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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Activity in the tropics next week into the last week of June, IMO, could be more active.
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Quoting extreme236:
Given how the GFS failed to accurately predict 92L's formation, any of those interesting lows on the GFS forecast could perhaps be more than it suggests.


The GFS also opened 92L back up into a trough which has happened. It didn't do so badly really. I can see where it's coming from with those lows too. The ITCZ is about to lift north in that area. It also has model support from the ECMWF and NOGAPS.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Good catch HurricaneHunterGal
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Given how the GFS failed to accurately predict 92L's formation, any of those interesting lows on the GFS forecast could perhaps be more than it suggests.
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Quoting StormW:


No...it wasn't.
thot so tyvm
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AussieStorm:

92L may have dissipated, but where will the energy in the Twave go?
Anyone want to answer?
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Quoting will45:


StormW look at post 276. Was that last bolded part in the original message please.


It was not, that guy was playing a bad joke.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
By 6 days out we have a favorable upper ridging pattern over most of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting StormW:
Good afternoon, Levi!


StormW look at post 276. Was that last bolded part in the original message please.
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291. unf97
Good afternoon everyone!

StormW, are there indications that ex-92L may move north of the Lesser Antilles?
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Quoting Drakoen:
Very interesting the European forecast are so high. With the Glosea predicting 20 named storms which is the average among it's ensemble members we should continue to expect quite a rough season.
Quoting Levi32:


And the GloSea had 6 forecasted for last year. Big turnaround.


Wow!
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I remember Izzy. I was really worried about her. She was heading right at us and just before landfall dry air from Mexico took the life out of her. I think the power was out for 2 hours and I had 10 sticks in the yard. Governor Foster said that it was prayer that calmed the storm. Maybe God was giving Louisiana a break for a change. We don't get many.



Quoting Levi32:


Yeah Isidore.

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Quoting StormW:
Good afternoon, Levi!


Hey Storm! How goes it down in the frying pan?

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Drakoen:
Very interesting the European forecast are so high. With the Glosea predicting 20 named storms which is the average among it's ensemble members we should continue to expect quite a rough season.


And the GloSea had 6 forecasted for last year. Big turnaround.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting RecordSeason:
272:

"Remnants" unofficially consist of anything the NHC is downplaying, or is currently not viewed as being worth making any further official statements on, which in the case of 92L I think is a premature mistake.
Thanks, I picture the bones from a chicken when my family of 6 gets done with it!
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Ah look at this on the 12z GFS....TD east of Trinidad and 92L forming a low north of Cuba.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Very interesting the European forecast are so high. With the Glosea predicting 20 named storms which is the average among it's ensemble members we should continue to expect quite a rough season.
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beautiful rebirth of invest 92 here: Link
visible view:
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UKMET Monday night:

This pattern could easily be a problem if ex-92L stays alive in here.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
278. 7544
Quoting stillwaiting:
92L ain't done yet,the real show should begin as it moves into warmer waters and sheer begins to relax over the next 72hrs.....


agree looks good at this hour 92l may have some tricks to play yet
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The ITCZ disturbance or the ITCZ altogether?


That whole portion of the ITCZ is going to lift north a bit, wave, disturbance, and all. The front-running feature can't avoid at least part of South America though.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting NotCircumventing:
From Storm's post:

Dear Mr. Walsh:

The requirement for "organized deep convection" has both a spatial and temporal component. Convection that is intermittent is not considered organized, e.g., one burst per day is not enough. No hard and fast rule, but we're generally looking for at least 12-24 hours of persistent deep convection. The Dvorak technique is another way to measure the amount of convective organization (although it's better at measuring the amount and structure rather than the persistence); we usually like to see Dvorak classifications of T2.0 or higher. The technique is not perfect, of course, so that is a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. Sometimes we'll designate a depression with a Dvorak T1.5. In short, we are looking at the persistence, depth, and areal organization of the convection. There is no question that some subjectivity is involved, but we make the best judgments that we can using data that are invariably incomplete. More often than not, however, we rely soley on the ratio of comments (classify / not classify) we find on the comments section of the WU Tropics blog.
James

--
James L. Franklin

Branch Chief, Hurricane Specialist Unit
NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center
11691 SW 17th Street, Miami FL 33165

...wow, that shows how much pull we have!


...I do not see your bolded part of the NHC letter in Mr. Walsh's original post...
Moreover, I do not believe the NHC would rely on blog comments to assess the tropics.
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Quoting StormW:


I am not too sure...it may slightly...however, the main cause of the GOMEX warm up has been the very active loop current.


Thank you Storm, have a great day.
Sheri
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GRAPHICS UPDATE
11:00 am EDT Advisory: Tropical Depression Two-E

11:00 am EDT Advisory: Tropical Depression Three-E
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Those new T-Spin?


I don't know? I seen it live the other day and my mouth flew open for my wife to come see this.......we both watched the live feed.
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What do remnants consist of?
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Quoting Levi32:
GFS wants to lift the ITCZ to the north in quite a hurry. That's how this wave could cause mischief.

The ITCZ disturbance or the ITCZ altogether?
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Thanks for the update Storm W - with the remnants of 92L heading west, let's all keep Haiti in our thoughts.

Hoping that the PayPal/Portlight account is lighting up :)

79 here in S Wisc, with humidity & strong storms in the forecast.
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Quoting scott39:
Thanks, I dont understand how it could fully dissipate, unless land is expected to play a factor? Then again im learning, so what do i know yet? LOL


Lol...yes land could try to kill it and any low pressure system that goes long enough without convection over its center will keep filling (weakening) and eventually dissipate.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Upper level winds can just destroy it.
Why hasnt it done it yet? Time?
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GFS wants to lift the ITCZ to the north in quite a hurry. That's how this wave could cause mischief.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting scott39:
Thanks, I dont understand how it could fully dissipate, unless land is expected to play a factor? Then again im learning, so what do i know yet? LOL
Upper level winds can just destroy it.
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Quoting Levi32:


The forecast for upper-level conditions in the gulf will become clearer with each passing day as we get closer to the time-frame during which ex-92L will be moving into that area, but sometimes model forecasts can be wrong on wind shear as little as 24-48 hours out, as the GFS kinda was today. I rely a good deal on direct observations of satellite data as well to predict wind shear. We should have a pretty good idea when we're 2-3 days or so away from ex-92L moving in....assuming it hasn't fully dissipated by then.
Thanks, I dont understand how it could fully dissipate, unless land is expected to play a factor? Then again im learning, so what do i know yet? LOL
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Hear, hear! Well said.
For the record, I prefer a Hurricane over an Oil Spill - we know how to deal with the before & after of a 'Cane. We are resilient & can be up and running very quickly after a storm, usually before FEMA can get their act together to assist, but this spill has gone on for 58+ days driving tourism away, impacting every business on the gulf coast for days; nerves are frayed, people are frightened. You can feel the stress & smell the fear......


I don't have words to describe the sadness I feel for all my coastal friends. I am in Pharr, TX. now but lived in Mobile 15 years before I was transferred. South Padre Island has not yet been affected, but 1 storm and it may be here, too. I have gone to the island with my children the last 5 weekends.....taking lots of pictures....shedding lots of tears....thinking of what tomorrow may bring. I pray for you, Foxx, and our once beautiful coast.
Steve
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GFS 12z 84 hours has the remnants of 92L over the Bahamas.

GFS 12z 84 hours

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The Atlantic looks pretty quiet for the next 7 days.

Good to see.
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I know what you mean, I have family that is the same way up there. But yeah, Fort Wayne to go shopping, movies, etc. No A/C at home, so to cool off on those sultry summer afternoons had to jump in the air-conditioned car and head there to escape the heat.
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Quoting scott39:
Levi, when will we know what a good forecast for shear is in the GOM (IF) x92 is going to develope there?


The forecast for upper-level conditions in the gulf will become clearer with each passing day as we get closer to the time-frame during which ex-92L will be moving into that area, but sometimes model forecasts can be wrong on wind shear as little as 24-48 hours out, as the GFS kinda was today. I rely a good deal on direct observations of satellite data as well to predict wind shear. We should have a pretty good idea when we're 2-3 days or so away from ex-92L moving in....assuming it hasn't fully dissipated by then.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting TampaSpin:



WATCH THIS VIDEO........NOT FOR THE WEAK TUMMY! CRACKS ON THE OCEAN FLOOR!


Those new T-Spin?
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254. myway
Quoting ecflweatherfan:
Wow! That is big city, from my standpoint. I lived in a small town called Andrews (Huntington County)... the population was about 1000... no traffic lights. At least down here, we know several days in advance that a hurricane is on its way... up there tornadoes can drop on you in no time flat.


Had to drive to Fort wayne to shop I presume. Small town living was a great way to grow up, however I am loving life here. Wish I could get my family to move but the tradition is (born there, live there, die there)
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Levi, when will we know what a good forecast for shear is in the GOM (IF) x92 is going to develope there?
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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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