August 2012: Earth's 4th warmest August on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on September 18, 2012

Share this Blog
39
+

August 2012 was the globe's 4th warmest August on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA rated August 2012 the 6th warmest on record. August 2012 global land temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 5th warmest on record. August 2012 was the 330th 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 August for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 3rd warmest in the 34-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of August in his August 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary.



Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for August 2012. Most areas of the world experienced much higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including much of Canada, Southeast Europe, and Western Asia. Central Russia was much cooler than average. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

El Niño watch continues
Sea surface temperatures were at 0.5°C above average as of September 17 in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America, and have been near or above the 0.5°C above average--the 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) classified conditions as being neutral in their September 6 El Niño discussion. They continued their El Niño watch, and gave a 69% chance that an El Niño event will be in place by the end of 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. However, the past few runs of the GFS model have predicted a significant rise in wind shear over the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic by early October, which may represent El Niño finally beginning to kick in and affect the atmospheric circulation over the Atlantic.


Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent as of September 18, 2012 (black line) compared to the previous record low years, in millions of square kilometers. This year's extent is far below any previous year, and is close to its minimum for the year. Satellite measurements of ice extent began in 1979. Image credit: Danish Meteorological Institute.

Arctic sea ice falls to all-time record low during August
August 2012 Arctic sea ice extent reached its lowest August extent in the 35-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The new sea ice record was set on August 26, a full three weeks before the usual end of the melting season. Every major scientific institution that tracks Arctic sea ice agrees that new records for low ice area, extent, and volume have been set (see the comprehensive collection of sea ice graphs here.) Satellite records of sea ice extent date back to 1979, though a 2011 study by Kinnard et al. shows that the Arctic hasn't seen a melt like this for at least 1,450 years (see a more detailed article on this over at skepticalscience.com.) The latest September 18, 2012 extent of 3.5 million square kilometers is approximately a 50% reduction in the area of Arctic covered by sea ice, compared to the average from 1979 - 2000. The amount of open ocean exposed this September compared to September 1980 is about 43% of the size of the contiguous United States. The ice extent is close to its minimum for the year, and should start in increase within the next week or two, but that open water over the Arctic will provide a significant amount of heat and moisture to the atmosphere over the next few months that will significantly alter weather patterns. One possible impact may be an increase in the intensity and duration of extreme weather events during fall and winter.


Video 1. This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent using sea ice concentration data from the DMSP SSMI/S satellite sensor. The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice extent over the 1979-2000 time period. Layered over top of that are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 – September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average. Source: NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

Nadine approaching the Azores
Long-lived Tropical Storm Nadine is headed northeastwards on a track that will bring the storm close to the Azores Islands on Wednesday and Thursday. A tropical storm watch has been posted for the islands of Flores and Corvo in the northwestern Azores. Steering currents for Nadine are expected to weaken on Wednesday, and the storm will move slowly and erratically for many days in the Central Atlantic late this week and early next week. On Friday, Nadine will become tangled up with an upper-level low pressure system, and the storm may partially or fully convert to an extratropical storm. By this weekend, the GFS and ECMWF models predict Nadine will move southwestward over warmer waters, and it could become fully tropical again.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, thunderstorm activity associated with a tropical wave that moved through the Lesser Antilles Islands yesterday (92L) has diminished, and this wave is no longer a threat to develop. None of the reliable computers models is showing development of a new tropical cyclone in the Atlantic through September 24.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 50 - 1

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 — Blog Index

Thanks you Dr. Masters,

I am trying to understand the reason for arctic warming. Could it possibly be due to a shift in the earth's axis?. Exposing the arctic to longer days? This would change the suns rays in relation to the equator and change weather patterns world wide. Any thoughts on this? Thanks in advance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Atmosphere is not highly unstable but... plenty shear.


Most unstable CAPE, CIN (convective inhibition), and Effective Bulk shear in knots.

(Image will update. I hope)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have always had a problem remembering the spell-check.... Glad I am not the only one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Scorching Alice Springs on brink of longest dry spell in recorded history.

Alice Springs has just scorched through its hottest day in five months with the town now on the cusp of its longest dry spell in recorded history.

Temperatures today soared to a top of 36.3˚C earlier today, nine degrees above average, with the mercury expected to rise even further to highs of 37˚C come Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday will see a marginal drop in temperatures with a maximum of 35˚C on the forecast before a return to a 37˚C maxima come Saturday.

Temperatures aside, it has been exceptionally dry in Alice Springs, with the town failing to record a single drop of rain in its rain gauge over the past 146 days, equalling the current record set in 1972.

If Alice Springs reaches 9am CST Wednesday without rainfall, a very likely scenario, it would have created a new record for the longest dry spell since records began in 1941.

"These arid conditions were a result of persistent high-pressure systems across the region and cooler waters in the Indian Ocean off the north-west coast of Australia," says Felim Hanniffy, Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

Hanniffy notes that this especially dry conditions are now combining with scorching temperatures resulting in soaring fire dangers across the Alice Springs region.

"These searing conditions are caused by northerly winds surging ahead of a trough system, which is passing south of the Northern Territory," he concludes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
this is not looking like a nonevent as some one was saying for the east coast..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:


Sorry, but I don't believe that Western Australia has had warmer than average winter. they've been hit constantly by strong cold fronts all winter. Darwin has is on the verge of it's longest ever dry spell. 146 days to be exact. yet the below image show's average. when it's been above average.

Your meterological service says otherwise. The Northern Territories look like they've had a cool winter, but WA has been pretty warm overall 9except for the northern third:

Aus

...with August warmest of all:

Aus
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Put this in motion at the NHC doesn't look good.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormDrain:
Thanks for linking that. We're likely off-topic, though.



MCD 1961

You're welcome, this is important weather so we are good.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7940
Very impressive low passing thru Alabama right now I think everyone one from the mid to east Atlantic States should stay on top of this system this afternoon and evening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormDrain:
Thanks for linking that. We're likely off-topic, though.



MCD 1961
Not at all off topic..Very significant
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
Upgrade to moderate risk

Mesocale Discussion 1960
Thanks for linking that. We're likely off-topic, though.



MCD 1961
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting belizeit:
No mention of the successful liftoff off a new and important weather satellite yesterday ?


I'm sure the doc would like to cover every weather story that happens every day, but he's got to focus on some things and ignore others lest his blog end up as nothing more than a list of headlines with no in-depth information. Since the doc didn't have time to cover this story we, the blog community, can help out. For instance, we can provide links or additional details about the story we wish the doc had covered. I'm sure folks here would be interested.

I assume you're talking about the MetOp B satellite:



It launched yesterday aboard a Soyuz rocket and successfully achieved orbit:



MetOp-B was launched to ensure the continuity of the weather and atmospheric monitoring service provided by its predecessor MetOp-A, which has been circling the globe from pole to pole, 14 times a day, since 2006.

These satellites carry an impressive array of equipment, including:

AMSU-A1/AMSU-A2 - Advanced Microwave Sounding Units
HIRS/4 - High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (N.B. Not included on Metop-C)
AVHRR/3 - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
A-DCS - Advanced Data Collection System
SEM-2 - Space Environment Monitor
SARP-3 - Search And Rescue Processor
SARR - Search And Rescue Repeater
MHS - Microwave Humidity Sounder
IASI - Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer
GRAS - Global Navigation Satellite System Receiver for Atmospheric Sounding
ASCAT - Advanced Scatterometer
GOME-2 - Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2

Much more info HERE at the wikipedia page.

You can download Metop data from NASA here:

METOP PRODUCTS

Or from EUMETSAT here:

EUMETSAT DATA PAGE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting belizeit:
Link Here is a link to it
Thanks belize
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sorry, but I don't believe that Western Australia has had warmer than average winter. they've been hit constantly by strong cold fronts all winter. Alice Springs is on the verge of it's longest ever dry spell. 146 days to be exact. yet the below image show's average. when it's been above average.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
belize.......Please feel free to mention it... I guess everything in the world can't be mentioned... But I will listen, Please go ahead
Link Here is a link to it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Melagoo:
Could Hurricane Season be coming to an early close ... I doubt it ... there are always big surprises ... just very quite right now ...
Yes, very quite (Quiet) I'll take it, BUT, October is and can be a very bad month for south Florida. Much too early to make any predictions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Jeff...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting belizeit:
No mention of the successful liftoff off a new and important weather satellite yesterday ?
belize.......Please feel free to mention it... I guess everything in the world can't be mentioned... But I will listen, Please go ahead
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
1126 AM EDT TUE SEP 18 2012

VAC069-139-171-187-181600-
/O.CON.KLWX.SV.W.0329.000000T0000Z-120918T1600Z/
SHENANDOAH VA-WARREN VA-FREDERICK VA-PAGE VA-
1126 AM EDT TUE SEP 18 2012

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EDT FOR
PAGE...FREDERICK...WARREN AND SHENANDOAH COUNTIES...

AT 1125 AM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS DETECTED 10 MILES NORTH OF
LURAY...OR 13 MILES SOUTH OF STRASBURG...AND WAS MOVING NORTHEAST AT
55 MPH.

THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60
MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
KARO...
GLEN ECHO...
BROWNTOWN...
BUCKTON...
FORT VALLEY...
FRONT ROYAL...
RIVERSIDE...
CEDARVILLE...
RIVERTON...
RELIANCE...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...MOVE INDOORS TO A
STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO
SO...REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

A TORNADO WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WARNED AREA.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
29. bwi
Quoting NativeSun:
Good morning, what about the record ice in Anarctica and cold temps for September. This is the ice sheet you have to worry about melting since it's mainly over land and not in the ocean.


I'm no (physical) scientist, but I did poke around the Internets a little and found some discussion of your question about Antarctic ice:

1m sq km more winter Antarctic sea ice is less important than 4m sq km less Arctic summer sea ice, for the following reasons:
1) 4m vs 1m
2) Winter sea ice doesn't affect the Earth's albedo the way Summer sea ice does
3) The rising Antarctic sea ice trend is taking place along a declining Antarctic land ice trend, producing a rather confused total effect in the Antarctic, whereas the declining Arctic sea ice trend is taking place alongside a declining Arctic land ice trend, showing a clear total decline in the Arctic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 641
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
945 AM EDT TUE SEP 18 2012

TORNADO WATCH 641 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 PM EDT FOR THE
FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

NCC001-037-051-063-065-069-077-083-085-093-101-10 5-125-127-135-
145-153-163-165-181-183-185-191-195-182100-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0641.120918T1345Z-120918T2100Z/

NC
. NORTH CAROLINA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ALAMANCE CHATHAM CUMBERLAND
DURHAM EDGECOMBE FRANKLIN
GRANVILLE HALIFAX HARNETT
HOKE JOHNSTON LEE
MOORE NASH ORANGE
PERSON RICHMOND SAMPSON
SCOTLAND VANCE WAKE
WARREN WAYNE WILSON
$$


ATTN...WFO...RAH...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Could Hurricane Season be coming to an early close ... I doubt it ... there are always big surprises ... just very quite right now ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Jim Cantore still going for snow...

"Very deep Long Wave pattern setting up for USA w/HOT WX 4PAC northwest &cold w/lght #snow 4Great Lakes by next weekend:"

From Twitter.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We don't really care about the 2nd, 3rd or 4th lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Jacksonville area getting hammered today also...........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thank you Dr. Masters
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Upgrade to moderate risk

Mesocale Discussion 1960
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7940
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2nd warmest record for August over land? Does anyone know which year was the warmest - was it 2011?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSONVILLE FL
1111 AM EDT TUE SEP 18 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSONVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN BAKER COUNTY IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
EASTERN COLUMBIA COUNTY IN NORTHERN FLORIDA
SOUTHERN CHARLTON COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

* UNTIL NOON EDT

* AT 1111 AM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS
IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 10 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
TAYLOR...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
TAYLOR AND MACCLENNY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REPORT SEVERE WEATHER OR DAMAGE TO THE NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
OR YOUR COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No mention of the successful liftoff off a new and important weather satellite yesterday ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Big story today is the really bad weather along the east coast huh............ULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
1115 AM EDT TUE SEP 18 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN SHENANDOAH COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...
WARREN COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...
SOUTHERN FREDERICK COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...
NORTHERN PAGE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...

* UNTIL NOON EDT

* AT 1111 AM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS DETECTED NEAR MOUNT
JACKSON...OR 22 MILES NORTHEAST OF HARRISONBURG...AND WAS MOVING
NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH. THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING
WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
FRONT ROYAL...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WARNED AREA.

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...MOVE INDOORS TO A
STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO
SO...REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr Masters

a href="Photobucket" target="_blank">
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.

MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1959
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1014 AM CDT TUE SEP 18 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...NRN DE...ERN PA...NJ..SE NY...WRN CT

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH LIKELY

VALID 181514Z - 181645Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...80 PERCENT

SUMMARY...THE SEVERE THREAT IS LIKELY TO INCREASE ACROSS NRN
DE...ERN PA...NJ...SE NY AND WRN CT THIS AFTERNOON. AN ISOLATED
TORNADO THREAT ALONG WITH A POTENTIAL FOR WIND DAMAGE WILL DEVELOP
AS STORMS ORGANIZE OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. IN RESPONSE...WW
ISSUANCE WILL LIKELY BE NECESSARY ACROSS THE REGION.

DISCUSSION...A LARGE CANOPY OF RAINFALL IS CURRENTLY MOVING ACROSS
THE CNTRL APPALACHIAN FOOTHILLS FROM CNTRL NY SWD INTO NRN VA WITH
SOME REFLECTIVITY ENHANCEMENT SHOWING UP ACROSS CNTRL PA AND WRN MD.
THIS ENHANCEMENT IS LINED UP DIRECTLY ALONG THE LOW TO MID-LEVEL JET
WITH ABOUT 60 KT OF FLOW EVIDENT ON THE STERLING AND STATE COLLEGE
WSR-88D VWPS. THIS JET FEATURE IS FORECAST TO MOVE NEWD WITH TIME
THIS AFTERNOON INCREASING LOW-LEVEL SHEAR PROFILES IN THE VICINITY
OF NEWARK AND NEW YORK CITY OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. AS A
RESULT...CELLS WITHIN THE LINE MAY BEGIN TO ROTATE AND A TORNADO
THREAT SHOULD DEVELOP. AS THE LINE ORGANIZES AND SFC TEMPS WARM JUST
AHEAD OF THE LINE...A WIND DAMAGE THREAT IS ALSO EXPECTED WITH THE
BOWING LINE SEGMENTS.

..BROYLES/MEAD.. 09/18/2012


ATTN...WFO...OKX...ALY...PHI...BGM...CTP...

LAT...LON 41887407 40907596 40137643 39617609 39467569 39237481
39647426 41007293 41577325 41887407

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
7-day forecast for the Tampa Bay area........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormPro:
only the fourth warmest? Thanks Doc
Yes (or the 130th coolest, if you prefer). But the June through August period was the 1st warmest on record on land. That's pretty startling, though not at all unexpected...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NativeSun:
Good morning, what about the record ice in Anarctica and cold temps for September. This is the ice sheet you have to worry about melting since it's mainly over land and not in the ocean.




That one doesn' t count.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning, what about the record ice in Anarctica and cold temps for September. This is the ice sheet you have to worry about melting since it's mainly over land and not in the ocean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SOS Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Doc
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters, quieter times ahead.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7940
only the fourth warmest? Thanks Doc
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 50 - 1

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 — Blog Index

Top of Page

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.