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 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.

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...
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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.
It goes for both. Just try it.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6784
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!
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Quoting StormW:


Hard to say right now...just a watch and wait.

ok, thanks, i ask because it can get nasty here in EPR
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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:


Hoooo BOY!!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NRAamy:
Pott! what's for dinner?
Lamb, baked potato, salad, drinks...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Dang, it's hot here!

See my blog for image.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Pott! what's for dinner?
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Quoting Levi32:


Yuck...


You get used it after a while but its been particularly oppressive as of late.
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AMY!
Hello, Darlin'.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
SWFL pops forecast 50-60% along Sarasota,manatee,charlotte and lee counties coastline,IMO thru 10pm possible isolated strong storms!!!
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no comments???
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


I'm jealous. lol 90's here with dew points in the 70's.


Yuck...
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Quoting StormW:
SAL:


Do you think this might be an invest later this week or weekend!!
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773. srada
are there instructions on the site on how to post an image..I went by the directions and hot nothing but X..help?
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The interesting thing about the vigorous wave the GFS develops in a couple days is that such a vigorous wave does not exist at the moment, from what I can tell. There is a tropical wave near the western border of Ghana, but it is not very amplified, and over the last 24 hours has had a poor satellite signature.

The GFS develops this wave south of the AEJ at 5N, which is pretty far south to spin something up off of Africa. The model seems to show a vort max suddenly spinning up along the wave axis south of the AEJ, likely due to the strong positive zonal vorticity gradient on the south side of the AEJ forecasted by the GFS to move out over the eastern Atlantic with the tropical wave.

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I once worked with a guy that wanted a hurricane to hit us on the gulf coast. At first i thought he just shared the passion of tracking one, but i found out he was serious about one hitting where we were at! I told him the excitement stops after its thru wreaking havoc. That hurricane was Ivan in 2004. He doesnt want a hurricane anymore.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6784
Quoting Levi32:


Lol, not bad. We've been enjoying temps in the 50s for the last week so summer is in full swing here.


I'm jealous. lol 90's here with dew points in the 70's.
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Quoting NRAamy:
ha! haiku! I will try

I'm not that talented...I could do a dirty limerick, but then I'd join JFV in BanishedVille.....
and you don't want to be there
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I actually agree with stormtop2 that serious development is unlikely before the end of June---certainly see nothing of great interest now. As for the rest of the season, I'll take it as it comes.


I'm praying for something that hurts no one before then. Want to see a shirt on that raggedy body. Lol
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
765. srada
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Quoting TampaTom:


Goodbye, El Nino
You were fun while you lasted.
Here comes little sis...


storm dubbya knows
something wicked this way blows
start giving to portlight now
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:



No need to apologize at all. Just making thing easier for you.

lol

lol, thanks.
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

sorry



No need to apologize at all. Just making things easier for you.

lol
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15891
ha! haiku! I will try

I'm not that talented...I could do a dirty limerick, but then I'd join JFV in BanishedVille.....
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Ahhh... I see we are all still in suspense, waiting eagerly for something to watch. :-)
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


You know you dont have to enter the images sizes in when you want to post something? Just leave em blank.

sorry
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Anyone see the latest NAM and what it doing in the eastern Caribbean later this week? If not not you might want to take a gander.
NOGAPS had a storm going into Nicaragua from the Caribbean side for a week. Never happened.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
12z 78 hours



Looks pretty impressive, do you think it will develop? I'm kind of doubtful, but you never know!!
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The SAL is in Retreat, big time right now.
Just in case you needed anything to be concerned about, at all.....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Quoting twhcracker:


ha! haiku! I will try:

stormtopstradamas
madman shouting in all caps
a human tarball melting


OUTSTANDING!
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:


EATL Wave coming off shore!!


You know you dont have to enter the images sizes in when you want to post something? Just leave em blank.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15891
Quoting smarterthanyou:
stormtop, jfv
akin in sad dysfunction
homeless except here


ha! haiku! I will try:

stormtopstradamas
madman shouting in all caps
a human tarball melting
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12z 78 hours

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15891
http://images.intellicast.com/WxImages/Satellite/hiatlsat.gif
EATL Wave coming off shore!!
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Quoting NRAamy:
thank you stormtopstradamas


hahahahahahahahahaha!



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Pott!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting StormW:


The El Nino column...where it has 2001.
Quoting Levi32:


The 2001 in the El Nino column.

:))
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314

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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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