Global ocean temperatures at record highs for 3rd consecutive month

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

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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

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Quoting JLPR:
more recent image


I hate the Blackout :|


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

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting JLPR:


The spin in the Caribbean is an ULL, but it should be watched since it could reach the surface and try to develop, its too early to know where the Catl low is heading


its headed STRAIGHT TO PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
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1370. JLPR
Quoting sarahjola:
so where is this new invest/not invest going? could it end up in the gulf? and what about that spin in the Caribbean, where is it going?
thanks in advance


The spin in the Caribbean is an ULL, but it should be watched since it could reach the surface and try to develop, its too early to know where the Catl low is heading
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1369. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


AOI/XX/XL
MARK
16.1N/75.3W



AOI/XX/XL
MARK
13N/37W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
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.

Whatever that model had, would it mind sharing?? I really think that model is WRONG!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
so where is this new invest/not invest going? could it end up in the gulf? and what about that spin in the Caribbean, where is it going?
thanks in advance
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i talked about the blob causing the stir now in the catl and ... no one even commented lol

that was at... 5pm something like that
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MJO has been kind to us...and will hopefully continue to do so.

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1364. JLPR
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Pre-invest works for me lol


great XD
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Quoting JLPR:


could we get in agreement and call it a Pre-invest :)


Pre-invest works for me lol
1362. JLPR
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
An invest in meteorology (alternatively written INVEST) is a designated area of disturbed weather that is being monitored for tropical cyclone development. Invests are designated by three separate forecast centers: the National Hurricane Center, Central Pacific Hurricane Center and Joint Typhoon Warning Center.


could we get in agreement and call it a Pre-invest :)
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Quoting Orcasystems:
It is it isn't, its good to see the Blog is running as per normal




It would be nice if the "contentious ones" would take a CHILL PILL or two and calm down!

We can ALL agree to DISAGREE!! People are all different! Alot of people have knowledge and strong opinions!! ME INCLUDED!! I have pissed off my share of humans in my 48+yrs on Earth!! I have learned life is short, life is precious, everyone here has a purpose!!

The Tropics are beginning to get interesting on the Atlantic side! It does not really matter what INVEST is official or not!! What's IMPORTANT is what we can learn and share with one another in our LOVE for weather!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
An invest in meteorology (alternatively written INVEST) is a designated area of disturbed weather that is being monitored for tropical cyclone development. Invests are designated by three separate forecast centers: the National Hurricane Center, Central Pacific Hurricane Center and Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
1359. gator23
Quoting Orcasystems:


Not bad ... not bad at all :)

Tell Stephen Harper I said sup... Goodnight all
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1358. JLPR
more recent images



I hate the Blackout :|
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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.
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1354. JRRP
Quoting Orcasystems:
It is it isn't, its good to see the Blog is running as per normal




jejejejje
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likelihood is NAVY will give this invest classification soon, so its all pointless than I guess lol

Technically anything can be called an invest. Heck you could call the thunderstorm you went out an investigated (Ie got drenched in) an invest and be right. It just wouldn't be a navy invest. It would be your personal and slight crazy invest. (Although I've seen the navy invest something like it on the mississippi coast before.)
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Quoting gator23:

hey Orca hows the great white north


Not bad ... not bad at all :)
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1350. JLPR
and which one looks more interesting? =P



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1348. Skyepony (Mod)
King is right.. it is an invest just hasn't been assigned a # by the Navy yet.

17/2345 UTC 12.6N 37.4W T1.0/1.0 INVEST -- Atlantic

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Quoting pearlandaggie:
1161. looks like the SEC vs. the world! LOL

I think the SEC might be able to take em on, though.
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1346. gator23
Quoting Orcasystems:
It is it isn't, its good to see the Blog is running as per normal




hey Orca hows the great white north
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It is it isn't, its good to see the Blog is running as per normal



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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/sep/16/investing-climate-change...that's 13 Trillion investment dollars represented.

I expect they have "looked at the costs" etc.

And what they stand to make in mandated/subsidized carbon trading and offsets.
LOL @ the guardian.
And when did "investors" suddenly begin to have the planet's best interests in mind?
Quoting atmoaggie:
How much more money would you personally pay in any given month to reduce our CO2 emissions 10%? (let's start low) Really, how much?

NO ONE had an answer? Not one person in favor of action on the "pending doom" that is "driven" by CO2 has thought about how much more they are willing to pay for power, food, fuel, anything that gets tranportation?
Fossil fuels are our primary source of energy for a couple of good reasons. They are the most efficient per dollar and volume and they are reliable. No other source of energy is as cost effective without subsidies (taxes) or mandated use (consumer prices). There is no way our government can legislate a move to other energy sources right now without increasing costs. Legislation doesn't make any energy source more reliable or cost effective. (Just like legislation didn't make ethanol have the same energy content per volume as gasoline...worse CO2 emitter than gas)
So, at what point do you guys think the increased cost is more than you are willing to bear? I assume there is one.
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1340. Skyepony (Mod)
It's been the kind of summer, where if the weather was boring you could always watch Greenland melt..

Glaciers Flow into a Greenland Valley from NASA





Small glaciers spill into a mostly dry valley in western Greenland in this picture from August 29, 2009. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite acquired this natural-color image. The top view shows the wider area and the bottom view is a close-up of two glacier snouts.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
where exactly are the model runs on this said invest?

I agree it will officially become one soon, but it isnt one yet, because there are no products that have been run on it.


What I'm saying is that it is an invest. Someone (IE the ssd) is investing it by using their zoomed floater satellite. Someone is investigating the area. It's not a Navy invest (Which has the models and more data.) but still an invest of another form since someone is interested enough to "investigate" it.
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1338. gator23
Quoting btwntx08:

very true like i said it ain't an invest till the nhc confirmes it imo

and the arnt storms until the NHC confirms it but that doesnt keep people on here from saying "Future[storm name here]) is really impressive"
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Quoting HurricaneKing:


Oh and my last comment was about an official invest which this is not. It's only an ssd invest for now.

Now Gnite.


right its unofficially one lol
1336. JLPR
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
where exactly are the model runs on this said invest?

I agree it will officially become one soon, but it isnt one yet, because there are no products that have been run on it.


yep
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
Invests aren't official unless they are classified by the NHC, this one does not have a number, therefore it is not official

Ramsdis puts up floaters all the time, doesn't mean there is an invest. There is no Invest 97L, also no models have been run at all on what the SSD says is an invest. If there are no models being run, what exactly are they using to investigate the "invest"?

nothing is the answer, which means its not officially an invest. SSD has done this several times both this year and last year, a few times it lead to an official invest, but sometimes it did not and it was just dropped by the SSD.


Oh and my last comment was about an official invest which this is not. It's only an ssd invest for now.

Now Gnite.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
where exactly are the model runs on this said invest?

I agree it will officially become one soon, but it isnt one yet, because there are no products that have been run on it.
1331. gator23
Quoting WeatherStudent:
K, G'nite, all.

Night
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1330. JLPR
Quoting iceman55:
JLPR guess what


what? im not good at guessing xD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Invests aren't official unless they are classified by the NHC, this one does not have a number, therefore it is not official

Ramsdis puts up floaters all the time, doesn't mean there is an invest. There is no Invest 97L, also no models have been run at all on what the SSD says is an invest. If there are no models being run, what exactly are they using to investigate the "invest"?

nothing is the answer, which means its not officially an invest. SSD has done this several times both this year and last year, a few times it lead to an official invest, but sometimes it did not and it was just dropped by the SSD.
1326. gator23
Quoting juslivn:

I like you. You are knowledgeable and funny.

you have mail.
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1325. JLPR
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
Invests aren't official unless they are classified by the NHC, this one does not have a number, therefore it is not official

Ramsdis puts up floaters all the time, doesn't mean there is an invest. There is no Invest 97L, also no models have been run at all on what the SSD says is an invest. If there are no models being run, what exactly are they using to investigate the "invest"?

nothing is the answer, which means its not officially an invest. SSD has done this several times both this year and last year, a few times it lead to an official invest, but sometimes it did not and it was just dropped by the SSD.


lol but this one deserves to be an official invest
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Does the spin in the carribean have a surface circulation or is it in the upper levels. Impressive none the less.
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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.

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