Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:23 PM GMT on August 23, 2010
Tropical Storm Danielle is slowly strengthening over the mid-Atlantic Ocean, and appears destined to become a hurricane by Tuesday. However, Danielle is not a threat to any land areas, and will probably only be a concern to shipping interests. Danielle is a classic "Cape Verdes"-type of storm common during the peak part of hurricane season. Cape Verdes-type storms are so named because they form from tropical waves that come off the coast of Africa and pass near the Cape Verdes Islands just west of Africa. Cape Verdes hurricanes are the largest and most dangerous types of hurricane in the Atlantic, since they spend a long time over water have and have of opportunity to reach full maturity. Danielle is over warm 28°C water, is experiencing low wind shear of 5 - 10 knots, and is embedded in a moist environment--conditions which favor intensification into a hurricane by Tuesday.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Danielle (left side of image) and a new tropical wave that emerged from the coast of Africa this morning (right side of image.)
Forecast for Tropical Storm Danielle
A powerful trough of low pressure over the mid-Atlantic Ocean will begin to pull Tropical Storm Danielle more to the northwest by the middle of this week, keeping Danielle well to the east of the Lesser Antilles Islands and Bermuda. Most of the models predict that this trough will be strong enough to fully recurve Danielle out to sea. It is possible that Danielle could eventually threaten Newfoundland, Canada, but is currently does not appear that any other land areas will be at risk from this storm.
Elsewhere in the tropics
A strong tropical wave has moved off the coast of Africa this morning, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression later this week. Both the ECMWF and NOGAPS models predict this wave will develop into a tropical depression 2 - 3 days from now. NHC is giving this wave a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots in the region, and will decrease as the storm moves away from the coast of Africa.
Figure 2. Microwave satellite image of Tropical Storm Frank off the coast of Mexico at 6:15 am EDT 8/23/10. This image from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) shows that most of Frank's heavy rains were offshore this morning, though an associated tropical disturbance was bringing heavy rains in excess of 1.5 inches per hour (white colors) to the Gulf of Mexico coast between Veracruz and Alvarado, Mexico. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.
Tropical Storm Frank may deluge Mexico's Pacific coast
Over in the Eastern Pacific, an 11-day quiet period has ended with the formation of Tropical Storm Frank. Frank is expected to move parallel to the Mexican coast over the next two days, and will bring isolated regions of heavy rain to coastal Mexico. NHC is warning that these rains could accumulate to ten inches in some areas, but there is a good chance that these dangerous flooding rains will remain just offshore. The latest set of computer models have come into better agreement keeping Frank offshore, and it currently appears the the greatest danger to Mexico will come on Tuesday, when the storm is expected to become a hurricane and will be capable of dumping heavy rain on the Acapulco region.
Palestine records its hottest temperature in history
The State of Palestine, the portion of the territories occupied by Israel that declared independence in 1988, recorded its hottest temperature since record keeping began on August 7, 2010, when the temperature hit 51.4°C (124.5°F) at Kibbutz Almog (also called Qalya or Kalya) in the Jordan Valley. The previous record for Palestine was set on June 22, 1942, at the same location.
Palestine was the 4th nation to set an all-time hottest temperature in history record this month, and the 18th to set such a record this year. There has also been one nation (Guinea) that set an all-time coldest temperature in history record this year. Note that many countries, including the U.S., do not recognize Palestine as a nation, though 110 countries do recognize it. Here's the updated list of nations or semi-independent islands or territories that have set all-time heat or cold records this year:
National heat records set in 2010
Palestine, the portion of the territories occupied by Israel that declared independence in 1988, recorded its hottest temperature since record keeping began on August 7, 2010, when the temperature hit 51.4°C (124.5°F) at Kibbutz Almog (also called Qalya or Kalya) in the Jordan Valley. The previous record for Palestine was set on June 22, 1942, at the same location.
Belarus recorded its hottest temperature in its history on August 6, 2010, when the mercury hit 38.7°C (101.7°F) in Gorky. The previous record was 38.0°C (100.4°F) set at Vasiliyevichy on Aug. 20, 1946.
Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3°C (106.3°F) at Lukhansk on August 1, 2010. Ukraine also reached 41.3°C on July 20 and 21, 2007, at Voznesensk.
Cyprus recorded its hottest temperature in its history on August 1, 2010 when the mercury hit 46.6°C (115.9°F) at Lefconica. The old record for Cyprus was 44.4°C (111.9°F) at Lefkosia in August 1956. An older record of 46.6°C from July 1888 was reported from Nicosia, but is of questionable reliability.
Finland recorded its hottest temperature on July 29, 2010, when the mercury hit 99°F (37.2°C) at Joensuu. The old (undisputed) record was 95°F (35°C) at Jyvaskyla on July 9, 1914.
Qatar had its hottest temperature in history on July 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 50.4°C (122.7°F) at Doha Airport.
Russia had its hottest temperature in history on July 11, when the mercury rose to 44.0°C (111.2°F) in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border. The previous hottest temperature in Russia (not including the former Soviet republics) was the 43.8°C (110.8°F) reading measured at Alexander Gaj, Kalmykia Republic, on August 6, 1940. The remarkable heat in Russia this year has not been limited just to the European portion of the country--the Asian portion of Russia also recorded its hottest temperature in history this year, a 42.7°C (108.9°F) reading at Kara, in the Chita Republic on June 24. The 42.3°C (108.1°F) reading on June 25 at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China, also beat the old record for the Asian portion of Russia. The previous record for the Asian portion of Russia was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at Aksha on July 21, 2004.
Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history on June 25 when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.
Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on June 23, when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.
Saudi Arabia had its hottest temperature ever on June 22, 2010, with a reading of 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities.
Chad had its hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961.
Kuwait recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait's previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010.
Iraq had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq's previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu'aybah.
Pakistan had its hottest temperature in history on May 26, when the mercury hit an astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) at the town of MohenjuDaro, according to the Pakistani Meteorological Department. While this temperature reading must be reviewed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for authenticity, 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.
Myanmar (Burma) had its hottest temperature in its recorded history on May 12, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu, according to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. 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 the authoritative weather records book Extreme Weather, the 47°C measured this year is the hottest temperature in Southeast Asia history.
Ascention Island (St. Helena, a U.K. Territory) had its hottest temperature in history on March 25, 2010, when the mercury hit 34.9°C (94.8°C) at Georgetown. The previous record was 34.0°C (93.2°F) at Georgetown in April 2003, exact day unknown.
The Solomon Islands had their hottest temperature in history on February 1, 2010, when the mercury hit 36.1°C (97°F) at Lata Nendo (Ndeni). The previous record for Solomon Islands was 35.6°C (96.0°F) at Honaiara, date unknown.
Colombia had its hottest temperature in history on January 24, 2010, when Puerto Salgar hit 42.3°C (108°F). The previous record was 42.0°C (107.6°F) at El Salto in March 1988 (exact day unknown).
National cold records set in 2010
One nation has set a record for its coldest temperature in history in 2010. Guinea had its coldest temperature in history in January 9, 2010, when the mercury hit 1.4°C (34.5°F) at Mali-ville in the Labe region.
The period January - July was the warmest such 7-month period in the planet's history, and temperatures over Earth's land regions were at record highs in May, June, and July, according to the National Climatic Data Center. It is not a surprise that many all-time extreme heat records are being shattered when the planet as a whole is so warm. Global warming "loads the dice" to favor extreme heat events unprecedented in recorded history. In fact, it may be more appropriate to say that global warming adds more spots on the dice--it used to be possible to roll no higher than double sixes, and now it is possible to roll a thirteen.
The year 2010 now has the most national extreme heat records for a single year--eighteen. These nations comprise 19% of the total land area of Earth. This is the largest area of Earth's surface to experience all-time record high temperatures in any single year in the historical record. Looking back at the past decade, which was the hottest decade in the historical record, seventy-five counties set extreme hottest temperature records (33% of all countries.) For comparison, fifteen countries set extreme coldest temperature records over the past ten years (6% of all countries). My source for extreme weather records is the excellent book Extreme Weather by Chris Burt. His new updates (not yet published) remove a number of old disputed records. Keep in mind that the matter of determining extreme records is very difficult, and it is often a judgment call as to whether an old record is reliable or not. For example, one of 2007's fifteen extreme hottest national temperature records (good for 2nd place behind 2010 for most extreme heat records) is for the U.S.--the 129°F recorded at Death Valley that year. Most weather record books list 1913 as the year the hottest temperature in the U.S. occurred, when Greenland Ranch in Death Valley hit 134°F. However, as explained in a recent Weatherwise article, that record is questionable, since it occurred during a sandstorm when hot sand may have wedged against the thermometer, artificially inflating the temperature. Mr. Burt's list of 225 countries with extreme heat records includes islands that are not independent countries, such as Puerto Rico and Greenland. I thank Mr. Burt and weather record researchers Maximiliano Herrera and Howard Rainford for their assistance identifying this year's new extreme temperature records.
Pakistan's monsoon set to enter a heavy phase; Indus River flood crest peaking near the coast
The flooding on Pakistan's largest river, the Indus, has slowly eased along the upper and middle stretches where most of the heavy monsoon rains fell in late July and early August. However, a pulse of flood waters from these heavy rains has arrived at the coast, and flood heights have risen to all-time record levels today at the Indus river gauge station nearest to the coast, Kotri. The new flooding has forced new evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people in southern Pakistan over the past two days. Flood heights at every monitoring station along the Indus have been the highest or almost the highest since records began in 1947. The monsoon has been in a weak to moderate phase over the past three days, but is expected to enter a heavy phase once again Tuesday through Thursday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
Figure 3. Image of the Pakistan flood catastrophe of 2010, courtesy of the Pakistan Meteorology Department.
Some aid agencies helping with humanitarian crisis in Pakistan:
Doctors Without Borders
The International Red Cross
MERLIN medical relief charity
The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.
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