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Danielle the Atlantic's Earliest 4th Storm on Record; 115°-120° Heat in SW U.S.

By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson 3:59 PM GMT on June 20, 2016

Tropical Storm Danielle formed on Monday morning in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche, but won't be around long. The storm's west to west-northwest motion will carry the storm inland over Mexico between Veracruz and Tampico by Monday evening. With top winds of just 45 mph as estimated by the National Hurricane Center in their 11 am EDT Monday advisory, heavy rain is expected to be the primary threat from the storm. Satellite loops show a large area of intense thunderstorms with heavy rain are moving inland along the Mexican coast south of Texas, and total rainfall amounts of 6 - 10" are likely to cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides in the mountainous terrain along the coast. Heavy rains from Danielle will remain just south of Texas, with Brownsville expected to pick up an inch of rain or less in scattered thunderstorms through Monday night. Danielle will dissipate by Tuesday over the rugged terrain east of Mexico City.

Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Danielle.

Danielle the Atlantic's earliest fourth named storm on record
Danielle's formation marks the earliest appearance on record for the Atlantic's fourth named storm of the season; the previous record was June 23, 2012, when Tropical Storm Debby formed. However, as wunderground member Neapolitan pointed out in the comments of our previous blog post, a lot of early storm activity is not a sure sign that there'll be a lot of late storm activity. For instance, 2011 saw fifteen named storms before the traditional September 10 - 11 halfway point of the hurricane season: one in June, three in July, eight in August, and three in early September. Some people thought the year might end with up to 30 storms--but just two more storms formed in late September, one in October, and one in November, giving a season total of nineteen. Rather than a 50/50 split between the front and back halves of the season, the ratio was 78/22. Generally, high early season activity is only a harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season when the early season activity occurs in the Caribbean or tropical Atlantic. This has not been the case in 2016.

Figure 2. Helicopter-related firefighting efforts were limited on Sunday at the uncontained Brown Fire in far south Arizona, which has affected more than 8000 rugged acres in the Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson. Believed to be caused by humans, the fire is now under investigation. Image credit: AZ State Forestry.

Blazing Arizona: Sunday’s heat was the real deal
A well-predicted heat wave crescendoed on Sunday with some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the larger towns and cities of southern California, Arizona, and northern Mexico. The heat was produced by an extremely strong upper-level high building over the Southwest just one day before the summer solstice, when the amount of incoming solar energy peaks. Sunday was the hottest day observed in any year prior to the summer solstice, and the hottest day on record for so early in the season, in Yuma (120°F, ahead of June 24, 1957), Phoenix (118°F, ahead of June 24, 1929), and Tucson (115°F, ahead of June 25, 1994). Sunday also tied as Phoenix’s 5th hottest day on record, and Yuma’s 5th hottest. In Tucson, only two other days have been officially hotter than Sunday: June 26, 1990 (117°F) and June 29, 1994 (116°F). However, as we reported last week, the instrumentation that was used to measure official temperatures at Tucson International Airport during the early 1990s was later found to be problematic. As a result, weather record researcher Maximiliano Herrera believes that 115°F—measured at the Tuscon NWS office on June 19, 1960; June 26, 1990; and July 28, 1995, as well as on Sunday at the airport—is a more reliable all-time high for Tucson. Herrera also reported that Altar, Mexico had its hottest temperature in recorded history on Sunday--48.5°C (119.3°F), beating the previous record of 48.3°C set in 1985. The award for the hottest place on Earth on Sunday may go to Piedra, Arizona, southwest of Phoenix, where the high temperature hit a remarkable 127°F (52.8°C). Thanks go to weather records researcher Jérôme Reynaud for this info (he maintains a database of all locations on Earth that have exceeded 50°C so far in 2016.) If confirmed, this would rank as the second hottest temperature ever measured in Arizona, and the hottest temperature measured anywhere on Earth so far in 2016. Stanwix, Arizona, about 8 miles to the west of Piedra, hit 125°F on Sunday.

Excessive heat warnings continued to plaster the far Southwest on Monday, as some areas were expected to inch even hotter while others could wind up just a shade less scorching. The warnings included Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson. Later this week, a modest amount of moisture will began filtering into the region, bringing down temperatures somewhat but keeping conditions very uncomfortable. The heat will also persist across large swaths of the Plains and Southeast, though it should fall short of record-setting intensity in most areas.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Hurricane Heat

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

Reader Comments

JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 481. 19N81W:

fixed wing...

Which one
Single prop
Twin prop
Quoting 496. auspiv:

The earth does release a good amount of energy back into space, see black body radiation.

Thank you for the Black-body radiation reference. I see the temperature component in Planck's Law of black body radiation has an infinitesimal effect on increasing radiation. A one percent increase in absolute temperature does not increase the black-body radiation one percent, hence we are still facing the energy imbalance.

Thank you for your useful post. I agree 30% of the initial energy received by earth from the sun is reflected back into space. In my orginal post I was focusing on the energy that is not reflected during the initial stage but is retained in the greenhouse; some of the retained energy is radiated via black-body radiation, but the formula dictating variation in black-body radiation is infinitesimally effected by rising temperatures on earth. The net effect of the key point in my original post still stands. We are encountering an energy imbalance in the greenhouse --- it's fundamental physics and accounting. Where is the incoming energy going. Thirty percent is lost to space initially, seventy percent is retained. Some of the retained energy is lost via black-body radiation but the loss rate climbs slower than the temperature increase. So it's back to the original premise we have an energy storage problem. Can Mother Nature store it as fast as it enters the greenhouse?
Quoting 497. Patrap:

The earth does not radiate energy into space?

What? That's a Complete falsehood.

I suggest you read up on climate change..but before that..try the words albedo and radiative forcings..then get back to us here in science land.

I apologize for stepping on toes in science land, however, my concern is science land has overlooked fundamental physics and accounting. Admittedly my original post was overly simplistic and ignored reflected energy when it first encounters earth (albedo & the radiative forcings accounting aspect), but once those aspects of reflected energy are taken into account what is the balance of the energy equation? It appears there is excess energy in the greenhouse which appears in the form of heat. When nature stores energy the heat level drops. When stored energy is combusted the heat level rises. I believe its an energy content issue, you can call it greenhouse gases if you wish, but energy is energy regardless what form it appears --- even in science land. I do believe combusting fossil fuels (stored energy) adds energy to the greenhouse energy equation. A key premise in my original post but not articulated was the sun's energy and nature were largely in balanced harmony --- until mankind significantly ramped up the use of stored energy.

What I did address in my original post is stored energy released by mankind (combusting fossil fuel) into the greenhouse is changing the balance of the energy equation, and as a result, nature is working its natural way to store the excess energy. I'm not saying status quo will be maintained, but nature will find a new balance point. Has anyone in science land calculated how much stored energy has been released by mankind --- it certainly is much higher now than it was 200 years ago --- all that energy removed from the greenhouse and stored by nature in fossil fuels over eons of time released back into the greenhouse in a short period of time has to have some kind of effect. It's my understanding the earth was quite tropical during the age of dinosaurs before they went to their graves along with decayed plant material in the form of stored energy.

507. vis0

Quoting 442. Neapolitan:

This is correct, and thank you for bolstering my point. Zeta was not counted as a 2006 storm due to the fact that it formed in 2005. That is: tropical cyclones are list as belonging to the year in which they developed. Alex developed in January; it was therefore a 2016 storm.
webberweather after webber retires will categorize ALL** Storms numerically and naturally.

  • Numerical separation point as done today by a man made separation.

  • Natural (floating) separation points 3 "passover" points (Galaxy cluster, Milky Ways and Earth's, a natural separation point that floats NATURALLY will be created case closed.

Some might say but if its a "floating" point then its moving?  Yes moving just as weather and climate are not anchored to man made points (though influenced for better or worse   by man's desire to create) but anchored to a moving living universe.
------------------------------------------------- ---------

**ALL??? yes Grothar will give webber Grothar's weather diary book ...yup the one that looks like 300 NYC yellow pages.
Quoting 488. oneviewer:

From a macro physics perspective you cannot create nor destroy energy. The sun shines on half the earth 24/7/365. To my knowledge, the earth does not release/radiate energy into space, we only capture it, and store it. Mother Nature stores it in plant material (trees, etc. and millions of years ago in dinosaurs). Energy taken from storage and released into the greenhouse (ie burning carbon material) will raise the temperature in the greenhouse --- in my opinion "gases" may be raising temps in the greenhouse to some extent, but the primary culprit is the energy content. Switching to renewable energy sources (solar, wind) only treads water in the energy storage game --- the sun keeps adding more and more energy to our greenhouse every hour of every day --- if Mother Nature does not store it fast enough, its going to get hotter and hotter.

I do believe Mother Nature is trying to increase its storage capacity. Plant material needs fresh water to grow and the hotter temps are vaporizing more sea water to create more rain for the additional plant material needed to store the excess energy present in the greenhouse.

"What you wrote was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not."
Wolfgang Pauli
Quoting 506. oneviewer:

I apologize for stepping on toes in science land, however, my concern is science land has overlooked fundamental physics and accounting.

Oh my. I spewed coffee through my nose.
Quoting 508. JohnLonergan:

"What you wrote was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not."
Wolfgang Pauli

Cute! Apparently, you're unable to say something intellectual so you quote well known grump to slam me. Others were able to discern what I was saying and made their intellectual point known to which I have responsibly clarified my original post accordingly and would do the same for you if you had an intellectual point to make. Until then adoringly cute but lacking substance!
511. ariot
Quoting 510. oneviewer:

Cute! Apparently, you're unable to say something intellectual so you quote well known grump to slam me. Others were able to discern what I was saying and made their intellectual point known to which I have responsibly clarified my original post accordingly and would do the same for you if you had an intellectual point to make. Until then adoringly cute but lacking substance!

Your assertation that climate science has overlooked "fundamental physics and accounting" is without merit.

Quoting 511. ariot:

Your assertation that climate science has overlooked "fundamental physics and accounting" is without merit.

I apologize for ruffling your feathers a bit by addressing the rising world wide temperatures with a fundamental physics approach. Hopefully your personal attention to scientific detail is better than your ability to read. I did not "assert" climate science has overlooked fundamental physics and accounting. I expressed a concern they may being doing so --- that is not an "assertion". Bluster is not a professional response; your first response was appropriate --- this one is not. I have worked in government for 35 years and pride myself in appropriately responding to citizens who have expressed concerns on various issues in my field of work and I assure you bluster is an absolute non-starter for winning people over to your point of view. Please collect yourself and try again. Has climate science addressed the energy equation? It's a fundamental question and deserves a professional response void of bluster.

Quoting 495. ariot:

Or, people can look it up. A good start would be Wikipedia. If you find a need for edits with additional citations, you too can contribute.

Incoming solar radiation to the Earth equals 341 watts per square meter (Trenberth et al., 2009). Some of the solar radiation is reflected back from the Earth by clouds, the atmosphere, and the Earth's surface (102 watts per square meter). Some of the solar radiation passes through the atmosphere. About half of the solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth's surface (161 watts per square meter). Solar radiation is converted to heat energy, causing the emission of longwave (infrared) radiation back to the atmosphere (396 watts per square meter). Some of the infrared radiation is absorbed and re-emitted by heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases in the atmosphere. Outgoing infrared radiation from the Earth equals 239 watts per square meter. References: Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, and J. Kiehl, 2009: Earth's global energy budget (PDF). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 90, No. 3, 311-324, doi: 10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1.

The "Earth's global energy budget (PDF)" by Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, and J. Kiehl, 2009. is a good read. Thank you.
Clearly climate change scientists have gone to extensive and costly lengths to collect data and evaluate part of the energy equation --- the part controlled by nature but appears to ignore the energy released by mankind into the greenhouse. Why go to great lengths to study part of the energy equation and ignore the part of the energy equation related to mankind using stored energy? Isn't the mankind part of the equation the critical part? It's that part of the equation climate change scientists are claiming is caused by mankind. Why has worldwide temperature drifted upward a degree or two in the last 100 years. Where is the extra heat coming from?