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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1392. xcool
Grothar anytime.lol
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1391. xcool
Levi32 you're bored tell truth lol
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1390. Grothar
Quoting xcool:


Thanks xcool. I hope Levi sees this. LOL
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Quoting weathersp:


Then why did you post it?!?! Although I did a slight "weenie delight" at the thought. The NAM is like the devil when it comes to the psychology of weenies and tropical development. Dam you Nam.


lol wtf
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


The 00Z NOGAPS also shows this feature. But as states a few posts up; the NOGAPS is quite inaccurate.


Still 2 models that are not good at forecasting development....but, when you start seeing concensus of models even the bad ones start agreeing with the good ones like the GFS, CMC, NGP, UKMET.......then we should take them serious as we all know. I don't really take things very serius until i see at least 2 of those 4 agreeing with something when looking out beyond 7 days!
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Quoting Levi32:


Cause I'm in a weird mood.


I think it is the record heat you are getting up there in Alaska

Should we be wary of when it breaks 60 up there? lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
excuse the language but DAMM the nam it busting up a storm









i know but thats incorrect....levi just mention a few posts down
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1385. xcool
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1384. Levi32
Quoting weathersp:


Then why did you post it?!?! Although I did a slight "weenie delight" at the thought. The NAM is like the devil when it comes to the psychology of weenies and tropical development. Dam you Nam.


Cause I'm in a weird mood.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting weathersp:


Then why did you post it?!?! Although I did a slight "weenie delight" at the thought. The NAM is like the devil when it comes to the psychology of weenies and tropical development. Dam you Nam.


LOL!
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Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:



Then why did you post it?!?! Although I did a slight "weenie delight" at the thought. The NAM is like the devil when it comes to the psychology of weenies and tropical development. Dam you Nam.
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1381. xcool
not let me sorry
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lol maybe you should lighten up TampaSpin cuz I was messing with you too lol


I know you were messing with him, take a chill
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:



The 00Z NOGAPS also shows this feature. But as states a few posts up; the NOGAPS is quite inaccurate.
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1378. xcool
i'm here
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excuse the language but DAMM the nam it busting up a storm








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Quoting Hurricanes101:
geez Tampa lighten up lol

I am sure everyone on here knows about the NAM, no one is freaking out about the NAM and no one is over-analyzing anything

just a good conversation about the potential of something in the SW Caribbean Sea during a time when systems can actually form there. I don't see what the big issue is


LIGHTEN.......UP maybe you should not speak up as i was just playing with Levi as he knows....he is a smart person....that said LOL at the end.......this is why i ignore nearly everything you post...
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1375. Grothar
Hey xcool, if you are still on post this image for me , please.


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/gmex/flash-rb.html
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Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:



Although that would be the WAVE that is coming into the Islands in a few days which will bring some squally weather.
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geez Tampa lighten up lol

I am sure everyone on here knows about the NAM, no one is freaking out about the NAM and no one is over-analyzing anything

just a good conversation about the potential of something in the SW Caribbean Sea during a time when systems can actually form there. I don't see what the big issue is :P
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7866
1372. xcool
hey rob.and alex
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1371. Levi32
Quoting TampaSpin:


NOW i know you don't trust the NAM.....the NAM is only good to forecast intensity of developed systems 24hrs out.....YOU KNOW THAT!


That's why I said I shouldn't have looked lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting Levi32:


That's why I said I shouldn't have looked...lol.

yea lol
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Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:



NOW i know you don't trust the NAM.....the NAM is only good to forecast intensity of developed systems 24hrs out.....YOU KNOW THAT!
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Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:

LOL!
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
hey scott
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1366. Levi32
Quoting btwntx08:

wow lol remember the nam isnt very good with tropical cyclones


That's why I said I shouldn't have looked...lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting Levi32:
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:


wow lol remember the nam isnt very good with tropical cyclones
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1364. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


Are your trying to burst my blob? LOL


Lol, may not be burstable for a couple days. The pesky thing is likely to sit around :P
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1363. Levi32
Dangit, I knew I shouldn't have looked...

The NAM 84 hours:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1362. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


Ah...the infamous tail of a cold front. There is some low-level vorticity near the northern Bahamas, but the thing isn't really in the best place for development, as it is moving into an area of large-scale subsidence due to the big high over the Gulf of Mexico, and although a surface trough will linger near SE Florida and the Bahamas over the next couple days, it will likely weaken and eventually dissipate.


Are your trying to burst my blob? LOL
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1361. xcool
hey wow what a longday for me
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
I think a little earlier than that early july is when our first system will form

in the same vote too :)
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1359. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:
The feature of the Southern coast of Florida is interesting. Our clouds done here are moving very rapidly to the Southeast, like when a low pressure is trying to form. Now come on, I am not saying one is. Anyone have any thoughts.



Ah...the infamous tail of a cold front. There is some low-level vorticity near the northern Bahamas, but the thing isn't really in the best place for development, as it is moving into an area of large-scale subsidence due to the big high over the Gulf of Mexico, and although a surface trough will linger near SE Florida and the Bahamas over the next couple days, it will likely weaken and eventually dissipate.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting sleetman1:
this is going to be a very boring 2 months before things crank up out there gents..
I think a little earlier than that early july is when our first system will form
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
well Grothar I don't care we need the rain and this might give it to us
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this is going to be a very boring 2 months before things crank up out there gents..
san antonio metro under flash flood warning still im planning to be there tomorrow
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gee
wow
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1352. Levi32
156 hours tries to make a comeback with the next wave east of Nicaragua.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1351. Grothar
The feature of the Southern coast of Florida is interesting. Our clouds done here are moving very rapidly to the Southeast, like when a low pressure is trying to form. Now come on, I am not saying one is. Anyone have any thoughts.

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Quoting Levi32:
0z GFS doesn't look promising. It drops the eastern Atlantic wave as I figured it might considering how it was generating it. It shoves a lot of energy from the Caribbean west into central America, with no chance to sit over water.

120 hours:

This is one model run even though i think its a plausible and really likily scenario the next model run well probably have the same solution as the 12z run and round and round we go.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting extreme236:


Post 1320. Again, maybe not a "storm" but an area of concern nonetheless.


Again you are using words that are not needed...CONCERN, CLEARLY! Bro, its gonna be a long season over analyzing things like that....Just sayin!!!!
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1348. Levi32
0z GFS doesn't look promising. It drops the eastern Atlantic wave as I figured it might considering how it was generating it. It shoves a lot of energy from the Caribbean west into central America, with no chance to sit over water.

120 hours:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
1347. Levi32
The strong easterly mid-level flow across the Caribbean due to the big high to the north will make things difficult for any disturbances, as the flow will try to shove them right into central America with little time to sit and grow in the Caribbean. This is different than several days ago when the model was waiting about 3 days longer before developing anything, and gave it a northwest window into the Gulf of Mexico.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting TampaSpin:


LOL......i just looked at the GFS! To use the word clearly is probably wishcasting.....LOL...JUST KIDDING.....honestly i really don't see anything that you are implying......here is the models...http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/


Post 1320. Again, maybe not a "storm" but an area of concern nonetheless.
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I seem to remember people on here using NOGAPS quite a bit during the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, not sure if really was all that effective though. I remember a lot of GFS use last year early in the season.
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Quoting extreme236:


GFS clearly shows something of concern in the SW Caribbean in just a few days.


LOL......i just looked at the GFS! To use the word clearly is probably wishcasting.....LOL...JUST KIDDING.....honestly i really don't see anything that you are implying......here is the models...http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/
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Quoting Drakoen:
NOGAPS= terrible model


NOGAPS= Not Overly Great Assessing Possible SYSTEMS
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I don't see anything really developing.....ONLY 1 model the NGP is showing something developing and that is 144hrs out in the SW Caribbean.
The gfs shows a broad low pressure area in the caribbean but yes your right only nogaps has a system but we still need to watch it because you never know.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572

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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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