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Fourth warmest May on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:25 PM GMT on June 25, 2007

The tropical Atlantic remains quiet. None of the computer models are showing any tropical development over the next week. The best chance of a new threat area to watch may not occur until July 1, when a strong cold front pushes off the U.S. East Coast.

The Middle East will see their second tropical cyclone of the month on Tuesday. Tropical Cyclone 3B crossed India, killing at least 140, and re-formed in the Arabian Sea, and is poised to hit Iran or Pakistan tomorrow. The View From the Surface blog is following this storm. We may looking at hundreds of years since the last time the Middle East was hit by two tropical cyclones in the same month. Tropical Cyclone Gonu pounded Oman and Iran earlier this month.

Fourth Warmest May on record
May 2007 was the fourth warmest May for the globe on record, and the period January - May of 2007 was tied with 1998 for the warmest such period ever, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. The global average temperature for May was +0.53�C (+0.95�F) above the 20th century mean. Over land, May global temperatures were the warmest ever measured, the second straight month that has happened. Ocean temperatures were a bit cooler (ninth warmest on record), thanks to the cooling associated with the disappearance of the winter El Ni�o event. The global temperature record goes back 128 years.

May temperatures were particularly warm across Russia. Moscow recorded its highest May temperature since record keeping began 128 years ago--32.9�C (91.2�F). The heat forced Russia's energy administrator to restrict the use of non-residential energy for the first time in summer. In India, a heat wave during mid-May produced temperatures as high as 45-50�C (113-122�F) resulting in at least 128 fatalities. Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change blog has more on the India heat wave. Although record heat was more prevalent across the globe, Argentina experienced its coldest May in twenty years, and at least 23 fatalities were reported as a result of cold weather during the last week of May.

11th warmest May on record in the U.S.
In the U.S., May 2007 ranked as the 11th warmest since record keeping began in 1895. The period January through May was the 20th warmest such period on record. Spring (March - May) was 5th warmest on record in the continental U.S. The past six months (Dec-May) were the driest on record for the Southeast U.S. Portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee are experiencing exceptional drought. However, the drought has eased some since late May over the Florida Peninsula.

Figure 1. Temperature departure from average for May 2007. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Sea ice extent
Sea ice extent in the Arctic for May was the third lowest on record, a modest recovery from the lowest ever sea ice coverage observed in April. Arctic sea ice coverage in May has declined by about 8% since measurements began in 1979 (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent for May, for the years 1979-2007. May 2007 had the third lowest Arctic sea ice extent since satellite measurements began in 1979. May sea ice coverage has declined about 8% since 1979. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

I'll have a new blog on Tuesday.
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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82. WPBHurricane05
10:52 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
Yes texascanecaster1 it is amazing that Earth just happened to be placed where it is and I'm sure I know the answer why.
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81. SavannahStorm
2:46 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
From Wikipedia:

Modern geologists consider the age of the Earth to be around 4.567 billion years (4.567109 years). This age represents a compromise between the interpretations of oldest-known terrestrial minerals small crystals of zircon from the Jack Hills of Western Australia and astronomers' and planetologists' determinations of the age of the solar system based in part on radiometric age dating of meteorite material and lunar samples.

Interpretation of radiometric age dating of zircons suggests that the Earth is at least 4.404 billion years old. Comparing the mass and luminosity of the Sun to the multitudes of other stars, it appears that the solar system cannot be much older than those rocks. Ca-Al-rich inclusions (inclusions rich in calcium and aluminium) the oldest known solid constituents within meteorites which are formed within the solar system are 4.567 billion years old, giving an age for the solar system and an upper limit for the age of the Earth. It is assumed that the accretion of the Earth began soon after the formation of the Ca-Al-rich inclusions and the meteorites. Because the exact accretion time of the Earth is not yet known, and the predictions from different accretion models vary from several millions up to about 100 million years, the exact age of the Earth is difficult to determine.

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79. overwash12
2:46 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
hi eveyone, didnt global warming start at the end of the last ice age? how come the highest temps on record havent been broken in the last 10 years?
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78. WPBHurricane05
10:42 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
But couldn't carbon dating be altered if there is a sudden change in the Earths atmosphere like the Ice Age?
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77. sullivanweather
2:44 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
texascane, it isn't carbon dating. Carbons half-life is too short to be able to measure in the billions of years
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75. WPBHurricane05
10:38 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
Yes we have proof its called the geologic time scale and everything research geolgy has done.

So we know the Earths age by the age of the rocks. So how do we know the age of the rocks?
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70. WPBHurricane05
10:36 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
But you don't have proof that the Earth is billions of years old.
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69. MisterPerfect
2:32 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
But do we actually have proof??

If you mean we haven't found God's shoebox with the actual time of creation of the universe and our planet....NO.

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68. thelmores
2:33 PM GMT on June 25, 2007

Looks like we have two lows heading towards the outer banks.....
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67. sullivanweather
2:26 PM GMT on June 25, 2007

All figures were taken from NWS local forecast offices located at Pittsburgh, State College, Binghamton, Buffalo, Albany, Burlington, Upton, Taunton, Gray and Caribou.

Access local climate data, then F-6 data.

* Of note, although this is considered 'peliminary' data, it is very accurate and hardly gets changed.

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66. WPBHurricane05
10:31 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
But do we actually have proof??
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65. MisterPerfect
2:30 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
How do we actually know that the Earth is 4.6 billion years?

That's APPROXIMATE...and its held in belief of the USGA and NASA.

Of course the Bible says otherwise and we know all about the truth in those books...
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64. BoyntonBeach
2:30 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
MIAMI A good dose of rain and wind is on the way to South Florida this week, thanks to a tropical wave heading in from the Caribbean.

The National Weather Service forecasts showers, thunderstorms and 15-20-mph breezes will hit the area Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

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63. WPBHurricane05
10:29 AM EDT on June 25, 2007
How do we actually know that the Earth is 4.6 billion years?
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61. streamtracker
2:25 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
sullivanweather how about a link to your data?

And what are the baseline periods for your data? The NCDC's is 1961 to 1990. Perhaps the baselines are different?
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60. MisterPerfect
2:05 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
How do we know the atmosphere was not more violent and harmful to life before our species arrived on the evolutionary timeline? Perhaps storms were stronger back then, we know volcanic activity was more active millions and millions of years ago. We have yet to experience a true Earth ice age, an event that has happened in 10% of Earth's approx. 4.6 billion year lifetime...(that's approx. 460 million years of glacial expansion and regression. We know now that Solar activity rises and falls about every 12 or so years, that's approx. 383.3 million years of intense peak solar activity Earth has seen in it's lifetime, some of those peak periods could have and probably were a lot more damaging to Earth's atmosphere than we've seen yet. Given the extimated age of the Sun and the Earth, anything is possible and to finally say one day, after 4.6+ BILLION years of orbit around our star, we come to the conclusion that less than 200 years of burning carbon is our planet's tribunal of penance?!? We might as well call this period of our existence the Atmospheric Inquisition. You build the pyre, I'll get the whale oil...

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53. sullivanweather
1:48 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Skewed data on the NCDC's temperature anomaly map??

Over here in the NY/PA/New England area the map above shows temperatures anomalies for the Month of May averaging around +3C.

Here's a list of temperature departures for climate reporting stations across the area for May.

Williamsport, PA : + 1.6C
Allentown, PA: + 1.6C
Philadelphia, PA: + 1.4C
Scranton, PA: + 0.7C
Pittsburgh, PA: + 2.1C (warmest in PA)

Buffalo, NY: + 1.2C
Rochester, NY: + 1.4C
Albany, NY: + 1.2C
Poughkeepsie, NY: + 1.4C
Binghamton, NY: + 1.4C
Syracuse, NY: + 0.8C
New York City, NY: + 1.4C
Islip, NY: + 0.8C

Hartford, CT: + 1.2C

Providence, R.I.: + 1.2C

Boston, MA: + 1.6C

Concord, NH: + 1.1C

Portland, ME: + 1.2C
Caribou, ME: - 0.7C
Bangor, ME: - 0.2C

Burlington, VT: + 0.1C
Montpelier, VT: + 0.1C

Just where are these 3C temperature departures??

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52. groundman
2:14 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Posted By: GulfScotsman at 2:12 PM GMT on June 25, 2007.
".. true darling.. there may not be any storms... and the blogs are relatively quiet today...

but we'll always have global warming... to debate..."

And we will always have GulfScotsman to show us how silly we always are, scientific or not!! LOL

GOOD ONE, excellent, bravo Gulf. Take a bow!!LOL
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51. DenverMark
2:14 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
We need some action in the tropics LOL!!

Have a great day everyone :)
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49. DenverMark
2:07 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Agreed, I was just mentioning the political reality, but don't wish to get into politics in general.
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48. weatherwiszer
2:09 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
The problem with a good part of the community is the fact that theory is only that until it is proven without a doubt. Problem with that thinking is if GW is proven it will too late to do much about it. Will the planet carry on, Yes
will human society suffer, Yes. Excuse me, but I by insurance just in case of accident. Why not err in the side of possibility also.
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46. DenverMark
2:03 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
You hit the nail on the head...we can't just stop using fossil fuels now. The world economy would collapse and millions (billions) of people would starve to death, plain and simple.
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43. DenverMark
1:56 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
That brings up the whole point of MMGW being the "Politically Correct" view to have these days, with scientists who oppose it being ridiculed or not getting funding, etc. I feel the politicians are using it as the latest "crisis" to get us to accept more laws and regulations, as those in power always want more power and control over the average person. The news media sensationalize the issue, just as they have with so many others in the past. And when Hollywood jumps on the bandwagon, it's nauseating!!
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42. MisterPerfect
1:56 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Someone give KRL a lolly pop or a cookie or something. You said it best right there. Earth being threatened by GW is, like you say, quite a stretch of presumption, if not perfectly egotistical of man.
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40. KRL
1:34 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
I'm split on global warming being caused primarily by us. Surely humans are an extremely negative factor in the environmental equation, but are a mere 6 Billion of us really able to have that much of an impact to completely alter the climate?

The land surface of the earth is 57.5 Million square miles. The water surface is 139.4 Million square miles for a total of approx 197 Million sqare miles of surface area alone and then multiply that by the atmosphere's volume and you're in the billions of space.

And from this NASA world population density map you can see there is really quite a bit of open space still.


Mother Nature also has quite remarkable ways to keep everything in balance and obviously has done a good job since the planet is still here after billions of years and still quite habitable after everything Earth has endured in that time frame.

When you really look at the size of us to the size of the earth it's like looking down at colonies of ants. We're really not that big in relation to the whole planet and our time here since civilization, population and heavy industrialization began which is pretty much the past 150 years is not even a blip of a second in the perspective of Earth's 5 Billion year age.

So to assume in 150 years of industrial pollution we've thrashed the entire environment is at best quite a stretch of presumption.

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39. MisterPerfect
1:52 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Everything has an opposite reaction. A waste product if you will. From stars forming and dying to our lungs taking in oxygen and releasing co2, how can we possibly disrupt nature's way to better suit our idealology?
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38. DenverMark
1:52 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
I'd agree with that...even if GW theory is wrong, pollution is just bad, and burning dirty coal to generate power produces a lot of pollution, especially in places like China!!
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37. Patrap
8:53 AM CDT on June 25, 2007
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35. MisterPerfect
1:49 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
True DenverMark, but then the debate will flip-flop and supporters for MMGW will argue that a cooling period is abnormal and Man is the reason for dangerous, irreversable global cooling...
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34. 900MB
1:42 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
As George Carlin once said in regards to global warming: "The planet will be just fine, it repairs itself, it's us that are f***ed!
No matter what side that you are on, one thing is undeniable..pollution is bad, it kills us. If all the global warming people are wrong, and the trend reverses itself, what's the worst that happens, we have a cleaner planet.
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33. DenverMark
1:45 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
At any rate, I'll be real interested to see what happens in the next 10-20 years. If GW slows or reverses slightly (as in the 1940-1975 period), I think that would disprove GW theory with regards to human activity adding CO2.
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32. DenverMark
1:37 PM GMT on June 25, 2007
Good points...I think the Earth does have a way of compensating for man-made effects such as adding CO2 and other "greenhouse gases" to the atmosphere, and we may be in for some surprises, not all bad. On the other hand, I think that while people in general are increasingly aware that we have a problem, realistically it's going to take about another 50 years before fossil fuel use is greatly reduced. If we are tipping the balance, things may get pretty nasty.
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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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