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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The model at first didn't supported development due to the lost of convection after emerging.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gator23:

FSWho? There is another State University in Florida?

Florida has colleges??
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I'll get ya an FSU shirt! LOL

FSWho? There is another State University in Florida?
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2162
Quoting photomunkey:
Is a "mettle can" made from an honorary alloy? Heh! Bad pun, LOL!


Saw that after I posted. Decided to let it slide since I usually futz up an edit.

The pun is the lowest form of humor . . . therefor the basis of all true whit.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


No, its the one coming off on Friday.
Yes. 456 was talking about it, it will probably be vigorous and have a mid/low level circulation. I think that that wave is over Central Africa at the moment, but I haven't seen the satellite since last night so O don't know for sure.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
18z appears to have it too...so far.

The key is consistency.


If it develops it again that will be 3 runs in a row.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
The NHC may be reluctant to notice it though. No threat to land and short-lived.

Has there ever been a cape verde storm so early in the season? I think Bertha was earliest, but i think that was in July
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The NHC may be reluctant to notice it though. No threat to land and short-lived.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
18z appears to have it too...so far.

The key is consistency.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


No, its the one coming off on Friday.

thanks for the correction ;-)
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Any gas you intend to store for any period of time should have stabilizers added and preferably stored in a mettle can.
Is a "mettle can" made from an honorary alloy? Heh! Bad pun, LOL!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


That would be extremely remarkable for such an event to happen.

Doubt it will happen, but the conditions contradict me.

That would be very remarkable.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
827. Skyepony (Mod)
Slumming the news..that flood in Poland just isn't letting up. Saw some horrific flood pics in WUnderphotos from there too.

Anyone catch me on The Shaun & Tim Show? I needed a new umbrella:)
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

Is that model for the wave that's coming off shore ??


No, its the one coming off on Friday.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
I see there could be possible development from one of these tropical waves. I'm on my phone right now so I can't really see what's going on but I'll have a blog update on this stuff later today when I'm on my main computer.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Stormchaser2007:

Is that model for the wave that's coming off shore ??
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Quoting Drakoen:
It appears conditions may be favorable off the African coast for development. Little model support for such an anomalous event the GFS is showing.


That would be extremely remarkable for such an event to happen.

Doubt it will happen, but the conditions contradict me.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Quoting LoneStarWeather:

My point is that you should fire yours up to A) make sure it works before you really need it while you still have time to fix or replace it if need be and B) make sure you know how to start and run the thing while it's calm instead of trying to figure it out in the dark with a storm raging outside.
Great points! I keep 2 generators and 20 gallons of gas ready all the time. Every last weekend in May, I replace the gas, fire both generators and and replace my 30 gallons of water. Again, PATRAP has a great primer that walks through all of this...
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Quoting StormW:


You're welcome! Not to worry...if anything becomes of it...you'll be well informed!

Thanks a million!
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171 Levi32 "To be fair, Antarctic sea ice is more above normal than Arctic sea ice is below normal. The result is barely above-normal global sea ice:

errm. No, that isn't what those charts are saying. Antarctic and global sea ice extent are above normal. Makes a BIG difference.
You can fill a glass with crushed ice, and quarter-fill a similar glass with crushed ice. Fill both glasses to the top with water, and the crushed ice extents are the same: the surfaces are covered with ice.

Arctic ice volume is indisputably down, way way way down from what it was when USNavy nuclear submarines first began their Arctic ice sonar mapping surveys for ColdWar "hide&seek".

And Antarctic ice volume is probably down. AntarcticOcean salinity is down, and the only way for that to occur is for freshwater ice to be melting to dilute that salinity.
Only probably because one of the predicted effects of GlobalWarming is an increase in SouthernHemisphere precipitation, and thus more snowfall over the entire Antarctic region. And another is increased calving of bergs off of the Antarctic ice shelves due to increased glacial melting.
A third and most important reason one cannot say more than probably is an insufficiently large amount of sampling has been done to be able to more than "the odds are in favor of a lower Antarctic sea ice volume." Until one has LOTS of sampling points spread over LOTS of time, one cannot assume that untested areas are showing the same effect.

However, buttressing the probability is that the increase in SouthernHemisphere precipitation alone is insufficient to decrease the salinity as much as it has... unless those measured salinity decreases are unconnected local phenomena.
Adding melt from the increased calving to that from increased precipitation would mean that one would also have to concede that the AntarcticIceSheet is melting faster (in terms of the amount of mass loss) than the GreenlandIceCap...
...which it VERY probably is by the most recent analyses of gravity measurements made by GRACE (especially when combined with trends shown through the old but more precise scattering measurements made by the now defunct SeaSCAT).
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


Free Shoes University? No thanks--GA Tech through and through threw and threw! :P

...and still couldn't complete a forward pass.
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
811.
No caps! Yay!
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Main problem is gasoline deteriorates very quickly these days (ethanol is a different rant). Any one who has a small engine that's been sitting for any time at all should dump out the tank and start with new fresh gas when they go to start it up. Any gas you intend to store for any period of time should have stabilizers added and preferably stored in a mettle can.

Most people that intermittently use a small motor, such as a chain saw, intentionally run them dry before putting them away for what they know will be a year or more.
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
There's no such thing as a generator that's never been fired up. The manufacturer fired it up and probably the dealer too. You probably have glue in your fuel lines if not in your tank. Fill the tank and yank it until it starts. Also, PATRAP has a great season prep primer that talks about generator guidelines....

My point is that you should fire yours up to A) make sure it works before you really need it while you still have time to fix or replace it if need be and B) make sure you know how to start and run the thing while it's calm instead of trying to figure it out in the dark with a storm raging outside.
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It appears conditions may be favorable off the African coast for development. Little model support for such an anomalous event the GFS is showing.
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Quoting twhcracker:
i am worried about my generator. we bought it like three years ago and have never started it up. Someone said on tv you have to start your generator ever so often or it may not fire up when you need it. does that go for brand new ones that have never ever been started up? it is not a real nice expensive one it is a cheap lowe's one.


Main problem is gasoline deteriorates very quickly these days (ethanol is a different rant). Any one who has a small engine that's been sitting for any time at all should dump out the tank and start with new fresh gas when they go to start it up. Any gas you intend to store for any period of time should have stabilizers added and preferably stored in a mettle can.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting atmoaggie:
I took a drive over about15 miles to my west to see who I could find that's in charge of the BP "problem". All I found were these guys:

If those two put their ears, errr... heads together they will find a solution.
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Quoting LoneStarWeather:

You should fire that thing up now to make sure it will work when you have a possible need for it...say in about a month or two...
There's no such thing as a generator that's never been fired up. The manufacturer fired it up and probably the dealer too. You probably have glue in your fuel lines if not in your tank. Fill the tank and yank it until it starts. Also, PATRAP has a great season prep primer that talks about generator guidelines....
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
you'll know before it gets there just keep checkin in from time to time

very true
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Quoting twhcracker:


ha! haiku! I will try:

stormtopstradamas
madman shouting in all caps
a human tarball melting


Thought English version was 5-7-5

stormtopstradamas
madman shouting in all caps
human tarball melts
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What stregnth does this wave look like in 72 hours? a strong wave or a tropical depression?
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This time 5 years ago Cuba was worried about this one. Even the USA was getting interested.





(Arlene '05)
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Quoting atmoaggie:
I took a drive over about15 miles to my west to see who I could find that's in charge of the BP "problem". All I found were these guys:



LOL...THEY should do the Hurricane/Booty dance...if that doesn't piss off the Hurricane gods, nothing will!
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

ok, thanks, i ask because it can get nasty here in EPR
you'll know before it gets there just keep checkin in from time to time
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting atmoaggie:
I took a drive over about15 miles to my west to see who I could find that's in charge of the BP "problem". All I found were these guys:

Hey, where did you get that picture of me and my brother? Thats why my picture is not on here! LOL
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6743
Quoting twhcracker:
i am worried about my generator. we bought it like three years ago and have never started it up. Someone said on tv you have to start your generator ever so often or it may not fire up when you need it. does that go for brand new ones that have never ever been started up? it is not a real nice expensive one it is a cheap lowe's one.

Start it, and run it for 1/2 hour UNDER LOAD.
Then you good to go....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24060

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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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