9th warmest February on record; La Niña conditions continue but weaken

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:35 PM GMT on March 20, 2009

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Global temperatures in February remained about where they've been the past year, with Earth recording its 9th warmest February on record, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. This past winter was the eighth warmest winter on record (December-February), and the January-February year-to-date period was also the eighth warmest. The most notable extreme February heat occurred February 7 in southern Australia. Many locations set new all-time hottest temperature records, including an all-time state record for Victoria when temperatures reached 48.8°C (119.8°F) in Hopetoun, shattering the previous record of 47.2°C (117.0°F) set in January 1939. The extreme heat was accompanied by very dry conditions that contributed to the development of deadly wildfires that killed 210 people. The most notable cold conditions for the winter of 2008/2009 occurred in the United Kingdom, which had its coldest winter since 1995/1996.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for the month of February 2009. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

A dry and warm February for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., February temperatures were the 27th warmest in the 114-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The month was very dry, ranking as the 8th driest February. New Jersey and Delaware had their driest February ever recorded. The winter of 2008/2009 (December - February) ranked as the 5th driest winter on record, and the year-to-date January - February period was the driest ever such period. Texas recorded its driest winter. Thanks to all the dry weather, the U.S. has only seen about 50% of normal tornado activity in 2009, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. On March 19, 2009, 21% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is unchanged from January.

La Niña conditions continue
La Niña conditions continued in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in February, and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is continuing their La Niña Advisory. They define La Niña conditions as occurring when the 1-month mean temperature anomaly in the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region") cools below -0.5°C and is expected to persist for three consecutive months. In addition, the atmospheric response typically associated with a La Niña must be observed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Sea surface temperatures anomalies peaked at -1.1°C below average in the Niña 3.4 region during early January. It appears that La Niña has peaked, as ocean temperatures in the Niña 3.4 region have warmed to -0.4°C below average as of March 15. Nearly all the model forecasts for the Niño 3.4 region show that La Niña will dissipate between May - July 2009, and neutral conditions are expected for the August - October peak of hurricane season. Only three out of 16 El Niño models are predicting an El Niño event for hurricane season. The number of Atlantic hurricanes is typically reduced in an El Niño year, due to increased wind shear from strong high-level winds, but that doesn't look like it will happen this year.

Expected impacts of the current La Niña conditions during during March - May 2009 inlude above-average precipitation over Indonesia, and below-average precipitation over the central equatorial Pacific. Compared to the Northern Hemisphere winter, La Niña impacts over the United States are typically less pronounced. For the contiguous United States, potential impacts include below-average precipitation across the southern states. Other potential impacts include below-average temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and above-average temperatures across much of the southwestern and south-central United States.

Sea ice extent
February 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 4th lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and is currently near its annual maximum. The record February low was set in 2005. Since today is the Spring Equinox, the sun will rise at the North Pole, bringing 24-hour daylight and warming conditions that will begin melting Arctic sea ice.

Portlight Relief Walk this weekend
Saturday March 21 in New Orleans marks the inaugural event in a series of 18 fundraising Relief Walks sponsored by Portlight.org. A hearty thanks go to all the organizers and participants in this effort!



Jeff Masters

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241. CybrTeddy
2:29 PM GMT on March 23, 2009


Posted this on the last blog,
over the past few weeks the La Nina hasn't weekend it has infact drastically re-appeared, you can see by the anomoly chart it shows how it warmed, then starting around the 9th the anomolys have chilled, and this can also be visible on the SST maps.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23565
240. Ossqss
2:15 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
Did Tonga and Indonesia's recent activity play a role in nudging Redoubt to erupt? Call it a tectonic frontal system ?
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
239. GBlet
1:51 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
BOY, it's a good thing that I am chunky, otherwise I would be a resident of Nebraska this morning! Gee, they say the wind is gonna pick up as the front moves in. YIPPY!
Member Since: September 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 435
238. Orcasystems
1:49 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
Complete Blog Refresh, with New Weather/CritterCam
Mirror Site
Current Home weather station data.

Florida is finally getting some much needed rain :)

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
236. Orcasystems
1:27 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ANCHORAGE AK
240 AM AKDT MON MAR 23 2009

AKZ145-231600-
/X.EXT.PAFC.AF.Y.0001.000000T0000Z-090323T1600Z/
SUSITNA VALLEY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...TALKEETNA...WILLOW...CANTWELL
240 AM AKDT MON MAR 23 2009

...ASHFALL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM AKDT THIS MORNING...

THE ASHFALL ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM AKDT THIS
MORNING.

REDOUBT VOLCANO AT 60.5N 152.7W HAS ERUPTED SEVERAL TIMES DURING
THE NIGHT. LIGHT ASHFALL HAS ALREADY BEEN REPORTED AT SKWENTNA.
LIGHT ASHFALL IS POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE SUSITNA VALLEY THIS
MORNING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ASHFALL ADVISORY MEANS THAT ASH WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THE
ADVISORY AREA. PEOPLE IN AREAS OF ASHFALL SHOULD SEAL WINDOWS AND
DOORS. PROTECT ELECTRONICS AND COVER AIR INTAKES AND OPEN WATER
SUPPLIES. MINIMIZE DRIVING. LISTEN TO YOUR RADIO STATION FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
234. biff4ugo
12:52 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
P.S. Does all that upwelling, bringing the cold water to the surface for La Nina, help fishing in Costa Rica?
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1543
233. biff4ugo
12:50 PM GMT on March 23, 2009
Sorry to hear about Sullivan's uncle.
The volcano is exciting. Is the ash plume hiting or headed toward any populous areas? I don't even know that those time zones stand for except Alaska.
Northeast Florida is getting a bit of a drought break thanks to some slow creeping rain from the southeast. I can't think of the last time we got rain from the south east, that wasn't a part of a tropical cyclone rotation. It might be just my observations but I am greatful for any rain we can get. A welcome surprise.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1543
231. CybrTeddy
11:11 AM GMT on March 23, 2009


If this tells me anything, that La Nina conditions have drastically appeared in the last few weeks starting in early march.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23565
230. vortfix
10:09 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Good morning!

It is going to be an active severe weather week with the first episode beginning later this afternoon in Kansas and Oklahoma:



Photobucket

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0336 AM CDT MON MAR 23 2009

...SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED OVER PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN PLAINS...

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OK IS FORECASTING THE
DEVELOPMENT OF TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS OVER PARTS
OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT.

THE AREAS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THIS ACTIVITY INCLUDE

CENTRAL AND EASTERN KANSAS
NORTHERN OKLAHOMA

ELSEWHERE...SEVERE STORMS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE FROM THE RED RIVER
VALLEY REGION OF TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA NORTH/NORTHEAST INTO PARTS OF
NEBRASKA...MISSOURI...IOWA...SOUTH DAKOTA...AND SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA.

A POWERFUL JET STREAM DISTURBANCE...WITH WINDS IN EXCESS OF 120
MPH...WILL SWEEP EAST-NORTHEAST FROM THE FOUR CORNERS REGION ACROSS
THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND LOWER MISSOURI VALLEY LATER TODAY THROUGH
EARLY TUESDAY. AS THIS OCCURS...A STRONG SURFACE LOW NOW IN WESTERN
NEBRASKA WILL TRACK NORTHEAST INTO EASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA.

A COLD FRONT AND PRE-FRONTAL TROUGH ASSOCIATED WITH THE LOW WILL
SERVE AS A FOCUS FOR THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT THIS AFTERNOON AND
TONIGHT AS THE FRONT AND TROUGH PROGRESS EAST-SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS.

THE AMOUNT OF MOISTURE AVAILABLE TO STORMS WILL BE SOMEWHAT MARGINAL
COMPARED TO SOME SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS. WINDS...HOWEVER...WILL BE
FAVORABLE FOR LONG-LIVED...ROTATING STORMS CALLED SUPERCELLS.
SHOULD SUSTAINED SUPERCELLS FORM...THEY WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO
PRODUCE A FEW STRONG TORNADOES...IN ADDITION TO SEVERE HAIL AND
WIND.

ALTHOUGH ISOLATED SEVERE STORMS MAY OCCUR ANYTIME BETWEEN NOW AND
SUNRISE TUESDAY IN THE HIGHLIGHTED REGION...THE BULK OF THE SEVERE
WEATHER IS EXPECTED LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE THIS EVENING.

THOSE IN THE THREATENED AREA ARE URGED TO REVIEW SEVERE WEATHER
SAFETY RULES AND TO LISTEN TO RADIO...TELEVISION...AND NOAA WEATHER
RADIO FOR POSSIBLE WATCHES...WARNINGS...AND STATEMENTS LATER TODAY.
ADDITIONALLY...STATE AND LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGERS ARE MONITORING
THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION.

..CORFIDI.. 03/23/2009

Photobucket


Member Since: October 29, 2007 Posts: 135 Comments: 46068
229. Fshhead
9:00 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Well ordered it over the phone but, through the site..
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
228. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:54 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
oh the sale's price online. Wasn't sure if you bought it online.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
227. Fshhead
8:52 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
PEACE SULLY!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
226. sullivanweather
8:51 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Allrighty everyone. I think I'ma head out for the night.

PEACE!
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
225. Fshhead
8:45 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Ummmm Hades, its $249.99??? lol
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
224. sullivanweather
8:43 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Redoubt Volcano Latest Observations
2009-03-23 00:30:12
As of 12:27AM March 23, 2009, AVO has recorded three large explosions at Redoubt volcano at the following times:
March 22 10:38PM
March 22 11:02PM
March 23 00:14AM


*edit - LOL OOPS
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
223. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:42 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Fsh ya, from that link you gave
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
222. Fshhead
8:41 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
WOW

500 dollars -_-'


the scope??
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
221. Fshhead
8:38 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Yea I gotta say not "too" bad on the price & I did run it by Cal 1st & he said it was a good choice to get my feet wet. Telling u even with all the light pollution here, I did see quite a bit so far. Thats only with 2 eyepieces also..
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
220. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:37 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
WOW

500 dollars -_-'
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
219. sullivanweather
8:36 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Another burst coming out of Redoubt!
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
218. sullivanweather
8:33 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
That's nice!!!

I think I want me one of thems...
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
217. Fshhead
8:30 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Meade ETX-80AT-TC Astro Telescope with AutoStar

This is the one I got. Good beginners scope & should be good to learn on..
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
216. sullivanweather
8:26 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
I'd love to get one of those night sky cameras that you set out in the yard and record the sky for shooting stars.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
215. Fshhead
8:22 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
LOL Well you know I live in the land of the pink suns but, I did get to look through the 1st scope a little before I returned it. Saw the moon super super clear, saturn(rather small, wrong eyepiece) & a freakin awesome cluster of stars I cant WAIT to go looking for again....
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
214. sullivanweather
8:15 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
I should get a new scope. It's always dark dark DARK where I live. I could see some pretty dim stars here. Not outback dark but dark enough.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
213. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:13 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
212. Fshhead
8:05 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Once again so sorry for your loss sull! I know it does not make it any better but, just the same. Speaking of astronomy, I am getting the bug too. Been speaking with Cal quite a bit lately & ordered a telescope. Had to return 1st one & got the new one yesterday. Figures freakin clouds ever since...LOL
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
211. msphar
7:58 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Nice. I check in tonight to see whatz up with the blog and you guys are triggering a volcano up North.
Member Since: August 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 289
210. TampaSpin
7:57 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
This is for an Eruption of 50,000ft........

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
209. sullivanweather
7:55 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Thanks, bro.

I lost my uncle John yesterday. I'm not taking it too well. I spent a pretty good chunk of my childhood with him and my grandmother.

When a family member dies and you sit back and take that time to reflect on the impact they've had on your life growing up and what your interests are in the present, I must say he played a significant part. He very much supported my interest in weather and astronomy. Being involved with computers at an early age I can thank him for. I can say without a doubt I would of never had a computer if not for him. My parents couldn't afford anything such as that. Getting out and playing golf every once and awhile I can thank him for.

After high school we'd only see each other during holidays are when the family would get together for dinner, so not very often. But I swear, on all those occasions I can recall what we did because he was that vibrant of a person. Always doing something. Playing golf in the snow. Taking Kate and I for flying lessons. Outside having a cigarette on Christmas Eve in the freezing cold naming constellations.

He also served in two branches of the military. A very distinguished man and extremely intelligent but was always calm and reserved.

Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
208. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:54 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Earthquake Details
Magnitude 1.5
Date-Time Monday, March 23, 2009 at 07:19:00 UTC
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 11:19:00 PM at epicenter

Location 61.035°N, 150.617°W
Depth 28 km (17.4 miles)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
207. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:48 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
...ASHFALL ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM AKDT MONDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ANCHORAGE HAS ISSUED AN ASHFALL
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM AKDT MONDAY.

REDOUBT VOLCANO AT 60.5N 152.7W HAS ERUPTED AT AROUND 1040 PM
AKDT. VOLCANIC ASH IS FALLING AND IS EXPECTED TO REACH THE SURFACE
ACROSS THE SUSITNA VALLEY. PRELIMINARY INDICATIONS ARE THAT
ASHFALL WILL BE VERY LIGHT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ASHFALL ADVISORY MEANS THAT ASH WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THE
ADVISORY AREA. PEOPLE IN AREAS OF ASHFALL SHOULD SEAL WINDOWS AND
DOORS. PROTECT ELECTRONICS AND COVER AIR INTAKES AND OPEN WATER
SUPPLIES. MINIMIZE DRIVING. LISTEN TO YOUR RADIO STATION FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
206. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:40 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
AVO/USGS Volcanic Activity Notice

Volcano: Redoubt (CAVW #1103-03-)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING

Current Aviation Color Code: RED

Issued: Sunday, March 22, 2009, 11:26 PM AKDT (20090322/0726Z)
Source: Alaska Volcano Observatory
Notice Number: 2009/A12
Location: N 60 deg 29 min W 152 deg 44 min
Elevation: 10197 ft (3108 m)
Area: Cook Inlet-South Central Alaska

Volcanic Activity Summary: The eruption of Mt. Redoubt continues. The height of the eruption cloud is estimated to be 50,000 ft above sea level. Further reports will be issued as more information becomes available.

Recent Observations:
[Volcanic cloud height] The height of the eruption cloud is estimated to be 50,000 ft above sea level. Further reports will be issued as more information becomes available.
[Other volcanic cloud information] Nil
[Mudflow] Mudflows are possible on Drift and Crescent Rivers.
[Ash fall] Ashfall likely in the vicinity of and downwind from the volcano.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44726
205. TampaSpin
7:40 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Projected path......

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
204. Fshhead
7:37 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Sully I popped in your blog real quick earlier this afternoon. Did not see the details but, my condolences my friend, for whoever the family member it was u lost....:(
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
203. TampaSpin
7:36 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Follow these updates on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/alaska_avo
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
202. sullivanweather
7:35 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Hey Fish!!

Pretty crazy, huh?

I checked AKsnowlover's blog when I got home earlier and said to myself, something's happening. Left a comment there and been watching this ever since.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
201. Fshhead
7:34 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Evening Everyone!! WOW news flash huh?
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
200. TampaSpin
7:33 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Quoting sullivanweather:
Wouldn't the NWS have issued an ashfall advisory by now?


One would think so, but i can do it look at post 177! Anchorge is in Trouble, Big Time!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
199. sullivanweather
7:32 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Good evening, MP.

It appears we're having an eruption. I wonder if it'll be anything close to Kasatochi.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
198. TampaSpin
7:31 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Hey MPerfect......this will change Weather Patterns big time......
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
197. sullivanweather
7:31 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Wouldn't the NWS have issued an ashfall advisory by now?
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
196. MisterPerfect
7:28 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
hey
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 71 Comments: 20135
195. sullivanweather
7:28 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Wow!!

That's pretty crazy. I would think something that big would have looked bigger on radar (though I never really watched an eruption on radar before).
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
194. TampaSpin
7:27 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
This is a Major eruption......WOW!

2009-03-22 23:20:21

Current estimate for eruption cloud height are 50,000 ft above sea level.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
193. sullivanweather
7:18 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Looks like a sizeable puff, but nothing huge...yet.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
192. TampaSpin
7:17 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
Sulli that is some explosion....and at the worst time for Anchorage.....its heading straight at them.....BAD, BAD!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
191. sullivanweather
7:14 AM GMT on March 23, 2009
IT's on....
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.