Globe has 10th warmest May on record; critical fire conditions for Arizona

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:27 PM GMT on June 16, 2011

May 2011 was the globe's 10th warmest May on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). May 2011 global ocean temperatures were the 11th warmest on record, and land temperatures were the 6th warmest on record. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa between 10°N and 20°N were 0.6°C above average, the 7th highest SSTs of the past 100 years. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were above average, the 8th or 12th warmest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH).


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for May 2011. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Unusual global extremes in May and spring 2011
As I discussed in yesterday's post, during the spring period of March, April, and May 2011, 46% of the U.S. had abnormally (top 10%) wet or dry conditions--the greatest such area during the 102-year period of record. On average, just 21% of the country has exceptionally wet conditions or exceptionally dry conditions during spring. In addition, heavy 1-day precipitation events--the kind that cause the worst flooding--were also at an all-time high in the spring of 2011.

A highly extreme precipitation pattern was also observed over the British Isles during spring 2011. England suffered its driest spring in over a century during May, with late May soils the driest on record over large parts of eastern and central England. In contrast, Scotland had its wettest spring on record.

New Zealand had its warmest May since records began there in 1909, whereas Australia saw its coolest March-May since their records began in 1950.

Our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a detailed summary of May 2011 global weather extremes.

La Niña is gone; conditions are neutral
Although sea surface temperatures increased in the equatorial Pacific overall, El Niño/La Niña conditions remained neutral in the month of May, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. Sea surface temperatures were near-average across the central Pacific Ocean, and were 0.5°C or more above average in the far western and eastern Pacific Ocean. Neutral conditions are expected to continue through the summer.

May Arctic sea ice 3rd lowest extent on record
Arctic sea ice in May 2011 was much-below average according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and ranked 3rd lowest on record for the Northern Hemisphere. Sea ice loss has accelerated during the first half of June, and as of June 16 was the lowest for the date since satellite measurements began in 1979. Snow cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere was also below average, making May 2011 the 7th consecutive May with below-average snow cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere.

Five-day period of critical fire conditions expected in the Southwest
The powerful winds that helped fan Arizona's massive Wallow fire into the state's largest fire on record will return in force today, after a two-day quiet period that allowed firefighter to achieve 29% containment of the fire by Wednesday evening. The forecast for Eastern Arizona calls for afternoon winds of 20 - 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph today and Friday. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center forecasts that even stronger winds will blow Saturday and Sunday. With hot conditions and humidity values below 10%, these are likely to be among the worst fire conditions the region has seen this year.


Figure 2. Smoke from Arizona's Wallow fire (top area with red squares denoting active fires) drifts northeastward over New Mexico in this image taken by NASA's Terra satellite at 20:30 UTC on June 15, 2011. Arizona's Horseshoe Two fire is also visible, as well as fires burning in New Mexico and Mexico.

The Atlantic is quiet, with no tropical cyclones predicted over the next seven days by the reliable computer models.

Jeff Masters

()

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Quoting RitaEvac:
See the pink advisories in SW TX....yea...if your a border jumper or a cartel, this is not an area to be coming into the US, might not make the trek alive, be dead where you stand.



That may slow the jumpers but, the cartel has air conditioned Humvees!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


All kidding aside, I've never seen palms dropping their fronds at this rate. Everything looks like it is dying. Has anyone else noticed.


I've never seen CrapeMrytles turn brown and die where they stand either
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Quoting Grothar:


All kidding aside, I've never seen palms dropping their fronds at this rate. Everything looks like it is dying. Has anyone else noticed.


I know I will not be getting any pecans this year. My trees are dropping limbs even though the leaves are still green and with little wind to blow them down. You know it has to be dry for the palms to drop their fronds like that. Then again, palms have never shown any real modesty.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
See the pink advisories in SW TX....yea...if your a border jumper or a cartel, this is not an area to be coming into the US, might not make the trek alive, be dead where you stand.

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Quoting alfabob:
Finally a somewhat recent update, new model? I think it is bad science to be adjusting the base period like they just did..



versus old..


Interesting. Appears the trend slope isn't as steep as it was before.
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Quoting NRAamy:
The irresistible force meets the immovable object? ........ Clear the blog, everyone! RUN!

hey, I may have gained some weight from all those Little Debbie Snack cakes (damn her), but I am FAR from immovable!!


I did not place tags. I want to see tomorrow. LOL
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Quoting alfabob:
Finally a somewhat recent update, new model? I think it is bad science to be adjusting the base period like they just did..



versus old..


Those graphs dont make sense... how can there be two different starting averages from the same data?
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Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
invest 92L IS HERE!

you ment 92E not L
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Massive fire advisories and warnings out

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Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
i was talking about this last week we need to watch the sw caribbean!!

I know, so was Rob Lightbown and a few others. I think we may get something out of this, however, I do not think what ever it is or will be, it will not hug the CA coast like what the GFS was/is showing, rather kinda having a 94L type/ Arlene(05)track more off into the sea I say it will track on a more N-NNW into the Western Carib and between the Yucatan Channel and then somewhere between Texas and Louisiana maybe at TD/TS strength before leaving the Caribbean
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Quoting Grothar:


OK, bad choice of words, but I was paraphrasing from the headline. Think I will hibernate for awhile. Afternoon shift is on a roll today.


I believe that was an accident like I believe most statements related to politics. ;)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
The irresistible force meets the immovable object? ........ Clear the blog, everyone! RUN!

hey, I may have gained some weight from all those Little Debbie Snack cakes (damn her), but I am FAR from immovable!!
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Quoting MrMixon:


Ha! Don't get me started about Virginia...

:)

Don't get me going either.

Most of what's wrong with this country started out here and hasn't gone away IMACO (in my arrogant and opinion). Most folks are shocked when they realize the first slaves were imported before the Pilgrims landed. Not to mention a boat load of other issues. And though it was one of the most idiotic wars of all time I'm glad the North won the resent round of hostilities

It was just something fun to say since PressLord was not around.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Were cooking now, whewweww

Port of Houston, Houston, Texas (PWS)
99.1 °FScattered Clouds
Humidity: 47%
Dew Point: 75 °F
Wind: 14.0 mphfrom the SE

Wind Gust: 14.0 mph
Pressure: 29.80 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 113 °F

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Quoting emcf30:


Hopefully the West Coast sea breeze can start to be the dominate one and eventually push those storms East towards you


All kidding aside, I've never seen palms dropping their fronds at this rate. Everything looks like it is dying. Has anyone else noticed.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
By hour 216 on the 12Z GFS, an area of high pressure is located in the Gulf of Mexico. This run has been different than ones of the past couple of days, which had the high pressure over the Yucatan Peninsula.

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hmm
seem the purple is growing in the SW Carib

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18z Best Track for 92E.

EP, 92, 2011061618, , BEST, 0, 123N, 919W, 20, 1008, DB
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Quoting Grothar:


You're OK for now. I actually don't remember the last time we had any rain. I am right on the coast. The rain in Ft. Lauderdale to which they are referring was inland. The very narrow coastal strip never receives as much rain as the interior.


Hopefully the West Coast sea breeze can start to be the dominate one and eventually push those storms East towards you
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
from TWD 2pm

CARIBBEAN SEA...
BROAD UPPER RIDGE CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE CARIBBEAN ANCHORED
IN THE SW CARIBBEAN NEAR 11N77W. IT APPEARS A SURFACE TROUGH IS
AGAIN DEVELOPING ACROSS THE SW CARIBBEAN FROM W COLOMBIA TO SE
NICARAGUA GENERATING SCATTERED SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS SW OF LINE
FROM COLOMBIA NEAR 11N75W TO 13N82W TO INLAND OVER PANAMA AND
COSTA RICA.



do I hear a Yellow soon to come out? maybe/maybe not
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from TWD 2pm

CARIBBEAN SEA...
BROAD UPPER RIDGE CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE CARIBBEAN ANCHORED
IN THE SW CARIBBEAN NEAR 11N77W. IT APPEARS A SURFACE TROUGH IS
AGAIN DEVELOPING ACROSS THE SW CARIBBEAN FROM W COLOMBIA TO SE
NICARAGUA GENERATING SCATTERED SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS SW OF LINE
FROM COLOMBIA NEAR 11N75W TO 13N82W TO INLAND OVER PANAMA AND
COSTA RICA.


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TX is gonna really cook this weekend as the ridge moves directly over us. Gonna be banging out 100s like crazy across the state.

But, into Monday/Tuesday, the gulf opens up to deep tropics...Stay tuned...
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Quoting emcf30:


That darn list must be getting long. I am glad I am not on it. Oh wait, maybe I am. LOL
Did you get any rain last night Gro?


You're OK for now. I actually don't remember the last time we had any rain. I am right on the coast. The rain in Ft. Lauderdale to which they are referring was inland. The very narrow coastal strip never receives as much rain as the interior.
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Quoting Grothar:


Oh, My! Don't forget I am very old, Amy. If you want links to tropical weather I can help.


The irresistible force meets the immovable object? ........ Clear the blog, everyone! RUN!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
FROM THE WEATHER CHANNEL SITE:

Consider these facts:


•82% of the state is in drought
•Ft. Lauderdale has picked up only around 4" of rain this year! (a deficit of almost 19 inches!)
•Fla. Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to drought and wildfires.
•Lake Okeechobee is almost 3.5 feet below average.
•Over 3400 wildfires have burned across the state in 2011, scorching over 243,000 acres.

We are currently in Florida's "wet season", however June didn't start out that way.

Look at poor Texas"

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Rookie said a bad word!!! ( well, really two )


CLIMATE CHANGE!!!!!!!!!

LET THE ARGUMENTS COMMENCE!
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Quoting Grothar:


I'm taking names, pot!!!


That darn list must be getting long. I am glad I am not on it. Oh wait, maybe I am. LOL
Did you get any rain last night Gro?
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Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.
That's his problem. He can't keep it zipped LOL
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


If we do that we wouldn't have anyone in charge!


Some days I wonder if this would really be a problem, at least for a short term. I would not be greatly upset if Congress decided to take an early and extended vacation. I would be more relieved if the professional lobbyist took a permanent vacation. Just to stay somewhat on topic, think of the climate change of the U.S. that this would mean!
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Quoting NRAamy:
Groth... since you owe me... BIG TIME.... I'm thinking of how you can pay me back.... stay tuned for further instructions...



Oh, My! Don't forget I am very old, Amy. If you want links to tropical weather I can help.
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Quoting PakaSurvivor:


Don't follow politics but isn't that what got him in trouble?


OK, bad choice of words, but I was paraphrasing from the headline. Think I will hibernate for awhile. Afternoon shift is on a roll today.
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Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.


He already did LOL
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Excellent! Now if we could only get politicians that have made a stupid mistake to just resign.


If we do that we wouldn't have anyone in charge!
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Spurious, one of the words of the season last year haha
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Quoting Chicklit:


I think he's already put enough out in the open.




LOL!
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Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.


I think he's already put enough out in the open.


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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Trust ole grothar more than everyone else here, without him Lincoln wouldn't have known where 94L was going in July of 1862. Lol jk grothar. :)


That was bad year all around. I did look good in blue though!

Looks like a normal weather pattern in the Atlantic for June. Wish we had these in the old days.


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Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.


Don't follow politics but isn't that what got him in trouble?
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Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.


Excellent! Now if we could only get politicians that have made a stupid mistake to just resign.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
153. Skyepony (Mod)
Tropicsweatherpr~ Beyond the cluster it's kind of a different comparison too. IRI is speaking only in terms of official conditions averaging 3 months where I could see us having El nino conditions for less than 3 months, then turning cooler like climo would suggest & never be deemed an official El Nino. ESPI so far has only indicated maybe two months near or at 1 but hasn't turned back the other way either.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
152. srada
Quoting Grothar:
Rep, Weiner is having a news conference. He has decided to resign and put everyting out in the open.
um wasnt everything out in the open already?..LOL
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Quoting hcubed:
Interesting paper here:

Is the recorded increase in short-duration North Atlantic tropical storms spurious?

Abstract:

"...The number of North Atlantic tropical storms lasting 2 days or less exhibits a large increase starting from the middle of the 20th century, driving the increase in recorded number of tropical storms over the past century. Here we present a set of quantitative analyses to assess whether this behavior is more likely associated with climate variability/change or with changes in observing systems. By using statistical methods combined with the current understanding of the physical processes, we are unable to find support for the hypothesis that the century-scale record of short-lived tropical cyclones in the Atlantic contains a detectable real climate signal. Therefore, we interpret the long-term secular increase in short-duration North Atlantic tropical storms as likely to be substantially inflated by observing system changes over time. These results strongly suggest that studies examining the frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms over the historical era (between the 19th century and present) should focus on storms of duration greater than about 2 days..."

They're saying that some of the increase in hurricanes may be because of better observation, especially in those lasting two days or less.

Very interesting...
And yeah, we sure are "seeing" a lot more than we used to.
I am pretty sure that there were MANY systems that came and went in the past, that escaped anyone's notice.
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Quoting pottery:

You have yourself on Ignore??
I am seeing your post.



:):):):):)
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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

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