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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1728. Manhattancane
12:06 PM GMT on October 19, 2009
Whoever said the above needs to visit places with a more diverse set of demographics than where they live if they are basing their entire opinion off of there.
Quoting calusakat:


>And I live in a majority minority neighborhood and am minority myself.
Member Since: August 24, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 72
1727. Manhattancane
11:54 AM GMT on October 19, 2009
Quoting atmoaggie:
Quote: societally-useless underclass (like many African Americans,


>>I didn't mean 'African Americans are an underclass', or 'most African Americans are like this' I meant 'many are like this' 'nonminors that are able to work (or do college) and don't put in the hours increases societal inefficiency, and needlessly breeds a "below working-class" underclass that's stuck in a poverty trap because society has survived without them + without thinking up and making jobs to give them, and because of that previous fact, the government is forced to partially subsidize their lives, breeding a handout mentality which is detrimental to the psyche. And the persecuted and overly "hard" (if their individual conscience allows, to the point of criminal) mentality. Hard economic times raise crime in all races. Just their bad times never ends.'

Oh, that's one more thing the government does better than the free market. Job creation. If spending money is the best way to create jobs, you'll just save like a third of the tax cuts we give you instead of making new jobs.

that's why I don't like public housing)

>Even though they have to wait months, (or even years, if they have the nerve to want to not live in a high-crime area) for a tiny 20th story apartment in forests of '+' shaped towers with paper-thin walls and literal 6.5 foot ceilings, 600,000 people in my city (7% of the population) pay ~$300/month for this instead of figuring some way to work $600 more per month and not have to deal with any of these problems (except unit size). Something is wrong with this.

Believe it or not, full time minimum wage would be only enough for this or a semiprivate furnished room (or roommate)

>There are some really sick, clueless people in here sometimes that make gross generalizations that really go against their apparent voting record.

Whoever said the above needs to visit places with a more diverse set of demographics than where they live if they are basing their entire opinion off of there.


>>I've seen 10 of them with my own eyes, 2-3 in an area so not-bad I'd rent in a heartbeat for over 2x the price if the aformentioned 6.5 foot ceilings and other substandard conditions didn't apply (they do that on purpose), a few almost as good, and 6 bad area, despite having never lived away from a good area (crime-wise) in my life. I went inside 4, been inside the units of 2, also seen pictures of more. One of the projects specifically (despite not being the worst), in hindsight I can't believe I walked a few hundred yards in for nothing but curiosity. Despite being 14, 15 and foolhardy to enter in the first place, on the very loop out I swore I'd never do that again. Yet the next block doesn't look bad at all and as near as a few hundred yards there's no visual hint. Go figure. They always look crummier than their immediate surroundings. So shut up.
Member Since: August 24, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 72
1726. 954FtLCane
5:29 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Geaux Saints!!!!
Member Since: September 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
1725. 954FtLCane
5:25 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting 954FtLCane:
Geaux Saints!!!!

OMG it was an hour and a half before I commented.... this blog needs a serious Cat 5
Member Since: September 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
1724. 954FtLCane
5:17 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Geaux Saints!!!!
Member Since: September 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
1723. lawntonlookers
3:46 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Thanks 456 for the answer on DMSP.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
1722. BurnedAfterPosting
3:35 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BahaHurican:
Other comment: I still have a hard time seeing a major out of anything in the CAR, even the WCAR, given the performance of tropical systems in the face of wind shear, sinking air, etc. ECMWF's aggressiveness is IMO overplaying strength a bit. OTOH, I doubt we'll see this much activity in that area at this time of year (especially considering the nature of the activity i.e. trough/Twave interaction) without seeing SOME kind of system form. Current conditions are favorable, and climatology suggests high possibility.


Upward MJO will take care of any sinking air you may be referring too, also shear is forecasted to be favorable
1721. portcharlotte
3:31 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BahaHurican:
I still think whatever is coming will come somewhere along that 80W line, though. It's grounds for the "clash of the Titans" ....


IMO the system in the W. Carib will be a Southeast Gulf event. The Atlantic High should hold on long enough too keep the system west of the 8o Longitude line before the next trough enables the storm to cross south and central Florida in a classic October style..
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 703
1720. Orcasystems
3:29 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Sneaky little system in the Caribbean.

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1719. nrtiwlnvragn
3:28 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
New Blog
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11223
1718. BahaHurican
3:27 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
BTW, am I the only one checking the top of the column with each post to see if the Doc has posted a new blog?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
1717. JupiterFL
3:27 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting atmoaggie:

An appropriate comment made by an adult would have stopped with "Pretty bold statement and I think nothing will form."


Maybe they are a member of the Atlanta Childrens Met Office?
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2146
1716. BahaHurican
3:27 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Other comment: I still have a hard time seeing a major out of anything in the CAR, even the WCAR, given the performance of tropical systems in the face of wind shear, sinking air, etc. ECMWF's aggressiveness is IMO overplaying strength a bit. OTOH, I doubt we'll see this much activity in that area at this time of year (especially considering the nature of the activity i.e. trough/Twave interaction) without seeing SOME kind of system form. Current conditions are favorable, and climatology suggests high possibility.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
1715. Orcasystems
3:26 PM GMT on October 18, 2009


Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1713. Patrap
3:25 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Candied Corn is NOT a Breakfast food.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
1712. Cavin Rawlins
3:23 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting AtlantaMET:


What are you getting at really?


Basically, the ECMWF is credible and reasonable throughout the season and in this case but I'm not overly excited just yet because normally with clear-cut development, the ECMWF is accompanied by other models. Basically not discounting development but being conservative.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1711. Patrap
3:23 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Hello there,101.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
1709. presslord
3:21 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting 954FtLCane:
\
Falling apart I see


OK...that is, hands down, the funniest...and most insightful, comment in a long while...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
1708. WxLogic
3:21 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting Weather456:


I would not call the NAM support.


LOL... note... not stating that NAM is supporting the rapid intensification or a disturbance of quite fair organization in the W Carib region, but a "decent" moisture increase in the region that could then yield towards a possible development. Hope that clears some mistranslations... hehe :)
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4978
1706. Patrap
3:20 PM GMT on October 18, 2009

All opinions are welcomed,its our way of saying,..."everyone has a voice".


The world wont stop a spinning if it does,or dosent form.


The season wanes,..and well,,that's always a good thing.



Gotta Luv Fall and October.


Atlantic was a Bust for the Storm Follower's,but a wunderful Blessing for States in Recovery still.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
1705. BahaHurican
3:20 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting Weather456:


agree...the initiator is probably further north.
I still think whatever is coming will come somewhere along that 80W line, though. It's grounds for the "clash of the Titans" ....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
1704. Melagoo
3:19 PM GMT on October 18, 2009


Wow Rick is a monster!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1579
1703. Cavin Rawlins
3:18 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Yes but when was the last time you saw the ECMWF of all models this aggressive and this consistent on a system and be wrong?

Answer a very long time


That is true but I would still like to see some model support. The ECMWF normally is never wrong but at the same time it's not normally alone.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1702. Drakoen
3:18 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Yes but when was the last time you saw the ECMWF of all models this aggressive and this consistent on a system and be wrong?

Answer a very long time


Also the time frame is no longer in the long-range
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30578
1701. Cavin Rawlins
3:17 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting AtlantaMET:
It's wishcasting, IMO.


No, the ECM is being reasonable.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1700. ackee
3:17 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
ECMWF model is right this will get my award for the model of 2009 seasons
Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1373
1699. BurnedAfterPosting
3:16 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting Weather456:


Thats what I am looking at. Most of the systems had model consensus this year whether all was developing or none developing at all. Never the case with 1 model.


Yes but when was the last time you saw the ECMWF of all models this aggressive and this consistent on a system and be wrong?

Answer a very long time
1697. Drakoen
3:15 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30578
1696. Cavin Rawlins
3:13 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting WxLogic:


Indeed... NAM ha been giving some support to ECMWF in regards a pretty decent moisture increase in the W/SW Carib.


I would not call the NAM support.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1695. Drakoen
3:13 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
ECMWF 48hr:

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30578
1694. Cavin Rawlins
3:12 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting scottsvb:
Until the GFS comes along with the ECMWF...this wont be much....ECMWF has performed well so far...but its a wait and
see thing..nothing to get excited about yet.


Thats what I am looking at. Most of the systems had model consensus this year whether all was developing or none developing at all. Never the case with 1 model.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1693. Drakoen
3:11 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting WxLogic:


Indeed... NAM ha been giving some support to ECMWF in regards a pretty decent moisture increase in the W/SW Carib.


The NAM has the mid level circulation going on the coast then coming back off... stalling it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30578
1692. atmoaggie
3:11 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting WxLogic:


Indeed... NAM ha been giving some support to ECMWF in regards a pretty decent moisture increase in the W/SW Carib.

CMC has been just developing a low on land in South America...so far anyway.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1691. scottsvb
3:11 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Until the GFS comes along with the ECMWF...this wont be much....ECMWF has performed well so far...but its a wait and
see thing..nothing to get excited about yet.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1692
1690. Patrap
3:10 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
GOM 60 Hour Water Surface Temperature Forecast Model

GOM 84 Hour Wind Forecast ,NAM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
1689. Cavin Rawlins
3:10 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting 954FtLCane:

OMG no no no please....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC--NX8252c


Shots! lol that song is off the chain.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1688. Drakoen
3:10 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BahaHurican:
1675. Drakoen

I note the analysis suggests that area will move west, possibly into Central America.


The ECMWF puts it just off the coast as well. Track the 850mb vorticity maximum and you can see the ECMWF stalls the low pressure center before it emerges on the coast as the system becomes better organized.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30578
1687. WxLogic
3:09 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting IKE:
12Z NAM @ 84 hours....



Indeed... NAM ha been giving some support to ECMWF in regards a pretty decent moisture increase in the W/SW Carib.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4978
1686. atmoaggie
3:09 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting AtlantaMET:
Pretty bold statement and I think nothing will form and you will be wrong.

An appropriate comment made by an adult would have stopped with "Pretty bold statement and I think nothing will form."
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1685. 954FtLCane
3:08 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting AtlantaMET:
Quoting Drakoen:
Interesting 00z ECMWF continuing to be consistent in developing a strong tropical cyclone. The front will begin to interact with the tropical wave and potentially kick things off. With the MJO forecasted, low vertical wind shear, and the most reliable model's consistency I am in anticipation of a tropical storm developing mid to late next week.


Pretty bold statement and I think nothing will form and you will be wrong.

OMG no no no please....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC--NX8252c
Member Since: September 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
1684. Cavin Rawlins
3:08 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Quoting BahaHurican:
1675. Drakoen

I note the analysis suggests that area will move west, possibly into Central America.


agree...the initiator is probably further north.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1682. Cavin Rawlins
3:07 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
I would like to see the other reliable models come on-board.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1681. BahaHurican
3:07 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
1675. Drakoen

I note the analysis suggests that area will move west, possibly into Central America.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
1680. IKE
3:05 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
12Z NAM @ 84 hours....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1679. BahaHurican
3:04 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
Blob watching....



Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
1678. ackee
3:04 PM GMT on October 18, 2009
any one think the system in SW carrb will track similar to Gordon if its develop the ECMWF track seem very werid thow guess only time will tell
Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1373

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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.