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 Levi32:


Certainly not....scary to think what the gulf will look like by the end of this month.


You can tell there is a lot more heat and moisture in our part of the world this year. Its been a long time since our dew point has hit 80F.
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1090. Drakoen
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


We'll probably fall behind 2005 once again in the Caribbean since the NAO is going positive.



Looks like a neutral NAO. We haven't really had a true positive NAO.
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1089. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:

This high isn't going to be helping the evap cooling down here any...


Certainly not....scary to think what the gulf will look like by the end of this month.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


We'll probably fall behind 2005 once again in the Caribbean since the NAO is going positive.


12Z ECMWF is forecasting a predominate -NAO through the forecasting period and becoming big time negative after the 12th.

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Quoting SevereHurricane:


That's amazing.


Just click on "4km Hurricane Fcst" and select a date.
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Quoting bappit:


Every issue was a great piece of journalism. I miss it.

This is a great piece of journalism: http://www.theonion.com/articles/massive-flow-of-bull[snip]-continues-to-gush-from-bp,17564/
NOTE: PG-13

More of the BP mockery in my blog...
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1085. Greyelf
Quoting SevereHurricane:
Notice how nice and calm it is here without JFV. Hopefully the Admin banned him for good this time.


Actually, I've been curious about that...how does one check a name to see if they've been banned? (Assuming they don't have their own member blog to view, that is.)
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1084. bappit
Quoting aspectre:
It's too bad the WorldWeeklyNews isn't still around,
cuz they would've surely done a minor touchup to this...

...headlined SATAN RISING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO!!!
Which wouldn't have been that far off from the reality, effect-wise that is.


Every issue was a great piece of journalism. I miss it.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Cant wait until this variation of the WRF if run again.

Predictive cloud temps for Hurricane Bill:


That's amazing.
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Quoting Levi32:
Timeseries of Gulf of Mexico average sea surface temperature (From 80W-98W, 20N-30N) from April 1st to June 6th:


This high isn't going to be helping the evap cooling down here any...
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Cant wait until this variation of the WRF if run again.

Predictive cloud temps for Hurricane Bill:


Whoa.
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1080. Levi32
In contrast, SST anomalies in the eastern Pacific tropical basin (averaged 5N-18N, 90W-120W), since April 1st have declined from nearly 1C above average to just 0.2C above average as of June 1st.

The bottom image shows the changes in SST (values, not anomalies) during the past 21 days, illustrating the cooling in the eastern Pacific and the continued warming in the Atlantic. A cooling of the tropical east Pacific north of the equator is significant at this time of year, when we haven't even reached summer solstice yet, and is a sign of La Nina and a cold PDO pattern taking hold in the Pacific. The cooling in the Pacific helps to focus heat and convergence in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. This also tends to pull the monsoon trough farther north into the Caribbean more often, instead of staying over Panama, where it usually resides.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting Drakoen:
2010 vs 2005

img src="http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/%7Emaue/SST/sst_atl_diff_2005.png" alt=" /></div>
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We'll probably fall behind 2005 once again in the Caribbean since the NAO is going positive.
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Quoting Drakoen:
2010 vs 2005

img src="http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/%7Emaue/SST/sst_atl_diff_2005.png" alt=" /></div>
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Not much different in the Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean; but the Gulf and Mexico and Eastern Seaboard is much warmer.
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Cant wait until this variation of the WRF is run again.

Predictive cloud temps for Hurricane Bill:


Pretty cool stuff:
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Another Gulf oil spill: Well near Deepwater Horizon has leaked since at least April 30

This one was only found because they were looking at the BP pics. Almost makes you wonder how many others there really are??
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I've been noticing the recent recovery of positive SST anomalies across the MDR, as well:

May 27:



June 7:



The 27th is when the peak of the cooling appears to have occurred, while June 7 marks a significant warmth of the region, more so than we've seen in at least two weeks.


Also notice the warm anomalies in the EPAC have rapidly deteriorated.
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1074. Drakoen
2010 vs 2005

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		<div class= Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok Correct me if I am wrong. Anomalies are a variation from normal (average) correct? Then if a normal temp would support a tropical storm a higher anomaly would mean the storm would intensify more quickly not necessarily that the storm would be more likely to form? If one has higher anomalies then the area where a storm could form would be larger thus increasing the probability of storms forming?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
1072. aquak9
StormTop2 is NOT the real StormTop.

StormTop5000 is NOT the real StormTop.

Accept no imitations.

I promise I'll let ya'll know, when the REAL StormTop shows up.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I've been noticing the recent recovery of positive SST anomalies across the MDR, as well:

May 27:



June 7:



The 27th is when the peak of the cooling appears to have occurred, while June 7 marks a significant warmth of the region, more so than we've seen in at least two weeks.


Its definitely made a comeback. If that trend continues we will likely see 2010 jump back on top of 2005 on Levi's graphic. Levi, can you post that graphic again in about a week?
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Notice how nice and calm it is here without JFV. Hopefully the Admin banned him for good this time.
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I've been noticing the recent recovery of positive SST anomalies across the MDR, as well:

May 27:



June 7:



The 27th is when the peak of the cooling appears to have occurred, while June 7 marks a significant warmth of the region, more so than we've seen in at least two weeks.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 558 Comments: 20000
This is not pretty.

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It's too bad the WorldWeeklyNews isn't still around,
cuz they would've surely done a minor touchup to this...

...headlined SATAN RISING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO!!!
Which wouldn't have been that far off from the reality, effect-wise that is.
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Here's the NOAA press release about the 2010 Hurricane Season, if you haven't already read it.
I'm making eggplant so will have to finish later!
2010HurricaneSeason
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Quoting Levi32:
This is a timeseries of Atlantic MDR SST anomalies (averaged 10N-20N, 20W-90W) from April 1st (left side of graph) to June 1st (right side of graph). 2005 is in red and 2010 is in black.

We fell behind 2005 during the month of May, and are currently very close, nearly neck and neck this week at 1C above normal. The decline in the anomalies since winter are mainly due to the NAO not being as negative during the past month as it was during the winter. It is also just naturally harder to sustain such high anomalies during the summer months when the ocean gets this warm.



Very nice Levi!
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1064. Drakoen
Quoting Levi32:
This is a timeseries of Atlantic MDR SST anomalies (averaged 10N-20N, 20W-90W) from April 1st (left side of graph) to June 1st (right side of graph). 2005 is in red and 2010 is in black.

We fell behind 2005 during the month of May, and are currently very close, nearly neck and neck this week at 1C above normal. The decline in the anomalies since winter are mainly due to the NAO not being as negative during the past month as it was during the winter. It is also just naturally harder to sustain such high anomalies during the summer months when the ocean gets this warm.



Excellent comparison
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Quoting Levi32:
This is a timeseries of Atlantic MDR SST anomalies (averaged 10N-20N, 20W-90W) from April 1st (left side of graph) to June 1st (right side of graph). 2005 is in red and 2010 is in black.

We fell behind 2005 during the month of May, and are currently very close, nearly neck and neck this week at 1C above normal. The decline in the anomalies since winter are mainly due to the NAO not being as negative during the past month as it was during the winter. It is also just naturally harder to sustain such high anomalies during the summer months when the ocean gets this warm.



Pretty cool graph.

Thanks for posting!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


If there is a serious Cane in the Gulf, with all of this oil... its going to make FUBAR something to try and recover to.


I'm not leaving and so will many others after the piss poor organization by the local government after Gustav. I'm glad we stayed for Gustav; we only lost power for 3 hours.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
TS Arlene 2005

RIP QUIKSCAT



Probably won't be seeing nice graphics like that again until I get out of college.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


Its only going to get worse. Last summer I remember the GOM getting to 31-32C at one point. Now imagine that happening again this year with favorable conditions aloft. And remember the US is over due; we haven't had a major hurricane landfall since Wilma in 2005.


If there is a serious Cane in the Gulf, with all of this oil... its going to make FUBAR something to try and recover to.
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1059. Levi32
This is a timeseries of Atlantic MDR SST anomalies (averaged 10N-20N, 20W-90W) from April 1st (left side of graph) to June 1st (right side of graph). 2005 is in red and 2010 is in black.

We fell behind 2005 during the month of May, and are currently very close, nearly neck and neck this week at 1C above normal. The decline in the anomalies since winter are mainly due to the NAO not being as negative during the past month as it was during the winter. It is also just naturally harder to sustain such high anomalies during the summer months when the ocean gets this warm.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
TS Arlene 2005

RIP QUIKSCAT

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1057. Xyrus
Quoting aspectre:
Chicklet "...Dr. Masters' podcast today...He doesn't expect another 2005 this year either..."

Nobody expects... the Spanish Inquisition!



Our chief weapons are fear, surprise, and an increasingly massive oil slick that will destroy the gulf.

For the BP executives, GET THE COMFY CHAIR!

~X~
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Member Since: May 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
Quoting IKE:


You're right. Now it's just...



Its only going to get worse. Last summer I remember the GOM getting to 31-32C at one point. Now imagine that happening again this year with favorable conditions aloft. And remember the US is over due; we haven't had a major hurricane landfall since Wilma in 2005.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
This day in 2005, tropical storm Arlene developed too.

She actually developed pretty close to us.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Unless Dr. Masters changed his opinion on SST's from his personal hurricane season forecast, then he didn't mean the anomalies would become "normal." What he said was that the anomalies would come down from their record breaking level that they are now. He also mentioned that they should stay on par with 2005, rather than be above the 2005 level. Almost 100% positive he said nothing about the SST dropping to normal anomalies.

I was working. That's what I got. If you listen to it and find something different, please let me know.
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1052. Greyelf
.
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AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


well that and when SSTs on average warm up further in July, the anomaly would go down anyway would it not?


That isn't necessarily the case. The heat is going to continue to become stronger across the MDR as summer becomes more intense. As long as conditions stay favorable, then the waters can continue to warm way above average. If you have higher air temps than you had in 2005, then you can also have higher water temps than 2005. If conditions across the ocean remain favorable for heating, it will continue to heat if the air temp keeps rising.
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Quoting StormW:
Evening!
Evening StormW!
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Won't be that long. I'll give it a month, if that. An intense heat wave will encompass the entire South for at least the next 2 weeks. We are supposed to have highs in the mid 90s for at least the next week here in South Mississippi.
I understand. With ridging over the Central/Eastern US and very hot temperatures I would expect SSTs to soar, so 1 month isn't too far fetched.
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Quoting Levi32:
Dr. Masters is right that the SST anomalies in the Atlantic are likely to go down a little bit or stay steady, as a negative feedback occurs when those warm SSTs support more clouds and precipitation above them, which blocks out sunlight and cools the water.

The Gulf of Mexico, however, always has the potential to keep warming, and its anomalies may continue to go up with this ri


That's correct. What Chicklit was trying to say is that Dr. Masters stated the anomalies would become "normal", which is incorrect. If the anomalies became normal, then we should probably expect a "normal" year in terms of numbers. The anomalies will drop over the Atlantic, just not to "normal" levels.
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Quoting Levi32:
Dr. Masters is right that the SST anomalies in the Atlantic are likely to go down a little bit or stay steady, as a negative feedback occurs when those warm SSTs support more clouds and precipitation above them, which blocks out sunlight and cools the water.

The Gulf of Mexico, however, always has the potential to keep warming, and its anomalies may continue to go up with this ridging pattern over the central-eastern US.


well that and when SSTs on average warm up further in July, the anomaly would go down anyway would it not?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
1044. Levi32
Dr. Masters is right that the SST anomalies in the Atlantic are likely to go down a little bit or stay steady, as a negative feedback occurs when those warm SSTs support more clouds and precipitation above them, which blocks out sunlight and cools the water.

The Gulf of Mexico, however, always has the potential to keep warming, and its anomalies may continue to go up with this ridging pattern over the central-eastern US.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting MississippiWx:


Unless Dr. Masters changed his opinion on SST's from his personal hurricane season forecast, then he didn't mean the anomalies would become "normal." What he said was that the anomalies would come down from their record breaking level that they are now. He also mentioned that they should stay on par with 2005, rather than be above the 2005 level. Almost 100% positive he said nothing about the SST dropping to normal anomalies.


Well that would make sense, what causes the anomalies to be at record levels now is due to the fact that the SSTs are at record levels, especially compared to June

In July when water temps are much warmer than they are in June, the anomaly naturally would become smaller

Basically all he is saying is he does not expect SSTs to get much more higher than normal than they are now. His comments have nothing to do with the SSTs themselves
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
Quoting Levi32:


I just dabble with paint.net. I can't afford to pay for photo editing programs.
Thanks!
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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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