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 hurricaneben:
What are the chances of us seeing Arlene in the next 2 weeks?
low.

If any storms form over the next two weeks it will be in the final days, since the models aren't hinting at anything right now.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting taco2me61:


Oh Yes I live on the North Gulf Coast and with the wild weather we have been having it does not look good...

The Tornado Outbreak last month and now its almost Hurricane Season. I'm not looking forward to it at all....

Taco :o)


Wow...well Florida has been very quiet so far when it comes to weather. Sure we have our occosional brief severe storms (even a few weak tornadoes have been reported in Central FL) but nothing like all the severe tornadoes and flooding up in your area, not to mention the Texas wildfires. I still think Florida will get pounded this hurricane season so I'm bracing for the best to happen.
Member Since: May 15, 2009 Posts: 414 Comments: 677
posts 335 and 336 are brilliantly positioned. Well done!
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Quoting NHC2011:


Welcome back, stranger! And indeed, everything points at just that, =(. Do you reside in a hurricane vulnerable area, BTW?


I hear you're a troll, what did you do?
Member Since: May 15, 2009 Posts: 414 Comments: 677
*lucky
Member Since: May 15, 2009 Posts: 414 Comments: 677
Quoting NHC2011:


Welcome back, stranger! And indeed, everything points at just that, =(. Do you reside in a hurricane vulnerable area, BTW?


Oh Yes I live on the North Gulf Coast and with the wild weather we have been having it does not look good...

The Tornado Outbreak last month and now its almost Hurricane Season. I'm not looking forward to it at all....

Taco :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What are your thoughts on the potential impact in S Florida this season? I think it's pretty likely that we may not be as lucky as past few years but I can't be too certain. I think Louisiana/Texas will get the worst from this year then Florida.
Member Since: May 15, 2009 Posts: 414 Comments: 677
Why doesn't ADMIN IP ban the chronic trolls that pop up? If it is always JFV, then why does it keep happening? One more for the Ignore list.
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Quoting NHC2011:


TRAICIONERA, how dare you side with ''AQUACK''? Especially after I had sent you that email revealing her true colors to you, yesterday. Recall? Cause I sure damn do. En fin, who cares, cause you are a big nobody in here, unlike me, who has been a proud member of this site since 05. I'm known, while you are NOT. Anyhow, moving on, how's everyone doing on this fine evening?
replace with empty space
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Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
wow look at all the red water get hot!!!


I have a blog about the ssts and anomalies.Check the many graphics that are there that show the warming in many parts of the Atlantic.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14061
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Never quote or name a poster you find annoying.



good point
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Hey everybody,

It has been a while since I have checked in but I do have to say it is good to see the regulars on here. :o)

Hurricane season is getting closer and with LaNina going Neutral it could be very busy this year :o(


Taco :o)
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Quoting NHC2011:


Tumor, llegastes ya?



happy report day too you been reported


i dont talk too the ones that like bypassing the banneds on here
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Never quote or name a poster you find annoying.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting NHC2011:
Hurricane season begins in two short weeks, I'm so excited,



and you wont be a round on the blogs


you this been reported too the main Admin
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Who could this possibly be??



Link
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Quoting Tazmanian:





omg 2 times in the same week
Hey it gets worse before it gets better, same every Season. Flag and update the little list.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
JFV needs to stop with this

hurricane2011
RingOfDestruction
SunshineStateCarnage


and now here comes NHC2011 this has soon has the RingOfDestruction got banned
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Stop feeding the troll.
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Quoting llcoolsteve:


Neapolitan, thanks for the clarification regarding the averaging. The magnitude at any given point should be accurate for that particular location. But do you agree that using a uniform density of dots over a distorted map visually exaggerates the variation (whether warmer or cooler) near the polls? In other words, you will see a larger area of red or blue near the polls because the area is being stretched. You're seeing, say, 3 dots for every 1 dot at the equator representing the same land area. The total amount of color we are seeing on a map is being biased by whatever is happening toward the poles.

It would be interesting to plot using a a dot frequency per latitude such that each dot represents the same land area everywhere on the map. Or somehow scale the aspect ratio of the dot by latitude.

Yes, of course.

However, every map faces this challenge.

No 2-d map can perfectly project the world accurately/proportionately. All 2-d maps have some form of distortion.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting NHC2011:


Well said, my friend! Imagine Aquak, whose in here all day long! In other news, Levi, are you still on, good sir?





omg 2 times in the same week
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Quoting llcoolsteve:


Neapolitan, thanks for the clarification regarding the averaging. The magnitude at any given point should be accurate for that particular location. But do you agree that using a uniform density of dots over a distorted map visually exaggerates the variation (whether warmer or cooler) near the polls? In other words, you will see a larger area of red or blue near the polls because the area is being stretched. You're seeing, say, 3 dots for every 1 dot at the equator representing the same land area. The total amount of color we are seeing on a map is being biased by whatever is happening toward the poles.

It would be interesting to plot using a a dot frequency per latitude such that each dot represents the same land area everywhere on the map. Or somehow scale the aspect ratio of the dot by latitude.

The distortion is understood to be what it is.
It really does not change the outcome.
Yes, some people may be fooled by the visual, but I dont think that changes the facts of the thing.
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Quoting ncstorm:
I find it sad that people make up handles and pretend to be fighting with each other..you really have no life than to sit on a weather blog of all places and pretend to be something you are not..


I'm contradicting my own post by communicating this but the best thing to do is to ignore the comments, report, and/or dislike. I haven't been around long but it was a lesson I learned early on. Replying only fuels the fire as one is getting the attention they so desperately crave.
Member Since: March 8, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 798
Quoting Neapolitan:

The polar distortions inherent in a Marcator projection such as that used for the temperature anomaly map at the top of the page are, of course, very well known, and are accounted for. Now, that map doesn't show more temperature samples at higher latitudes; it simply averages the temperatures across any 5-degree by 5-degree area and plots that average as a dot of a particular size and color. It's important to note that the map works with both warmer and cooler temps; were it not, say, 5.C degrees above the long-term average in Siberia, there'd be no large red dots there. Were it cooler, there'd by many big blue dots. Viewers can rest assured that the preponderance of large red dots is indicative of abnormal warmth, and not projection distortion.


Neapolitan, thanks for the clarification regarding the averaging. The magnitude at any given point should be accurate for that particular location. But do you agree that using a uniform density of dots over a distorted map visually exaggerates the variation (whether warmer or cooler) near the polls? In other words, you will see a larger area of red or blue near the polls because the area is being stretched. You're seeing, say, 3 dots for every 1 dot at the equator representing the same land area. The total amount of color we are seeing on a map is being biased by whatever is happening toward the poles.

It would be interesting to plot using a a dot frequency per latitude such that each dot represents the same land area everywhere on the map. Or somehow scale the aspect ratio of the dot by latitude.
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Quoting belizeit:
Maybe the picture is neat but i still remembered the horror it brought us .
I was referring to the satellite image, not the death and destruction it wrought...Trust me on that.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
301. ncstorm
11:47 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
I find it sad that people make up handles and pretend to be fighting with each other..you really have no life than to sit on a weather blog of all places and pretend to be something you are not..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14602
297. ShenValleyFlyFish
11:38 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
The guy shooting the video was either flexing his beer muscles or not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Was he wearing shorts made out of a shower curtain, fish design?


You too can protect yourself this Season@:
Boxer Shorts: Aqua Tropical Fish
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
295. TomTaylor
11:35 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
Quoting Levi32:
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.



good point. We've seen quite a bit of warming over just these last three days in the Caribbean...



Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
293. ShenValleyFlyFish
11:29 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
Quoting StAugustineFL:


The guy shooting the video was either flexing his beer muscles or not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Or a fatalist. You can hear him telling the female voice to put every one in the middle closet, so he wasn't a total fool.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
292. KoritheMan
11:27 PM GMT on May 17, 2011

Quoting belizeit:
While waves that develop immediately tend to curve out to sea
Correct. This is because of two things: Waves that develop faster tend to become stronger quickly. As such, they often feel weaknesses in the subtropical ridge and recurve, weaknesses not found at lower levels of the troposphere (say, from 850 to 650 mb). Secondly, because such waves tend to become powerful relatively quickly, they can sometimes create their own weakness within the Atlantic subtropical steering ridge.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 557 Comments: 19988
291. HurricaneSwirl
11:24 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
Quoting hurricaneben:


My mistake, I did know that it devastated a part of Central America but I forgot which. I was only a little child when Mitch formed. I'm 13.



Well you were still right because it pretty much devastated all of western central america lol. And It's awesome that you're on this blog following tropical weather at 13. I'm only 15 myself.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
290. HurricaneSwirl
11:22 PM GMT on May 17, 2011
Quoting belizeit:
I think Mitch actually only hit Honduras as a TD or TS but they got 5 feet of rain in 48 hrs


Actually, you're right, Mitch rapidly weakened from a category 5 to a category 1 right before landfall. But anyway Honduras was the landfall location in central america for Mitch.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237

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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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