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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1455. air360
Quoting KoritheMan:


That would have been ****ing awesome.


Yeah it is thinking about it now. At the time though all the cars were going like 10mph and when it hit i ducked down to the side in my car and hit my brakes while I was going down so i didnt hit the car in front of me lol...scared the crap outta me to be honest!
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gfs calls for 94l to go to the gom
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Took these on the last night of vacation, even saw the dissipation of a waterspout but wasnt able to capture it.


Excellent views....
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1452. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Hurricanes101:
so let me ask the people on here

what makes the large downward trends in the intensity on the last 2 runs of the forecast models more believable than the 4 or 5 previous ones that showed an upward trend in intensity?

As was said, until we get TD 9/Isaac, the models are only a guide


its not what we are seeing
its just a big shift
of what we were seeing
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54500
Took these on the last night of vacation, even saw the dissipation of a waterspout but wasnt able to capture it.
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MJO going back in the "igloo"...guess that makes for more questions than answers...

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1449. scott39
These models are more fickeld than the girls back in high school.....Dont know what they want to do!
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I guess the 18Z GFS and the 12Z Euro were onto something with the lack of development from 94L. It basically has it doing a Gaston from 2010, and dying in the Caribbean due to a high forward speed, like Ernesto and the first incarnation of TD7. The potential exist for it to shift back to a more intense storm, but I am a little less concerned than I was earlier. That 12Z GFS run had me going crazy!

I can see how 94L could fail to develop without even seeing the models... It's just moving too fast and there is dry-ish air ahead of it. Those two factors don't usually end well for tropical systems.

Also, the Wishcasing Warning has been extended through 6AM EDT, due to the continued failure of the models to meet hype expectations...

EDIT: Gaston not Guatav...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3476
Quoting Hurricanes101:
so let me ask the people on here

what makes the large downward trends in the intensity on the last 2 runs of the forecast models more believable than the 4 or 5 previous ones that showed an upward trend in intensity?

As was said, until we get TD 9/Isaac, the models are only a guide


Gordon is more of an interest right now.
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Goodnight all!!
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Now that the 0z GFS is pretty much over, here's a link to the blog I just wrote.

Out for now. We will see what 94L does tomorrow.
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Quoting ThinkyThink:
94L is a big, big system. hopefully doesn't get his act together as a result.


Woowowo.....this is your first comments
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Quoting air360:
Was just driving home through a horrific storm here in eastern NC and had lightning strike a road sign right beside me! The entire sign pretty much literally exploded! Talk about freaking someone out!

Thinking about it afterwards I realized it was a nice reminder how strong and truly out of our control things like storms and hurricanes can be!

Always be prepared for the worst and be thankful if it ends up not being bad!


That would have been ****ing awesome.
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Quoting lottotexas:
Taz killed the season early


There is nothing anywhere at the peak period. Wow!
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94L is a big, big system. hopefully doesn't get his act together as a result.
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Quoting gustavcane:

But that is a big thick eye wall Gordon has too. Let the battle begin.

I think the dry air will win. cause it's sucking it around and into it.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


That's a big chunk of dry air.













But that is a big thick eye wall Gordon has too. Let the battle begin.
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1437. air360
Was just driving home through a horrific storm here in eastern NC and had lightning strike a road sign right beside me! The entire sign pretty much literally exploded! Talk about freaking someone out!

Thinking about it afterwards I realized it was a nice reminder how strong and truly out of our control things like storms and hurricanes can be!

Always be prepared for the worst and be thankful if it ends up not being bad!
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Taz killed the season early
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162 hours.....the last that i post, i don´t wanna lose my time seeing GFS showing a open wave
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But I am not paying much attention to this particular run what I am interested in is the runs from the past 24 hours up untill now which show a more S and Wward track which means it will likely be a Caribbean system and interms of intensity it has not really changed much its still predicting a TS or Hurricane in the Caribbean so this I think will be a system that I'll need to keep an eye on closer when I get back from my vacation

now guys I'll be off to bed cause I and very very very tiered
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Vanishes and is followed by 2 other waves...

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1431. JLPR2
Quoting Hurricanes101:


as supposed to the previous 10 that showed a stronger one? lol


Maybe... XD

Meanwhile 94L's spin is getting better defined, though there is some dry air to the NW.
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1430. will40



192 hrs
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I am off to bed, can barely keep my eyes open anyway, we will see what tomorrow brings

night everyone
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1428. sar2401
Quoting Hurricanes101:
so let me ask the people on here

what makes the large downward trends in the intensity on the last 2 runs of the forecast models more believable than the 4 or 5 previous ones that showed an upward trend in intensity?

As was said, until we get TD 9/Isaac, the models are only a guide


Nothing at all, which makes people partial to model runs which favor their "forecasts". There's a lot of time, money, and computing power tied up in generating model runs that give us very little reliable information.
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not much to see
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1426. will40
Quoting weatherman12345:
Is anyone gonna post the remaining frams of GFS?



180 hrs is as far as i have right now
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Quoting luigi18:

Puerto Rico too!


Hope it will develop tomorrow and take a N path...
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Quoting AussieStorm:


If you look at the images I posted ealier... The Azores really jump straight up out of the ATL. the barrier reef islands are built up over 1000's of years with dead reef debris and sand so they have a broad base, and there height above the sea surface is quiet shallow.
That's what I was getting at. The Caymans also benefit from this 'jumping straight up' to a large extent.
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1423. will40


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1421. luigi18
Quoting tropicfreak:


Gonna run into Hispanola.

Puerto Rico too!
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1420. will40
Quoting Hurricanes101:
00Z GFS like the 18Z basically kills everything, whereas before it intensified most of the systems

which is more believable or will we see a mix of the two extremes?



like you said too far away to determine anything just yet
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Quoting JLPR2:


2 extra runs showing a really weak system? :P


as supposed to the previous 10 that showed a stronger one? lol
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1418. JLPR2
Quoting Hurricanes101:
so let me ask the people on here

what makes the large downward trends in the intensity on the last 2 runs of the forecast models more believable than the 4 or 5 previous ones that showed an upward trend in intensity?

As was said, until we get TD 9/Isaac, the models are only a guide


2 extra runs showing a really weak system? :P
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1417. sar2401
Quoting will40:


take a chill pill just saying what the run shows


It helps if you specify what you're posting about.
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00Z GFS like the 18Z basically kills everything, whereas before it intensified most of the systems

which is more believable or will we see a mix of the two extremes?
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Taking shape....

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The trend this season has been for a not so favorable MDR.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


You missed too much!


Yup, thought so...
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Quoting gustavcane:




That's a big chunk of dry air.













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1411. luigi18
Quoting Kowaliga:
Hi Ya'll (from FL),

Back from my 290 day vac! Did I miss anything?


Just in time for the show!
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1410. GetReal
Well with the end of that GFS drama, Goodnight!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
Quoting will40:




he is moving just too fast to do anything imo


many thought that about Ernesto too
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so let me ask the people on here

what makes the large downward trends in the intensity on the last 2 runs of the forecast models more believable than the 4 or 5 previous ones that showed an upward trend in intensity?

As was said, until we get TD 9/Isaac, the models are only a guide
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Quoting Kowaliga:
Hi Ya'll (from FL),

Back from my 290 day vac! Did I miss anything?



You missed too much!
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hey guys. I was just lurking on here for a few mins, to see what you guys where up to and I see, eyes on GFS 00Z runs and 94L. well I took a look at it myself and GFS showing 94L wanting to pull a Gustav/Fay track, which I think is interesting and I think may happen.
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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.