Globe has 1st or 2nd warmest March on record; El Niño fades to weak category

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:20 PM GMT on April 16, 2010

Share this Blog
1
+

The globe recorded its warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center. The March temperature anomaly of 0.77°C (1.39°F) beat the previous record set in 2002 by 0.03°C. The last time the globe had a record warmest month was in January 2007 (according to NOAA) or in November 2009 (according to NASA). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated March 2010 the second warmest March on record, 0.01°C behind the record set in 2002. The year-to-date period, January - March, is the 4th warmest such period on record, according to NOAA, and the warmest on record, according to NASA. March 2010 global ocean temperatures were the warmest on record, while land temperatures were the 4th warmest. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest on record in March, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups. The March temperature anomaly of 0.66°C was the third highest monthly anomaly on record, behind the 0.76°C anomalies measured in February and April of 1998.

For those interested, NCDC has a page of notable weather highlights from March 2010.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for March 2010. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

A warm March for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., it was the 32nd warmest March in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. For the third month in a row, Florida was the coldest state, relative to average. It was Florida's 4th coldest March. No other state had a top-ten coldest March. Rhode Island had its warmest March on record, and thirteen other states had a top-ten warmest March, including all of New England, plus Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Montana.

U.S. precipitation and drought
For the contiguous U.S., March 2010 ranked as the 35th driest in the 116-year record. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Montana recorded a top-ten driest March. However, all-time March precipitation records were set in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. New Hampshire and Connecticut each had a top-five wettest March. At the end of March, 2.0% of the contiguous United States was in severe-to-exceptional drought. This is the lowest March drought footprint in the U.S. in the past ten years.


Figure 2. Computer model forecasts of El Niño/La Niña made in April. The forecasts that go above the red line at +0.5°C denote El Niño conditions; -0.5°C to +0.5°C denote neutral conditions, and below -0.5°C denote La Niña conditions. No computer models predict El Niño conditions and six predict La Niña for the upcoming hurricane season (ASO, August-September-October). The rest of the models predict neutral conditions. Image credit: Columbia University's IRI.

El Niño fades from moderate to weak
El Niño slowly weakened during late March and early April, and El Niño conditions crossed the threshold from moderate to weak during the past two weeks. Sea surface temperatures over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were at 0.83°C above average on April 11, which is just below the 1.0°C threshold to be considered a moderate El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Anomalously strong westerly winds along the Equator that had helped maintain the current El Niño slackened in late March, and winds are now near average over the Equatorial Pacific. It now appears very likely that El Niño will be gone by hurricane season. None of the sixteen El Niño models (updated as of April 15) are predicting El Niño will be around during the height of hurricane season (August-September-October); six are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. The expected demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, have prompted two major hurricane forecasting groups (tropicalstormrisk.com and Colorado State University) to predict a well-above average 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

March sea ice extent in the Arctic 5th lowest on record
March 2010 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 5th lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979. Ice extent was lower than in 2009 and 2008, but greater than in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The weather pattern over the Arctic during much of March 2010 featured a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO). This pattern tends to slow the winds that typically flush large amounts of sea ice out of the Arctic between Greenland and Iceland, and the Arctic lost less ice this winter compared to the previous few years. The larger amount of multi-year ice could help more ice to survive the summer melt season. However, this replenishment consists primarily of younger, two- to three-year-old multi-year ice; the thickest ice more than three years old has continued to decline.

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues to disrupt European air travel
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano on Iceland erupted Wednesday, sending a towering cloud of volcanic ash 6 - 11 km (20,000 - 36,000') high in the air from its 1666 meter (5500') high peak. The ash cloud continues to cause a dramatic interruption of air traffic over much of northern Europe today, and this disruption will spread southwards and eastwards as the ash cloud gradually spreads and disperses. For the latest forecasts of where the ash cloud is expected to go, consult the UKMET Office. The Norwegian Institute for Air Research runs a computer trajectory model called FLEXPART that has longer, 3-day forecasts. The FLEXPART model shows that ash will continue to be a problem for much of Europe through Tuesday. Spain and Portugal look like the best bet to have airports that will stay open. An excellent source of links of information on the eruption is available at http://islande2010.mbnet.fr/2010/04/eyjafjallajok ul-links-liens-a-propos-de-leyjafjallajokul/. My post on Thursday discusses the likely non-impact of this eruption on Earth's climate.


Figure 3. Forecast extent of the plume from the Iceland volcano with the unpronounceable name. Forecast was made at 17 UTC Saturday, April 17, 2010, and is valid for 12 UTC Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Image credit: Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

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: 1511 - 1461

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 | 32Blog Index

Quoting JFLORIDA:


Surprising - climate scientists - names???

Agree on what? CO2 sinks and sources? Gas Mechanics?

Atmospheric science?

Also ocean cycles are modeled into projections, BTW but you would know that if you up on the science.

I wont drop names because until it's on paper, Im not one to say who said what. There are a few, however, who have penned a few writings. You can do a quick search on USA & UAH to see who and exactly what their points of view. As far as my professor this particular year, the general feeling is that we don't know enough to say which way or the other.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Its its make fun of al gore, not follow atmospheric science, quote denial sites, misrepresent climate data then some wet blanket shows up to discuss the actual science.

Never mind - its irresponsible though. At every important juncture the denial machine has been proven wrong.

Ill let you guys go back to playing TV weatherman.


No university will let you though without a more technical propensity towards physical science though.

No university? My professors agree with me! =P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1506. JRRP

see you tomorrow or the next week
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1505. JRRP
so the earth was always cold?
so the earth is not dynamic
and never have had oscillations ????
the changes are produced always by the humans
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1504. Levi32
Quoting JFLORIDA:


What? are you kidding - thats a serious question with the whole scientific theory????


I'm simply saying there is more to it than some people are willing to admit. CO2 is not an open and shut case. It just isn't. Again, in 20-30 years we should be able to plainly see if CO2 is the driver. I'm not saying it can't be the driver, but if we get some cooling during the cold PDO, then it can't be. And, if we continue to warm during the coming cold PDO, then a lot of these ideas about CO2 being our enemy are probably right. I would just like people to wait for the objective data over a complete climate cycle....we've only observed the warming period of it with satellites.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well it was nice while it lasted without the climate change debates/arguments.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting JFLORIDA:
This inst some superstitious and mysterious magical "natural cycle", its out of hand now, also there are real problems on the near horizon that need to be addressed.

Then this too.

You not helping anyone by being a skeptic now.

my skepticism isn't for the greater good. Im not trying to help anyone per se, just trying to be scientifically correct. I have the right to disagree for the sake of disagreeing should I choose. I've seen the data. Ive listened to the experts. And I've followed the money. As it stands, there is not enough data to convince me otherwise. One thing I know for certain, it doesn't matter for the sake of the world who's right or who's wrong. History has shown us that humanity isn't proactive, to think it is now is idealistic at best and Utopian at worst.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1500. Levi32
Quoting JFLORIDA:


No you need to give an opposing climate theory besides some mysterious cycls.

AGW is basse in atmospherinc chemistry It is a cause and effect stated whit remarkable accuracy.


But there are some things about CO2 that are not yet explained. Why is it that yearly increases in CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory stalled after the Pinatubo eruption, and then jumped up very fast during the 1997-98 super El Nino. In fact CO2 increases seem to spike during most strong El Ninos (which correspond to global temperature spikes), and stall greatly during strong La Ninas (which correspond to times of global cooling). This only suggests that the temperature is driving the CO2 in these cases, not the other way around.

To give credit where it's due, it was Joe Bastardi who first noticed this, and I gladly mention his name here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

This looks my son with the hose in the garden.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1494. Levi32
Quoting JFLORIDA:
\

Warming has been science for about 100 years now. I dont think they are that far off.


Yeah based on a pathetically sparse surface weather observation network, which is only getting more sparse now. It's prone to so many errors it's disgusting statistically. I'd rather bet on the objective and complete satellite temp data and see how it goes. This winter will be the start of a major cooling for the next couple years, and you'll probably see the coldest world-wide anomalies since before the 1998 super nino. Let's just see how it goes for the next 20-30 years. Even 10 will be enough to tell who's right. Just give it that much time to observe the first-ever cold PDO with satellites, and then we can rule it out if warming continues unabated.



From GISS's own site
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Simply because orbital shifts have been ruled out, so has solar intensifying.

Meanwhile we have burned half the recoverable carbon energy stores in 100 years.

That took millions of years to accumulate,

How on earth can there be anything else.

Because there are too many variables in climate (probably some we don't even know yet) to say "here's the problem" It's just not conclusive. We are technologically too primitive to be able to make the assessment.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1490. beell
One other point-in the interest of fairness of course.

The NASA data is land only.

Time for this skeptic to go to bed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1489. Levi32
Quoting JFLORIDA:
That isnt a very comforting map.

The problem is we've been round and round and the warming is real and intensifying. IPCC estimates are unfortunately usually the more conservative ones.


Yeah, warming since satellite measurements began, which was just after the last cold PDO ended. It makes sense that the temperatures have risen thus far. I say wait until we measure through this cold PDO that is now beginning, and see what happens. No harm in that. It's just a test. Based on fully objective, and more importantly, complete data, there isn't enough to prove anything either way. Based on ocean cycles the warming for the last 30 years was very much expected. Let's just see how it plays out over the next 30 years, or even the next 10 years, when we should see how it's going to go.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like we might get another sideswipe as the low goes through, but I'm not expecting heavy overnight showers.



Goodnight, all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just saw this notice on the NASA Viewer website:

GOES East 1 km Infrared Weather Satellite Image

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

April 14, 2010. The GOES East satellite, GOES-12, was replaced this afternoon with GOES-13 at approximately 18:34 UTC. Please note that the data will be noisy and irregularly mapped over the next week or two. We are having issues with Full Disk GOES East imagery and with the zoom feature for the Hurricane sector of GOES East.

Last Updated: Mon Apr 19 03:54:01 UTC 2010
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:
The problem is we've been round and round and the warming is real and intensifying. IPCC estimates are unfortunately usually the more conservative ones.

I just dont see how you can be so sure that Man is the biggest player here. Id wager that, yes, we do affect climate/weather. But to what extent? Id also wager its a molehill in the mountain of our atmosphere.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1482. Levi32
Quoting beell:
The data sets don't agree even using the same base period.
2000-2008


Forgot I could change the base period on the GISS map....thanks Beell.

Here's the GISS map based on 2000-2008, versus the NASA Satellite map also based on 2000-2008.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1481. beell
The data sets don't agree even using the same base period.
2000-2008
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1480. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:

I'll gladly admit to looking at Watts' site to catch up on the latest news. You did see the METAR error with minus temps being recorded as positive temps in GISS, right?

Huge difference between recording a surface ob temp at -5 C and 5 C when you are calculating an anomaly.


Yes I did see that....what a horrid mistake. One just has to wonder how many more "errors" may have occurred in the surface temperature record, and how many have gone undetected. I can't stress enough how sparse our surface net is too. Why take that above a global satellite measurement that is far less prone to problems and has complete spacial coverage at a decent resolution?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting winter123:
I think GOM blob had a decent chance of developing if Florida hadn't disrupted it. The low level circulation is well defined but it got caught on florida while the upper stuff went ahead to the northeast.
Vis satellite loop


Nah, vertical shear was never even remotely favorable.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
I don't want to get into a debate tonight, but people like me don't like seeing stuff like this.

GISS March surface temperatures: Data Source



NASA March satellite surface temperatures: Data source



I mean, there are some unacceptable discrepancies between those two maps....it's even worse when you look a the GISS map for the winter and compare to the maps from the 2nd site. I, as someone looking for objective data, just cannot understand why these things are being dismissed, and people are are now comparing satellite-measured temperatures to an average that was derived from completely non-satellite data. How the heck are you supposed to know what "accurate" is relative to the objective satellite measurements which we've only had for 30 years? How do we really know this March was the warmest on record? We didn't have satellites back in the 40s and 50s when we were in a similar climate cycle. How can you even compare the two datasets? They don't even agree with each other.

That's my rant for the night.....I'm sure someone will respond to it but I don't care for a firefight right now. Just think about it...


I'll gladly admit to looking at Watts' site to catch up on the latest news. You did see the METAR error with minus temps being recorded as positive temps in GISS, right?

Huge difference between recording a surface ob temp at -5 C and 5 C when you are calculating an anomaly.

And an error that can only result in pushing calculations in one direction and only in places below freezing...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1476. Levi32
I don't want to get into a debate tonight, but people like me don't like seeing stuff like this.

GISS March surface temperature anomalies: Data Source



NASA March satellite surface temperature anomalies: Data source



I mean, there are some unacceptable discrepancies between those two maps....it's even worse when you look a the GISS map for the winter and compare to the maps from the 2nd site. The 2nd image is based on a more recent base-period, but there are still some very obvious differences that shouldn't be there. I, as someone looking for objective data, just cannot understand why these things are being dismissed, and people are are now comparing satellite-measured temperatures to an average that was derived from completely non-satellite data. How the heck are you supposed to know what "accurate" is relative to the objective satellite measurements which we've only had for 30 years? How do we really know this March was the warmest on record? We didn't have satellites back in the 40s and 50s when we were in a similar climate cycle. How can you even compare the two datasets? They don't even agree with each other.

That's my rant for the night.....I'm sure someone will respond to it but I don't care for a firefight right now. Just think about it, those who will...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1475. JRRP

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GainesvilleGator:
It is almost 11:00 PM in Gainesville, FL & we haven't seen a drop of rain all day. It was an overcast day but I expected tha GOM low to bring us some rain.
That's unfortunate as the southern half of the state received .5" + rain today. You should receive more rain in the upcoming weeks as the sea breeze becomes more active.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think GOM blob had a decent chance of developing if Florida hadn't disrupted it. The low level circulation is well defined but it got caught on florida while the upper stuff went ahead to the northeast.
Vis satellite loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1472. beell
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1471. bappit
1468

Cool. So the durn things are sensitive to lots of things.

It's easy to locate purple martin roosts in late July with the WSR.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
One from the accu-weather folks as well

Yes I use the forum,,LOL

Thanks. Seems like Beell had it pegged (like usual).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
See you guys tomorrow.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
1468. Patrap
One from the accu-weather folks as well

Yes I use the forum,,LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1467. Levi32
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


And don't forget...that when Columbus "discovered" these new lands...he and his men slaughtered all who lived there.


Another thing which isn't taught in most schools....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bappit:
1448

People knew the earth was round for a long time. The myth of flat earthers in Columbus' time seems to be a flat earther myth.

The biggest problem Columbus faced in getting support was that his estimates of the earth's circumference were way too small and everyone knew it. But the Italian guy got lucky and ran into land before he starved.


And don't forget...that when Columbus "discovered" these new lands...he and his men slaughtered all who lived there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1465. Patrap
With the implementation of the WSR-88D NEXRAD system in the early and mid 1990s, this changed completely. The new systems are much more powerful, much more sensitive and almost completely automatic. The new systems attempt to keep anomalous returns (called AP for Anomalous Propagation of the radar beam) to a minimum by using complex algorithms and filtering techniques. These same algorithms, however, can also block out or impair detection of meteorological targets if not applied properly, causing some very unnatural looking patterns. The radars can also measure the velocity of radar returns using the Doppler theory. Because of this, full color images of target velocity (measured inbound and outbound along each radial) are available for every elevation slice. This is what allows us to actually see and measure the "spin" within a tornado, as well as see it's shape! Cool, huh!?

So now we have a huge, new nationwide radar network with incredible capability. Things began to be seen on radar that had never been seen before. With time, they have almost all been fully explained. Swarms of bees, clouds of dust, migrating birds, airliners, highway traffic, subtle atmospheric boundaries (fronts), inversions, hail "spikes", cloud layers, virga (evaporating rainfall) and sunrise/sunset returns are just a few examples of phenomena that were initially unexplained. Those are just the things that have made it through the signal processing intact. There is an array of other AP phenomena that occur purely due to the automatic processing of the return radar signal. These can occur due to noise/feedback within the system and improper application of clutter suppression and attenuation applications/algorithms, among other things.


Or Voodoo maybe?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1464. bappit
a) flat earth

b) Ptolemy -- thought the earth was round and at the center of the uni.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:
Freeway Traffic outside of Chicago with a warm low-level inversion in place.




It is in the piney woods. Lotsa trees near the site...but, no, none (obviously) in the middle of Lake P.

Exactly-nothing but the bridge for miles and miles.



Huh. Neat.
I wish A&M had taught a radar class...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1462. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1461. beell
Freeway Traffic outside of Chicago with a warm low-level inversion in place.





Link


It is in the piney woods. Lotsa trees near the site...but, no, none (obviously) in the middle of Lake P.

Exactly-nothing but the bridge for miles and miles-flat as a pancake.

Goodnight folks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1511 - 1461

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 | 32Blog 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
33 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron