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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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Are you guys pointing out the wave closest to coming off, or that BEAST behind it?
The BEAST behind it. I've got to say, that's one hell of a wave for June. I think records will be broken from it.
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2591. MrsOsa
Woah it does look like fire!

KOTG like the blog map. Though it put me in the next city over, close enough!
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2589. Fluid
ALERT!
http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/incident_response/STAGING/loc al_assets/html/Skandi_ROV1.html

Evidently, the well casing is gone, and the pressurized oil is widening the shoot.

That cap won't last much longer.


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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I notice that a while back myself.But no one replied.


Oh I must not have been on then. Sadly no one here really cares about the EPAC lol.
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Quoting Weather456:
You see this wave I have been predicting is not just a wave but like a pre-depression with convection and a vigorous circulation. Any slight variations in conditions could result in history being made. However, it is a long shot since we don't how the wave will react to the oceanic environment once it has emerged.


I wonder what 30-31C waters will do to it.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15864
Interesting the ECMWF is on board with development. Is it the only model developing it or are others too?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I agree.





Are you guys pointing out the wave closest to coming off, or that BEAST behind it?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
WINDSAT from this morning caught the wave over the Antilles showing winds of up to 35 knots. No signs of a closed surface low though.



That's one of the topics discussed in the second half of tracking tropical waves....interaction with the TUTT.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2582. pottery
Quoting Fluid:
There is no oxygen there to flare the gas with, and notice the dark red stuff that instantly turns black... that must be lava.

There is no molten rock, to result in lava. And if it was, it would be falling back down.
They can inject oxygen into the gas to burn it.
I am not sure what we are seeing....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24202
2581. Dakster
it is on cnn.com home page... I am sure someone else has possible a better link.
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Quoting Weather456:
You see this wave I have been predicting is not just a wave but like a pre-depression with convection and a vigorous circulation. Any slight variations in conditions could result in history being made. However, it is a long shot since we don't how the wave will react to the oceanic environment once it has emerged.
I agree.



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2579. SLU
Quoting DDR:
SLU
Wikipedia says 13th deaths were associted with hurricane 2(1933)here in trinidad,it actually made landfall in NE venezuela.


Thank you. Before that Trinidad got hit in 1878 I think ..
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2578. Dakster
W456 on the money as usual...

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2577. JDSmith
Post a link to the oil Cam please?
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please quit saying it's lava - it just can't be lava
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I'm more into tropical meteorology myself.I hope you bcome successful in what you want to do.If you see jfv at the nhc tell him he's not wanted on the blog.
Thank you, lol.
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You see this wave I have been predicting is not just a wave but like a pre-depression with convection and a vigorous circulation. Any slight variations in conditions could result in history being made. However, it is a long shot since we don't how the wave will react to the oceanic environment once it has emerged.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2571. Fluid
If it IS lava, that cap thing can't last a whole lot longer.
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WINDSAT from this morning caught the wave over the Antilles showing winds of up to 35 knots. No signs of a closed surface low though.

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Wow check out the 1003 mb system in the EPAC as well on the 12Z ECMWF. I saw the atlantic system a few hours ago but never noticed the epac one until now.
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2567. Dakster
Looks like a gas pocket ignited...
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2566. Fluid
There is no oxygen there to flare the gas with, and notice the dark red stuff that instantly turns black... that must be lava.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Hey 456, you see the 12z ECMWF?


I was about to ask you all!

I believe development may take place in the EATL but it will have to get thru this band of shear to its west



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2563. Fluid
That's what I'm saying, it looks like lava and fire
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2561. pottery
Quoting Fluid:
ALERT!

What is going on with this oil leak????

Is that lava???

What the "beep" is going on down there??
Have they managed to flare the gas?
Is it a trick of the lights on the dispersants?
Weirdness...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24202
Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
Guys, is it true that the ECM is developing a system?


Do you ever look at things yourself?
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it's gotta be a light
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
Guys, is it true that the ECM is developing a system?


Yep...in the Central Atlantic. Probably going to hit South Florida.
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holy moly - is that fire on the webcam - somebody please look
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
Guys, is it true that the ECM is developing a system?
Take a look for yourself:

ECMWF 00z & 12z
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I am surprised the NHC mentioned the wave nearing the islands and not the SW Caribbean disturbance.....however, the 2 maybe more related than we thing.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2553. Dakster
So when it goes from an El Nino to a La Nina in a short time is that called an El Pendejo?

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Hey 456, you see the 12z ECMWF?

Interesting stuff.
I agree.

ECMWF 12z 168 hours.
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Quoting scott39:
Didnt it intesify on land?
Yes it's my favorite storm for defying all expectations fortunately even the bad ones. It was just a fun storm to track.
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Quoting Weather456:
The SW Caribbean is cooking tonight.


Hey 456, you see the 12z ECMWF?
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15864
2548. pottery
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Maybe your brain is a little addled from turbulence on your flight.

Yeah! That's what it is! Cranial Turbulence. Happens all the time...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24202
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Interesting read mh09.Plan to be a weatherman one day like al rocker??
I'm not in meteorology as much as I am into tropical meteorology. I absolutely love the tropics and well love to work at the NHC.
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Lot's of places are overdue Mobile, practically all of the East cost north of Jupiter including New England, and I don't beieve the lesser Antilles have seen a major hurricane since Ivan and PR since Georges, Northern Lesser Antilles since Lenny.
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2544. scott39
Quoting spathy:
I remember watching Fay.
After a while the only thing I could say was YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!
ITS GOING WHERE?
Didnt it intesify on land?
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2543. pottery
Quoting DDR:

Hehe
Do you remeber what Ts Alma was like?(1974)

Yeah! I remember Alma well. Lots of damage in south.
And I remember going to Tobago the week after Flora. Massive!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24202
2542. Greyelf
Quoting atmoaggie:

Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that meeting...


Maybe Patrap is bringing he who shall not be named a new shower curtain that has new technology imbedded in it to record all of his user names.
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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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