March 2013 the globe's 10th warmest March; a billion-dollar U.S. weather disaster

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:56 PM GMT on April 24, 2013

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March 2013 was the globe's 10th warmest March since records began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA rated it the 9th warmest March on record. The year-to-date period of January - March has been the 8th warmest such period on record. March 2013 global land temperatures were the 11th warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 9th warmest on record. March 2013 was the 337th consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. Global satellite-measured temperatures in March 2013 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 12th or 8th warmest in the 35-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively. The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during March 2013 was the 16th largest in the 47-year period of record. Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of March 2013 in his March 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary. He notes that one nation set an all-time heat record: on March 6th, Navrongo, Ghana reached 43.0°C (109.4°F), the warmest temperature reliably ever measured in the country (for any month.)


Figure 1. March 2013 was the 2nd coldest winter in the U.K. since 1910, exceeded only by March 1962. In this photo taken by wunderphotographer tonylathes on March 24, 2013, we see one of March's heavy snowstorms that affected Wardlow Village in Derbyshire, United Kingdom.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average for March 2013, the 10th warmest March for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. The Arctic Oscillation (AO), a large-scale climate pattern that can influence temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, set a record low for March. This negative phase was associated with frigid Arctic air spilling southward into the Northern Hemisphere middle latitudes, leading to unusually cold conditions in the Eastern U.S., most of Europe, and northern Siberia.This phase of the AO also contributed to much warmer than average and even record warm temperatures in northeastern Canada and southeastern Greenland. A large swath of China and several regions in central and northern Africa in the 0°–20°N latitude belt were also record warm. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

First U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2013: March 18 - 20 severe weather outbreak
Two billion-dollar weather disasters occurred globally in March, bringing the 2013 total to five, according to the March 2013 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker AON Benfield. The five billion-dollar weather disasters for 2013 so far:

1) Flooding in Indonesia, 1/20 - 1/27, $3.31 billion
2) Flooding in Australia, 1/21 - 1/30, $2.5 billion
3) Winter weather in Europe, 3/12 - 3/31, $1.8 billion
4) Drought in Central and Eastern China, 1/1 - 3/31, $1.71 billion
5) Severe weather in the Midwest U.S., 3/18 - 3/20, $1 billion

The first billion-dollar weather disaster in the U.S. was a severe weather outbreak that began on March 18, featuring a long-lived squall line of severe thunderstorms called a "derecho" that dropped hail up to softball size from Louisiana to South Carolina. Mississippi was hardest hit, with up to 60,000 insurance claims. Ten tornadoes touched down and two fatalities were reported during the outbreak. The U.S. has averaged 4.4 billion-dollar weather disasters per year from 1980 - 2012, but experienced 25 in the two-year period 2011 - 2012.

The deadliest March weather disaster was an outbreak of severe weather that swept across parts of eastern Bangladesh on March 22. The outbreak included a tornado that struck the regions of Sadar, Akhaura and Bijoynagar in Brahmanbaria district. At least 35 people were killed and 388 injured.


Figure 3. Hail up to the size of tennis balls fell on McComb, Mississippi, as documented by wunderphotographer sirencall On March 18, 2013. The hailstorm was part of a severe weather outbreak that gave the U.S. its first billion-dollar weather disaster of 2013.

Neutral El Niño conditions continue in the equatorial Pacific
For the 12th month in row, neutral El Niño conditions existed in the equatorial Pacific during March 2013. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expects neutral El Niño conditions to last through summer. The large majority of the El Niño models predict neutral conditions will last through the fall of 2013. Temperatures in the equatorial Eastern Pacific need to be 0.5°C below average or cooler for three consecutive for a La Niña episode to be declared; sea surface temperatures were 0.1°C below average as of April 22, and have been +0.1 to -0.4°C from average since March 1, 2013.

Arctic sea ice falls to 5th lowest March extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during March reached its fifth lowest extent in the 35-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This was the 10th consecutive March and 142nd consecutive month with below-average Arctic sea ice extent. The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen nine of the ten lowest March extents in the satellite record.

Jeff Masters

Storm in the gulf (myvalleylil)
Storm in the gulf
Do you like my hat! (sandiquiz)
For the third time in as many weeks, we have snow. Luckily not as much in this area as further north, where there are 15 foot snowdrifts in Cumbria, North West UK.
Do you like my hat!
Freezing Fog on Crocus (WurzelDave)
In the fog was small patches of freezing fog.
Freezing Fog on Crocus

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Here is the NC State University forecast (13-17 / 7-10 / 3-6)
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13923
Quoting Xandra:

According to NASA/GISS (reference period 1981-2010) it wasn't below normal.


Again, different dataset - GISS vs. CFSR. Don't be dense.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Tornado caught on camera this afternoon in the New Orleans metro.


Do you happen to have a source for this picture?
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164. VR46L
Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, but we already have lots to track:Yeah, I'd say anyone interested has plenty to track...



The WX fans beg to differ IMO ... it why most of them blog is for the tropical season ... Tracking storms Watching satellites, reading shear and steering maps trying to work out where a storm is going to go .... Thats why WX fans like me love weather blogging
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6801
Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, but we already have lots to track:Yeah, I'd say anyone interested has plenty to track...
I meant in terms of tropical weather.Yes I know we have plenty of those.But I have an even bigger passion for tropical weather :-).
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Quoting ChillinInTheKeys:
I'm not sure what just happened there. Maybe I quoted myself.


That's what it looked like.... briefly..
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5623
Edit: I'm not sure what just happened there. Maybe I quoted myself.
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Quoting pcola57:
Some serious lightening..



Notice how far away from the cells that a lot of those strikes are.
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Quoting Levi32:

Man you guys are quick to rush to judgement. He's referring to the current 1981-2010 30-year long term climatology. No lies here, just different datasets / reference periods. [...]

According to NASA/GISS (reference period 1981-2010) it wasn't below normal.
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Quoting pcola57:
Some serious lightening..



Yeah, the more convective storms were able to develop in SE Louisiana. We've had some nice rain up here in Hattiesburg, but very little thunder/lightning.
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Some serious lightening..

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, but we already have lots to track:Yeah, I'd say we'll have plenty to track.


And we certainly do 12 months out of the year. :-)
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Loop

Sun is starting to break through here. 64.8 right now, forecast 76
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5623
Quoting washingtonian115:
Even if we have a invest lord knows we need something to track...
Oh, but we already have lots to track:Yeah, I'd say anyone interested has plenty to track...
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Quoting MississippiWx:


The fact that multiple models are picking up on development of some sort should be an indicator that we will have something to watch next week.

so very true
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Tornado caught on camera this afternoon in the New Orleans metro.

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Quoting washingtonian115:
Even if we have a invest lord knows we need something to track...


The fact that multiple models are picking up on development of some sort should be an indicator that we will have something to watch next week.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Even if we have a invest lord knows we need something to track...


Amen to that.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
00z Euro tries to form something more tropical in nature in the NW Caribbean. However, I have my doubts. Seems to be attempting to develop a large area of low pressure underneath a large trough over the US. Eh, not exactly favorable in my book, but anything can happen I guess. I would just have to believe that the STJ is racing through that area of the world when the Euro is creating the unsettled weather.

Euro 500mb Heights Day 10:



850mb Map Day 10:

Even if we have a invest lord knows we need something to track...
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For now, I think the cut-off solution shown by the GFS makes more sense for the pattern we have been seeing. The CMC and Euro seem to be in agreement that low pressure doesn't get trapped underneath a building ridge and instead the low escapes to the NE. Euro is different trying to actually develop a tropical area of low pressure in the NW Caribbean. Don't like that solution.
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FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
143 PM AST WED APR 24 2013

PRC001-003-011-073-081-083-093-097-099-117-131-14 1-242045-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.FA.Y.0021.130424T1743Z-130424T2045Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
ANASCO PR-JAYUYA PR-LARES PR-MARICAO PR-MOCA PR-UTUADO PR-
SAN SEBASTIAN PR-ADJUNTAS PR-LAS MARIAS PR-RINCON PR-AGUADA PR-
MAYAGUEZ PR-
143 PM AST WED APR 24 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR RAPID RIVER RISES IN
FOR THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES...

IN PUERTO RICO
ANASCO...JAYUYA...LARES...MARICAO...MOCA...UTUADO. ..SAN
SEBASTIAN...ADJUNTAS...LAS MARIAS...RINCON...AGUADA AND MAYAGUEZ

* UNTIL 445 PM AST

* AT 140 PM AST...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED ISOLATED AREAS OF MODERATE
TO HEAVY SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS IN THE ADVISORY AREA.
THIS SHOWER ACTIVITY WILL LEAD TO URBAN FLOODING AS WELL AS RAPID
RISES ON SMALL RIVERS...STREAMS AND CREEKS...THROUGH AT LEAST 445 PM
AST.

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF CREEKS AND STREAMS...ROADS
AND ROADSIDE CULVERTS. THE HEAVY RAINS COULD ALSO TRIGGER ROCK AND
MUDSLIDES IN STEEP TERRAIN.

MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO
AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY
DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL
ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED
ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.

&&

LAT...LON 1839 6714 1840 6712 1836 6685 1832 6682
1832 6677 1835 6674 1834 6672 1832 6672
1833 6661 1830 6657 1822 6655 1816 6717
1828 6720 1831 6725 1837 6728 1841 6718

$$

AAS
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13923
00z Euro tries to form something more tropical in nature in the NW Caribbean. However, I have my doubts. Seems to be attempting to develop a large area of low pressure underneath a large trough over the US. Eh, not exactly favorable in my book, but anything can happen I guess. I would just have to believe that the STJ is racing through that area of the world when the Euro is creating the unsettled weather.

Euro 500mb Heights Day 10:



850mb Map Day 10:

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br>
I've noticed the same thing for a while now. Have not heard why the blog does that.

You don't have a plus sign in your comment so you cannot plus yourself, would be my answer. Good afternoon all.
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Quoting Levi32:


Man you guys are quick to rush to judgement. He's referring to the current 1981-2010 30-year long term climatology. No lies here, just different datasets / reference periods.

March 2012 temperature anomaly relative to 30-year CFSR climatology:


Comparing anomalies can be tricky.... one must make sure the baseline's are the same. This has caught many before, scientists on both sides of the spectrum. Although it does look like some were rushing to judgement, his credibility on climate issues has helped get it to this point. For many, it's easy to see him doing something incorrect or misrepresenting the data because he has done it so many times in the past.

We really shouldn't fixate on comparing these two months. At most they are consistent with the observed changes in the jet stream that has been linked to a higher frequency of cold/hot/wet/dry air masses staying in the same area for a longer period of time. Month-long periods are more closely related to internal variability than climate change, anyway.
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+++++

2 warnings now



1+1 = 2
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SevereStudios %u200F@severestudios 3m
Wind damage reported 2 mi northwest of Kenner, LA. Trees down and roof damage. Possible tornado arnd 11:45am this morning.
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138. VR46L
Quoting hericane96:


Looks intresting does anyone know the water temps in that area?


Nothing to get excited about

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6801
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I know this is from Whatsupwiththat (wattsupwiththat?) or whatever its called, but dont attack it without giving it some real thought.

Do the two periods really line up this well or is this chart falsified?


I would have concerns similar to what others have mentioned... how good are our estimates of SSTs in the NINO regions back in the 1800s to get us that monthly timeseries? I would also wonder what the point is they are trying to get across? One of the known natural "oscillations" of the climate system once had a frequency and amplitude similar to a recent period? So, this type of natural variability (the noise on top of the trend) is still acting like this type of natural variability?
Quoting evilpenguinshan:
does anyone know why plus signs don't appear in my comments?

I've noticed the same thing for a while now. Have not heard why the blog does that.
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


My self and others tried earlier but failed obviously.


Looks intresting does anyone know the water temps in that area?
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I cannot have that happen again!.I don't want to see another storm running up the coast.Can it at least be a Able(1951) type storm if it does form!.I think the odds are very low however for anything to form.
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Very cool page with Earth Day and climate change links

Thanks Wunderground
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12z CMC doesn't block the trough as much.

Back later.

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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
Gfs sends the tropical system to the mid atlantic while others target FL.


lol seem like 2013 storm season is following 2012 storm season

Tropical Storm Alberto
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Quoting Levi32:
Warm-core...lol. Low heights trapped at 30N is always something to watch. It's a conspiracy theory pattern. Things can happen. Doesn't mean they will. Worth watching though.



LOL no way that verifies....I think..
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
It's been a wet morning on Oahu.

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I know this is from Whatsupwiththat (wattsupwiththat?) or whatever its called, but dont attack it without giving it some real thought.

Do the two periods really line up this well or is this chart falsified?



That reminds me of people who use patterns to predict stock market fluctuations (complete crap). And given the source, I highly doubt the data they're using is legitimate. You can get the REAL data sets for free from sites like GISS.

Any idiot with excel can overlay/cherry pick data sets and show anything they want. It takes a lot of work to scientifically validate a hypothesis and even more work to get it accepted through peer review.

Some psuedo-science hack posting graphs on a blog is a far cry from any sort of legitmate science.
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Gfs sends the tropical system to the mid atlantic while others target FL.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2241
Quoting Levi32:
Giant hole in upper-level wind strength north of the subtropical jet is how you get this kind of development. Notice anticyclonic shear flow. This would be a robustly shallow-mid warm core system, but the 200mb wind is still cyclonic (not shown).


Not really surprising with the GFS depicting the feature in an upper trough axis north of the subtropical jetstream.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I know this is from Whatsupwiththat (wattsupwiththat?) or whatever its called, but dont attack it without giving it some real thought.

Do the two periods really line up this well or is this chart falsified?>
Speaking of Watts, I've always been curious why he continues to show this out-of-date image on his site's ENSO page:

slr

...when this up-to-date image is available from the source:

slr

Well, I really haven't been curious; it's pretty obvious why he only shows the earlier image. But the fact that he so blatantly cherry-picks is a great indication of the chicanery he employs, and as good a reason as any to stay far away from his website, including for things like those equally cherry-picked ENSO graphs.
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I am still learning about these systems.
It is all fascinating.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I usually hate climate topics (and this blog has a large part to play with that), but that is quite interesting. My big question is how did the graph's creator acquire the El Nino data from the 1800s and how accurate that data is. If you're truly interested, I'd suggest saving today's version of the graph and comparing it to the one created several years down the road. Not only do you get the opportunity to see if the current ESNO trends follow those from over 100 years ago, but you also get to see if any of the data gets altered. Who knows, if none of the data ends up being tampered with, one day you may eventually springboard yourself to a topic for your master's thesis or doctoral dissertation! Who knows at this point.


If you go to the origional source there is this note:

UPDATE: When considering those graphs, keep in mind that sea surface temperature sampling along the equatorial Pacific is rare before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Sea surface temperature reconstructions in the NINO3.4 region are questionable in the 1800s. END UPDATE
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Giant hole in upper-level wind strength north of the subtropical jet is how you get this kind of development. Notice anticyclonic shear flow over the 998mb low. This would be a robustly shallow-mid warm core system, but the 200mb wind is still cyclonic (not shown).

Long-range GFS will be fun to watch. Until it shows up at 168hr it won't be worth considering too seriously.

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Quoting presslord:


Don't do that.....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5623
Quoting Levi32:
Warm-core...lol. Low heights trapped at 30N is always something to watch. It's a conspiracy theory pattern. Things can happen. Doesn't mean they will. Worth watching though.

But chances are very low for that to 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.

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