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Warm, Potentially Stormy... Cuba Quake... Dec. Global Temps.

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Updated: 1/09 11:11 pm

The much warmer temps. have arrived, & we'll be back above avg. -- far above avg. -- Fri. & Sat. Temps. will top out in the mid to upper 70s Fri. & close to 80 degrees Sat. Temps. have been a bit of a roller coaster this week.

There will be, however, some rain to contend with. A few showers will develop Fri. but long parts of the day will be dry. A much more substantial rain can be expected Sat. afternoon & evening as a cold front moves into the area. The combination of a strong upper level disturbance, the surface cold front & at least some surface heating will lead to a band of heavy rain with embedded t'storms moving west to east Sat. between 1 & 10pm. There could be a few strong to severe storms late Sat. afternoon/early in the evening.

There was a moderate earthquake -- magnitude 5.0 -- off the north coast of Cuba about 12 miles deep @ 3:58pm EST Thu. Shaking was felt throughout the Fl. Keys but no tsunami was generated. While not frequent, earthquakes in & around Cuba are not uncommon with thousands over the last 300+ years. But the area where Thursday's quake occurred is generally less active. From the USGS:

The January 9, 2014 M5.1 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico occurred along the northern coast of west-central Cuba at shallow crustal depths, ~28km from Corralillo, Cuba and ~172 km east of Havana, Cuba.

The island of Cuba lies within the North American plate and is bounded by the Bahamas Platform and Florida Straits to the north and the North America-Caribbean plate boundary to the south. The plate boundary, a left-lateral transform, defines the southeast coast of the island and causes uplift of the Sierra Maestra. In the vicinity of the January 9 earthquake, a former plate boundary suture and several faults, collectively termed the Nortecubana Fault system, bound the northern coast of Cuba. Additionally, several smaller crustal faults, including the left-lateral Hicacos Fault and Las Villas fault are located in the general vicinity of the January 9 earthquake. The region of the January 9 earthquake is relatively quiet seismically. Only 6 documented events ranging from M3.0-5.6 occurred over the past 75 years within 200 km of the epicenter. The M5.6 event, which occurred in 1939, also took place along the northern coast of Cuba in the vicinity of the Nortecubana Fault system. The January 9 event occurred 686 km ESE of the September 2006 M5.8 Gulf of Mexico earthquake.

Dec. & 2013 global temps:

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a "public" computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

December temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.27 C (about 0.49 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.27 C (about 0.49 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.26 C (about 0.47 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Tropics: +0.06 C (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

November temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.19 C above 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.16 C above 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.23 C above 30-year average

Tropics: +0.02 C above 30-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Notes on data released Jan. 3, 2014:

2013 was the fourth warmest year in the satellite era, trailing only 1998, 2010 and 2005, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The warmest areas during the year were over the North Pacific and the Antarctic, where temperatures for the year averaged more than 1.4 C (more than 2.5 degrees Fahenheit) warmer than normal. There were small areas of cooler than normal temperatures scattered about the globe, including one area over central Canada where temperatures were 0.6 C (about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than the 30-year norm.

Global average temperature
(Departures from 30-year norm, degrees C)

1. 1998   0.419
  2. 2010   0.398
  3. 2005   0.260
  4. 2013  0.236
 5. 2002   0.218
  6. 2009   0.209
  7. 2007   0.204
  8. 2003   0.187
  9. 2006   0.186
10. 2012   0.170
11. 2011   0.130
12. 2004   0.108
13. 2001   0.107
14. 1991   0.020
15. 1987   0.013
16. 1995   0.013
17. 1988   0.012
18. 1980  -0.008
19. 2008  -0.009
20. 1990  -0.022
21. 1981  -0.045
22. 1997  -0.049
23. 1999  -0.056
24. 1983  -0.061
25. 2000  -0.061
26. 1996  -0.076
27. 1994  -0.108
28. 1979  -0.170
29. 1989  -0.207
30. 1986  -0.244
31. 1993  -0.245
32. 1982  -0.250
33. 1992  -0.289
34. 1985  -0.309
35. 1984  -0.353

Compared to seasonal norms, in December the warmest area on the globe was the northeastern Pacific Ocean, where the average temperature for the month was 4.91 C (about 8.8 degrees F) warmer than seasonal norms. The coolest area was in central Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, where temperatures in the troposphere were 5.37 C (almost 9.7 degrees F) cooler than seasonal norms.

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