Second warmest September on record for the globe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:49 PM GMT on October 16, 2009

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The globe recorded its second warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. The combined global land and ocean temperature anomaly was 0.62°C (1.12°F), falling only 0.04°C (0.07°F) short of tying the record set in 2005. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies also rated September 2009 as the 2nd warmest September on record, falling 0.02°C short of the record set in 2005. It was the 33rd consecutive September with a global temperature above the 20th century average. NOAA rated the year-to-date period, January - September 2009, as the sixth warmest such period on record. The September satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record, behind 1998. Global ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies, however, cooled a bit, and were the 5th warmest on record. Global SSTs were the warmest on record during the Northern Hemisphere summer, June - August.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for September 2009. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A warm September for the U.S., and record heat in the West
For the contiguous U.S., the average September temperature was 1.0°F above average, making it the 32nd warmest September in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The West had is warmest September on record, with Nevada and California recording their warmest September, and six other western states observing a top-ten warmest September--Montana (3rd warmest), North Dakota (3rd), Idaho (4th), Utah (5th), Minnesota (6th), and Oregon (8th). However, a combination a slow-moving storm system during the beginning of the month and two surface cold fronts during the last week resulted in much below normal temperature averages in Kansas (10th coolest) and Oklahoma (11th coolest). The year-to-date (January - September) period was the 29th warmest such period for the contiguous U.S.

U.S. precipitation near average
U.S. precipitation in September was exactly average. Statewide-averaged rainfall was among the ten wettest for four southern states (Arkansas, 2nd wettest; Tennessee (5th), Mississippi (6th), and Alabama (6th)). Maine and Wisconsin each experienced their fourth driest September and both New Hampshire and Michigan had their seventh driest such periods.

U.S. drought
At the end of September, 15% 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. Exceptional drought (the worst category of drought) was seen in South to Central Texas, though the area covered by exceptional drought shrank by 50% over the past month, thanks to much-needed rains over the region.

U.S. fire activity
During September, 5,535 fires burned approximately 378,523 acres, each of which was below the 2000 - 2009 average for the month. The acreage lost to wildfire was roughly half of the 2000 - 2009 average. For the year to date (January.September), 70,217 fires was slightly above the 10-year average, while acreage burned was slightly less than average.

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 0.3°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 event 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.

September sea ice extent in the Arctic 3rd lowest on record
September 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 3rd lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Only 2007 and 2008 saw lower Arctic sea ice extent. Both the Northwest Passage and Northeast Passage melted free, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This marks the second consecutive year--and the second time in recorded history--both of these Arctic shipping routes have melted free. The past five years have had the five lowest Arctic ice extents on record. In their 2009 report on this year's Arctic sea ice minimum, NSIDC Director and Senior Scientist Mark Serreze said, "It's nice to see a little recovery over the past couple years, but there's no reason to think that we're headed back to conditions seen back in the 1970s. We still expect to see ice-free summers sometime in the next few decades". Only 19% of the ice cover this summer in the Arctic was over 2 years old, the least in the satellite record, and far below the 1981 - 2000 average of 52%. NSIDC Scientist Walt Meier said, "We've preserved a fair amount of first-year ice and second-year ice after this summer compared to the past couple of years. If this ice remains in the Arctic through the winter, it will thicken, which gives some hope of stabilizing the ice cover over the next few years. However, the ice is still much younger and thinner than it was in the 1980s, leaving it vulnerable to melt during the summer". Earlier this summer, NASA researcher Ron Kwok and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle published satellite data showing that Arctic ice thickness declined by 0.68 meters (2.2 feet) between 2004 and 2008. The overall mean winter thickness was 3.64 meters in 1980, and 1.89 meters during the winter of 2007 - 2008, a massive decrease of 48%.

References
Kwok, R., and D. A. Rothrock. 2009. Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958.2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L15501, doi:10.1029/2009GL039035.


Figure 2. Category 1 Typhoon Lupit in the Philippine Sea at 04:45 UTC October 16, 2009. Image credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System.

Tropical update
In the Atlantic, there are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the computer models is calling for tropical storm formation over the next week.

There are two potential serious threats in the Pacific. Tropical Storm Rick off the Pacific coast of Mexico is expected to recurve to the north and threaten Baja late next week. While Rick is expected to become a major hurricane early next week, the storm should weaken significantly before any potential landfall in Mexico, due to high wind shear and cooler ocean temperatures the storm will find as it approaches Baja.

More seriously, Typhoon Lupit in the Western Pacific is expected to intensify into a Category 4 typhoon and threaten the northern Philippines by Tuesday. Last week, Super Typhoon Parma crossed over the northern Philippines three times, dumping over twenty inches of rain in many locations. Over 300 people died in the resulting flash floods and landslides. A visit by Typhoon Lupit could create a major catastrophe in the northern Philippines as the storm dumps another 1 - 2 feet of rain on the already saturated soils.

My next post will be Sunday or Monday.

Jeff Masters

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1428. Drakoen
Quoting Hurricanes4life:
1419
As you can see Wilma>Rick... Both amazingly strong canes however


Correct. Rick is representative of a powerful Category 5 hurricane; Wilma is representative of an exceptionally powerful Category 5 hurricane.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
1427. flsky
Quoting Weather456:
THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION OF HURRICANE RICK CAN BE EXPRESSED IN ONE
WORD...SPECTACULAR.

THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR RICK TO GATHER A LITTLE MORE STRENGTH
TONIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY..

This is what I live for


A truly frightening storm....
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Rick's perfect symmetry reminds me of monica back in 2006. Thought i'd post an infrared view of wilma around its peak intensity.

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Quoting atmoaggie:

Actually a study of drilled cores in PR showed more sediment from storm surges in the little ice age than in any other time period.
That is only for PR, of course. Could have been the opposite in a lot of places.


I bet those were extratropical superstorms lol.
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1419
As you can see Wilma>Rick... Both amazingly strong canes however
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1423. jipmg
Quoting Drakoen:



Oh my god, I had forgotten how scary that thing was
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Quoting Weather456:


You realize that is an image of Gonu in 2007.


yeah sorry i had the wrong link my bad, I fixed the comment
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Quoting weatherbro:
actually the 1935 hurricane originally was thought to only peak at 165MPH...Then 185. The latest estimates put it at 200MPH(gusts to 235MPH). Camile and Allen only made it to 190MPH. A typhoon(forgot the name off hand) in Japan's Harbor reached 215MPH years ago(with much higher gusts!

Let's see if this thing makes it to 200MPH! Man! I wonder how powerful hurricanes were during the medieval warming period! I bet they reached upwards to 240MPH!

Actually a study of drilled cores in PR showed more sediment from storm surges in the little ice age than in any other time period.
That is only for PR, of course. Could have been the opposite in a lot of places.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1419. Drakoen

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
Quoting Hurricanes4life:
CDO of Wilma near peak...
http://image.weather.com/web/multimedia/images/blog/Gonu_IR.png


You realize that is an image of Gonu in 2007.
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actually the 1935 hurricane originally was thought to only peak at 165MPH...Then 185. The latest estimates put it at 200MPH(gusts to 235MPH). Camile and Allen only made it to 190MPH. A typhoon(forgot the name off hand) in Japan's Harbor reached 215MPH years ago(with much higher gusts!

Let's see if this thing makes it to 200MPH! Man! I wonder how powerful hurricanes were during the medieval warming period! I bet they reached upwards to 240MPH!
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Quoting Meteorology101:
Hi, all!

oops, wrong poster.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting Meteorology101:
Hi, all!


hey
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CDO of Wilma near peak...
http://www.ultimatechase.com/Chase_Accounts/Images/Hurricane_Wilma/Wilma_Infrared_Sat_Large.jpg
sorry wrong link orginally
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Quoting jipmg:


why on earth has the NHC not classified it as a CAT 5?


probably becuz it was a gust and not sustained.
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1411. jipmg
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


That gust has been classified as a new world record. (211.3 mph)

Link


why on earth has the NHC not classified it as a CAT 5?
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Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
1408. beell
...THE MODELS RESPOND TO THE CHANGE
IN STEERING BY TURNING THE HURRICANE TOWARD THE NORTH AND NORTHEAST
AT DIFFERENT SPEEDS...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
A reading in Cuba during Gustav a HUGE gust above 210 mph (I forgot exactly what, but Gustav deserves Category 5 status based that it was a valid reading)


That gust has been classified as a new world record. (211.3 mph)

Link
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1406. Drakoen
Quoting leelee75k:
thank you but gimme a sec as s I pick up my jaw from the floor!

this is for next week time frame? I was so happy with today's coldfront coming into south florida, I had hoped it meant the unoffical close to the season for us. While I enjoy storm watching, I was quite happy with the quiet this season.

Btw Rick really is spectacular, I can't stop watching, hope he fizzles though before he visits any land.


Yes
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
Quoting jipmg:


is it possible to even have a standing building with 210mph winds?


212 mph, the highest wind speed ever recorded in Cuba.
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thank you but gimme a sec as I pick up my jaw from the floor!

this is for next week time frame? I was so happy with today's coldfront coming into south florida, I had hoped it meant the unoffical close to the season for us. While I enjoy storm watching, I was quite happy with the quiet this season.

Btw Rick really is spectacular, I can't stop watching, hope he fizzles though before he visits any land.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


I think MPI only uses sea surface temperature, not OHC or TCHP.

Link


And there it is. Thanks, nrt.

I guess Rick has taught us that what appears to be marginal TCHP doesn't necessarily mean the environment isn't capable of supporting a cat 5.

Interesting. Looking at the CPC Pacific SSTs, it seems that Rick's area just warmed back up in the last couple of weeks.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1402. A4Guy
I'd love to see the swells Rick is generating along the coast of Mexico.


I think Wilma goes down as the most awesome storm in the Alt or Epac basins. The rapid intensification and pinhole eye were just something to behold.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Weather456, check out this link, thanks!

Link


I don't think that 200 mph winds were sustained...and I don't believe it went into the historical database as 200 mph sustained.

Labor Day Hurricane
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Quoting jipmg:


is it possible to even have a standing building with 210mph winds?


Don't worry, it was blown over shortly afterwords if I recall.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
1399. jipmg
Quoting CybrTeddy:
A reading in Cuba during Gustav a HUGE gust above 210 mph (I forgot exactly what, but Gustav deserves Category 5 status based that it was a valid reading)


is it possible to even have a standing building with 210mph winds?
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Quoting GBguy88:
I don't know how to post an image here, but I have a NOAA advisory image of Hurricane Mitch that says 195 sustained, with pressure 906mb.


that was Mitch operational winds....the post season analysis is what goes into the database

Hurricane Mitch
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Quoting Drakoen:


Hurricane forecasted to develop in the Caribbean according to the ECMWF model.


ECMWF's been really good this year, and some other models are in agreement. We'll have to watch out next week. Looks like a Paloma type path.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
A reading in Cuba during Gustav a HUGE gust above 210 mph (I forgot exactly what, but Gustav deserves Category 5 status based that it was a valid reading)
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
Quoting Weather456:


Labor Day Hurricane peaked at 185...Camille was stronger.

Weather456, check out this link, thanks!

Link
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Quoting nyhurricaneboy:


I am sitting here, thinking that Rick isn't done. Normally, and reasonably, one would expect that Rick would start fluctuating. However, Rick has been rapidly intensifying since formation. My point - Rick could reach 200 mph.


Forecast to stay a CAT 5 for a while.
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1393. GBguy88
I don't know how to post an image here, but I have a NOAA advisory image of Hurricane Mitch that says 195 sustained, with pressure 906mb.
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1392. Drakoen
Quoting leelee75k:
Drakoen @ post 1248, what the heck is that?


Hurricane forecasted to develop in the Caribbean according to the ECMWF model.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
1391. SLU


This is what you call a SUPERCANE!. Thank God it is over sea and far away from threatening land right now.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The central dense overcast of Rick is nowhere near what it was with Wilma.


The CDO is actually comparable to Dean's at its Yucatan Landfall. Wilma's was amazing.. below -80C fanning out miles away from the eyewall, and with that 2 nm eyewall.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Hurricane Wilma in 2005, went from a Category 2 to a 882 MB Category 5 overnight.. man I remember waking up with that coming towards my house.. horrifying. Wilma is WAY stronger than Rick.

I betcha' if the HH were to fly into Rick, at this moment, the pressure is probably around 895MB, winds around 185MPH right now..
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i don't know how to post it... but looking at the loop of rick at max speed... eye is slightly shrinking, indicating intensifying? Also, moving due west, and the storm looks like a perfect circle from start to finish of the loop. Absolutely amazing.
Quoting nyhurricaneboy:


I am sitting here, thinking that Rick isn't done. Normally, and reasonably, one would expect that Rick would start fluctuating. However, Rick has been rapidly intensifying since formation. My point - Rick could reach 200 mph.


i see no indication of an impending eyewall replacement, which seems to weaken these cat 5's.
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1387. Drakoen
The central dense overcast of Rick is nowhere near what it was with Wilma.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
Drakoen @ post 1248, what the heck is that?
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 had est 200MPH winds, min pressure actually measured was 26.35 inches of mercury. Camille 1969, 200MPH winds...


Labor Day Hurricane peaked at 185...Camille was stronger.
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Quoting ackee:
what the strongest hurricane we have ever seen in the atlantic


Most intense would be Wilma
Strongest would be Camille...he peaked at 190 mph.
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1383. jipmg
Quoting JRRP:
220 mph

355km/h


Wilma had 234mph gusts =P
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Quoting ackee:
what the strongest hurricane we have ever seen in the atlantic

Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 had est 200MPH winds, min pressure actually measured was 26.35 inches of mercury. Camille 1969, 200MPH winds...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Updated PSA in 2006.



You're correct! Just looked.
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1380. JRRP
220 mph

355km/h
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Quoting ackee:
what the strongest hurricane we have ever seen in the atlantic


Hurricane Wilma in 2005, went from a Category 2 to a 882 MB Category 5 overnight.. man I remember waking up with that coming towards my house.. horrifying. Wilma is WAY stronger than Rick.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
1378. SLU
Quoting Weather456:
THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION OF HURRICANE RICK CAN BE EXPRESSED IN ONE
WORD...SPECTACULAR.

THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR RICK TO GATHER A LITTLE MORE STRENGTH
TONIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY..

This is what I live for



This is what you call a SUPERCANE!
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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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