February 2012 the globe's 22nd warmest; record Hawaii hailstone confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on March 28, 2012

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February 2012 was the globe's 22nd warmest February on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Global temperatures were the 15th warmest on record according to NASA. It was the coolest February since 1994, and the coolest month, relative to average, since January 2008. The relatively cool temperatures were due, in part, to the on-going La Niña event in the Eastern Pacific, which has brought a large amount of cool water to the surface. February 2012 global land temperatures were the 37th warmest on record, and ocean temperatures were the 12th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were colder than average, the 7th or 13th coldest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). February temperatures in the stratosphere were the coldest on record. We expect cold temperatures there due to the greenhouse effect and to destruction of ozone due to CFC pollution. Snow cover during February varied dramatically depending on which hemisphere you were in. Eurasia had its third largest snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record, while North America had its fourth lowest. As seen in Figure 1, much of North America and Siberia were much warmer than average, while Europe was considerably colder than average. Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of February in his February 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for February 2012. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

La Niña weakens, almost gone
A borderline weak La Niña event continues in the equatorial Pacific, where sea surface temperatures were approximately 0.5°C below average during February and the the first half of March. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center forecasts that La Niña will be gone by the end of April. The majority of the El Niño computer models predict neutral conditions for this fall, during the August - September - October peak of hurricane season, though 32% of the models predict an El Niño will develop. El Niño conditions tend to decrease Atlantic hurricane activity, by increasing wind shear over the tropical Atlantic.

February Arctic sea ice extent fifth lowest on record
Arctic sea ice extent was at its fifth lowest extent on record in February, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Continuing the pattern established in January, conditions differed greatly between the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Arctic. On the Atlantic side, especially in the Barents Sea, air temperatures were higher than average and ice extent was unusually low. February ice extent for the Barents Sea was the lowest in the satellite record, due to air temperatures that ranged from 4 - 8°C (7 - 14°F) above average at the 925 mb level (about 3000 feet above sea level). In contrast, on the Pacific side, February ice extent in the Bering Sea was the second highest in the satellite record, paired with air temperatures that were 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) below average at the 925 mb level. Satellite sea ice records date back to 1979.


Figure 2. Record-setting hailstone from the Hawaii 'supercell' thunderstorm that hit the Hawaiian island of Oahu on March 9, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/National Weather Service.

Huge hailstone sets Hawaii record
A hailstone with the diameter of roughly that of a grapefruit that hit Oahu on March 9, 2012, has been confirmed as the largest hailstone on record for the state of Hawaii, according to NOAA. The record-setting hailstone was dropped by a “supercell” thunderstorm on the windward side of Oahu. There were numerous reports of hail with diameters of 2 to 3 inches and greater. Hail the size of a penny (diameter of 3/4 inch) or quarter (diameter of one inch) has been reported in Hawaii only eight times since records began, and there is no record of hail larger than 1 inch in diameter. Hail the size of golf balls and baseballs can only form within intense thunderstorms called supercells. These supercells need warm, moist air to rise into progressively colder, drier air, as well as winds changing direction and increasing speed with increasing height off the ground. For both sets of conditions to exist at the same time in Hawaii is extremely rare, but that did occur on March 9. Conditions that day were ideal for a supercell to form, and the storm looked very much like supercell thunderstorms common in the Central U.S. during spring. Supercells can also produce tornadoes, another rarity in Hawaii. The same hail-producing supercell produced a confirmed EF-0 tornado with winds of 60-70 mph in Lanikai and Enchanted Lakes on Oahu.

Jeff Masters

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In Calculus 3, my professor thinks covering the entire chapter of double and triple integration in just this week with the test assigned next week is reasonable...

My Gosh, this is going to be one crazy study weekend... :0
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


I highly doubt that! The only reason for the rain wx in PR is this jet streak that has set up but that should move back to the north and dry out PR. No way can you base a rainy March in PR to the up coming hurricane season.


I am trying to look at all the possibbilities of how the activity will be in the upcomming Atlantic Hurricane season and the wet March here was one of them.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14332
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
324 PM EDT THU MAR 29 2012

.CLEARING SKIES AND LIGHT WINDS WILL ALLOW TEMPERATURES TO DROP
THROUGH THE 30S OVERNIGHT. LOWEST READINGS WILL BE ACROSS INLAND
NORTHEAST OHIO AND NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA WHERE TEMPERATURE COULD
DROP TO THE UPPER 20S.

OHZ013-014-020>023-031>033-038-PAZ002-003-300600-
/O.CON.KCLE.FZ.W.0002.120330T0600Z-120330T1300Z/
GEAUGA-ASHTABULA INLAND-MEDINA-SUMMIT-PORTAGE-TRUMBULL-WAYNE-
STARK-MAHONING-HOLMES-SOUTHERN ERIE-CRAWFORD PA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CHARDON...JEFFERSON...MEDINA...AKRON...
RAVENNA...WARREN...WOOSTER...CANTON...YOUNGSTOWN. ..MILLERSBURG...
EDINBORO...MEADVILLE
324 PM EDT THU MAR 29 2012

...FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 9 AM EDT
FRIDAY...

* TEMPERATURES...26 TO 32 DEGREES.

* TIMING...LATE TONIGHT.

* IMPACTS...UNPROTECTED VEGETATION COULD BE DAMAGED BY FROST OR
FREEZING TEMPERATURES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FREEZE WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE
FORECAST TO THREATEN OUTDOOR PLANTS. IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNED
AREA YOU SHOULD HARVEST OR PROTECT TENDER VEGETATION. ALSO...
POTTED PLANTS NORMALLY LEFT OUTDOORS SHOULD BE COVERED OR BROUGHT
INSIDE AWAY FROM THE COLD. STAY TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO FOR
FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.

&&

$$
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Quoting Bergeron:


Except the 50's were outside of the WARM AMO period I believe. I think good ones since 1995 are 2001-2002, however you are correct as far as 50's analogs of 1951 and 1957

Well, there are a few problems wrong with those years. For one, the activity this year would be much less. Secondly, 1995 was El Nio to Neutral, 2001 was La Nia to Neutral, and 2002 became a moderate El Nio, although it is probably the best analogue out of the three. Finally, all three years had a lot of Cape Verde activity...we will not see that this season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32277
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
For the 50s alone, I would say 1951, 1957, and 1959 are among good analogues for this upcoming hurricane season.


Except the 50's were outside of the WARM AMO period I believe. I think good ones since 1995 are 2001-2002, however you are correct as far as 50's analogs of 1951 and 1957
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Other years like this 2012 wet March in Puerto Rico were 1956 and 1958.The question is if those two years are going to be analogs to 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season? I think our friend Levi touched briefly on this in his last tidbit.

This was the Hydrology discussion on March 25.

HYDROLOGY...THE DAILY RAINFALL FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH 345 PM THIS
AFTERNOON AT THE SAN JUAN LMM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS BEEN 3.09
INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD RAINFALL FOR MARCH
25TH OF 1.75 INCHES SET IN 1956. IN ADDITION...THE CURRENT MONTHLY
TOTAL OF 6.30 INCHES HAS BROKEN THE OLD MARCH MONTHLY RECORD OF
5.41 INCHES SET IN 1958.

1956



1958



I highly doubt that! The only reason for the rain wx in PR is this jet streak that has set up but that should move back to the north and dry out PR. No way can you base a rainy March in PR to the up coming hurricane season.
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March 28, 2011

March 28, 2012
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8147
Quoting RitaEvac:


Resembles a small tropical depression.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723


not much to it
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

well its intresting how dis weather work rainin over there but dry as a desert in Afgainstan over here right next to you

Jamaica is quite mountainous, so warm air is forced upwards over these mountains which leads to condensation and cloud formation, then eventually rain
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8147
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


The only thing i could find is a power plant that was struck by a tornado but the emergency equipment did work.

Any idea when the event you were thinking of happened?


Outside of last year, no.

This wasn't a hit on a reactor, but a hit close to a reactor.
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For the 50s alone, I would say 1951, 1957, and 1959 are among good analogues for this upcoming hurricane season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32277
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Other years like this 2012 wet March in Puerto Rico were 1956 and 1958.The question is if those two years are going to be analogs to 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season? I think our friend Levi touched briefly on this in his last tidbit.

This was the Hydrology discussion on March 25.

HYDROLOGY...THE DAILY RAINFALL FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH 345 PM THIS
AFTERNOON AT THE SAN JUAN LMM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS BEEN 3.09
INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD RAINFALL FOR MARCH
25TH OF 1.75 INCHES SET IN 1956. IN ADDITION...THE CURRENT MONTHLY
TOTAL OF 6.30 INCHES HAS BROKEN THE OLD MARCH MONTHLY RECORD OF
5.41 INCHES SET IN 1958.

1956



1958


I doubt these two years will be analogue years as they featured a lot of Eastern Atlantic activity and many storms of 25 °N, something we probably will not see much of this season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32277
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Other years like this 2012 wet March in Puerto Rico were 1956 and 1958.The question is if those two years are going to be analogs to 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season? I think our friend Levi touched briefly on this in his last tidbit.

This was the Hydrology discussion on March 25.

HYDROLOGY...THE DAILY RAINFALL FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH 345 PM THIS
AFTERNOON AT THE SAN JUAN LMM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS BEEN 3.09
INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD RAINFALL FOR MARCH
25TH OF 1.75 INCHES SET IN 1956. IN ADDITION...THE CURRENT MONTHLY
TOTAL OF 6.30 INCHES HAS BROKEN THE OLD MARCH MONTHLY RECORD OF
5.41 INCHES SET IN 1958.

1956



1958


Those two years don't have anything in common with each other so it's unlikely we can base any predictions off of them for the coming season.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this were to get into favorable condionts offshore, and if this was July, this could easily become a tropical depression?

Thanks

It depends on the conditions in the Gulf at the time. If it was like July 2011, then no because of all the dry air. It was was like July 2009, then no because of all the wind shear.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32277
Other years like this 2012 wet March in Puerto Rico were 1956 and 1958.The question is if those two years are going to be analogs to 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season? I think our friend Levi touched briefly on this in his last tidbit.

This was the Hydrology discussion on March 25.

HYDROLOGY...THE DAILY RAINFALL FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH 345 PM THIS
AFTERNOON AT THE SAN JUAN LMM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS BEEN 3.09
INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD RAINFALL FOR MARCH
25TH OF 1.75 INCHES SET IN 1956. IN ADDITION...THE CURRENT MONTHLY
TOTAL OF 6.30 INCHES HAS BROKEN THE OLD MARCH MONTHLY RECORD OF
5.41 INCHES SET IN 1958.

1956



1958

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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:


Nice image of TS Pakhar
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Quoting nigel20:

I'm right next to you in Jamaica and it has rained almost everyday over the last two weeks or so

well its intresting how dis weather work rainin over there but dry as a desert in Afgainstan over here right next to you
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Yesterday's hailstorm in Americus, KS.
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8147
Quoting BobWallace:
I seem to remember one of last year's large tornadoes striking somewhat close to a nuclear reactor.

Part of the story was that the reactor was designed to withstand a direct major storm hit, but the emergency equipment for the reactor was in a non-hardened building.

That ring a bell for anyone?


The only thing i could find is a power plant that was struck by a tornado but the emergency equipment did work.

Any idea when the event you were thinking of happened?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

well not for me here in GCM its hot dry dry and dry I wish it was pouring for a couple of days

I'm right next to you in Jamaica and it has rained almost everyday over the last two weeks or so
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It looks like a tropical storm making landfall.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this were to get into favorable condionts offshore, and if this was July, this could easily become a tropical depression?

Thanks
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting nigel20:

While it's like we are in the rainy season here in the Caribbean

well not for me here in GCM its hot dry dry and dry I wish it was pouring for a couple of days
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I started a new FB page i think you all will like...it will make it very easy to share with others like family and friends when the Tropical Season rolls around.

Is it tropical storm central?......if it is thanks much
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8147
Meso center right over the NWS and my place
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It looks like a tropical storm making landfall.


Yeah.....kinda
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Squall line bow echo making headway for LA coast
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537. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)

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I seem to remember one of last year's large tornadoes striking somewhat close to a nuclear reactor.

Part of the story was that the reactor was designed to withstand a direct major storm hit, but the emergency equipment for the reactor was in a non-hardened building.

That ring a bell for anyone?
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Quoting hydrus:
Waiting for the latest Euro run. Feels like late spring here in Middle TN. 84 degrees with building cumulonimbus .

While it's like we are in the rainy season here in the Caribbean
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


More like a Tropical storm that developed over land and moving offshore :D

I am pretty amazed by the way this is looking


its the remnants of TS DON!! 0.o
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Nice helicities over the 5% tornado:


Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

They put drops in your eyes and everything looks bright.


Yeah my dad went to get his dilated, and in math i learned that dilation is an increase or decrease in size..so they is makin ur pupils bigger..

Never done to me and I hope it never does.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It looks like a tropical storm making landfall.



More like a Tropical storm that developed over land and moving offshore :D

I am pretty amazed by the way this is looking
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys what in the world is that near Tx is it a sub-trop or hybrid TS Marco lol

anyway I was just thinking what if this weak & slowly dieing La Nina justs goes to nutral to cool all the way through summer and fall then goes into El Nino by winter instead of what is currently forecasted...this is just a thought anyway

Not all the models are predicting an el nino, but one is certainly possible by Fall
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It looks like a tropical storm making landfall.



Center looks to be just north of Galveston. It is also apparent to me that the water is fueling the offshore storms.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


That's a pretty good pressure drop for a MCS... Anyone have surface analysis maps and/or tropical data maps for the GOM?







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Quoting nigel20:

Wats up hydrus?
Waiting for the latest Euro run. Feels like late spring here in Middle TN. 84 degrees with building cumulonimbus .
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Quoting SPLbeater:
Anyone here ever had their eyes dilated?

They put drops in your eyes and everything looks bright.
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It looks like a tropical storm making landfall.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32277
Anyone here ever had their eyes dilated?
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Quoting RitaEvac:


It's Texas...Boy

umm... yes I know that ...???...
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Quoting Skyepony:
This Buoy is right off Galveston & about to hit by the MCS.



That's a pretty good pressure drop for a MCS... Anyone have surface analysis maps and/or tropical data maps for the GOM?
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys what in the world is that near Tx is it a sub-trop or hybrid TS Marco lol

anyway I was just thinking what if this weak & slowly dieing La Nina justs goes to nutral to cool all the way through summer and fall then goes into El Nino by winter instead of what is currently forecasted...this is just a thought anyway


It's Texas...Boy
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Reading back can alway's enlighten one as to what is being discussed.

: )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668

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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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