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 stormpetrol:
NHC will wait til 10pm cst to upgrade Gordon to a 120mph hurricane.

Is this a record? I don't think I've heard of a category 3 this close to the Azores before. The southearnsmost Azores need to brace for some decent impacts tomorrow night and early Monday....this is not ur typical gale blowin thru the Azores...UNREAL!
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I think this is as about as far North as 94L will get for now!
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Quoting prweatherwatcher:


Looks like a tropical cyclone, can you spot the LLC?


Looks like it's just outside the extreme SW edge of the convective ball.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Unreal... Hurricane Gordon deserves major status. And I was spot on with 60%. I got forecast coming out in a sec with the improved graphics.


Think it will be somewhat likely at the full update in a few hours.

I think this could suck for the Azores.
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RIP

AL, 07, 2012081900, , BEST, 0, 227N, 990W, 25, 1009, LO,
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting RTSplayer:
No anti-cyclone on a full category 3.

Never thought I'd see that. It's almost ridiculous.

One of my theories on Gordon in my new blog update is that his entire structure now fits below 200 mb...which is why we don't see a 200 mb upper anticyclone...but somewhere there has to be anticyclonic outflow...otherwise the pressures at the surface wouldn't be dropping. Maybe his upper anticyclone is more like at 500 mb or something....
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NHC will wait til 10pm cst to upgrade Gordon to a 120mph hurricane.
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Quoting SLU:


The SSTs aren't that warm at 15n 35w. Not before you get to 50 - 55w do the SSTs increase above 27C north of 15n.

It shouldn't go north of 15N until after 50W..
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Quoting prweatherwatcher:


Could be the first Major of the season near the Azores? Who could predict this? Lol


I did not think it would get this strong.

I thought 100, 105mph probably, but 120mph is blowing my mind, because it's just basically a perfect storm, in spite of having pretty crappy conditions...

if it was in the MDR or the Gulf with these upper level conditions it would get sheared to pieces, but up there I guess it works...
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No major.

* TropicalAnalystwx13 cries

18/2345 UTC 34.4N 35.0W T5.0/5.0 GORDON -- Atlantic
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
843. SLU
SST (C) 27.7 27.5 27.4 27.2 27.1 26.9 26.9 27.2 27.6 28.1 28.4 28.6 28.7
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so we know what we are talking about..here's a tourist pic site of the azores.......they got some mountains there it looks like..........cool pics...........Link
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41000
Quoting LargoFl:
..going to be alot of flooding, maybe even down to me


yeah, the red is reaching up towards my way..the GFS showed a run yesterday of Helene hitting the LA coast and then taking a NE run towards the east coast...
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Quoting yoboi:


taz monday's report for elnino will impact future weather....





LOL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
839. SLU
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's over 28-29C SSTs.


The SSTs aren't that warm at 15n 35w. Not before you get to 50 - 55w do the SSTs increase above 28C north of 15n.
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I like shrimp
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Quoting ncstorm:


they give up so easily after one run..
I'm using a mix of models and my own mind.I still think Isaac will eventually be a formidable hurricane eventually.Where?.I have no idea.Gordon is very impressive.I would have never thought he would be a high end cat 2 (unofficially 3) storm threatening the Azores.Seems he still has a bone to pick with them.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17486
836. yoboi
Quoting Tazmanian:
they did not say any thing about the wave be hid 94L


taz monday's report for elnino will impact future weather....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2407
business as usual..Azores .Sao Miguel Webcam pic

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Unreal... Hurricane Gordon deserves major status. And I was spot on with 60%. I got forecast coming out in a sec with the improved graphics.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8041
Come on Gordon just strength to cat 3 and then you can weaken all what you want before hitting the Azores.
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No anti-cyclone on a full category 3.

Never thought I'd see that. It's almost ridiculous.
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Pressure now its 965..dropping to 953.. 12 mb in three hours... not so sure.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
What?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gordon is at 110 mph? Is this going to be a major hurricane?!

I put out some theories on Gordon's unexpected intensification rate...on my newest blog update...just released now!!!!! I also cover several other areas (and I means several) in this new blog update...which is why I was having a heck of a time getting it out there....

I also have been doing special updates in last 36 hours...like this one and this one....in between my full updates...because of the craziness we are seeing. I am ready to do more special updates throughout the evening...and before my next full update...

Sheesh...I can hardly keep up...but I try my best to keep my blog always as current as possible...so feel free to drop into my blog anytime....
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Member Since: June 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 297
Quoting Levi32:
Whenever you see these Cape Verde waves look like a shrimp, it means they're pretty healthy.



Looks like a tropical cyclone, can you spot the LLC?
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Quoting Levi32:
Whenever you see these Cape Verde waves look like a shrimp, it means they're pretty healthy.



Yes and I'm not sold on SAL being much of a detriment to it.
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Quoting ncstorm:
updated HPC map..

..going to be alot of flooding, maybe even down to me
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41000
Quoting Levi32:
Whenever you see these Cape Verde waves look like a shrimp, it means they're pretty healthy.



Hi Levi,Do you think the center has reformed more north and what it may mean for the NE Caribbean if that is occuring?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Lol.And here people were downcasting the storm.


they give up so easily after one run..
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


why at 9 PM?


I live in Colorado. The Advisories come out at 9PM for me.

Quoting LargoFl:
..wow


This is not good for the Azores.

Fun fact. Santa Maria Island, one of the 2 directly in the firing line, has a dry clay plain on the Western 2/3rds.
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Quoting prweatherwatcher:


Could be the first Major of the season near the Azores? Who could predict this? Lol
I hope it doesnt hurt too many people there,but its strong now
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PRESSURE DOWN TO 953 mb
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updated HPC map..

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Quoting Levi32:
Whenever you see these Cape Verde waves look like a shrimp, it means they're pretty healthy.

Lol.And here people were downcasting the storm.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17486
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41000
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2012 Time : 231500 UTC
Lat : 34:12:42 N Lon : 35:16:59 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.6 / 953.2mb/104.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.5 5.6 5.6

120 MPH!
is this right?


It's near the upper end of theory on pressure for today.

It may be above theory on sustained wind speed, but not gusts.

So really pushing the limits of what is possible under present climate regime...

Compare position and maximum intensity theory:

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Quoting LargoFl:
..wow


Could be the first Major of the season near the Azores? Who could predict this? Lol
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Interesting...
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Whenever you see these Cape Verde waves look like a shrimp, it means they're pretty healthy.

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such a big eye..closer to the Azores
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Very persistent bugger.




Might be worth installing some storm shutters or plywood, because this could be stronger than anything they've seen.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Well I guess
I got my wish for Gordon to be a strong storm..but not affecting land :(..


now we need the new ATCF data to match or close to t
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Grothar:


See I declare a blob and the NHC brings it up 60%. Maybe before the next advisory I'll declare a Massive blob.


You and I were talking about this on Wednesday. Where do you think it will be in 3 days?
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Quoting Dakster:


Let the blob watching commence.

Gro - Can you pass the salt for the popcorn?
Oh... thanks for saying popcorn!

[goes to pop a bag]
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2012 Time : 231500 UTC
Lat : 34:12:42 N Lon : 35:16:59 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.6 / 953.2mb/104.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.5 5.6 5.6

120 MPH!
is this right?
Well I guess
I got my wish for Gordon to be a strong storm..but not affecting land :(..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17486
Quoting SLU:
Hmmm .. the HWRF and GFDL not all that excited about 94L. What if the EURO turns out to the right?

I suspect 94L's higher latitude could limit rapid intensification because of cooler SSTs and dry air ingestion.

It's over 28-29C SSTs.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528

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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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