Globe has 1st or 2nd warmest March on record; El Niño fades to weak category

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 02:20 PM GMT am 16. April 2010

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The globe recorded its warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center. The March temperature anomaly of 0.77°C (1.39°F) beat the previous record set in 2002 by 0.03°C. The last time the globe had a record warmest month was in January 2007 (according to NOAA) or in November 2009 (according to NASA). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated March 2010 the second warmest March on record, 0.01°C behind the record set in 2002. The year-to-date period, January - March, is the 4th warmest such period on record, according to NOAA, and the warmest on record, according to NASA. March 2010 global ocean temperatures were the warmest on record, while land temperatures were the 4th warmest. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest on record in March, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups. The March temperature anomaly of 0.66°C was the third highest monthly anomaly on record, behind the 0.76°C anomalies measured in February and April of 1998.

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


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for March 2010. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

A warm March for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., it was the 32nd warmest March in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. For the third month in a row, Florida was the coldest state, relative to average. It was Florida's 4th coldest March. No other state had a top-ten coldest March. Rhode Island had its warmest March on record, and thirteen other states had a top-ten warmest March, including all of New England, plus Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Montana.

U.S. precipitation and drought
For the contiguous U.S., March 2010 ranked as the 35th driest in the 116-year record. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Montana recorded a top-ten driest March. However, all-time March precipitation records were set in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. New Hampshire and Connecticut each had a top-five wettest March. At the end of March, 2.0% of the contiguous United States was in severe-to-exceptional drought. This is the lowest March drought footprint in the U.S. in the past ten years.


Figure 2. Computer model forecasts of El Niño/La Niña made in April. The forecasts that go above the red line at +0.5°C denote El Niño conditions; -0.5°C to +0.5°C denote neutral conditions, and below -0.5°C denote La Niña conditions. No computer models predict El Niño conditions and six predict La Niña for the upcoming hurricane season (ASO, August-September-October). The rest of the models predict neutral conditions. Image credit: Columbia University's IRI.

El Niño fades from moderate to weak
El Niño slowly weakened during late March and early April, and El Niño conditions crossed the threshold from moderate to weak during the past two weeks. Sea surface temperatures over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were at 0.83°C above average on April 11, which is just below the 1.0°C threshold to be considered a moderate El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Anomalously strong westerly winds along the Equator that had helped maintain the current El Niño slackened in late March, and winds are now near average over the Equatorial Pacific. It now appears very likely that El Niño will be gone by hurricane season. None of the sixteen El Niño models (updated as of April 15) are predicting El Niño will be around during the height of hurricane season (August-September-October); six are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. The expected demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, have prompted two major hurricane forecasting groups (tropicalstormrisk.com and Colorado State University) to predict a well-above average 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

March sea ice extent in the Arctic 5th lowest on record
March 2010 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 5th lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979. Ice extent was lower than in 2009 and 2008, but greater than in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The weather pattern over the Arctic during much of March 2010 featured a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO). This pattern tends to slow the winds that typically flush large amounts of sea ice out of the Arctic between Greenland and Iceland, and the Arctic lost less ice this winter compared to the previous few years. The larger amount of multi-year ice could help more ice to survive the summer melt season. However, this replenishment consists primarily of younger, two- to three-year-old multi-year ice; the thickest ice more than three years old has continued to decline.

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues to disrupt European air travel
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano on Iceland erupted Wednesday, sending a towering cloud of volcanic ash 6 - 11 km (20,000 - 36,000') high in the air from its 1666 meter (5500') high peak. The ash cloud continues to cause a dramatic interruption of air traffic over much of northern Europe today, and this disruption will spread southwards and eastwards as the ash cloud gradually spreads and disperses. For the latest forecasts of where the ash cloud is expected to go, consult the UKMET Office. The Norwegian Institute for Air Research runs a computer trajectory model called FLEXPART that has longer, 3-day forecasts. The FLEXPART model shows that ash will continue to be a problem for much of Europe through Tuesday. Spain and Portugal look like the best bet to have airports that will stay open. An excellent source of links of information on the eruption is available at http://islande2010.mbnet.fr/2010/04/eyjafjallajok ul-links-liens-a-propos-de-leyjafjallajokul/. My post on Thursday discusses the likely non-impact of this eruption on Earth's climate.


Figure 3. Forecast extent of the plume from the Iceland volcano with the unpronounceable name. Forecast was made at 17 UTC Saturday, April 17, 2010, and is valid for 12 UTC Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Image credit: Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

Jeff Masters

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Weather in Iceland isn't as bad as yesterday. Right now I could get a look through the clouds to the plume. Indeed, much less smoke than the day before yesterday
http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/
BTW, thanks Dr. M. for the volcano-link. It's a very useful collection.
Member Since: Oktober 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5012
dashboard cow man...she lives near London...so maybe no ash?
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Link

Here is a very interesting link from MSNBC on the volcano. Al Roker gives an almost perfect pronunciation of the name and gives some good shots of the current eruption this morning. Worth a quick look.
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Quoting NRAamy:
my Husband's Mom in England is expecting snow today...do you think it will be ash-filled snow?


She must live up north. If so, may get some ash with it.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting barbamz:

That's true. But is Lisbon really safe? Remember 1755 ... and not to speak of Istanbul.

Oh, I remember the awful earthquake from 1755, through history books, of course, I hope things remain calm there.

Istanbul, Turkey sits on or near several major fault zones, hopefully things remain quiet there also.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Chicklit:
PColaDan, thanks for the BBC link. Evidently, it's still spewing but not as high.
I notice at the bottom of that page Icelandic Express Airlines is offering flights beginning at $49. Any takers?


If I can get from here to there for $49 I'm on it. :) BTW, flights out of Keflavik International Airport to US Still flying. Ash going the other way.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
my Husband's Mom in England is expecting snow today...do you think it will be ash-filled snow?
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Quoting Bonedog:
thanks Groth =)


ánægja mín. Actually, they do pronounce the way you had it as well. If Katla erupts, it will be much easier to pronounce! LOL Let's hope it doesn't, but historically, the two have erupted together before. Not out of the question. Bad scenario.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

At least Prime Minister Merkel is safe. It would be a long drive or train-ride back to Germany from Portugal.

That's true. But is Lisbon really safe? Remember 1755 ... and not to speak of Istanbul.
Member Since: Oktober 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5012
PColaDan, thanks for the BBC link. Evidently, scientists say the volcano is still erupting but producing less ash.
I notice at the bottom of that page Icelandic Express Airlines is offering flights beginning at $49. Any takers?
Member Since: Juli 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11034
Well, we have only had 0.09" of rain so far for April. Looks like we may get our monthly rainfall in 2 days, maybe 3":

FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
1101 AM CDT FRI APR 16 2010

TXZ091>093-100>104-115>119-129>134-141>145-156>160-174-170315-
/O.NEW.KFWD.FA.A.0001.100416T1800Z-100419T0000Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
MONTAGUE-COOKE-GRAYSON-YOUNG-JACK-WISE-DENTON-COLLIN-STEPHENS-
PALO PINTO-PARKER-TARRANT-DALLAS-EASTLAND-ERATH-HOOD-SOMERVELL-
JOHNSON-ELLIS-COMANCHE-MILLS-HAMILTON-BOSQUE-HILL-LAMPASAS-
CORYELL-BELL-MCLENNAN-FALLS-MILAM-
1101 AM CDT FRI APR 16 2010

...FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FORT WORTH HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES IN NORTH CENTRAL
TEXAS...BELL...BOSQUE...COLLIN...COMANCHE...COOKE...CORYELL...
DALLAS...DENTON...EASTLAND...ELLIS...ERATH...FALLS...GRAYSON...
HAMILTON...HILL...HOOD...JACK...JOHNSON...LAMPASAS...
MCLENNAN...MILLS...MONTAGUE...PALO PINTO...PARKER...
SOMERVELL...STEPHENS...TARRANT...WISE AND YOUNG. IN SOUTH
CENTRAL TEXAS...MILAM.

* THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING

* A SLOW-MOVING UPPER LEVEL SYSTEM IS FORECAST TO DRIFT NORTHEAST
ACROSS THE RED RIVER AND OVER SOUTHERN OKLAHOMA THROUGH THE
WEEKEND. THE COMBINATION OF THIS SYSTEM WITH ABOVE NORMAL
MOISTURE CONTENT IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY
MOVING SOUTH ACROSS THE RED RIVER WILL RESULT IN A SET UP FOR
PERIODS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS THE FLOOD WATCH
AREA THROUGH SUNDAY. THE LEON...BRAZOS AND TRINITY TRIBUTARIES
WILL LIKELY SEE THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL.

* THREE TO SIX INCHES OF RAIN...WITH LOCALLY HIGHERS AMOUNTS ARE
POSSIBLE THROUGH SUNDAY OVER PARTS OF THE WATCH AREA.
THE
PROLONGED RAIN EVENT WILL LIKELY PRODUCE GRADUAL RISES AND
POTENTIAL FLOODING ON LARGER BASINS...WITH FASTER RISES ON
SMALLER TRIBUTARIES AND BASIN HEADWATERS. LOCALIZED FLASH
FLOODING IS ALSO A THREAT ACROSS THE FLOOD WATCH AREA THROUGH
THE WEEKEND.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON
CURRENT FORECASTS.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE
RIVER FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING
SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Chicklit:
My poor little 16-year-old niece is stuck in Spain as an exchange student and has to get back to England to review for her big tests coming up!!! Cripes.
Whodathunk a volcano in Iceland could have kept her from getting from Spain to England...
I also read British Airways is not insured for this sort of disaster. Is the volcano still spewing ash?


Can she try rail services. Maybe get a refund from BA and use that.

from the Iceland MET office

Ongoing eruption

16.4.2010

The plume from the eruption in Eyjafjallajkull volcano is still ongoing, reaching hights of 4 to 5 kilometers, occasionally reaching higher altitudes.

The plume drifts with north-westerly winds reaching Europe. It has been detected over Norway, Sweden, northwestern Russia, northern Polland, northern Germany, northern France and southern UK .

There is no indication that the ash from the volcano is decreasing and it is predicted that high-level winds will stay north-westerly today.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting NRAamy:
Lost in the ashes ...
Our chancellor Merkel, flying back from the US, is stranded in Lisbon, our minister of defence, Guttenberg, flying back from Afghanistan, is stranded in Istanbul


I wouldn't mind being stranded there....I could do some serious shopping.....



Well, as long as they won't spend our taxes over there ... lol
Member Since: Oktober 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5012
Quoting atmoaggie:

I think I like BD's take.

Let's just call it "eldur og ís"


otay! That is why they call it that! The land of eldur og ís. Pretty good, at. I'll have you all speaking the Nordic languages soon. See, I knew I had a purpose in life left.
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Flights across much of Europe will be severely disrupted well into Saturday because of drifting ash ejected from a volcano in Iceland, officials say.

Much of the airspace across northern and western Europe is closed, with fewer than half the usual number of flights expected to operate on Friday.

Whole article at BBC News.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting barbamz:
Lost in the ashes ...
Our chancellor Merkel, flying back from the US, is stranded in Lisbon, our minister of defence, Guttenberg, flying back from Afghanistan, is stranded in Istanbul. No clue, when and how they'll be able to get back to Berlin ... Lol.


At least Prime Minister Merkel is safe. It would be a long drive or train-ride back to Germany from Portugal.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
My poor little 16-year-old niece is stuck in Spain as an exchange student and has to get back to England to review for her big tests coming up!!! Cripes.
Whodathunk a volcano in Iceland could have kept her from getting from Spain to England...
I also read British Airways is not insured for this sort of disaster. Is the volcano still spewing ash?
Member Since: Juli 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11034
Lost in the ashes ...
Our chancellor Merkel, flying back from the US, is stranded in Lisbon, our minister of defence, Guttenberg, flying back from Afghanistan, is stranded in Istanbul


I wouldn't mind being stranded there....I could do some serious shopping.....

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Lost in the ashes ...
Our chancellor Merkel, flying back from the US, is stranded in Lisbon, our minister of defence, Guttenberg, flying back from Afghanistan, is stranded in Istanbul. No clue, when and how they'll be able to get back to Berlin ... Lol.

Member Since: Oktober 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5012
thanks Groth =)
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Quoting Grothar:


This is how I pronounce it

AYA fee yapla yurkull with a little rising tone at the end.

I think I like BD's take.

Let's just call it "eldur og ís"
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Just wanted to let everyone know that it's the National Day of Silence in case you wanted to participate.


Can you E-mail this to Mrs. Grothar for me?
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Quoting Bonedog:
eye-ja-feyej-alla-juk-ull

there ya go press

LOL


This is how I pronounce it

AYA fee yapla yurkull with a little rising tone at the end.
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Just wanted to let everyone know that it's the National Day of Silence in case you wanted to participate.
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LOL press and NE

lets call it Fire and Ice has a nice ring to it =)
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Ah,just call it eyja
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Quoting Bonedog:
eye-ja-feyej-alla-juk-ull

there ya go press

LOL


...wow...I still don't think I can pronounce it...
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Doing good NE.

The battle is usually a good one in April. Still awaiting another Nor'Easter and a good round of severe weather. I thought that 90* day would have led to an outbreak but unfortunatly no dynamics to support it
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Saturday 17th April 2010

Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Iceland

Glacial flood from the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has caused damage to infrastructure. A 400m section national highway number 1 to the east of Markarfljót bridge and sections of the road east of Seljalandsá river have been washed away. National route 1 is closed from Thverá to Thorvaldseyri. The road close to Bleiksá river, in the Fljótshlíd district, is impassable in places. Volcanic ash is expected to continue falling south of the glacier overnight. There is a risk that Katla volcano nearby may also erupt. If Katla erupts, the effects of glacial floods could be one hundred times worse than that seen this week at Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
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eye-ja-feyej-alla-juk-ull

there ya go press

LOL
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Quoting Bonedog:


As we say here in the NE in April. Dont like the weather wait a day LOL

we went from 3 foot snow falls to major floods in one week to 90* warm up to frost advisories the same day.


hey,Bone,how are you?Yep,don't get too comfortable with the weather in April.The transition from cold weather to warm weather usually battles it out in April
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this is interesting and alarming....

Eyjafjallajökull and Katla
Over the past 1,100 years, Eyjafjallajökull has erupted four times: in 920, 1612, between 1821–1823, and in 2010. Each of the first three of these incidents directly preceded a major eruption in the nearby subglacial volcano, Katla.[7] There is so far no evidence that Katla will erupt because of its vicinity to the current eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. Katla, which is a much more active volcano, known for its powerful subglacial eruptions and its large magma chamber, much larger than that of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano system, has still not shown any unusual activity, like expansion of the crust or seismic activity. However, one cannot rule out that possibility, since history has shown that Eyjafjallajökull can be a precursor to additional Katla activity.[8] Some geophysicists in Iceland support the notion that the recent volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallajökull may trigger a second eruption at Katla, which would cause a major flooding event due to melting of glacial ice.[9]


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...fine.....you can spell it...and you can explain it....but....Can you pronounce it?!?!?!
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Quoting NEwxguy:


Jeff,not unusual for us in April,we have some pretty big surprises in April,this was just a brief shower,mostly sleet,but hinting at more possible snow mixing in tonight and tomorrow goes with the territory up here,last week 90 degrees this week snow.


As we say here in the NE in April. Dont like the weather wait a day LOL

we went from 3 foot snow falls to major floods in one week to 90* warm up to frost advisories the same day.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
1st off what dos Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl stan for



and 2nd oh came up with that name Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl any way that is sure a odd name for a volcano


Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl translated "island-mountains glacier"

The volcano is under the Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl glacier thus its name.

BTW its not a wierd name to the Icelandics ;)
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Link

Here is the 84 hours CMC model. Interesting set-up
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there is an suspicious area in the souyhern gomex near 21 n 80 w. from sat pics it appears that there might be a mid level circulation. it might mount to nothing. but it is only an area of interest
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Snow in Mid April!WOW!! This is why I live in Florida. My friend in NW NJ. said it was 31 a few nights ago.


Jeff,not unusual for us in April,we have some pretty big surprises in April,this was just a brief shower,mostly sleet,but hinting at more possible snow mixing in tonight and tomorrow goes with the territory up here,last week 90 degrees this week snow.
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Its not the Heat,..its da frigging Humidity.

Sheesh,..

LOL
Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125488
that temp anomalies map is pretty illustrative re: N America...

(...sometimes I forget who I am...)
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; )
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Thank you, Dr. Masters!
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
Global being the key here. And while individual readings become better monitored the global anomaly is registering one profound trend.


That was deep..........You silenced the Blog for a few minutes..... :)
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thanks for update been way above almost summer like and most snowless winter i have ever seen
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So March was the 84th most coldest month in the 116 record.
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1st off what dos Eyjafjallajökull stan for



and 2nd oh came up with that name Eyjafjallajökull any way that is sure a odd name for a volcano
Member Since: Mai 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114048

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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.