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 HadesGodWyvern:
2012AUG18 191500 5.5 957 102 5.5 5.6 5.6 EYE 34.01 36.59 COMBO

Dvorak: T5.5 averages of all the the Dvorak Technique numbers values (Final, adjusted, and raw)


This is the kind of crap I've been concerned about with AGW...

Whoever heard of a strengthening hurricane with apparently category 3 intensity in this part of the ocean and with this track?!?

Look at this. If it stays relatively low in latitude, it could eventually hit that +2C anomaly near Europe. I doubt it would still be tropical by then, but it might be a big hybrid low or something...

Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
104. Gorty
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
This run looks like Galveston for whatever that is and I think 94l is missing the islands.



What system is that in the GOM? And Issac looks big.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
If current trends continue, 94L should be classified in 12-18 hours.
Have there been any scat passes that confirm anything's going on at the surface?
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This run looks like Galveston for whatever that is and I think 94l is missing the islands.

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Can't wait to see the 5PM advisory, hope the NHC doesn't disappoint us
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:
I'm sure Cantore already has his flight booked for NYC late next week.... It could happen tomorrow? Just like the episode describing Katrina? Only differnece is that this episode was not a lost epiode and did a good job of showing what would happen to NYC with a Major making landfall. I don't think the people of NYC would take it seriously and that would be devistating
I'm on the Jersey Shore, still traumatized by Irene. I didn't do any real damage physically to my community (Seaside Heights), but having to evacuate during the storm this very time frame last year took its toll. They say that storms like this are long overdue here, and come in paired years close together (1815 and 1821/ 1954 and 1955 are examples). The pattern to bring the Northeast US a major hurricane is very rare...estimated to be about once in 200 years, with the last one happening in 1821, 191 years ago. A cat 3 would wash a lot of this barrier island into the Atlantic. Because Irene was not too damaging, a lot of us in N.J. and New York won't take it seriously, you're absolutely correct. I know people who are lulled into a false sense of security, and have decided to stay on the island no matter what. There is nothing natural about a community built a foot under sea level on a barrier island, but I call it home. I didn't move here I was born here. This type of possible scenario is worrisome. I don't wish to see Jim Cantore planning flights to New York City!
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Hurricane Baker 1950
Analog year for 2012. It did start to recurve, but reason it moved further westward after hitting islands is because it weakened into a TW (remnant low). Regenerated in Eastern Caribbean south of Cuba and moved into GOMEX.

NEVER keep your eyes off these systems.

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Quoting evilpenguinshan:
4th warmest globally, warmest in the US, though.



So much for global warming, you would think it would be the warmest globally every year...
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Quoting evilpenguinshan:
4th warmest globally, warmest in the US, though.


I know, just teasing the big guy over a typo in the title.
:o)
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
If current trends continue, 94L should be classified in 12-18 hours.

If current trends continue, Helene should be declassified in 6-12 hours.
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94L looks better on Shortwave than Water Vapor


Link 94L Floater Shortwave Loop
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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.

This is, what, the third time the Lessers have had a heads up for a potential storm in the last 3 weeks, right?
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Is that area of convection in the SW Caribbean associated with the monsoon trof?
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4th warmest globally, warmest in the US, though.

Quoting RobDaHood:
Dr. Masters,

What is this 4th wamest of which you speak?

(sorry Jeff, couldn't help myself, but seeing as how we are part of a major media organization now, we must watch our P's, Q's, and in this case R's)

Thanks for the update!
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Gordon has become a real looker as of late. This is what I have been waiting for all season. If that convection burst wraps all the way around we could see 125-130 MPH.



Yeah... he is pissed that we haven't been giving him any attention until just today.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Wow Gordon looks great.

Gordon is a perfect Doughnut  right now and the center is locked and shielded from any dry air. excellent outflow in all 4 quadrants a true sign of a rapid intensifying Hurricane. This is a true textbook image IMO. what do you guys think.
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If current trends continue, 94L should be classified in 12-18 hours.
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How will south florida fare with the future Isaac storm
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Gordon is over a +1C warm anomaly right now.

IN about 12 hours it will be over "Normal" water temperatures, and then maybe 12 more hours it may actually hit a cold anomaly, if it hooks too far north, which might kill it.

If it stays moving due east, it will stay over "normal" water temps for about a day or so, and then "warmer than average" water the remainder of the way to Europe..
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
2012AUG18 191500 5.5 957 102 5.5 5.6 5.6 EYE 34.01 36.59 COMBO

Dvorak: T5.5 averages of all the the Dvorak Technique numbers values (Final, adjusted, and raw)
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85. SLU
94L

Prob of RI for 25 kt RI threshold= 40% is 3.1 times the sample mean(12.8%)
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 5063
Quoting tropicfreak:


High thin clouds moving in compliments of Gordon.



very beautiful country..it looks like the Azores deal with earthquakes a lot there so their building structure should be better than most when it comes to Gordon..
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Gordon has become a real looker as of late. This is what I have been waiting for all season. If that convection burst wraps all the way around we could see 125-130 MPH.

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Dr. Masters,

What is this 4th wamest of which you speak?

(sorry Jeff, couldn't help myself, but seeing as how we are part of a major media organization now, we must watch our P's, Q's, and in this case R's)

Thanks for the update!
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Definitely a tropical cyclone.

lol
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Quoting Stormchaser121:
Where do yall think Helene is headed next??


Will probably reemerge over water. Remnant low or TD we do not know.
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78. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
I think Levi said this was the best of the FIM models.



FIM9 has showed some early skill with 94L. MRFO & NGX are leading.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
July 2012...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.
That's pretty incredible. With the imminent global cooling period some have been forecasting for years, you'd think we'd see at least some sign of its impending arrival, wouldn't you? You know, perhaps one month out of the last 329 with a temperature at least a little below the 20th century average? But no...

Hurricane Gordon, 94L, and the pseudo-swirl behind 94L show up well in this East Atlantic IR image:

Ocean
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Quoting Stormchaser121:
Where do yall think Helene is headed next??



its dead for now
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Quoting Stormchaser121:
Where do yall think Helene is headed next??


Footnote is the annals of history...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8852
94L traveling fast and sucking up a lot of dry air on its west side.
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Gordon seems to like the Azores..

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Where do yall think Helene is headed next??
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Quoting Gorty:
I think today Gordon underwent RI.
i agree
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Quoting tkdaime:
Does anybody think this Isaac storm could get the size of Katrina


No. Too much SAL dust. If it makes to GOMEX then maybe, but that does not look like a possibility right now.
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Quoting ncstorm:
here is a site for webcams for the Azores..





High thin clouds moving in compliments of Gordon.

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Quoting Articuno:

I think the shrinking eye is only temporary

The convective blowups are just covering it up. Still strengthening...
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Quoting Hurricanes4life:
Gordon RAW up to 5.7!!!


UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2012 Time : 184500 UTC
Lat : 33:55:45 N Lon : 37:01:07 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.4 / 957.4mb/ 99.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.4 5.7 5.7

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 26 km

Center Temp : +14.4C Cloud Region Temp : -59.2C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 95km
- Environmental MSLP : 1015mb

Satellite Viewing Angle : 55.6 degrees

************************************************* ***


Agrees closely with this...

Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
here is a site for webcams for the Azores..



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Quoting evilpenguinshan:
Someone posted a long discussion about this the other night...its probably 3-4 posts back by now, but the theory is that it has to do with desertification and poor farming techniques/overgrazing of the areas, causing less vegetation/more sand and dust. Apparently the amount of dust floating over/across the atlantic has increased since the 70s on accounts of these effects and possibly the impacts of climate change. You could try reading back a few posts, searching for the word "Sahel" might help.

XD



Interesting. Thanks!
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Quoting Articuno:

I think they will put it at 110.
Seeing how Gordon is still getting stronger I think a Cat 3 is likely by 5PM. Eye is shrinking with the overshooting tops.



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Quoting JLPR2:
Well, there goes the Sun. Next spin should be in the water tonight.



That is an amazing shot.
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Link

The hurricane season of the 1950s proves to be a great analog for this year. Levi also stated this in his tidbit. I found a great short PDF document detailing what happened during that decade. This season already seems to mimic it. (click on above link)

Also, check out the track of Hurricane Baker from that decade? Hmmm.
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I think today Gordon underwent RI.
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Someone posted a long discussion about this the other night...its probably 3-4 posts back by now, but the theory is that it has to do with desertification and poor farming techniques/overgrazing of the areas, causing less vegetation/more sand and dust. Apparently the amount of dust floating over/across the atlantic has increased since the 70s on accounts of these effects and possibly the impacts of climate change. You could try reading back a few posts, searching for the word "Sahel" might help.

XD

Quoting Gorty:
Why so much dry air this season? What's the reasoning for some seasons having a lot of dry air but others not as much?
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Quoting Articuno:

I think they will put it at 110.


Yeah although Gord's convection is increasing, wouldn't want to be in that northern eye wall, and that would be the one that hits the Azores
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Gordon's eye is shrinking as the northern eyewall cools.

I think the shrinking eye is only temporary
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Well, there goes the Sun. Next spin should be in the water tonight.

Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8668
Quoting stormchaser19:
Gordon and 94L are in parallel


Erm... Helene?
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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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