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 kmanislander:
Good morning

Just a quick post for now. The satellite presentation of Colin is deteriorating quickly and the system is in danger of being downgraded if it continues.

The change of track to the West suggests a weaker storm now being driven entirely by the low level jet. In addition the fast forward speed makes it very difficult for a weak storm to maintain a closed low.

The Dvorak imagery indicates a system undergoing rapid weakening.
Pretty much what we talked about last night, then.

So Colin looks like it may fizzle, our ACE for the season is still pretty low despite 3 named storms already..... I guess the season is going to be a BUST - A bust I tell u!

But SERIOUSLY.... lol
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Source?


Source=me.
Go look at the cities and the airport locations. Data clearly shows warming (mainly from urbanization, some from global warming).
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1. Colin is now an open wave

2. I believe it will reform a llc in 12-36 hours as strong divergence aloft and a slowing of its forward motion kicks off deep thunderstorm activity.

3. A later recurve means a close approach to North America, but ultimately stays offshore

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Blog Update!

August 3, 2010 - 12:05 PM EDT - Tropical Storm Colin Not Looking So Good


WOW this has been a tough cyclone to track!
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I think looking at the last few frames TS Colin has started to slow down some.
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Quoting rarepearldesign:
I'm in Halifax so I am gonna watch Colin closely. Although, we can handle a tropical storm just fine if it decides to visit.


I'm from there too, so... time for the hurricane watch party.
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567. IKE
Quoting Neapolitan:


The amount of money isn't relevant to accuracy, is it? The last time I checked, a Tarot or crystal ball reading costs a lot more on an hourly basis than any meteorologist makes... :-)


Then they are definitely inaccurate. To say "gradual development" 6-7 hours ago to what it looks like now is the difference between night and day....

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hey everyone i have followed this blog for a wile and i just got a username. i noticed that the latest ngfld model run is taking a more southerly and westerly route. do u think the model is picking up on colin's recent encounter with dry air and increased wind shear and is predicting it to weaken?
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559. BahaHurican 3:57 PM GMT on August 03, 2010


Had a lot of rain on Monday in North Abaco, and it may repeat today.

Umm, I'd rather have three or four Colins instead of the Frances or Jeanne thing.

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Quoting BahaHurican:
If anything happens w/ the SE Car wave, it's not happening before tomorrow earliest. No sign of circulation or even serious bending w/ that one ATM.... maybe something will spark as it moves into the WCar, though that is not a particularly favored developmental location this time of the season...


Correct, even if it doesn't develop it will just add to the heat buildup in the Caribbean and if it does it wouldn't be anything too strong.
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Satellite data strongly disagrees with the earth-based readings, showing no record warming, indicating UHI is the earth-bound cause. There's also the fact that temps are being extended 1200 km (instead of a more reasonable 250 km) for the observation stations which is just plain dishonest.

Meanwhile temps are so low in Napa, heaters are being used to get growing temps up to necessary levels for the grapes. And south americans are dyingin in huge numbers from the extreme cold now being experienced.

In other words its all weather, not climate.
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From a long-time lurker and great fan of ALL of you guys...don't laugh at this question:
Will the upcoming solar flaring affect the tropics at all? Thanks everyone
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Quoting txag91met:
Some cities that show warming trend from urbanization:
1) Houston IAH---the new therm ASOS is near the runway, and now shows a 1-2F adjustment warmer in the min temperature.
2) Dallas / Fort Worth---DFW has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and more and more concrete surround the airport.
3) Las Vegas/Phoenix---massive urban growth, these cities probably show 2-3F warming vs 20 years ago especially at night.


Source?
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Quoting BoynSea:
466. BahaHurican 3:28 PM GMT on August 03, 2010
The Nrn Bahamas is currently getting some thunderstorm activity from the Srn edge of the front that's supposed to turn Colin to the N.



Good morning, Baha.
Cloud cover has thickened considerably the past few hours, light drizzle and light winds from the East.

Hey, BoynSea. We're getting some fairly heavy showers here now. I'm ok with it so long as it's going to keep friend Colin away.... lol

But we've been getting a fair amount of saturating rains of late, it seems to me.
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Colin Kaput
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Troll out trolling. Best not to quote 'em.
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Quoting IKE:


But they're paid good money to do it. Makes it hard for people to believe what they say.


The amount of money isn't relevant to accuracy, is it? The last time I checked, a Tarot or crystal ball reading costs a lot more on an hourly basis than any meteorologist makes... :-)
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554. IKE
545...I new it was time for you. Waiting on the sidelines huh?
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Quoting IKE:
I wonder if the NHC might downgrade before the 5 pm advisory? Not sure they have ever done that.


No watches or warnings in effect, so it seems unlikely.
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The weather changes fast and the opinions even faster. Collin has been a very difficult storm to forecast thus far. I still will wait and see.
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549. IKE
I wonder if the NHC might downgrade before the 5 pm advisory? Not sure they have ever done that.
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I'm in Halifax so I am gonna watch Colin closely. Although, we can handle a tropical storm just fine if it decides to visit.
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Quoting IKE:


But they're paid good money to do it. Makes it hard for people to believe what they say.



Intensity is always the toughest forecast in developing systems tho. I give' em a pass on that, unless its an "Humberto" senario.
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If anything happens w/ the SE Car wave, it's not happening before tomorrow earliest. No sign of circulation or even serious bending w/ that one ATM.... maybe something will spark as it moves into the WCar, though that is not a particularly favored developmental location this time of the season...
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I wish we would get something. Anything. Just plain hot.


You are getting something...more hot!
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542. beell
Ya'll sure about that west movement over the last few hours?
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541. IKE
Quoting Neapolitan:


That's why it's called forecasting and not fortune-telling. :-)


But they're paid good money to do it. Makes it hard for people to believe what they say.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You don't have to...at 72 hours you can see it off the central American coast.



CMC has actually been showing something forming off the northern coast of South America for several days now, and tracking it to the west.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning

Just a quick post for now. The satellite presentation of Colin is deteriorating quickly and the system is in danger of being downgraded if it continues.

The change of track to the West suggests a weaker storm now being driven entirely by the low level jet. In addition the fast forward speed makes it very difficult for a weak storm to maintain a closed low.

The Dvorak imagery indicates a system undergoing rapid weakening.


yes as i said earlier the speed is hindering him a lot
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LLC 14.8 51.3
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How are you getting these picture MH09, link me please
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536. Relix
50W and on will be key. Let's see what our system does.
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Quoting 7544:
colin still moving west ? more west it goes more left the models will go



You have a firm grasp of the obvious!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Change to 850 vort.
You don't have to...at 72 hours you can see it off the central American coast.

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Quoting StadiumEffect:
That's what I thought. I distinctly remeber them holding off naming it until they were able to find that poorly organized circulation, meanwhile Grand Cayman had sustained tropical storm force winds. The NHC will never name a system without that low being closed, even if winds are well strong enough for classification.


Claudette of 2003 was the same way.
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Some cities that show warming trend from urbanization:
1) Houston IAH---the new therm ASOS is near the runway, and now shows a 1-2F adjustment warmer in the min temperature.
2) Dallas / Fort Worth---DFW has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and more and more concrete surround the airport.
3) Las Vegas/Phoenix---massive urban growth, these cities probably show 2-3F warming vs 20 years ago especially at night.
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531. Bonz
**Pokes head in**

Colin's a T.S.? It looks like crap right now.

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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Seems as if all the forecast services may have blown this one.


That's why it's called forecasting and not fortune-telling. :-)
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Good morning

Just a quick post for now. The satellite presentation of Colin is deteriorating quickly and the system is in danger of being downgraded if it continues.

The change of track to the West suggests a weaker storm now being driven entirely by the low level jet. In addition the fast forward speed makes it very difficult for a weak storm to maintain a closed low.

The Dvorak imagery indicates a system undergoing rapid weakening.
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528. 7544
colin still moving west ? more west it goes more left the models will go
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey, I was here for THAT argument.... lol. Dolly DEFINITELY had a closed LLC when named. There was a huge argument here as pre-Dolly transversed the CAR, and huge #s of bloggers were cussin' the NHC and shouting "This storm should be named!!!" And there, the voices of reason, we had Drak and kman, going "No closed LLC, no name; no closed LLC, no name." That was the year we discovered KLMs for the HHrs, and we watched on Google Earth as they FINALLY found the W winds....

That was cool.
That's what I thought. I distinctly remeber them holding off naming it until they were able to find that poorly organized circulation, meanwhile Grand Cayman had sustained tropical storm force winds. The NHC will never name a system without that low being closed, even if winds are well strong enough for classification.
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Quoting SavannahStorm:


LOL, look at all the TC's the CMC spawns in the EPAC....



I love a parade!
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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.