Assessing the Global Climate in November 2019 — @NOAA

Trondheim, Norway. Credit: Courtesy of via NOAA

From NOAA:

The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for November 2019 was the second highest for the month of November in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record. The September–November 2019 and January–November 2019 temperatures were also the second highest such periods on record.

This monthly summary, developed by scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia, and the public to support informed decision-making.

November Temperature

  • The November temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.66°F (0.92°C) above the 20th-century average of 55.2°F (12.9°C) and was the second highest for November in the 1880–2019 record. Only November 2015 was warmer. The five warmest Novembers have all occurred since 2013.
  • November 2019 marked the 43rd consecutive November and the 419th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.
  • November 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across much of the global land and ocean surfaces. Record-warm November temperature departures from average were present across parts of the North and Western Pacific Ocean, Africa, southern Asia, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and northwestern Indian Ocean. Cooler-than-average conditions were present across the eastern half of the contiguous U.S. and southeastern Canada and northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as across parts of northern and southwestern Asia. However, no land or ocean areas had record-cold November temperatures.
  • Regionally, South America, Africa, and the Hawaiian region had record-warm November temperatures. The Caribbean region had its second warmest November on record, trailing behind November 2015. Europe had its seventh warmest November on record.
  • The November globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.34°F (1.30°C) above the 20th century average of 42.6°F (5.9°C). This was the eighth highest November land temperature in the 140-year record.
  • The November globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th-century monthly average of 60.4°F (15.8°C), also the second highest global ocean temperature for November on record, behind November 2015.
  • Sea Ice and Snow Cover

  • The Arctic sea ice extent for November 2019 was the second smallest on record at 530,000 square miles, or 12.80%, below the 1981–2010 average, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) using data from NOAA and NASA. November 2016 had the lowest sea ice extent for the month at 790,000 square miles, or 19.1 percent, below the 1981–2010 average. The 10 smallest Arctic November sea ice extents have occurred since 2007. According to NSIDC, Chukchi Sea, Hudson Bay, and Davis Strait had well-below-average sea ice extent for the month.
  • The Antarctic sea ice extent for November 2019 was 390,000 square miles, or 6.35%, below the 1981–2010 average. This was also the second smallest sea ice extent for November in the 41-year record, trailing behind the record-low November sea ice extent of 2016 (10.6 percent below average).
  • According to data from NOAA and analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during November was 1.20 million square miles above the 1981–2010 average and the fifth highest November snow cover extent in the 54-year record. The North American and Eurasian snow cover extents were also above average, ranking as the third and 14th largest snow cover extent, respectively.
  • Seasonal (September–November 2019)

  • The September–November 2019 average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th-century average of 57.1°F (14.0°C) and the second highest for September–November in the 1880–2019 record. September–November 2015 was the warmest such period on record at 1.80°F (1.00°C) above average. The five warmest September–November periods have occurred in the last five years (2015–2019).
  • The Northern Hemisphere September–November 2019 land and ocean surface temperature was also the second warmest such period in the 140-year record at 2.11°F (1.17°C) above average. This is only 0.07°F (0.04°C) cooler than the record-warm September–November set in 2015.
  • The Southern Hemisphere September–November 2019 land and ocean surface temperature tied with 2018 as the second highest September–November temperature since global records began in 1880, with a hemispheric land and ocean surface temperature average of 1.26°F (0.70°C) above average. Only September–November 2015 was warmer.
  • Warmer-than-average conditions were present across much of the globe during the three-month season. Record-warm temperatures during September–November 2019 were present across parts of the North and Western Pacific Ocean, Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, western tropical Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and Asia. Cooler-than-average conditions were present across parts of the north-central contiguous U.S., the north Atlantic Ocean, and the southern oceans. However, no land or ocean areas had a record-cold September–November 2019 temperature.
  • The globally averaged land surface temperature for September–November was the second highest on record at 2.45°F (1.36°C) above the 20th-century average of 48.3°F (9.1°C). This value trails behind the record-warm September–November of 2015.
  • Regionally, South America, Europe, Africa, and the Hawaiian region had a September–November temperature departure from average that ranked among the three warmest such periods on record. Of note, South America and the Hawaiian region had their warmest September–November on record.
    The September–November globally averaged sea surface temperature of 1.40°F (0.78°C) above the 20th-century average of 60.7°F (16.0°C) was the second warmest such period on record, behind 2015. The five warmest global sea surface temperatures for September–November have occurred since 2015.
  • Year-to-date (January–November 2019)

  • The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th-century average of 57.2°F (14.0°C) — the second highest for January–November in the 140-year record, trailing behind 2016 (+1.82°F / +1.01°C).
  • Record-warm temperatures during the year-to-date period were present across parts of North America, South America, Europe, the southern half of Africa, northern and southern Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Across the oceans, record-warm year-to-date temperatures were present across parts of northern and southwestern Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the western Indian Ocean. No land or ocean areas had record-cold temperatures during January–November 2019.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.50°F (1.39°C) above the 20th-century average of 48.1°F (9.0°C). This value was the third highest for January–November on record—only 2016 and 2017 were warmer.
  • Regionally, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Hawaiian region had a January–November 2019 temperature departure from average that ranked among the three highest such periods on record.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th-century average of 61.0°F (16.1°C). This was also the second highest for January–November in the 1880–2019 record, trailing behind 2016 by 0.05°F (0.03°C).
  • #RioGrande Basin Roundtable meeting recap

    The northern end of Colorado’s San Luis Valley has a raw, lonely beauty that rivals almost any place in the North American West. Photo/Allen Best

    From The Valley Courier:

    Once the proceedings were underway, Wayne Schwab of the Trinchera Irrigation Company recognized Emma Reesor, Vice-Chair of the Roundtable, for being named “Basin Hero” for the Rio Grande Basin by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

    Later, Bethany Howell of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative gave a funding request preview to add a staff position to the Public Education and Public Outreach (PEPO) program in the Basin. Howell pointed out that PEPO is becoming increasingly important because there is a growing lack of local and statewide water knowledge and a lack of communication between various entities that have the potential to collaborate. Also, she mentioned that PEPO could promote the work in the Basin along with highlighting “cutting edge” projects such as the new Doppler Radar System. Howell’s final presentation and the request will come at the January meeting.

    Following Howell’s remarks, Virginia Christensen of the Terrace Irrigation Company also gave a funding preview and request. The Terrace Irrigation Company is seeking to replace diversions that makeup its canal system in 2020. Upon approval, the project anticipated to improve the administration of the system’s water along with numerous other benefits.

    Podcast: The Year in Water 2019 with Jeff Kightlinger, Sielen Namdar and Reese Tisdale — The Water Values

    Click here to listen to the podcast:

    An all-star panel of water experts discusses what happened with water in 2019 and provides a glimpse into what they expect 2020 will look like. Jeff Kightlinger, GM of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Sielen Namdar, a Smart Water executive with Cisco’s Cities and Communities team, and Reese Tisdale, President of Bluefield Research, collaborate to provide you with their insights into the water industry.

    In this session, you’ll learn about:

  • The key takeaways from the water sector in 2019
  • The role data & IOT plays in utilities
  • How infrastructure continues to be a challenge for utilities
  • How utilities are leveraging partnerships for better outcomes
  • Convergence in the water sector and the broader utilities sector
  • What issues the panelists are watching out for in 2020
  • #ColoradoRiver Water Users Association Annual Conference recap #COriver #aridification #CRWUA2019

    From KUNC (Luke Runyon):

    The Colorado River Water Users Association annual conference brings together nearly every municipal water agency, irrigation district, Native American tribe and environmental group that relies on the Colorado River.

    In a room the size of an airplane hangar, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Brenda Burman took the stage to give attendees a congratulatory pat on the back for the recent completion of Drought Contingency Plans, which dominated discussion at these meetings for five years.

    “To all of you in this room, to those of you in the negotiating parties, for those of you who covered for them at home while they had disappeared for months on end, to negotiate, to work, to analyze,” Burman said. “Well done, everyone.”


    Operation of the Colorado River’s second largest reservoir, Lake Powell in southern Utah and northern Arizona, will be a major piece of negotiations on the river set to start next December. Hoover Dam from the deck of the Arizona power plant December 13, 2019.

    At last year’s meeting Burman’s message was dire. She urged the river’s users to complete their Drought Contingency Plans, or face the federal government’s regulatory hammer.

    With the deals signed earlier this spring, she acknowledged that they’re not a final solution.

    “Since completion of the DCPs in May, I recognize that the hard work of implementation has begun,” Burman said.

    That now includes the plans’ first true test. Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir just outside of Vegas, is still less than half full. Because of that, the drought plan requires users in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take less water from it in 2020. Though, they’re all already conserving above and beyond what the plan requires.

    It’s a different story in the river’s headwaters, where no restrictions were placed on users to take less from the Colorado River and its tributaries. Instead water managers in the river’s Upper Basin states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexicio — chose to focus on coordinating reservoir operations, and continuing to invest in weather modification .

    Those states also began taking a look at a controversial program that attempts to curb water use in the midst of a crisis. Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state’s top water agency, said completion of the drought plan kicked off a statewide campaign to study the concept and gather feedback.

    “That is the beginning. That is not the end,” Mitchell said of the Drought Contingency Plans. “And so that’s the process that we’re in right now, is looking at what’s best for the state of Colorado.”

    A hayfield near Grand Junction, irrigated with water from the Colorado River. Under demand management pilot programs, the state could pay irrigators to fallow fields in an effort to leave more water in the river. Photo credit: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another…

    But for all the hand-wringing, the Drought Contingency Plans brought across the basin, it is a temporary fix for the region’s water problems. As one water manager put it during the Vegas conference, “it simply prevents a catastrophe.”

    The drought plans expire in six years. They essentially give water managers some disaster insurance while they’re hammering out details of an even tougher deal, set to take effect in 2026. They’re known as the river’s operating guidelines, and they were last signed in 2007.

    The renegotiation of the guidelines is set to start by the end of 2020. There’s little agreement about whether the new guidelines should be a big, broad response to the realities of climate change or a more conservative, incremental step toward someday solving the river’s long-term imbalances.

    “There are some much larger challenges that we need to face,” said Jennifer Pitt, the National Audubon Society’s Colorado River program director. “We don’t know what the weather will be like in the next couple of decades, but we do know that the warming trend is going to dry the basin out.”


    The negotiation over the 2007 guidelines left out key players like Native American tribes and environmental groups, Pitt said. Heading into a new round of talks, she said it’s in the basin’s best interest to have different perspectives at the table…

    A long-standing dispute over who’s responsible for delivering Mexico’s allocation of the river’s water remains unresolved. Chatter about a possible water use cap for the Upper Basin states continues to grow louder. And Upper Basin states want to see the risks of climate change more evenly spread across the basin.

    In California, the state with the largest entitlement to Colorado River water, a major sticking point over the last two decades has been the future of the Salton Sea, a huge inland lake that’s shrinking, causing health problems for people and wildlife alike.

    “You know what? Sometimes you gotta throw a little rock or two to get people’s attention,” said Tina Shields, water manager for the Imperial Irrigation District — the sprawling expanse of vegetable and hay fields in southern California, and the single largest user of Colorado River water. The district became the lone holdout to the Drought Contingency Plans.

    Before they sign onto any future deal, Shields said they want a long-term solution for the ecological disaster playing out in their backyard…

    The Las Vegas meeting was also buzzing with grand ideas on how best to fix the Colorado River’s long-standing imbalance — where more water exists on paper then in the river itself.

    Luke Runyon near Hoover Dam power plan February 2018 via Colorado State University.

    From KNPR (Rachel Christiansen):

    KUNC reporter Luke Runyon was in the midst of it all.

    “The Drought Contingency Plan is sort of a temporary patch to some of the Colorado River basin’s long-term water scarcity problems,” Runyon explained.

    The plan took five years to negotiate and was signed by both upper and lower basin states this year. But the plan looks different depending on which basin a state is in.

    The lower basin part of the agreement is based on levels at Lake Mead.

    “The plan really lays out a set of tiers of cuts for states when Lake Mead drops. States like Arizona, Nevada, even California would have to take water cut back deliveries to what they receive from the Colorado River,” he said.

    For the upper basin states, it wasn’t about cutbacks but about managing use.

    “There weren’t any cutbacks spelled out for those states. Instead, they’re focusing on this idea of demand management and what that is kind of code for is basically looking at how, in a crisis, can you ask or force people to reduce how much water they’re using.” Runyon said.

    Runyon explained that the real focus is on farmers and how exactly to cut back on irrigation when reservoirs start dropping quickly. States in the upper basin still have to hammer out the details of that part of the plan.

    Overall, Runyon said water managers along the Colorado River are pleased with the DCP because it provides an orderly cut back of water use.

    “Anytime you’re talking about water cutbacks, people are not going to be happy that they’re receiving less water but when you talk to the water managers what they were really saying is, ‘We’ve created through the DCP a plan where those cutbacks are more orderly, where there’s not as steep of a cliff for water deliveries to fall over,’” he said.

    David Bernhardt answers a question about climate change from Luke Runyon, December 13, 2019, Colorado River Water Users Association Annual Conference.

    From Aspen Public Radio (Christian Kay):

    Luke Runyon reports on the Colorado river for KUNC and attended the conference last week.

    What are some of the solutions in this drought contingency plan?

    It varies by basin. The Colorado River is split into two basins: an upper and a lower. In the lower basin [California, Arizona and Nevada], the drought contingency plan looks like a series of cutbacks to water users. As Lake Mead, which is just outside of Las Vegas, drops due to climate change or drought, those water users will be forced to take some cutbacks to how much water they’re getting.

    The upper basin looks a little bit different. One of the more controversial parts of the upper basin drought contingency plan was this concept of “demand management,” where basically the states in the upper basin are trying to figure out how to limit water use on a voluntary basis. That could look like paying farmers not to irrigate for a certain amount of time in order to save some of the reservoirs and boost their levels.

    What long-term approaches to water shortages were discussed at the conference?

    Attention is turning to these broader guidelines that are set to be renegotiated over the next several years. The current operating guidelines for the river were put into place during 2007 and they expire in 2026, so between now and [then], these Colorado river water managers have to come up with a broader set of guidelines. Determining what is included in those guidelines, how broad or how narrow they are, how conservative they are or how they might include big ideas, that has yet to be determined.

    Public Notice: Alternative Treatment Technique for National Primary Drinking Water Lead and Copper Regulations for Denver Water — @EPA

    Denver Water’s new Administration Building, seen from West 12th Avenue looking south. Photo credit: Denver Water.

    Here’s the release from the EPA:


    U.S. EPA Region 8 approved a variance under the Safe Drinking Water Act for Denver Water. This variance will allow Denver Water to implement a Lead Reduction Program Plan (LRPP) as an alternative to treating for the corrosion of lead and copper with orthophosphate. EPA believes that Denver’s LRPP will provide health benefits and will be as protective in lowering the lead levels as the requirements under the Lead and Copper Rule. Under the LRPP, Denver will implement a holistic lead management strategy that requires an accelerated lead service line replacement schedule, provides filters to customers, and controls corrosion through pH/alkalinity adjustments. Additionally, Denver Water will develop a comprehensive lead service line inventory and conduct an extensive community outreach campaign. This variance is effective for an initial period of three years and may be extended if Denver Water demonstrates that that LRPP can be effectively implemented and results in reductions to lead in drinking water.

    Concurrent with this action, EPA is asking for comments on the potential criteria for how the Agency will determine whether to extend this variance for up to an additional twelve years. EPA is accepting public comments on these criteria and on EPA’s interpretation of the statutory standard for future variance requests. See the Federal Register notice in the docket for specific questions on which EPA is seeking feedback.

    Related Documents

    Denver Water Variance Letter Final (PDF)(2 pp, 125 K, 12/16/2019)
    Denver Water Variance Order Final (PDF)(20 pp, 2 MB, 12/16/2019)
    Denver Water Variance Federal Register Notice – Pre-Publication (PDF)(7 pp, 301 K, 12/16/2019)
    Denver Water Variance Appendix Final (PDF)(14 pp, 1 MB, 12/16/2019)

    From Colorado Public Radio (Taylor Allen):

    Denver Water will expedite the removal of lead pipes from homes across the metro area after the Environmental Protection Agency granted approval Monday.

    The public agency will launch the program in 2020 and expects it to take 15 years and cost $500 million to complete. Officials estimate there are between 64,000 and 84,000 lead service lines in the system.

    High lead exposure can lead to kidney and brain damage as well as developmental issues for children. Homes built prior to 1951 are more likely to have lead service lines, according to Denver Water…

    Denver Water proposed the program to the EPA in July. Without the approved plan, it would take 50 years to remove the lead pipes, Lochhead said.

    Denver Water has committed to remove at least 4,500 lines annually under an agreement with the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

    The idea for the program came soon after the state ordered Denver Water to do orthophosphate treatment in its water supply in March of 2018. The treatments are used to reduce lead and copper in water that’s delivered to peoples’ taps.

    “That did not cure the overall cause of the problem, which is the lead service lines,” Lochhead said. “Orthophosphate treatment, being a nutrient, creates water quality and environmental issues in the water supply as well as costing more than simply going in and removing them.”

    Denver Water worked with federal and state agencies to develop this alternative approach. It will be funded through water rates, bonds, new service fees and hydropower generation. The company said it will also look for funding through loans, grants and partnerships.

    Graphic via Denver Water

    Denver Water gets approval to fast-track removal of lead service lines — News on TAP

    Learn what’s next to develop and implement the Lead Reduction Program and what you should do in the meantime. The post Denver Water gets approval to fast-track removal of lead service lines appeared first on News on TAP.

    via Denver Water gets approval to fast-track removal of lead service lines — News on TAP