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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3192. scott39
Is the westerlies still so strong because of the time of the year?
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3191. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
0.0.0. ike
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54413
3190. IKE



TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU JUN 10 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER ROBERTS/PASCH
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Quoting P451:


A lot of activity yet no conducive atmosphere to make 'em pop.

Climatology plays a big role. And when Climatology catches up? We're going to see things explode. Yet, not until it does.


Looking at various upper air graphics, looks like that switch is flipped in a couple weeks. Surely that can change but, GFS specifically has been consistent with it. Tropically I don't care for the GFS but, it seems to do rather well with the dynamics.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
mornin' folks!
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the strong westerly wind shear emanating from the ULL north of hipanola will preclude any form of development of the robust tropical wave which is about to exit the african coast friday. although conditions inthe EATL may allow for some organisation before it reaches the lesser antilles the chances of a depression forming is slim, The ULL must first move out of the area if this tropical wave were to develop
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3184. WxLogic
Good Morning...
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3183. K8eCane
Question.. How likely is it, based on current conditions and not climatology, that a CV storm could form soon?
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3196
10:00 UTC

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3181. IKE
It's June. Cold fronts don't come down into the GOM very often...actually rarely. It continues through July...August...early September...on average.

It's usually SE to south winds. Sometimes it's east...or SW, but it's usually an onshore flow.

The oil volcano is still gushing. More and more oil is getting into the GOM daily. Anywhere from SE Texas coast over to the big bend of Florida and points beyond, this summer and for the foreseeable future....watch out for...

oil!
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Quoting IKE:


Mobile,AL. marine....

"MARINE...SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS AROUND 10 TO 15 KNOTS THIS MORNING
WILL BECOME MORE SOUTHERLY BY TONIGHT AND REMAIN SO THROUGH SATURDAY
AS A HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE REMAINS IN PLACE ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN
STATES AND THE NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY
MAY DRIFT SOUTH TO NEAR OR OVER THE MARINE AREA ON SUNDAY...
RESULTING IN MORE OF A LIGHT AND VARIABLE WIND FLOW. BUT THIS
BOUNDARY WILL DISSIPATE AND HIGH PRESSURE WILL REBUILD EARLY TO
MIDDLE PART OF NEXT WEEK...WITH PREDOMINANT LIGHT ONSHORE FLOW
RETURNING. LITTLE CHANGE IN SEAS IS EXPECTED THROUGH THE
PERIOD...GENERALLY 1 TO 3 FOOT WAVES ON GULF WATERS AND LIGHT CHOP
CONDITIONS OF BAYS AND INLAND WATERWAYS THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO
THE EARLY PART OF NEXT WEEK."

Well i hope the crap stay off of your beaches up there.
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3179. IKE
Quoting severstorm:

Morning Ike,I thought dr masters said that the wind was out of the se and would keep the oil off the panhandle for awhile?


Mobile,AL. marine....

"MARINE...SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS AROUND 10 TO 15 KNOTS THIS MORNING
WILL BECOME MORE SOUTHERLY BY TONIGHT AND REMAIN SO THROUGH SATURDAY
AS A HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE REMAINS IN PLACE ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN
STATES AND THE NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY
MAY DRIFT SOUTH TO NEAR OR OVER THE MARINE AREA ON SUNDAY...
RESULTING IN MORE OF A LIGHT AND VARIABLE WIND FLOW. BUT THIS
BOUNDARY WILL DISSIPATE AND HIGH PRESSURE WILL REBUILD EARLY TO
MIDDLE PART OF NEXT WEEK...WITH PREDOMINANT LIGHT ONSHORE FLOW
RETURNING. LITTLE CHANGE IN SEAS IS EXPECTED THROUGH THE
PERIOD...GENERALLY 1 TO 3 FOOT WAVES ON GULF WATERS AND LIGHT CHOP
CONDITIONS OF BAYS AND INLAND WATERWAYS THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO
THE EARLY PART OF NEXT WEEK."
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Quoting IKE:
Ankle-deep mousse-like oil on beach at Ala.-Fla. line

From the article...""Through the weekend, significant portions of the plume will be pushed into the Panhandle,'' County Commissioner Gene Valentino said."

Morning Ike,I thought dr masters said that the wind was out of the se and would keep the oil off the panhandle for awhile?
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Good Morning

Blog Updated

Tropical Update



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3175. IKE
Ankle-deep mousse-like oil on beach at Ala.-Fla. line

From the article...""Through the weekend, significant portions of the plume will be pushed into the Panhandle,'' County Commissioner Gene Valentino said."
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3174. SLU
FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

ONE TROPICAL CYCLONE...TROPICAL STORM AGATHA...WAS OBSERVED DURING
MAY. THE LONG-TERM AVERAGE FOR MAY IS FOR A TROPICAL STORM TO FORM
ABOUT EVERY OTHER YEAR. THE LAST TIME A NAMED STORM FORMED IN MAY
WAS IN 2008.


right on the money
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Anybody here?

I'm doing a quick check. I'll do another fly by in maybe an hour.
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3172. JLPR2
ah everyone went to bed, I wasn't able to say night all! XD

Well I'm the last one here, but I'm going to sleep too :D
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Its about that time see you later today.
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3170. xcool
bye alex .and all
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3169. xcool
yeah.guess i;m go bed
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Anybody here?


Yes but i'm going to bed now. 5 am isn't possible lol
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Cool i guess its just us in here.
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3165. xcool
yeah
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Anybody here?
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Quoting xcool:
bigbig anticyclone
yeah it is
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3162. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
you're welcome.
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Nevermind im not going yet.
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3160. xcool
bigbig anticyclone
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
mrsalagranny

area to look at map 10N 40W (there is an interesting low potential that may form)
Thank you Hades i see now the area in the Carribean that JLPR2 is looking at.I guess if I sit and look closely I can figure things out.LOL!!!!It would help if I put my glasses on.
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Quoting xcool:
Well that is an impressive anticyclone there
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3157. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:


impressive anticlone!
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3156. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
ya.. Sunday when that low is suppose to form is still days away.
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3155. xcool
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3154. JLPR2
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Aparently not but im still sticking to my guns here as im still not buying what the models are showing now if that tropical wave looks good when it goes into the atlantic then i might relent but for now have to go with climatology here.


yep, if the wave survives 48hrs on water then I'll be interested and very surprised too XD
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Quoting JLPR2:
Well, I see a weak system entering the Caribbean at a low latitude, the model hasn't changed its mind apparently

Aparently not but im still sticking to my guns here as im still not buying what the models are showing now if that tropical wave looks good when it goes into the atlantic then i might relent but for now have to go with climatology here.
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3152. xcool
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3151. JLPR2
Well, I see a weak system entering the Caribbean at a low latitude, the model hasn't changed its mind apparently

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3150. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
mrsalagranny

area to look at map 10N 40W (there is an interesting low potential that may form)
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Quoting JLPR2:


It looks too similar :O
So we have a consensus of these two models, wont be convinced until I see more join in
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3145. xcool
CapeVerdeCanes yeah,we have too
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3144. xcool
GFS 000%
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I wish i could read these maps like all you guys and gals can.But I guess its best I cant.I would probably be freaking out in the heart of the season lol.
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3142. xcool
JLPR2 .:)
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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.