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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NWS still has next weeks low quite strong.
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It raining here, I am hoping we have gotten enough rain to move Eastern ND out of the moderate drought classification.

Link
It looks to be the earliest spring for North Dakota farmers on record.

April 2 is the average starting date for field work throughout the state, according to a survey of county extension agents, said Darin Jantzi, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statistics office in Fargo.

“That’s the earliest since 1974, when we started recording it,” Jantzi said Tuesday. “The previous earliest field work date was April 6 in 1981.”

If rain this week doesn’t delay things, an April 2 mark also would be more than a month earlier than last year’s average start to field work pegged at May 7, which was the latest since the record of May 13 in 1979.

The average starting date for field work the past 20 years is April 21.

While not a mathematical model, but a rule-of-thumb estimate by expert farm watchers, the field work starting point does give a relative idea of when stuff gets going, farm-wise in the spring.

Already, on St. Patrick’s Day 10 days ago, a farmer near Fisher, Minn., was planting spring wheat.
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Quoting hydrus:
Would that system be considered a meso-low.?


Dunno, Im not a met,....I think from the Galveston disco it may be a "weak vorticity max".


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129419
Quoting TampaSpin:


Pat......You need to watch that twister coming off the coast of Texas...this is the kind of stuff that can develop some over them Waters.
Develop into what? A tropical entity?
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Quoting Patrap:
Would that system be considered a meso-low.?
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GOM RGB Loop

..click image for loop.

ZOOM is available.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129419
I have one eye on it TS.

Neat tight Meso heading out along the Coast is always interesting.
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Quoting Patrap:


Pat......You need to watch that twister coming off the coast of Texas...this is the kind of stuff that can develop some over them Waters.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129419
Quoting StormTracker2K:


That is one mean thunderstorm complex!


Yes it is. Looks like it is spinning a little bit. Kind of like a tiny tiny tropical storm lol
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


threat doesnt look so high anymore, what do you think will happen



Though i must say there is some nice shear rounding the base of the low after it strenghtens, if it tilts negative or becomes stronger, backing winds could cause some problems....

70kt southwesterly jet at 200mb
70kt Southeasterly jet at 250mb
70kt southwesterly jet at 300mb
70kt westerly jet at 500mb
70kt WSW jet at 700mb
50kt SW jet at 850mb
20kt Southerly jet at 925mb


Should be fun.
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As feared, first batch of rain going poof as it goes over us, maybe that batch behind that Tampa mentioned will hold together til it gets here. Need a good morel popping rain!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129419
Quoting Cyclone2012:
Any hurricane talk in here today?


Yes i have one forecast for the Miami area about any day...LOL
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Quoting Cyclone2012:
Tim, QUE BOLA, bro? As for the rest of you, ''HI''.


Hey hows it going...


Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


threat doesnt look so high anymore, what do you think will happen


I think the JURY is still out..the POSSIBILITY is still there......i have already posted the alert of possible severe stuff of the GREAT LAKES REGION...with another impulse in the Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia Areas for Monday thru Wednesday time frames. We shall see!
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Any hurricane talk in here today?
Member Since: March 21, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 190
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


That is one mean thunderstorm complex!
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Hoping it strengthens
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Quoting percylives:


It is wonderful to be perfect but I want to warn you. Life has a way of pointing out our imperfections so enjoy your perfection while you have it.

I've got 50 years on you so have had plenty of time to contemplate and change. It doesn't hurt and sometimes can really make your day.


Nobody is perfect. Not one soul on this earth is perfect:)
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Quoting SPLbeater:


You make it sound like most of my input is worthless.

Anyways, I aint changing anything. I got banned for 24 hours the first time for nothing, so there is nothing to improve.


It is wonderful to be perfect but I want to warn you. Life has a way of pointing out our imperfections so enjoy your perfection while you have it.

I've got 50 years on you so have had plenty of time to contemplate and change. It doesn't hurt and sometimes can really make your day.
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Here we go again:
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Monday and Tuesday could be a Rough DAY again for some...




threat doesnt look so high anymore, what do you think will happen
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Tim, QUE BOLA, bro? As for the rest of you, ''HI''.
Member Since: March 21, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 190
Monday and Tuesday could be a Rough DAY again for some...


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Quoting ncstorm:


The GFS changes its mind every other run..is the Euro seeing a severe weather threat?


a little, but the lasst 2 GFS runs have been consistent, and we have had quite a few cutoff lows this year so im not sure we will have a change.
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Looks like some very strong Storms are developing in Missouri....Some have the potential to be very SEVERE....be careful out there...
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Regardless of the current SST's in the Gulf and Caribbean, we are a long way off from the start of H-Season which corresponds with the normal Summer "drop" in sheer in the normal development regions which usually peaks in August and September. 30 to 50 knots of sheer over the Gulf right now per CIMSS as is normal this time of the year.

Link
we likem the sound of that lol..way too early for anything real to develope
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ILwthr - looks like some rain coming across I-72, hope we get some southern edge doesn't look too strong. Found some morels in my woods yesterday, but it could use some more moisture to make them really pop. Can't believe I'm saying that in March! Asparagus popping too!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



yep but we can hope the GFS is totally wrong, or we can hope than 5 days is enough for a return to a nice negatively tilted trough with 100kts shear.


The GFS changes its mind every other run..is the Euro seeing a severe weather threat?
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Regardless of the current SST's in the Gulf and Caribbean, we are a long way off from the start of H-Season which corresponds with the normal Summer "drop" in sheer in the normal development regions which usually peaks in August and September. 30 to 50 knots of sheer over the Gulf right now per CIMSS as is normal this time of the year.

Link
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Tropical Storm Pakhar. The first named storm in the WPac this year.
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Already posted. :P
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


system virtually falls apart as it crosses the south. However there will be some severe wx but no big outbreak.



yep but we can hope the GFS is totally wrong, or we can hope than 5 days is enough for a return to a nice negatively tilted trough with 100kts shear.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
New GFS still showing a positively tilted cutoff low, but a little stronger
If this holds, the severe threat may not be enough to be carried to the day 4 outlook:





Wonder what that next system in the NW will bring...


system virtually falls apart as it crosses the south. However there will be some severe wx but no big outbreak.
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New GFS still showing a positively tilted cutoff low, but a little stronger
If this holds, the severe threat may not be enough to be carried to the day 4 outlook:





Wonder what that next system in the NW will bring...
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Maybe some thunderstorms isolated over NC tomorrow?
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Quoting SPLbeater:


You make it sound like most of my input is worthless.

Anyways, I aint changing anything. I got banned for 24 hours the first time for nothing, so there is nothing to improve.


As a moderator on some sites, I can 100% guarantee that you weren't banned for nothing. You have to be on an extremist blog to be banned for your views.
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Quoting ILwthrfan:


Very hard to grasp that idea after the April we endured last season, though like you said, the setup in the Gulf being 1-3 degrees Celsius above normal is reason enough to worry. We need a strong cold front to dip through the deep south and take that incredibly high SST out of the Gulf.



I hate the "GW" talk but I did find this interesting explaining the extreme weather we have been having recently

Article on Extreme Weather

Confidence Level Projection (Worldwide through 2100)
"Virtually certain" globally; "very likely" over land Extreme temperatures: Increasingly frequent and intense heat waves and record warmth; decreases in extreme cold.
"Very likely" Coastal flooding: Rises in the average sea level will contribute to more frequent bouts of "extreme high coastal water levels."
"Likely" Heavy precipitation: Frequency of heavy precipitation or the percentage of total rainfall coming from heavy rainfall will increase in many areas.
"Likely" Stronger tropical cyclones (hurricanes, tropical storms, typhoons, etc.): Average maximum wind speed will increase, but the number of tropical cyclones will decrease or remain unchanged.
"High confidence" Mountain weather: Heat waves, glacial retreat, and reduced permafrost will affect high mountain terrain, including landslides and floods from glacial lakes.
"Medium confidence" Drought: More intense droughts in parts of Europe, the central U.S. through Mexico and Central America; northeast Brazil; and South Africa. Other areas are "low confidence."
"Low confidence" Severe thunderstorms: Tornadoes and hail are too small-scale and involve too many complexities for climate models to forecast confidently.
"Low confidence" River flooding: Limited evidence and local complexities prevent a confident forecast of changes in flooding.
"Low confidence" The various climate models do not agree about future
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Quoting TampaSpin:


BRO...don't let these peeps get under your skin....its not worth it...just move on and ignore those that make you the least bit upset.


It would hurt bad if i ignored WxGeekVA.
Quoting WxGeekVA:


No, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that MOST of the time your input is good, but that the times when you go on religious rants it can detract from your value as a poster on this blog. I don't know exactly what you did to get banned, or what caused it, but all I can recommend is following the rules closer and not instigating the admins.


yeah...sorry for popin off earlier, wasnt my intention.
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A cool down would be nice here in FL as the temp in Orlando is now forecast to hit 92 early next week and near 90 today thru the weekend. Also some rain would be nice as well.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what makes u think it is temporary?


NAM trending weaker and slower


Looks to be a cut off low coming across the SE US same as last weekend. Seems to be the theme this year with these cut off lows.

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Quoting ncstorm:
There is only one admin on this blog and he posted a while ago.

Severe weather threat next week should be very interesting! April might just be historic with the tornados we see in the SE


Very hard to grasp that idea after the April we endured last season, though like you said, the setup in the Gulf being 1-3 degrees Celsius above normal is reason enough to worry. We need a strong cold front to dip through the deep south and take that incredibly high SST out of the Gulf.

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Quoting SPLbeater:


You make it sound like most of my input is worthless.

Anyways, I aint changing anything. I got banned for 24 hours the first time for nothing, so there is nothing to improve.


BRO...don't let these peeps get under your skin....its not worth it...just move on and ignore those that make you the least bit upset.
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Puerto Rico could get dumped on some more today...Not what they need, only this time around 1-2 inches vs. the ridiculous 11+ inches yesterday. That was one heck of an event. That's what up slope thunderstorms give you in the tropics though...



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New GFS coming in
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Quoting SPLbeater:


You make it sound like most of my input is worthless.

Anyways, I aint changing anything. I got banned for 24 hours the first time for nothing, so there is nothing to improve.


Just be humble and you will be fine ;) People can get easily agitated on anything discussed outside of weather.
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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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