4107
email: alan.basist@noaa.gov

-or-

Mike Changery
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4750
email: mchangry@ncdc.noaa.gov
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