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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the 18z and 00z runs are the worst runs of the GFS..the 06z and 12z runs are what you should pay attention to..I understand more data is fed into the 06/12 and thats why they are better..
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Quoting Hurricanes305:


Your no troll you are just smart. GFS really is inconsistent with system this far out. Low shear (<5kts)increasing SST's and moisture channel from the south it could be a hurricane headed to the Northern Lesser Antilles.
we have been troll free for a couple days please keep it that way
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94L is gonna take this track.
Link
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Quoting yoboi:
taz how the i pad doin?



Good I use. It more then my window 7 laptop but I still use my laptop too
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114709
Quoting ncstorm:
288 hours
This looks like the energy crosses Cuba and heads NE across the Bahamas... ???
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21457


324 hours
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Looking back at the 12Z, the 18Z is really the first model run that is trending weaker

the 12Z GFS shows a strong storm moving into the Eastern Caribbean, past Cuba and Hispanoila, into the Bahamas, going up the East Coast of FL just offshore and then hitting SC
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I'll wait on changing my forecast until after the 0Z run... Not sure if I buy this southward and weaker shift...
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I don't think the weaker forecasts would automatically cause the NHC to back off their schedule for this storm. I think they expect to see it spin up some time tomorrow, and unless they notice something happening with the storm itself to cause them to suspect otherwise, they're likely to increase the chances again with the next TWO.

JMO
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21457
I do recall the 18z GFS every now and then will have a bad run, so air on the side of caution and don't jump the gun, if it shows this again on the 00z with all the upper air data, then maybe it is seeing a major pattern change. Because I'm also not seeing any troughs on this one.
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:

20 Tropical Depressions and no named storms :P


I'll kill myself... or change my hobby
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Quoting waveRoller:
Mark my words.call me a TROLL I don't care... Later next week PR is in for a wallop with potential Isaac. PR then Hispaniola the next day. Could turn up and do an Irene through the Bahamas and up the east coast while regaining strength and hopefully not making a direct hit at home in south Florida.

Late next week though, I'd watch out if I were in PR or the neighboring islands.

The north Caribbean should be on high alert Tues. Wed. Thurs. next week. Then landmasses to the northwest should become targeted.

my shutters are primed to go!



Your no troll you are just smart. GFS really is inconsistent with system this far out. Low shear (<5kts)increasing SST's and moisture channel from the south it could be a hurricane headed to the Northern Lesser Antilles.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
something of note, the 18Z has a bias towards weakening everything during its run

as supposed to the other runs that strengthened everything, I wonder if it seeing something different that is causing that, because it isn't just 94L that develops and then weakens


el nino. Oh My!!! I hate El Nino
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542. JLPR2
Still keeping an eye on 94L despite it loosing support.



Though I would prefer some rain over a hurricane. :P
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Quoting Dakster:


I was just curious what your definition was... I don't call this season a bust either. In fact, I wouldn't call any season a bust, they all have at least one storm form. A season where nothing is named would be a bust.

20 Tropical Depressions and no named storms :P
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288 hours
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Quoting Hurricanes305:


Unlikely a Ernesto system. Remember there is plenty of moisture to its south and east. Wind shear should fall under 10 kts which should combat dry air to its north also note this is going to LARGE! Dry air will only just keep it from becoming a Major before the islands.



Just interpreting the model, I do not necessarily agree with the model run.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
538. yoboi
taz how the i pad doin?
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Quoting GetReal:
216 hours



On track for the BOC and Mexico visits!


wunderkidcayman, where are you? It's right over you!
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Quoting NJ2S:


It's funny how ppl get angry at the models when they aren't forecasting doom and destruction .... They say their unreliable but let the models show a storm heading to Miami Nola Houston or NYC and the blog goes crazy lol and all the models then magically become so reliable lol Im a fish caster I want them all out to sea but obviously it can't always happen that way :/


A fine comment. The youth on this blog shows whenever this happens. I was the same way before becoming a met. The hardest thing I had to get over after college and when I got my first weather gig (back in the 90s) was separating hard forecast facts vs. what I hoped to happen. Especially growing up in the NE with snowstorms before I moved to the south.
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Isaac?

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Quoting Felix2007:


I didn't call it a bust, but some other people have. This season is by no means a bust to me since we already had 8 storms and there's still about 20 days till the peak.


I was just curious what your definition was... I don't call this season a bust either. In fact, I wouldn't call any season a bust, they all have at least one storm form. A season where nothing is named would be a bust.
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216 hours



On track for the BOC and Mexico visits!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
228 hours
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something of note, this 18Z run is having a bias towards weakening everything during its run

as supposed to the other runs that strengthened everything, I wonder if it seeing something different that is causing that, because it isn't just 94L that develops and then weakens
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NHC will likly remain at 50 percent for 94L till 00z run is out and the 2am TWO is due
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18Z GFS shows a weak system getting torn apart in the Caribbean I must say that seems more like the 2012 I know
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This GFS run is very good in that spares the Islands, but very bad that it remains a low pressure area in the central Caribbean, near Cuba, ready to move northward. So take heart, for those that feel left out by this 18z run. There is still a little something for everyone.
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Quoting Articuno:

*C?

I will go with D.


alright...
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Mark my words.call me a TROLL I don't care... Later next week PR is in for a wallop with potential Isaac. PR then Hispaniola the next day. Could turn up and do an Irene through the Bahamas and up the east coast while regaining strength and hopefully not making a direct hit at home in south Florida.

Late next week though, I'd watch out if I were in PR or the neighboring islands.

The north Caribbean should be on high alert Tues. Wed. Thurs. next week. Then landmasses to the northwest should become targeted.

my shutters are primed to go!

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Quoting Dakster:


What, to you, defines a season as a bust?



I didn't call it a bust, but some other people have. This season is by no means a bust to me since we already had 8 storms and there's still about 20 days till the peak.
Member Since: July 12, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 383
Quoting Hurricanes101:
Ok so after days of showing a strong storm as every says, one models show its weak and thats curtains for 94L?

Isnt that just as bad as the wishcasting?


Yes you are right. Now people on here speak about dry air issue, ernesto like storm, and begin to rip 94L. Come on folks! Don't act like idiots. Sorry I had to say what I think.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
POLL 8 PM TWO FOR 94L

A) same (maybe lower)
B) 60%
C) 70%
D) 80%
E) 90 - 100%
F) puff
G) Special advisories for TD 9 initiated
H) You don't care


i'll go with E) 70%.

*C?

I will go with D.
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Quoting GetReal:



Another possible Ernesto type system that will have to wait until it reaches the W. Carib to strengthen. Looking for the GOM?

It may track through the Caribbean as a TS.


Unlikely a Ernesto system. Remember there is plenty of moisture to its south and east. Wind shear should fall under 10 kts which should combat dry air to its north also note this is going to LARGE! Dry air will only just keep it from becoming a Major before the islands.
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Here comes the downcasting of not only of the storm but the season as well.Lol.I still think future Isaac will be at least moderate T.S when it reaches the islands.I don't see nothing that wouldn't say so other wise besides speed.
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I am going with A, the same or maybe lower.

I am usually wrong though.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
am ready for the 00z now
you will have to take a nap taz till midnight the next set starts around then
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Chat anyone?
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On the 18Z run, what is the GFS doing with Helene / ex-Helene? is it still keeping it meandering along the Gulf coast?

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21457
POLL 8 PM TWO FOR 94L
any takers?

A) same (maybe lower)
B) 60%
C) 70%
D) 80%
E) 90 - 100%
F) puff
G) Special advisories for TD 9 initiated
H) You don't care


I'll go with C) 70%.
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189 hours
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Quoting Felix2007:
Inb4 someone calls the season a bust again.


What, to you, defines a season as a bust?

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am ready for the 00z now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114709
180 hours
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180 hours:




Finally reaches the usually friendly NW Caribbean.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
510. NJ2S
Quoting WxGeekVA:
ALERT:

A Wishcasting Warning has been issued for the entire Wunderblog area. At 6:04PM EDT recent posts showed a lack of hype and a weaker model run which is failing to meet expectations, prompting westcasting and a general state of disbelief in in the models for the Wunderground community. This warning is in effect until 11 PM EDT tonight, where it will be either discontinued or extended.


It's funny how ppl get angry at the models when they aren't forecasting doom and destruction .... They say their unreliable but let the models show a storm heading to Miami Nola Houston or NYC and the blog goes crazy lol and all the models then magically become so reliable lol Im a fish caster I want them all out to sea but obviously it can't always happen that way :/
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The GFS decouples 94L over Hispañola.

In other words, for 94L to become a formidable cyclone it will have to intensify sufficiently to track north of the Greater Antilles into the southwestern Atlantic.

Personally, I don't find the Caribbean route likely whatsoever.


I find the caribbean track highly unlikely. We cant watch EVERY single run as they flip flop a lot. In the meanwhile just as expected dry should stop this from becoming too strong. Once its north of the SAL possible RI could ensue.
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Inb4 someone calls the season a bust again.
Member Since: July 12, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 383
well that didnt work
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Ok so after days of showing a strong storm, one models show its weak and thats curtains for 94L?

Isnt that just as bad as the wishcasting?
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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.