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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2242. NRAamy
It's going to go right over JFV's house.


you mean his outhouse....
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A weak cold front went through Florida today, at least it lowers the rain chances for now.
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
The sky is falling, the sky is falling, there is rain approaching the Islands, Gotta go board up, it's comming to Florida, it is and as a 5.


It's going to go right over JFV's house.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21333
2231. Levi32
Excellent analysis, Thanks you know your stuff!
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2234. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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The sky is falling, the sky is falling, there is rain approaching the Islands, Gotta go board up, it's comming to Florida, it is and as a 5.
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2231. Levi32
The tropical wave in the windward islands is doing some interesting things right now. A weak low-level vortex formed along the wave axis underneath the thunderstorms several hours ago, but has since been kicked out westward and become exposed. One should not mistake this for the wave axis, as the axis is still back over the windwards. The reason this vortex is racing out in front of the wave is because the surface easterly trade wind flow is screaming across the islands right now at 25 knots. This is much faster than the mid-level flow that is steering the tropical wave itself, which is only flowing from the east at about 15 knots. This difference is causing the low-level vortex, which could not be held under the thunderstorms, to get carried out in front of the wave, westward at a much faster pace than the wave itself.

Another thing that helped cause this is the strong westerly flow aloft, and thus wind shear, being inflicted over the wave by the TUTT to the northwest. You can see this on satellite, evidenced by all the thunderstorms being east of the wave axis, and the high clouds are being blown rapidly away from them to the east, illustrating the strong upper flow that is shearing the system.

The now exposed low-level vortex is dissipating and will eventually fully dissolve into the strong trade wind flow. While this is a sign of a disorganized system due to the wind shear, it is also a sign of a vigorous wave that means business, and is lashing the Windward Antilles Islands with nasty weather today.



Low-level steering flow, showing the very fast trade winds of up to 25 knots near the Antilles Islands:



Mid-level steering flow, showing the much slower mid-level winds that are steering the tropical wave axis:


Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
2230. hydrus
Quoting leo305:


yea I was looking at that, and asked myself "How the heck did this thing survive all those mountains and remained in tack to just jump to CAT 2 strength right after"
I remember on the news they were saying that conditions in the upper levels of the atmosphere were good enough for the hurricane to maintain its circulation, even though it was being torn apart between 0 and 12,000 feet.
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2229. EricSFL
Quoting ChildOfThe60s:
Um.... Charley, Ivan... they hit in 2004, not 1998.

(I happen to recall vividly b/c Charley hit on my DD's birthday AND took our house with him.)


Who said they hit on '98 ?
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2228. NRAamy
group hug!!!!!


:)
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Um.... Charley, Ivan... they hit in 2004, not 1998.

(I happen to recall vividly b/c Charley hit on my DD's birthday AND took our house with him.)
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2226. EricSFL
Quoting leo305:


yea I was looking at that, and asked myself "How the heck did this thing survive all those mountains and remained in tack to just jump to CAT 2 strength right after"


I guess Georges had ideal atmospheric conditions in order to maintain its strength.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Boy did I ever screw it up. I was trying to complement your family as being good locking. Oh Well. I took it down. Sorry again.
It's Ok don't worry about it, we all get the wrong impression at times maybe I'm just as guilty we all tend to take things differently, let's move on to weather!
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2224. leo305
Quoting hydrus:
Georges was a remarkable hurricane. It remained at hurricane strength while moving over the Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and practically the entire length of Cuba. A very rare event. I believe the last time that happened was in 1894.


yea I was looking at that, and asked myself "How the heck did this thing survive all those mountains and remained in tack to just jump to CAT 2 strength right after"
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Quoting stormpetrol:

Its ok personally for me at 5"9" & 210 lbs I couldn't care less, but when it comes to my family, my wife and 2 sons & nieces well its like the Merle Haggard song you're walking onthe "fighting side of me" don't worry you're forgiven, I stepped out of line more than once with no bad intentions , it happens to the best us, Thumbs up for a safe season without harm to anyone or anywhere!


Boy did I ever screw it up. I was trying to complement your family as being good locking. Oh Well. I took it down. Sorry again.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting indianrivguy:


I thought the pictures were great, thanks for sharing them.
Thank you very much!
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Quoting stormpetrol:

you know what I won't even comment on that, have fun buddy, personally I couldn't care less, sames some people just go out of their way to insult people, I won't stoop to your level, I'll just leave it at that!


I thought the pictures were great, thanks for sharing them.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


I apologize sincerely. Didn't mean to hurt any feelings. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

Its ok personally for me at 5"9" & 210 lbs I couldn't care less, but when it comes to my family, my wife and 2 sons & nieces well its like the Merle Haggard song you're walking onthe "fighting side of me" don't worry you're forgiven, I stepped out of line more than once with no bad intentions , it happens to the best us, Thumbs up for a safe season without harm to anyone or anywhere!
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Quoting stormpetrol:

you know what I won't even comment on that, have fun buddy, personally I couldn't care less, sames some people just go out of their way to insult people, I won't stoop to your level, I'll just leave it at that!


I apologize sincerely. Didn't mean to hurt any feelings. I'll try to be more careful in the future.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
2218. EricSFL
http://www.meto.umd.edu/~stevenb/hurr/98/georges/bgeoch4.n14.sep25_0807.gif
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


The biggest one is truly a ruin but the rest look ok to me. I count more than 3 though.

Oh stop maybe he meant the rock structure.

you know what I won't even comment on that, have fun buddy, personally I couldn't care less, sames some people just go out of their way to insult people, I won't stoop to your level, I'll just leave it at that!
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2215. EricSFL


Georges as it neared Key West, FL. Cat. 2 by then.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


crud.. I just spent ten minutes looking for that image in my files... oh well, it least i didn't host it.
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2211. hydrus
Quoting EricSFL:


Georges '98
Georges was a remarkable hurricane. It remained at hurricane strength while moving over the Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and practically the entire length of Cuba. A very rare event. I believe the last time that happened was in 1894.
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Quoting Torgen:
Ok, WHAT the heck is a "neutercane?"


http://www.onestorm.org/prepare/storms-explained/hurricanes/HurricaneDefinitionsFaq.aspx

FAQ: Basic Hurricane Definitions

What is a neutercane?

Contributed by Neal Dorst

A neutercane is a small (meso-)scale (< 100 miles in diameter) low-pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical cyclone and mid-latitude or extratropical cyclone. A subclass of sub-tropical cyclone, neutercanes are distinguished by their small size and their origination, sometimes forming within mesoscale convective complexes.

The term was coined by Robert Bundgaard, after he participated in a research flight in the early 1970's. He witnessed a small cyclonic circulation over land, which appeared to have both tropical and extratropical characteristics. He used the term in later discussions with Dr. Bob Simpson, then director of the National Hurricane Center. 'Neutercane' was meant to synthesize the word 'neutral' and 'hurricane' to imply a hurricane-like vortex which was midway between tropical and extratropical.

Dr. Simpson observed similar circulations on geostationary satellite loops, and conducted an investigation with hurricane specialist Banner Miller. He presented a talk on them at the 8th AMS Conference on Hurricane and Tropical Meteorology in 1973. During the 1972 hurricane season, Simpson inaugurated use of the term in official bulletins, labeling the second (Bravo) and third (Charlie) subtropical cyclones observed that year as Neutercanes. (Neutercane Bravo transformed into Hurricane Betty.) However, objections in the press to the term as possibly sexist led to NOAA management discouraging use of the term, and ordering Simpson to cease use of any further Government resources in conducting research on the phenomenon.

From then on, the term "Sub-tropical Cyclone" was used for all such systems. However, the term entered into several dictionaries, including the AMS Glossary of Meteorology (which misidentifies them as "large"), and has been used in the scientific literature.
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Quoting TampaTom:

Also, remember that before 1975 - no global GOES satellite coverage...

Your mileage may vary...



My (unscientific) analysis is that if the 1st named storm forms before the last week of May or after mid-June it is correlated to the total number of storms froming. If the 1st storm forms between those times, it doens't really mean anything.
Member Since: May 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
Quoting stormpetrol:
If anyone cares you can click on my avatar and view 3 photos of the mayan ruin in Santa Rita, Corozal, Belize.

Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
2204. hydrus
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Thanks Keeper...Again.:)
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2203. NRAamy
Yikes.JFV is probally sreaming his head off.

yeah, and can you imagine the echo effect in his bathroom?
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, look T-Dude, It has Florida under almost 50% under water


Kind of makes you think of Venice, maybe, huh? Time to buy beachfront property north od the lake...
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2200. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Whata coincodince.Everybody was talking about the two hurricanes I had watched a video about today.Hugo,and georges.


I was living in Puerto Rico at the time when Georges came by. Very bad experience let me tell you. I was staying on the 14th floor of a building atop a hill. Thankfully none of the windows suffered damage, but the apartment was flooded with 2 inches of water and campletely damaged the tile floor and furniture. Parts of El Yunque rain forest were devastated.
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2198. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting TampaTom:


We're still trying to figure that one out...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutercane
The term "neutercane" was coined by Bob Bundgaard for small subtropical cyclones which formed from mesoscale features. His friend Bob Simpson, director of NHC, adopted the term and began using it in seasonal summaries. However, when he began issuing public statements during the 1972 Atlantic hurricane season with the term 'neutercane', newspapers protested the term was "sexist". Bob White, administrator of NOAA at that time, ordered Simpson to cease use of the term and it fell into disuse.[3]
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2197. EricSFL


Georges '98
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I am on my smart phone and not looking say satellite loops, but is the island convection calmed down as I expected?

I will answer my own question after looking, yes it has! Thanks for the assistance everyone!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Keeper you're killing me with all these pics lol. I sooo remember this house. At the time the storm hit I had a beat up mustang, and my husband (ex now) had a new truck.He traded parking places with me thinking his truck would be safer in my spot...my car did fine. His truck had a telephone pole laying across it. And part of our house. Hmmm gotta love karma. :)
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Quoting Torgen:
Ok, WHAT the heck is a "neutercane?"


We're still trying to figure that one out...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutercane
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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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