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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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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that could help too lower the wind shear right
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114049
1099. DDR
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
18z GFS soaks Florida.

GFS 18z 150 Hours


Not only you all,but the entire island chain
I'm sure ill have around 2 feet in the gauge by month's end
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1098. Levi32
Upper ridge is beginning to build into the eastern Caribbean.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1096. xcool


rigth at 92L
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so hows good old 92L did it evere made it too a TD all so what do mode runs show for wind shear
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114049
1093. xcool


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1800UTC is 2pm EDT, not 12pm
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1088. Levi32
22:15

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
amazing to me, if 90L had been where it was now instead of 3 weeks ago, well it would have no question developed
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1083. xcool
92L 25-30K WIND SHEAR IMO..
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
18z GFS soaks Florida.

GFS 18z 150 Hours



Well the Tampa area needs water- so let it be.
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Storm information valid as of: Thursday, June 17, 2010 18:00 Z
Coordinates: 16.0N 58.5W (View Map or View Storm Centered Satellite Image)

Location: 197 miles (317 km) to the ENE (61°) from Fort-de-France, Martinique (FRA)

Distance Calculator: How far away is this storm from me?

Pressure (MSLP): 1012 mb (29.89 inHg | 1012 hPa)

Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 25 knots (29 mph | 13 m/s)


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1080. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


Never saw it in Wiki. It would make a good article, though. Wonder why no one has written it?


Because it wasn't actually a double-eye. The one on the right is the real eye. The band of clouds between the two is the western eyewall. The left-hand "eye" is just a patch of clear sky where thunderstorms got collapsed by dry air entrainment.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
actually the CIMSS products are released every 3 hours, not every 6

so it wouldnt be 6 hours old
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1076. Grothar
Quoting MrstormX:


Creepy Photo.. "double eye (cyclone)" would make a nice article on Wikipedia, although im sure someone would try to merge it into the regular eye article.


Never saw it in Wiki. It would make a good article, though. Wonder why no one has written it?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23703
1074. xcool
hey mrs rob
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wadena minnesota took a big hit from big tornado reported by reed timmer.
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1071. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


Multi-task, Levi, Multi-task!!


And I can do it too, now that I have a laptop sitting on my desk :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
18z GFS soaks Florida.

GFS 18z 150 Hours

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1069. xcool
guess so
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Quoting Grothar:
Happy now Levi. LOL I thought you would post it, but how do you like this image of Wilma? It actually had two eyes for awhile.

I prefer to call it a pig nose :D You know I always see things differently :D

CK
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Quoting Grothar:
Happy now Levi. LOL I thought you would post it, but how do you like this image of Wilma? It actually had two eyes for awhile.



Creepy Photo.. "double eye (cyclone)" would make a nice article on Wikipedia, although im sure someone would try to merge it into the regular eye article.
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1064. Grothar
Quoting masonsnana:
I so remember that Grothar


Strange little storm from beginning to end, wasn't it? Did it hit near you?
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1063. JLPR2
Quoting Levi32:
Sunset approaches...





its starting to look like a comet XD
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1062. xcool



lower
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1061. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


Lol yeah I forgot about that one....brain's too clogged with calculus problems right now. Thanks lol.


Multi-task, Levi, Multi-task!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23703
Quoting cyclonekid:
TROPICAL STORM BLAS
Images made by cyclonekid




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1058. Levi32
Sunset approaches...



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1057. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:
Happy now Levi. LOL I thought you would post it, but how do you like this image of Wilma? It actually had two eyes for awhile.



Lol yeah I forgot about that one....brain's too clogged with calculus problems right now. Thanks lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


See my amended comment below; the Shakeer family are prominent Lebanese folks who settled all throughout much of the English Caribbean and were/are primarily in the trading and import/export businesses.


The Shakeer currently at the HPC International Desk is from Pottery's country, Trinadad and Tabago.
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Quoting Grothar:
Happy now Levi. LOL I thought you would post it, but how do you like this image of Wilma? It actually had two eyes for awhile.

I so remember that Grothar
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1054. Grothar
Happy now Levi. LOL I thought you would post it, but how do you like this image of Wilma? It actually had two eyes for awhile.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23703
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The HPC international desk which produces the Carribean Discussion is mainly a training function and a byproduct is those discussions. Mets from the Carribean and South America participate.


See my amended comment below; the Shakeer family are prominent Lebanese folks who settled all throughout much of the English Caribbean and were/are primarily in the trading and import/export businesses.
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1052. Levi32
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The HPC international desk which produces the Carribean Discussion is mainly a training function and a byproduct is those discussions. Mets from the Carribean and South America participate.


Love it....in many ways more valuable and insightful than your typical NWS/NHC synopsis.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455

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About JeffMasters

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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