El Niño is done; Haiti at risk of heavy rains next week; oil spill update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:09 PM GMT on May 19, 2010

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El Niño rapidly weakened during late April and early May, with sea surface temperatures over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", falling a significant 0.65°C in just one month. Temperatures in the region are now in the "neutral" range, just 0.18°C above average, and well below the 0.5°C threshold to be considered an El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The speed of the collapse of El Niño makes it likely that a La Niña event is on its way this summer. This is what happened during the last strong El Niño event, in 1998--El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. Six of the sixteen El Niño models (updated as of April 15) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season, and I expect more models will jump on the La Niña bandwagon when the May data updates later this week. The demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, have prompted two major hurricane forecasting groups (tropicalstormrisk.com and Colorado State University) to predict a significantly above average 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Over the full 160-year period we have records of Atlantic hurricanes, La Niña years have typically had more hurricanes, and more strong hurricanes, compared to neutral years. However, since 1995, there hasn't been any difference between neutral and La Niña years in terms of hurricane activity. La Niña conditions typically cause cool and wet conditions over the Caribbean in summer, but do not have much of an impact on U.S. temperatures or precipitation.


Figure 1. Oil spill edge over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, May 19, as seen from NASA's M ODIS instrument. Note that a band of cumulus clouds formed along the edge of the oil spill. I theorize this is because the low level wind flow out of the southeast moves faster over the oil, since the oil suppresses wave action. As the winds cross the spill boundary into rougher, clean water, they slow down, forcing the air to pile up and create updrafts that then spawn cumulus clouds. See my post on what oil might do to a hurricane for more information on how oil reduces wave action.

Oil spill update
Clouds over the Gulf of Mexico have again foiled satellite imaging of the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, though through breaks in the clouds it appears that a significant amount of the oil that was pulled southwards towards the Loop Current is now caught in a counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to the north of the Loop Current. However, some oil has escaped this eddy and is on its way south towards the Florida Keys. According to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA, the tongue of oil flowing southwards has at most "light" concentrations. The oil will grow more dilute as it travels the 500 miles to the Florida Keys. My present expectation is that the oil entering the Loop Current this week will cause only minor problems in the Keys next week. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the oil may do to the fragile Keys ecosystem. See my post yesterday for answers to many of the common questions I get about the spill.

Oil spill resources
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
HYCOM ocean current forecasts from LSU


Figure 2. Precipitation forecast from today's 8am EDT run of the NAVY NOGAPS model, valid 7 days from now. Precipitation amounts in excess of 70 mm (2.8") in 12 hours are predicted over Haiti, due to a tropical disturbance in the Western Caribbean. Image credit: U.S. Navy.

Potential serious rainfall threat to Haiti next week
Long-range forecasts from the GFS and NOGAPS models over the past few days have consistently been predicting an increase in moisture and decrease in wind shear over the Western Caribbean 5 - 7 days from now, and I expect that a tropical disturbance with heavy rains will develop in the Western Caribbean early next week. A strong subtropical jet stream over the southern Gulf of Mexico will steer the disturbance to the north and east, and the NOGAPS model shows heavy rains in excess of six inches impacting Haiti Wednesday through Thursday of next week. Rains of this magnitude are capable of causing a serious emergency with high loss of life in earthquake-shattered Haiti, and all interests in that nation should closely monitor the situation over the coming week. It is too early to speculate on the possibility of the disturbance becoming a tropical depression. The wunderblogs of StormW and Weather456, who are now featured bloggers for the coming hurricane season, have more information on this potential development, plus the possible development of a subtropical storm between Florida and Bermuda next week.

Major severe weather outbreak over Oklahoma expected tonight
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put much of Oklahoma in its High Risk region for severe weather today, warning that "The setup appears most favorable for large, relatively slow moving intense storms with large hail. A couple strong tornadoes also may occur."

I'll be back with a new post Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Patrap:


My wetlands are dying as we speak..

How can we fix this..?


Look at the price that nature is just beginning...to feel

The Marsh is the nursery for 70% of all Marine Life in the GOM..













I feel sick just looking at that. I mean, while I'm in southeast Louisiana, I don't depend on seafood for my living, but I also understand that there are a lot of people that do.

I'm very saddened by this, and also simultaneously angered.
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My wetlands are dying as we speak..

How can we fix this..?


Look at the price that nature is just beginning...to feel

The Marsh is the nursery for 70% of all Marine Life in the GOM..









Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273

THE GEM IS STILL FORECASTING A HURRICANE
AS A 997MB HURRICANE
WAIT IT HAVE TWO
ONE IS JST ABOUT TO HIT THE EAST COAST
NEXT WEDNESDAY
ANOTHER 997MB
ABOUT TO HIT THE CARALINAS
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THE GEM IS STILL FORECASTING A HURRICANE
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I've been in an 80 degree house and gone out into a 13 degree night with 15-20mph winds.
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656. Relix
So it's quite probable that PR will get a nice pounding from this "hybrid" system seeing as it will be so close?
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Quoting hurricanefiend85:


I would assume so, but hey, I'm sure they at least get their name on some sort of plaque!


Yea its called a tombstone lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7685
Quoting Hurricanes101:


and then they all drop dead from temperature shock? lol


I would assume so, but hey, I'm sure they at least get their name on some sort of plaque!
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653. xcool






Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Quoting hurricanefiend85:
From http://www.the-world-traveler.com/what-its-like-to-live-in-minus-100-degree-weather/...

Talking about researchers in Antarctica...

"Traditions are fun ways to while away the hours while in Antarctica. One of the most infamous traditions is the introduction into the “300 Club”. In order to do this, a day is required where the temperature is at least 100 degrees below zero. The sauna is brought up to over 200 degrees. They then sprint from the 200 degree sauna into the minus 100 degree air and back again."



and then they all drop dead from temperature shock? lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7685
From http://www.the-world-traveler.com/what-its-like-to-live-in-minus-100-degree-weather/...

Talking about researchers in Antarctica...

"Traditions are fun ways to while away the hours while in Antarctica. One of the most infamous traditions is the introduction into the “300 Club”. In order to do this, a day is required where the temperature is at least 100 degrees below zero. The sauna is brought up to over 200 degrees. They then sprint from the 200 degree sauna into the minus 100 degree air and back again."

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Several days of model consensus is enough to at least discuss the chances of development.

Shear is decreasing as we speak, especially in the Western Caribbean where an anticyclone is coming over from the EPAC
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7685
649. xcool





Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
later all out till the am lets see what tomorrow brings
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Quoting Patrap:
Dome C,Antarctica Wu-page Tazaroo

Updated: 6:00 PM GMT on May 19, 2010

Wednesday Night
Overcast. Low: -104 F . Wind SW 13 mph . Windchill: -144 F .

Thursday
Overcast. High: -92 F . Wind South 11 mph . Windchill: -140 F .


Hope that's enough for my dad
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646. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Caffinehog:


I'm an organic chemist. The video is complete garbage. Nothing will leak from the batteries under those conditions. While technically water electrolysis can start at 1.24V, Higher voltage is necessary for much of anything to occur. The batteries are only 1.5V. It is unlikely that there are enough electrolytes in tap water to conduct adequate electricity for this process. If there were, you would see a bright orange flame... the color that sodium ions, the one of the most abundant electrolytes, would give off. (and the color you normally associate with flames.) Even if it DID occur, the batteries would only produce enough hydrogen for a few seconds of flame, even after being fully discharged. Additionally, the hydrogen would drift away. Even if it didn't, the oxygen would preferentially be concentrated in the glass. This would create an explosion on lighting it. Also, the cotton that he put over the glass would have burst into flame explosively. Even if he managed to keep just hydrogen there, it would have erupted into a fireball when it was lit.

Everything I see is consistent with him lighting ethanol in the glass. The flame looks like the typical flame you see on an alcohol burner... barely any color, mostly blue, with a little orange at the tips. Plus, alcohol looks just like water.


Thank you..I have played with Browns gas in the past ..but I must say I did have to try this just the same...LOL
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Is there a site dedicated to the effects on various widlife from this "spill"? I was wondering about some of the higher food chain fishes and mammals.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Looks like that system could be what helps spark the system in the Bahamas



I think everyone is rushing this development thing.....Not sure anything will really come together yet as Shear seems to be still strong in most places next week yet.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
There is some very strong 850mb vorticity and Convergence just off the tip of the Yucatan Penn..


Looks like that system could be what helps spark the system in the Bahamas
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7685
Dome C,Antarctica Wu-page Tazaroo

Updated: 6:00 PM GMT on May 19, 2010

Wednesday Night
Overcast. Low: -104 F . Wind SW 13 mph . Windchill: -144 F .

Thursday
Overcast. High: -92 F . Wind South 11 mph . Windchill: -140 F .
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
Dats Minus 107 below Zero Taz..


Kinda cold if ya ask me
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
WELL I NO WHERE ALL OF MY HOT WEATHER IS ITS -107 IN Dome C, Antarctica
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The more models and model runs I see the more I believe there is a building consensus in the models that the southeast US may be hit by either a late season nor'easter or a messy subtropical storm. Not much difference in the affects. Nothing to worry about but something of interest to keep you watching the models.
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There is some very strong 850mb vorticity and Convergence just off the tip of the Yucatan Penn..
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Quoting Patrap:
NEXRAD Radar
Slatington Mountain, Base Reflectivity 1.45 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI

messy night pat
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NEXRAD Radar
Slatington Mountain, Base Reflectivity 1.45 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
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00z gem model shows a 1002 mb low off fla by tue and a 1005 mb low in sw carb
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631. xcool
cmc newupdate soon...
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Ok the latest GFS reminds me of a combination of 2 subtropical storms we've seen. Subtropical (became tropical) storm Gabrielle with the approach to the coast and then Subtropical storm Andrea with the way it stalled and dried out/sheared apart.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Auburn I saw that vid of 'water' burning--it could be true. Although I have doubts

1. I think that is supposed to be an example of electrolysis. In other words, you put a source of electricity into water that splits it into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is very flammable

objection #1 Hydrogen burns with a blue or purple flame.





Objection #2 Hydrogen is so light it would drift away and not stay concentrated above the water.

2. It could be that some flammable chemical from the batteries leaches into the water.

3. The water is not water at all, but grain alcohol.

I took a college inorganic chem class, and one of the things we worked with was sodium, an element so reactive it will split water molecules apart, and burn underwater. (Cesium is even more reactive and will explode on contact with water or ice down to more than -200F)

I especially remember using a sodium press to squeeze out pieces of sodium--sodium is more waxy than a metal, and it was like squeezing out very thick toothpaste. I used to have to do this for all the classmates, cause of my strong arms. Anyway.

We were warned about the possibility of sodium fires, and the professor sternly told us that anyone who started a sodium/water fire would be permanently dropped from the course.


That was just the sort of thing that could happen to me because I sweat easily--so having to use the sodium press for everyone meant that if there was one sodium fire, it would be mine!

Fortunately, there were none at all, and I survived :)


I'm an organic chemist. The video is complete garbage. Nothing will leak from the batteries under those conditions. While technically water electrolysis can start at 1.24V, Higher voltage is necessary for much of anything to occur. The batteries are only 1.5V. It is unlikely that there are enough electrolytes in tap water to conduct adequate electricity for this process. If there were, you would see a bright orange flame... the color that sodium ions, the one of the most abundant electrolytes, would give off. (and the color you normally associate with flames.) Even if it DID occur, the batteries would only produce enough hydrogen for a few seconds of flame, even after being fully discharged. Additionally, the hydrogen would drift away. Even if it didn't, the oxygen would preferentially be concentrated in the glass. This would create an explosion on lighting it. Also, the cotton that he put over the glass would have burst into flame explosively. Even if he managed to keep just hydrogen there, it would have erupted into a fireball when it was lit.

Everything I see is consistent with him lighting ethanol in the glass. The flame looks like the typical flame you see on an alcohol burner... barely any color, mostly blue, with a little orange at the tips. Plus, alcohol looks just like water.
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The 00Z GFS has let go of the potential storm in the Carribean for now, as of 156 hours, it only has a 1007 mlb. low in that area. The focus is on the Subtropical feature to the north, which btw is heading in the same direction Andrea in 2007 went.
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Quoting reedzone:
K, now I'm confident this is either Subtropical or Tropical by the looks of this..

150 hours

Looks like occluded becoming completely subtropical in that image but thats to far out to say for sure.
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Quoting reedzone:
00Z GFS looks to be joining the EURO, takes a strong low to the southeastern coastline by 126 hours. The question is, is it Subtropical?




Wow! Look at all those H's on the Map. Whatever develops (tropical/subtropical) won't be in any hurry too shoot off to the NE.
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Arizona Threatens To Pull The Plug On LA


05/19/10 07:16 PM | AP

PHOENIX An Arizona utility regulator suggests there could be payback for the Los Angeles City Council's vote to boycott Arizona businesses because of the state's new law targeting illegal immigration.

Arizona Corporation Commission member Gary Pierce responded to the council's vote by sending a letter Tuesday to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (vee-ah-reye-GOH'-sah). It cites the mayor's support for the boycott and says he would "be happy to encourage Arizona utilities" to renegotiate power agreements that now send electricity to the California city.

Pierce concludes his letter by saying that people of goodwill can disagree over the Arizona law's merits but that a boycott of Arizona "is not a message sent in goodwill."

___
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
K, now I'm confident this is either Subtropical or Tropical by the looks of this..

156 hours
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623. Skyepony (Mod)
VA is having a sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies from May 25 to May 31.



Arctic Drilling Proposal Advanced Amid Concern a spill or blow out couldn't be contained or cleaned up in those conditions.
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Woot 2 years of college for my met degree done 2 more to go.

Anyway it looks like I may have a reason to come out of vacation early but im not sure if it'll be the caribbean storm or the subtropical storm. The latest run of the GFS coming in looks like we may have a sloppy Subtropical storm near the southeast US coast early to mid next week.
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621. xcool
subtropical
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
00Z GFS looks to be joining the EURO, takes a strong low to the southeastern coastline by 126 hours. The question is, is it Subtropical?

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619. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Markey to Get Live Feed of BP Oil Spill on Website

BP Acquiesces to Markey’s Request, Will Release Video Stream Tonight to Chairman

May 19, 2010 – Following a demand from Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) for a live feed of the BP oil spill to be made publicly available on the web, BP said they would release the feed and it will be shown on Rep. Markey’s committee website at www.globalwarming.house.gov. The release of the live link to Rep. Markey is expected tonight.

“This may be BP’s footage, but it’s America’s ocean. Now anyone will be able to see the real-time effects the BP spill is having on our ocean,” said Rep. Markey, who conducted a briefing today with independent scientists where he reiterated the call for a video feed. “This footage will aid analysis by independent scientists blocked by BP from coming to see the spill.”

Markey sent letters earlier today to BP America’s CEO Lamar McKay asking for the footage to be made public on BP’s website. If BP could not host the footage, Rep. Markey offered to host it on his website free of charge.

“BP is going to have to pay for the cleanup of this spill and the long-term damage. Hosting this video on our website is the only freebie they’re going to get,” Rep. Markey said.

The letter sent to McKay today can be found here.

Rep. Markey has frequently queried BP for more information on the exact size of the spill and on their refusal to engage with outside scientists. Independent scientists have examined video, satellite photos and other aspects of the spill and determined that it may be much bigger than estimated. Today at a briefing Rep. Markey held in his Energy and Environment Subcommittee, independent scientists from Purdue University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said that the estimate of a 5,000 barrel per day leak was an underestimation of the flow. The scientists said with more data, they could better calculate the flow of oil from the sea floor.

"This is 4th grade math. We know the numerator here—the couple thousand barrels a day BP is siphoning out of the sunken pipe. But we still don’t know the denominator," said Rep. Markey. "BP is capturing a fraction of the oil, but they don’t know what that fraction is. By releasing this video, we’ve taken the first step towards allowing better access to the information BP has about this spill."
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If you take a closer look at these tracks, you can see the direction they were headed before they died, IF they kept going, landfalls would have been in the USA. Danny would have been an East Coast TS/Hurricane, Erika could have threatened Florida. Fred could have also threatened Florida if shear didn't hammer it so hard, remember it was traveling under a big ridge of High Pressure. I'm pretty confident that Ana would have been a GOM threat, but thank God for wind shear last season. This year will be completely different as Neutral conditions may evolve into weak La Nina conditions by October-November. It's an easy forecast when it comes to the number of storms, we will definitely have over 10 storms.

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



NOAA outlooks delayed till next week 27 of may and will be released in wash.

sw carb system forms starting sunday tracks ne ward towards east haiti drenching rains poss first tropical system of season


large anticyclone moving eastward from the EPAC, look for it to cross into the West Caribbean over the next day or two

also another weaker anticyclone is near panama and could move north
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7685



NOAA outlooks delayed till next week 27 of may and will be released in wash.

sw carb system forms starting sunday tracks ne ward towards east haiti drenching rains poss first tropical system of season
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611. Skyepony (Mod)
Laila landfall on MIMIC.
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About

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