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 KoritheMan:


Might want to brace for the impact of a Category 5.
LOL! hey korithman hows it going this early thursday morning
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3040. xcool
slidell la have no Murder,ilove it here.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


Hows the weather in Miami, JFV? Heading down there Saturday to visit family.


Might want to brace for the impact of a Category 5.
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Quoting xcool:
alex //////// hothot and beautiful in slidell la
Awesome thats the kind of weather i like to hear.
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3036. xcool
alex //////// hothot and beautiful in slidell la
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Goodnight!
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
ever been to miami, levi? you should come down here.


Hows the weather in Miami, JFV? Heading down there Saturday to visit family.
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3033. xcool
Levi32 wt--- Been out of Alaska once wt[[[[[[
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Quoting xcool:
my girl friend from fL HAHA
Sweet! hows the weather in slidell?
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3031. Levi32
Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
ever been to miami, levi? you should come down here.


Lol. Been out of Alaska once....to rural Ohio in the middle of winter. Pretty much no different than here. I was in a town of 10000 the whole time in 30-degree weather.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
3030. xcool
my girl friend from fL HAHA
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3028. xcool
alex.i have son .too much money.
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3027. xcool


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Quoting Levi32:


It's not a god. It was wrong on 90L.

yup
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Quoting xcool:
alex Repair EstimateTM 111$ i said fbeepbbeep that 'i do'-it myself mmm
Jesus thats a lot of money i would probably do the same thing as well lol
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3024. xcool
alex Repair EstimateTM 111$ i said fbeepbbeep that 'i do'-it myself mmm
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Quoting xcool:
alex yeah..car thermostat make overheating
Oh man tough break man did you get it fixed
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3022. Levi32
omg, levi, i titally forgot about that, lol, my bad. how was tennis, by the way?

'Twas fun.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting Levi32:


It's not a god. It was wrong on 90L.
You are right thats what i told him its a good model but it could get things wrong as well its not perfect.
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3019. xcool
alex yeah..car thermostat make overheating
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3018. Levi32
Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
i wont, the ecm is imepccabel when it coems to development in the tropics, anything it shows, i'll believe. its a god, even levi says so.


It's not a god. It was wrong on 90L.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
3017. xcool
I THINK GFS DO BETTER JOB SO FOR IMO
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Watch in full screen mode.

If I can see part of the cap, that means flow has reduced a little, right?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Way ahead of you lol


LOL!
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Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
i wont, the ecm is imepccabel when it coems to development in the tropics, anything it shows, i'll believe. its a god, even levi says so.
No model is a god the ecm can get things wrong as well like 90L this year So look at the model but dont follow it verbatim.
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Quoting ElConando:


Ignore him.


Way ahead of you lol
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


I can't prove it but from my experience with photography I think it is some sort of refraction of the light from a RoV off to the side of one we're viewing. Something similar to a rainbow or lens flair.


Looking at it again on the link someone posted earlier, it appears to be a yellow part of the cap. Also visible from Skandi ROV 1 cam.

Link someone posted earlier is below (sorry, can't remember who). Using Chrome for my browser this evening, have no link or image buttons.

http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:45685.asx?bkup=49182
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Quoting xcool:
i work on my car allday 10am to7pm
Dang thats a long time something wrong with it
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3009. xcool



nice big mamm wave
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3007. xcool
i work on my car allday 10am to7pm
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3006. xcool
need to hurry upp
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Quoting xcool:
I Can't Wait for ecmwf models ...
I agree but even if the ecm shows development in the atlantic ill still be skepticall about it but will still keep an eye on it.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


He's back...lol

I guess I'm not the only one that sees it. That means I'm not crazy.
You are defanately not crazy you can tell by the posts its so obvious.
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3001. xcool
I Can't Wait for ecmwf models ...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
how does admin allow someone to create so many names to get around bans day after day and not do something else about it?



He's back...lol

I guess I'm not the only one that sees it. That means I'm not crazy.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
how does admin allow someone to create so many names to get around bans day after day and not do something else about it?



Ignore him.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
how does admin allow someone to create so many names to get around bans day after day and not do something else about it?

Beats me but it needs to be corrected
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2996. xcool
CapeVerdeCanes Jim Williams update
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2994. xcool
go toooo hurricanecity.com ....
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how does admin allow someone to create so many names to get around bans day after day and not do something else about it?

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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.