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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jeff Masters: April 2014 Tied for Earth's Warmest April on Record

by Dr. Jeff Masters, wunderground, May 20, 2014
April 2014 tied with April 2010 as Earth's warmest April since records began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) today, making April the first month since November 2013 to set a global monthly temperature record. NASA rated April 2014 as the 2nd warmest April on record; global land temperatures were the 3rd warmest on record, as were global ocean temperatures. The year-to-date January-April period has been the 6th warmest on record for the globe. Global satellite-measured temperatures in April 2013 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 11th or 7th warmest in the 36-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively. Northern Hemisphere snow cover during April was the 6th lowest in the 48-year record. Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of April 2014 in his April 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary. 

Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for April 2014, the warmest April for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Much of central Siberia observed temperatures more than 9 °F (5 °C) above the 1981-2010 average. This region, along with parts of eastern Australia and scattered regions in every major ocean basin, were record warm. Many nations in Europe experienced a top-ten warmest April, including Spain (2nd), Germany (4th), United Kingdom (4th), Denmark (4th), Norway (7th), and Austria (10th). Parts of southern and eastern Canada, the northern U.S., and southern Kazakhstan were cooler than average. No land areas were record cold. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Three billion-dollar weather disasters in April 2014
Three billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit the Earth during April 2014, according to the April 2014 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield: 

Disaster 1. The Western U.S. drought of 2014 now has damages estimated at $4 billion. Most of these losses are in California, where the California Farm Water Coalition has cited agricultural damages of $3.6 billion. In this photo, we see one of the key water supply reservoirs for Central California, Lake Oroville, on January 20, 2014. Thanks to an unusually intense ridge of high pressure over Western North America, California endured its driest November-January period on record this past winter. Image credit: California Department of Water Resources.

Disaster 2. The U.S. tornado outbreak of April 27-May 1 killed 39 and caused at least $2 billion in damage. Eleven tornadoes rated EF-3 or higher touched down, including two EF-4 tornadoes. in this photo we see tornado damage in Tupelo, Mississippi, from an EF-3 tornado that hit on April 28, 2014, killing one person. (J. Robert Senseman)

Disaster 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Ita taken at 04 UTC April 11, 2014. At the time, Ita was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph sustained winds. Ita ravaged agriculture in Queensland, Australia, resulting in $1 billion in damage. Image credit: NASA.

An El Niño Watch continues 
April 2014 featured neutral El Niño conditions in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, but NOAA has issued an El Niño Watch for the summer and fall of 2014, giving a greater than 65% chance that an El Niño event will occur by the summer. I made a detailed post on El Niño on May 12.

Arctic sea ice falls to 5th lowest April extent on record 
Arctic sea ice extent during April was 5th lowest in the 36-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The winter maximum extent of Arctic sea ice came on March 21, and was the 5th lowest such peak on record. Temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean were 1-3 °C (2-5 °F) above average during April.

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