Dust forecast for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:58 PM GMT on June 20, 2009

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There will be less African dust than usual over the tropical Atlantic during this year's hurricane season, according to a new experimental dust forecast issued by Dr. Amato Evan of the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Evan used a statistical model that correlated levels of dust activity in past years with rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa and a natural regional wind pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). He forecasts that dust levels over the Main Development Region (MDR, 8 - 20°N & 15 - 65°W) for Atlantic hurricanes during this year's hurricane season will be similar to last year's below-average levels, thanks in large part to plentiful rains over the Sahel region of Africa during the 2008 rainy season (Figure 1). However, the dust levels expected this year do not approach the record lows seen in 1994 and 2005. Dust forecasts made in May or June are skillful going out five months, with a skill 11 - 16% better than a "no-skill" forecast using climatology.


Figure 1. Rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa was generally 50 - 100 mm (2 - 4 inches) above average during the 2008 rainy season (about 20 - 80% above average). The heavy rains promoted vigorous vegetation growth in 2009, resulting in less bare ground capable of generating dust. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

The Sahara and the Sahel: significant sources of dust
The summertime dust that affects Atlantic tropical storms originates over the southwestern Sahara (18° - 22° N) and the northwestern Sahel (15° - 18° N) (Figure 2). The dust that originates in the Southwest Sahara stays relatively constant from year to year. However, the dust from the northwestern Sahel varies significantly from year to year, and understanding this variation may be a key factor in improving our forecasts of seasonal hurricane activity in the Atlantic. The amount of dust that gets transported over the Atlantic depends on a mix of three main factors: the large scale and local scale weather patterns (windy weather transports more dust), how wet the current rainy season is (wet weather will wash out dust before it gets transported over the Atlantic), and how dry and drought-damaged the soil is. The level of drought experienced in the northwestern Sahel during the previous year's rainy season (June - October) is the key factor of the three in determining how much dust gets transported over the Atlantic during hurricane season, according to a January 2004 study published in Geophysical Research Letters published by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello. A dry rainy season the previous year will make an expanded area of loose soil which can create dust. It is also possible that the corresponding changes in vegetation can alter the regional weather patterns, causing more dust production.


Figure 2. Map of the mean summer dust optical thickness derived from satellite measurements between 1979 and 2000. Maximum dust amounts originate in the northern Sahel (15° to 18° N) and the Sahara (18° to 22° N). The Bodele depression in Chad is also an active dust source. Image credit: Evidence of the control of summer atmospheric transport of African dust over the Atlantic by Sahel sources from TOMS satellites (1979-2000) by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello, published in January 2004 in Geophysical Research Letters.

How dust suppresses hurricanes
Dust acts as a shield which keeps sunlight from reaching the surface. Thus, large amounts of dust can keep the sea surface temperatures up to 1°C cooler than average in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) off the coast of Africa, providing hurricanes with less energy to form and grow. Dust also affects the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), an layer of dry, dusty Saharan air that rides up over the low-level moist air over the tropical Atlantic. At the boundary between the SAL and low-level moist air where the trade winds blow is the trade wind inversion--a region of the atmosphere where the temperature increases with height. Since atmospheric temperature normally decreases with height, this "inversion" acts to but the brakes on any thunderstorms that try to punch through it. This happens because the air in a thunderstorm's updraft suddenly encounters a region where the updraft air is cooler and less buoyant than the surrounding air, and thus will not be able to keep moving upward. The dust in the SAL absorbs solar radiation, which heats the air in the trade wind inversion. This makes the inversion stronger, which inhibits the thunderstorms that power a hurricane. The dust may also act to interfere with the formation of cloud drops and rain drops that these thunderstorms need to grow, but little is known about such effects. It is possible that dust may act to help hurricanes by serving as "condensation nuclei"--centers around which raindrops can form and grow.

For additional reading
Dr. Evan published a study in Science magazine this March showing that 69% of the increase in Atlantic sea surface temperatures over the past 26 years could be attributed to decreases in the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting PELLSPROG:
This CAN'T be right , anyone ????

Coral Ridge, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Visit Website, Add to My Blog, Set as Default Current Conditions, Historical Data & Charts 101.5 °F 69 °F 34% South at 4.0 mph
29.83 in 0.00 in / hr 109 °F 6 ft 0 sec ago Rapid Fire


Sure felt that hot today in Miami... A nice afternoon thunderstorm cooled things down.
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am now calling for a high ch of this becomeing a TD with in the next 12 too 24hrs or may be sooner if this keeps going its geting BETTER
ORGANIZED RAPIDLY
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Yep, corrected mistype.
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93E really isn't disorganized, just the massive size of it makes it look that way with the convective activity sprawled out across a huge area. More thunderstorm activity has consolidated around the center and it does have a nice, large circulation. This would most likely prevent any rapid development for the near term at least. Later.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Evening, well I finally uploaded a "portrait" and you can blame kmanislander for me using a photo which is about 30 years old. He mentioned the other day the idea of uploading a picture from the past...

A few thunder showers here on Provo today.

That 92E system South of Mexico in the Pacific looks massive!

CRS



thats 93E
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Evening, well I finally uploaded a "portrait" and you can blame kmanislander for me using a photo which is about 30 years old. He mentioned the other day the idea of uploading a picture from the past...

A few thunder showers here on Provo today.

That 93E system South of Mexico in the Pacific looks massive!

CRS
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1. SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY CONTINUES TO BECOME BETTER
ORGANIZED IN ASSOCIATION WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED
ABOUT 160 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF ACAPULCO MEXICO. CONDITIONS
APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT...AND A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION COULD FORM IN THE NEXT DAY OR SO AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES
SLOWLY WEST-NORTHWESTWARD. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...GREATER THAN
50 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...HEAVY RAINS ASSOCIATED
WITH THIS SYSTEM COULD AFFECT PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHERN COAST OF
MEXICO DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO...AND INTERESTS IN THIS REGION
SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
187. jsker
is this something new that the models are not showing? http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/99qwbg.gif

yes it is dry but this looks like a drastic change comming next week or will this be a short lived daily rain pattern?
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high chance zone now greater than 50 percent
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting IKE:


It's always been this way. Go back to last year on this same date on Dr. Master's blog and I'll guarantee you'll see similar posts.


Yep - did last week, and your exactly right.
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DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



EAST PACIFIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



DISTURBANCE INVEST (EP932009) 20090620 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

090620 1800 090621 0600 090621 1800 090622 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 14.7N 98.9W 14.9N 99.5W 15.1N 100.3W 15.7N 101.1W

BAMD 14.7N 98.9W 14.4N 100.1W 14.3N 101.1W 14.5N 102.0W

BAMM 14.7N 98.9W 14.8N 100.0W 14.9N 100.9W 15.3N 102.0W

LBAR 14.7N 98.9W 14.9N 99.8W 15.4N 101.1W 15.9N 102.6W

SHIP 25KTS 33KTS 43KTS 55KTS

DSHP 25KTS 33KTS 43KTS 55KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

090622 1800 090623 1800 090624 1800 090625 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 16.5N 101.8W 18.5N 103.5W 19.6N 106.0W 19.5N 108.9W

BAMD 15.2N 103.0W 17.5N 105.6W 19.1N 109.5W 19.5N 114.3W

BAMM 16.0N 102.9W 18.0N 105.2W 19.2N 108.3W 19.1N 112.0W

LBAR 16.7N 104.3W 19.0N 108.1W 22.3N 111.5W 24.4N 114.0W

SHIP 65KTS 75KTS 71KTS 61KTS

DSHP 65KTS 75KTS 71KTS 61KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 14.7N LONCUR = 98.9W DIRCUR = 255DEG SPDCUR = 5KT

LATM12 = 15.3N LONM12 = 97.6W DIRM12 = 257DEG SPDM12 = 8KT

LATM24 = 15.2N LONM24 = 95.7W

WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 0NM WNDM12 = 20KT

CENPRS = 1005MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 125NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
i cant wait for tiger woods 2011 to come out
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Looks like our invest friend is meeting all of the right criteria...and the BOC lost what positive matches it had in the last day.



CIRA
TC formation probability page
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i now have tiger woods from 2007 to 2010 for X Box 360 am hoping to have 2006
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
HIGH SEAS FORECAST
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
2230 UTC SAT JUN 20 2009

LOW PRES 14.5N98.5W 1007 MB DRIFTING W NW. WITHIN 60 NM N
SEMICIRCLE OF LOW...WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS TO 8 FT. ELSEWHERE
FROM 12N TO 17N BETWEEN 97W AND 107W...WINDS 20 KT. SEAS TO 9
FT.
.24 HOUR FORECAST LOW 15N101W 1006 MB...POSSIBLE TROPICAL
CYCLONE. WITHIN 240 NM SE SEMICIRCLE WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS TO
10 FT. WITHIN 90 NM NE QUADRANT OF LOW...E TO SE WINDS 20 KT.
SEAS TO 8 FT. ELSEWHERE FROM 10N TO 17N BETWEEN 97W AND 106W...
SW TO W WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS 8 TO 10 FT.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
000
ABPZ20 KNHC 201739
TWOEP
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT SAT JUN 20 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 150
MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO. CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR
ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT...AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM
DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES SLOWLY
WESTWARD. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 TO 50 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. HEAVY
RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SYSTEM COULD AFFECT PORTIONS OF THE
SOUTHERN COAST OF MEXICO DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE INCREASED IN ASSOCIATION WITH A BROAD
AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 1700 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE
SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM...IF
ANY...WILL BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS IT MOVES SLOWLY EASTWARD OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Quoting Tazmanian:
93E and per 94E has a better ch of a name storm then TD 1E had


Yeah, I agree.
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93E and per 94E has a better ch of a name storm then TD 1E had
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Quoting hurricane2009:
so that low associated with 93E is at the surface


Yes, but there is a difference between a surface low and a surface circulation.
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Quoting hurricane2009:


Good observation, looks can be deceiving, but it is getting there

SHIPS has it a hurricane in 48 hours, which really doesnt say much considering SHIPS predicts every swirl will be a hurricane in 48 hours LOL


XD, true.

I find it odd how none of the models develop this thing (sans the SHIPS of course, but as you said, that typically develops everything into a hurricane) into anything significant. Shear levels are forecast to remain mostly favorable. Perhaps land interaction is what they are seeing.
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I just think the reporting station is messed up because this is the next station :

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Palliser Station, Add to My Blog, Set as Default Current Conditions, Historical Data & Charts 87.3 °F 75 °F 66% SE at 4.2 mph
29.85 in 1.10 in / hr 97 °F 9 ft 4 sec ago Rapid Fire
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latest surface as per NHC
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
167. IKE
My thermometer at my house is in the shade and it's 93.7.

Airport about 20 miles west of me...

"Crestview, Florida (Airport)
Updated: 54 min 41 sec ago
Clear
99 °F

Clear
Humidity: 39%
Dew Point: 70 °F
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 29.88 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 106 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 4 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 210 ft"


And the number of vehicles heading south on HWY. 331 heading to the beaches...just rows of SUV's on this outdated 2 lane highway.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
165. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:


Thank God for A/C


H*ll yes....and it's working just fine.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
Currently where I live, it's at 94.5 degrees at 5:40 pm.

Heat Index around 105.

My thermometer shows a max high of 101.7. That may have been today. I haven't tripped it in awhile.


Thank God for A/C
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163. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
304 PM EDT SAT JUN 20 2009

....DANGEROUS HEAT TO CONTINUE...

.SHORT TERM (TONIGHT THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT)...STRONG UPPER RIDGE
WILL HOLD IN STRONG FOR AT LEAST ONE MORE DAY WITH TEMPERATURES
PUSHING 100 DEGREES ONCE AGAIN. BY THE END OF THE DAY
SUNDAY...RIDGE WILL BEGIN TO RETREAT WEST AS DEEP UPPER LOW
DEVELOPS OFF THE MID ATLANTIC COAST. THIS CHANGE IN PATTERN WILL
PUSH A WEAK TROUGH INTO THE EASTERN PORTION OF THE FORECAST AREA
WITH WINDS BECOMING MORE NORTHWESTERLY. WHILE MONDAY WILL NOT SEE
MUCH MORE MOISTURE THAN SUNDAY...THERE SHOULD BE JUST ENOUGH
COOLING ALOFT WITH ENERGY DROPPING SOUTH IN THE NORTHERLY
FLOW...TO GENERATE SCATTERED CONVECTION OVER THE EASTERN ZONES.
THE LOWER HEIGHTS SHOULD ALSO LEAD TO HIGH TEMPERATURES DROPPING
BACK INTO THE 90S...ALBEIT UPPER 90S.

HEAT INDEX VALUES WILL ONCE AGAIN BE NEAR 110 DEGREES SUNDAY
AFTERNOON SO WILL ISSUE ANOTHER HEAT ADVISORY.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting hurricane2009:


I would "highly" disagree with your "highly disorganized" statement lol

It still has a bit to go, but its getting better organized tonight


Perhaps my statement was somewhat misleading. It is not highly disorganized, but nonetheless, it is disorganized. I'd wager that most of the vorticity we are seeing on visible satellite imagery is primarily mid-level rotation. It has a long way to go before it makes it down to the surface.

Satellite imagery indicates mostly southeasterly winds along the northern periphery of the circulation, indicating that the associated wind field is still disorganized. Convection is also disorganized, though is admittedly consolidating, albeit gradually.

EDIT: QuikSCAT data also shows a similar observation.
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latest e pac cen amer. surface anal.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
160. IKE
Currently where I live, it's at 94.5 degrees at 5:40 pm.

Heat Index around 105.

My thermometer shows a max high of 101.7. That may have been today. I haven't tripped it in awhile.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
This CAN'T be right , anyone ????

Coral Ridge, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Visit Website, Add to My Blog, Set as Default Current Conditions, Historical Data & Charts 101.5 °F 69 °F 34% South at 4.0 mph
29.83 in 0.00 in / hr 109 °F 6 ft 0 sec ago Rapid Fire
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
156. IKE
I've got a 30% chance of afternoon thunderstorms beginning Tuesday...inland Florida panhandle.

High tomorrow forecast 101...100 Monday and 98 Tuesday.

Low 90's by next Saturday w/a 40% chance of rain.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting stormpetrol:
93E looks like a massive system


Massive and highly disorganized. Though I do think that the circulation is gradually becoming better defined, but clearly, it needs a long way to go before it consolidates into anything significant.
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Quoting hurricane2009:
93E has come together fairly quickly today, that rotation wasnt there this morning, matter of fact I think a few of us probably saw it form on the visible today, kind of interesting to see really lol

NHC has a process though, it wont be a TD tonight, they will likely up the chances to high for development either tonight or 2am tomorrow and then go from there, but I wouldnt be shocked if we had a TD or even TS by tomorrow.


If it's a tropical depression or tropical storm..The NHC would declare it...They don't neccessarily go through a process and then upgrade it...It is what it is.
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Also, I urge all not to let their guard down until atleast November 15. 2004, 2005, and 2008, all had a quiet mid-Junes. But devastating peak months. I notice, that cloud free skies over open ocean induces plenty warming. Should wind shear decrease only to allow a passing disturbance in the Gulf or Caribbean could make the season one of the worst despite some persons predicitng 8 named storms.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
152. IKE
Quoting sporteguy03:
Ike,
If you are lurking, how hot did it get at your house today? Mine said 99 Heat Index 110. lol.


I wasn't here all day.

PWS about 6 miles from here, usually is accurate on temps....high 99.0
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
93E looks like a massive system
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150. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
..if 93E formed into a hurricane..

refer to post 146 =P
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44746
WOW at what just came off virginia coast what with the models and all
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148. Dr3w
Quoting KoritheMan:


Bertha was an anomaly. In 2008, dust levels were considerably below normal, especially in comparison to 2007 and 2006, both years of which saw immense levels of dust activity.

I would like to add that typically, if we see a hurricane develop in the deep tropics in July like we did with Bertha, that it is usually a precursor to a very active season.


Thankyou KoritheMan
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Quoting Weather456:
Well thanks for the update Jeff Masters. I agree there will be less African outbreaks but they will be strong when they occur, but my reasoning was slight off.

Good Afternoon All, I'm currently awaiting to return home and it looks the Atlantic is very quiet with a massive area of convection in the EPAC. I will have an update Sunday Morning.

Have a safe trip home 456. Thank you for the update!
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5153
146. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)

TROPICAL STORM DEVELOPED IN THE MODEL ANALYSIS AT POSITION :
15.0N 99.2W

VERIFYING TIME POSITION STRENGTH TENDENCY
-------------- -------- -------- --------
12UTC 20.06.2009 15.0N 99.2W WEAK
00UTC 21.06.2009 14.3N 99.7W WEAK LITTLE CHANGE
12UTC 21.06.2009 14.3N 99.8W WEAK INTENSIFYING SLIGHTLY
00UTC 22.06.2009 15.3N 99.2W MODERATE INTENSIFYING RAPIDLY
12UTC 22.06.2009 15.7N 99.2W INTENSE INTENSIFYING RAPIDLY
00UTC 23.06.2009 18.0N 101.4W MODERATE WEAKENING RAPIDLY
12UTC 23.06.2009 BELOW TROPICAL STORM STRENGTH

Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44746
June 2009 might equal shear in ATL, still think it is early to call a season when you have not finished it. Case in point the Penguins in the NHL were in 10th place in Jan/Feb and fired a coach one might of called it a season then but look what happened. 2009 might be a season of shear but lets wait til November to say that.
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5153
Well thanks for the update Jeff Masters. I agree there will be less African outbreaks but they will be strong when they occur, but my reasoning was slight off.

Good Afternoon All, I'm currently awaiting to return home and it looks the Atlantic is very quiet with a massive area of convection in the EPAC. I will have an update Sunday Morning.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076

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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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