July 2012: Earth's 4th warmest; update on 94L--a threat to the Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:19 PM GMT on August 18, 2012

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July 2012 was the globe's 4th warmest July on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA rated it the 12th warmest. July 2012 global land temperatures were the 3rd warmest on record, breaking a streak of three months (April, May, and June) when global land temperatures were the warmest on record. July 2012 global ocean temperatures were the 7th warmest on record, and it was the 329th consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. The last time global temperatures were below average was February 1985. Global satellite-measured temperatures in July for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 7th or 5th warmest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of July in his July 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary.



Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for July 2012. Most areas of the world experienced much higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including most of the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, Australia, northern and western Europe, eastern Russia, Alaska, and southern South America were notably cooler than average. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

El Niño watch continues
Sea surface temperatures increased to 0.8°C above average as of August 13 in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America. Ocean temperatures have been near or above the 0.5°C above average threshold needed for a weak El Niño event since the beginning of July. However, winds, pressures, and cloud cover over the region have not responded in the fashion typically associated with an El Niño, and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said that "The lack of a clear atmospheric response to the positive oceanic anomalies indicates ongoing ENSO-neutral conditions," in their August 9 El Niño discussion. They have issued an El Niño watch, and give a 71% chance that an El Niño event will be in place by September. El Niño conditions tend to decrease Atlantic hurricane activity, by increasing wind shear over the tropical Atlantic. Wind shear has been close to average over the tropical Atlantic since the beginning of hurricane season in June, though.


Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent in 2012 (black line) compared to the previous record low year of 2007 (blue line) shows that 2012 is fast approaching all-time record territory. A big Arctic storm with a central pressure of 963 mb affected the ice during the first two weeks of August, causing a temporary downward spike in sea ice extent. Image credit: Danish Meteorological Institute.


Figure 3. View of the North Pole on August 17, 2012 from the North Pole Environmental Observatory shows plenty of melt water pools from the warm summer the North Pole has had.

Arctic sea ice falls to 2nd lowest extent in July, nears all-time record low during August
July 2012 Arctic sea ice extent reached its 2nd lowest July extent in the 35-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). During the first half of August, sea ice has undergone a spectacular decline, and we are on pace to break the all-time lowest sea ice extent record set in September 2007. As of August 17, the University of Bremen was showing that sea ice extent has already broken the all-time record; the Danish Meteorological Institute put the ice loss in 2nd place behind September 2007; and the National Snow and Ice Data Center put Arctic ice loss in 3rd place behind September of 2007 and 2011.

Update on 94L
A large tropical wave (Invest 94L) located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa is headed west at 15 - 20 mph. This storm is a threat to develop into a tropical storm that will affect the Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Wednesday. The storm is under moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and is over waters of 28°C. A large area of dry air lies just to the north of 94L, as seen on the latest Saharan Air Layer (SAL) analysis. Satellite loops show that 94L has increased in organization this afternoon, with a growing amount of heavy thunderstorm activity and spin at middle levels of the atmosphere.


Figure 4. Afternoon satellite image of Invest 94L.

Forecast for 94L
The latest 2 pm EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will be low, 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures will fluctuate around 28°C over the next five days, as 94L tracks westwards towards the Lesser Antilles. As is typical with storms making the crossing from Africa to the Antilles, dry air to the north will likely interfere with development, and the SHIPS model predicts increased dry air as 94L approaches the Lesser Antilles. However, with shear expected to be low, dry air may be less of an issue for 94L than it was for Ernesto or TD 7. The storm should maintain a nearly due west track through Monday night, to a point near 50°W, about 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. At that point, a trough of low pressure passing to the north of 94L may be able to pull the storm to the northwest well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles, as suggested by the latest 12Z (8 am EDT) run of the NOGAPS model. The 12Z UKMET model shows a more west-northwesterly motion resulting in a near miss of the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. Our two best performing models--the GFS and ECMWF--have both been taking 94L through the Lesser Antilles with every run for the past 24 hours, though. The latest 12Z run of both models now agree on the timing, with 94L arriving Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The BAMM model, which performed as well as the ECMWF and GFS at 5-day forecasts in 2011, is also showing a track through the Lesser Antilles. Given this agreement among our top three models for long-range forecasts, I give a 60% chance that 94L will pass through the Lesser Antilles. In their 2 pm EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 94L a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Why Texas needs a tropical system, last 2 days several storms have gotten close to my house and I end up with less than a tenth of an inch, my first rain in 35 days and it just gets the streets wet. They said scattered and isolated, they were right, LOL.


You didn't get rain last night? In NW Houston (Cypress), we got 2.5 inches last night. Lots of lightning and wind - but nothing severe. Scared the daylights out of my daughter and dog, though.
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Quoting hydrus:
Very possible. If it does make it into the Caribbean, it may have a more northerly component then the past two.
Agree, Over or closer to the leewards and the Greater Antilles, brushing Puerto Rico and perhaps Land fall in hispaniola.
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Also 94l is attaining that strong inverted V feature.
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Afternoon everyone

Kinda wild that from LA (lake charles) all the way to Virginia the coasts are getting rain showers except a majority of the south coasts of Florida. It looks pretty coastal too.
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Quoting RTSplayer:
Lots of rain for today in S. Louisiana.



Rivers are all bone dry anyway, so that's not a concern, but there's still going to be street flooding from this for sure in places with bad drainage.


Absolutely correct, there's street flooding going on in my neighborhood now..and the rain is still pouring!
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1800. SLU
19/1200 UTC 35.2N 30.6W T4.5/4.5 GORDON -- Atlantic
19/1145 UTC 14.8N 36.5W T1.0/1.0 94L -- Atlantic


94L seems to be really struggling in the face of dry air to its north. Had it remained at 12n as initially predicted by the models, it would have been stonger by now but at 15n 37w, the thermodynamics are much worse at that lattitude. I don't expect much development until at least 45w where the SSTs start to increase. The EURO must be given credit here at least so far because when the GFS was showing a cat 2 - cat 3 hurricane entering the Caribbean 2 days ago, the EURO barely showed any development and based on current satellite trends, I will be surprised if 94L makes it to the Caribbean at anything above a strong TS.
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A Earl track is still possible.Earl just barely missed the islands.All depends on how much 94L gets it's act together.
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Current GFS operational model is WELL south of the ensembles. Also most of the ensembles does not have it in the Caribbean. As they are clustering towards the Bahamas and the SE US.
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Quoting ackee:
WHat will become of 94L ?

A TS
B hurricane
C TD
D Open wave


I say A or B. but I'm leaning more on B.

because if Ernesto can become a Hurricane in the conditions it was in. and there being better condition now than there was when Ernesto was in that area. then yeah you see where I am going with this.
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1796. Dakster
1778. B - Hurricane.

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1795. LargoFl
Quoting Relix:
I am starting to get this feeling that 94L is Puerto Rico bound. Definitely. Heh....
so far they will be feeling something from it, still days away, time enough for it to change tracks..we'll see where it is monday evening, should have a very good guess then
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Quoting FLASPOTTER:
I'm not a wish caster but I have a bad feeling about 94L and this may effect Florida in some fashion based on some of the model runs.


How are you, JFV?
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1793. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting Grothar:


Yo, Snake! See, you try and help out your fellow bloggers by giving them a nice new model instead of that purple and pink map they post every 5 minutes and you get an insult. :)


Where's the avatar?
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Explanation?



I don't expect an honest non-politically biased explanation on this blog on why this occurred.

My best politically neutral guess a stalled stationary frontal boundary and cold august air temps in the 60s. Water temps are low 70s across the lake, not too extreme by any means. I grew up there and recall a few summers in the 1980s where we had 80 degree lake MI surface water temps in august.
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1790. LargoFl
Quoting Hurricanes305:


Still not buying the latest GFS or Euro. 94L is has not develop yet.
same here its too far out yet
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Quoting LargoFl:
YES according to this run of the GFS, 94 crosses over cuba into the straights at 192 hours about 8 days


Still not buying the latest GFS or Euro. 94L has not develop yet.
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1788. RTLSNK
Quoting Grothar:


Yo, Snake! See, you try and help out your fellow bloggers by giving them a nice new model instead of that purple and pink map they post every 5 minutes and you get an insult. :)


You know you love it.

Not to mention he said it before I could. :)

I must be getting slow in my old age.
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Quoting floridaboy14:
actually the trade winds are very strong in the carribean. GFS and euro have performed terribly with the intensity of storms but track wise they are very good so we will see. right now 94L is getting hit with dry air


Flboy! look. them trades are a lot lower than before. lower than what TD 7 had to deal with, and a lot lower tha what Ernesto had to deal with. I am very sorry but I have to disagree with you.
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1786. LargoFl
hmmm at 204 hours, with either 850 OR 500 vt,not showing up
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1785. Relix
I am starting to get this feeling that 94L is Puerto Rico bound. Definitely. Heh....
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Quoting Grothar:


I've been thinking of an answer, but all of them are bannable.


Good Morning Sensei,
What happened to your Avatar.
Are you going through an Avatar Replacement Cycle?
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I'm not a wish caster but I have a bad feeling about 94L and this may effect Florida in some fashion based on some of the model runs.
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Quoting StormHype:
Check out all these waterspouts on lake Michigan yesterday. FIVE in one frame. Crazy rare experience.

YouTube - Lake Michigan waterspouts, Aug 18, 2012



Wow! Those are beautiful to watch over the water. :)
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1780. LargoFl
YES according to this run of the GFS, 94 crosses over cuba into the straights at 192 hours about 8 days
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Quoting hydrus:
If 94L stay south of the Greater Antilles, it is my own prediction that this will become a dangerous storm. Conditions should be at least marginally favorable by the time 94 reaches the Caribbean. Dry air should not be much of an issue.


I have to agree with ya on that one...the other 2 storms had to battle desert conditions in the Caribbean. Looks as though the Caribbean is moistening up quite well right now...
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1778. ackee
WHat will become of 94L ?

A TS
B hurricane
C TD
D Open wave
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Derived from (NHC) ATCF data for CategoryTwo HurricaneGordon for 19August12pmGMT
MinimumPressure increased from 969millibars to 973millibars
MaxSusWinds decreased from 90knots(104mph)167km/h to 85knots(98mph)157km/h
Vector changed from 77.9°ENEast@23.3mph(37.5km/h) to 72.5°ENEast@19.8mph(31.8km/h)

CVU-Corvo :: SMA-SantaMaria

The westernmost dot is where TS.Gordon became a Hurricane
The next dot east is where H.Gordon became Cat.2
The westernmost dot on the longest line is H.Gordon's most recent position

The longest line is a straightline projection through H.Gordon's 2 most recent positions to its closest approach to the nearest coastline
18August12pmGMT: Cat.1 H.Gordon had been headed for passage 267miles(430kilometres)South of SantaMaria (bottom of short dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
18August6pmGMT: Cat.2 H.Gordon had been headed for passage 251miles(403kilometres)South of SantaMaria (top of short dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
19August12amGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 135miles(217kilometres)South of SantaMaria (bottom of long dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
19August6amGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 88miles(142kilometres)SSEast of SantaMaria (top of long dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
19August12pmGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon was heading for passage 36miles(57kilometres)SouthSouthEast of SantaMaria in ~14hours from now (when this was posted)

Copy&paste cvu, 33.096n25.71w-33.321n25.583w, 34.975n24.941w-35.655n24.842w, sma, 34.0n39.6w-34.0n37.5w, 34.0n37.5w-34.3n35.0w, 34.3n35.0w-34.7n32.6w, 34.7n32.6w-35.2n30.6w, 34.7n32.6w-36.424n24.872w, 36.928n25.017w-36.424n24.872w into the GreatCircleMapper for a larger-scale map and other information
The previous mapping for comparison
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
1775. hydrus
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
FIM9 south of their earlier runs with a particularly ugly track here.

If 94L stay south of the Greater Antilles, it is my own prediction that this will become a dangerous storm. Conditions should be at least marginally favorable by the time 94 reaches the Caribbean. Dry air should not be much of an issue.
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1774. LargoFl
94 does not look too good at 186 hours almost like 94 crosses over cuba, then into the straights like it wants to go back to the atlantic side huh
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Not too often you see the UKMET and the ECMWF disagreeing so sharply.

00z UKMET 120 hours.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24459
Quoting Tropicalupdate:
Where is the center of TD Helene?


Hmm I'd say near 21.5N 98.0W moving E


According to the steering once it gets out into the GOM it headin to smack right into the center of the Tx coastline like somewhere around Courpus Christi go ENE up to Galveston anywhere within those area
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1771. Grothar
Quoting RTLSNK:


A wise man knows when to say no. :)


Yo, Snake! See, you try and help out your fellow bloggers by giving them a nice new model instead of that purple and pink map they post every 5 minutes and you get an insult. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26821
Quoting StormHype:
Check out all these waterspouts on lake Michigan yesterday. FIVE in one frame. Crazy rare experience.

YouTube - Lake Michigan waterspouts, Aug 18, 2012



Explanation?

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Morning all, the ECMWF/GFS have continued to be very unenthusiastic about 94L. Though in all likelihood, if the GFS went north of the islands in the past few runs it would probably have a stronger system. The models have shifted more north, so it is less likely to have to deal with the trade winds in the Caribbean if it where to take said path.
actually the trade winds are very strong in the carribean. GFS and euro have performed terribly with the intensity of storms but track wise they are very good so we will see. right now 94L is getting hit with dry air
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Morning all, the ECMWF/GFS have continued to be very unenthusiastic about 94L. Though in all likelihood, if the GFS went north of the islands in the past few runs it would probably have a stronger system. The models have shifted more north, so it is less likely to have to deal with the trade winds in the Caribbean if it where to take said path.


Hi Teddy. Do you think it develops before it reaches the Lesser Antille islands?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Yet another storm heading for landfall as a typhoon in the West Pac:



Currently at 45kts:



They also will have 97W in the next 24-48hrs.





98W is also looking pretty good too.
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Morning all, the ECMWF/GFS have continued to be very unenthusiastic about 94L. Though in all likelihood, if the GFS went north of the islands in the past few runs it would probably have a stronger system. The models have shifted more north, so it is less likely to have to deal with the trade winds in the Caribbean if it where to take said path.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24459
1765. LargoFl
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
FIM9 south of their earlier runs with a particularly ugly track here.

pretty much where the GFS puts it at about the same hours
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1764. hydrus
Quoting WxGeekVA:
They may need there shutters on the east side.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Uhhh... No, Gordon doesn't.



Gordon is starting to decouple, so it's going to die fast now.

It also seems to be moving slightly south of the forecasts from yesterday.
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1762. LargoFl
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FIM9 south of their earlier runs with a particularly ugly track here.

Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 252
Check out all these waterspouts on lake Michigan yesterday. FIVE in one frame. Crazy rare experience.

YouTube - Lake Michigan waterspouts, Aug 18, 2012

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1759. ackee
Quoting RTSplayer:



Well, the Euro was the first to track it there, but it never had it above an open wave, unless I missed something.

When you have a system that disorganized it's really more about what the initialization data was than the model itself.
The EURO is very good at picking up on system likely track better than some of the other model even thow this seasons has not been a good year for the Euro
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1758. RTLSNK
Quoting Grothar:


I've been thinking of an answer, but all of them are bannable.


A wise man knows when to say no. :)
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1756. Grothar
Quoting bappit:

What did it come out of?


I've been thinking of an answer, but all of them are bannable.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26821
Quoting Tazmanian:



its EX Helene
i know could it remerge into gom again?
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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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