Tropical update; 2nd warmest July on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:06 PM GMT on August 15, 2006

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Heavy thunderstorms continue over the waters east of Florida this morning along a broad area of low pressure that has developed from the remains of an old cold front. Wind shear is 10-15 knots in a narrow band along this old front, which is low enough to allow some development to occur. Visible satellite imagery from this morning shows that this disturbance is poorly organized, with no signs of a surface circulation and only a moderate amount of heavy thunderstorm activity. I expect the Hurricane Hunter mission scheduled for today into this system will be canceled.

Development along old fronts is usually slow, so the earliest we should expect a tropical depression to form in this area is Wednesday. There is a significant amount of wind shear on either side, plus plenty of dry air to the north, so anything that develops will likely struggle to intensify.

The computer models are forecasting that any low that forms along the old front will begin moving northwestwards towards the Carolinas over the next three days, in response to a trough of low pressure swinging across the eastern U.S. When the trough moves out to sea on Thursday, high pressure is forecast to build back in, forcing the system back towards the west, or leaving it nearly stationary off the East Coast. None of the computer models forecast that the storm will grow to anything stronger than a 40-mph tropical storm.


Figure 1. Current satellite of the Florida region.


Figure 2. Preliminary models tracks for the East Coast disturbance.

Wave off of Africa
The tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa yesterday is near the Cape Verde Islands today. The wave is looking much less organized this morning, with lower thunderstorm activity. It is crossing into cooler waters of only 26C, which may be partly responsible for this loss of thunderstorm activity. Wind shear is about 10-15 knots, which could allow some slow development, but I don't expect that this wave will develop. Water temperatures in front of it are even cooler, and wind shear is forecast to be marginal. None of the computer models develop this system.

Second hottest July on record in the U.S.
July 2006 was hotter than the scorching summer of 1988 across the U.S., and was the second warmest July on record, according to data released by the National Climatic Data Center yesterday. The average temperature of 77.2F was second only to the Dust Bowl year of 1936, which had an average temperature of 77.5F. January to July has been the warmest such year-to-date period on record. The nationally averaged year-to-date temperature was 55.3F, or 3.2F above the 1901-2000 average. The previous record of 54.8F was set in 1934. The July heat wave broke more than 2,300 daily temperature records for the month and eclipsed more than 50 records for the highest temperatures in any July. The heat was most extreme in South Dakota, where temperatures averaged 10F above normal in some areas. The all-time state temperature record of 120F set in 1936 was matched on July 15. July of 2006 ranked as the 26th driest July in the 112-year record, and severe drought conditions from Texas northwards to the Dakotas have been responsible for billions of dollars in agricultural losses.


Figure 4. Rank by county of temperatures for July 2006.

Is it Global Warming?
Is this year's heat wave due to global warming? Well, you can't blame one hot summer in one country on global warming. When one plots up the average U.S. July temperature from 1895-2006 (Figure 5), it is apparent that there has been about a 1F warming in July temperatures since the late 1800's. However, there is a lot of natural variability. While it has been very hot in July during the past 20 years, there was a period in the 1930s was was equally hot. Nevertheless, the globe has warmed about 1.4F in the past since 1970, and this trend has continued this year. Globally, July 2006 was the third warmest July on record since records began in 1880 (1.01F/0.56C above the 20th century mean) and the sixth warmest year-to-date (January-July) (0.92F/0.51C).

An overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe that a significant portion of the warming since 1970 is due to anthropogenic (human) causes, and is likely to accelerate over the next few decades. Assuming that the forecasts of these scientists are correct, we should expect summers like the Summer of 2006 to be commonplace 10-15 years from now. I know I'm planning on doing a lot more swimming in Lake Superior in coming summers, something I've never been able to do until this year.


Figure 5. Average July temperature for the U.S. from 1895-2006. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Sea ice continues to shrink
Santa's shop on the North Pole Ice Cap continues to grow more endangered. Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, as measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites, was the lowest for any July on record in 2006 at 8.7 million square kilometers (Figure 6). The previous July low extent record was set in 2005 with 9.1 million square kilometers.


Figure 6.Departure from normal of sea ice extent over the North Pole for July, 1979 - 2006. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

I'll be back Wednesday with my Atlantic tropical outlook for the rest of August.

Jeff Masters

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755. stormy3
12:22 AM GMT on August 16, 2006
Nash28, its really starting to look scary outside, is it the same where your at? Flash flood warnings on my screen.
Member Since: September 3, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 198
754. BahaHurican
12:07 AM GMT on August 16, 2006
People keep saying something about the NHC reading things here and going to check out stuff they may not have commented on. Well, here's some evidence from the report on Ophelia from last year:

Much of the track for the extratropical portion of Ophelia was provided by the Ocean Prediction Center. Several of the unofficial observations were obtained from the Weather Underground web site.

So SOMEBODY here must have done some good meteorology last year :o)
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
753. Fl30258713
10:23 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
They just need alternate methods of predicting hurricane season.Like here is how I predict season.



Using my psychic abilities, a magic eight ball and a dart board with a tracking map, I have already determined the first hurricane will be Aug 24 around 11:40am. Thus far, no one has proven me wrong.

Using chicken and fish bones mixed in the skull of a dolphin, I have now determined there will be 11 more tropical storms with six of those becoming Hurricanes.

With the help of a map of the Atlantic, that I etched in my back yard, and the defecation of my rottweiler and ratt terrier, I have learned that three will be minor and two major and one catastrophic.

One minor and a major in the GOM, two minor on east coast, other major into Caribbean to Mexico and the catastrophic will catch Bermuda before dying off in North Atlantic.

This estimate is subject to extreme errors. Do not use for planning purposes. Always verify information with official in your area and NHC.

Poorcaster Henry
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 981
752. fldude99
10:23 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
im with you windnwaves...but that's what bein a weather person is all about..you can be totally wrong all the time and be a hero..kinda like a politician i guess
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
750. nash28
10:14 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Sorry SJ. Don't care about college football. Can't really stand baseball either since it takes a LIFETIME to complete a damn game. The pitcher shakes off 48 signs, spits, scratches his balls, spits again, thinks about ordering a pizza, thinks about cheating on his wife with that hot FOX reporter who's gonna be staring at his "goods" in the locker room after the game. They go on the DL for a broken fingernail and make more money than the Catholic Church, so no, I don't care for it.

*Rant over*
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
749. hurricane23
10:05 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Guys iam seeing some outflow boundaries with this blob which is not a sign of a strengthing system.maybe iam wrong but we will see.

Look at this close up visible image of the blob...

CLICK ON THUMBNAIL
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
748. Fl30258713
10:01 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
000
ABNT20 KNHC 152054
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 PM EDT TUE AUG 15 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A SURFACE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED MILES SOUTHEAST
OF THE SOUTH AND NORTH CAROLINA COASTS HAS CHANGED LITTLE IN
ORGANIZATION THIS AFTERNOON. WHILE SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM
ACTIVITY REMAINS MINIMAL AT THIS TIME...ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
MAY BECOME A LITTLE MORE FAVORABLE FOR A TROPICAL DEPRESSION TO
FORM OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS THE SYSTEM MOVES SLOWLY
NORTHWARD. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS
SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM ON WEDNESDAY...IF NECESSARY.

AN AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS...ASSOCIATED WITH A SURFACE
TROUGH...HAS DEVELOPED OVER THE NORTH-CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO THIS
AFTERNOON. SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE OVER
THE NEXT DAY OR SO. LITTLE MOTION IS EXPECTED AT THIS TIME.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH
WEDNESDAY.

$$
FORECASTER RHOME/PASCH



Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 981
747. Fl30258713
9:59 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
a
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 981
745. dave1182
9:50 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Relax while you can, when the season finally takes off, it will, enjoy the down time i know i am, Everytime a storm hits the gulfcoast i got to go to work so i'm going to enjoy the peace...
742. hurricane23
9:48 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Iam expecting 9-E to become a hurricane in the coming hours...

Here is a IR pic...


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
741. SWLAStormFanatic
9:48 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
New blog up
737. Hellsniper223
9:44 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
WOW.... GOM BLOB HAS BECOME THIS YEARS SECOND BOID!!!!

(BOID: BLOB OF IMPENDING DOOM)
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
736. SLU
9:44 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Soon to be invest 95L has a much better chance to develop than 93L because it is sitting right on top the warmest pool of water in the Atlantic right now. However the convection is already weakening so it will be interesting to see when happens overnight.

The Atlantic is almost totally unfavourable for development now and this pattern is unlikely to change in the next 5 - 10 days as most of the energy will be focussed in the EPAC with several tropical cyclones expected to form there in this similar period.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4731
735. rwdobson
9:44 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
"are you all saying that the mb is at 1000mb?"

no. it's now 1011.7 or higher. if it drops at only 1-2 mb/day, it would take quite a while to get down to 1000.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1574
733. Cavin Rawlins
9:42 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
The Gulf disturbance have to move out of the area if it is to have any chance of development, there is TUTT, that will cross Florida and enter the Gulf.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
732. rwdobson
9:42 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
the ULL is forecast to retrograde to the west, causing increasing shear in the gulf...

and look at the massive ridge centered over lousiana...that should be a relief to people in that part of the gulf.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1574
731. Patrap
9:42 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
.I see it Fla30..have a few cells east of me developing and moving west sw towards me here North of New Orleans Airport...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
729. Tazmanian
9:41 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
are you all saying that the mb is at 1000mb?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
728. hurricane23
9:40 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
SST'S in the GOM...plenty warm


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
726. Patrap
9:40 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
..ty Jp..one impressive blow -up..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
725. Fl30258713
9:39 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Patrap, you see the storm labeled W8on nexrad, that storm started over my house.
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 981
724. Tazmanian
9:39 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
why did they not make that 95L yet they sould

and where are good boy dr M to give us a update on the gulf
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
723. chessrascal
9:39 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
that blob in the gulf I think we should upgrade it to "organized blob" lol
722. rwdobson
9:39 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
1.7 mb is a modest drop over 24 hours. at that rate it would take almost 2 weeks just to get down to 1000....
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1574
720. Tazmanian
9:38 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
that thing could be overe the eddy in the gulf
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
718. Patrap
9:37 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
..what iz the steering aloft anyone?...is it neutral or imbedded in some flow,.GOM system
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
717. Fl30258713
9:36 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Gulf blob has just started a convection burst on NNE to NE side, this sure is growing fast.
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 981
716. Ldog74
9:35 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Weather, I haven't actually looked at the readings, but i jumped off my boat a couple of days ago and it sorta reminded me of water you take a shower with.
I think the GOM thingy would be able to handle higher shear than Chris or Alberto because of the boiling temps it is surrounded by.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
714. Patrap
9:35 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
..looking @ long range radar outta New Orleans...248nm range..feeder like returns with imbedded t-storms showing on northern side.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
713. frivolousz22
9:34 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Damn, that thing in the GULF blew up....if that forms..how fast would it form and head west into texas?

712. StormJunkie
9:34 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
SST maps in my blogLink

And yes, they are quickly warming in the Gulf.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
710. Oreodog
9:32 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Why am I channeling Alicia from 1983?
709. whitewabit (Mod)
9:32 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
this was written by Aaron (Admin)
Bickering in Dr. Masters blog is now considered Spam. If you see a paragraph of deep thoughts followed by a sentence of "See, [User X] I'm right and you're an idiot" it's Spam. Flag it as such and move on.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 357 Comments: 30119
708. Oreodog
9:31 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
Robinvtx: you have mail
707. Cavin Rawlins
9:30 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
I personally would not like that to form in area like that.

Has anyone seen the SST's in the gulf?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
706. StormJunkie
9:30 PM GMT on August 15, 2006
lmao...Thanks for the buoy readings ;)
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472

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About JeffMasters

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