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 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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2191. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting hydrus:
.
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2190. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Hey.Yeah I don't know why people are already saying it's a bust and we'er only nine days into the season.In 2008 no storms formed in july but we all know how that season turned out.


Actually hurricane Bertha 2008 formed in July from a Cape Verde wave.
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Quoting HurricaneObserver:

Ok, I made a couple of charts. My picture is pending approval, but then it will show up here Link


Now, that's purty... Excellent work...
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2187. hydrus
.
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2186. hydrus
Quoting stormchic:


Wow, I saw the same thing happen during Andrew 92. In Homestead Fl.
<>img src="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A
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2185. Torgen
Ok, WHAT the heck is a "neutercane?"
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
What about Ivan in 2004?
Dean and Felix in 2007?

Omar and Paloma in 2008?
Gustav in 2008?

What about Jeanne in 2004?

Caribbean has had plenty more storms since the 90s
\

Emily, Dennis, and Wilma '05
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Hey stormpetrol what up b ay we need rain what do you think and yes that piece of energy does need watching

Hey wunderkid nothing much, just too hot man we need rain temp like 93 heat index 106 was in Belize last week tho much hotter there, don't want no storms but a good 2 day rain would do us real good here.
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2182. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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2181. JLPR2
Quoting stormchic:


Wow, I saw the same thing happen during Andrew 92. In Homestead Fl.


yeah, both were Cat 5's
scary monsters they are :S
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Quoting TampaTom:

Fair warning - before 1974, there be dragons. Neutercanes. Quasi-tropical systems. The works. So, I tried to count just storms that got names... I am so confused...

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

Your mileage may vary...



Ok, I made a couple of charts. My picture is pending approval, but then it will show up here Link
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2179. JLPR2
Quoting hydrus:
..............Picture from San Felipe Hurricane 1928..Puerto Rico.


yikes! But I'm more impressed by the fact that the palm tree is intact
XD
lol!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


I remember those images on tv never knowing what I a was about to go through...something I'll never forget.
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2176. Grothar
Quoting EricSFL:


Nice image I found from NASA about the effects of sea level rise on southern Florida.


Hey, look T-Dude, It has Florida under almost 50% under water
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
2175. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting stormchic:


Wow, I saw the same thing happen during Andrew 92. In Homestead Fl.
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Quoting hydrus:
..............Picture from San Felipe Hurricane 1928..Puerto Rico.


Wow, I saw the same thing happen during Andrew 92. In Homestead Fl.
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Quoting Floodman:
Hey viking! Long time!


Yep been lost in other forums for a bit but I'll be checking back more frequently now, live too close to the water not to keep an eye on it!
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:
It's been years since the Caribbean has had a storm of that magnitude, in 1995 Luis came in pretty close, and then Lenny in 1999

Hurricane Dean (2007). A really big event for the central Caribbean and Mexico.
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Quoting tornadodude:


try this: link

Cool... thanx!
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I am on my smart phone and not looking say satellite loops, but is the island convection calmed down as I expected?
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2169. EricSFL


Second try...
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2167. EricSFL


Nice image I found from NASA about the effects of sea level rise on southern Florida.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Its pretty funny how some of you are freaking out because we're nine days into the season and we haven't seen a storm yet.

Just blatantly shows how little you know...



It happens every year here at this time; nothing new.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

yeah, it was back in 1989, Jeff Masters has very good story of Hugo back from when he was with the Hurricane Hunters, they almost didn't make it out of that storm.

Um the storm in that image is spinning the wrong direction...
It's a postcard? Why wouldn't they just use a satellite image??
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2164. K8eCane
HI everyone
coastal nc here...been blogging here since 2005 and love this site. Wilmington is having its Hurricane information and preparedness workshop this saturday. Members of the NWS, local meteorologists and local emergency preparedness officials will be onhand
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2163. hydrus
..............Picture from San Felipe Hurricane 1928..Puerto Rico.
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Quoting weathermancer:
Anyone know the diff. between Fujita and Enhanced Fujita. I know the winds are structured differently, but why enhance it at all?


try this: link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


XX/XX/XL
MARK
12.8N/57.2W


Hey, keeper, will this become Alex, do you think?

-Snowy
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Piece of energy coming off the Columbian coast into SW Caribbean might bear watching.


Yes... nice impulse.
Been watching that since yesterday.

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1989 - June 24 - 11 storms
1988 - May 30 - 12 storms
1987 - May 25 - 7 storms
1986 - June 5 - 6 storms
1985 - July 15 - 12 storms
1984 - June 11 - 13 storms
1983 - July 29 - 4 storms
1982 - June 2 - 6 storms
1981 - May 6 - 12 storms
1980 - August 1 - 11 storms
1979 - June 11 - 9 storms
1978 - July 30 - 12 storms (Yes, there was as subtropical one on Jan 18...)
1977 - Aug 29 - 6 storms
1976 - May 21 - 10 storms
1975 - June 27 - 9 storms
1974 - June 22 - 11 storms
1973 - July 1 - 7 storms
1972 - June 14 - 7 storms
1971 - July 4 - 13 storms
1970 - May 17 - 10 storms
1969 - July 25 - 18 storms
1968 - June 1 - 8 storms
1967 - August 28 - 8 storms
1966 - June 4 - 11 storms
1965 - June 11 - 6 storms
1964 - August 5 - 9 storms
1963 - July 31 - 9 storms
1962 - August 26 - 5 storms
1961 - July 20 - 11 storms
1960 - June 23 - 7 storms
1959 - May 28 - 11 storms
1958 - June 14 - 10 storms
1957 - June 25 - 6 storms
1956 - July 25 - 7 storms
1955 - July 31 - 13 storms
1954 - June 24 - 11 storms
1953 - May 25 - 14 storms
1952 - Feb 2 (!) - 7 storms
1951 - May 15 - 10 storms
1950 - August 12 - 13 storms

Fair warning - before 1974, there be dragons. Neutercanes. Quasi-tropical systems. The works. So, I tried to count just storms that got names... I am so confused...

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

Your mileage may vary...


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ahhhh... wave near Leeward Islands starting to get a tad juicy.
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2157. SLU
Quoting EricSFL:
Is the convection on the wave shear enhanced?


Well as far as I see the wave is using the conditions (warm SSTs and moisture) to generate it's own convection.
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Hey stormpetrol what up b ay we need rain what do you think and yes that piece of energy does need watching
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Anyone know the diff. between Fujita and Enhanced Fujita. I know the winds are structured differently, but why enhance it at all?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2154. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
its waning anyway
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Piece of energy coming off the Columbian coast into SW Caribbean might bear watching.
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2152. EricSFL
Is the convection on the wave shear enhanced?
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2151. JLPR2
Quoting Caribbeanislands101:
We might get a hurricane a San Felipe down here this year, you never know


With how warm the Eastern Atl is and below normal MSLP I guess its possible, a cat 5 in the CATL is uncommon
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2150. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


XX/XX/XL
MARK
12.8N/57.2W
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2149. EricSFL
Hi all.
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We might get a hurricane a San Felipe down here this year, you never know
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2147. SLU
Quoting largeeyes:
SLU-

Gotcha, can't wait to go back there someday. Hope this hurricane season treats you all gently.


thank you .. i'm hoping so too
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2146. JLPR2
Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

Yes sir, It would destroy a lot of the islands, san felipe was super destructive, 160 mph, but it could have been a lot stronger, we'll never know for sure. ;-)


Yeah, it went over PR at its peak, lucky us :O
Well I hope that doesn't happen anytime soon ^^
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Hi. I see that the NHC has classified that there is a Tropical Wave in the Carribean. Can anyone show a map for the upper level wind forecast for the next 72 hours? Thanks.

-Snowlover123
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2144. leo305
vortocity is growig gradually with that wave.. as it moves west..
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Quoting JLPR2:


yeah scary one and to think PR hasn't had a Cat 5 since 1928, its scary to what a hurricane of that magnitude could to do us here -.-

Yes sir, It would destroy a lot of the islands, san felipe was super destructive, 160 mph, but it could have been a lot stronger, we'll never know for sure. ;-)
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

Does anyone remember Hugo?

Yeah, I was near Charlotte, NC for that storm. We were really not prepared for a storm that strong, so far inland. No power for a week, and we were lucky to get it back so quickly.
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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.