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Warmest January-April on record; new record Arctic sea ice minimum

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:00 PM GMT on May 17, 2007

April 2007 was the third warmest April for the globe on record, and the first four months of 2007 were the warmest ever, according to statistics released this week by the National Climatic Data Center. The global average temperature for April was 1.19�F/0.66�C above the 20th century mean. Over land, April global temperatures were the warmest ever measured. Ocean temperatures were a bit cooler (seventh warmest on record), thanks to the cooling associated with the disappearance of the winter El Ni�o event.

April temperatures were particularly warm across portions of Europe and Siberia, where readings of 5�C (9�F) above average were common (Figure 1). The UK recorded its warmest and driest April on record. In the U.S., April ranked near normal in temperature, but a record cold snap hit the eastern half of the country April 4-10, setting 900 daily low temperature records. The long duration of the cold outbreak, combined with the large number of hours that remained below freezing, and strong winds that occurred in many areas, contributed to crop losses that could reach into the billions of dollars. The damaging effects of the record cold were made worse by near-record warmth in March that helped induce an earlier spring blossom--in some cases two weeks prior to crop development in 2006. More than 2,500 daily record-high temperatures were set in the contiguous U.S. in March, and it was our second warmest March on record.

April's cold snap in the U.S. shows that although the globe as a whole may be warming, there is still plenty of natural variability capable of bringing very cold weather to local regions.


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

Arctio sea ice extent
After three months of not recording a record monthly minimum, sea ice extent in the Arctic recorded a new record low extent in April. The record warmth of the first four months of 2007, combined with the 8th lowest snow cover on record observed in winter 2006/2007, combined to produce the record low ice extent (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent for April, for the years 1979-2007. April 2007 set a new record for the lowest Arctic sea ice extent measured. April sea ice coverage has declined about 9% since 1979. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Atlantic storms
The computer models have been forecasting development of several low pressure systems along the East Coast over the next few days. All of these lows will be non-tropical in nature, due to the high levels of wind shear. The models are beginning to hint that wind shear could relax over the ocean waters north of Panama next week, and we may have to watch that area for tropical development if the shear does indeed relax as forecast.

Jeff Masters

Climate Change 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

: plywoodstatenative ca and FL are like the same right we need rain but FL can go with out the high winds but it will get the rain
New Tool to Help Gauge Strength of Hurricanes Link
Another invest coming in the central atlantic??Well SSD has put an invest label on the floater.Right now all thats there is a naked swirl but if could get some convection over it the might tag it.

ggg
Michael, if we were to get a large influx of rain right away. Do you feel that the water managers down here would be ready and prepared for it or do you feel that the water influx would do more damage than it would do good? I mean the grounds here are so dry, if you bring a heavy influx of rain into south florida all at once you will see the grounds unable to handle the floods or so and you will see a larger influx of damage.
Why is that an invest? Looks pretty frontal to me...
where in the name of something is that swirl? I would appreciate the lats/longitudes on that swirl
507. RL3AO
What are the SSTs under 91L? 22 degrees? 23 maybe?
508. IKE
That swirl is out in the open Atlantic.
Out in the central atlantic and is forcast to slowly move north.
colby, it looks more like an old front that caught some caribbean moisture and had started to form some tropical characteristics before it entered the somewhat cooler waters and shear environments.
Not nearly warm enough to support warm core transition.

Hybrid at best.
513. RL3AO
plywood, the naked swirl is in the Central Atlantic near 28N 52W
Whats the forecast location if there is one on the Bermuda High or the ITCZ
They seem to be willing to tag anything with a label lately Adrian,so we'll see.
Not even hybrid; no model shows any trace of a warm-core developing; in fact, they call for it to become increasingly deeper cold-core and more frontal, developing in the typical manner of an extratropical storm, it reminds me of the Northeast storm last month more than anything else.
518. N3EG
That naked swirl isn't going to give us a STD.

it reminds me of the remnants of a front that had fallen apart, regained some moisture from the mess down by the Bahamas and then regained its structural setup. Only to be "killed off" because of the water temps and the shear factors.
GSM...if you look at them from the other side,they rotate anticyclonically.
Posted By: weatherboykris at 1:45 PM EDT on May 18, 2007. (hide)
They seem to be willing to tag anything with a label lately Adrian,so we'll see.

Yea lol but i think the chance of this one being taged are slim as alot of dry air is in the vicinity of the low.
522. N3EG
question... why do galaxies rotate counterclockwise like N. Hemesphere hurricanes?

Because we're on the wrong side of the universe.
gulf, basically a hurricane in the upper atmospheres in space is all I can think of.
Hey All...When someone has a chance, I have a basic hurricane formation/steering question which has always confused (hence "wannabe)me as to hurricanes related to high pressure areas...Here it is: While I know that a hurricance will "steer around" a high pressure ridge (ie BH) when afected by steering currents,in order to fully develop and strengthen, it also needs high pressure aloft (the anti-cyclone?) to create healthy outflow. Since "both" are types of high pressure, is it correct that a storm cannot generally form in an area of high pressure (perhaps lack of moisture), but,that it needs to "create" its own high pressure system above it for sustainence purposes...In other words, is the "anti-cyclone" above a hurricane always a "high presure" area in the upper levels of the atmosphere above the system (which has no relation to steering)and a "high pressure ridge", which impacts track, found in the lower levels of the atmosphere keeping the system away? And (second part), can a hurricane form in the lower levels of the atmosphere (a "suface low")underneath an area of high pressure in the upper levels(which then becomes the anti-cyclone)..In other words a "the chicken or the egg" scenario; does it need some high pressure aloft already to assist with formation, or, does it merely create it after the fact?....Thank You and have a Nice Weekend everyone...
Adrian, any thoughts on the Bermuda high and the location of the ITCZ
Hi ya'll. I know I'm way over my head here as far as smarts go, but it's a shame that Florida can't hope for any rain outta this. We had about an inch of rain here in Jax yesterday; now with the dry winds, you'd never know a drop fell.

We're back to windy conditions and red flag warnings.
It looks more like this than anything that might become tropical:



Not as well developed though; if this wasn't an invest, nobody would be talking about it in any tropical manner.
Okay, the models are all forecasting something out of the Caribbean. Whats the feeling from all in here about the probability of a system forming?
aqua, any notion as to whether that bog fire up in North Florida is still going or not?
The 12z Navy and UKMET haved backed off somewhat,the GFS never had it to begin with.The CMC also has kind of backed off.The Euro is the only model still showing significant development.So,the model support has definitely collapsed.A trough is feeding some dry air into the Carribean,so that also drops the possibilities.Overall,it doesn't look like we'll see a system anymore.
533. IKE
I think there's a decent chance of something forming toward the end of next week in the Caribbean...

Latest 12 UTC GFS keeps a system forming and heading towards NE Florida from the SWLink
In that area of the Carribbean, I think the probability is good. Right now, it is the one area that can support cyclogenesis. Shear is expected to relax throughout most of the Carribbean within the next week or so, so it's a good bet we will have something soon.
weathermanwannabe...in response to your final question,it can,in theory happen either way.BBL
Posted By: BoyntonBeach at 1:38 PM EDT on May 18, 2007.

New Tool to Help Gauge Strength of Hurricanes


Looks that could prove to be a useful tool. At least you would know what you should expect & wouldn't be blindsided like Charley's rapid intensification before landfall.
any thoughts on the Bermuda high and the location of the ITCZ

As far as the ITCZ goes i posted an image last page with the position on it.
Plywood, oh yes it's still going. Over 400 people are still dealing with evacuations. But I wouldn't wish to clog the Good Dr.'s blog with this, so feel free to leave any questions on my blog.

Thanks ya'll, WBK, StL, it's nice to know you'll be dependable folks in a coupla weeks.

A good afternoon to all. Peace.
STORM: You got mail
541. 0741
It looks more like this than anything that might become tropical:

were is that????
Nothing new in the S Caribbean

a 1008 mb low is centered N of Panama near 11n79w. A surface
trough extends N from the low to W of Jamaica along 14n81w
18n80w. Clusters of scattered moderate to isolated strong
convection is over the SW Caribbean from 8n-13n between
76w-81w. Scattered moderate convection is also S of Jamaica
from 16n-18n between 77w-80w. 15-20 kt trades are E of 77w
...While 10-15 nely winds are over the NW Caribbean. In the
upper levels...nwly upper level flow cover the entire
Caribbean. Broken to overcast high clouds are noted over
Central America S of Belize and over the S Caribbean S of 14n.
Expect continued convection over the SW Caribbean during the
next 24 hours.
0741~ I don't know myself, but, if you ask someone specifically you have a better chance of getting an answer.
PIRSRON, what type of restoration contractor are you?
547. 0741
is what MichaelSTL post few min ago he have sat pic of area i not sure if low that far Atlantic or one that is 91l on navy site
Posted By: 0741 at 6:43 PM GMT on May 18, 2007.

is what MichaelSTL post few min ago he have sat pic of area i not sure if low that far Atlantic or one that is 91l on navy site


The image he posted is of the Spring Nor'Easter from April, not 91L. If you click on the link you will see the article related to it.
is what MichaelSTL post few min ago he have sat pic of area

That (click my link in that post) is of the Tax Day Superstorm last month, showing what an extratropical system (a strong one) looks like (which is what 91L is, no idea why they ever called it an invest). Here is the current image of 91L, which again shouldn't be called an invest:



Not as impressive, but it is having a significant impact on parts of the Northeast. Dr. Masters' last blog mentioned this storm as well.
Here are the hourly observations for Boston and the forecast:

Late Afternoon: Periods of rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 47. Northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Tonight: Periods of rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Areas of fog after midnight. Low around 45. Northeast wind between 14 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between one and two inches possible.

Saturday: Periods of rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Areas of fog before noon. High near 55. East wind between 9 and 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between one and two inches possible.

Saturday Night: Showers likely, mainly before 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. East wind 6 to 9 mph becoming south. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

They also have a coastal flood watch and a flood watch. From what I can see, high winds are not being forecast overland.
Sheri did you get my email?
We've got the 2nd Typhoon of 2007.

Typhoon Yutu- 65 knots, 980 hPa

Please visit my JoeS3 blog for more information
2 top weather service officials resign

BY MARTIN MERZER
MiamiHerald.com

The top two leaders of the National Weather Service announced their resignations Friday, two days after the director of the National Hurricane Center blasted federal overseers for attempting to diminish both agencies' identity and absorb their budgets.

David Johnson, who served as director of the National Weather Service since January 2004, said he would step down on June 30. John E. Jones Jr., the service's deputy director since 1998, will retire on the same day after 35 years in the government.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration controls the National Weather Service, which in turn controls the National Hurricane Center. NOAA recently has been under fire for its efforts to promote itself and diminish the name recognition of its component agencies.

NOAA's announcement of the two departures offered no reason for either move.

Neither Johnson nor Jones was immediately available for comment. It was not known to what extent, if any, the identity controversy at NOAA and its agencies provoked protest on their part or what role, if any, it played in their decisions to leave.

Greg Romano, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, said the departures had been planned for some time and ''are unrelated'' to comments made Wednesday by Bill Proenza, the new director of the hurricane center.

Proenza told The Miami Herald and, a day later, other news organizations that NOAA was squandering millions of dollars on a 200-year anniversary celebration and other unnecessary public relations efforts while forecasters wrestle with budget shortfalls.

''It's getting to the point where I cannot tolerate this,'' Proenza told The Miami Herald.

He also said his bosses at NOAA were engaging in a broad campaign to diminish the identity of the weather service, the hurricane center and other agencies in an effort to promote themselves and gain more control over funding.

Among other things, he said, NOAA wants to rename the National Hurricane Center as the NOAA Hurricane Center.

''Our mission is the protection of life,'' Proenza said. ``I just feel that they need to ensure that they put things in the proper priority and the National Weather Service is prominent in their priorities.''

On Friday afternoon, Proenza said he spoke with Johnson earlier in the day and believes that Johnson and his deputy simply decided it was time to retire.

''I think we have different philosophies about what's going on at NOAA,'' Proenza said. ``I don't think these actions are related to anything I said.''

Proenza said his superiors in Washington have not contacted him about his critical comments about NOAA, though he is scheduled to attend meetings at NOAA headquarters next week.

NOAA officials confirmed Wednesday that they want to change the hurricane center's name and otherwise assert the NOAA identity, but they rejected Proenza's criticism, saying their actions were in the best interests of the nation.

Still, Proenza's comments generated considerable support from emergency managers and forecasters in South Florida and around the country.

Several started e-mail campaigns to oppose NOAA's plans.

''I hope NOAA will reconsider this policy immediately and start working with NWS in healthy ways that will benefit the life-saving efforts of this organization,'' one widely distributed e-mail said.

``If you are troubled by this turn of events, please tell NOAA corporate headquarters that you would like the NWS and NHC to retain its distinctive identity, mission and name.''
Be interesting to see how much rain Boston gets--May is not usually a big month for storms there. Yesterday, the smoke from the fires came to visit--it was disgusting and murky and smelly. We had some showers in the evening and overnight, but not heavy--maybe 0.10" at best. Everything looks dingy and spotted from the light rain which was enough to collect some soot but not heavy enough to wash it all away. My neighbor across the street has a white car that looks like a Dalmatian cause it is so spotted.

Good northeast winds here have cleared us out, but the air is much drier inland with dewpoints in the 40s. With the brisk winds, the fires will have a field day. Quite cool here--the temp has not reached 75 yet despite good sun, which is very unusual for the second half of May!
Wow. That is shocking.
Dr. Masters just posted a new blog on that (the renaming).
Hey Petrichor,

you said:

Having said all that, I am loathe to discuss this issue with people who have no background in physical sciences, as they cannot be convinced without a lengthy and troublesome discourse on how science actually works and what the basis is of, say, determining the age of the universe to within a few hundred million years. The scientific evidence is not well understood without enough 'schooling' in the basics and intermediates and advanced topics which bear on that determination.

In your response to my only post late last night (very early this morning), you clearly missed the obvious context of my whole argument. Simply put, I chose specifically not to engage in a full scientific discourse with you or any other on this subject for the precise reasoning exemplified by my post. To be most specific, the facts (i.e. data) is not pure and concise as I briefly touched upon in my previous post. Consequently, it is the height of arrogance and foolishness not to recognize that we ALL filter the same data through our presuppositions, and you only reiterated that reality in your response. YOu may not be aware of this, but I have written on this topic numerous times in the past. However, I simply chose to avoid discussing the so called scientific merits against the theory of human induced Global Warming. Sadly, your response it typical of too many who choose to respond to my post focused on simple logic by presupposing you have a greater understanding of science in general. Despite your opinion to the contrary, I feel quite confident that is not even remotely the case. I have worked in the meterological field and have a degree as well in Atmospheric sciences. On the other hand, I am humble enough to be honest with myself in recognizing that two very since and educated people can view the same data and come to differing conclusions as a result of how they interpret it as was the context of my initial post. In short, I would encourage you and others to refrain from false presuppositions about anothers understanding and/or background in science when they have intentionally chosen not to go there for all the aforementioned reasons. Thanks for reading my post and I will not be posting in further on this subject matter for the reasons I stated in my initial post. I hope you and everyone else has a great day.:)

Most sincerely,
Tony
559. 0741
Dr. Masters just posted a new blog on that (the renaming).
((that same thing that was here on last blog. ))Atlantic storms
The computer models have been forecasting development of several low pressure systems along the East Coast over the next few days. All of these lows will be non-tropical in nature, due to the high levels of wind shear. The models are beginning to hint that wind shear could relax over the ocean waters north of Panama next week, and we may have to watch that area for tropical development if the shear does indeed relax as forecast.

GULFSCOTTSMAN

You ask about why hurricanes rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere like Galaxies. Very insightfull observation as I have always believed that space is just like our seas! My answer would be that the portion of space that we see is the northen part of the solar system and that if we could see the Southern part, we would indeed see the galaxies turn clockwise! I believe everything in the universe, including the universe is polarized! But what do I know? Oh by the way if E = MC squared wouldn't E also = -M times-C squared ? Thus proof for Anti-matter? Maybe we could travel through space faster by giving either a negative or a postitive charge to the ship and letting the universe do part of the pulling! Boy, that was deep, time to go to bed