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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Antilles radar

animation
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6064
1151. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


Is that what it's called? Geez, goes to prove your never too old to learn something new.


Lol, yeah, really intense and high thunderstorm tops relative to the rest of the cirrus canopy are called hot-towers.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1150. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


Oh yes, hot-tower :)


Is that what it's called? Geez, goes to prove your never too old to learn something new.
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1149. txjac
Evening all ..just got in from work so I'm confused ... didnt I look at the activity map and NOT see 92L earlier? Did it fade and then re-strengthen?
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1148. IKE

Disturbed Weather Approaching the Lesser Antilles
Jun 17, 2010 6:13 PM


The area of disturbed weather just east of the Leeward Islands has once again grown in size. But the system is being strongly sheared and the weak low level low pressure area is well west of the main thunderstorm area. So, the system is strongly tilted to the northeast due to the strong shear. Tropical systems rarely develop within this type of environment. This whole system will move westward into the Leeward Islands later Thursday night and during the day Friday and over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Friday and Friday night into Saturday. The system should bring moderate to heavy rain along with gusty winds across this area. The heavy rain and gusty winds from this system will affect Hispaniola Saturday night and Sunday. The heavy rainfall affecting Haiti could lead to dangerous and perhaps life threatening mudslides during Sunday perhaps into Monday of next week. Moisture from this system will affect 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 path this system takes even through early next week. So, given the combination of strong shear and interaction with the Greater Antilles it is unlikely that this system will develop further through at least early next week.

Other tropical waves near 40 west, south of 11 north and near 70 west, south of 19 north, remain very weak and disorganized.

By AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski
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1147. Levi32
Quoting ElConando:
That a ULL in the W Caribbean?


Yeah near Cuba....that's the base of the TUTT.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1142:

probably making a bee-line for haiti about 3 days from now...sadly...
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2336
Looks like the remanents of 92L will ruin our weekend here in the NE Caribean.:(
Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 799
Does some one have the radar link for the islands as i remember earlier we had a nice view on the system as it was approaching the islands
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That a ULL in the W Caribbean?
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where is 92L going
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115347
1141. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:
Levi, you forgot to mention the yellow appearing, which indicates temps below -80.



Oh yes, hot-tower :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1140. Levi32
Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Why do you think the northerly movement is overdone? Don't you believe and trust the GFS?


Lol no I don't trust the GFS in any universe.

First of all there are several other models which are farther south than the GFS, and it makes little sense for the GFS to open the thing up into a weak surface trough and then steer it primarily with the mid-level currents. Not only that, but the weakness in the ridge supposedly north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola right now on the GFS isn't really there on satellite analysis. It's weaker and farther west, and therefore exerting less of a northward pull on 92L. That is my reasoning for forecasting a track farther south than the current GFS runs.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1139. Grothar
Levi, you forgot to mention the yellow appearing, which indicates temps below -80.

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1132:

I was about to mention the outflow my own self. Thought maybe it was my imagination.

There are FAINT signs of outflow on the western quadrants which you can see on the infrared from the LSU site. Their setup makes it visible. Haven't looked at the others yet. Even on the right front relative to motion you can see several puffs of faint outflows over the past few hours.
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2336
1137. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Can it be considered an MCS yet?


Yes.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Levi - Do you still see this as a struggling Tropical Cyclone?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting Levi32:


First of all, the small area of WSW flow is being created by the system itself, and thus the steering is actually due west. Secondly, the GFS seems to want to keep a pronounced weakness in the mid-level ridge north of PR and Hispaniola for the next couple days, which is responsible for steering 92L north of the Caribbean on the model. You can sort of see the weakness east of Florida on that map, but the GFS has it farther east. I think the northerly movement is overdone, and 92L will stay over or just south of the big Caribbean islands.
Why do you think the northerly movement is overdone? Don't you believe and trust the GFS?
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 691
lickitysplit:

This is precisely why I hate BOTH political parties in the U.S.
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2336
Quoting Levi32:
It's trying as hard as it possibly can. This is the first time since the shear started that I've actually seen real hints of outflow on the south and west sides of the convection.....that "feathery" appearance of the white-colored clouds at the edges of the ball.

Can it be considered an MCS yet?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1132. Levi32
It's trying as hard as it possibly can. This is the first time since the shear started that I've actually seen real hints of outflow on the south and west sides of the convection.....that "feathery" appearance of the white-colored clouds at the edges of the ball.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting Levi32:


I assume he's still sick. I hope he's ok and will be back soon.
I guess so.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting lickitysplit:
Well. It certainly was interesting watching the Republicans apologize to BP for destroying the GOM. Nice little addition for the GOPers to add that the oil volcano a NATURAL disaster.

Sheeesh.


Yeah that made my afternoon too.
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1129. xcool
Levi32 THANKS..
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1128. Levi32
Quoting xcool:
WHERE 456?


I assume he's still sick. I hope he's ok and will be back soon.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Bad evening in the upper Midwest.

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1126. xcool
WHERE 456?
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1125. Levi32
22:45...very strong thunderstorms fight on...trying to follow the surface center westward but having a hard time expanding in that direction due to the shear.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting StormW:


Yeah...101...it should move at around 275-280 heading.


ah ok cool

so about due west pretty much, that could be significant if shear lifts faster than forecast
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
Well. It certainly was interesting watching the Republicans apologize to BP for destroying the GOM. Nice little addition for the GOPers to add that the oil volcano a NATURAL disaster.

Sheeesh.
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22:30
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1120. Levi32
Quoting Hurricanes101:
I dont understand something though, here is the steering for 1000mb - 1010mb systems. Is the steering not mostly to the West and WSW right near 92L? Why would it go WNW?



First of all, the small area of WSW flow is being created by the system itself, and thus the steering is actually due west. Secondly, the GFS seems to want to keep a pronounced weakness in the mid-level ridge north of PR and Hispaniola for the next couple days, which is responsible for steering 92L north of the Caribbean on the model. You can sort of see the weakness east of Florida on that map, but the GFS has it farther east. I think the northerly movement is overdone, and 92L will stay over or just south of the big Caribbean islands.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting StormW:


You see how that streamline right where 92L is...it kinks slightly north? That's a little tug...and factor in the weakness over FL and the Bahamas.


ah ok thanks
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
1117. xcool
HOTHOT SST Carribbean & 92L BLOW UP LIKE FAT balloons
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I dont understand something though, here is the steering for 1000mb - 1010mb systems. Is the steering not mostly to the West and WSW right near 92L according to that map? Why would it go WNW?

Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
1115. Levi32
Quoting DDR:
Levi
Have you noticed the 18z gfs all of a sudden dropped our potential storm,weird..but it shows alot of rain starting tomorrow night.


Yeah, well that's to be expected with an iffy storm like that. It's far from guaranteed to develop. We'll just have to keep watching. The ITCZ will be wanting to cause trouble to your east for the next several days.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting Levi32:
Upper flow shows the equatorial ridge building into the southeast Caribbean. This is starting to push the TUTT off to the north, and will eventually result in a reduction of wind shear over the northeast Caribbean, but not enough to help 92L much. This ridge is important more because it is setting the stage for the waves following behind 92L that may be a problem in the Caribbean, and will have favorable conditions underneath this ridge to develop. This ridge will eventually expand to encompass the western Caribbean as well.



visual aid with "add-ons" helps tremendously. thank you.
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1113. Levi32
500mb vort max continues to strengthen...first time in a while, maybe ever, that it's had a noticeable max up at this level.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1111. xcool
MY BRAIN NOT ALL HERE TODAY
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1110. Levi32
Upper flow shows the equatorial ridge building into the southeast Caribbean. This is starting to push the TUTT off to the north, and will eventually result in a reduction of wind shear over the northeast Caribbean, but not enough to help 92L much. This ridge is important more because it is setting the stage for the waves following behind 92L that may be a problem in the Caribbean, and will have favorable conditions underneath this ridge to develop. This ridge will eventually expand to encompass the western Caribbean as well.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting StormW:


Yeah...right now it's a fairly shallow system...not vertically stacked at all. Could encounter some mid level shear too!









is there any probability of it slipping south of that band of shear as it passes into the NE Carribbean?
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Quoting StormW:


Yeah...right now it's a fairly shallow system...not vertically stacked at all. Could encounter some mid level shear too!









actually it looks better stacked then it has been
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
1106. leo305
upper ridge means a ridge of high pressure (upper levels) is building from the south..
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting Levi32:
Upper ridge is beginning to build into the eastern Caribbean.



Gonna be interesting to see how far north the ridge builds into the Caribbean and where the TUTT gets displaced to in the coming days. This will play a huge role in the future of our invest.
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1104. xcool
1098. Levi32 2010
Upper ridge is beginning to build into the eastern Caribbean.


??? What does MEAN .I;M LOST TOO DAY
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no wounder why wind shear is lower
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115347
1102. DDR
Levi
Have you noticed the 18z gfs all of a sudden dropped our potential storm,weird..but it shows alot of rain starting tomorrow night.
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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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