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 CatastrophicDL:

I hope they get things figured out soon. I need to make sure all my links are ready and in place for easy access during a busy season. I had to have my harddrive reloaded a couple months ago and haven't checked them yet. Do you do any preparations now or do you wait to see if anything gets close to Tampa?


They say it won't get to Tampa unless we have a tropical system. The currents should keep it off shore. I'm not really preparing for it. Not much I can do!
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Quoting SouthALWX:


have you looked at the anomalies for sub surface water as well as watched the SOI? LA NINA. and it's modoki btw. (not trying to be mean just didnt know what you meant at first)


When's the last time we had a La Nina Mokiki?
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Quoting NRAamy:
WINDSMURF.....are you related to STORMTOP?


someone said they are brothers, father and son, and cousins.. all at once.. but they may have been making it up...
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Quoting tornadodude:


:O
Ya know what T-Dude. It really is him. NOBODY can imitate him, not even with a post on this blog.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21762
Quoting NRAamy:
WINDSMURF.....are you related to STORMTOP?

No I am not. I am just a retired guy who has been driving a milk truck during the last 32 years and going to work at 2AM during all those years and I finally have time to sit here and chat with you all and hopefully learn something in the process.
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and welcome to hurricane season 2010, featuring JFV and STORMTOP(2)
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IKE "I agree that 2005 skewed the numbers for neutral years.
125 twhcracker "Did it skew it or was the number BECAUSE of the neutral."

Without including 2005, the average of the remaining 4 neutral years on Dr.Masters' list is:
60divided-by4 or 15 named storms
33divided-by4 or ~8 hurricanes
18divided-by4 or 4to5 majors
Including 2005, the average of the 5 neutral years is:
88divided-by5 or ~18 named storms
48divided-by5 or ~10 hurricanes
25divided-by5 or 5 majors

Because 2005 freakishly generated so many more storms than other years, the average was bumped
from 15 up to ~18 named storms,
from ~8 up to ~10 hurricanes, and
from 4to5 up to a solid 5 majors

And because of the bump 2005 provided to the average, what would have been considered an unusually strong neutral season (18named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 majors) is just an average season.
What we now see as average has been skewed from what had previously been seen as average.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting mcluvincane:


I will light 1 up later at 420


lol
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lol, someone's coping me, lol. caribbeanislands102?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9HXeLOhJswimg
not a very good video, poor quality!lol
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Quoting Jeff9641:



How about the lower humidity in Orlando today huh! No 75 to 80 degree dewpoints like the past several days.


Amen to that! I'm hoping the dewpoint sinks to below 60 if we can get enough mixing.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


They say it's 150 miles to the west of Tampa. We should be good for a while.

I hope they get things figured out soon. I need to make sure all my links are ready and in place for easy access during a busy season. I had to have my harddrive reloaded a couple months ago and haven't checked them yet. Do you do any preparations now or do you wait to see if anything gets close to Tampa?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Um a lot of people think Florida looks like that lol
Maybe that's why Accuweather always has Florida in the "cone"...hmmm...
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Quoting mcluvincane:

I didn't ask for a smart a@@ answer


lighten up (:
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WINDSMURF.....are you related to STORMTOP?
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412. IKE
Quoting Makoto1:


Sandspurs look painful. And yet that beach is so nice that it makes me want to go to Florida. Needless to say our beaches up here are on Lake Erie, which doesn't quite have the same effect.

On another note maybe something forming would be almost beneficial. It seems like while we wait the tropics are just charging up for the onslaught.


Those beaches were/are beautiful. Talk about peacefulness. Very relaxing.

I hope they get the relief well finished before the active season fires up...including the GOM.
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Quoting bystander:


Yes, before there were models

I didn't ask for a smart a@@ answer
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Quoting STORMTOP2:
GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE


:O
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Quoting ElConando:


Um okay lol... if you think Florida looks like that, more power to you xD.


Um a lot of people think Florida looks like that lol
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Conditions out by Africa could support us at least having Invest 92L or maybe maybe even a TD or weak TS

I think in the long term though whatever is to happen with that strong wave, it will not be a strong storm. It's energy could help build into something down the road in the Caribbean

Remember mother nature does not know the months and days that we give to the hurricane season. If conditions are like late-July in the Eastern Atlantic and we have seen storms form out there in late-July, it is not impossible to think we could at least have something interesting to track out there
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Also known as the Lorena Bobbitt Idea lol


Um okay lol... if you think Florida looks like that, more power to you xD.
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Quoting IKE:


Yes it was. There was nothing on the beach side except dunes, sea oats and sand-spurs and then... the beautiful white beaches of south Walton county.

Sandspurs were small...about the size of a green pea, but they h u r t....







Sandspurs look painful. And yet that beach is so nice that it makes me want to go to Florida. Needless to say our beaches up here are on Lake Erie, which doesn't quite have the same effect.

On another note maybe something forming would be almost beneficial. It seems like while we wait the tropics are just charging up for the onslaught.
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Quoting mcluvincane:
Has a storm ever developed without models forecasting them?



Yes but the liberal models won't show you show that.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Pretty amazing to water temps approaching 90 around S FL after such a cold winter. Water that warm means instant fuel for a tropical system.

i WAS READING INTO THIS A FEW DAYS AGO, AND THEY ARE SAYING THAT MOST OF THE COLD FRONTS THIS WINTER ONLY MADE IT AS FAR DOWN AS SOUTHEAST FLORIDA BUT NEVER MADE IT TO THE ATLANTIC. I FIND THIS HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY WERE SAYING. THEY ARE SAYING THAT THE WATER NEVER COOLED OFF.
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Quoting mcluvincane:
Has a storm ever developed without models forecasting them?



Yes, before there were models
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Quoting smarterthanyou:


it's the
armpit of
America

let's just
toss it
like an
oil soaked rag


do you like writing in Haiku?
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Pretty amazing to water temps approaching 90 around S FL after such a cold winter. Water that warm means instant fuel for a tropical system.


This is very true. We had the coldest water temps in 30 years and as a result the manatee kill numbers were very high! They just could not survive the constant cold temps this winter. To go from record cold to record warmth so fast is a little scary.
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397. IKE
Quoting mcluvincane:
Has a storm ever developed without models forecasting them?



Yes.
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Quoting smarterthanyou:


it's the
armpit of
America

let's just
toss it
like an
oil soaked rag


Now you're being offensive.
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Quoting mcluvincane:
Has a storm ever developed without models forecasting them?



Happens much more often than people realize
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Has a storm ever developed without models forecasting them?

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393. IKE
Quoting Makoto1:


That must have been nice to live on. I'll have to try again later to see what it looks like now.


Yes it was. There was nothing on the beach side except dunes, sea oats and sand-spurs and then... the beautiful white beaches of south Walton county.

Sandspurs were small...about the size of a green pea, but they h u r t....





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there's nothing going on out there. that gfs modle jumps around too much. nothing going to form out there anytime soon.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.