Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:53 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
For the first time since the the incredible Hurricane Season of 2005, a new set of Atlantic hurricane names has been permanently retired. Members of the World Meteorological Organization's Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee decided to retire the names of Hurricane Dean, Hurricane Felix, and Hurricane Noel during their annual meeting in Orlando this week. These names will not be used again because of the significant death and destruction these storms caused in 2007. The names Dorian, Fernand, and Nestor will serve as replacements of the 2013 hurricane season, when the names from 2007 are scheduled to repeat. The list of retired hurricane names now features 21 storms from the decade of the 2000s, and 70 storms since 1954.
Figure 1. Satellite images of the fearsome threesome of 2007: Dean, Felix, and Noel.
The names for the coming 2008 Atlantic hurricane season are Arthur, Bertha, Christobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred. Looking at the latest long range GFS model forecast, there's no sign that we'll be seeing Tropical Storm Arthur during the last half of May. Wind shear remains seasonably high over the tropical Atlantic, and there is plenty of dry air evident.
In the Eastern Pacific, where hurricane season began yesterday, the names for 2008 are Alma, Boris, Cristina, Douglas, Elida, Fausto, Genevieve, Hernan, Isell, Julio, Karina, Lowell, Marie, Norbert, Odile, Polo, Rachel, Simon, Trudy, Vance, Winnie, Xavier, Yolanda, and Zeke. There's nothing brewing in that ocean basin, either.
April 2008: 13th warmest April on record for the globe
April 2008 was the 13th warmest April for the the globe on record, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. The January-April year-to-date period ranked twelfth warmest. A weak La Niña event continues to cool ocean waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. The La Niña event weakened considerably in April, but has stabilized just above the threshold for being classified as neutral, during the first half of May.
A cool April in the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., April was the coolest April in 11 years for the lower 48 United States, and fell into the lowest twenty-five percent of all Aprils based on records going back to 1895, making it the 29th coolest April on record. Precipitation was near average for the month.
April arctic sea ice extent
April 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the eighth lowest on record for the month of April, 7% below its extent in 1979 when satellite measurements began, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. April was the fifth straight month that a new monthly minimum arctic sea ice record was not set, following a string of five months in a row where monthly records were set. The past four years had the least April sea ice extent since records began in 1979, with 2007 having the least April sea ice extent on record. However, while the ice extent is not at a record low this year, the volume of the arctic sea ice is probably at a record low for April. The ice is exceptionally thin across the Arctic this winter, and the edge of this thin first-year ice extends beyond the North Pole.
I'll have more on Cyclone Nargis next week. The Southwest Monsoon has continued to push northward, and is expected to move into the cyclone-devastated region on Saturday, bringing heavy rains.
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