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 HurricaneKyle:
Is the drama over? Lol. Tomorrows my last day as a sophomore, get to be a junior! :-) made a gpa of 3.7 unweighted.


Nice.. Just finished my freshmen year, I have no clue what you mean by unweighted, but I pulled out an overall 3.875, counting electives. 3.75 not counting. (3.8 or 3.9)
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2090. SLU
Quoting largeeyes:


So between Castries and Soufrie?


well in casties but just south of the city
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5367
Quoting NRAamy:
Smurf....I hope you received my apology...which I truly meant...

:)

I did, thank you it meant a lot to me
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We in Dominica are right on the N edge of the area of interest. Right now getting a few light showers but mixed in with some very gusty winds easily 30mph+ at times. Cloud cover gradually getting heavier.
There are some shaky slopes on our East coast from a few weeks ago hope rain stays South.
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hmm what do you see

24H



48H



72H






Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
Quoting SLU:


Just south of Castries


So between Castries and Soufrie?
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2085. SLU
Quoting largeeyes:


What part of St. Lucia?


Just south of Castries
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5367
2084. NRAamy
Smurf....I hope you received my apology...which I truly meant...

:)
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Quoting NRAamy:
hi Smurf!

:)

yesterday when all the insults started I just decided to leave and let the blog cool off for a day, now I see that we are back in topic.
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2082. 900MB
Pressure down to 29.95 (1014) and falling in Barbados (Grantley Adams Airport). Wind stil SE at 20mph.
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2081. NRAamy
Oss.....I have a feeling I don't want to read that....

:(
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2080. Ossqss
?????????????

Why Did The U.S. Refuse International Help on The Gulf Oil Spill?

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
Quoting cyclonekid:
Taking a look back...5 years earlier




Do you by any chance live in Mobile?
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unweighted gpa wtf?
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2077. NRAamy
hi Smurf!

:)
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Is the drama over? Lol. Tomorrows my last day as a sophomore, get to be a junior! :-) made a gpa of 3.7 unweighted.
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Quoting reedzone:
It never became anything, just 97L


i know but we named it in the blog

thats why "ana" is in quotation marks
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Good afternoon all!!
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2073. IKE
12Z ECMWF...
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Quoting SLU:
Current conditions at my location:

Overcast with heavy showers & thunderstorms
Wind E - ES @ 10 - 15 mph

We had gusts of 35 - 40mph earlier on this morning.

Strongest wave in the Windwards since July 20th last year.


What part of St. Lucia?
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Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


with those ppl out of work, how will they afford hurricane supplies muchless be able to afford to evac out?
They could try to collect unemployment benefits, if that doesn't work - BP should pay up!
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
Hey Cyclone, how did you get those pics?


if you look at the bottom right of those images, it says "google"
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2068. NRAamy
2065. LemieT 11:49 AM PDT on June 09, 2010
One sure fire way to kill a troll, ignore it.


but that's too easy and makes too much sense!!!

;)
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Taking a look back...5 years earlier



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2065. LemieT
One sure fire way to kill a troll, ignore it.
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Quoting HurricaneObserver:

Ok, lets try a link instead Link


Muy Calliente!

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Quoting serialteg:


wasnt that a beauty! what was it, "Ana"? i remember the year of the naked swirls hah!
It never became anything, just 97L
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TUTT low :
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Quoting reedzone:


Probably why the NHC mentioned it.. If 97L last year survived 50 knots, then I can see this suviving until it reaches the WC.


wasnt that a beauty! what was it, "Ana"? i remember the year of the naked swirls hah!
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Hey viking! Long time!
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Quoting StormW:


Just could start organizing up to the mid levels. If it were to survive, it could stand a little better chance, but would have to stay below the shear. 12Z shear forecast shows a little more favorable than the 06Z run.



yes its definetly not conducive yet in that stretch of atlantic ... the n.carolinas bit looks prime, but maybe there are other negative factors there
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Quoting HurricaneObserver:

I pasted this data into Excel and here is what I came up with:

Ok, lets try a link instead Link
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2056. Sergej7
06/09/2010 London. The British oil company British Petroleum bought out the search engines Google and Yahoo! Keywords relating to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, the campaign seeks to restore its reputation, spoiled environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, when you query phrases on the oil spill on the search pages are given not only results that contain criticism of BP, but also links that promote its efforts in the aftermath of the accident.

In BP confirmed that the company acquired the results of search queries related to the oil spill, but was assured that this is not PR-campaign.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
The US hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since 2005. Overdue?
Yep. 08 was close with Dolly. Cat 2 100mph And how could I forget Ike and Gustav they were Cat 2's as well
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Quoting twhcracker:


what does he say for this year I wonder...
He said we would have about 5-7 storms.. he was 50% correct. He hasn`t said anything bout this year yet.
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Quoting reedzone:


There is a reason for everything in life. This little cridder is CURRENTLY under 15-20 knots of shear, also according to your image, there is a naked swirl west of the convection.. So I can see why this has some attention, especially when it's heading to a much more favorable area in a few days. Notice in their discussion, the word CURRENTLY is noted.





if its heaeded towards the NW its going to be sheered by the TUTT,so I don't know where you get the sheer we'll be dropping,their was a anti-cyclone over the aoi about 2 days ago,if it survives it could possibly then develop IMO
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Looking at GFS upper air graphics. Everything looks to clear out in about completely in about 2 weeks. The Bermuda/Azores high is rather troubling to me as it will be westward ho for most anything that were to form. There is a series of high latitude troughs that make their way across but, none that penetrate far enough to break the ridge. However, taller storms may feel the effects more and be drawn north of the Caribbean only to go back west once the trough passes. The high remains 1024 through the period in varying locations but, the orientation & extent seems to always direct a path across the Atlantic. The GFS seems to be right on par with the longer range eurosip in showing lower than normal pressures and above normal precipitation in a swath across the lower Atlantic, Caribbean & GOM pretty much throughout the 2010 season.

EUROSIP pressures
JJA


JAS


ASO
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Quoting reedzone:
I want to personally apologize to BenBlogger, I bashed him for saying 2009 would be an unactive season, I am going to take him off my ignore list and think before I call him a troll, he was right all along.


what does he say for this year I wonder...
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I find it amazing that there are already comments about this season being a "bust" or that the NHC or for that matter, any forecast for cyclone productuion this season is incorrect...trolls are pretty predictable and use the same tricks every year...
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There is a very nice thunderstorm NW of Houston, Tx. It has excellent rotation and is slowly moving to the ENE. That storm is bringing heavy rains to the Texas hill country, but is also packing some high winds and pretty good lightning.

East of Houston, we have had good strong winds out of the South for the past hour as the system approaches. Considering the high temperatures and humidity today, with winds coming in from the Gulf feeding moisture into the system, this thing should really blow up into intense thunderstorms this afternoon. This system will be producing high winds, probably hail and tornadoes late today from NE Houston to the La,Ala,Tx border.

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Quoting HurricaneObserver:

I pasted this data into Excel and here is what I came up with:


I'm on tinterhooks!
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Quoting StormW:


Just could start organizing up to the mid levels. If it were to survive, it could stand a little better chance, but would have to stay below the shear. 12Z shear forecast shows a little more favorable than the 06Z run.



Probably why the NHC mentioned it.. If 97L last year survived 50 knots, then I can see this suviving until it reaches the WC.
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Quoting TampaTom:
FYI - Early Season activity - dates of first named storm and total number of named cyclones:

2009 - Aug 11 - 9 storms
2008 - May 30 - 16 storms
2007 - May 9 - 15 Storms
2006 - June 10 - 10 Storms
2005 - June 8 - 28 storms
2004 - July 31 - 15 storms
2003 - April 20 - 16 storms
2002 - July 14 - 12 storms
2001 - June 4 - 15 storms
2000 - June 7 - 15 storms
1999 - June 11 - 12 storms
1998 - July 27 - 14 storms
1997 - May 31 - 8 storms
1996 - June 17 - 14 storms
1995 - June 2 - 19 storms
1994 - June 30 - 7 storms
1993 - May 31 - 8 storms
1992 - August 17 - 7 storms
1991 - June 29 - 8 storms
1990 - July 22 - 14 storms

I pasted this data into Excel and here is what I came up with:
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
The US hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since 2005. Overdue?


As vulnerable as ever... a lot depends on where the storms form and the steering currents.
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Quoting NEwxguy:
Ok,haven't been here alot lately,but looking at all the trolls here,we can officially declare it hurricane season.June 9th!!!


LMAO, that was good! I hope you don't consider me a troll, I tend to get lost on other blogs when it's not hurricane season and come back when the weather has a severe outbreak or when the hurricane season starts! I stopped over today after I saw the NHC had an area of interest highlighted! Going to be an interesting year with all that oil in the Gulf, kind of scared of where a hurricane could deposit all that oil!
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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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