Globe has 3rd consecutive warmest month on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:24 PM GMT on June 17, 2010

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The globe recorded its warmest May since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The May temperature anomaly of 0.69°C (1.24°F) beat the previous record set in 1998 by 0.06°C. We've now had three consecutive warmest months on record, the first time that has happened since 1998. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies also rated May 2010 as the warmest May on record, tied with May 1998. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - May, as the warmest such period on record, and the last 12-month period (June 2009 - May 2010) as the warmest 12-month period on record. May 2010 global ocean temperatures were the second warmest on record, while land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record in May, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups.

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


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for May 2010. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Asia and Southeast Asia record their hottest temperatures in history
The mercury hit an astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) at MohenjuDaro, Pakistan, on May 26. Not only is the 128.3°F reading the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, it is the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia. The evidence for this record is detailed in a post I made earlier this month. The Pakistan heat wave killed at least 18 Pakistanis, and temperatures in excess of 50°C (122°F) were recorded at nine Pakistani cities on May 26, including 53°C (127.4°F) at Sibi. Record heat also hit Southeast Asia in May. According to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Myanmar (Burma) had its hottest temperature in its recorded history on May 12, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu. Myanmar's previous hottest temperature was 45.8°C (114.4°F) at Minbu, Magwe division on May 9, 1998. According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the 47°C (116.6°F) measured on May 12 this year is the hottest temperature measured in Southeast Asia in recorded history.

An average May for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., it was the 50th coldest (66th warmest) May in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Idaho had its second coolest May on record, while it was Montana's fourth coolest, Wyoming's and Oregon's seventh coolest, Utah's eighth, California's ninth, and Nevada's tenth coolest such period. Rhode Island observed its second warmest May on record and Florida tied for its second warmest. Other states much warmer than normal during May included: Louisiana (4th warmest), Massachusetts (5th warmest), Connecticut (6th warmest), New Hampshire (7th warmest), Mississippi and New York (each 8th warmest), and New Jersey (9th warmest).

NCDC's Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for spring (March-May) was about 5 percent higher than average. The CEI measures the prevalence of several types of climate extremes (like record or near-record warmth, dry spells, or rainy periods). Factors contributing to spring's elevated values: widespread (2-3 times larger than average) coverage of anomalously warm daily max and min temperatures, and above-average extent of extreme one-day precipitation events. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, tornadic activity in May was near normal with 290 preliminary tornado reports.

U.S. precipitation and drought
For the contiguous U.S., May 2010 ranked as the 35th wettest May in the 116-year record. The state of Washington had its third wettest May on record and extreme precipitation events in Tennessee and Kentucky contributed to their sixth and seventh wettest such period, respectively. It was the tenth wettest May in North Dakota. At the end of May, approximately 3% of the contiguous United States was in severe-to-exceptional drought. This is a very low amount of drought for the U.S.

La Niña likely by July
El Niño rapidly dissipated in May, with sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", falling to 0.50°C below average by June 14, according to NOAA.. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is reporting that this number was 0.31°C below average (as of June 13.) Since La Niña conditions are defined as occurring when this number reaches 0.50°C below average, we are right at the threshold of a La Niña. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch, and it is likely that a full-fledged La Niña will emerge by July. Ten of the 23 El Niño models (updated as of May 19) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. However, as NOAA's Climate Prediction Center commented in their June 3 advisory, a number of the more reliable models are now calling for La Niña to develop this summer. They comment, "there is an increasing confidence in these colder model forecasts, which is supported by recent observations that show cooling trends in the Pacific Ocean and signs of coupling with the atmospheric circulation."

It is interesting to note that the last time we had a strong El Niño event, in 1998, El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. History appears to be repeating itself, and the emergence of La Niña will likely occur by July. The demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, suggest that a much more active Atlantic hurricane season that usual likely in 2010. The 1998 Atlantic hurricane season was about 40% above average in activity, with 14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes. The season was relatively late-starting, with only one named storm occurring before August 20.


Figure 2. Ice extent through June 15, 2010 in the Arctic, compared to the record low years of 2006 and 2007. Record low Arctic ice extent began about June 1, and has remained at record low extent for the first half of June. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Arctic sea ice extent reaches a record low at end of May
Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in May 2010 was the 9th lowest since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Ice extent was near average at the beginning of May, but thanks to the fastest rate of decline ever observed during the month of May (50% faster than average), ice extent reached a record low by the end of May. Ice extent has remained at record low levels throughout the first half of June, as well. Ice volume was also at a record low at the end of May, according to University of Washington Polar Ice Center, due to the fact the Arctic is now dominated by thin first and second-year ice.

Record low Northern Hemisphere snow extent in May
For the second consecutive month, the Rutgers Snow Lab reported that the snow cover footprint over North America was the smallest on record for the month. A record-small snow footprint was also observed over Eurasia and the Northern Hemisphere as a whole.

The Atlantic is quiet
The 92L low pressure system, now located about 300 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, has been completely disrupted by wind shear and dry air, and is no longer a threat to develop. The remnants of 92L, which are currently kicking up some strong thunderstorms due to interaction with an upper-level trough of low pressure, will bring heavy rain showers and wind gusts up to 35 mph to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands tonight through Friday, and into Puerto Rico Friday night through Saturday. On Sunday, the disturbance could bring heavy rains to northern Haiti. The earthquake zone in southern Haiti may also receive heavy enough rains to be of concern for the 1.5 million people living in tents and under tarps.

None of the reliable computer models is predicting formation of a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic over the next seven days, though the GFS model was suggesting a weak development moving through the southern Lesser Antilles Islands seven days from now.

Oil spill wind and ocean current forecast
Light and variable winds less than 10 knots will blow in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the next five days, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The winds will tend to have a westerly component through Sunday, which will maintain a slow (1/4 mph) eastward-moving surface ocean current that will transport oil eastwards along the Florida Panhandle coast, according to the latest ocean current forecast from NOAA's HYCOM model. These winds and currents may be capable of transporting oil east to Panama City, Florida, and oil will continue to threaten the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi for the remainder of the week as well, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. Ocean current forecasts for early next week show a weakening of the eastward-flowing currents along the Florida Panhandle, which would limit the eastward movement of oil so that it would not move past Panama City. The long range 8 - 16 day forecast from the GFS model indicates a typical summertime light wind regime, with winds mostly blowing out of the south or southeast. This wind regime will likely keep oil close to the coastal areas that have already seen oil impacts over the past two weeks.

NOAA has launched a great new interactive mapping tool that allows one to overlay wind forecasts, ocean current forecasts, oil location, etc.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA great new interactive mapping tool that allows one to overlay wind forecasts, ocean current forecasts, oil location, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

I'll have an update on Friday.

Jeff Masters

Tar Goobers on Okaloosa Island (Beachfoxx)
Tar & Oil from the DWH spill spoil our beaches - it hit shoreline about 11:30 am CST today
Tar Goobers on Okaloosa Island

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Quoting TampaSpin:
This loop.....http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-ir2.html really shows how sheer is relaxing near 92L...he must might very will become TD or Alex by 11am tomorrow if not before....


If so , which I wouldn't be surprised if it is a TD, what is ahead then for 92L? wha tsirection? where is it going? Will it intensify? what do the models say?(only asking because I dont know how to read the models yet)
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2151. Levi32
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Just did a cruise through the NDBC and am finding nothing but light to moderate E to ESE or ENE winds and rising pressures.


But then again, there is only one buoy (41096) even remotely close to 92L's center, and it's not even reporting.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Just did a cruise through the NDBC and am finding nothing but light to moderate E to ESE or ENE winds and rising pressures.

The winds at Martinique, calm earlier, have a NNE direction (from) now...not quite supportive of a surface circ.


(best viewed full size...click)
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New shear tendency map indicates that 92L is almost in marginally favorable shear conditions. Right on the edge:

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2148. Grothar
Here is the GFS 144 hours out. Not the High pressure.



Here is the CMC, a less reliable model IMO, but notice the high forecast here.

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Only place I am finding dropping pressures is north of PR.
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2146. xcool
TampaSpin .30K WIND SHEAR.
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I'm being reminded of this picture with "Wanna Be Alex" Photobucket
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2144. txjac
Well people ...off to bed, as much as I dont want to ..work early in the morning. Thanks for all the positive imput and teaching to those less knowledgeable

See ya tomorrow
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This loop.....http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-ir2.html really shows how sheer is relaxing near 92L...he must might very will become TD or Alex by 11am tomorrow if not before....
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Just did a cruise through the NDBC and am finding nothing but light to moderate E to ESE or ENE winds and rising pressures.
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2141. Grothar
Quoting homelesswanderer:


I wasn't around quite yet but I've seen survivors speak of the storms they've been through. The Long Island Express was a complete surprise to the people of the North East. Everyone just went about their regular day having no idea what was going to hit them. Their stories were heart wrenching. And especially people in the NE need to keep up with things because of the speed they travel. I agree we are lucky to have warning. I just hope everyone is aware it can happen to them. Whether they've had a storm 2 weeks ago or 80 years ago.


People were actually sitting on the beaches watching the waves get bigger. A little bit of trivia, but the famous actress, Katherine Hepburn, was actually swimming in Long Island Sound as the storm was approaching. There were warnings, but the storm was moving at over 60 mph. Hundreds died in that storm.
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2140. xcool


WIND SHEAR.
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Quoting Grothar:


In truth, we actually watched the animals. If they disappeard, so did we. Most times we only had a few hours. When storms were actually approaching our areas, they birds usually took off. There were pretty good weather services, but nothing like this. We would always know if one was in the vicinity, because they actually had real weather ships positioned all over which relayed information. It would be interesting reading for you and others, to see how far we have come. People complain they only get 36 hours warning; try 3 hours and see how fast one cant move.


I wasn't around quite yet but I've seen survivors speak of the storms they've been through. The Long Island Express was a complete surprise to the people of the North East. Everyone just went about their regular day having no idea what was going to hit them. Their stories were heart wrenching. And especially people in the NE need to keep up with things because of the speed they travel. I agree we are lucky to have warning. I just hope everyone is aware it can happen to them. Whether they've had a storm 2 weeks ago or 80 years ago.
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2138. xcool
TampaSpin LOL HEY
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Funny how they even dropped the floater on 92L....OPPPPSSSS........ROFLMAO...getter back up!!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting TampaSpin:


That is correct...best guess as models would show that the High would move off the East Coast and allow 92L to come up the West side of the High. When that occurs is too hard to tell yet as models don't have a grip of what is happening yet.


Yep. It's just not looking like a very good setup this year for the Gulf. Indications so far appear to point to storms tracking through the Yucatan Channel into the GOM.
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Got a weird feeling about this system. We have a man-made disaster in the gulf and maybe this is mother natures way of making us (people) become more responsible for our environment and actions.
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2134. xcool



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Really looks like erika to me : unpredictable and doing things models aren't forecasting
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
GOES 12 Sat just went offline, bad timing as I wanted to see the low cloud product to see the COC position...
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2130. leo305
supposed center is becoming clearer on radar.. and its moving W/WSW, just to the west of that band of rain becoming wrapped with rain
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2129. Grothar
At the current forecast, the high pressure should build as far South as the Florida straights. If it were to move on its present course, it would have to remain south of Cuba and maybe start a Northern movement beyond that, If a weaknes appears in the high, it could move more Northerly than expected.
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2128. Levi32
25-30 knot winds within the MCC.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
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2126. Torgen
Holy crap. I was checking in before going to bed, and the Zombie Invest still LIVES!

This is nuts.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


That's a current steering product and does not give an idea of what will happen once 92L is in the Western Caribbean.


That is correct...best guess as models would show that the High would move off the East Coast and allow 92L to come up the West side of the High. When that occurs is too hard to tell yet as models don't have a grip of what is happening yet.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting AussieStorm:
If anyone wants to see what weather 92L brings to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Here is a weather network camera.
Username: public
Password: weather


Now we won't get anything unlike every forecasts.. all is going to stay south.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
2123. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


INV/92/XL
MARK
15.7N/59.3W
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Quoting Levi32:
04:15....MCC is losing its circular structure but hot towers are jabbing rapidly westward towards the approximate location of the surface center east of Dominica.



Still vacuuming. If we don't watch out, the two are going to be vertically stacked before we know it.
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2120. Levi32
Outflow (the feathery white clouds along the edges) has been inching outward for hours, trying its best to expand, but is finding it difficult. The fact that it's making progress at all on the west and south sides, however, is significant.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting TampaSpin:




Here is the low level steering which 92L should be using....it should take a very southern motion into the Carribean and take aim near the Yucatan... before it curves as a big high pressure dome will be to the North.....


That's a current steering product and does not give an idea of what will happen once 92L is in the Western Caribbean.
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Levi32,
We do not need mischief in the gulf this year.
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2116. Levi32
04:15....MCC is losing its circular structure but hot towers are jabbing rapidly westward towards the approximate location of the surface center east of Dominica.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
2115. Walshy
Quoting Claudette1234:
I put a question:

2AM report from NHC?

1. 20%
2. 30%
3. 40%
4. 50%
5. >50%
6. TD



1. 20%
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Quoting Grothar:
Hey atmo, still on? Can't get data from buoy 41096, the only one in that area. Who owns it now and why aren't they sharing?

Even from the Meteofrance GTS, only water temps and waves, no wind data, no pressure data.

Give it a whirl here: http://www.meteo.shom.fr/qctools/dataplotsurfmar.htm

Wave heights picked up a little...must be slightly more windy than before...but all we can do with this is a relative gauge or go Beaufort scale...



NDBC has very little info from 41096. If we knew it was deep water, we might consider Beaufort...but at 1 to 2 meter waves, what's the point?

And these guys are probably getting their data from the NOAA GTS, but only have water temps: http://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base.cgi?stn=41096

These guys have a wind report...but I am suspicious that it is derived from something other than an actual surface ob: http://freemeteo.com/default.asp?pid=15&gid=9002068&la=1&sid=0
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Thanks for the helpful insight. :)
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2112. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


Yeah I bet....must have been horrid back then not knowing if you were going to get hit and what you were going to get hit with.


In truth, we actually watched the animals. If they disappeard, so did we. Most times we only had a few hours. When storms were actually approaching our areas, they birds usually took off. There were pretty good weather services, but nothing like this. We would always know if one was in the vicinity, because they actually had real weather ships positioned all over which relayed information. It would be interesting reading for you and others, to see how far we have come. People complain they only get 36 hours warning; try 3 hours and see how fast one cant move.
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Quoting AustinTXWeather:
If it were to take a more southerly route, what factors then determine when/where it would eventually make it's northern/upward curve?




Here is the low level steering which 92L should be using....it should take a very Westerly motion into the Carribean and take aim near the Yucatan... before it curves as a big high pressure dome will be to the North.....
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting Claudette1234:
I put a question:

2AM report from NHC?

1. 20%
2. 30%
3. 40%
4. 50%
5. >50%
6. TD


I am going with choice 2, 30%
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2109. Levi32
0z GFS 180 hours:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Levi32:


The same ones really. The mid-level ridge to the north would steer it west for a while, and then it would either find a weakness in the ridge over the Bahamas/GOM or continue west, possibly even into the northern Yucatan. At this point the models have been doing poorly with the upper pattern in the area so it is hard to say if there will be a weakness of any kind.

The main difference is the track has shifted south, and the curve to the north, if there is one, would be possibly a bit slower in that situation.


Basically taking the route of less shear. Convection keeps developing toward that upper ridge emerging in the Southeast Caribbean.
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Quoting Claudette1234:
I put a question:

2AM report from NHC?

1. 20%
2. 30%
3. 40%
4. 50%
5. >50%
6. TD


30%
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If anyone wants to see what weather 92L brings to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Here is a weather network camera.
Username: public
Password: weather
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2104. Levi32
Quoting AustinTXWeather:
If it were to take a more southerly route, what factors then determine when/where it would eventually make it's northern/upward curve?


The same ones really. The mid-level ridge to the north would steer it west for a while, and then it would either find a weakness in the ridge over the Bahamas/GOM or continue west, possibly even into the northern Yucatan. At this point the models have been doing poorly with the upper pattern in the area so it is hard to say if there will be a weakness of any kind.

Another factor is that if this is farther south it may develop into something stronger than it is now, and that would also affect its track, as a deeper system would tend to track farther north.

The main difference is the track has shifted south, and the curve to the north, if there is one, would be possibly a bit slower in that situation.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
2103. 7544
hmm what will pull 92l north from its position now anyone ?
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Quoting Levi32:
0z GFS 156 hours has 92L making mischief in the Gulf of Mexico.


Thats all we need is a big blender.
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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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