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 StormW:
Current satellite loop imagery surface overlay indicates a 1006mb low over the Yucatan Peninsula.


yea I pointed that out a couple hours ago, it's interesting.. and I think it's moving ENE, there is a little ball of convection forming over it or near it right now, while a HUGE area of convection has formed east of the low, and is being sheared. Shear is dropping, but alot of dry air is moving in *from the middle and upper layers of the atmosphere*
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Quoting reedzone:


Hmm I clicked IMG on photobucket, somehow can't get it on here. Do you know any way I can fix the problem?


NM, click the link and it will bring you to the image.
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Quoting StormW:
Current satellite loop imagery surface overlay indicates a 1006mb low over the Yucatan Peninsula.


no development with it right Chief?

How does it factor into the possible developments the forecast models foresee?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Sorry 101. I guess I just wrapped you up in my aggravation... I apologize.
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Quoting JLPR:


Cant see the images :S


Hmm I clicked IMG on photobucket, somehow can't get it on here. Do you know any way I can fix the problem?
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All I'm saying is that I've been lurking on here for about 5 years...occasionally I'll comment. I keep seeing folks that seem to "wish" for a Cat 5 hitting Miami, New York, Charleston, New Orleans, or Houston. All I have to say is....whoever does that is a hurrivirgin. That's all I have to say about that.
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554. JLPR
Quoting reedzone:
Sooo here's my Hurricane Season 2010 outlook. I'm not wishcasting anything, just went by the climatology of Neutral conditions and La Nina. Also look at the 2009 tracks, and you'll see if most of the storms didn't get sheared or dried out, there could have been landfalls in the USA, only Bill recurved, If Danny stayed tropical, it would have bee an East Coast storm. Erika would have been the same, or maybe a GOM storm. Waters are very warm, above agerage for May and shear will be less of an issue due to Neutral conditions, maybe a weak La Nina by November. So putting all the stuff together, I came out with this, please don't bash me, it's only my forecast, could turn out to be wrong.



Cant see the images :S
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Quoting RitaRefugee:
I agree 101, that's not what I have a problem with...it's these people on here that seem to be "rooting" for a Cat 5 to destroy somebody. I know you don't, and I know most don't, but I know some do. It just aggravates the crap out of me. Sorry if I offended you.


Its fine and I agree with you about those people, but no one on here today that I saw was doing that. At least not of the ones who were discussing the forecast models.

That is why I was confused as to why you attacked those who were looking at the models first
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Sooo here's my Hurricane Season 2010 outlook. I'm not wishcasting anything, just went by the climatology of Neutral conditions and La Nina. Also look at the 2009 tracks, and you'll see if most of the storms didn't get sheared or dried out, there could have been landfalls in the USA, only Bill recurved, If Danny stayed tropical, it would have bee an East Coast storm. Erika would have been the same, or maybe a GOM storm. Waters are very warm, above agerage for May and shear will be less of an issue due to Neutral conditions, maybe a weak La Nina by November. So putting all the stuff together, I came out with this, please don't bash me, it's only my forecast, could turn out to be wrong.

2010 Hurricane Season Outlook
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I agree 101, that's not what I have a problem with...it's these people on here that seem to be "rooting" for a Cat 5 to destroy somebody. I know you don't, and I know most don't, but I know some do. It just aggravates the crap out of me. Sorry if I offended you.
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550. JLPR
Quoting RitaRefugee:
101, apparently you have never been through a hurricane. All I'm saying is that I appreciate the models, and I appreciate the predictions, but I HATE the jerks who HOPE for a "busy" season, or those morons who "wish" for a landfall. I'm not being an ass, all I'm saying it that I wish all hurricanes would dissipate the heat of the earth somewhere besides on land. Period.


How about a huge stationary hurricane in the middle of the ocean wich somehow sucks the excess warmth of the water. XD
I would like that one.
Well I wont talk about anything until we are closer to the event, but so much model support is worrying.
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I personally would like to see the subtropical storm develop, but as for the Haitian one... I could live without.
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Quoting RitaRefugee:
101. I wasn't picking a fight, all I was saying was that those individuals who like to "wish" have never been through, or lost, anything are more likely to "wishcast" or "predict" an apocolyptacane...I have no assumptions, I'm just in a foul mood; my generator needs massive repairs and I'm only five years gone from Rita. Forgive me if I'm a bit abrupt with the idiots. I'm not referring to those of (us) who pay attention to the possible reality.


Ok then and I am sorry for whatever you have lost in the past and do not wish you to go through a hurricane ever again.

I think many feel the part of the intrigue of these systems is the formative stages, or even watching the models and looking at the possibilities.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting Ossqss:
Folks, we can look at all the stats in the world on oil and its impact on our planet. That means squat right now. Why have we not fixed this problem in the Gulf of Mexico? I know we have the ability, so why has it not been fixed? Are we raising the stakes with the use of emulsifiers padding the visible impact ? It does not make sense. Think about it...... out.....

I see your point. But I think that you are not giving credit to a couple of things--
-the leaking pipes are from cracks made when an entire platform sank onto them
-the problem is 5000 feet underwater.
-monitoring the pressure, the state of the BOP, the state of the pipe is a big problem
-there is apparently a real chance that things could get a lot worse, if they screw-up.
I am not trying to justify the actions of BP. But I know that they have some of the best minds in the world working on the thing, with some pretty good incentives to get it fixed. The incentives include the bad PR, the costs (drilling 2 new wells, cleanup, claims, shareholders must be up their rears etc) .
They have a real problem in an environment that is fighting back.
The leak is terrible for the environment (wherever the oil ends up), and for that my heart bleeds.
But I dont agree that they are not doing everything that they possibly can think of to stop it.
It's bad, man.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
101. I wasn't picking a fight, all I was saying was that those individuals who like to "wish" have never been through, or lost, anything are more likely to "wishcast" or "predict" an apocolyptacane...I have no assumptions, I'm just in a foul mood; my generator needs massive repairs and I'm only five years gone from Rita. Forgive me if I'm a bit abrupt with the idiots. I'm not referring to those of (us) who pay attention to the possible reality.
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Hi everyone

Do you think the NAM is an accurate model regarding rainfall potential?
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oh and one last thing Refugee

your original comment that started this thing said absolutely nothing about those who wish for landfalls, it was completely targeted at those who look at forecast models

looks like you played a great game of telephone with yourself; started by arguing one thing and ended arguing something totally different.


Many of us on here are fascinated with tropical systems, how they form, what kind of impacts that they have. We like being able to have a place to discuss tropical systems and the possibilities and I bet not one of us wishes a storm on anyone.

You need to get that assumption out of your mind.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You've got mail.


You've got mail as well
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I posted a new blog, Link

Please feel free to check it out. Well I've got to go, have a blessed evening!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting RitaRefugee:
101, apparently you have never been through a hurricane. All I'm saying is that I appreciate the models, and I appreciate the predictions, but I HATE the jerks who HOPE for a "busy" season, or those morons who "wish" for a landfall. I'm not being an ass, all I'm saying it that I wish all hurricanes would dissipate the heat of the earth somewhere besides on land. Period.


Lived in Florida for 20 years, I have seen many storms and lost property in several

Your assumptions tell me a lot about you
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
May 19, 2010
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Hurricanes101:
Again another horrible assumption

You cant make the jump to saying that because people like to track storms that they do not care if one hit them or anyone else

That is completely unfair
Yeah I agree.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Again another horrible assumption

You cant make the jump to saying that because people like to track storms that they do not care if one hit them or anyone else

That is completely unfair
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
I'll get fired up when we have a storm...especially when it's headed toward the northern Gulf Coast...i'm not ragging on anyone, but everytime i hear someone saying or implying that they are "wanting" a storm, it tell me they haven't been in one and have had to tell their kids...."you're home is gone and we're going to live in a FEMA trailer for a year or two"....sorry...I'm pissed.
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Folks, we can look at all the stats in the world on oil and its impact on our planet. That means squat right now. Why have we not fixed this problem in the Gulf of Mexico? I know we have the ability, so why has it not been fixed? Are we raising the stakes with the use of emulsifiers padding the visible impact ? It does not make sense. Think about it...... out.....
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
Quoting RitaRefugee:
101...models are what MIGHT happen. I just get aggravated when sheeple get all fired up about computer models with no reality about what REALLY happens. Get all agged at me as you will, but until NHC has an advisory, you can predict all you want.


so basically get rid of all the great discussion about the possibilities that goes on around here? Part of what makes the tropics so interesting is looking into what might happen, if we all just blindly followed the NHC and its advisories and never posted anything before that, this would be a VERY boring place.

Again just because people talk of the forecast models and their possibilities, does not in any way make them wish casters; that is an absurd assumption actually considering no one has made predictions as to what kinds of systems we will have and where they would affect. I have seen none of that today.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting RitaRefugee:
101...models are what MIGHT happen. I just get aggravated when sheeple get all fired up about computer models with no reality about what REALLY happens. Get all agged at me as you will, but until NHC has an advisory, you can predict all you want.
Well when you got a consensus consisting of...

-UKMET
-GFS
-ECMWF
-CMC
-NOGAPS

And a couple more. Chances are that we will get a system. Plus you have had consistency for about 5 days and great time-line progression. As a matter a fact there are a lot of reasons why you should get fired up.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
457 CosmicEvents "There's something that bothers me about this 'junk shot' attempt at plugging up the well with mud, golf balls and cement. If something so simple works, great, but the question then becomes, why wasn't this simple technique the first quick attempt 2 weeks ago?"

1) They had to reconnect the shutdown lines in order to pump stuff through into the BreakoutPreventer.

2) As well as golfballs, the junk shot woulda consisted of ball bearings, chunks of rubber, and other relatively large chunks of debris.

3) And as they were doing the reconnections, they ran simulations which indicated that the junk had too high a probability of making things worse to be worth risking.

4) The plan chosen instead uses just mud (to counteract the pressure down to a workable level) then mud&cement (to initiate sealing by getting curing cement lumps stuck in the BoP flow line) then cement (to plug the well).
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101...models are what MIGHT happen. I just get aggravated when sheeple get all fired up about computer models with no reality about what REALLY happens. Get all agged at me as you will, but until NHC has an advisory, you can predict all you want.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


Hey it's scooby-doo
You've got mail.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting wunderkidcayman:


Hey it's scooby-doo
lol
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Ossqss:


No, I will not look :)



Hey it's scooby-doo
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It doesn't take but eyes to see something's not quite right in the SW Atl.
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525. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory NUMBER TWENTY
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM LAILA (BOB01-2010)
5:30 AM IST May 20 2010
====================================

Subject: Severe Cyclonic Storm LAILA over westcentral and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal

Cyclone Warning (Red message).

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Laila over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal moved northward and lays near 15.0N 81.0E, or 120 kms northeast of Nellore, 100 kms southeast of Ongole, and 120 kms south of Machilipatnam.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 55 knots with a central pressure 986 hPa. The state of the sea is very high around the system's center.

Satellite imagery indicates banding pattern of the system. The intensity of the system is T3.5. Associated broken intense to very intense convection over Bay of Bengal between 11.5N to 17.0N west of 83.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is between -80 to -90C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is 10-20 knots. The system lies to the south of tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 18.0N. System is under the influence of anticyclonic circulation located to the northeast. Shear tendency over the past 24 hours is negative to the north of the system.

Considering all the above and numerical weather prediction model guidance, the system is likely to move in a northwesterly direction and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Kavali and Kakinada, close to Machilipatnam this afternoon. The system is showing signs of weakening due to increase wind shear and land interaction.

Forecast and Intensity
=========================
24 HRS: 17.5N 82.5E - 40 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
48 HRS: 19.5N 85.0E - 25 knots (Depression)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At 0:00 AM UTC, Deep Depression ARB01-2010 located over southwest Arabian Sea of Somalia coast remained practically stationary and lays centered near 11.5N 53.0E, or 200 kms of Alula, Somalia. It is likely to intensify further and move in a northwesterly direction towards Gulf of Aden.

Convective clouds in association with the system has organized during the past 12 hours. The dvorak intensity is T2.0. 3 minute sustained winds near the center is 30 knots. Broken intense to very intense convection is seen over west Arabian Sea between 9.0 to 15.0N and west of 59.0E in association with the system.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46911
Quoting RitaRefugee:
K Man...good to see you. i'm getting real tired of the MODELCASTERS.... Ban me, but until we have a storm...or depression...wish casting is the rule.


No one says you have to read what anyone says

and sorry I dont see the equation here


Looking at forecast models = wish-casting?

Not even close, if they weren't meant to be used as a tool for discussions, than they wouldn't exist at all.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
K Man...good to see you. i'm getting real tired of the MODELCASTERS.... Ban me, but until we have a storm...or depression...wish casting is the rule.
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I'm out for tonight folks. Have a good one.
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post 516. That article says that an estimated 150,000 TONS of oil seep into the GOM each year.
This sounds like plenty, but the amount of water in the GOM is probably 150,000 to the power of 150,000. Tons.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
Quoting Patrap:


The Pon-fire years were kinda experimental here in NOLA as well..

the 70's were phun.
yeah man, G.I.Joe with the Kung FU grip
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Quoting DEKRE:

You are perfectly right, I should have said : Nothing forms tar balls in 5 days.
U.S.41 in S.W. Florida can form tar balls in 5 hours during the summer. Heavy rain washes all the dirt from underneath the sides of the highway, it gets bloody hot and we get tarballs.
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Here is something else i found concerning natural seepage of oil in the Gulf.

Link
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Mother Nature has her calderon a brewing.

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444 hercj "Has everyone forgotten that oil comes from the earth. It is a NATURAL substance."

So are box jellyfish, but I wouldn't recommend flying DownUnder to get into liplock with one.
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Thanks for the explanation Weather456. I'll batten down the hatches.
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Quoting kmanislander:
I remember reading the first Dune novels and wondering what the spice would be like. Of course, I was about 15 then LOL


The Pon-fire years were kinda experimental here in NOLA as well..

the 70's were phun.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841

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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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