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 Levi32:


They usually do during August but this should be a bit more than normal. We could see pretty amazing activity from August 15th through the end of September and even into October.


I would even consider November a month we see some tropical activity this year too.
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I do have a question... if colin continues to move westward cant it still form back to a significant threat in the car because wind shear is so much lower there
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Colin is half exposed. He looks very interesting on the visible loop.
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Let's play a game of "Three C's" (or, "One of these things just doesn't belong here"):

Camille (1969):

1969

Charley (2004):

2004

Colin (2010):

2010

;-)
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Uh-huh. And what proof do you have to support your claim? (NOTE: research underwritten by any Big Oil/Big Coal company is invalid here, and for obvious reasons.)


As does research underwritten by Big Government.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Hey KOG! It's supposed to melt up till the end of September isn't it?
yep won't be much left by then at the rate its melting nw passage may open up in another week and be open till late sept yes thats when a refreeze should start but maybe it will be first week of october before we start to regain the ice
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
Quoting unf97:


Levi, I think it is a fairly safe bet that things will perculate much more in the tropics in the coming weeks.


They usually do during August but this should be a bit more than normal. We could see pretty amazing activity from August 15th through the end of September and even into October.
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I've had a heavy thunderstorm each day for the last 7 days. I had to drain water out of the pool today.
I'm sure it will rain heavily again sometime later today.
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Quoting msphar:
Where's Colin now ? I think I've lost him.
If it wasn't marked, I wouldn't even have noticed it!
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Quoting aquak9:
eyewall -that was an AWESOME link!! so my plan will be to get out there sunday.

Now that I've totally hogged the conversation, I'll say good afternoon to ya'll, and keep my hopes high.

laterz! :)

Good luck fossil hunting and have a good one! Thanks for the info! :)
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812. unf97
Quoting Levi32:
Long-range GFS still showing the trend towards and active pattern in the tropics. Things could really crank up come mid-month.



Levi, I think it is a fairly safe bet that things will perculate much more in the tropics in the coming weeks.
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Where's Colin now ? I think I've lost him.
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Quoting aquak9:
oh yeah, I've heard Venice is AWESOME. But my tranny is bad, so I stay close to home.

Levi, ok thanks. Will keep an eye on the local marine forecasts. Still hoping Sat, Sun will be a good day.
Aquak....did you see the link that I posted yesterday.....that included just about everything short of a pirate's map to unearth treasure on the beaches on NEFL?
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5609
eyewall -that was an AWESOME link!! so my plan will be to get out there sunday.

Now that I've totally hogged the conversation, I'll say good afternoon to ya'll, and keep my hopes high.

laterz! :)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
Colin and more 8/3/10
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806. unf97
Quoting aquak9:
no unf, NO!! No RAIN!!! teasing thunder, overcast, distant rumblies...no rain. I'm dying here. Quit bragging!


Sorry about that. Of course I am in North Jax so I have been fortunate this week to get some heavy thunderstorms especially last Saturday when I measured over 2 inches. But, yeah it has been one of the hottest and driest summers I have seen in all my years in living here in Jax.
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Hey KOG! It's supposed to melt up till the end of September isn't it?
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and ice is still melting

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
Long-range GFS still showing the trend towards and active pattern in the tropics. Things could really crank up come mid-month.

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Quoting aquak9:


SG, I am in Jacksonville, 3 miles inland. We go to Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve, it's awesome, it's in between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Protected lands so no buildings, very pristine.

I posted a pic last night of some great teeth, but kinda afraid to repost it.


I'm currently over on the West Coast near Fort Myers. I've been driving over to Cocoa Beach to surf whenever there's a decent swell.

I'm hoping we eventually get something going in the GOM.

I caught a pretty good swell over on the East Coast about 3-4 weeks ago. It was a solid waist to chest for about 3 days.
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Quoting LightningCharmer:
I personally don't really know enough about it to form any conclusion, and to date have not seen any convincing arguement from anyone because when I review their data, it is usually suspect which I believe is Dr. Masters' point above with regard to "Urban Heat Island Effect."


I think Dr. Masters' point about the Urban Heat Island Effect is that it's not suspect: "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."

In re your comment: "...to date [I] have not seen any convincing arguement from anyone..." simply means you're not looking in the right places. There's convincing data everywhere...
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Quoting kanc2001:


yeah, often known as Republicans



Ooo..you make it sound sooo dirty.
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Quoting aquak9:


SG, I am in Jacksonville, 3 miles inland. We go to Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve, it's awesome, it's in between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Protected lands so no buildings, very pristine.

I posted a pic last night of some great teeth, but kinda afraid to repost it.

Wow, I didn't know there was such fossil hunting over there! That sounds really fun! :)
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no unf, NO!! No RAIN!!! teasing thunder, overcast, distant rumblies...no rain. I'm dying here. Quit bragging!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
797. Jax82
Quoting aquak9:


SG, I am in Jacksonville, 3 miles inland. We go to Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve, it's awesome, it's in between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Protected lands so no buildings, very pristine.

I posted a pic last night of some great teeth, but kinda afraid to repost it.


Right down the road from me, im in Jax beach. Beautiful area down in Guana
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
Quoting aquak9:


SG, I am in Jacksonville, 3 miles inland. We go to Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve, it's awesome, it's in between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Protected lands so no buildings, very pristine.

I posted a pic last night of some great teeth, but kinda afraid to repost it.


I've been there, great place to find shark teeth in the shell beds.

A good rule of thumb about shell beds is the closer to land they are the more the teeth shells and other materials are broken down from wave action. I usually go snorkling to find whole shells and other stuff.
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aquak9

Here is a wave height loop from TAFB, if the link works for you.
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Quoting Floodman:


Don;t even bother...this is another poster who subscribes to the "because I said so" scientific method


yeah, often known as Republicans
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787- eyewall- ok, that'd be like a dream come true. put it about fifty miles offa the coast.

large eyes- see previous post as to my location.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
791. unf97
Quoting aquak9:
sorry- HI UNF!! :)


Aquak I hope you have received some much needed rain we got here in the area this week. I have measured nearly three inches for this week alone. Before this week I only had measured 1.74 inches since June 4.
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Quoting StormGoddess:

Wow, that sounds really cool! Where on the coast are you?


SG, I am in Jacksonville, 3 miles inland. We go to Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve, it's awesome, it's in between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Protected lands so no buildings, very pristine.

I posted a pic last night of some great teeth, but kinda afraid to repost it.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
Quoting aquak9:
oh yeah, I've heard Venice is AWESOME. But my tranny is bad, so I stay close to home.

Levi, ok thanks. Will keep an eye on the local marine forecasts. Still hoping Sat, Sun will be a good day.


Look up old ship wrecks off the coast were you are located. Once you know where they were and what they carried, you can guage what will wash up on the beach from the area.
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Uh-huh. And what proof do you have to support your claim? (NOTE: research underwritten by any Big Oil/Big Coal company is invalid here, and for obvious reasons.)
Oh Come On. Everybody knows the best research on Nicotine was done by the tobacco companies. The Market rules, trust the Invisible Hand.
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Quoting aquak9:
link didn't work, eyewall. Maybe I'm not SUPPOSTA see it, hahaha





Long way out, just messin with ya
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12z GFS has my general thinking, ex Colin regenerates to the northeast of the Bahamas or maybe over the Bahamas and threatens the US East Coast sometime late this weekend as a potential hurricane.
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aquak9 - where are you located?
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oh yeah, I've heard Venice is AWESOME. But my tranny is bad, so I stay close to home.

Levi, ok thanks. Will keep an eye on the local marine forecasts. Still hoping Sat, Sun will be a good day.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
Hey guys, check out my update on Colin. Link

And let me know if I'm not allowed to be posting links to my external blog on here. I don't want to break the rules.
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Quoting aquak9:


yes, daytona, I know. But we have an AWESOME Plistocene bed right offa the coast up here, with loads of big teeth, but also MANY mammal fossils- mammoth, sloth, camel, mastodon. A good storm will churn up the bed.

Wow, that sounds really cool! Where on the coast are you?
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GOING GOING .....
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
Definately be waves next week along the East Coast.
The swell has already been generated and it will continue to produce waves even if it drops down to a Depression of an open wave.
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Quoting Levi32:
Oh check it out for once the GFS is the only model with the right idea!

12z GFS Day 8:



Check out behind Colin too. CMC also shows a system, same with the ECMWF.
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sorry- HI UNF!! :)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26050
Quoting SCwannabe:
Is this a Global Warming blog or a Tropical Weather Blog? It's sometimes becoming hard to tell the difference. I wish we could go back to just having posts about tropical weather!


I partially agree with you but it's Dr. Masters' Blog, and he chooses to introduce the Climate debate on this blog periodically. Perhaps, he enjoys the banter that follows.

I enjoy and welcome constructive debate on the subject of climate but many who spout their opinions are usually ill informed, and/or projecting their poitical, economic and/or social agendas instead of letting science speak for itself. Many of the views expressed are almost religious or dogmatic in nature.

I personally don't really know enough about it to form any conclusion, and to date have not seen any convincing arguement from anyone because when I review their data, it is usually suspect which I believe is Dr. Masters' point above with regard to "Urban Heat Island Effect."
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Quoting aquak9:
hi levi- I'm so glad you're here. I don't ask too many questions, so bear with me on this one:

Even if it turns into an open wave, even IF it only skirts way out offa the coast of Florida, will it be enough to generate some good wave action and churning at the NE FLa beaches?

I really wanna go treasure hunting along the beach for fossils and teeth.


Mmm....if it's a stronger system it might generate some swells, but if it stays weak then winds near Florida are probably going to be pretty light even if the system gets close. Based on the GFS's solution, I wouldn't expect anything more than normal on the wave-action.
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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.