Global ocean temperatures at record highs for 3rd consecutive month

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:04 PM GMT on September 17, 2009

Share this Blog
6
+

For the third consecutive month, global Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were the warmest on record, according to statistics released yesterday by the National Climatic Data Center. August SSTs were 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average, breaking the previous August record set in 1998. The record August SSTs were due in part to the continuation of El Niño conditions in the Eastern Pacific, which have substantially warmed a large stretch of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño conditions are expected to amplify during the coming months, and record or near-record global ocean temperatures will probably continue.

August global surface temperatures 2nd to 6th warmest on record
The globe recorded its second warmest August since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. NOAA rated the period June - August (summer in the Northern Hemisphere, winter in the Southern Hemisphere) as the third warmest on record, and the year-to-date period, January - August 2009, as the fifth warmest such period on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated August 2009 as the 6th warmest August on record, and the period June-July-August as the 2nd warmest on record. The August satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest five miles of the atmosphere were between 7th and 9th warmest on record, according to the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems.

Warmest August on record in Australia and New Zealand
Australia had its warmest August on record in 2009, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Temperatures averaged a remarkable 3.2°C (5.8°F) above average, making August 2009 the most anomalous month ever recorded in Australia. The previous record was set in April 2005, which was 3.1°C (5.6°C) above average. The month's highest temperature, 39.7°C (103°F) at Wyndham Airport on the 31st, fell only 0.3°C short of the Australian record for August. The Australian winter (June-July-August) was the 2nd warmest on record, next to the winter of 1996. New Zealand also experienced its warmest August on record (records go back 155 years).

A cool August and cool summer for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., the average August temperature was 0.6°F below average, making it the 30th coolest August in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The U.S. as a whole was below normal for the summer period (June - August). A recurring upper level trough held the June - August temperatures down in the central states, where Michigan experienced its fifth coolest summer, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota their seventh coolest each, Nebraska its eighth, and Iowa its ninth. In contrast, the temperatures in Florida averaged out to be fourth warmest, while Washington and Texas experienced their eighth and ninth warmest summers, respectively.

U.S. precipitation in August was below average, as the month ranked 28th driest in the 115-year record. Arizona had its fourth driest August, New Mexico its fifth, and it was the eighth driest August for Colorado, Utah and Texas. Arizona observed its third driest summer, while both South Carolina and Georgia had their sixth driest. It was the 8th wettest summer on record in the Northeast.

At the end of August, 13% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a drop from the 19% figure observed at the beginning of the year. These extreme drought regions were exclusively in South to Central Texas. However, significant drought relief occurred in this region the second week of September, when a large area of tropical moisture settled in over the region, bringing heavy rains. About 19 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories in August.

Weak El Niño conditions continue
El Niño conditions continue over the tropical Eastern Pacific. Ocean temperatures in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were 0.4°C above the threshold for a weak El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is maintaining an El Niño Advisory. Current conditions and model forecasts favor the continued development of a weak-to-moderate strength El Niño into the Northern Hemisphere Fall 2009, with the likelihood of at least a moderate strength El Niño (3-month Niño-3.4 SST index of +1.0°C or greater) during the Northern Hemisphere Winter 2009-10.

Sea ice extent in the Arctic 3rd lowest on record
August 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 3rd lowest since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, behind 2006 and 2007. Sea ice extent has increased slightly over the past week, and we have probably reached the minimum for the year. If so, this year's minimum ranks as the 3rd lowest, behind 2007 and 2008. The fabled Northwest Passage appeared to melt free for brief period in August, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This marks the third consecutive year--and third time in recorded history--the Northwest Passage has opened. The Northeast Passage along the north coast of Russia also opened up this year. This is the fourth time in the past five years the Northeast Passage has opened, and the fourth time in recorded history.

Quiet in the Atlantic
The remains of Hurricane Fred are generating a very small amount of heavy thunderstorm activity near 23N, 61W. These thunderstorms were generating winds up to 35 mph, according to this morning's QuikSCAT pass. However, QuikSCAT also showed that the remains do not have a surface circulation, and the organization of ex-Fred has degraded to point where NHC is no longer mentioning the system on their Tropical Weather Outlook. Water vapor satellite loops show that ex-Fred continues to suffer from dry air thanks to an upper-level low pressure system, and it is unlikely that Fred will ever regenerate. None of the computer models call for any tropical cyclones to develop anywhere in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 1. Two views of the eye of Super Typhoon Choi-wan. Left: the eye at 01:25 UTC 9/16/09, when Choi-wan was a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. Right: the eye at 03:40 UTC 9/17/09, when Choi-was was a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response System.

Typhoon Choi-Wan no longer a Category 5 storm
This year's first Category 5 tropical cycloneTyphoon Choi-Wan, has fallen to Category 4 strength after spending 42 hours as a 160 mph Category 5 storm. Choi-Wan--in Cantonese, a type of cloud--is over the open ocean south of Japan, and is not expected to impact any land areas. Choi-wan passed over tiny Alamagan Island, population 15, yesterday. All residents on the island were reported safe.

On this day twenty years ago
At 1 am AST on September 17, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made a direct hit Guadeloupe, pounding the island with Category 4 sustained winds of 140 mph. A storm surge of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) topped by high battering waves smashed ashore. Hugo wreaked massive devastation on Guadeloupe, destroying 10,000 homes, leaving 35,000 of the island's 340,000 people homeless. Four people died and 107 were injured. An additional seven people were killed three days after the storm when a medical helicopter crashed while evacuating victims. Hugo's winds knocked the airport control tower out of commission, and almost completely destroyed the town of St. Francious, on the island's eastern end. Debris blocked at least 30% of the island's roads. Agriculture suffered massive losses that took years to recover from, as Hugo flattened 100% of the banana crop, 60% of the sugar cane crop, and ruined nearly all of the island's coconut palms. Most of the island's fishing fleet was wiped out, and total damage to the island from Hugo amounted to $880 million. Hugo was the strongest hurricane to hit the island since the legendary 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane--the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane of all time--which brought 150 mph winds to Guadeloupe.


Figure 2. AVHRR visible satellite image of Hurricane Hugo taken on September 17, 1989. Image credit: Google Earth rendition of the NOAA HURSAT data base.

Hugo continued northwest and pulverized its next target, the island of Montserrat, several hours later. Though the eye missed Monserrat, the severe right front quadrant of Hugo's eyewall, still packing sustained winds of 140 mph, pounded the island. Nearly every home on Monserrat was destroyed or heavily damaged, leaving 11,000 of the island's 12,000 people homeless. Numerous schools, hospitals, and churches were destroyed, along with the police department, the government headquarters, and the main power station. Twenty foot waves in the harbor of the main town, Plymouth, destroyed the 180-foot stone jetty, and heavy rains of up to seven inches created mudslides that at the foot of Chances Peak that destroyed 21 homes. Ten people were killed on Montserrat, 89 injured, and damage topped $260 million, making it the most expensive hurricane in the island's history. Elecrtic, water, and telephone service were disrupted for weeks, necessitating a massive U.S. and British relief effort.


Figure 3. Hugo's storm surge inundates the coast of Montserrat Island. Image credit: NOAA photo library.

The nearby islands of St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Martin, Anguilla, and Dominica did not receive a blow from Hugo's eyewall, but damage was heavy nonetheless. One person was killed on Antigua, and 30% of the homes damaged. Dominica suffered the loss of 80% of its banana crop, and landslides cut off many towns for days. Shoreline erosion damage and crop losses totaled $43 million on St. Kitts, where one person was killed.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1474 - 1424

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33Blog Index

AL 98 2009091806 BEST 0 133N 385W 25 1009 DB
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
Did we have 97L?

I know Fred was 96L.


Yes
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Did we have 97L?

I know Fred was 96L.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
And last night(between 6-8 pm CDST), there were people on here saying it had a chance to be a cat 4 hurricane.

lol You're kidding right?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
7-10 days time will be a bit more interesting, I'm going to guess. Subsidence across the basin.

The season isn't dead...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning all

I cannot say much about Fred much since there's not much to say.

While invest 98L could become a depression it may not pass TS intensity. I will have my blog up soon.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting F5Tornado:
You guys know (I hope I am not clogging up the comments too much, so this will be it untill somebody says something), why doesn't the NHC name hurricanes to represent if they dioed or not. To put it more smoothly, why don't they rename hurricanes that just died but reformed? Like if Fred came back, he would be FredII. IT sounds good, knowing that the Germans sometimes name LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS! Just a passing thought.


The University of Berlin name all systems, high or low pressure, so it's easier to say what system is where, and means what.

I think it's personally way overdoing it, but whatever works for the meteorologists pulling the shifts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting F5Tornado:
You guys know (I hope I am not clogging up the comments too much, so this will be it untill somebody says something), why doesn't the NHC name hurricanes to represent if they dioed or not. To put it more smoothly, why don't they rename hurricanes that just died but reformed? Like if Fred came back, he would be FredII. IT sounds good, knowing that the Germans sometimes name LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS! Just a passing thought.


No offense man, but that sounds epicly corny. >_>

FRED II MADE LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA COAST NEAR COCODRIE AT 0000 UTC. SATELLITE ESTIMATES INDICATED THAT THE CYCLONE ATTAINED CATEGORY 4 STATUS JUST PRIOR TO LANDFALL. INITIAL INTENSITY IS 115 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY...BUT NOW THAT THE CENTER IS INLAND...FRED II WILL WEAKEN.

Seriously mang.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
And last night(between 6-8 pm CDST), there were people on here saying it had a chance to be a cat 4 hurricane.

For the umpteenth time...Fred is dead.

It's over...finished...RIP...dead...done...gone...adios....see you later...bye...


Seriously...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1463. IKE
And last night(between 6-8 pm CDST), there were people on here saying it had a chance to be a cat 4 hurricane.

For the umpteenth time...Fred is dead.

It's over...finished...RIP...dead...done...gone...adios....see you later...bye...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
beh... exfred still cannot get its act together
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WV image Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
You guys know (I hope I am not clogging up the comments too much, so this will be it untill somebody says something), why doesn't the NHC name hurricanes to represent if they dioed or not. To put it more smoothly, why don't they rename hurricanes that just died but reformed? Like if Fred came back, he would be FredII. IT sounds good, knowing that the Germans sometimes name LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS! Just a passing thought.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not much left of the Disturbances in the Atlantic, technically #2 doesn't even exist, but the airmass is still there.... and so is Freds mass.

R.I.A. Fred the first.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For the Atlantic?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ill be quick, I have been doing a svr wx sim. and I don't have much time to talk.

By the way hi and, does anyone have a moistur4e map?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good night or good morning to all!! I'm out till around 8AM CDT today!! Gotta watch my 19 mo grandson Kayden early in the morning!! He's a great lil' tyke, see ya' later!!!

The 2009 Atlantic Season is NOT OVER YET!!
Bordonaro saying, "Peace Out :0)"!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I don't pay much attention to ngp and cmc :) The latest satellite image shows Fred might actually be dead for good now lol. 98L has some good convection but is getting sheared pretty bad at the moment. I think if any of the systems do anything we are looking at another Ana or Danny. I expect we will not see a decent storm until sometime in October.(most likely a Caribbean or GOM threat)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link
GOES12 Satellite view of Atlantic and Caribbean
loop through 0645HRS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Model support shows nothing. CMC doesn't count because it shows a major cane about twice a week lol The best models(GFS and ECMWF) show nada. If the shear can ever relax out there we might get something by October.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting btwntx08:

agree both have a less than 5 % chance of developing right now


We are approaching the time of year when we need to start looking to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico for development, as stalled out fronts are notorious for producing tropical cyclones in those areas around this time of year.

However, we are still in September, and as such, it pays to be wary. Conditions are still favorable enough to support tropical cyclogenesis further from the U.S. coast, but as we move into October, that possibility will become a remote one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fred will not regenerate. By the time the airmass moistens enough, he will interact with land.

Vertical shear is also going to be prohibitively strong for 98L. It's getting time for the Cape Verde season to wind down anyway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting btwntx08:

wow i said that the cv wave would run into shear and i was right cool lol


It happens.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We have 98L. The CV wave was apparently just labeled.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:
Bordonaro .230am here

Tried copying off tne Navy site, they have a pic from 0600UTC there!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1474 - 1424

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Overcast
56 °F
Overcast