La Niña fades to neutral; April the globe's 4th - 7th warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:12 PM GMT on May 17, 2011

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April 2011 was the globe's 7th warmest April on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated April the 4th warmest on record, tied with April 2005. April 2011 global ocean temperatures were the 11th warmest on record, and land temperatures were the 6th warmest on record. The UK had its hottest April on record, with rainfall only 21% of average. Huge fires burned through Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland, fanned by strong spring winds.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for April, 2011. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

La Niña fades to neutral
The La Niña that began in June 2010 is now transitioning to neutral conditions, according to the Climate Prediction Center. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America are now just 0.4°C below average, the first time since June 2010 that these temperatures have not been 0.5°C or more cooler than average, the threshold for a La Niña. However, it is possible that these water could cool a bit again over the next few weeks, so NOAA has not yet declared an official end to this La Niña episode. Equatorial SSTs were 0.5°C below average in the central Pacific, and average to above-average temperatures have emerged in the eastern Pacific. While this signals the end to La Niña, the CPC cautions that the atmosphere is still behaving like La Niña is continuing. An animation of SSTs since February shows the weakening La Niña nicely. Springtime is the most common time for a La Niña event to end; since 1950, half of all La Niñas ended in March, April, or May.

Arctic sea ice 5th lowest on record
Arctic sea ice declined slowly through most of April, and had the 5th lowest extent since satellite record began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. However, sea ice extent began declining more quickly toward the end of the month, and as of May 16 was the second lowest on record.

I'll have more on the Mississippi River flood next post. If you haven't seen it, read my post, America's Achilles' heel: the Mississippi River Old River Control Structure.

Jeff Masters and Angela Fritz

Angela is a new wunderground hire, with a Masters degree in Meteorology, who will be helping out with my blog and the site's weather education and climate change content.

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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
I understand why people are suspicious. After seeing the troll yesterday making the rude comments towards aquak9, I understand why a new handle is under scrutiny.

All I can say is every new handle is not a troll. At some point, everyone on here was a new handle. Actions speak louder than handles.
Yeah I shared Mikes suspicions yesterday but it the scruffy dog is vouching for you....:)
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
still, not a lot of new handles come full speed into the blog making jokes and friends so swiftly

I am the anti-he who shall not be named.

;-)
well that doesn't provide me any comfort.. but then, i'm no purple hippo either. mostly here to digest the heady stuff (take that how you like Hydrus ;)

so, please don't let me hold you back any.. i shall shimmy back to my corner and read the interesting posts i've missed engaging this conversation :D
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Our first tropical wave is still chugging along, now just north of French Guiana, with clear curvature still apparent on visible imagery:

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Quoting jeffs713:
Absolutely. And my pleasure. Humor is always welcome around here (don't mind the blog police).

REPORTED!
What Blog Police?
heheheh

Some heavy rains falling on the capital in the North West of the Island right now, with pretty impressive black sky.
Clouds are blowing in from the southwest, pulling in moisture from that mess over Venezuela.
Still as a tomb here, waiting to see if the rains will get here to Central Trinidad. Got almost 1/2" yesterday.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24906
Quoting alfabob:

Is it typical for an individual vorticity to last for several days though? I understand that large burst of convection can occur, while vorticity cannot form due to latitude. But if external winds are favorable, something could get spun up and kick up convection when it isn't fighting the ITCZ. I'm still seeing the same vorticity around 102.5W, 6N and conditions may become favorable; may end up becoming nothing but I think it has the greatest chance as of right now.




I think your "seeing" of vorticity is subjective, as it is for all who watch the weather. It may not really be there. There is no magical way for the eyes to see beneath convection on satellite images. CIMSS and ASCAT have shown nothing in the way of a circulation over the past couple of days, which makes me inclined to believe that any illusion of a surface vortex is just that, an illusion.

It's the intertropical convergence zone. You're going to see converging winds all the time. That doesn't mean a tropical disturbance is acquiring rotation.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Levi when do you think the rain will stop for PR? We have gotten sooo much rain, even hail a few days ago with tornado!


Probably not for another 3 days or so until the divergent area aloft moves away from you.
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
I understand why people are suspicious. After seeing the troll yesterday making the rude comments towards aquak9, I understand why a new handle is under scrutiny.

All I can say is every new handle is not a troll. At some point, everyone on here was a new handle. Actions speak louder than handles.
still, not a lot of new handles come full speed into the blog making jokes and friends so swiftly. that requires knowing a thing or two about the 'audience'.. guess you've spent a good deal lurking... and if you had, then that would inform you as to why some who are new don't get scrutiny, while others might. it is far from my normal practice to even post as much as i have on the subject. there's enough from me on here to get where i'm coming from, and for you to know why :)
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Quoting jeffs713:

True. but for anything to really get kicking, it has to pull out of the ITCZ, and get more vort going.
Good afternoon Jeff...Did you see this.?...Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
From a post in BFOTR's entry

USACE New Orleans Team Rescues Doe at Bonnet Carre
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130. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
On May 6, a forest fire in Berkshire became the largest fire in UK history.



My statement was in error; it should have read, "largest fire in Berkshire, UK history." Sorry for the mistake, and thanks to Neapolatin for pointing it out.

Jeff Masters
Quoting aquak9:
minnie- I promise Peggy will make you laugh, I promise. And now that I knowabout the commercials, it is a cool handle.

Yes?
oh, that has already been accomplished actually, i chuckled a couple times yesterday. likely 'he who shall not be named' couldn't pull that off. i took the defense too offensively... it's just an excessive paranoia i've absorbed from being here a handful of years when the 'presence' has clearly been there, and some of you are experts at agitating it before the damage can really be done :)
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
Thank you, aquak9. I am not here to troll anyone or cause problems. None of my posts merit the title of troll.

Thank you, jeffs713. Ofcourse my name is not Peggy. I just enjoy the commericals and thought it would make a nice handle.
Absolutely. And my pleasure. Humor is always welcome around here (don't mind the blog police).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
minnie- I promise Peggy will make you laugh, I promise. And now that I knowabout the commercials, it is a cool handle.

Yes?
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
Thank you, aquak9. I am not here to troll anyone or cause problems. None of my posts merit the title of troll.

Thank you, jeffs713. Ofcourse my name is not Peggy. I just enjoy the commericals and thought it would make a nice handle.
just gotta poke around ;)
nothing in that order noted, no mud slung.. please take no offense. i just need to make sure my iggy list is well maintained, and you shall stay off it.
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Quoting alfabob:

Well it made it up to about 9N yesterday, and had large amounts of convection building up to 11-12N. Plus it has westerly winds coming in to the SW quadrant, SE winds coming from the SE quadrant and an anti-cyclone forming. So basically what I'm saying is that it already has vorticity, and winds are somewhat favorable.

True. but for anything to really get kicking, it has to pull out of the ITCZ, and get more vort going.
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Quoting aquak9:
minniemike- peggy's not a troll, nor is peggy "the one who shall not be named."
i'll admit that the Only source of suspicion is the mere timing coincidence. it is true i've seen nothing in the order of trollish behavior... (yet ;)
but it took me some time to come out of my shell, and with a shortage of tropical knowledge and resources, i still stay in the fray for the most part. so i am curious if this is a familiar blogger with a new handle. but i shan't let that curiosity turn into any form of persecution :)
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Quoting aquak9:
minniemike- peggy's not a troll, nor is peggy "the one who shall not be named."
Correct. Peggy is, however, rather amusing with some of their posts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
minniemike- peggy's not a troll, nor is peggy "the one who shall not be named."
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
Quoting IKE:

Come on...pay the membership. What is it...$10 or 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline?

Exactly. $10 = longer radar loops, no ads, and you're supporting a great website that you already spend a LOT of time on already. (among other things)
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Jeff Masters and Angela Fritz

Angela is a new wunderground hire, with a Masters degree in Meteorology, who will be helping out with my blog and the site's weather education and climate change content.


Welcome aboard Angela


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Quoting IKE:

Come on...pay the membership. What is it...$10 or 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline?
ha! gas prices will be often used to minimize perceptions of many other of life's expenses, i'm imagining.. oy!
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Quoting alfabob:

Is it typical for a individual vorticity to last for several days though? I understand that large burst of convection can occur, while vorticity cannot form due to latitude. But if external winds are favorable, something could get spun up and kick up convection when it isn't fighting the ITCZ. I'm still seeing the same vorticity around 102.5W, 6N and conditions may become favorable; may end up becoming nothing but I think it has the greatest chance as of right now.


6N is really far south for any kind of vort to get going. Bear in mind vorticity is generated as a product of the earth's spin (Coriolis effect). The further you get from the equator, the more Coriolis effect, therefore more spin. Generally, a system would need to get to 10N to get enough spin (sometimes 8N, but its difficult and rather rare).
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
overwash,

That would be a negative. I am at a call center in Russia. My name Peggy.
what was your handle before this one... you've clearly got a rhythm of someone who's been here far longer than May 14th... and with the curtains pulled on that other blogger, who coincidentally created a handle within a day of you, well... suspicion is warranted. what better ploy than to play good cop bad cop and pull shenanigans when suspicion dies off. troll watch on high during this lull before the season starts..
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113. IKE

Quoting aquak9:


Rasta- there are some things that members can not share with non-members.

I am not at liberty to discuss this with you, sorry. WU rules.
Come on...pay the membership. What is it...$10 or 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting RastaSteve:


What puzzle?


Rasta- there are some things that members can not share with non-members.

I am not at liberty to discuss this with you, sorry. WU rules.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
ah well...puzzles are fun, but once ya figure them out, they're not so fun anymore.

:(
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
Quoting RastaSteve:


If the models can continue to show thru the end of this week then i think we have a really good shot of getting these daily rains kicked off. Every run on the GFS the last couple of days has been showing a deep SE fetch into FL from the Caribbean. If it wasn't for this deep trough over head right now we'd be popping off some storms as we were just getting the rainy pattern going before this front came in. I really didn't think the GFS would verify but it did and the EURO for a change was wrong.
Most of the old school Florida mets will say it is officially the start of rainy season when the trade winds have become established across the Bahamas into the state. This also means that the Bermuda high has migrated to its typical summertime position.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
Quoting Levi32:


Nothing significant on CIMSS analysis. It's a typical ITCZ with nothing special in it right now.

Levi when do you think the rain will stop for PR? We have gotten sooo much rain, even hail a few days ago with tornado!
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2001
Quoting alfabob:
EPAC may be forming an anti-cyclone over that circulation I was pointing out yesterday. Only problem is that it moved more to the south instead of north so it still needs to get out of the ITCZ. Vorticity is still visible though.
. Thank you for the post on the Arctic ice melt..Sure is goin quick.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
Quoting alfabob:
EPAC may be forming an anti-cyclone over that circulation I was pointing out yesterday. Only problem is that it moved more to the south instead of north so it still needs to get out of the ITCZ. Vorticity is still visible though.


Nothing significant on CIMSS analysis. It's a typical ITCZ with nothing special in it right now.

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Quoting RastaSteve:


Yeah days 9 thru 16 on the GFS show rain across most of FL. Now this will be scattered afternoon storms but it's better than what we've seen lately except last Saturday when thunderstorms were in abundance.
Almost looks like the typical rainy season pattern.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
Quoting IKE:

Pattern change.
Yes. A pattern change that increases the risk of a late May or early June landfall if something were to spin up..Just my harmless opinion..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
I was on here when the troll was banned yesterday for harrassing aquak9.


it was not harrassment- I really am diseased, mangy, cancerous and lecherous.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
what you did not get the memo 2011 year of upcasting


I thought that was every year?
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
95. IKE

Quoting hydrus:
This is sorta interesting. Look at the Bermuda High...Looks rather potent.
Pattern change.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting IKE:

The ~New Ike.
This is sorta interesting. Look at the Bermuda High...Looks rather potent.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22684
93. IKE

Quoting hydrus:
That is a large circulation. Time to start thinking about late May and early June.....HeresLink a Wiki link.......................................Just six hours after crossing the Isle of Youth, Alma hit western Cuba. Because it crossed at one of the narrowest points of the island, the hurricane didn't weaken at all. On the contrary, upon reaching the Gulf of Mexico, Alma reached major hurricane status with peak winds of 130 mi/h late on June 8. It passed between the Dry Tortugas and Key West, Florida at that intensity, and began a north-northwest motion in response to an upper level cyclone developing over the extreme northern Gulf of Mexico.ne storms ............Hurricane Alma was a powerful storm in 1966 that formed in early June....
Juts a nice gentle rain. Don't need a major cane.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
There is nearly zero surface wind along with clear skies across much of the Caribbean. This will allow for a few days of good heating from the sun to raise the SSTs there.

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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882

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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.

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