El Niño intensifies from weak to moderate; Phillippines under the gun again

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:57 PM GMT on October 27, 2009

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El Niño conditions have strengthened in recent weeks, crossing the threshold from "weak" to "moderate", according to data compiled by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. NOAA defines "moderate" El Niño conditions as existing when sea surface temperature (SST) departure from average in the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region") warms above 1.0°C. According to the latest time-series plot of "Niña 3.4 region" SSTs (Figure 1), we crossed that threshold last week. Monthly average SSTs will have to remain above 1.0°C for five consecutive months in order for this to be considered a "moderate" El Niño event. The ongoing intensification of El Niño could have major impacts on this winter's weather.


Figure 1. Departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for the past two years along the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region"). Moderate strength El Niño conditions occur when the Niña 3.4 anomaly exceeds 1.0°C, which occurred last week (red arrow). Weak El Niño conditions (Niña 3.4 anomaly between 0.5 - 1.0°C) were present from early June to mid-October. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

The intensification of El Niño is due to a combination of events in the ocean and the atmosphere. In the ocean, a slow-moving wave of water more than 5°C (9°F) warmer than average is progressing from west to east along the Equator (Figure 2). This wave, known as a "Kelvin" wave, is focused at a depth of 150 meters, but also affects surface waters. The Kelvin wave was at 175W on October 1, and is now near 140W, so it is traveling east at about 4 mph (100 miles/day). At the ocean surface, a burst of west-to-east winds near the Date Line has weakened the trade winds (Figure 3), which blow the opposite direction--east to west. The trade winds have weakened by 1 - 2 m/s over the past few weeks, allowing the Kelvin wave to push warm water eastward towards South America. The result of this interplay between ocean and air is an intensification of El Niño conditions from weak to moderate.


Figure 2. Animation of the ocean temperatures (top) and departure of ocean temperatures from average (bottom) as a function of depth along the Equator in the equatorial Eastern Pacific. The left side of the image is near Australia, and the right side is near the coast of South America. At the beginning frame in the bottom image on October 5, an ocean Kelvin wave is apparent at a depth of 150 meters, where the ocean temperature is up to 3°C above average (yellow colors). The wave travels eastwards at about 100 miles/day. By the final frame (October 25), the Kelvin wave has warmed to a temperature 5°C above average (orange colors). The Kelvin wave is helping to push the warm water at the surface to the east, as seen in the progression of the red and orange colors eastwards in the top image. I constructed the animation using the free ImageMagick package on a Linux machine, using data plotted up from the NOAA's Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO) project web page.


Figure 3. Top: Sea Surface temperatures (colors) along the Equator between New Guinea and South America, with surface wind vectors overlaid. Note that there is a burst of westerly winds near the Date Line, 180W. This westerly wind burst is weakening the trade winds, which blow the opposite direction, east-to-west, over the ocean between the Date Line and the coast of South America. Bottom: Departure of wind speed from average along the Equator shows the effect of the westerly wind burst, which has weakened the trade winds at the surface by 1 - 2 m/s along a large swath of ocean near the Equator. The reduction in trade winds allows the warm water to the west to slosh eastwards, intensifying El Niño. Image credit: NOAA's Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO) project web page.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models is calling for tropical storm formation over the next seven days. This should be a quiet week in the region we need to be most concerned about for a late-season hurricane, the Western Caribbean. Wind shear is forecast to be marginal for tropical storm development this week, and most of the Caribbean is very dry at present. One possible area of concern early next week may be near Bermuda, where the models indicate a large non-tropical low may cut off from the jet stream 6 - 7 days from now. This low could potentially remain over warm waters long enough to acquire tropical characteristics and become Subtropical Storm Ida. Such a storm would only be a threat to Bermuda.

Philippines under the gun yet again
The typhoon-weary Philippine Islands have a new worry--Tropical Storm Mirinae is strengthening quickly east of the islands, and could be a typhoon later today. Latest infrared satellite loops show a large and expanding region of intense thunderstorms with very cold cloud tops, with well-developed spiral banding and excellent upper-level outflow developing. Wind shear is a moderate 15 knots, and the ocean temperatures are very warm, 29°C. These warm waters extend to great depth, and the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) is 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2 along Mirinae's entire path to the Philippines. Values of TCHP in excess of 90 kJ/cm^2 are frequently associated with rapid intensification, and I expect Mirinae will be a major Category 3 or higher typhoon by Thursday. Mirinae is expected to track westward and hit the Philippines' Luzon Island on Saturday. With wind shear expected to remain in the low to moderate range, the models fairly united about a westward track over the Philippines, and plenty of ocean heat to feed off, the odds certainly favor a strike by Mirinae at Category 1 or higher strength on hard-hit Luzon.


Figure 2. Tropical Storm Mirinae, as it passed north of the Guam radar station last night.

Statisticians reject global cooling
An interesting exercise was conducted by the Associated Press (AP), who gave global average temperature data for the past 130 years to a group of independent statisticians, and told them to analyze the data without telling them what the data represented. These experts concluded that the data showed a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, and no significant drop in the past ten years. This is not too surprising, since no scientific studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals have supported the idea that the globe is cooling. The AP exercise was the lead story in this morning's on-line version of the MSNBC news. Dr. Ricky Rood's climate change blog has an interest analysis of global warming and cooling trends, and how natural variability over years or decades can mask long-term trends. With El Niño cranking up to moderate levels heading into 2010, there's at least a 50/50 chance that year will end up beating 2005/1998 as the warmest year on record, putting the "global cooling" hype to rest for a few years.

Second Annual Portlight Honor Walk
When:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 or Sunday, December 6, 2009

What:
A nationwide grassroots event to raise funds for and awareness of Portlight's ongoing efforts specifically aimed at providing Christmas presents for kids and families devastated by the recent Atlanta floods, South Carolina wildfires, American Samoa tsunami, and other disasters that may occur.

Why:
Un-served, underserved and forgotten people are depending on us.

How:
We need one hundred people across the country to commit to walking one mile on this day, and to raise at least $300.00 in sponsorship from friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Participants can choose where to walk--it can be the park, the mall the neighborhood--anywhere you choose. The first 100 participants to raise at least $300 will receive a commemorative T-Shirt.

To register, simply e-mail your intention to participate at paul@portlight.org

Check the Portlight featured Weather Underground Blog regularly for updates!

The Honor Walk Sponsor Form available here will help you keep track of funds and pledges:
http://www.portlight.org/images/walkerform.pdf

Portlight's Paul Timmons on the Barometer Bob Show Thursday night
Portlight's Paul Timmons will be appearing live this Thursday at 8pm EDT on the Barometer Bob Show, an Internet radio show that I have appeared on several times in the past. Be sure to catch his discussion of how Portlight got started, where they're going, and what's new!

Next post
I'll have a new post on Wednesday, when I'll discuss how the recent intensification of El Niño may affect winter in the U.S.

Jeff Masters

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NASA Ares I-X Launch Blog
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Mornin all. Been lurking the last few days.
Nothing to sweat in the short term is a good thing.
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Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
double checking systems right now due to yesterdays lightning strikes near the pad. So far all current testing, diagnostics, systems seem go

Talking about a possible variant in system 1A-1-9 right now. Looking for clarification as to variant
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
additional 30m hold added
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
Built-in Hold Begins
Wed, 28 Oct 2009 05:41:09 AM CST

With the sun having risen over the ocean horizon beyond Launch Pad 39B, the countdown clock is at the T-4 minute mark and holding. This is the only built-in hold in today's countdown and it is scheduled to last for 20 minutes, although the team can choose to extend the hold further into the launch window to target a later T-0 for liftoff.

During the hold, the launch team will receive weather verification, the Launch Authority Team will be polled for a "go" or "no-go" for launch, and the launch test director will conduct the final launch status verification.

Just as during yesterday's countdown, weather remains the issue of the day.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
upper air ballon readings just back in. all withing specified parameters and matching predicted profiles

=)

air recon is scouting cloud deck
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
Morning folks. NASA coverage is up and running =)

Latest com from ground units and mission ctrl is at least 40 to 50 minutes of prep left as of 7:40am EDT or 11:40z

we are still at yesterdays T minus 4 min and holding =)

Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418




NASA TV


Launch Weather Update
Wed, 28 Oct 2009 05:35:25 AM CST

Weather Officer Kathy Winters just updated Launch Director Ed Mango, with current concerns remaining high clouds in the area. The concern is for the possible disturbance to communications between the ground and the rocket as it travels through the clouds and creates static electricity -- a condition known as triboelectrification. Weather aircraft will actively monitor the conditions, and the launch team is watching for possible breaks in the clouds during the launch window.

The team will count down to the only built-in hold in the Ares I-X countdown, coming at the T-4 minute mark. This hold will last for 20 minutes. The launch window for today extends from 8 a.m. EDT until noon, with the current best estimate of liftoff coming between 9 and 9:15 a.m.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Good Morning...
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487. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
PAGASA

At 4:00 p.m.PhST, the center of Typhoon (MIRINAE) was located based on satellite and surface data at 1,.390 km east of Central Luzon (16.2°N, 136.7°E) with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h (65 kts) near the center and gustiness of up to 150 km/h (80 kts). It is forecast to move west at 22 km/h.
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486. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency

DEVELOPED LOW, FORMER LUPIT (T0920)
49.0ºN 163.0ºE - 956 hPa

SUBJECT: Developed Low In Sea East Of The Kurils
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Quoting JRRP:

and??

enough of downcasters...isn´t it?


yea...downcasters ran rampant here last week lol.
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Morning,I think



Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Statement as of 3:12 AM EDT on October 28, 2009


The National Weather Service in Wilmington NC has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
eastern Horry County in northeast South Carolina
Brunswick County in southeast North Carolina
southeastern Columbus County in southeast North Carolina

* until 400 am EDT

* at 310 am EDT... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds in excess
of 60 mph. This storm was located near Brooksville... or near
Little River... and moving northeast at 40 mph.

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GFS Long Range Model Forecast Animation

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482. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #13
TYPHOON MIRINAE (T0921)
15:00 PM JST October 28 2009
================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 6:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Mirinae (960 hPa) located at 16.2N 137.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving west at 14 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Storm-Force Winds
================
70 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds
=================
180 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 16.0N 131.9E - 80 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 16.4N 127.0E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 16.3N 122.8E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
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481. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
309
TCNA21 RJTD 280600
CCAA 28060 47644 MIRINAE(0921) 25162 11370 12244 250// 92714=

6:00 AM UTC October 28 2009

TY Mirinae (T0921) [System #25]
16.2N 137.0E
Dvorak Intensity: T5.0
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I blew my forecast because the potential stratospheric thermal molecular trajectory field was miscalculated or overlooked ... lol orca
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Quoting JRRP:

Link


Actually, i have an odd feeling about that blob near panama... but i said that about the last blob near panama, and the one before that! XD brb, another beer
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478. JRRP
Quoting winter123:


WHAT?? That looks like a CMC new orleans doom-cast. But it's the GFS? Now i'm scared.

Link
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Quoting JRRP:


WHAT?? That looks like a CMC new orleans doom-cast. But it's the GFS? Now i'm scared.
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476. JRRP
Quoting scottsvb:
ok .. here come the hypecasters!

and??

enough of downcasters...isn´t it?
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zomg GFS 3lightyear shows storms?!? Im going to predict a category 6 hitting .. TAMPA .... ( go hide now TS, while you still can. global warming is about to come to your doorstep.)
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Quoting scottsvb:
ok .. here come the hypecasters!


Come on now Scott.......the GFS long range only shows 2 storms hitting Florida...we have not seen that all year....wait till that shows up if it does in the short range models.....LOL
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Quoting scottsvb:
ok .. here come the hypecasters!


LOL.....ya think.......LOL
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ok .. here come the hypecasters!
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471. JRRP
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Severe Weather Update


Tropical Update


¡¡ǝʎǝ ɐ ǝǝs ı ʞuıɥʇ ı ¿¡ɐɯɐuɐd ɹǝʌo ʇɐɥʇ s,ʇɐɥʍ
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Quoting TampaSpin:


nite Awake......wear a mask...be safe.

Thank you...I will, thanks for the reminder.
G'nite again.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


Oh, THAT I think I pretty much got. :)

It was Dan's "ttfn" I really didn't get!


nite Awake......wear a mask...be safe.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I changed the words some to protect the innocent. I think the boys understood........LMAO


Oh, THAT I think I pretty much got. :)

It was Dan's "ttfn" I really didn't get!
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Quoting Grothar:
Good night everyone. I am going to sleep with a big smile tonight. Thanks to you all.


Nite Grothar.....been real thanks my friend....sleep well
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Good night everyone. I am going to sleep with a big smile tonight. Thanks to you all.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426
Severe Weather Update


Tropical Update
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Ahhhh, me, too,
Good night, all, & Grothar after you read your mail.
Prob. talk to you all the day after tomorrow, if I don't get the flu from the fluMIST clinic. ):


Nite Awake. Boy, that sounds funny.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426
Quoting PcolaDan:


ta ta for now

Ahhhh, me, too,
Good night, all, & Grothar after you read your mail.
Prob. talk to you all the day after tomorrow, if I don't get the flu from the fluMIST clinic. ):
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


????? I don't understaaannnnnddd.

Tampa: cymbal, crash, bang.


I changed the words some to protect the innocent. I think the boys understood........LMAO
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Quoting PcolaDan:


ta ta for now


NIte Dan...
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


????? I don't understaaannnnnddd.

Tampa: cymbal, crash, bang.


ta ta for now
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Quoting Grothar:


Wish I had one of Pcoladans Smiley faces!!!!!


and on that note I'm off for the night.
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Quoting Grothar:


Wish I had one of Pcoladans Smiley faces!!!!!


Grothar you got mail....dont be drinking anything when you read it.......LOL
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Quoting PcolaDan:
ttfn


????? I don't understaaannnnnddd.

Tampa: cymbal, crash, bang.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Squall line has revived nicely over the Gulf Stream:



Amazing how that uplift from heat can do that.
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ttfn
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I was talking to an old man today. I asked, "How do you like this Weather"? He responded by saying "i keep trying to put it away but, it keeps coming out."


Wish I had one of Pcoladans Smiley faces!!!!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426


Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
BUSTED FORECAST, to be used in the event you make a minor discrepancy in your forecast.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

LMAO.
Tampa, it's a flu MIST clinic.
I hope not to see anything worse than an old man's shnozz with white hairs growing out of it.
Oh my gosh, sorry Flood, Press, etc. etc.


I was talking to an old man today. I asked, "How do you like this Weather"? He responded by saying "i keep trying to put it away but, it keeps coming out."
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I'll be right back. I have to check MY MAIL!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426

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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.