Warmest winter on record for the globe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 15. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 16:25 (GMT)

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Earth just experienced its warmest Northern Hemisphere winter on record, according to statistics released today by the National Climatic Data Center. The 3-month Northern Hemisphere winter period December 2006 through February 2007 had an average global temperature +0.72�C (+1.30�F) above normal, beating the previous record set in 2004 by a substantial +0.12�C. The Northern Hemisphere had its warmest winter ever measured, and the Southern Hemisphere (where it was summer) had its 4th warmest summer on record. Cooler than normal temperatures were observed over less than 15% of the globe, and nowhere did the cooling exceed 3� C (Figure 1). Record warmth was particularly noteworthy over land areas of the Northern Hemisphere poleward of 45� latitude, where temperatures a remarkable 5�C (9�F) above normal were common. Warming of almost the entire globe's land and ocean areas, with the greatest warming occurring in winter over the northern Northern Hemisphere's land areas, is a result that climate models have long been predicting would occur if human-emitted greenhouse gases were substantially affecting Earth's climate. This winter's pattern of record warmth closely matches the computer models projections, and adds additional support to the theory that human-emitted greenhouse gases are now causing a significant warming of the planet. We can expect further substantial warming in coming years as human-emitted greenhouse gases continue to increase at 2% per year.


Figure 1. Temperature departure from average for the winter of December 2006-February 2007. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Influence of El Ni�o
The record warm winter was also partially due to the presence of a moderately strong El Ni�o event in the Eastern Pacific. December 2006 was the warmest December on record, January 2007 was the warmest January on record, and both of these record warmest months occurred when El Ni�o was at its peak strength. El Ni�o rapidly died out at the end of January, and global temperatures in February were not quite as warm, merely the 6th warmest on record. With El Ni�o gone and a possible La Ni�a event on the way later this year, we may not see any more record-breaking warmest months in 2007.

Sea ice extent and snow
The record winter warmth did not lead to record minimum sea ice coverage in the Arctic, which recorded its third lowest February coverage on record (Figure 2). Still, the sea ice coverage this month is very close to the minimum observed in 2005, and is 10% lower than it was 28 years ago. Winter 2006/2007 snow cover extent over the Northern Hemisphere was the 8th lowest extent in the historical record, and 3rd lowest on record over Eurasia. The low snow cover combined with the near record-low Arctic ice extent could lead to an early spring in the Arctic, and more record or near-record low sea ice coverage for the Arctic this year.


Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent for February, for the years 1979-2007. The record lowest Arctic February sea ice extent occurred in 2005, and sea ice has increased slightly over that record low the past two years. Still, the February sea ice coverage has declined about 10% since 1979.

I'll be back with a new blog on Monday.
Jeff Masters

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252. Caffinehog
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 11:13 (GMT)
would you like fries with that?
Member Since: 5.06.2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
250. StoryOfTheCane
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 04:34 (GMT)
Good to see early activity this year! Gonna be an active season. Hold on to your hats. Give it til late May and the SSTs will be prime with the ITCZ just north enough to start fireballing these waves.

249. supercell216
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:58 (GMT)
Absolutely MichaelSTL, and we've been doing a heck of a lot of research this winter at the SPC on the effects of La Nina on severe weather chances in the central and southern Plains.
246. supercell216
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:42 (GMT)
I think that El Nino never really even had any effect on the weather over the last few months

Tell that to the people along the Gulf coast MichaelSTL! Overall, it had very minor effects, but the southern states and the SE really did experience the more southerly subtropical jet all winter which contributed to so many unusually destructive severe weather outbreaks. But yes, your area along with mine (OKC) didn't really see much of an El Nino pattern.
245. CaneAddict17
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:40 (GMT)
Thanks, MichaelSTL.
Member Since: 31.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 156
240. CaneAddict17
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:25 (GMT)
Could anyone tell me what the best representation for the shear forecast is? On the fsu site, there is 850-500mb shear, 850-200mb shear, 850-500mb zonal shear, and 850-200mb zonal shear.
Member Since: 31.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 156
239. CaneAddict17
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:18 (GMT)
882MB, that cmc forecast is tropical.
Link
Member Since: 31.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 156
237. TheChuckr
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:04 (GMT)
Let's see if the computer model verifies for the next 6 - 10 days. The NE is unlikely to get very much above normal this week because of the snow & ice pack. Where I live, we got almost 6.5" of sleet. A lot of the energy for the warm-up will first be expended in melting the snow & ice pack and then evaporating the wet soil. Warm fronts this time of year, climatologically speaking, often have difficulty in advancing through the Northeast. If it is going to get really warm around here, next week is a better bet. The first half of April may be below normal in the midwest and northeast.

PS. March so far in my area has been 4.5 degrees below normal so we still are freezin'!
236. HIEXPRESS
19. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 00:57 (GMT)
Posted By: StSimonsIslandGAGuy at 3:02 PM EDT on March 18, 2007.
OK I have an off the wall question. The water temperature here is 60, and it was warmer earlier today and a seabreeze came in. So how come it has cooled to 56? How can a seabreeze be cooler than the ocean temperature on a bright sunny day?


How's it going SSIGG?
Maybe there was cooler air subsiding over the water & it didn't have enough contact time to warm up.
Member Since: 13.10.2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
234. 882MB
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 23:44 (GMT)
Hey, Have ya taking a look at the 12Z loop of the CMC MODEL, it develops a low and sends right to us is SOUTH FLORIDA it looks pretty strong too, its too early for this unless is subtropical!and it has a pretty low pressure!
Member Since: 29.09.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 348
233. TheChuckr
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 23:16 (GMT)
The NCDC figures for temperature anomalies 12/06 to 2/07 are interesting but do not tell the whole story. The March departure from normal means in Barrow, AK is -5.1 F and in Resolute, Nunuvut, Canada is -11.9 F. Should this trend continue for the rest of the month, the positive temperature anomaly in at least these two Arctic locations may be erased. Environment Canada predicts below normal temperatures for most of the high Arctic from April to May. What will the computer models say should April & May continue the March trend of much below normal temperatures in the Arctic?
232. rxse7en
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 20:33 (GMT)
Just checking in and saying "Hi!" before the season starts. Hope everyone had a nice holiday season.


B
Member Since: 21.08.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 528
230. Patrap
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 12:57 (GMT)
Mark your calendar for the
2007
National Hurricane Conference
April 2-6
Hilton Riverside
New Orleans, LA
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125641
229. pottery
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 12:48 (GMT)
The Underdogs, IRELAND, beat the favourites, PAKISTAN, on St. Pats Day, In Jamaica, in the WORLD CUP OF CRICKET, ( yesterday )

A great performance, that sees Pakistan out of the running.


UP THE IRISH.
Member Since: 24.10.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
228. Patrap
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 12:20 (GMT)
Hurricane forecasts may be less accurate
Aging satellite provides key information, meteorologist says

By Jessica Gresko,
Associated Press

Miami | Certain hurricane forecasts could be up to 16 percent less accurate if a key weather satellite that is already beyond its expected lifespan fails, the National Hurricane Center's new director said Friday in calling for hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for expanded research and predictions.

Bill Proenza also told The Associated Press in an wide-ranging interview that ties between global warming and increased hurricane strength seemed a "natural linkage." But he cautioned that other weather conditions currently play a larger part in determining the strength and number of hurricanes.

One of Proenza's immediate concerns is the so-called "QuikScat" weather satellite, which lets forecasters measure basics such as wind speed. Replacing it would take at least four years even if the estimated $400 million cost were available immediately, he said.

It is currently in its seventh year of operation and was expected to last five, Proenza said, and it is only a matter of time until it fails.

Without the satellite providing key data, Proenza said, both two- and three-day forecasts of a storm's path would be affected. The two-day forecast could be 10 percent worse while the three-day one could be affected up to 16 percent, Proenza said.

That would mean longer stretches of coastline would have to be placed under warnings, and more people than necessary would have to evacuate.

Average track errors last year were about 100 miles on two-day forecasts and 150 miles on three-day predictions. Track errors have been cut in half over the past 15 years. Losing QuikScat could erode some of those gains, Proenza acknowledged, adding he did not know of any plans to replace it.

Proenza, 62, also discussed a series of other concerns, naming New Orleans, the Northeast and the Florida Keys as among the areas most vulnerable to hurricanes. Apart from working with the media and emergency managers to help vulnerable residents prepare, he proposed having students come up with plans at school to discuss with their parents.

He said he believes hundreds of millions of dollars more money is needed to better understand storms.

At the same time, he strongly opposed a proposal to close any of the National Weather Service's 122 offices around the nation or have them operate part time, saying "weather certainly doesn't take a holiday."

Proenza took over one of meteorology's most highly visible posts in January. His predecessor, Max Mayfield, had held the top spot for six years.

Like Mayfield, Proenza stressed the importance of preparedness, but he also set out slightly different positions. Global warming was one of them.

Last year, the Caribbean and western Atlantic had the second-highest sea temperatures since 1930, but the season turned out to be quieter than expected, Proenza said.

"So there's got to be other factors working and impacting hurricanes and tropical storms than just sea surface temperatures or global warming," he said.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125641
227. Caffinehog
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 06:16 (GMT)
P.S.
I take it you've been to Yosemite, Kings canyon, and death valley? Is it worth the trip? From, say, Ohio?
Member Since: 5.06.2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
226. Caffinehog
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 06:13 (GMT)
Taz, I'd ignore that. Too far south, too far out in the Atlantic, and too early in the season. That being said, it could be a harbringer of things to come.

It's a La Nina year, and the oceans are toasty. Just wait a month or two, and things will heat up.

I know... I know. It's been a long winter for me, too.
Member Since: 5.06.2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
225. Tazmanian
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:27 (GMT)
i would have to say for being so soon that is the 1st wave to come off what give it a few day this some in to watch

lol

same photo but i under line the bold so you can see where it is
lol
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
224. HIEXPRESS
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:22 (GMT)
Interesting page from the NSIDC The National Snow and Ice Data Center. Didn't know we had one!
Member Since: 13.10.2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
223. Tazmanian
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:15 (GMT)
there a cat 5 hurricane out there lol now back to the weathere
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
222. catastropheadjuster
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:10 (GMT)
HEY RYANG HOW YA DOING? IT IS PRETTY QUITE HERE TONIGHT. What do ya think about the up coming hurricane Season? It looks like it's shaping up to where it's gonna be a rough one.
Member Since: 24.08.2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
221. catastropheadjuster
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:03 (GMT)
WHERE'S EVERYONE AT? WELL HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.
Member Since: 24.08.2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
220. ryang
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 02:00 (GMT)
Hey Juster,the blog is pretty quiet these days!
Member Since: 25.08.2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12397
219. catastropheadjuster
18. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 01:59 (GMT)
Good Evening Everyone. How's everyone doing tonight? The weather has been very nice last couple of days. Wish it could be like this everyday, not to cold and not to hot. I'm glad it was nice today cause we had Softball games all day.
Member Since: 24.08.2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
218. Hellsniper223
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 23:37 (GMT)
Looks like its going to be a good season. =D
...People at risk need to start buying the nonparishables...
Member Since: 28.03.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
217. Tazmanian
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 23:20 (GMT)
dr m why dos your photo say Saturday March 8, 2003 on them? sould they say 2007?
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
215. Tazmanian
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:36 (GMT)
yes i would say that
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
214. ryang
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:33 (GMT)
Heavy action there Taz!
Member Since: 25.08.2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12397
213. Tazmanian
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:31 (GMT)
look at this

lol
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
212. ProgressivePulse
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:27 (GMT)
A little early for the ITCZ but it would need to be for 17 storms this year.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
211. ryang
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:27 (GMT)
what is going on her? what is evere one talking about?

Taz the I.T.C.Z is moving more north.
Member Since: 25.08.2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12397
209. ProgressivePulse
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:25 (GMT)
Normal stuff! Time is near.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
208. ProgressivePulse
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:24 (GMT)
I just noticed the ITCZ starting to graze in the 5 to 10N range and noticed more storm activity of the coast of Africa Taz.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
207. Tazmanian
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:22 (GMT)
what is going on her? what is evere one talking about?
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
206. ProgressivePulse
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:20 (GMT)
Could be an early start this year! We would need about 3 a month to keep up with the forcast of 17.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
205. ryang
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:15 (GMT)
Pulse you are right,i noticed it about last week on the navy site.
Member Since: 25.08.2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12397
204. ProgressivePulse
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 22:11 (GMT)
Anyone else notice the ITCZ creeping up! Getting more active in the far east, time is near!
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
203. weatherboykris
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 18:32 (GMT)
Well,besides tomorrow morning,anyway.
Member Since: 9.12.2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
202. weatherboykris
17. maaliskuuta 2007 klo 18:30 (GMT)
Posted By: HIEXPRESS at 4:45 AM GMT on March 17, 2007.

Posted By: weatherboykris at 2:56 AM GMT on March 16, 2007.

The season for fronts that bring rain and storms is over.Now,Florida needs to have daytime 'airmass' thunderstorms to help ease the drought.

WBC, did it end this evening? I had a Frog-strangler at my house today. We're not necessarily past Derecho season here either. There may be some wait yet for the summertime pattern. We have some dry season to get through first. Still, I'm looking forward to summer. Flash....BOOOM!





I said that before it became apparent that the LLJ would remain relatively strong all the way to South Florida,and that instability would actually increase the further south the line went.It happens.
Member Since: 9.12.2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346

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About JeffMasters

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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