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: 1424 - 1374

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

Quoting iceman55:
Bordonaro lol na.

I gather the satellite eclipse will be over at 3AM EDT!! Let's see what "FredEx" and the "unofficial INVEST" look like then!! The suspense is driving me nuts!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:



LOOK AT FRED

Poor Fred!! It'll be interesting to see what he looks like after satellite eclipse is over! That pic is about 3 hrs old!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Has the satellite eclipse ended yet folks??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
ABNT20 KNHC 180533
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT FRI SEP 18 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE SMALL LOW PRESSURE AREA ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF FRED IS
CENTERED ABOUT 500 MILES SOUTH OF BERMUDA. THIS SYSTEM IS MOVING
WESTWARD ABOUT 15 MPH WITH MINIMAL SHOWER ACTIVITY. UPPER-LEVEL
WINDS ARE NOT CONDUCIVE FOR SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT. THERE IS A
LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

A BROAD LOW PRESSURE AREA CENTERED ABOUT 900 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF
THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS SHOWS SOME SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION.
HOWEVER...UPPER LEVEL WINDS ARE NOT FAVORABLE FOR SIGNIFICANT
DEVELOPMENT AS THE SYSTEM MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 TO
15 MPH. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA

If it weren't for a strong belt of southwesterly upper-level winds that should persist in the vicinity of the CV wave for the next few days, we might be looking at a tropical depression.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1407. Skyepony (Mod)
atmo~ I don't except we are using the most cost effective sources of energy. Please argue me how ethanol makes that list too. It's not just the source it's using smarter what we have. It's amazing how much people could save if they just made their houses efficient.. I have all new appliances, they have technically payed for themselves & now they pay me. & Jobs were created without subsidizing & I have more money to splurge on the economy. Now that I don't use as much energy, solar hot water heater is next. Should pay for itself & start lining my pocket in 5-6 years, after would be solar panels for daytime needs. I've seen several people find efficiency & renewables a better investment than the stock market. It would have been nice to make the whole investment up front but doing little bits & waiting for what I've done to pay for the next works too.

If you really look at what some of these countries are doing we are being left behind while corporations & govt cover our eyes & fleece us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1406. JLPR
well with this last new image I go to bed xD

compare
convection is popping and deepening

night :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1404. JRRP
see you tomorrow


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quick question to anyone who might know! Why whenever I open the Navy website, for unclassified, public info, WHY do I get an "untrusted certificate" notice?? It's own own US Navy!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
before i go to bed

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:
OK!! What happened to Iceman??


you mean chuck lidell? he gets beat by everyone now...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1397. JLPR
once the anticlone aligns with the low
shear will be a thing of the past xD

the thing is will they ever get together?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:
im here

OK!! You disappeared there for a moment!! I thought you were BANNED and I'd be PISSED!! You're very knowledgeable!! Peace :0)!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1394. JLPR
Quoting Bordonaro:


The earlier Satellite pic made that thing look like a screaming meteor!! Probably shear affecting that system! Yes, that L looks like it means business!!


yes xD
I believe the low is right on the edge of the convection, its doing beautifully despite the shear, although its mostly to the north
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Legion:
They were saying last year that it would cost
that on average it would cost
~$750/family/year and
now they are projecting ~$1760/family/year is what cap and trade will cost. I just
picture that money going straight to offshore
bank accounts of Goldman Sachs traders and Al Gore as the utility rates "necessarily skyrocket", as Obama put it. And any effect on CO2 emmissions would be negligable with China and India not participating, but they know that, its just a scheme.

before i go i just have to say i agree! before you know it the new projection will say 3000.00 a yr. per household. but what does big govt. care they just take our money to pay there bills. they all lie!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OK!! What happened to Iceman??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1391. LBAR
Hah...don't blame the messenger! Blame the data inputs.

I think ex-Fred will be a welcome rain-maker for South Carolina.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
atmo~ Unfortunately for answers we really just need to look at countries like Germany & Norway, that are outstriding us in the new market of renewable energy independence. Greening up created like 1/4 million jobs in the Germany last year. Many towns homes have cut their energy consumption that leaves a carbon footprint by 4/5ths due to solar panels on their roofs..

Jobs are not barnacles. They cost someone else money to create. And solar costs money, too. (not to mention it's limitations)
Do you not accept that we are currently using the most cost effective energy source?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR:


it looks like soon
look at it =O

it has various cells of convection developing
this one has 97L written all over it xD


The earlier Satellite pic made that thing look like a screaming meteor!! Probably shear affecting that system! Yes, that L looks like it means business!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LBAR:


You rang?!?!? :-)

Yeah, I think you are crazy.
Are you having memory address problems or what?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1385. JLPR
Quoting Bordonaro:

Thanks!! Any idea when they might run models on that L at 13N 35W?


it looks like soon
look at it =O

it has various cells of convection developing
this one has 97L written all over it xD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1382. JRRP
Quoting serialteg:


its headed STRAIGHT TO PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

really?
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR:


that blob is a Low
it has a LLC
and nope we dont have models yet

Thanks!! Any idea when they might run models on that L at 13N 35W?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1380. Skyepony (Mod)
atmo~ Unfortunately for answers we really just need to look at countries like Germany & Norway, that are outstriding us in the new market of renewable energy independence. Greening up created like 1/4 million jobs in the Germany last year. Many towns homes have cut their energy consumption that leaves a carbon footprint by 4/5ths due to solar panels on their roofs..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1379. LBAR
Quoting atmoaggie:
LOL at LBAR.

At least a TD into Oklahoma or Kansas from the E Pac? Loco.



Or maybe all of the rest are just very wrong...nah.


You rang?!?!? :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1377. JLPR
Quoting Bordonaro:
Concerning that interesting AOI, aka "blob", at 13N 35W, have any computer models been ran on that yet!! It looks a bit more impressive than "FredEx"?

Also has there been any mention about the ULL?? in the Caribbean??

Last question! What model indicates a L or tropical system developing in the GOM near the TX/LA border??
Thanks!!



that blob is a Low
it has a LLC
and nope we dont have models yet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1376. JLPR
Quoting serialteg:


its headed STRAIGHT TO PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR


no it isn't
*whistles nervously* lol
although those could be the waves you where looking for =P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
thanks for the info. you all have a scrumtralescent night!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR:
more recent image


I hate the Blackout :|


we have a Blackout all day
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1424 - 1374

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
66 °F
Overcast