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 WinterAnalystwx13:


I'm going to pretend you didn't say that, because I dont feel like getting banned because of you. I made a mistake ok? No need to get offensive!


It's STORMTOP, offensive is his stock-in-trade...
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591. IKE
Quoting kmanislander:


Reminds me of the left behind movie series where poeple kept disappearing, except there they left their clothes behind. Not even a vestige here !


LOL...I though WU had already banned him a couple of days ago. I put him on ignore. Couldn't take it anymore.
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Even if we don't have a named storm until July, it doesn't mean the season will be any less than what it appeared to be a month ago. Things have to go just right for a named storm to appear before the average of July 9th... Actually during this active period I'd say around June 25th.
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Quoting IKE:


You're probably correct.


YOU??? Saying StormTop is correct??? Amazing :P
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Quoting StormW:


Cat, to answer you question, the warmer anomaly is contributed to a negative NAO.

Sea Surface Temperature
Variability: Patterns
and Mechanisms

Isn't the negative NAO something that we will continue to see with a weaker Azores high? And as the golf stream warms won't we see a greater threat potential for the east coast?
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587. IKE
I do see a weak Caribbean low on the end of the 12Z ECMWF run, but it looks sheared. Also see an east-PAC system....the B storm in the east-PAC?

Link
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Lol. Won't last long tho :(
I know i wonder what the next handle is going to be.
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Wow, admin really cleaned up! :)
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Have to run now
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Quoting IKE:


Admin banned someone...or 2?


Reminds me of the left behind movie series where poeple kept disappearing, except there they left their clothes behind. Not even a vestige here !
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581. MTWX
Glad the blog is geeting back the way it should be!!! Thank You So Much ADMIN!!!
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I'd say 16-24. My prediction is 22.

Record high SST's
Already impressive waves off of Africa in June
Much below average wind shear
Low SAL/dust
La Nina

Everything is pointing to a hyperactive season. Maybe not 2005 levels, but there seems to be enough evidence to say this will be one of the most active seasons ever. How someone can say 13 (I guess just to be the odd one out) is beyond me. Use facts, please.
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Quoting EricSFL:


ok thanks.
But there have been storms during a downward mjo just not strong
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Quoting kmanislander:
Posts 557 and 560 have now disappeared. What's going on ?


They probably were posted by someone who is since been banned, that is what happens when you are banned, your previous posts disappear.

Yippee!
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Thank the lord!


Lol. Won't last long tho :(
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Quoting winter123:

I have someone ignored I thought that's why, do you?


No, I don't bother with the ignore button and nothing is on hide either.
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Quoting IKE:


I'll give my answer and I'm just a novice. Most storm action is during an upward phase of the MJO or some during neutral. There's not that much during a downward phase.

That's what I recall about prior seasons and the MJO.


ok thanks.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


You-know-who got banned... again
Thank the lord!
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know this is well below the very active, or hyper active, season being called for by the pros but if you put aside 2005 which is a clear outlier , those are the kinds of numbers we are left with in both La Nina and neutral years.

I hope you're right K-Man...and you usually are.
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I'm still here!

:)
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Quoting kmanislander:
Posts 557 and 560 have now disappeared. What's going on ?

I have someone ignored I thought that's why, do you?
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Quoting kmanislander:
Posts 557 and 560 have now disappeared. What's going on ?


You-know-who got banned... again
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567. IKE
Quoting kmanislander:
Posts 557 and 560 have now disappeared. What's going on ?


Admin banned someone...or 2?
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Quoting IKE:
It was about 2 weeks ago when a regular blogger posted a link on here to a prediction from some met in central or south Florida. The met was calling for a slow June with little activity.

I think his totals were 12-?-?. Not sure of his hurricane totals.

Maybe that met was correct.
Yep it seems that way but theres still time in june for something to pop up but with downward mjo its going to be difficult.
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565. IKE
Quoting EricSFL:
Has any significant storm formed during a downward MJO pulse?


I'll give my answer and I'm just a novice. Most storm action is during an upward phase of the MJO or some during neutral. There's not that much during a downward phase.

That's what I recall about prior seasons and the MJO.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
I think we will see a season between the 1995 and 1933 one. 1995 had 19 storms, 1933 had 21 storms.

So... 20? lol
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Posts 557 and 560 have now disappeared. What's going on ?
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Quoting IKE:


See why I have him ignore.

My predictions...13-7-4...and I'm probably low on storm totals.
Yeah just a little bit low but i would take it maybe 17 storms or less this season.
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561. IKE
It was about 2 weeks ago when a regular blogger posted a link on here to a prediction from some met in central or south Florida. The met was calling for a slow June with little activity.

I think his totals were 12-?-?. Not sure of his hurricane totals.

Maybe that met was correct.
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Has any significant storm formed during a downward MJO pulse?
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555. xcool
alex hey
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553. IKE
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hes not downcasting the season hes saying his opinion and whats wrong with a bust season i would gladly take that.


See why I have him ignore.

My predictions...13-7-4...and I'm probably low on storm totals.
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Quoting xcool:
only a matter of time . cannot staying quiet for longtime.
Yep early july is when the fun begins.
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Hi Folks

Interesting exchanges going on this afternoon.
I see a few posts have also disappeared from the blog, guess Admin must be on the prowl.

Still quiet out there and likely to stay that way for a while. In mid May I called for no more than one Td and a weak TS before July 1st at the most. My total for the year was set at 14/7/4 or 5 majors.

I know this is well below the very active, or hyper active, season being called for by the pros but if you put aside 2005 which is a clear outlier , those are the kinds of numbers we are left with in both La Nina and neutral years. We'll know soon enough.
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549. xcool
only a matter of time . cannot staying quiet for longtime.
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WTF is convection doing in the sahara?

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Quoting TampaTom:


If this is known as
'A break in humidity',
Summer's gonna suck...




Seriously, what is with people in Florida complaining about humidity, if you don't like the heat/humidity here, you're not a real Floridian! Probably all these northern city folk used to the comfort of city air conditioning, can't handle the the jungle weather!

If we always had lower humidity, and cooler weather here, it would be boring, no big rain storms and thunder/lightning shows, and that means the tropical paradise look would be gone too, we would be dry dusty and and ugly. The lush swamps of Florida country would be gone, we would become like the dusty dry and ugly plains of west texas. Or the boring and lame southern California climate.

I hated California, always dry and dusty and sometimes interior, always dry and cold near the coast, even in the heart of summer!


Why do you think wild life is so abundant in the tropical jungles. Its because life THRIVES in hot humid, steamy rainy jungles!

So let the humid, steamy and hot weather rain Florida! Because that mean lots of exciting thunderstorms/huge rain storms. Which means lots of lush wild life and Florida swamps. I love it!
I HATE when it dries out like it has today and will be till thursday...
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Flood, Cane! I'm doing good. Cane, I had a little too much going on with school, the family and work so I wasn't here much over the winter. But I'm ready to see how this season turns out!

Flood, how busy are you down there?


Hardly at all, darlin'...working some hail stuff in Colorado, that's about it...that and people whose staute runs out by the fall...LOL
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trolls galore today here!
the seasson will become very busy with 18 give or take 3 storms this season theres too much evidence supporting the active season. :)
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Quoting STORMTOP2:


KEEPER, I RESPECT YOU. MAYBE I WILL GO BACK TO REGULAR TYPING SOON. BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, PART OF MY LONG HISTORY HERE IS WITH THE CAPS. THAT'S A DIFFICULT DECISION TO MAKE.

-STORMTOP


bs
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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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