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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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
1204. mikatnight

What of the programs the payroll tax currently supports? They desparatly need reform and reducing thier revenee only makes it much, much more difficult.


Merely pointing out other points of view. The crux of the matter is the necessity to work together.

Quoting StrndedInStPete:
Mikeatnight: This is a weather blog. Political content of any sort is not welcome here. Please, there are very few places where you can escape it and one of them used to be here. Please refrain.


Sorry St. Pete, I recommend you hide my posts, that way you don't have to see 'em. I would argue however, that the subject of GW is not only weather-related, it is also once again a subject of the blogs author, Dr. Masters. There is of course, no way to remove politics from any GW solution proposition.
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Quoting wdtcnewsonlinewx:
Does anybody know what that storm is along that red line going into Wilmington, NC was?
How'd u access that map? I've been wandering the site like a dodo trying to find the climo maps....
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1273. Drakoen
Colin running into a brick wall:



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Quoting lickitysplit:
Crazy. Colin is falling apart too. Storms are having quite the uphill battle this year, despite the seemingly perfect conditions.


I don't have a scientifc answer to that one but the 100 year climatology is hard to beat; those "perfect" conditions are still a few weeks away.
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1271. HarryMc
Quoting wdtcnewsonlinewx:
Does anybody know what that storm is along that red line going into Wilmington, NC was?


Hurricane Hazel, 1954. Approx 140 mph winds at landfall.
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1270. Levi32
Quoting asgolfr999:


So what is starting to pop at 16 55


Convection associated with a tropical wave out northwest of Colin, which may end up helping it before it reaches the islands as the divergent flow east of the TUTT helps it blow up convection, but the wind shear will continue to be a problem, especially as it gets closer to the TUTT.
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Quoting oracle28:
Quoting jasoncoolman2010xx:
i got email from nhc there send me email tell me its a tropical wave now..

Can you copy and paste the email and post it here? Not that I don't believe you, or anything...


This coolman Guy has some serious issues. Its kinda scary.
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Crazy. Colin is falling apart too. Storms are having quite the uphill battle this year, despite the seemingly perfect conditions.
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Quoting SLU:


ECMWF shows 3 systems on the 12z.

Colin, of course. A TD or a TS at around 51W at 216, and a TS just off Africa at 240.
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Quoting Levi32:


Here:

It's getting harder and harder for me to buy a centre passage N of the NE Antilles.... to me it seems the ULL will actually force a more Srly route, even as it shears away...
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On RGB satellite imagery, you can still see the surface circulation approaching 16N and 53.5W. Tropical Storm Colin definitely has become much less organized and may have degenerated into a tropical depression now, but since there still remains a surface low, I don't believe that Colin has degenerated all the way to an open tropical wave.
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Quoting Levi32:


Colin's center is rapidly approaching 16N, 53.2W.


So what is starting to pop at 16 55
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:


I would agree. For a tropical hurricane forecast, 10 days is a long time. GW will play out over many decades.

I think Dr. Masters is trying to educate people and to get across the importance of prompt action to head off changes in forcings that may mean big tipping points. It's appropriate for someone with his knowledge and credibility to do so.

But this blog is crowded enough with uninformed nonsense. There is no need to add more, especially on a topic on which apparently far fewer people on this blog are even moderately informed. On either side of the debate.

WTO


Well, that's one take, to be sure. Of course, another is that far more people in both the world and the U.S. will be affected by GW than will ever be by any hurricane or tropical storm. And, yes, the uninformed do exist on both sides of the debate...though perhaps the most uninformed of all are those who believe the matter has no current context or relevance.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
1242. wdtcnewsonlinewx 4:10 PM EDT on August 03, 2010
Does anybody know what that storm is along that red line going into Wilmington,


That looks like Hurricane Fran in 96....
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Quoting oracle28:


But it could have gone from 0.5% to 2.4% too. We may never know! :)
lol.....fun with probability. You had to add that little zing, huh? lol
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Quoting jasoncoolman2010xx:
i got email from nhc there send me email tell me its a tropical wave now..

Can you copy and paste the email and post it here? Not that I don't believe you, or anything...
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Bouy 41040 under TS Colin. I think Colin is out of business fro noe.

West Atlantic
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010-08-03T18:50:00UTC

WAVEHT 6.6 ft
DOMPERIOD 8 sec
AVGPERIOD 5.9 sec
WINDDIR 130 °(SE)
WINDSPEED 9.7 kt
WINDGUST 11.7 kt
AIRTEMP 81.9 F
WATERTEMP 84.2 F
PRESSURE 29.85 in
1011 mb
MORE DETAIL
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1255. Levi32
Quoting asgolfr999:


So Levi, as far north as 16?
Quoting stormpetrol:
Where is Colin , is it 14N/50.5 or 16N/53W?


Colin's center is rapidly approaching 16N, 53.2W.
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Quoting jasoncoolman2010xx:
at 5pm it will be tropical depression colin is a tropical wave now and the last report on this storm from NHC.


Jasonfoolman you just contradicted yourself. Is it going to be a open wave or a td. Lmao
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Quoting Levi32:


Here:


I could have td you that :)
any point out yet the reason The models have Colins track so wrong is they have it cmfused with the wave to the NE? What's lef of Colin is coming over me after antigua theory
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1252. IKE
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:
If colin slowed down then it may have stood a chance but most well organised storms can't cope with moving at 24mph due to the additional shear created with the movement.


It's moving at 34 mph.
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Quoting jasoncoolman2010xx:
i got email from nhc there send me email tell me its a tropical wave now..


Jason stop posting incorrect information without proper trustable sources.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
That makes sense. Thanks. Going from 1.4% to 1.5% doesn't concern me as much as a double.


But it could have gone from 0.5% to 2.4% too. We may never know! :)
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Just FYI for those that weren't aware, static kill testing is over and the procedure has now begun.
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If colin slowed down then it may have stood a chance but most well organised storms can't cope with moving at 24mph due to the additional shear created with the movement.
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1246. Drakoen
The low level center can be seen chasing the convection that is off to its northwest.
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Quoting mikatnight:


Reported. NO Politics, please. This is a tropical weather discussion board.
Member Since: April 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 354
Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
How many storms that got downgraded to open waves have ended up hitting the USA ? Is it just Andrew and Katrina ?
Prolly a few others out there. We remember those 2 because they came back so spectacularly, but it's quite likely some weaker systems have done the same over the years.

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Quoting IKE:


I've been saying that for awhile. They should be separate.


I would agree. For a tropical hurricane forecast, 10 days is a long time. GW will play out over many decades.

I think Dr. Masters is trying to educate people and to get across the importance of prompt action to head off changes in forcings that may mean big tipping points. It's appropriate for someone with his knowledge and credibility to do so.

But this blog is crowded enough with uninformed nonsense. There is no need to add more, especially on a topic on which apparently far fewer people on this blog are even moderately informed. On either side of the debate.

WTO
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Does anybody know what that storm is along that red line going into Wilmington, NC was?
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Where is Colin , is it 14N/50.5 or 16N/53W?
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1239. Drakoen
Colin is severely disorganized with the low level center racing out ahead of the convection. Making it worse is the 10-20 knots of westerly wind shear the system is currently experiencing.
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Thank you Reedzone. Sorry took me so long to get back to; at work.
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1236. SLU
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4859
Quoting SpideredipS:
Ayo dat boi Colin be gettn all weak n whatnot he aint even gonna make da Matthew Stafford Homer Simpson scale and everything so. And ayo Sheri who is you be thinkin you is? Shoot, I'd love to seent you in Compton wolkin da screets lyke me.

Spider out.

O.o Could you speak in English????
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Sigh, I can't wait for school to start back up....
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Quoting oracle28:


I might be that the 1% was actually 1.4% and the 2% is actually 1.5%. So the change is due to rounding, more than an actual doubling of the chances, just my guess.
That makes sense. Thanks. Going from 1.4% to 1.5% doesn't concern me as much as a double.
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Good afternoon guys!

Colin becomes our second decoupled storm this season. Its downfall was the strong low level easterlies that ripped the LLC away from the developing convection. Also, notice the center moving much more NW-erly this afternoon.
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Whats with you Dewey???
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Mikeatnight: This is a weather blog. Political content of any sort is not welcome here. Please, there are very few places where you can escape it and one of them used to be here. Please refrain.
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1229. will45
1223. mrpuertorico

cant see him until you quote him
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Quoting kanc2001:
Link

link is funny but 'R' rated.


*POOF*
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Quoting Levi32:


Here:



So Levi, as far north as 16?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The location-specific probabilities and the maximum wind speed (intensity) probabilities are based on errors during recent years in the official track and intensity forecasts issued by the NHC.

Link
Thank you. Good link. I read the whole thing and I see the part about changes due to forecast error. This still though doesn't explain why it went from 1 to 2 percent on Day 5. Still, a worthwhile read, for me anyway.
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Theres a good bit of evidence that its open... but I do not think the 5 PM advisory will be the final advisory... knowing the NHC.
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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.