Earth has its Warmest November in Recorded History
November 2013 was the globe's warmest November since records began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and NASA. The year-to-date period of January - November has been the 4th warmest such period on record. November 2013 global land temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 3rd warmest on record. November 2013 was the 345th consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. Global satellite-measured temperatures in November 2013 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 16th or 9th warmest in the 35-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively. Northern Hemisphere November snow cover was the 16th greatest in the 48-year record. Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of November 2013 in his November 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for November 2013, the warmest November for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Most of the world's land areas experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including much of Eurasia, coastal Africa, Central America, and central South America. Much of southern Russia, north west Kazakhstan, south India, and southern Madagascar were record warm. Meanwhile, northern Australia, parts of North America, and southwest Greenland were cooler than average. No regions of the globe were record cold. According to Roshydromet, Russia observed its warmest November since national records began in 1891. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .
The four billion-dollar weather disasters of November 2013
Four new billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit the Earth during November 2013: Super Typhoon Haiyan ($5.8 billion), the November 17 tornado outbreak in the U.S. ($1.7 billion), flooding in Cambodia ($1 billion, the costliest disaster in Cambodian history), and the ongoing U.S. drought, which has been in progress all year, but with damages listed for the first time this year ($2.5 billion.) These four disasters bring the world-wide tally of billion-dollar weather disasters so far this year to 39, according to the November 2013 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield. This is the second highest yearly total of billion-dollar weather disasters for the globe since accurate disaster records began in 2000. However, the total cost of weather-related disasters so far in 2013 is below the average for the past ten years, according to Senior Scientist Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield. The record highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters was 40, set in 2010. For comparison, during all of 2012, there were 27 billion-dollar weather disasters. The U.S. total through November 2013 is nine.
Disaster 1. Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Central Philippines on November 8, 2013, as one of the strongest tropical cyclones in world history, with peak surface winds estimated at 195 mph by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Haiyan killed over 6,000 people and did at least $5.8 billion in damage, making it the costliest and 1st or 2nd deadliest disaster in Philippine history. In this image, we see a Filipino boy carrying bottled water amongst the damaged houses where a ship was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Disaster 2. The most expensive November tornado outbreak hit the U.S. on November 17, causing damage estimated at $1.6 billion. This image shows a view of part of Washington, Illinois from Mackenzie Street on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, after an EF-4 tornado tore through the area, one of three EF-4 tornadoes from the outbreak. (AP Photo/Alex Kareotes)
Disaster 3. Heavy monsoon rains caused the Mekong River in Cambodia to overflow its banks in October and November 2013, causing $1 billion in damage. According to the International Disaster Database, EM-DAT, this would make the disaster Cambodia's most expensive and 6th deadliest natural disaster in its history. In this photo, we see Cambodian children swimming in flood waters at a village in Kandal province on October 7, 2013. Photo credit: TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
Disaster 4. The on-going U.S. drought has cost at least $2.5 billion so far in 2013. In this image, we see that Lake Mead water levels from 1938 - 2013 in July have shown a precipitous drop since drought conditions gripped the Western U.S. in 2000. The Lake Mead photo was taken by wunderphotographer LAjoneson June 29, 2007, when the lake had a "bathtub ring" 109' tall. Water level data from The Bureau of Reclamation is overlaid.
Neutral El Niño conditions continue in the equatorial Pacific
For the 19th month in row, November 2013 featured neutral El Niño conditions in the equatorial Eastern Pacific. The December 5 El Niño discussion from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center notes that "While current forecast probabilities are still greatest for ENSO-neutral by mid-summer, there is an increasing chance for the development of El Niño. None of the El Niño models predict La Niña conditions by the summer of 2014, and 7 of 16 predict El Niño conditions. Temperatures in the equatorial Eastern Pacific need to be 0.5°C below average or cooler for three consecutive months for a La Niña episode to be declared; sea surface temperatures were 0.0°C from average as of December 16, and have been +0.1 to -0.4°C from average since April 1, 2013.
Arctic sea ice falls to 6th lowest November extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during November was 6th lowest in the 35-year satellite record, and had the largest November extent since 2010, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather