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

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 16. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:27 (GMT)

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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

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798. BahaHurican
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 17:08 (GMT)
Whoo hoo!!!

Some of that moisture looks like it may head our way! Maybe all the Bahamas and SE FL will finally get a HEALING rain, instead of frightening almost-tornados....

Member Since: 25.10.2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
797. MrMixon
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:30 (GMT)
Quoting Welling2000:
RE: TX vs. FL drought - True that the water retention system and N. Texas situation is better. In S. FL. they don't bother with reservoirs, 'cause there's plenty of water to go around. Only, not always. Like now. People here have been requesting reservoirs for years, to no avail.


Reservoir building in the U.S. peaked in the 1960's. We've built very, very few since then other than small farm ponds. There is no longer the political will for large reservoir projects. Some hate them because of the environmental issues they present (e.g. - inundating ecosystems, interrupting natural flow of water/sediment, blocking fish migration routes, etc.) and others hate them because they're expensive (e.g. - we'd have to raise taxes). Even if you did muster the political will for a large reservoir project, our county is so well settled at this point that I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a few hundred (or thousand) acres of land that someone isn't willing to fight to keep dry.
Member Since: 26.03.2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
796. bluheelrtx
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:29 (GMT)
Quoting Neapolitan:

I did some quick math. Let's say the entire state of Texas is, on average, about 18" below normal; that seems like a safe estimate


Much of the western half of Texas takes well over a year to get 18 inches of rain and all of these locations are in the southeast - the wettest part of the state. Not that the rest of the state isn't severely behind, it's just not likely anywhere near 18 inches.

Link to TX rainfall deficit
Member Since: 8.11.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 222
795. beell
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:29 (GMT)
City of Houston gets almost all their water from Lake Conroe and Lake Houston.



Lake Houston Storage - Acre Feet
June 2010 - June 2011




Lake Conroe Storage - Acre Feet
March 2011 to date
Member Since: 11.09.2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15339
794. PcolaDan
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:24 (GMT)
NEW BLOG
Member Since: 22.08.2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
793. Welling2000
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:23 (GMT)
RE: TX vs. FL drought - True that the water retention system and N. Texas situation is better. In S. FL. they don't bother with reservoirs, 'cause there's plenty of water to go around. Only, not always. Like now. People here have been requesting reservoirs for years, to no avail.
Member Since: 19.07.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 38
792. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:20 (GMT)
I wasn't trying to be funny.
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
791. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:19 (GMT)
Quoting Welling2000:
You can chop CARP and mix it with spices and even with other fish. It's a little gamey, but you can cook it, then chill it, and use it for salads, fish tacos, etc. It's good with pepper, onion and garlic. But I wouldn't harvest the dead ones! Now back to the weather....
I never ate carp as a kid because they basically eat trash in the water, and rainbow trout tastes SO much better, too...
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
790. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:18 (GMT)
Quoting MrMixon:


Why haven't we done it? One word answer: economics.

For those who want more info, look into the mind-blowing project costs for any major pipeline or canal-building project we've ever actually completed. And of course, NIMBY issues would keep any such project in the courts for years.
Well, economics, and feasibility. The sheer capacity needed to reroute flood waters of those volumes is insane, and if established, the design of that system would be an engineering marvel, along with actually making said design work.
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
789. RitaEvac
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:18 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
777. RitaEvac 3:10 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
Amy, I never received a response from you yesterday! ;)lol



Rita, that's because I'm not trolling for dates on here...

take a hint, ok?


LMAO, Amy
Member Since: 14.07.2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
788. Welling2000
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:17 (GMT)
You can chop CARP and mix it with spices and even with other fish. It's a little gamey, but you can cook it, then chill it, and use it for salads, fish tacos, etc. It's good with pepper, onion and garlic. But I wouldn't harvest the dead ones! Now back to the weather....
Member Since: 19.07.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 38
787. caribbeantracker01
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:17 (GMT)
and also notice how the area of coldest cloud tops are not embeded into the monsson trof as it was yesterday based on the surface maps,this may even be a seperate enterty however lets see how long it blows up
Member Since: 21.05.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 496
786. wayfaringstranger
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:16 (GMT)
I'm not sure if anyone has talked about this but exactly how solid is the data that shows the correlation from current tropical weather conditions and occurrences of named storms?

I think sometimes there is a misconception that just because a storm doesn't impact the U.S. that there is a problem with the reporting. So people read "neutral conditions" and I really wonder how that is translated in their thinking?
Member Since: 12.07.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235
785. MrMixon
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:16 (GMT)
Quoting PcolaDan:


Funny you should mention that. Had a neighbor who was wondering why we haven't actually done that. Kind of like the electrical grid. His idea is to run underground pipes to all the major water sources with gates. Then when one area has too much they send it to areas that have too little. If they are all full then the last one in line opens gates to the oceans. Hmmmmm.


Why haven't we done it? One word answer: economics.

For those who want more info, look into the mind-blowing project costs for any major pipeline or canal-building project we've ever actually completed. And of course, NIMBY issues would keep any such project in the courts for years.
Member Since: 26.03.2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
784. RitaEvac
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:15 (GMT)
Quoting Welling2000:


Only now are they beginning to restrict lawn watering? Let's just say it seems a bit late. Our drought in South Florida is not quite as bad as in Texas, as the lakes and canals here are drying up, but we've had watering restrictions in place for months. What was Texas thinking?


Because in North TX where Dallas is, is where we get some of our water. They've been getting rains and are not in the drought (look at drought map) As long as the water is flowing downstream into our reservoirs it's been ok to hold up the water bans.
Member Since: 14.07.2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
783. CJ5
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:14 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
why can't you eat carp?


They are shipped to Asia for human consumption but they are not eaten here. They are used for feedstocks and other products in the US. The problem is with the floods they will probably be pushed north and south into other lakes and rivers. They are a very invasive species and a problem that has become critical.
Member Since: 4.07.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
782. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:13 (GMT)
Quoting beell:


We will. For now, a rain day would qualify as a holiday.
Amen to that. My wife and I have already decided that if it actually rains when we are home, we are both going outside to see what it feels like - we forgot what rain is like.
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
781. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:13 (GMT)
777. RitaEvac 3:10 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
Amy, I never received a response from you yesterday! ;)lol



Rita, that's because I'm not trolling for dates on here...

take a hint, ok?
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
780. beell
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:12 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
beel! Love the new avatar!!!!

will we get holiday decorated beels in the future as well?

:)

hey jeff...

:)


We will. For now, a rain day would qualify as a holiday.
Member Since: 11.09.2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15339
779. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:12 (GMT)
Quoting Welling2000:


Only now are they beginning to restrict lawn watering? Let's just say it seems a bit late. Our drought in South Florida is not quite as bad as in Texas, as the lakes and canals here are drying up, but we've had watering restrictions in place for months. What was Texas thinking?
Our situation here is slightly different. Most of the water for SE TX comes from North Texas and Oklahoma, which have been near-normal for water. In addition, most of our water supplies are either surface, or very deep wells, and not as impacted by the drought.

Its not a matter of Texas water management being backwards (I can't say anything about other parts of the government being backwards, though). Its a matter of SFL relying much more on wells that are more heavily impacted by drought, and the need to hold back saltwater intrusion.
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
778. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:11 (GMT)
775. PcolaDan 3:09 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
Quoting NRAamy:

why can't you eat carp?
Because it's too easy to misspell on the menu. :|




;)
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
777. RitaEvac
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:10 (GMT)
Amy, I never received a response from you yesterday! ;)lol
Member Since: 14.07.2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
776. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:09 (GMT)
aqua, hmmmm...... I guess they could use it as fertilizer.... or food for inmates....
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
775. PcolaDan
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:09 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
why can't you eat carp?

Because it's too easy to misspell on the menu. :|
Member Since: 22.08.2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
774. Welling2000
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:09 (GMT)
Quoting jeffs713:
<Water restrictions are starting, with League City and Galveston starting mandatory water restrictions, and many municipalities starting voluntary requests for conservation. My local HOA (HomeOwners Association) is also suspending "yard of the month", in light of the drought, as it promotes over-watering.


Only now are they beginning to restrict lawn watering? Let's just say it seems a bit late. Our drought in South Florida is not quite as bad as in Texas, as the lakes and canals here are drying up, but we've had watering restrictions in place for months. What was Texas thinking?
Member Since: 19.07.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 38
773. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:08 (GMT)
beel! Love the new avatar!!!!

will we get holiday decorated beels in the future as well?

:)

hey jeff...

:)
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
772. PcolaDan
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:08 (GMT)
Quoting jeffs713:

Maybe we should have some tunnels routing water from flooding to the drought areas... (ok, just kidding... its a HORRIBLE situation here)


Funny you should mention that. Had a neighbor who was wondering why we haven't actually done that. Kind of like the electrical grid. His idea is to run underground pipes to all the major water sources with gates. Then when one area has too much they send it to areas that have too little. If they are all full then the last one in line opens gates to the oceans. Hmmmmm.
Member Since: 22.08.2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
771. aquak9
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:07 (GMT)
they say it'sa a nasty tasting, boney icky fish, amy. Too bad cause they get real big, and are pretty fish.
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25507
770. beell
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:06 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
why can't you eat carp?


tastes like carp
Member Since: 11.09.2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15339
769. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:06 (GMT)
Quoting NRAamy:
Maybe we should have some tunnels routing water from flooding to the drought areas...

I knew you guys would eventually come around!!!!!!!!

:)



SQUAWK!!!!

YAY! I *knew* Amy would snag that reference! (And I even tossed in the reference to an otherwise-serious weather-related post with actual content!)
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
768. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:05 (GMT)
why can't you eat carp?
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
767. NRAamy
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:04 (GMT)
Maybe we should have some tunnels routing water from flooding to the drought areas...

I knew you guys would eventually come around!!!!!!!!

:)



SQUAWK!!!!
Member Since: 24.01.2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
766. aquak9
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 15:03 (GMT)
jeffs- we're not even allowed to light ciggarettes here anymore...we just gotta chew on'm with our dry, parched lips...

(j/k) but they have banned darn near everything else.
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25507
765. jeffs713
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:57 (GMT)
Quoting Neapolitan:

I did some quick math. Let's say the entire state of Texas is, on average, about 18" below normal; that seems like a safe estimate after looking at the above numbers. That means to bring the state up to normal, a bit over 84 trillion gallons of water is needed.

That's a lot.

That's as much water as 140 million Olymic-size pools.

That's nearly 70% of what Lake Erie holds.

That's as much water as the Mississippi River discharges in 200 days.

Maybe we should have some tunnels routing water from flooding to the drought areas... (ok, just kidding... its a HORRIBLE situation here)

It is interesting that of all the rainfall deficits that RitaEvac posted, Tomball is the highest (and I live about 2 miles SSE of "downtown" Tomball). I have sprinklers for my yard, thankfully, but even with that, the stress is showing all over. On Jones Rd. just south of FM1960, a vacant lot burned Wednesday... right next to a major thoroughfare. In addition, over the past month, there have been 4 grass fires within a mile of my house, with the largest burning right around an acre before being put out.

Water restrictions are starting, with League City and Galveston starting mandatory water restrictions, and many municipalities starting voluntary requests for conservation. My local HOA (HomeOwners Association) is also suspending "yard of the month", in light of the drought, as it promotes over-watering.

Aerial fireworks are being banned throughout the county, with some local governments (including several local HOAs) going to the extent of banning ALL fireworks, and backing those bans up with fines and potential criminal/civil penalties (related to the existing burn ban).

The best hope we have of drought-breaking rainfall is from a tropical system of some sort (hopefully with as little damage as possible - we just want rain!). With many areas completely parched, any drought-busting rain we get must be spread out over several days if not several weeks. Our local flash flood guidance is about 6" (meaning flash flooding becomes a danger after about 6" in 24 hours), but that said, anything more than 2" or so in 2-3 hours would just become runoff, and not contribute to soil moisture.

Coming up, as RitaEvac posted, there is a chance of a "pulse" of tropical moisture giving the area some serious rainfall next week, but the timing and amounts differ between model suites, so NWS HGX is playing it safe and being overly conservative.
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
763. caribbeantracker01
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:53 (GMT)
Quoting Waltanater:
Looks like there could be something there, but it may not have good enough conditions. SST is ok, but I think there is still some shear there and too close to land. I don't think it has enough time.


ok however the overall pattern is improving and if i am correct this is the first of the energy that should trigger the formation of the low pressure system forecasted in the southern gulf of mexico...shear is present now however the thing to base a forecast on i believe is the change in the upper pattern and it is forecasted to be favorable then marginally favorable.
Member Since: 21.05.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 496
762. wunderkidcayman
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:49 (GMT)
Member Since: 13.06.2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9592
761. Waltanater
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:48 (GMT)
Looks like there could be something there, but it may not have good enough conditions. SST is ok, but I think there is still some shear there and too close to land. I don't think it has enough time.
Member Since: 16.05.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1418
760. aquak9
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:42 (GMT)
HAARP CARP DIEM!
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25507
759. caribbeantracker01
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:41 (GMT)
Quoting Waltanater:
755. caribbeantracker01 2:37 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
guys i believe a low pressure is trying to form in the caribbean levi can u explain a bit i only know a small amount about cloud structure however it is evident that the most energy is located where the coldest cloud tops are check it out?

What are the coordinates you are looking at?


about 81 w 14 n
Member Since: 21.05.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 496
758. Waltanater
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:41 (GMT)
756. aquak9 2:38 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
ahhh..I stand corrected, did not read the last line.
Ya can't even eat the carps.

Carp, meet HAARP!
Member Since: 16.05.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1418
757. Waltanater
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:39 (GMT)
755. caribbeantracker01 2:37 PM GMT on June 17, 2011
guys i believe a low pressure is trying to form in the caribbean levi can u explain a bit i only know a small amount about cloud structure however it is evident that the most energy is located where the coldest cloud tops are check it out?

What are the coordinates you are looking at?
Member Since: 16.05.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1418
756. aquak9
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:38 (GMT)
ahhh..I stand corrected, did not read the last line.
Ya can't even eat the carps.
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25507
755. caribbeantracker01
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:37 (GMT)
guys i believe a low pressure is trying to form in the caribbean levi can u explain a bit i only know a small amount about cloud structure however it is evident that the most energy is located where the coldest cloud tops are check it out?
Member Since: 21.05.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 496
754. ILwthrfan
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:34 (GMT)
Quoting hydrus:
I would guess that the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season will always be on or around September 10, regardless of what happens in any given year.There have been years when October was many times more active than September, but the activity chart remains unchanged...go figgah...Good morning Gro. This chart is great for checking out activity for each year..


There is a lot less variation with # of hurricanes with nuetral years vs. an el nino or la nina season.
Quoting emcf30:


That SAL going to a take away to clear out!
Member Since: 2.02.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1403
753. CJ5
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:33 (GMT)
Quoting Skyepony:
Hundreds of dead fish The dead fish are Asian carp which have created lots problems for fishermen and boaters.


That is good news. The more Asian Carp that die the better off we are.
Member Since: 4.07.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
752. aquak9
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:32 (GMT)
Quoting Waltanater:
It's amazing how annoying problems just die all of a sudden. : )


huh? Fish are problems?

Poor little fish ain't done nuthin' to nobody!
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25507
751. Waltanater
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:31 (GMT)
Quoting Skyepony:
Hundreds of dead fish are floating in the river Des Peres in South St. Louis. The state has investigated to determine if it was caused by man or nature. Neighbors who live around the river told News 11 they first spotted the dead fish floating in the river on Wednesday. Hundreds of dead fish stretch for more than a half mile North of Gravois. MSD owns the section of the river. They say they hired crews to spray weed killer and they double checked today and say the crews did use a chemical that does not threaten wildlife. Conservation experts say when the rising Mississippi backs up into the river Des Peres the water can stagnate, lose the oxygen and the fish die, a disturbing sight to people who live nearby. "I think something's wrong something disturbing because there shouldn't be dead fish floating everywhere." said Kathy Shaver. Conservation officials say they believe the fish kill was caused by mother nature. The dead fish are Asian carp which have created lots problems for fishermen and boaters.
It's amazing how annoying problems just die all of a sudden. : )
Member Since: 16.05.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1418
750. emcf30
17. kesäkuuta 2011 klo 14:23 (GMT)
Member Since: 7.08.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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