Working with private companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency uses precipitation data from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center as part of an insurance program for ranchers and those who grow hay or other livestock forage. This video describes how it works.
According to the 2009 National Climate Assessment, heavy downpours have increased in frequency and intensity during the last 50 years. Models predict that downpours will become still more more frequent and intense as greenhouse gas emissions and the planet’s temperature continue to rise.
Although you might have a hard time convincing residents of the eastern United States, Scandinavia, and Russia (outside of Sochi, anyway), January’s global average surface temperature balanced out as the fourth warmest in the historical record.
Persistent cold temperatures in the Midwest this winter almost completely frozen over many of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) reported that 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen as of mid-February.
Maps of precipitation deficits through January show California mountain areas generally have greater deficits than lower elevations, and Southern California with larger deficits than areas to the north. The drought outlook for February remained grim.
Only a few herds of reindeer and caribou are increasing or are stable at high numbers; most herds continue to decline or remain at low numbers after severe declines in recent decades. Whether these trends are a result of Arctic climate change or part of a natural pattern is still unknown.