Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:53 PM GMT on May 31, 2012

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The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4°C (72.3°F) at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on May 31, 1991. The 25.2°C at Narsarsuaq on June 22, 1957 is the only June temperature measured in Greenland warmer than yesterday's 24.8°C reading. Wunderground's extremes page shows that the all-time warmest temperature record for Greenland is 25.5°C (77.9°F) set on July 26, 1990. The exceptional warmth this week was caused by the combination of an intense ridge of high pressure and a local foehn wind, said the Danish Meteorological Institute. The unusual May heat has extended to Scotland, which had its hottest May temperature on record on May 25 at Achnagart: 29.3°C (85°F). Greenland's Narsarsuaq has seen a string of 3 consecutive days over 70°F this week--the 3rd, 7th, and 12th warmest days there since record keeping began in 1941. The ridge of high pressure responsible is expected to stay in place several more days, bringing additional 70° days over Southern Greenland. The warm May temperatures could be setting the stage for a big Greenland melt season this summer--the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is predicting a 50 - 60% that the southern 2/3 of Greenland will experience above-average temperatures this summer. They forecast just a 10 - 15% chance of below-average temperatures.


Figure 1. Difference between the number of melt days in 2011 and the average number of melt days during the period 1979 - 2010. Large sections of the island experienced twenty more days with melting conditions than average. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Why Greenland is important
If the massive icecap on Greenland were to melt, global sea level would rise 7 meters (23 ft). Temperatures in Greenland are predicted to rise 3°C by 2100, to levels similar to those present during that warm period 120,000 years ago. During that period, roughly half of the Greenland ice sheet melted, increasing sea level by 2.2 - 3.4 meters (7.2 - 11.2 ft.) However, the 2007 IPCC report expects melting of the Greenland ice sheet to occur over about a 1,000 year period, delaying much of the expected sea level rise for many centuries. While Greenland's ice isn't going to be melting completely and catastrophically flooding low-lying areas of the earth in the next few decades (sea level is only rising about 3 mm per year or 1.2 inches per decade at present), the risk later this century needs to be taken seriously. Higher sea levels will cause increased erosion, salt water intrusion, and storm surge damage in coastal areas, in addition to a loss of barrier formations such as islands, sand bars, and reefs that would normally protect coastal zones from battering by waves and wind. Additionally, coastal zones are sites of incredible economic and agricultural activity, which would also be negatively affected by higher sea levels. Currently, melting ice from Greenland is thought to cause about 0.7 mm/year of global sea level rise, which is about 20 - 25% of the global total, according to an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, in an article published the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012. In 2007, the IPCC estimated that Greenland ice melt was responsible for only 10 - 15% of the total global sea level rise. Ice loss in Greenland is accelerating, and if current ice loss trends continue for the next ten years, Greenland's contribution to sea level rise will double to 1.4 mm/yr by 2022. The increased ice loss in Greenland is being driven by a combination of warmer air temperatures, warmer ocean temperatures, and loss of Arctic sea ice. Ocean temperatures surrounding Southern Greenland have increased by 1 - 2°C since 1990 (figure at right.)

Figure 2. Monthly unsmoothed values of the total mass (in gigatons, Gt), of the Greenland ice sheet from the GRACE satellites. On the horizontal axis, each year begins on 1 January. Each small + symbol is a monthly value. Between 2003 - 2009, Greenland lost an average of 250 gigatons of ice per year. In 2011, the loss was 70% greater than that. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Update on the 2011 Greenland melt season
According to the 2011 Arctic Report Card, it was another very warm year in Greenland in 2011, which led to substantial melting of the ice. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

1) The area and duration of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2011 were the third highest since 1979.

2) Increased surface melting and below average summer snowfall in recent years has made the icecap steadily darker. In 2011, the icecap had the lowest reflectivity (albedo) of any year since satellite measurements of reflectivity began in 2000.

3) The area of glaciers that empty into the sea continued to decrease, though at less than half the rate of the previous 10 years.

4) Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003 - 2009 average annual loss rate of -250 gigatons per year. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating.

Resources:
Wunderground's Greenland page.
Wunderground's sea level rise page.
Danish Meteorological Institute's extremes page for Greenland.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting nigel20:

Yes, it's now 10:56PM
Oh yeah that's right you guys don't set your clocks forward for daylight savings time do you? Anyways most considered this season already started since Alberto and Beryl are now long gone. I guess we're just waiting for the "official" start. Actually since the Hurricane Season goes by Zulu time it has already started.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
And now, officially (and not just WU time) It is the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.


Not in Texas, we have one more hour.
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Got first post in the season, do I get an award or something or does that go to first TWO? ;)

Welcome to the season guys.. if you don't believe it actually started 2 weeks ago with our two named storms.
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Welcome to the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season!

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Happy 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Everyone!!! May our season be full of Cat 5 Annular-Pinhole-West-Fish-DOOM storms that cause no damage or deaths!
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And now, officially (and not just WU time) It is the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
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Quoting Jedkins01:



The atmosphere is rapidly becoming saturated, and the jet energy will help to cause long lived convection with the deep low level flow feeding into developing large scale lift. I saw a model that kept all the heavy rain to the south, but with jet energy digging in, increasing moisture and instability, despite how we've missed out so much lately, I don't think that model is correct.


I'm not expecting 5 inches or anything, but some of us might get it pretty good, I've seen my place get soaked many times from these type of situations.


What I worry though is if these thunderstorms persist into the morning and actually steal energy from the main show tomorrow, leaving us with once again overcast skies with some distant lightning.
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Anything look interesting?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Shut up, kid.

Isn't it past your bedtime? Somebody seems a little grumpy.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Aren't you in Jamaica?

Yes, it's now 10:56PM
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 7759
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around you, Kori. ;)


Shut up, kid.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Line of thunderstorms forming offshore Pinellas County :)






The atmosphere is rapidly becoming saturated, and the jet energy will help to cause long lived convection with the deep low level flow feeding into developing large scale lift. I saw a model that kept all the heavy rain to the south, but with jet energy digging in, increasing moisture and instability, despite how we've missed out so much lately, I don't think that model is correct.


I'm not expecting 5 inches or anything, but some of us might get it pretty good, I've seen my place get soaked many times from these type of situations.
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Quoting nigel20:
Good evening all...just over an hour to go before June 1
Aren't you in Jamaica?
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620. wxmod
Dust, red, makes the atmosphere stagnant. Te Earth's atmosphere is stagnated by dust. Dust creates drought and drought creates dust. Clouds can not build without clean air, and therefore cannot rain.

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Quoting KoritheMan:


No. I would say it runs on whatever my time is.

Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around you, Kori. ;)
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Good evening all...just over an hour to go before June 1
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 7759
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

You may not have been on last night so you might not have seen it... Rotation was unreal, the velocities were very tight and strong.


How does radar showing a strong, tight couplet suggest an EF3 tornado?
In some situations there can be a correlation between radar signature and tornado strength... sometimes. The uncertainty bars are large and most of the time the radar is not sampling a tornadic circulation, thus there couldn't be a good correlation. On such rare occasions it might be justified to say "radar is indicative of a significant (EF2+) tornado" but much beyond that is setting oneself up to get burned.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3158
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I don't think the Tampa shield is going to hold all this moisture back.


agreed man, see my comment above, it looks good fore rainfall in our area, these type of events favor heavy rain on our coast because of strong low level winds off the warm gulf waters often allow repeated rounds of convection to move onshore and hold strong. Often the inland areas get much less from these events because the high clouds limit instability inland.
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Line of thunderstorms forming offshore Pinellas County :)



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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
It's already hurricane season guys. Wouldn't you say hurricane season runs on GMT?


No. I would say it runs on whatever my time is.
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Thunderstorms are already popping in the eastern gulf ahead of model projections, which is a great sign because usually that means explosive thunderstorm development just offshore of the coast by morning.

Just from the visual, it appears there is plenty of low level instability as cumulus growth looks impressive and healthy tonight. Low level winds are also strong, which is necessary for training or repeating of cell development, meaning a good chance of heavy rainfall.
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I don't think the Tampa shield is going to hold all this moisture back.
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611. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Service and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #3
TROPICAL DEPRESSION AMBO
11:00 AM PhST June 1 2012
=======================================

Tropical Depression "AMBO" continues to move northwestward

At 10:00 AM PhST, A Tropical Depression was located at 14.4°N 126.3°E or 220 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots. The depression is reported as moving northwest at 9 knots.

Signal Warnings
===================

Signal Warning #1

Luzon Region
============
1. Catanduanes

Additional Information
=======================

Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under signal #1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-15 mm per hour (heavy) within the 500 km diameter of the Tropical Depression.

TD "Ambo" is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon that will bring rains over the western section of Southern Luzon and Visayas.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the eastern seaboards of Luzon and Visayas.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 p.m. today.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
So...
Who is going to stay up for the First TWO of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season?
...not me : )
Me I sleep until 2 or 3. I want to see the first two even if nothing interesting will be in there.
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It's already hurricane season guys. Wouldn't you say hurricane season runs on GMT?
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Quoting wxmod:
It's the lords work. I love the lord.

This is horrible :(
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
So...
Who is going to stay up for the First TWO of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season?
...not me : )
I'll be up

The benefits of living on the west coast...
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
So...
Who is going to stay up for the First TWO of the 2012 Hurricane Season?
...not me : )


Considering I'm always up past midnight...
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


D

"D" stands for Definitely do them, but at a time that meets your schedule and not ours.
exactly, follow this kori
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Quoting sunlinepr:

Germany produces 50% of energy from solar during mid-day hours — ‘Equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over’


Published: May 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am ET

Germany Hits Record In Solar Power With 50% Of Energy During Mid-Day Hours
Jonathan Turley, Legal Expert
May 28, 2012

Germany’s economy is viewed as the most successful major economy in the world today and the key bedrock for European recovery. While many conservative leaders in the United States are calling on the tearing up of environmental protections to help our economy, Germany has shown the fallacy of that claim. The Germans continue to set new records on environmental protection. This week the German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — literally half of the energy used through the key midday hours in the country.

That is the equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over. The Germans are getting rid of all nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. Instead, the entire country will be using greater renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

This is not some tiny country with a mainly tourism economy but one of the greatest industrial nations on Earth.

[...]

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-clima te-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526
Nice, hopefully methods of harnessing solar energy become more efficient in the near future so that the switch to renewable energy will make more sense to the big energy companies. When that happens, things will really start to change.i
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So...
Who is going to stay up for the First TWO of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season?
...not me : )
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


D

"D" stands for Definitely do them, but at a time that meets your schedule and not ours.


Technically, by your own admission of me wanting to do them, you're still providing me with a definitive timespan in which to do them. i.e., before the season ends. Just sayin. ;)
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594. That's an interesting story but I think the more important point is Germany's been making moves for years to reduce carbon-based fuels. The move from nuclear to solar is CC neutral. The US could have done the same thing, but back in the post-war years Germany was busy rebuilding, and the US was apparantly busy making deep geo-political ties that keep the oil flowing, and finance the multi-national oil companies who do their best to throw up propaganda like flak regarding CC.
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600. wxmod
Quoting WxGeekVA:


Get ready for the Fourth Reich, everyone....


What's that got to do with Solar Power? You're showing your prejudice!
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599. wxmod
It's the lords work. I love the lord.

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598. wxmod
I prayed, and the lord made some weather.

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Next question:

When I do my TCRs, should I include 6-hourly "best" track" coordinates, including latitude/longitude, minimum pressure, and intensity estimates?

A: Yes
B: No
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461 aspectre: This isn't chat. What would be polite in chat is impolite in a forum...
...as well as against blog rules.
464 Articuno: Okay.

No chiding intended. It's just that we've already had eg catastropheadjuster become extremely frustrated and leave because s/he thought we were deliberately "ignoring" her/him.
The reality was that the high quality of his/her postings on various (mostly non-controversial) topics left little-to-nothing to add. Hence a lack of responses...
...other than PLUSes. And apparently, s/he didn't check back for them.
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Quoting sunlinepr:

Germany produces 50% of energy from solar during mid-day hours — ‘Equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over’


Published: May 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am ET

Germany Hits Record In Solar Power With 50% Of Energy During Mid-Day Hours
Jonathan Turley, Legal Expert
May 28, 2012

Germany’s economy is viewed as the most successful major economy in the world today and the key bedrock for European recovery. While many conservative leaders in the United States are calling on the tearing up of environmental protections to help our economy, Germany has shown the fallacy of that claim. The Germans continue to set new records on environmental protection. This week the German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — literally half of the energy used through the key midday hours in the country.

That is the equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over. The Germans are getting rid of all nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. Instead, the entire country will be using greater renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

This is not some tiny country with a mainly tourism economy but one of the greatest industrial nations on Earth.

[...]

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-clima te-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526


Get ready for the Fourth Reich, everyone....
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Germany produces 50% of energy from solar during mid-day hours — ‘Equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over’


Published: May 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am ET

Germany Hits Record In Solar Power With 50% Of Energy During Mid-Day Hours
Jonathan Turley, Legal Expert
May 28, 2012

Germany’s economy is viewed as the most successful major economy in the world today and the key bedrock for European recovery. While many conservative leaders in the United States are calling on the tearing up of environmental protections to help our economy, Germany has shown the fallacy of that claim. The Germans continue to set new records on environmental protection. This week the German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — literally half of the energy used through the key midday hours in the country.

That is the equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over. The Germans are getting rid of all nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. Instead, the entire country will be using greater renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

This is not some tiny country with a mainly tourism economy but one of the greatest industrial nations on Earth.

[...]

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-clima te-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot


D

"D" stands for Definitely do them, but at a time that meets your schedule and not ours.
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Quoting cyclonekid:
Looks likes there's something BEHIND our Tropical Depression maybe trying to brew as well.

Congrats!
I've been waiting to see who spotted that area first.
It's been an AOI for us here for over 24 hours now.
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0Z NAM says: "Oh, so you like severe weather? Here's even better conditions for tornadoes!









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Quoting LargoFl:
.......................................Tampa bay forecast for tomorrow,they are saying these storms might turn bad,we will see huh..but we could really use this rain around here..shields Down Tampa lol


I need them up from 5-9. My daughter has her 8th grade dance tomorrow UGH
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The CIMSS ADT estimates aren't though.
Hm well whatever, certainly looks like a TS by now
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WTPN31 PGTW 010300
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING//
RMKS/
1. TROPICAL DEPRESSION 04W (FOUR) WARNING NR 002
01 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE IN NORTHWESTPAC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
010000Z --- NEAR 14.5N 125.9E
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 315 DEGREES AT 13 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 030 KT, GUSTS 040 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
REPEAT POSIT: 14.5N 125.9E
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
011200Z --- 16.1N 124.9E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 035 KT, GUSTS 045 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 340 DEG/ 07 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
020000Z --- 17.5N 124.4E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 060 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
055 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 010 DEG/ 07 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
021200Z --- 18.8N 124.7E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 070 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 020 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
020 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
015 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
015 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 085 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
085 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
075 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 030 DEG/ 08 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
030000Z --- 20.1N 125.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 065 KT, GUSTS 080 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 040 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
040 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
035 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
035 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 105 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
095 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
095 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 045 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
040000Z --- 22.7N 128.2E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 085 KT, GUSTS 105 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 030 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
030 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 055 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
055 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 130 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
120 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 050 DEG/ 11 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
050000Z --- 25.6N 131.8E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 075 KT, GUSTS 090 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 060 DEG/ 14 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
060000Z --- 28.4N 137.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 070 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL
---
REMARKS:
010300Z POSITION NEAR 14.9N 125.6E.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 04W, LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 290 NM EAST
OF MANILA, PHILIPPINES, HAS TRACKED NORTHWESTWARD AT 13 KNOTS
OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT
010000Z IS 10 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 010900Z, 011500Z, 012100Z
AND 020300Z.//

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Quoting TomTaylor:
Well that estimate is 4hrs old...

The CIMSS ADT estimates aren't though.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

directly on the coast usaully gets spared..probably the same thing will happen tomorrow too
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Or can we...?

31/2132 UTC 14.0N 125.7E T2.0/2.0 04W -- West Pacific

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.0 /1006.9mb/ 30.0kt
Well that estimate is 4hrs old...
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.