The big news this week was NOAAs global land and sea temperature report for June, and El Niño Eggplant.
One can be considered a corollary of the other.
Residents of the southern United States and southern Europe can literally feel the earth warming.
El Niño is also dampening — I guess the proper term should be undampening — the Indian monsoon.
The tropics have temporarily quieted down after an active two weeks, but the height of the season is still over a month away.
Let’s go Around The World.
June Was Off-The-Charts Hot
According to NOAAs June land and sea temperature analysis, June was incredibly hot. Decoded Science reported on this last Wednesday, but some of the numbers are worth repeating:
- The average June land and sea temperature was 61.48 degrees, a new record. It eclipsed the previous record set a year ago by 0.22 degrees. This implies a warming of one degree every four and a half years, or 20 degrees every 90 years. This figure is way beyond any forecast, but it has to be taken seriously.
- June was the fourth month in the last six, and eighth month in the last 12, to set a new monthly record.
- The first six months of the year are the hottest on record.
- The 12-month period ending with June is a new record, and remarkably each 12-month period ending with each of the last ten months has set a new record.
Conclusion: The earth is warming, possibly faster than anyone ever thought.
Heat Waves In July
Decoded Science has named two weather patterns for the United States:
- Hotzilla, a high-latitude zonal flow which brings heat across the south. In June, records were set in the southwest and southeast; the south central states were kept cooler by the flow off the Gulf of Mexico which produced clouds and rain.
- Westzilla, a pattern with a distinct bulge (ridge) in the jet stream in the west and a dip (trough) in the east. The ridge in the west produced an omega block and a warm cap over the northwest, where temperatures soared to record levels.
Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) clearly affect the general circulation. Until recently, a warm pool of ocean water over the Gulf of Alaska has dominated the weather over the United States.
Warm water induces high pressure, and the prevailing pattern was high pressure over the waters of the northeast Pacific Ocean and adjacent west coast of the US, with a downstream trough in the east. Hence the drought in California and the cold and snowy winters in the eastern US.
The emergence of El Niño Eggplant during the winter has brought competition: The El Niño induces low pressure in the subtropical eastern Pacific. When the two patterns are in stalemate, Hotzilla emerges; when the Gulf of Alaska dominates, Westzilla is more prominent. If El Niño takes control of the weather pattern during fall and winter, we can expect a new alignment with a trough in the west and a ridge in the east. The weather of the past two winters will be reversed, with warm in the east, and cool and rainy in the west.
El Niño And The Indian Monsoon
El Niño in the Pacific Ocean correlates with weak monsoons in India. The relationship is not straightforward and does not always hold up.
So far this year, the monsoon is about seven percent below normal.
Out of fourteen strong El Niño years, ten had deficient rainfall in India. Interestingly, one of the years that didn’t was the most powerful El Niño year of 1998.
Recently the rains have picked up, so even though onion prices have spiked, the effect of El Niño on agriculture this year isn’t significant enough to cry over.
Europe: Spanish Heat Wave Goes On, But Temperatures Moderate In Northern Europe
The normal high temperature for July in Madrid is 85 degrees. It has been over a month since the temperature failed to reach 90 each day. Many days were in triple digits.
Again we can blame a SST anomaly, this time a pool of cold water in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, which is producing low pressure over the ocean. Southerly winds on the east side of the low are pushing hot African air into Spain.
For a while the hot air moved north, but now a zonal flow has returned temperatures to normal over northern Europe. London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow can expect seasonal temperatures well into August.
The Tropics Are Quiet, But There’s A Hint Of Trouble Brewing Off The East Coast Of The US
Japan was hit by two former typhoons in the last week, but currently no news is good news — the Pacific Ocean has now gone quiet. The only potential cyclone development accompanies disturbed weather far to the southwest of Mexico and in the Bay of Bengal.
Of most immediate concern to the US is an old frontal boundary in north Florida which won’t go away. Decoded Science has repeatedly noted that weather systems have a tendency to get stuck recently, and this one is just sitting there producing rain over the peninsula.
Some forecasting models suggest that as the front drifts out over the Gulf Stream, a tropical or subtropical storm could develop in the only place with favorable conditions for cyclone development in the entire Atlantic Basin.
Global Warming Most Evident Right Now
Late July is the hottest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. El Niño is adding to the warmth. June was the hottest month ever worldwide; it will probably be eclipsed by July.
What’s it like where you are?
Decoding Science. One article at a time.