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 CitikatzSouthFL:


REALLY??? Must the thing that won't die have to air at S FL???? Hope these models are wrong. Tooooo freaking early in the season for this!! Frances, Jeanne, Wilma...ALEX?????? crap!
LOL!! You kidding right?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2651. IKE
Tropical Wave Crossing Leeward Islands

Jun 18, 2010 7:44 AM

The area of disturbed weather associated with a strong tropical wave is just east of the Leeward Islands Friday. The system is being strongly sheared, and the weak low-level low pressure area is well west of the main location of thunderstorms; therefore, the system is strongly tilted to the northeast due to strong shear. Tropical systems rarely develop within this type of environment. This whole system will move westward across the Leeward Islands during the day and over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Friday and overnight into Saturday. The system will bring moderate to heavy rain along with gusty winds across this area. Heavy rain and gusty winds from this system will affect Hispaniola Saturday night and Sunday. The heavy rain in Haiti could lead to dangerous and perhaps life threatening mudslides Sunday, and perhaps into Monday of next week. Moisture from this system will reach Cuba Monday and Tuesday and might eventually affect southern and central Florida around the middle of next week. Current computer forecasts continue to show strong shear along the system's path through early next week. Given the combination of strong shear and interaction with the Greater Antilles, further development is unlikely through at least early next week.

Other tropical waves near 26 west, south of 10 north, 44 west, south of 11 north, and near 73 west, south of 19 north, remain very weak and disorganized.

By AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologists Dan Kottlowski and Brian Wimer
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Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Hook it up to your CPU and set it up with WU. You get a free membership.
Oh that's pretty cool. I'll have it up in a couple of weeks. By the way the zip code of the weather station is 33145 in Coral Gables (Miami), Florida.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Grothar:


This is an image of a neighbor, which I believe was Lakes by the Bay, the morning after Andrew. It was just a few blocks from our home. I don't think anyone who has actually ever been in a storm of this size, wants to see a repeat. Many have become more concerned about these systems, which they should. Andrew weaked three times before becoming a Cat 5. Yes, there may be some who hope to see a storm develop, but I can assure you I am not one of them. I hope any who see this image, comes to realize that these storms are not fun and games. But you brought up a good point. Hope some take heed.



My girlfreind, at the time, and I lived in Countrywalk (her home) when Andrew hit...I stayed with my parents in Miami Shores (Northern Dade County)that Sunday night when the storm cae through and she spend the night with her son also north of ground zero......The house was "gone" when I drove back down on Monday morning........Whole development looked like the picture you posted.....You never forget a sight like that and the lives destroyed.
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12z coordinates match where I see the open circulation. I'm waiting for ASCAT to see if we have an signs of a closed circulation (which I doubt telling from satellite).

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2646. IKE
Maybe the GFS is on to something in that the top portion of 92L appears to me to be getting stronger...north of the islands on it's path.

Irregardless....it's headed into 40-50 knots of shear....

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2645. Relix
Lol convection died since I posted a few hours ago. Now it looks quite bad =P
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Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting Orcasystems:
Only two models take it to a TS (HWFI,GHMI)



AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI


REALLY??? Must the thing that won't die have to air at S FL???? Hope these models are wrong. Tooooo freaking early in the season for this!! Frances, Jeanne, Wilma...ALEX?????? crap!
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Very high moisture around Tampa today. Thunderstorms should begin to fire on the seabreeze starting now. Very early today. I expect most of west central fl to be affected today.
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Good morning, all. I hope this worked.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL.
-----------------------------------------------
I'm happy to announce that I have bought a weather station and it measures things such as pressure, air temperature, winds, gusts, etc... This should come useful if there are any hurricanes coming by.


Hook it up to your CPU and set it up with WU. You get a free membership.
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Quoting IKE:


I don't see much circulation left of 92L.
I do, but it remains weak and open.


Information About Tropical Wave (Invest 92L)


Storm information valid as of: Friday, June 18, 2010 12:00 Z
Coordinates: 16.1N 62.2W
Location: 33 miles (53 km) to the WNW (282°) from Basse Terre, Guadeloupe (FRA)
Pressure (MSLP): 1011 mb (29.86 inHg | 1011 hPa)
Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 25 knots (29 mph | 13 m/s)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
try this again tropical wave train
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2637. raggpr
The radar is showing some showers heading to our area. Not too much, it seem to be light rain
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2636. IKE
I don't see a circulation. Tropical wave.
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Quoting IKE:
Peaceful Friday on the blog.

To get ya in da mode....Link
LOL.
-----------------------------------------------
I'm happy to announce that I have bought a weather station and it measures things such as pressure, air temperature, winds, gusts, etc... This should come useful if there are any hurricanes coming by.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2634. raggpr
I live here in PR. Im waiting to see what happens. Just to keep you people inform, we are experiencing a nice breeze from the NE, the breeze is some how higher than normal.
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2633. IKE
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Circulation looks to be way apart from the convection all the way at 62.6W 16.0N.



I don't see much circulation left of 92L.
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2632. Grothar
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
I get the impression from reading the entries that many on here really want the remnants of 92L to regenerate into a storm in spite of the huge bullet that the folks in the Antilles just dodged.......On that note, not looking forward to the potential torrential rains and life-threatening mudslides that this system may bring to the greater antilles, and Haiti, down the road.


This is an image of a neighbor, which I believe was Lakes by the Bay, the morning after Andrew. It was just a few blocks from our home. I don't think anyone who has actually ever been in a storm of this size, wants to see a repeat. Many have become more concerned about these systems, which they should. Andrew weaked three times before becoming a Cat 5. Yes, there may be some who hope to see a storm develop, but I can assure you I am not one of them. I hope any who see this image, comes to realize that these storms are not fun and games. But you brought up a good point. Hope some take heed.

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Circulation looks to be way apart from the convection all the way at 62.6W 16.0N.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
RecordSeason and Ike,
thanks to you both for answering my question!

Hi everyone, probably my last check in for a while....

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predicted wave train
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Quoting Crawls:
2618. lickitysplit 1:10 PM GMT on June 18, 2010
Quoting Crawls:
How many of you have jobs where you can be wrong as often as the weather "experts" and still be employed? Think I'm gonna change professions!


Good luck with the change. I hope it works out. Just stay away from anything that has to do with science as you clearly dont understand how science works.

Jeez, it was a joke!


Mine too. Sorry. I guess the e-snark didnt come across well.
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2626. IKE
Peaceful Friday on the blog.

To get ya in da mode....Link
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Time to head out for the office so have a great day. Back later.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


I know you swear by the 75W theory, and I don't doubt it either.


History doesn't lie. 63W is the line by which it needs to be a TD to continue developing. If not, its a waiting game until the Western Caribbean.
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2621. Crawls
2618. lickitysplit 1:10 PM GMT on June 18, 2010
Quoting Crawls:
How many of you have jobs where you can be wrong as often as the weather "experts" and still be employed? Think I'm gonna change professions!


Good luck with the change. I hope it works out. Just stay away from anything that has to do with science as you clearly dont understand how science works.

Jeez, it was a joke!
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I get the impression from reading the entries that many on here really want the remnants of 92L to regenerate into a storm in spite of the huge bullet that the folks in the Antilles just dodged.......On that note, not looking forward to the potential torrential rains and life-threatening mudslides that this system may bring to the greater antilles, and Haiti, down the road.
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Good morning.

I have not been on since yesterday morning but see that 92L continues to wax and wane.The surface low remains very poorly organized and with it having entered the Eastern Caribbean the likelihood of redevelopment falls significantly.

Given its very weak state I would expect a track to the West in the low level Easterly flow to continue. If it can avoid Hispaniola the area to watch for the next big flare up would be around 75W.

ASCAT has not yet downloaded for this morning but based upon the satellite presentation a well defined surface low is unlikely.

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Quoting Crawls:
How many of you have jobs where you can be wrong as often as the weather "experts" and still be employed? Think I'm gonna change professions!


I do ;)
It just costs me money.
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2615. Grothar
Quoting DestinJeff:
"center" at roughly 15N/62W?



Hey Jeff. Do you think 92L could circumvent the high shear quickly and move to a more favorable area?
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So...is 92 gonna finally get its act together or what?
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92L becoming a larger system, one reason is the excessive amount of low level clouds with no convection.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2612. Crawls
How many of you have jobs where you can be wrong as often as the weather "experts" and still be employed? Think I'm gonna change professions!
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Quoting Tazmanian:
be vary vary vary quiet am hunting JFV


ROFLMAO
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Been talking about that entry and trek further south in the Caribbean than many expect for a couple of days now ...

Ironically, lack of development last night creates more likelihood of the southerly outcome.
I agree.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:
San Juan is at 18.5N and 66.6W. Roughly 120-150 miles to the north latitude of 92L.

I would say it's going south of PR...
I agree with you. I just don't see any northward motion.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:


96 miles further west in 6 hours...moving 16mph due west.
I myself am having a hard time believing the models as they are taking 92L further northward towards the weakness over the Bahamas, as steering currents pushing it towards the west are much stronger.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2603. IKE
San Juan is at 18.5N and 66.6W. Roughly 120-150 miles to the north latitude of 92L.

I would say it's going south of PR...
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Someone needs to prank call Levi and tell him it's time to get up :) :) :)
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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.