La Niña by July?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:42 PM GMT on June 08, 2010

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El Niño rapidly dissipated in May, and we are now very close to entering into a La Niña event, according to the latest sea surface temperature (SST) data over the tropical Eastern Pacific. The weekly SST readings in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", fell to 0.4°C below average on June 7, a full 1°C drop in just one and a half months. This puts us very close to the -0.5°C threshold needed to be considered a La Niña event, according to NOAA's latest El Niño Discussion. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology showed conditions in the Niña 3.4 region were not quite that cool--0.2°C below average for the week ending June 6. Nevertheless, the speed of the collapse of El Niño makes it likely that a La Niña event is on its way this summer, and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch. Ten of the 23 El Niño models (updated as of May 19) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. However, as NOAA's Climate Prediction Center commented in their June 3 advisory, a number of the more reliable models are now calling for La Niña to develop this summer. They comment, "there is an increasing confidence in these colder model forecasts, which is supported by recent observations that show cooling trends in the Pacific Ocean and signs of coupling with the atmospheric circulation." Historically, about 35 - 40% of El Niño events are followed by a La Niña within the same year.


Figure 1. Atlantic named storm, hurricane, and intense hurricane activity since the active hurricane period we are in began in 1995. Both La Niña and neutral years have shown similar levels of Atlantic hurricane activity, though the figures are somewhat skewed by the record-setting year of 2005. Background photo: Hurricane Dean, taken from the Space Shuttle.

It is interesting to note that the last time we had a strong El Niño event, in 1998, El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. History appears to be repeating itself, and I predict the emergence of La Niña by July. Since La Niña events tend to bring lower amounts of wind shear to the tropical Atlantic, we can expect a much more active Atlantic hurricane season than usual in 2010. Since 2010 is similar to 1998 in the behavior of the El Niño/La Niña cycle, it is possible that this year's hurricane season could resemble the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. That year had about 40% above-average activity, with 14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes. The season was relatively late-starting, with only one named storm occurring before August 20. Once the season got going, six named storms affected the Gulf of Mexico, including two hurricanes, Earl and Georges, that passed directly over the location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Figure 2. Tracks of all named storms for the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season.


Figure 3. Typical regional weather anomalies observed during June - August when La Niña conditions are present. The Caribbean tends to be cloudier and wetter than average, but there is typically little change to temperature and precipitations patterns over North America. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Oil spill update
Light east, southeast, or south winds of 5 - 15 knots will blow today through Saturday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. These winds will keep oil near the beaches of Alabama, Mississippi, and the extreme western Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model are not predicting eastward-moving ocean currents along the Florida Panhandle coast this week, and it is unlikely that surface oil will affect areas of Florida east of Fort Walton Beach. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now show a southeasterly wind regime, which would prevent any further progress of the oil eastwards along the Florida Panhandle, and would tend to bring significant amounts of oil back to the shores of eastern Louisiana next week. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.


Figure 4. The oil spill on June 6, 2010 at 8:32pm EDT, as seen by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the Italian Cosmo-SkyMed (COnstellation of small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) satellite. A large region of oil was a few miles offshore of Pensacola, Florida. Image credit: University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
NOAA's fact sheet on Hurricanes and the Oil Spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

"Hurricane Haven" airing again this afternoon
The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. I'll talk about all this nothingness on my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question in the comments area on Shaun Tanner's blog. Some topics I'll cover on the show:

1) What's going on in the tropics right now--is this typical?
2) New advancements in hurricane science presented at this month's AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology last month

Today's show, which will probably be just 1/2 hour, will be at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast, as last week's show was.

I may take a break from blogging Wednesday, as I've got some catching up to do on other duties.

Jeff Masters

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2691. pottery
Quoting WaterWitch11:
my connection for cnn feed is no longer working. frozen

Yeah! Its gone. But it does that from time to time.
Hope it comes back..
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2690. Fluid
You can now see that the red stuff is something arising from a very narrow vortex.... the vortex itself changes color.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
It'll be interesting to see if the NHC hesitates to mention this wave.
I'm sure it'll catch Avila off guard, that's for sure. I honestly think that they are probably not going to mention it until it gets to at least the central Atlantic.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Maybe they have a bright orange dispersant.

Not saying it couldn't be, but, this pic, claiming to be dispersant application, shows nothing of the sort. (I suppose the white coming out of the tubing?)


From here: http://www.centredaily.com/2010/06/04/2017634/panel-recommends-continued-use.html


In the past, I have seen the dispersant come out white.. out of a small white tube like the one in your still... I can hardly believe that they could introduce enough oxygen at the necessary 2200psi to support any combustion.

Maybe they are trying different formulas.. they were ordered to do so more than a week ago.
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CapeVerde,
What's up bud?
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2684. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52351
Sorry for the double post.
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The vorticity in the image you all are seeing is not directly related to the wave. It's the secondary circulation that occurs north of these features.
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2681. pottery
It would be nice to see a view of the thing, from a little further back. Will give a better idea of what we are seeing.
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my connection for cnn feed is no longer working. frozen
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Good evening everyone!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
just because you cannot see it does not mean its not there
Right. It still has it's energy and if that energy makes it to favorable conditions it should have no problems redeveloping everything it lost.
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2677. Fluid
Not that the red is not uniformly the same red with each appearance.

Sometimes there is a whole spectrum over it. Sometimes it is dark red others it is whitish orange.

Also note that it shows in a variety of places.

Ah well.
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It'll be interesting to see if the NHC hesitates to mention this wave.
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2675. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Weather456:


Now remember rule of thumb, waves don't die, they only lose convection and/or become less amplified.

First, I am not a 100% on development until it emerges, there is too much questions that need to be answered before we can be sure. Second, if it does develop, shear will be a moderator.

Let's use a hypothetical scenario...

The wave emerges and develops into TD 1 and Alex. Encounters shear in the western MDR. It is downgraded to a depression. It can either be further downgraded to an open wave and continue tracking west with the possibility of re-development or it can be downgraded to an open wave and dissipate (the original wave axis was replaced by a deeper system (named storm) so this wave axis can dissipate).
just because you cannot see it does not mean its not there
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52351
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Reminds me of Fred from last year.
Bill actually.
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:


I am.
Go ahead and check it out.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Holy cow!

Haven't seen an anticyclone with a wave like that in a while!


850 vort looks pretty impressive:


I was trying to figure out how to do the zoomed in version lol

thanks for posting that, makes it much easier to see

and yea that is one heck of an anticylcone with the wave
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
2668. pottery
Quoting indianrivguy:


I think it is dispersants... the feed I am watching is the cnn, and it is labeled "dispersant ops" I'll say this.. it looks a LOT more violent than last night.. greater volume.

It is certainly looking more violent.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Holy cow!

Haven't seen an anticyclone with a wave like that in a while!


850 vort looks pretty impressive:
Exactly what I was thinking. I think I see Alex now, what is crazy is, Alex might be a Cape Verde storm.
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Holy cow!

Haven't seen an anticyclone with a wave like that in a while!


850 vort looks pretty impressive:
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2665. Fluid
Quoting Caffinehog:


Benzene is flammable, and can even catch fire spontaneously, BUT only in the presence of oxygen. There isn't enough oxygen down there for that.
Reasonable explainations:
1. It's just how the light is reflected/refracted in bubbles of methane.
2. They could be welding down there.
3. The most likely from what I see: There appears to be a red plastic ribbon attached below and partially covered up by the oil flow. The yellow appears to be part of the cap placed on the riser. These become visible when oil is not flowing past them.
Here's a clearer webcam view than most I've seen.
http://newsblogged.com/video-live-streaming-gulf-oil-spill-cam-bp-webcam


a red plastic ribbon????

That's one Hell of a tough piece of plastic.

For science guys, you all aren't too much of whizzes when it comes to observation.

LOOK at it.

Sheesh!
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Quoting indianrivguy:


I think it is dispersants... the feed I am watching is the cnn, and it is labeled "dispersant ops" I'll say this.. it looks a LOT more violent than last night.. greater volume.

Maybe they have a bright orange dispersant.

Not saying it couldn't be, but, this pic, claiming to be dispersant application, shows nothing of the sort. (I suppose the white coming out of the tubing?)


From here: http://www.centredaily.com/2010/06/04/2017634/panel-recommends-continued-use.html
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
In case anyone is interested, I update my blog.

Hurricane Season Blog #17: Daily Update - Antilles AOI And Outlook -
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Quoting pottery:

Hmmmm. Not sure if you are correct about the SAL.
Could be very little around in 3-4 days.
I'm just basing it on the current graph, I could be wrong.
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2659. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Weather456:


Last Thursday actually

The last wave is far over Eastern Africa near 30E, expected to emerge late next week and reach the Caribbean beyond June 15. These are strong easterly waves and thus increase the chances of named storm further west later this month.

The one in the middle was the one that emerged a few days ago, the one over Sudan is the one we are looking at now

wave ninthteen
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52351
Quoting Hurricanes101:
Vorticity continues to increase with the wave over Africa and a large anticyclone is located with the wave



Wow!
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Thanks W456!
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2655. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Looks like when our wave emerges it will immediately encounter moderate SAL and 15 knot vertical shear. As it moves to the west it should encounter even stronger shear.



Hmmmm. Not sure if you are correct about the SAL.
Could be very little around in 3-4 days.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
don't know if this is accurate but i was told that it could be the natural benzine catching on fire all by it's self. any comments?


Benzene is flammable, and can even catch fire spontaneously, BUT only in the presence of oxygen. There isn't enough oxygen down there for that.
Reasonable explainations:
1. It's just how the light is reflected/refracted in bubbles of methane.
2. They could be welding down there.
3. The most likely from what I see: There appears to be a red plastic ribbon attached below and partially covered up by the oil flow. The yellow appears to be part of the cap placed on the riser. These become visible when oil is not flowing past them.
Here's a clearer webcam view than most I've seen.
http://newsblogged.com/video-live-streaming-gulf-oil-spill-cam-bp-webcam
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2653. Ossqss
Quoting atmoaggie:
What is that?



Hummm, ???? Ignited methane? Where is the O2 support? or are the providing it?
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Vorticity continues to increase with the wave over Africa and a large anticyclone is located with the wave



Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
Well if the predictions of the ECMWF turn out to be true this season will start out making history. These waves are prety powerful considering we are in the month of June and only nine days into the season.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:

LOL

When did you peg this wave? Last Wednesday? Dang...


Props to you!


Last Thursday actually

The last wave is far over Eastern Africa near 30E, expected to emerge late next week and reach the Caribbean beyond June 15. These are strong easterly waves and thus increase the chances of named storm further west later this month.

The one in the middle was the one that emerged a few days ago, the one over Sudan is the one we are looking at now

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Quoting WaterWitch11:
don't know if this is accurate but i was told that it could be the natural benzine catching on fire all by it's self. any comments?


I think it is dispersants... the feed I am watching is the cnn, and it is labeled "dispersant ops" I'll say this.. it looks a LOT more violent than last night.. greater volume.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:
Is anyone else having issues with Weatherunderground loading weird?


yes i have a mac and the spinning rainbow ball of death would happen everytime i'd get on. i had to disable java script and java runway javascript timer
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Looks like when our wave emerges it will immediately encounter moderate SAL and 15 knot vertical shear. As it moves to the west it should encounter even stronger shear.


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2644. aquak9
ZOMBIE!!!


'nuff said.
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2643. Fluid
It can't be a light. Brilliant red very narrow vortexes are appearing for a small fraction of a second and then disintegrating.

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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
would it survive the rack, 456?
Huh? I will try to answer but I don't know what the "rack" is.
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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.