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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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

That is a good Alice (Dilbert)!
VoicePulse, but yea, same deal as Vonage.
Might not be all bad. If I got rid of cell phone, work couldn't reach me. :)


You've got to love Alice...the pointy haored boss is too close to the truth to be confortable for some as well..."robust incoherence" and all that...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting TampaSpin:


Flood if ElNino holds true as most.....the south should be wet and cool.......so if the cool means cold combined with the wet....i guess one would call it a midwest winter.......LOL


Well, we'll see what happens...depends on positioning of the polar jet. I'd love to see what Texas looks like under 12" of snow...LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting presslord:
I'm thinkin' this year about bein' a mermaid...
when tomorrow night for the show
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
If you didn't see the beginning of this, you wouldn't know it wasn't the real thing.

RC SR-71 video


Dan, that video was incredible, really. But how did the pilots fit in those small seats?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


The premise behind most networks is thatr they will never get over 40-50% of capacity...that allows for [plenty of redundancy. And yes, dear, your Vonage phone will be non functional...oh, and yes, you type over the word link...like this:

Man, I can't resist a good Dilbert!

That is a good Alice (Dilbert)!
VoicePulse, but yea, same deal as Vonage.
Might not be all bad. If I got rid of cell phone, work couldn't reach me. :)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting Floodman:


Looks like it may be all over...the old timers here say that all the signs are in place that we'll have a midwest winter here in north Texas...


Flood if ElNino holds true as most.....the south should be wet and cool.......so if the cool means cold combined with the wet....i guess one would call it a midwest winter.......LOL
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Early.....yes. If this does not change and it does not look like it will.....you better get the snow shovel sanded shiny and ready to go..could be a might rough winter along the East Coast.


Looks like it may be all over...the old timers here say that all the signs are in place that we'll have a midwest winter here in north Texas...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
If you didn't see the beginning of this, you wouldn't know it wasn't the real thing.

RC SR-71 video
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Quoting Grothar:


Another Nor'easter for the coast. Kind of early for that isn't it.


Early.....yes. If this does not change and it does not look like it will.....you better get the snow shovel sanded shiny and ready to go..could be a might rough winter along the East Coast.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Thanks for checking, Flood.

How does everyone change the word "link" to other words? Just type over the word link? (I hope.)

Wow, article may be correct. Will VOIP phones fail, too? I'll be in trouble. Guess it's time to dust off the library card...that darn reading thing, hard copy no less!


The premise behind most networks is thatr they will never get over 40-50% of capacity...that allows for [plenty of redundancy. And yes, dear, your Vonage phone will be non functional...oh, and yes, you type over the word link...like this:

Man, I can't resist a good Dilbert!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting TampaSpin:
Amazing how the Bermuda High is not nedging at all. The GFS model last week had a big time cold pop to the SE....That has all changed the last couple of days as the Bermuda High does not break down at all and Lows are riding up and over the top of the High....Models are showing a low coming off the coast becoming SubTropical and looping around the High and coming back and Hitting NY again in about a 7 day time .....LOL


Another Nor'easter for the coast. Kind of early for that isn't it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Amazing how the Bermuda High is not nedging at all. The GFS model last week had a big time cold pop to the SE....That has all changed the last couple of days as the Bermuda High does not break down at all and Lows are riding up and over the top of the High....Models are showing a low coming off the coast becoming SubTropical and looping around the High and coming back and Hitting NY again in about a 7 day time .....LOL
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Quoting Floodman:


Worked like a charm...and the premise of the article is correct...

Thanks for checking, Flood.

How does everyone change the word "link" to other words? Just type over the word link? (I hope.)

Wow, article may be correct. Will VOIP phones fail, too? I'll be in trouble. Guess it's time to dust off the library card...that darn reading thing, hard copy no less!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting futuremet:
Remnants of the squall line...



I thought they were calling this squall line a blog earlier.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Internet networks unable to handle H1N1 telework traffic: GAO

Link

Uh oh. Wunderland would go dark?
Hype, I hope.
This isn't important, just a trial run as this is my first attempt to place a link on WU.


Worked like a charm...and the premise of the article is correct...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
383. BtnTx
Testing! I am posting this using newly installed Official Windows 7 Professional new install on former Widows Vista Home Premium laptop. And Google Chrome internet browser install works. So far it is working nice and fast!
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Quoting presslord:
I'm thinkin' this year about bein' a mermaid...


It might be a safe bet. At least this way, no one would ask you to dance.
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Remnants of the squall line...

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Quoting presslord:
I'm thinkin' this year about bein' a mermaid...


We have an incredible, intelligent and personable long haired mini dachshund and we found a banana costume for her...I'm looking for a gorilla suit...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting presslord:
I think my man Flood just suffers from a bit of dress envy...


In my book, press, Uncle Miltie had nothing on you!
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I'm thinkin' this year about bein' a mermaid...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Internet networks unable to handle H1N1 telework traffic: GAO

Link

Uh oh. Wunderland would go dark?
Hype, I hope.
This isn't important, just a trial run as this is my first attempt to place a link on WU.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting presslord:
I think my man Flood just suffers from a bit of dress envy...


I must say, that is a rather stunning ensemble, my man...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
I think my man Flood just suffers from a bit of dress envy...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Quoting Orcasystems:


Try it from what we saw.. I am watching you.... not only do you have to get the picture out of your mind... but you have to wonder where your mind went with the picture... shudder....I hope your on some kind of cheap pharmaceutical to explain it?



oh no, the image itself is such a shock that the monds reels...I haven't gone anywhere with it, and if I can poke that sucker out, I won't...hmmm, mind's eye, that's around the hypothalamus, yes?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Floodman:


Her moustache glistened gently
Through a haze of cigar smoke
I looked at her intently
And realized she was a bloke!


Flood you are hired.......WOW that was awsome. YOu got Paul pegged........LOL
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Quoting Floodman:


Things go as well as they can, given the way my back feels about now...and just so you know, I was assuming that the Portlight post was in response to the lovely image of Press and so my response...by the way, thanks, Press for having committed such a sartorial cross-dressing crime...I will be all night trying to poke out my mind's eye...


Try it from what we saw.. I am watching you.... not only do you have to get the picture out of your mind... but you have to wonder where your mind went with the picture... shudder....I hope your on some kind of cheap pharmaceutical to explain it?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Things go as well as they can, given the way my back feels about now...and just so you know, I was assuming that the Portlight post was in response to the lovely image of Press and so my response...by the way, thanks, Press for having committed such a sartorial cross-dressing crime...I will be all night trying to poke out my mind's eye...


No, actually Port was reciting from a quite beautiful song, which I recently heard at a presentation in Copenhagen on science. Incredible lyrics.
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Quoting Grothar:


We hadn't noticed! How goes it!


Things go as well as they can, given the way my back feels about now...and just so you know, I was assuming that the Portlight post was in response to the lovely image of Press and so my response...by the way, thanks, Press for having committed such a sartorial cross-dressing crime...I will be all night trying to poke out my mind's eye...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Portlight:
It's poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony


You are not going to "blind us with science,now, are you Port??
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Flood...very nice...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:

And... a little weirdly


We hadn't noticed! How goes it!
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Quoting Grothar:


Flood, you think to fast!

And... a little weirdly
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Quoting Floodman:
Orca, how are you and your wife? Getting better, one would hope?


Almost back to normal :)
Well, as normal as can be expected
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Her moustache glistened gently
Through a haze of cigar smoke
I looked at her intently
And realized she was a bloke!


Flood, you think to fast!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Orca, how are you and your wife? Getting better, one would hope?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Portlight:
It's poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony


Her moustache glistened gently
Through a haze of cigar smoke
I looked at her intently
And realized she was a bloke!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922


Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
BUSTED FORECAST, to be used in the event you make a minor discrepancy in your forecast.
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It's poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
358. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Aussie:

The Philippines Area of Responsibility begins at 135E south of 25N
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Quoting mikatnight:

In order to ban someone admin has to first look at the picture. They've seen it before and can't stand the pain of viewing it again.


Just saw this Mik, you may be on to something. Glad to see your on again. Weather hot by you as well?
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Last night it was going to be a Cat.4


Do they know what will cause it to weaken before striking the Philippines?
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Grothar, where are you from?


Born on Long Island, NY. Lived in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland Germany and Great Britain.
Also lived in other countries but for only short periods of time. My home has been South Florida for many years. You live in what country now?
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From Philippines National Inquirer,
UN on RP disasters: Worst yet to come
Link

Albay readies plan to move out 300,000
Link
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Grothar, where are you from?
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Quoting Grothar:


A two is still bad but better than a 3, eh? I hope the rain isn't too bad. How do you fare, mate?

Last night it was going to be a Cat.4
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I have an answer for my own question.
The Philippine archipelago which is surrounded by water, lies at the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, north of the equator and about 1,000 kilometers from the Asia Mainland. It is bounded on the west by the South China Sea, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by the Bashi Channel and on the south by the Sulu and Celebes Seas. On the right picture is the PAR. It is refers to designated area in the northwestern Pacific where PAGASA is tasked to monitor tropical cyclone occurrences. Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) is bounded by the black lines joining the following points:

25°N - 120°E, 25°N - 135°E, 5°N - 135°E, 5°N - 115°E, 15°N - 115°E and 21°N - 120°E.

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Quoting AussieStorm:

but not as awesome as it was going to get.



A two is still bad but better than a 3, eh? I hope the rain isn't too bad. How do you fare, mate?
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Quoting Grothar:


Looking awsome.

but not as awesome as it was going to get.



was ment to be a Cat.4 on landfall now only a Cat.2

This if from PAGASA:
Tropical Cyclone Update
As of today, Wednesday, 28-Oct-2009 09:36:26 PHT no tropical cyclone existing within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).


does anyone know where the PAR starts for the Philippines? To me its way to close to the country. If it can been seen on there own sat image then it should be in there area of responsibility.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.