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 TropicalWave:
I see a ban a-coming.

why?
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Quoting sarahjola:
i can't believe that the water is so hot and we still have had no development. why is that? the water is boiling out there.


All the factors seem to have just not come together. A lot of the area is under shear and the places that aren't haven't had much in the way of disturbances.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
you wish, keeps.
i know joe
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Quoting sarahjola:
i can't believe that the water is so hot and we still have had no development. why is that? the water is boiling out there.

its only June.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
I believe that analog years are used to forecast seasonal activity, as opposed to tracks.

Tracks are more dependent on the geographic setup of intra-season atmospheric dynamics, rather than the more broad-based factors used in analog comparisons.


Actually, analogs are useful for both. This year a lot of our analog years had a westward bias in storm tracks, due to a summer pattern that directed more storms toward the United States. This is one of the reasons I am concerned for the same kind of track congregation this year.

3 of our top years look like this, with five U.S. landfalls in 1964, seven in 1998, and seven in 2005.

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Quoting NRAamy:



I'm gonna pee my pants!!!!! hahahahahahaha!


That avatar is just so wrong! :)
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rains a coming, along with a side of bans (;
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i can't believe that the water is so hot and we still have had no development. why is that? the water is boiling out there.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
I see a ban a-coming.
who yours
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Quoting TropicalWave:
I see a ban a-coming.


Yeah, yours...
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Quoting NRAamy:



I'm gonna pee my pants!!!!! hahahahahahaha!


OMG I just got it!
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Quoting NRAamy:



I'm gonna pee my pants!!!!! hahahahahahaha!


LOL!
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Quoting DestinJeff:


you are right about levi doing a great job
nice primary portait
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Quoting hydrus:
If 1998 is an analog year for this season, I would say Florida is at a high risk for a hit.jmo. But they have Florida as a high risk area already.

I would agree with you. I think Florida is high risk every year. Since we get hit the most.
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12z GFS shows a weak area of low pressure forming in the Gulf of Honduras and moving across the Yucatan into the Gulf of Mexico, but no significant development.

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Does anyone have the link to the graphics like this one of climatology by months as I can't find it?



I don't think there is a HTML page that has the links, but you can change the URL in your address bar to see different months. The one you posted is:
http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2007/june16.gif
Change to:
http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2007/june1.gif
gives you the first half of June. Similarly change to july1, july16, august1, august16 to see others.
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Quoting gator23:

It is a good analog year however it does NOT mean that Hurricanes will not effect Florida this year.
If 1998 is an analog year for this season, I would say Florida is at a high risk for a hit.jmo. But they have Florida as a high risk area already.
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Somebody on here either last year or the year before was talking about the presence of an unusual number of ants as a harbinger for tropical activity. Does anyone remember that?
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3222
Which names will be the big ones this season? Go to my blog and participate in this question contest.

Link
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Quoting Levi32:


1998 IS a year that I picked. You just don't like it because only one tropical storm made landfall in Florida.

It is a good analog year however it does NOT mean that Hurricanes will not effect Florida this year. I just want to clear that up for some of our newer members.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Impressed to see this in June.

Took at the end of the run, and it shows a storm developing in the Central Atlantic and moving into the Caribbean. If probably wont happen, but it's a sign that things are going to kick-up soon.


I agree. If we see some persistence on the GFS from that wave then I'd be inclined to believe it more. Would be interesting if our first named storm would be a CV system.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Actually the Antarctic sea ice is above normal because of hundreds of cubic kilometers of net ice melt from the ice sheets---the freshwater floats on top and is easier to freeze.

Greenland ice melt drains to the east and west and not directly to the north---the freshwater doesn't flow directly into the arctic ocean, so lowering salinity and raising the the freezing point don't happen there.


Sounds like another possible check and balance cycle to me.

You should notice the strong inverse-relationship between arctic and antarctic sea ice. Notice whenever the arctic takes a dive, the Antarctic follows with a spike. In 2007 when we had our record low and the birth of the "death spiral", this is what was going on in Antarctica during their summer:

Global Temperature anomalies December 2007-February 2008:



That's what happens. When the arctic loses ice, the Antarctic gains ice. Just look at the graphs on the last page. Although global sea ice as a whole did plummet in 2007, it quickly rebounded by the beginning of 2008. In fact, except for 2006/2007, there hasn't been any real significant changes in global sea ice anomaly since 1979. We're still around that 0 line.

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Quoting CaneWarning:
Does anyone know if they are making any contingency plans in Haiti for hurricane season? It could get nasty if they aren't already thinking about it.

I know that Hands on Volunteers has thier own contingency plan.
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Well it sure is nice to see "eveyone" has made it back to the blog this year..... LOL
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Quoting extreme236:


We'll have to see what future runs show. Nonetheless very interesting to see in June.


Impressed to see this in June.

Took at the end of the run, and it shows a storm developing in the Central Atlantic and moving into the Caribbean. If probably wont happen, but it's a sign that things are going to kick-up soon.
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The Eastern Atlantic wave looks impressive, but this time of year they tend to fizzel out, however the GFS is hinting something be friday afternoon.Hnmmm........
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very interesting eastern Atlantic disturbance showing up on the GFS by 70 hours or so.

FULL IMAGE. I actually think that we'll see a strong wave, but a TS is unlikely.




It also shows a low embedded in a plume of moisture just east of Nicaragua.
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Link
Another rig leaking in the gulf.

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. fell in New York trading after Businessinsider.com said the company’s Ocean Saratoga rig is leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Diamond, based in Houston, dropped 6 percent to $55.64 at 9:58 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Geneva- based Transocean Ltd., whose Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire April 20 and triggered the biggest U.S. oil spill on record, tumbled 7.3 percent.

Diamond spokesman Les Van Dyke referred questions on the report to Taylor Energy, the petroleum explorer that leased the Ocean Saratoga. Taylor Energy officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Businessinsider.com said a pilot who flew over the area confirmed an oil plume originating from the rig.

Before the report, Goldman Sachs cut its ratings of Diamond Offshore and Transocean shares.

The U.S. Coast Guard is looking into reports of a new oil leak, Lt. Commander Chris O’Neil said in a telephone interview
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La Nina likely by July, tropical update

Please give opinions on my blog so that I might make any necessary changes.
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Quoting TropicalWave:


I like all of the ones that you picked instead, Levi. They resemble more the expecetd pattern this year. Also, come on now, do you SERIOUSLY forsee another 09 this summer? I wouldn't think so, lol, :).


1998 IS a year that I picked. You just don't like it because only one tropical storm made landfall in Florida.
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Link

Another rig leaking in the gulf.

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. fell in New York trading after Businessinsider.com said the company’s Ocean Saratoga rig is leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Diamond, based in Houston, dropped 6 percent to $55.64 at 9:58 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Geneva- based Transocean Ltd., whose Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire April 20 and triggered the biggest U.S. oil spill on record, tumbled 7.3 percent.

Diamond spokesman Les Van Dyke referred questions on the report to Taylor Energy, the petroleum explorer that leased the Ocean Saratoga. Taylor Energy officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Businessinsider.com said a pilot who flew over the area confirmed an oil plume originating from the rig.

Before the report, Goldman Sachs cut its ratings of Diamond Offshore and Transocean shares.

The U.S. Coast Guard is looking into reports of a new oil leak, Lt. Commander Chris O’Neil said in a telephone interview
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very interesting eastern Atlantic disturbance showing up on the GFS by 70 hours or so.

FULL IMAGE. I actually think that we'll see a strong wave, but a TS is unlikely.




We'll have to see what future runs show. Nonetheless very interesting to see in June.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very interesting eastern Atlantic disturbance showing up on the GFS by 70 hours or so.

FULL IMAGE. I actually think that we'll see a strong wave, but a TS is unlikely.




we'll see where it goes!
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Does anyone have the link to the graphics like this one of climatology by months as I can't find it?

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Flood, you've got mail.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
Doc is on a roll with his analog years, 1998? IDK, it's not looking likely. Then, on his June 1st outlook, he says that this year might be either like 2008 or 2009, again, where is he cherry picking these years from. The expected pattern does not portray any of thsoe 3 years.


1998 is one of our best analog years.
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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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