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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Katrina did hit somewhere else and not New Orleans. You might want to check out pictures of our Mississippi Gulf Coast before and after Katrina. You will see devastation. Our coastline was like an Etch-A-Sketch after shaking it: We were nearly completely wiped out to a blank slate!

Quoting gator23:


Katrina would not have been as bad if it hit anywhere else. The storm surge it brought broke the levees which is why it was so devastating. A better analogy is HUGO and ANDREW. Andrew was a cat 5 monster that devasted south Miami and it formed very late in a very SLOW season.
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I think one thing can be guaranteed, and that is, unlike last year, we will get our first named storm before August 15th. There's no way a wave won't take advantage of these well above average favorable conditions well before that date..
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting kmanislander:


What I am really waiting to see is where the A/B high sets up. In this regard it is critical whether we transition into La Nina, which seems to be where we are heading, or whether the fall off stalls at Neutral. La Nina would likely see the A/B ridge push back to very near the East coast and at times bridge across to the GOM. That scenario would be extremely dangerous in a year with potent easterly waves and lead to more landfalling systems in both the Caribbean and the US.


Kman you are exactly correct......the strength of the A/B High and its location is the entire key to this years season.....actually it usually always is.....if it too strong it would also imped some development and keep everything south of the ConUS and Mexico will get STorm after Storm hitting it. WE will see very soon my friend.....First of July will tell us a bunch.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
1588. IKE
Quoting kmanislander:


What I am really waiting to see is where the A/B high sets up. In this regard it is critical whether we transition into La Nina, which seems to be where we are heading, or whether the fall off stalls at Neutral. La Nina would likely see the A/B ridge push back to very near the East coast and at times bridge across to the GOM. That scenario would be extremely dangerous in a year with potent easterly waves and lead to more landfalling systems in both the Caribbean and the US.


Odds are that's what is going to happen.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting kmanislander:


What I am really waiting to see is where the A/B high sets up. In this regard it is critical whether we transition into La Nina, which seems to be where we are heading, or whether the fall off stalls at Neutral. La Nina would likely see the A/B ridge push back to very near the East coast and at times bridge across to the GOM. That scenario would be extremely dangerous in a year with potent easterly waves and lead to more landfalling systems in both the Caribbean and the US.


But could a La Nina make the high strong enough to keep the storms down in the Caribbean and away from the U.S. like in 2007 with Dean and Felix? Not like a major landfall there is better than anywhere else, just wondering if we could have a similar scenario.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Back later. Have a great day.
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Quoting IKE:
What I do see is healthy waves for early to mid June. Ominous sign?


What I am really waiting to see is where the A/B high sets up. In this regard it is critical whether we transition into La Nina, which seems to be where we are heading, or whether the fall off stalls at Neutral. La Nina would likely see the A/B ridge push back to very near the East coast and at times bridge across to the GOM. That scenario would be extremely dangerous in a year with potent easterly waves and lead to more landfalling systems in both the Caribbean and the US.
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AOI

AOI

AOI

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Quoting IKE:
What I do see is healthy waves for early to mid June. Ominous sign?


YEP for sure.....LOOK OUT JULY!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
1580. IKE
What I do see is healthy waves for early to mid June. Ominous sign?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1579. beell
The GFS puzzle is why it takes this disturbance across the Caribbean and parks it over the Gulf of Honduras for at least two days-towards the end of next week. It may be related to a blocking ULL over the BOC (?)
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Good morning folks

The wave everyone is watching this morning will be a rain maker but has little chance of developing until it reaches beyond 78 West. The eastern Caribbean is hostile at the best of times and this early in the season we would look to the Southern and Western Caribbean for development.

Historically, over the past 25 years or so less than 10 TDs have formed in the eastern Caribbean and those that did form were either peak season CV waves or spawned by lows on the tail end of late season fronts in the October/ November time frame.

Add to that the high levels of shear that dominate all the way to near Jamaica.

Once near 78W things could change but for now just something to follow.

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I don't TRULY see anything possibilities out there within the next 48hrs. The wave approaching the Island Chains is in way to much Shear. As thurderstorms have been enhanced by the stronger shear and will die out soon. The only thing to truly watch if your a die hard would be the tailend of the cold front off the tip of Florida as that is in lower shear and something might try to develop in the trough of low pressure that has stalled. Nothing else appears possible to me IN MY OPINION!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Preliminary discussion from the CARIBBEAN FORECAST DISCUSSION

Excerpt:

IN THE SHORT RANGE...AS THE TUTT MEANDERS ACROSS THE NORTHERN
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS...TROPICAL WAVES ENTERING THE ISLAND CHAIN
CONTINUE TO AMPLIFY ACROSS 14N/15N...WHICH IS UNUSUAL FOR JUNE
(MORE COMMON IN AUGUST-OCTOBER). ALTHOUGH THE BULK OF THE
MOISTURE/ENERGY WILL REMAIN TO THE SOUTH OF 16N...I EXPECT SOME OF
THEIR MOISTURE TO MAKE IT TO THE FORECAST AREA ON DAY 02 (FRIDAY).
POSITIVE INTERACTION WITH SEA BREEZE CONVERGENCE AS WELL AS WITH
THE TUTT ALOFT WILL POSSIBLY MAKE IT QUITE INTENSE...IF NOT
EXPLOSIVE...PRECIPITATION EVENT.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10875
Where's the dust?
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1571. gator23
Quoting cg2916:
BTW, we need a name for this wave other than "The Windward Islands Wave". How about "Zero Wave" since it's at a 0% chance.

Great, now I'm thinking of that Zero Wing thing...

All your waves are belong to us.


What the heck let's just call it "Ghost Storm Ana" Im sure some of our bloggers who were here last year will appreciate that haha!
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Any chance this wave will have a invest up in 2-3 days?


Could become an investigation area BUT very little chance at any significant development as shear/surface pressures are still quite high across tha area.Upper conditions (could) be somewhat favorable went it makes it to the western caribbean.
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1569. IKE

Tropical Wave near Windward Islands
Jun 9, 2010 8:07 AM

As of Wednesday morning, EDT, the strongest tropical wave in the Atlantic was centered near 12 degrees North and 58 degrees West. This is just east of Barbados, Granada and St. Vincent. This wave will cross these islands today with 1-3 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 40 mph. However, this system is experiencing strong shear, so development of this tropical wave is not expected.

A few tropical waves have moved off the Africa Coast in recent days. They have been weakening due to strong wind shear, but the tropical waves were strong over Africa. This area will have to be watched due to warmer than usual water. However, shear is expected to remain strong. During most tropical seasons, the eastern Atlantic doesn't become active until the late summer months.

By AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1568. gator23
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Any chance this wave will have a invest up in 2-3 days?

Yes near a 0 % chance for the next 48 hours
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1567. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1566. cg2916
BTW, we need a name for this wave other than "The Windward Islands Wave". How about "Zero Wave" since it's at a 0% chance.

Great, now I'm thinking of that Zero Wing thing...

All your waves are belong to us.
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Any chance this wave will have a invest up in 2-3 days?
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g'morning!
for the record, when it was at 35L, sailingallover said he thought the AOI (currently at 0% in 48) was somepin to watch.
of course, no one here is keeping score...

Looks like Pottery's going to get more rain.
IRLoop
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1563. cg2916
Morning everyone!

Looks like we have something to track! I tell you, though, when I read the TWO I was like, "What?" I even went back to see if it had maybe like a 10% chance at 2 AM and then died down.

I do think they're implying that this won't develop in the next 48 hours, but we might want to watch it afterwards.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Morning all!


Good Afternoon!
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1561. IKE
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR 6 TO 10 AND 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOKS
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS, MD
300 PM EDT TUE JUNE 08 2010

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR JUN 14 - 18 2010

TODAY'S ENSEMBLE MEANS ARE IN FAIR AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA FLOW PATTERN
FORECAST OVER NORTH AMERICA. SUBTROPICAL RIDGING IS PREDICTED FOR THE SOUTHERN
CONUS WITH A STRONGER LARGE SCALE TROUGH OFF THE NEW ENGLAND COAST.



8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR JUN 16 - 22 2010

THE MODELS SOLUTIONS FOR MEAN 500-HPA HEIGHTS DURING THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD
ARE SIMILAR TO THE 6-10 DAY MEAN. DURING WEEK TWO, THE ENSEMBLE MEANS FROM THE
GFS, ECMWF, AND CANADIAN MODELS ALL FORECAST A SUBTROPICAL RIDGE OVER THE
SOUTHERN CONUS.

ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INDICATED FOR
PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST AND IS SUPPORTED BY NAEFS.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1560. calder
or a slow moving storm like Mitch - that would surely be the worst of them all... Little bit too far out to be forecasting Alex from this wave, let's just keep an eye on the wave
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1558. WxLogic
Good Morning...

So we have some eyes checking out the TWAVE in the Windward Islands.

It does have the potential to at least become a TD assuming it sable to survive the shear to it's west (across the central Caribbean). Current conditions are of those of zero SAL to worry about... it has an OK to decent upper level divergence and low level convergence is OK.
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1557. IKE
Quoting Jeff9641:


THe NWS of Tampa & melbourne actually mention the Euro as spliting the ridge as a trough builds down the east coast. The Euro however does not show this storm at all.


I've seen the 6-10 day and 8-14 day precip outlooks. Both calling for above average rain in the lower SE USA. I haven't read the prognostic discussion as to why.

Probably a dying front or a weakness. Think I'll read it now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Morning all!
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


It was still interesting to me. It probably doesn't take into account several factors that the tropical models do though.


Exactly. Plus, its on the outer ranges of its forecasting "nest".


The NAM does well with coastal storms and subtropical/non-tropical lows near the CONUS.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
1554. gator23
Quoting twhcracker:


i so agree with you! there were so many but most of them honestly just cooled things off ad helped the drought. but my gosh those bad ones, its terrifying to think of even ONE katrina hitting anywhere. and katrina was so horrible it overshadowed the rest. I have a friend that was in wilma and he kept saying "everyone is talking about nothing but katrina and we are devastated here..."so just one storm of tjat caliber would be terrible and two magnified exponentially. I completely agreem it wasnt the number of storms in 2005 but the intensity of even one of the worst ones!


Katrina would not have been as bad if it hit anywhere else. The storm surge it brought broke the levees which is why it was so devastating. A better analogy is HUGO and ANDREW. Andrew was a cat 5 monster that devasted south Miami and it formed very late in a very SLOW season.
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1553. IKE
It is far out in time...approaching a week. Too far out in time. Best to just wait and watch. Interesting though.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1551. IKE
Quoting Jeff9641:


I saw this on the NOGAPS yesterday IKE but we all know how the NOGAPS is with storms. If the ridge splits IKE as a result of a trough building down from the north then this could come to the Panhandle.


^-^

:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting gator23:


they didnt say 0% they said NEAR 0% in 48 hours. That suggests that is may form in the next 48 hours however formation is more likely after this period.


Yep I agree. It got rounded down to 0%, which mean they had it at 1-4% chance. Either way, the outlook implies that they think it has a greater chance beyond the 48 hours that the outlook covers..
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1549. gator23
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


I've actually been saying that for the past 3 posts before that, I was just acknowledging why people might think it was weird.


This wasnt directed at you. It was an explanation to our less experienced members. I was trying to help them digest the information.
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1547. IKE
jeff941...I see your response. Ignore my post #1545.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


The NAM isnt a tropical model. Or even a global model.


It was still interesting to me. It probably doesn't take into account several factors that the tropical models do though.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1545. IKE
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Veering north? Can you point me to a model that shows that? Like an Arlene type situation?


Same here. I want to see those models. Not saying they aren't out there. I just haven't seen them.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1544. gator23
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Whoa, whoa, whoa....

Doesn't every disturbance out there right now have a 0% chance of forming?



they didnt say 0% they said NEAR 0% in 48 hours. That suggests that is may form in the next 48 hours however formation is more likely after this period.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
06Z NAM has something pretty serious in the Eastern Caribbean within the next 3 days:

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/nam/06/index_sl7_m_loop.shtml


The NAM isnt a tropical model. Or even a global model.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776

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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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