WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Globe cools slightly in December 2010: 11th - 17th warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:43 PM GMT on January 18, 2011

December 2010 was the globe's 17th warmest December on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated December 2010 the 11th warmest December on record. December 2010 global ocean temperatures were the 10th warmest on record, and land temperatures were the 30th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 7th warmest on record, according to both Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). The global cool-down from November, which was the warmest November on record for the globe, was due in large part to the on-going moderate strength La Niña episode in the Eastern Pacific. The large amount of cold water that upwells to the surface during a La Niña typically causes a substantial cool-down in global temperatures. Still, December 2010 temperatures were warm enough to make 2010 tied with 2005 as Earth's warmest year in history, as I reported in yesterday's post.

For those interested, NCDC has a page of notable weather highlights from December 2010.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for December 2010. Eastern Canada and Greenland were very warm, relative to average, and much of Siberia and Europe were abnormally cold. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

An average December for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., December was near-average in temperature, ranking as the 44th coldest December in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The year 2010 was the 23rd warmest on record. A strong "Arctic Oscillation" pattern allowed cold air to spill southward over the Southeast U.S., resulting in the coldest December on record in Florida and Georgia. Nine other states in the Southeast U.S. had top-ten coldest Decembers. Five states in the Southwest U.S. had top-ten warmest Decembers. A series of major snowstorms brought the 7th-largest December snow cover to the U.S. as a whole. December 2010 precipitation in the contiguous U.S. was also near average, ranking 54th driest in the 116-year record. Montana and Utah had their wettest Decembers on record, and six other states had top-ten wettest Decembers--Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Maine, and California. Six states had top-ten driest Decembers--Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, and Delaware.

La Niña in the "moderate" to "strong" category
The equatorial Eastern Pacific Ocean is currently experiencing moderate to strong La Niña conditions. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were 1.5°C below average as of January 10, according to NOAA. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology put this number at 1.45°C below average (as of January 9.) Moderate La Niña conditions are defined as occurring when this number is 1.0°C - 1.5°C below average. Temperatures colder than 1.5°C below average qualify as strong La Niña conditions. NOAA is maintaining its La Niña advisory, and expects La Niña conditions to last through through spring.

Both El Niño and La Niña events have major impacts on regional and global weather patterns. La Niña typically causes warm, dry winters over the southern portion of the U.S., with cooler and wetter than average conditions over the Pacific Northwest. The Ohio and Mississippi Valleys states typically have wetter winters than usual during La Niña events.

December 2010 Arctic sea ice extent lowest on record
Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in December 2010 was the lowest in the 31-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Ice volume in December was also the lowest on record for this time of year, according to University of Washington Polar Ice Center. At the end of December, the eastern portion of Canada's Hudson Bay remained unfrozen, the first time in recorded history that Hudson Bay has not been completely frozen over at the end of the year. The unusual amount of open water led to temperatures that averaged 20°C (36°F) above normal over a region larger than Texas during the first ten days of January.

Jeff Masters

Climate Summaries

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

Quoting Xyrus2000:


Ethanol from corn is a waste. You get just over break even in the best case scenario, and only just. The corn lobby is/was loving every minute of it.

Of course, most energy researchers were saying just how idiotic it was to use a main staple food source that required massive agricultural maintenance as a fuel source.

There are many ways to produce ethanol much more cheaply and with substantially higher efficiency yields. Hemp, switchgrass, and sugar beets are all much better sources, with hemp and switchgrass being the most economical by far. They're basically weeds. They can grow practically anywhere, don't require massive amounts of fertilizer and/or insecticides, and can be harvested with what amounts to be a big lawn mower.

It's painful to watch when someone or some group takes what is actually a good sound idea and drive it straight into the ground. After the corn based ethanol debacle, it will probably take a decade or more to repair the damage.


the night shift around here is the place to work.

Okay, technical problem. Dead birds (probably from a wind turbine... just kidding). Sugar is great but take this one step further and add some yeast (in reality genetically engineered bugs) to the fermentation process.

Dead birds sort of get in the way of high yields.

Any ideas? I have none but am merely stating the problem....
Squawk (testing)

The blog was going 1 comment every 2 minutes (pretty intelligent ones at that) and all the sudden 36 minutes of silence?

testing 1, 2, 3...
Quoting pottery:

You going to have to line up, behind me and 15 Billion other hungry people.
Them animals are going to get kind of scarce....
Of course, we could eat each other.
Kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.


don't worry, you'll never have to worry about me going cannibal :)
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Just for funs..



LOL!
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Summary
TROPICAL DISTURBANCE 06F
18:00 PM FST January 19 2011
==========================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 06F (1004 hPa) located at 13.2S 178.6W is reported as moving slowly.

Organization is gradually improving. Convection has slightly increaed in the last 12 hours. System lies along a surface trough and in the northeast of an upper diffluent region in a weak sheared environment. Cyclonic circulation is from surface to 500 HPA. Sea surface temperature is around 30C.

Global models has picked up and gradually developing the system and slowly move it eastward.

The potential for this tropical disturbance to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 24-48 hours is MODERATE.
7.2 in southwestern Pakistan...they weren't testing anything, were they?
It is warm across the West. Not just unseasonably warm, but record-breaking: over the past 72 hours, record daily high and high minimum temperatures have outnumbered record daily lows and low maximums by 317 to 8. Of course, there's cooler air moving in that'll likely moderate things a bit, perhaps bringing balance to the two extremes. But still--317 to 8? Hmm...
oh...hi Nea, g'morning, Thanks for the rain...overnite rain is always nice, it soaks in real sweet. Maybe I will have a good garden this year.
510. IKE
I had .35 inches of rain overnight. My total for January is now at 3.16. Inland Florida panhandle.
haven't had as much as you, ike, but still the rain has been so nice.
thanks jflorida for posting the coral bleaching on the great barrier. I have quite a few friends in the aquarium bussines and it seems some of the coral they have obtained over the years may not be alive in the wild much longer....
Quoting aquak9:
oh...hi Nea, g'morning, Thanks for the rain...overnite rain is always nice, it soaks in real sweet. Maybe I will have a good garden this year.

You're welcome. ;-) We received barely a trace on Monday, while some places in the state north, south, and east of us saw > 3". It sprinkled a bit last evening, and there's a razor-thin line of showers about to pass through which should drop another trace. But I won't complain; it's in the 70s and humid, so I actually drove to a client's office with the AC on. I know some would rather have 35 and dry, but I'm not part of that group... ;-)
514. IKE
Quoting aquak9:
haven't had as much as you, ike, but still the rain has been so nice.


More rain in my forecast tomorrow.

NEW BLOG!
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
723 AM EST WED JAN 19 2011

GAZ018-026-028-029-NCZ035>037-056-057-068>072-082-502-504-506-508-
510-SCZ004>014-019-191500-
STEPHENS-FRANKLIN-HART-ELBERT-ALEXANDER-IREDELL-DAVIE-CATAWBA-
ROWAN-CLEVELAND-LINCOLN-GASTON-MECKLENBURG-CABARRUS-UNION NC-
GREATER CALDWELL-GREATER BURKE-EASTERN MCDOWELL-
GREATER RUTHERFORD-EASTERN POLK-GREATER OCONEE-GREATER PICKENS-
GREATER GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG-CHEROKEE-YORK-ANDERSON-ABBEVILLE-
LAURENS-UNION SC-CHESTER-GREENWOOD-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...TOCCOA...HARTWELL...ELBERTON...
STATESVILLE...MOCKSVILLE...HICKORY...SALISBURY...SHELBY...
LINCOLNTON...GASTONIA...CHARLOTTE...CONCORD...MONROE...LENOIR...
MORGANTON...MARION...RUTHERFORD...COLUMBUS...GREENVILLE...
SPARTANBURG...GAFFNEY...ROCK HILL...ANDERSON...ABBEVILLE...
LAURENS...UNION...CHESTER...GREENWOOD
723 AM EST WED JAN 19 2011

...LOCALLY DENSE FOG TO GRADUALLY IMPROVE THIS MORNING...

AREAS OF FOG WILL LOCALLY REDUCE VISIBILITY TO ONE HALF MILE OR
LESS THIS MORNING ACROSS NORTHEAST GEORGIA...UPSTATE SOUTH
CAROLINA...AND THE FOOTHILLS AND PIEDMONT OF WESTERN NORTH
CAROLINA. THE VISIBILITY IS EXPECTED TO START SLOWLY IMPROVING
AROUND 9 AM...WITH THE FOG DISSIPATING BEFORE NOON. REMEMBER TO
USE LOW BEAM HEADLIGHTS AND ALLOW EXTRA DISTANCE BETWEEN
VEHICLES IF YOU ENCOUNTER ANY PATCHES OF DENSE FOG WHILE DRIVING.

$$

HG
Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
I predict that in the near future we will build massive desalination plants on the Mediterranean Coast of Africa and pump that fresh water into Great Lake sized reservoirs throughout the Sahara. We will do the same to all the other great deserts of the Earth, turning them into green pastures and fertile farmlands and great new parklands for man's leisure. The water from the GW Earth's rising sea levels will make this possible and the rising CO2 levels and temperatures will be moderated by the increase in greenery of all types throughout the Planet. New genetically modified specimens will help in this renaissance of plant growth on the planet. Land may even be cultivated in Antarctica. Man will truly benefit from this Golden Age of Warmth.


Israelis already figured out how to do this with trees and the water already in the Sahara. A side effect i that the trees will absorb the so called AGG. They found that increase CO2 helps trees to transpire less thereby needing less water. Salt resistant trees can be watered by the alkaline water under the desert.