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:
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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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.


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I expect another record cold winter.. that's been the trend, record hot summers, record cold winter..
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Aint nobody know
where da storm gonna go....


With the exception of Jeff9641; he seems to have a lock on this season


don't forget MOther Nature!

:0
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Quoting reedzone:


You're visible


Thanks. I think the blog is acting funny.
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Quoting reedzone:
Interesting to see my posts aren't showing, I have no reason to get banned, I did nothing wrong.. If anybody can see this, please let me know, maybe it was a glitch or something. Never was banned and never intend to get banned.


Well if I'm signed off I can't see them, but if I'm signed on I can... Same thing happened to my own posts a couple of days ago but it kept fluctuating between being visible and not so it surely feels like a glitch.
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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.


There were all manner of people thinking about it but most all of the survivors are still under tents. The Haitian govenrment took over relief operations and they can't figure out how to make a profit off permanent shelters for their people. Add to that the fact that all of the viable land in Haiti is owned by only ten families and cutting deals with them for building shelter is nearly impossible and we have a fine recipe for a humanitarian disasteer on a par with the earthquake itself...WUMail me if you want a clear picture of the current conditions down there
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Quoting Drakoen:


That graphic also picks up on sea-salt aerosols which is prevalent around Antarctica


Thanks, I knew there had to be a logical explanation. I knew there wasn't any dust down there.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
I'm starting to wonder if I am visible too.


You're visible
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Quoting Drakoen:
Dust forecast for Thursday morning:



Would like to know how that compares to normal aerosol concentrations. Too bad there is no anomaly map.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Doc that's a great post.. however I disagree with the fact this season might start off late. 1998 had high shear throughout June and July, this year its been well below climatological means nor was the El Nino event this year was as strong as the 1997 event.


There's still plenty of June left. I easily see us getting a named storm sometime this month.
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Hi, I wanted to let you all know how much I enjoy this blog. I found it when Floyd visited NC and have been an observer ever since. I still have lots to learn but there is no better place to learn than here.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Arctic sea ice at record low for the date.


The fall is slowing down, it should increase.
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What I mentioned earlier is that the EURO seems to have an idea on how the B/A will be like for the next 2 months.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Why is there so much dust north of Antartica?


That graphic also picks up on sea-salt aerosols which is prevalent around Antarctica
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I'm starting to wonder if I am visible too.
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Thanks guys, well appreciated..
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Quoting reedzone:
Interesting to see my posts aren't showing, I have no reason to get banned, I did nothing wrong.. If anybody can see this, please let me know, maybe it was a glitch or something. Never was banned and never intend to get banned.


I can see you.
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Quoting reedzone:
Interesting to see my posts aren't showing, I have no reason to get banned, I did nothing wrong.. If anybody can see this, please let me know, maybe it was a glitch or something. Never was banned and never intend to get banned.


You are visible.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Arctic sea ice at record low for the date.



To be fair, Antarctic sea ice is more above normal than arctic sea ice is below normal. The result is barely above-normal global sea ice:





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Interesting to see my posts aren't showing, I have no reason to get banned, I did nothing wrong.. If anybody can see this, please let me know, maybe it was a glitch or something. Never was banned and never intend to get banned.
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Quoting K8eCane:
I think it's June and we should keep it real


Aint nobody know
where da storm gonna go....


With the exception of Jeff9641; he seems to have a lock on this season
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Quoting Drakoen:


Looks like the Western Caribbean energy gets shot over into the Pacific


Might be possible that we get some quick development on our side before this happens. CPC benefits/hazards forecast suggests conditions for development in the EPAC, NW Caribbean and the BOC will be favorable for development next week as well.
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Doc that's a great post.. however I disagree with the fact this season might start off late. 1998 had high shear throughout June and July, this year its been well below climatological means nor was the El Nino event this year was as strong as the 1997 event.
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Hmm... Looking at Dr. Master's El Nino/Neutral/La Nina slide, I hope that one of the 2001 years is supposed to be 2002. Otherwise, it was a two-part season!
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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.
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Interesting area of disturbed weather in the EPAC now.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Afternoon all! Seems like the first La Nina event since 2007 is about to begin.


Am putting my money on Panama the Hispañola hummm don't think so but,most of the time am wrong
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Quoting NoNamePub:
Hiya Flood!


Hey, pub! Hail, hail, the gang's all here...LOL
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Quoting Drakoen:
Dust forecast for Thursday morning:



Why is there so much dust north of Antartica?
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Quoting extreme236:
GFS still develops an EPAC system.


Looks like the Western Caribbean energy gets shot over into the Pacific
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157. 7544
hi evryone does anyone think the the hati blob might have a chance to develope ?
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I believe EVERYONE is at a medium to high risk for landfalls. Even the Northeast, they are over due, I can see an East Coast track or two this year. Lot's of Gulf Coast storms I believe, if you look at the EURO lately, it seems to show whatever forms, moving into the Gulf. This is 240 hours out, but it's an indication that the B/A may be set by then for at least 2 months.

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Dust forecast for Thursday morning:

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Quoting Jeff9641:
Anybody have a close up visible on this disturbed area north of Haiti?
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Afternoon all! Seems like the first La Nina event since 2007 is about to begin.
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Quoting NRAamy:
yo Jerry!

:)


Amy, darlin'...how are you?
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GFS still develops an EPAC system.
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Quoting Caribbeanislands101:
When comparing our season to 1995 or 98, does that mean that Tropical Cyclones will follow similar tracks as those years ?


I don't reckon they will, there are a few differences to 95 and 98 which could potentially make it even more conductive for storms in the carribean as well as everywhere else.

I reckon we're in for a very rocky season with about:

20 Tropical Depressions
15-19 Tropical Storms
10 Hurricanes
7 Major Hurricanes
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Snow on its way

With only a few days to the bank holiday weekend and the official start of the ski season, snow is arriving on cue.

Whilst other resorts crank the snow makers away in some very cold conditions, Mt Buller has seen some decent natural falls arrive already. Although amounting to just a centimetre or so, Mt Buller's accumulation represents the start of some excellent conditions to come.

Under a blanket of cloud, streaming in ahead of a very strong cold front, temperatures across all the major resorts stayed close to or below freezing today.

The sub zero conditions have allowed for plenty of snow making, with many runs now covered. The man made snow will make an excellent base for natural snow due this week.

During Wednesday one of the coldest surges of polar air this year will rush over the southeast. On its leading edge, a cold front will deliver some decent snowfall. Accumulations by Thursday could be up to around 20cm, with VIC resorts benefiting most from strong southwesterly winds.

More snow on Thursday and some on Friday should set things up nicely for the weekend. Then some clear conditions will allow for more snow making and great skiing over the weekend.

- Weatherzone
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Quoting NRAamy:
Anybody Said MITCH that's a bad word around here..

so is Felix......


Felix wasn't that bad cause it hit the mountains first and made landfall in the most desolated area of the country ,Nicaragua took a beating with that one. But Mitch took some time a took a small tour of the entire country as a TD.

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Hiya Flood!
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Quoting Houstonia:


Northwest Harris County 11:00 a.m.

Gee them are mean looking skies.
Good Morning all
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cumulus clouds building here in coastal sarasota!!!!,maybe....just maybe,SWFL's rainy season is about to start(today just a primer,our rainy season starts 2/3 week of june usually!!!
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Northwest Harris County 11:00 a.m.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I wonder if the La Nina will be enough to keep 2010 from setting the record as the warmest year on record for the globe.


hope so, the cooler the better, globally speaking
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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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