COASTER Examples

(1) Midwestern Drought of the Late 1980's

The Midwestern drought of late 1980s was characterized by both unusually low precipitation and high temperatures. In this example we contrast the number of extremely warm days (i.e., those greater than 37.7 degrees Celsius (~100 degrees Fahrenheit)) that occurred in during the peak of the drought (1988) with counts from surrounding years.


(2) Hurricane Katrina

These products show the spatial and temporal patterns in rainfall volumes associated with Hurricane Katrina. Accumulated precipitation from the storm is shown on the left and the date on which the hurricane passed overhead is shown on the right.


(3) Drought Conditions in Western U.S.

Annual precipitation anomalies showing drought conditions in the western United States (~1999 -2004) relative to wet conditions before and after.  The anomalies are calculated as the percentage of normal precipitation, with yellow cells indicating normal precipitation, brown values indicating below normal precipitation, and blue conditions indicating above normal precipitation.  All values were calculated from the TOPS 8km dataset by summing all precipitation for each year and dividing those values from normal annual values derived using 30 years worth of climate data (1980-2009). 


(4) Bark Beetle Outbreak

In the 2000s a bark beetle outbreak led to mortality in trees, particularly lodgepole and whitebark pine, throughout the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and beyond. One of the major checks on beetle populations is killing frosts that occur in fall, as they kill beetle larva during a vulnerable phase in their life cycle and subsequently reduce the number of adults available to infest trees the following summer. This figure shows how COASTER might be applied to analyses of bark beetle outbreaks by quantifying the intensity and spatial pattern of minimum temperatures within the month (i.e., the lowest temperature occurring within October).


(5) Severe Frost of 1990 in Southern California

Severe frosts in late December, 1990 lead to major crop losses in California. Output from the COASTER tool reviles the spatial distribution and severity of cold temperatures. The top map shows the average minimum temperature (i.e., nighttime lows) for the period December 21st to 23rd. The bottom map show how unusual these cold temperatures were relative to the 30-year normal values.



(6) Midwestern Floods of 1993

The Midwestern floods of 1993 resulted in significant losses to crops and property in this important agricultural region.These COASTER outputs show three approaches for visualizing how unusual precipitation volumes were during this year.The upper maps show the 30-year precipitation amounts for the United States next to results for 1993. The lower maps show how different the 1993 precipitation total was relative to the 30-year average for each cell. The lower left map shows this information in volume (i.e., millimeters of precipitation) while the lower right map show the values as percentage of normal.