Colin arrives; extreme heat records fall for Ukraine and 5 U.S. cities

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:16 PM GMT on August 03, 2010

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Tropical Storm Colin has made its debut over the Atlantic, but does not appear to be a threat to any land areas over the next five days. Satellite imagery shows that Colin is intensifying, as both the intensity and areal extent of heavy thunderstorms has increased over the past few hours. A respectable low-level spiral band is developing to the north of the center, and upper-level outflow is beginning to appear on all sides of the storm. Colin is a very small storm, and its tropical storm force winds extend out just 30 miles from the center. Colin passed about 50 miles south of Buoy 41041 early this morning, and generated top sustained winds of 27 mph at the buoy. There is some dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) to the northwest of Colin, but this dry air is not getting entrained into Colin at present. Wind shear is a low 5 - 10 knots and sea surface temperatures are a very warm 28 - 29°C, so continued development is likely today. The main negative for development appears to be the storm's small size, which makes it vulnerable to modest increases in wind shear or dry air entrainment. The first flight of the Hurricane Hunters into Colin is scheduled for Wednesday morning.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Colin.

Forecast for Colin
The latest 6Z (2am EDT) models are fairly unified taking Colin to the west-northwest at 20 - 25 mph for the next three days. This would bring squalls from the storm's outer rainbands to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, such as Antigua and Barbuda, by Wednesday afternoon. The center of Colin should pass to the northeast of the islands, and the storm is small enough that the islands are unlikely to experience tropical storm force winds. As Colin makes its closest approach to the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday night, the storm will begin to encounter strong upper-level westerly winds associated with the counter-clockwise flow of air around an upper-level low pressure system centered between Bermuda and Puerto Rico. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that these winds will cause wind shear to rise to the moderate level, 10 - 20 knots, by Wednesday morning, and to the high level, 20 - 30 knots, by Thursday. There is considerable dry air associated with the upper level low that should cause problems for Colin, as well. The high wind shear and dry air should weaken Colin. NHC is giving Colin a 25% chance of attaining hurricane status this week.

A trough of low pressure is expected to move off the U.S. East Coast on Friday, and this trough will pull Colin to the northwest and cause it to slow down on Wednesday. By Friday, Colin will be moving at half of its current speed. It is unclear if the trough of low pressure will be strong enough to fully recurve Colin out to sea late this week. Some of the models predict Colin will not recurve out to sea, and that high pressure will build back in this weekend, forcing Colin towards the U.S. East Coast. A second trough of low pressure is predicted to move off the U.S. East Coast next Monday, so Colin will have a second opportunity to recurve out to sea then. It is possible that Colin could make landfall along the U.S. East Coast or in the Canadian Maritime provinces 7 - 10 days from now, though it is still too early to assess the risk of this happening, nor how strong Colin might be.

Ukraine ties its record for hottest temperature in history
On August 1, Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3°C (106.3°F) at Lukhansk. The Ukraine also reached 41.3°C on July 20 and 21, 2007, at Voznesensk. Sixteen of 225 nations on Earth have set extreme highest temperature in history records this year, the most of any year. The year 2007 is in second place, with fifteen such records.

Five major U.S. cities record their warmest month in history during July
July 2010 was the warmest month in history for five U.S. cities:

Las Vegas, NV: 96.2°F (old record: 95.3°F, July 2005).
Atlantic City, NJ: 79.8°F (old record: 78.7°F, July 1983)
Washington, D.C.: 83.1°F (tied with July 1993)
Baltimore, MD: 81.5°F (tied with July 1995)
Trenton, NJ: 80.5°F (tied with July 1955)

Also, in June, Miami, FL recorded its warmest month in history: 85.6°F (old record: 85.4°F in June 1998.)

Commentary
None of the 303 major U.S. cities listed in the records section of Chris Burt's book Extreme Weather has set a coldest month in history record since 1994 (these 303 cites were selected to represent a broad spectrum of U.S. climate zones, are not all big cities, have a good range of elevations, and in most cases have data going back to the 1880s.) There were just three such records (1% of the 303 major U.S. cities) set in the past twenty years, 1991 - 2010. In contrast, 97 out of 303 major U.S. cities (32%) set records for their warmest month in history during the past twenty years. It is much harder to set a coldest month in history record than a coldest day in history record in a warming climate, since it requires cold for an extended period of time--not just a sudden extreme cold snap.

Are the pattern of U.S. temperature records due to the Urban Heat Island effect?
Is the huge disparity between extreme heat records and extreme cold records in the U.S. due to global warming, or the Urban Heat Island effect? The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect occurs when development of former natural areas into pavement and buildings allows more heat to be trapped in cities, particularly at night. During the day, the UHI effect often leads to a slight cooling, since it can increase the amount of turbulence, allowing cooler air to get mixed down to the surface. For example, Moreno-Garcia (1994) found that Barcelona, Spain was 0.2°C cooler for daily maxima and 2.9°C warmer for minima than a nearby rural station.

However, temperature records are typically taken in parks and airports removed from the main heat-trapping areas of cities, and are not as strongly affected as one might expect. There are several reasons for this. One is that when tall buildings are present, they tend to block the view to the sky, meaning that not as much heat can escape upwards. In addition, the presence of moist vegetation keeps the atmosphere moister in park-like areas (which include the grassy fields near airports where temperature measurements are taken). This extra moisture helps cool the atmosphere on a local scale of tens of meters, due to latent heat effects (the energy required to convert liquid water to water vapor). Peterson (2003) found that "Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures." The study used satellite-based night-light detection to identify urban areas. Recent research by Spronken-Smith and Oke (1998) concluded that there was a marked park cool island effect within the Urban Heat Island. They found that parks in typical cities in the U.S. have temperatures 1 - 2°C cooler than the surrounding city--and sometimes more than 5°C cooler. While the Urban Heat Island effect probably has contributed to some of the reduction in record low temperatures in the U.S. in the past decade, research by Parker (2004, 2006) and Peterson (2003) theorizes that Urban Heat Island effect is a factor ten or more less important than rising temperatures due to global warming.

Chris Burt wrote me yesterday about Las Vegas' all-time warmest month record set in July. He noted that none of the sites nearby Las Vegas' McCarran Airport (where the official obs are kept) came close to setting a warmest month in history record. McCarran Airport has set new warmest month in history records in 2003, 2005, and now 2010. These two facts make us suspect that in the case of Las Vegas, an urban heat island effect may be contributing to the spate of recent warmest month in history records there. The heat records for Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Trenton do not appear to have as much of a UHI influence, since record highs were set over such a large area of the mid-Atlantic in July.

Is the Urban Heat Island effect partially responsible for global warming?
Global warming is affecting the entire Earth, including rural areas far from cities, and the 70% of the world covered by ocean. Thus, the Urban Heat Island effect--if not corrected for--can cause only a small impact on the global temperature figures. Since the Urban Heat Island is corrected for, the impact on the observed global warming signal should be negligible. For instance, NASA uses satellite-derived night light observations to classify stations as rural and urban and corrects the urban stations so that they match the trends from the rural stations before gridding the data. Other techniques (such as correcting for population growth) have also been used. Despite these corrections, and the fact that the Urban Heat Island effect impacts only a relatively small portion of the globe, global warming skeptics have persistently used the Urban Heat Island effect to attack the validity of global warming. There are no published peer-reviewed scientific studies that support these attacks.

References
Parker, D.E., 2004, "Large-Scale Warming is not Urban", Nature 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a, 2004.

Parker, D.E., 2006, "A Demonstration that Large-Scale Warming is not Urban", J. Climate 19, pp2882-2986, 2006.

Peterson, T.C., "Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: No difference found", Journal of Climate, 16, 2941-2959, 2003.

Spronken-Smith, R. A., and T. R. Oke, 1998: "The thermal regime of urban parks in two cities with different summer climates. Int. J. Remote Sens., 19, 20852104.

The surface temperature record and the urban heat island, realclimate.org post, 2004.

Next update
I have a series of meetings today that will probably keep me from making another post, and keep me from doing my weekly Internet radio show, Hurricane Haven. I'll be back Wednesday morning, at the latest, with a new post.

Jeff Masters

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2225. EricSFL
Ok, Ive heard this so much that my ears hurt: "strong (deep) systems go poleward and weak systems go westward"... But, why is this not the case with ExColin? Is it because the trough is so strong that it is affecting all levels of the atmosphere?
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To the METs only.... how would a major hurricane interact with a ULL or a cut off low??? Would it shear it or could a major withstand the shear with its environment that it creates like a bubble???
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2222. Squid28
I'm pulling for a line drive here...

If it remains weak, approximately how long would it have to get it's act together before hitting land?

Need to clarify my statement. I want it to die a quick and eventless death.....
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Quoting Levi32:


Yes.



what do mode runs show for 92L?
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2220. help4u
Chance of 92l getting into gulf is very low everything in gulf has went west because of the locked in high pressure.
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2219. K8eCane
Hi everybody
One Question
Who set fire to the tropics?
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Quoting MrstormX:
Why does the wondermap call 92L, 98L lol



NHC forecaster: start a new invest for the atlantic
08/04/2010 12:49AM 751 invest_al982010.invest

NHC forecaster: no you dummy, 98 is the next number for the East Pacific
08/04/2010 12:56AM 759 invest_DEACTIVATE_al982010.ren

NHC forecaster: the next number for the Atlantic is 92
08/04/2010 01:01AM 751 invest_al922010.invest


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Cyber Teddy. Please tell me you got some of this storm tonight. StormW it was quite the light show driving home.
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2214. Levi32
Quoting NOSinger:
Levi....is 92l what the GFS was picking up on the other day...that whopper in the gulf??


Yes.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26566
Quoting Neapolitan:
Hot water? What hot water? :-)

Come and get it!



i no i move a block of ice and make the waters colder
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2212. Levi32
Quoting StormW:


Levi, how far out are you guys talking about the weakness...based on these, I just don't see 92L coming that far north

PSU e-WALL


Because of the longwave trough over the eastern US that will eventually recurve Colin. The idea is that if you have a tropical storm recurving off the SE US coast, how likely are you to have a strong enough ridge 10 degrees to the west that could force a storm in the Caribbean into central America? This is what yesterday's 18z GFS was showing when it blew this up into a hurricane in the gulf. This is the only run so far by a model to significantly develop the system and it shows the northern tendency should it develop. If it remains a wave it's likely bound for Central America.

18z GFS August 2nd 500mb 120 hours (storm is east of the Yucatan):

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26566
That is one scary wave looking to leave the West Coast of Africa
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You have to love those re-recurvature tracks for Colin into ____ (the place that can't be said due to hysteria and panic)
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Waiting for GE to get its act together and post the 98L models.



AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI




we do not have 98L they mass up its 92L
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Hot water? What hot water? :-)

Come and get it!
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13473
2207. jeebsa
The N.H.C. still list T.S Collin been away for about 6hrs. What exactly is going on in the tropics. There is no way Collin is still a T.S.
Member Since: June 25, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 273
2206. Ossqss
Quoting Neapolitan:


High activity dipping into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan's UP right now, so it might be dark enough to see...


Yep, if it progresses too much further, we could see some power problems for some folks. Let alone the Sat problems.
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Levi....is 92l what the GFS was picking up on the other day...that whopper in the gulf??
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Quoting Tazmanian:



yes>


Thanks TAZ!
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Think 92L will go over the Yukatan and then to Mexico?
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Quoting robj144:
No one answered my intensity question about 92L. In 2005, Dennis, Emily, and Wilma all exploded in the area just south of Cuba. Do you think 92L will do the same?


This is my initial assessment, but I will need to see computer model runs on 92L to verify. The environment over 92L has continued to grow favorable over the last several hours as an upper anticyclone to enhance its outflow has developed over it. This anticyclone seems to be expanding in the wake of the upper low to the NW of Colin as the upper low gradually shrinks away (cut-off upper lows gradually weaken with time, and I mean gradually, not quickly).

There is another upper low that has developed in the western Caribbean Sea. There is also a deep-layered ridge over the eastern United States providing low shear near 92L. So in the near term, 92L can continue to develop under warm waters, enhanced anticyclonic outflow, and low shear. I expect both 92L and the western Caribbean upper low to be steered westward by the deep-layered anticyclone over the eastern US.

But I need to confirm whether the models move the western Caribbean upper low westward so that 92L doesn't get sheared by it. If that's the case, 92L has a chance to develop quiet nicely over the warm Caribbean Sea.
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Waiting for GE to get its act together and post the 98L models.



AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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We need to watch 92L closely. SHIPS has 0 knot shear analyzed over it, so its in a great environment with record SSTs and high TCHP.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23641
Quoting Tazmanian:



that mode runs is for 98L


Well thats pretty stupid
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
We have a 92L? That in the Caribbean?



yes
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Quoting MrstormX:
Why does the wondermap call 92L, 98L lol




that mode runs is for 98L
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We have a 92L? That in the Caribbean?
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Why does the wondermap call 92L, 98L lol

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One very bad thing about this year is the water temp. close to the coast is 87 to almost 90!!!!
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2190. robj144
Also in 2007, hurricane Dean exploded down there too. I haven't looked at the wind shear forecast or the dry air or whatnot, but I'm calling it now that 92L will be the strongest storm so far this season in a few days. Just a hunch based on past history and how incredibly warm the waters are south of Cuba. :)
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Quoting Ossqss:
The space weather item ticked up a notch to G2. Let's hope the impact of the 2nd following CME does not push it too much further.

Here is what it means. Scale and actions and the graphic plot and Auroral Map.

NOAA Space Weather Scales

Space Weather Alerts and Warnings Timeline



Auroral Activity Extrapolated from NOAA POES


High activity dipping into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan's UP right now, so it might be dark enough to see...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13473
Quoting Levi32:
92L is here lol:



yes this could be a bad one
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2187. aquak9
oh yea, d'fly, thanks for the explanation earlier. I was baking a cake. I appreciate that.

man I can't wait till we have like three invests and everyone's all running around confused--

a'course, I'd want'm ALL to be fish
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Quoting Torgen:
Wow Colin still a TS? Thought we'd have had a 9pm update. One thing about only checking every 4 or 5 hours, there's always something new lately! Hello, 98L!



are TS is dead for now and they mass up its 92L not 98L
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Quoting Torgen:
Wow Colin still a TS? Thought we'd have had a 9pm update. One thing about only checking every 4 or 5 hours, there's always something new lately! Hello, 98L!


As of now Colin is RIP
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2183. Levi32
92L is here lol:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26566
Quoting Levi32:


Because of Colin likely recurving off the SE US coast during the time when 92L would be developing in the western Caribbean (if it does), that indicates that the ridge will be weak enough that a developing tropical cyclone would likely be able to move more poleward, whereas if it stays a wave it would likely just go west into central America.
Ok,that "splains" it, as Ricky would have said to Lucy
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
The heat content south of Cuba is the highest anywhere in the Atlantic basin. Intensity is just limited by the upper air winds.
That why I almost got sick to my stomach. We all know what the heat content is in the Carib. and GOM. I think any storm in the GOM under the right conditions aloft and we'll witness another Katrina or Rita like storm.
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2179. Ossqss
The space weather item ticked up a notch to G2. Let's hope the impact of the 2nd following CME does not push it too much further.

Here is what it means. Scale and actions and the graphic plot and Auroral Map.

NOAA Space Weather Scales

Space Weather Alerts and Warnings Timeline



Auroral Activity Extrapolated from NOAA POES
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2178. Torgen
Wow Colin still a TS? Thought we'd have had a 9pm update. One thing about only checking every 4 or 5 hours, there's always something new lately! Hello, 98L!
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Quoting earthlydragonfly:


OK where the heck is 92?? carib???


yes>
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2176. amd
Quoting robj144:
No one answered my intensity question about 92L. In 2005, Dennis, Emily, and Wilma all exploded in the area just south of Cuba. Do you think 92L will do the same?


it depends on two things.

One, does 92L gain enough latitude so that it could get into that "sweet spot" for further intensification.

Two, what will the progression be of any possible ULL'S.

IMO, it's too early to make any strong predictions.
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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.