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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Not dry air.
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1204. Grothar
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Diurnal Max....brings back memories.....he used to live in cave 6 on the left next to Murray. On Santa Maria in the Azores.


I thought it was the lawyer in Lil Abner.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23727
1203. JLPR2
A little while ago ASCAT showed a turn further to the south of the blob (already declared by Gro) we are watching, seems to match well with the 850mb vort.



I wonder if 94L is deceiving us.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Not to change the subject, but since climate change was the top subject of the blog today, and even though I'm a skeptic, here is a very well written presentation by a good friend of mine Stu Ostro. This is a long, illustrative presentation, backed with NWS and NHC references. Its a good Sunday morning read. Nea and others will enjoy this.

Link
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1201. snotly
Hurricane IOKE!!! oh sorry, I was still carried away from 6 years ago.


Good thing no one will get bent outta shape over another 'I' storm...
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Quoting RTSplayer:


It peaked about 2 hours ago.

It now has a dry air mass inside the CDO on the north side, and a finger or two of dry air on the east side.

It may have been category 3 briefly about 2 or 3 hours ago, but I doubt it will be upgraded until post-season analysis..
He defiantly has not peaked quite yet. Seems like he pushed the dry air out causing the little hole but its a solid wring of convection.



Eye wall seems to be doing fine from what I am seeing.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3813
Quoting Tropicalupdate:
K thanks. Helen probley at remenet Low huh where wil its rements go back in GOM


Not comfortable saying that right now, since I haven't analyzed today. Writing a blog now.
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Quoting JLPR2:


A fact: Invests can have more than 35mph, we have seen several at TS strength over the years that never actually developed.


*cough Dolly dough*
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1197. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
08L/H/G/C2
WEAKENING FLAG FLAG
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Quoting JLPR2:


A fact: Invests can have more than 35mph, we have seen several at TS strength over the years that never actually developed.
I have seen that a few times.
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1195. JLPR2
Quoting Tropicalupdate:
Just checking what is the Atcf with 94L


A fact: Invests can have more than 35mph, we have seen several at TS strength over the years that never actually developed.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Ignore jascott.They are obviously trying to start trouble.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


AL, 94, 2012081900, , BEST, 0, 142N, 326W, 30, 1008, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 150, 50, 0, 0, L
K thanks. Helen probley at remenet Low huh where wil its rements go back in GOM
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Quoting Grothar:


Today that is called Diurnal Max.
Diurnal Max....brings back memories.....he used to live in cave 6 on the left next to Murray. On Santa Maria in the Azores.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:


Looks like a jog to the north now.
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1190. sar2401
Quoting Tropicalupdate:
We dont have TD Nine do we cause weather underground Tropical Weather page shows 35 mph with 94L


I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but the next update is 11:00 pm EDT. Until then, yes, 94L is what's being shown.
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Quoting jascott1967:


washingtonian would be devastated in 94L collapsed tonight.


No because it wouldn't have been named yet, so the one behind it would be Isaac. :P
Member Since: July 12, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 383
1188. yoboi
Quoting Grothar:


Today that is called Diurnal Max.



lol gro ya really do rock....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 1993
1187. Dakster
Good night all. Sweet dreams...

I guess I will have to wait until I wake up to see if Gordon made Major Hurricane Status and what happens with 94L...

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
Quoting Tropicalupdate:
Just checking what is the Atcf with 94L


AL, 94, 2012081900, , BEST, 0, 142N, 326W, 30, 1008, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 150, 50, 0, 0, L
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Quoting KoritheMan:




washingtonian would be devastated in 94L collapsed tonight.
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1184. Grothar
More waves to watch. I guess this is better than watching reruns of Frasier.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23727
94L looks impressive considering its only to 35W. Usually seems to take till 50 or 55W to look like this.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The structure of the system reminds me of Tropical Storm Ophelia last year when it was first classified.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


No.
Just checking what is the Atcf with 94L
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Quoting Altestic2012:
Ensemble member #2 slambasts Isaac right into Savannah.


Can ya give me the link where it shows the track for each member?
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Quoting Tropicalupdate:
We dont have TD Nine do we cause weather underground Tropical Weather page shows 35 mph with 94L


No.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


Taz.... Your wrong. NHC commented in there advisory that
SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE
INCREASED TO NEAR 110 MPH...175 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. GORDON IS
A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.

Which mean's they use satellite images in there analysis.



ok am worng



Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114066
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Is that just rain? Maybe I read it wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. :)


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1176. sar2401
Quoting Altestic2012:
Ensemble member #2 slambasts Isaac right into Savannah.


Good grief. There is no Issac yet, it's 94L. Models are still all over the place because they are having a difficult time initializing on an invest. If it comes anywhere near Savannah, it's at least seven days out. I'd wait a few days before getting too worked up.
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We dont have TD Nine do we cause weather underground Tropical Weather page shows 35 mph with 94L
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Quoting Thing342:
I'd like to see 94L fall apart overnight, just to see the blog completely melt down.

Hello and goodbye.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



Gordon is not a cat 3 you cant this look at satellite presentation and say its a cat 3 there are other facter that needs too come in play too make some in a cat 3 and turst me Gordon is not one of them


Taz.... Your wrong. NHC commented in there advisory that
SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE
INCREASED TO NEAR 110 MPH...175 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. GORDON IS
A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.

Which mean's they use satellite images in there analysis.
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Gordon is still refiring convection around the eyewall... Trying to survive, the best it can.
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Quoting bappit:
The FIM shows a low developing in the western Gulf around 72 hours I think.

not the 18Z run
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Quoting KoritheMan:


People forget that storms like Gordon are more resilient to cold water than your average hurricane. Acceleration = less response to cold SSTs.

Like Chris earlier this year, right?
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Quoting Altestic2012:
Ensemble member #2 slambasts Isaac right into Savannah.
it's now official... GFS has hit everybody N of 15N and east of 90W w/ 94L....

Edit... except BDA and the Azores... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
1166. bappit
Quoting Grothar:


I don't know for sure. Maybe because currently it is surrounded by dry air and has been moving more to the WNW. It should resume a more westerly motion, if the models are correct.


Ow. It'll pull that dry air in if it intensifies. Cursed.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
Quoting LostTomorrows:
I don't think Gordon is weakening... judging by infrared, his eye is the clearest it's been thus far, just because the cloud tops have waned in a little portion of the outer ring of his circulation isn't necessarily indicative of significant weakening... he probably won't start to weaken until tomorrow mid-morning.


People forget that storms like Gordon are more resilient to cold water than your average hurricane. Acceleration = less response to cold SSTs.
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Quoting Altestic2012:
Ensemble member #2 slambasts Isaac right into Savannah.

sand-blasts?*
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Quoting KoritheMan:



The troll under the ridge. :P
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Quoting sar2401:


I'm not seing any storm hitting Houston on that model. I see an area of rain which is likely to be the tail end of the cold front currently moving south. I don't see any relationshop to Helene, which should be dead and buried by later tonight.


Maybe it is seeing it's remnants reemerging and regenerating.
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Dean:

Just back up and look at the previous posting, they are about the same intensity.

It was saying ~105kts/120mph earlier, so it's self consistent.

Like I said, NHC just disagrees.
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1159. Grothar
Quoting unknowncomic:
94L has a floater-Hurray.


Since about 2 this afternoon.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23727
I don't think Gordon is weakening... judging by infrared, his eye is the clearest it's been thus far, just because the cloud tops have waned in a little portion of the outer ring of his circulation isn't necessarily indicative of significant weakening... he probably won't start to weaken until tomorrow mid-morning.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


It peaked about 2 hours ago.

It now has a dry air mass inside the CDO on the north side, and a finger or two of dry air on the east side.

It may have been category 3 briefly about 2 or 3 hours ago, but I doubt it will be upgraded until post-season analysis..

It seems all the hurricanes this season will be upgraded in the post-season. Why can't they just do it now? They've got nothing to lose since it's going to weaken by the time it reaches the Azores anyways.
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About JeffMasters

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