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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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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1404. will40
Quoting weatherman12345:
rip open wave




he is moving just too fast to do anything imo
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1403. JLPR2
Quoting seer2012:
That may be the tw that is lagging behind and is right on the coast line now.


No, the TW that is emerging now is behind that weird low.
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Hi Ya'll (from FL),

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

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yes  AussieStorm I see it too, but I also seen that same chunk
of dry air trying to get  in at  the same area last night and Gordon's
eyewall slammed shut before it got in. if you look at the sat GIF see
how Gordon's very strong
center of circulation locks out that dry air. don't know how long its eyewall shields will last.
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1400. GetReal
156 hours



Falling apart in one of the most climatological favored areas.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8858
Wooww...in just 12 hours....things change fast with the models

Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2159
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


In terms of the models backtracking on the strengh.


actually this is quite common, models are bullish in the longer range with a system, but as it gets closer to actually developing they trend weaker or even drop it, only to trend stronger right before it develops
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7588
1396. sar2401
Quoting AussieStorm:

I've been past Mt Pinatubo about 4 times now. It's very inconspicuous. Unless you knew what it looked like you'd never notice it. They still have Lahar problems when there is heavy rains. Also the creator lake fills up and overflows.


Kind of like Mt. Everest. Until we got up to about 14,000 feet, it was hard even to see it standing out from all the other tall peaks. I was very disappointed...and sore. :) Have you been to the area of the former Clark AFB? If so, what does it look like now?
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Models will switch back and forth until we have a TD or even a TS. The fact is, 94L poses a threat to the Leeward Islands first. Those who live there need to pay close attention to this system because as Levi pointed out, the disturbance has a "shrimp" look to it which resembles a very healthy TW that has potential. We may see the models revert back to a strong storm tomorrow or Monday. The East Coast may also need to monitor this storm as the pattern does not strongly support out to sea recurvatures as some tried to state earlier this week. This isn't 2009, 2010, or 2011. Not all storm will recurve, the models show a stronger ridge for the next week or so that should prevent a recurvature before Bermuda as I originally suggested.
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Quoting GetReal:
84 hours



Coming into central Lesser Antilles as a TD, probably due to the fast forward speed mentioned before.
Hmmm... the W GoM activity is back, and so is the trend through the NE corner of the CAR...

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21949
1393. will40




156 hrs
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


not so fast, makes somewhat of a comeback at 150 hours


eh nevermind lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7588
Quoting Hurricanes101:


square one of what?

Nothing has even formed yet


In terms of the models backtracking on the strengh.
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Gordon's in trouble now.

It just ate another big chunk of dry air, way bigger than the one a few hours ago.

The entire back side of the storm is probably about to collapse.
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Quoting JLPR2:


I'm just not sure...
That low in the CATL apparently is the one that is currently in front of 94L, it moved to the SE around 94L and was left behind. Anyone think that could actually happen?
That may be the tw that is lagging behind and is right on the coast line now.
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1387. JLPR2
Quoting sar2401:


What is? You mean 94L? You guys have to stop putting faith in 138 hour models initializing off an invest.


Well I'll give you that one, once we get at least a TD the models should start coming together.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
I think we are going to be back to square one about 94L. Wow,what a turn of events.


square one of what?

Nothing has even formed yet
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7588
Quoting GetReal:
144



Told ya Hispanola would tear it up :).
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Quoting will40:
completely dissapated at 138 hrs


not so fast, makes somewhat of a comeback at 150 hours
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7588
Quoting AussieStorm:

It wouldn't be named Helene...... Or would it???


Well the circulation is still detectable :) and is currently moving SE as we speak soon to emerge over water.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


I see a nice chunk of dry air in the western side just outside of the eyewall.
yes  AussieStorm I see it too, but I also seen that same
chunk of dry air trying to get  in at  the same area last night and Gordon's eyewall slammed shut before it got in. if you look at the sat GIF see how Gordon's very strong center of circulation locks out that dry air. don't know how long its eyewall shields will last.

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I think we are going to be back to square one about 94L. Wow,what a turn of events.
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1380. will40
Quoting sar2401:


What is? You mean 94L? You guys have to stop putting faith in 138 hour models initializing off an invest.


take a chill pill just saying what the run shows
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1379. GetReal
144

Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8858
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Helene returns...

It wouldn't be named Helene...... Or would it???
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1376. sar2401
Quoting will40:
completely dissapated at 138 hrs


What is? You mean 94L? You guys have to stop putting faith in 138 hour models initializing off an invest.
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1375. GetReal
132



Has slowed down to more reasonable speed. Approaching Jamaica. There is a weakness towards S. Florida and SE GOM. IMO
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8858
1374. sar2401
Quoting SubtropicalHi:


We went to my Mother in Laws, near 410 & Fredricksburg. There was a thunderstorm. Just got home near Bandera Pointe. Roads are dry, like usual.


I feel bad for you guys in Texas. We in Alabama were almost as bad off until about two weeks ago. Since then, we've had a really good southwest flow off the Gulf, combined with several trough/frontal passages. Just had a large MCS that covered almost the entire state pass through and drop another 1.5 inches, with more on the way tomorrow. We've gone from drought and heat to normal temps and above average rainfall in just two weeks. I guess there's still hope for the drought areas of Texas if you can ever get the right flow pattern established...or if now ex-Helene really can regenerate off the TX coast.
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1373. will40
completely dissapated at 138 hrs
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1371. JLPR2
Quoting Gearsts:
Well it doesn't make sense to me lol


Me neither. XD
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Depends on the island [and to a certain extent the storm]. Barrier type islands, like those in the Bahamas and N Australia, are much more vulnerable to surge than others, particularly washover type surge like that seen during Ike. It's possible in worst case scenarios here to see surge of 20+ feet. I think smaller volcanic islands have fewer problems with surge.


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.
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1369. Gearsts
Quoting JLPR2:


There is the low, the GFS has it spin around 94L until 94L moves on ahead leaving it behind.
Well it doesn't make sense to me lol
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1367. JLPR2
Quoting Gearsts:
There's no low infront of 94L. If there is it shouldn't survive with all the outflow from 94l.


There is the low, the GFS has it spin around 94L until 94L moves on ahead leaving it behind.
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1365. Gearsts
FIM model has 94l center way too north i think.
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Quoting sar2401:


True, speaking of the perfect storm. Typhoon Yunya and the second biggest volcanic eruption of the 20th century at the same time. I was at Clark AFB about six months before the eruption. It was hard to believe the total damage caused to the base by the combination of the ash mixed with rain. I don't think one hangar was intact after the first two days.

I've been past Mt Pinatubo about 4 times now. It's very inconspicuous. Unless you knew what it looked like you'd never notice it. They still have Lahar problems when there is heavy rains. Also the creator lake fills up and overflows.
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1363. Gearsts
Quoting JLPR2:


I'm just not sure...
That low in the CATL apparently is the one that is currently in front of 94L, it moved to the SW around 94L and was left behind. Anyone think that could actually happen?
There's no low infront of 94L. If there is it shouldn't survive with all the outflow from 94l.
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18August12pmGMT's MaxSusWinds was re-evaluated&altered from 70knots(81mph)130km/h to 75knots(86mph)139km/h, and MinimumPressure from 983millibars to 979millibars
Derived from (NHC) ATCF data for CategoryTwo HurricaneGordon for 19August12amGMT
MinimumPressure decreased from 969millibars to 965millibars
MaxSusWinds increased from 90knots(104mph)167km/h to 95knots(109mph)176km/h
Vector changed from 89.4*East@20.1mph(32.3km/h) to 81.1*East@24.1mph(38.8km/h)

CVU-Corvo :: SMA-SantaMaria :: PXO-PortoSanto :: FNC-Madeira :: SPC-LaPalma :: VDE-ElHierro

The westernmost dot marks Gordon's position at the start of its 2nd day as a TropicalStorm
The easternmost dot on the kinked line is where TS.Gordon became a Hurricane
The next dot east is where H.Gordon became Cat.2
The westernmost dot on the longest line is H.Gordon's most recent position

The longest line is a straightline projection through H.Gordon's 2 most recent positions to its closest approach to the nearest coastline
18August12amGMT: TS.Gordon had been headed for passage 348miles(559kilometres)SSWest of SantaMaria (top of the dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
18August6amGMT: TS.Gordon had been headed for passage 413miles(664kilometres)SSWest of SantaMaria (bottom of dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
18August12pmGMT: Cat.1 H.Gordon had been headed for passage 267miles(430kilometres)South of SantaMaria (bottom of blob beneath the straightline projection)
18August6pmGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 251miles(403kilometres)South of SantaMaria (top of blob beneath the straightline projection)
19August12amGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon was heading for passage 135miles(217kilometres)South of SantaMaria in ~19hours from now (when this was posted)

Copy&paste cvu, sma, pxo, fnc, 31.211n27.162w-32.03n26.46w, 33.096n25.71w, 33.321n25.583w, spc, vde, 34.3n51.1w- 34.6n49.1w- 34.4n47.0w- 34.3n45.0w- 34.2n43.1w- 34.0n41.5w- 34.0n39.6w, 34.0n39.6w- 34.0n37.5w, 34.0n37.5w-34.3n35.0w, 34.0n37.5w-34.975n24.941w, 36.928n25.017w-34.975n24.941w into the GreatCircleMapper for a larger-scale map and other information
The previous mapping for comparison
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Quoting GetReal:
108 hours



Showing some signs of getting act together, ridge to north still holding in place.


Gonna run into Hispanola.
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RIP Isaac
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1359. will40
i think it is going to breakup on this run
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Quoting JLPR2:


I'm just not sure...
That low in the CATL apparently is the one that is currently in front of 94L, it moved to the SW around 94L and was left behind. Anyone think that could actually happen?
I'm kind of confused with the model as well. It's hard to tell which one is 94L
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1547
1357. GetReal
120



Has slowed forward speed some...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8858
in 5 days, Hispanoila kicks 94Ls butt
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7588
Quoting AussieStorm:


I would be surprised if storm surge was a problem. Islands don't normally have a problem with storm surge as it doesn't have a chance to build up. Maybe big wind blown waves.
Depends on the island [and to a certain extent the storm]. Barrier type islands, like those in the Bahamas and N Australia, are much more vulnerable to surge than others, particularly washover type surge like that seen during Ike. It's possible in worst case scenarios here to see surge of 20+ feet. I think smaller volcanic islands have fewer problems with surge.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21949

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About

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