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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I think it's June and we should keep it real


Aint nobody know
where da storm gonna go....
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3191
Quoting Jeff9641:
Anybody have a close up visible on this disturbed area north of Haiti?
Link

You can zoom in, too.
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Anybody Said MITCH that's a bad word around here..

so is Felix......
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yo Jerry!

:)
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Quoting Drakoen:


Yea. It's also showing something interesting in the Caribbean as well. So we will have two areas to watch later this week.


Yup I noticed that as well.
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Anybody Said MITCH that's a bad word around here.. Yup am in Honduras and i lived in HN that's the reason i have been monitoring this blog ,right now we have the exact conditions as when he had mitch and to stand corrected it didn't hit as a cat5,we barely had wind but we had rain with drops the size of 50gal drums in less than a week it changed the whole country.The conditions around Panama look exactly the same. and we just got hit by agatha and most of the big river protections are down. So even a TC or TD will hurt alot.
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Quoting extreme236:
12Z GFS out to 126 hours does suggest the possibility for some development from a tropical wave that emerges off Africa on Thursday.


Yea. It's also showing something interesting in the Caribbean as well. So we will have two areas to watch later this week.
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ok here is a question... bay county's potable water supply is not from ground water. it is from deer point lake. During Opal there was some saltwater intrusion into the lake but the system is designed to filter out certain things like salt water, and they treat things to kill viruses and bacteria etc. so If a hurricane blows oil into the lake, the system is not set up to filter oil and could clog things maybe and make it where it does not even filter viruses and bacteria. the potable water supply could be threatened maybe. right? I am wondering about this. I am on a well, but this would be like... HUGE devastating circumstance...
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Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:
GFS seems to think the wave that will emerge off Africa on Thursday is "the one to watch"


I did some analysis on the wave last night and noticed it seemed to be more up in the wheelhouse and in a little more favorable SAL environment.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Hey Amy, Flood and everyone else. Lots of components out there that will make this an interesting hurricane season, huh?


DL! How are you, darlin'?
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12Z GFS out to 126 hours does suggest the possibility for some development from a tropical wave that emerges off Africa on Thursday.
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latest big picture
as of 12 pm edt jun 8
northern hemisphere view
centre north pole
top right africa
bottom right tropical atlantic
bottom centre NA
top centre russia
left bottom pacific basin
top left se asia
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Quoting Jeff9641:


Are you going to do some Hurricane chasing with OZ this summer?


I really dont know. If I have the time, and he allows it, then yeah Id love to
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Quoting IKE:
I agree that 2005 skewed the numbers for neutral years.


did it skew it or was the number BECAUSE of the neutral. i sound almost like i know what i am talking about dont i haha
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I think lots of areas may have landfalling systems but the highest number could be in TX & FL.


i was being sarcastic :p
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Most landfalls I think will occur in TX & Florida.
Wonderful. So far the Texas beaches have been incredibly lucky. I was wondering if a significant storm could push some of that oil our way? Hope not.
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gosh if it werent for the dern oil we could really use a nice tropical storm, a small one. My poor horses are getting ate alive by yellowflies and horse flies and its so hot. I feel like they are suffering.
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GFS seems to think the wave that will emerge off Africa on Thursday is "the one to watch"
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Hey Amy, Flood and everyone else. Lots of components out there that will make this an interesting hurricane season, huh?


You disappeared there for a while.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
well obviously most, if not all, of the storms will make a beeline right for florida, thought that was common knowledge? (;

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Miss Cleo..?


Can I have the Psychic tropics link as well?

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are more likely to see the focus of tracks advect further westward as we have La Nina negative NAO combo.

Does that put the Texas coast more under the gun? Does La Nina event mean it is more likely for Tx. to get a storm?
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POLO!!!!!


SQUAWK!!!!!!
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IMO,our pops need to be raised a bit:


especially south of I-4
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MARCO!!!
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Waves still a little low.

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Hey Amy, Flood and everyone else. Lots of components out there that will make this an interesting hurricane season, huh?
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Quoting CycloneOz:


tehre will be many days of waiting to come. taht's just teh way it is right now.

but teh tropics may be laying down some tracks towards you tihs year...so always be ready to leave!



hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!
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Lots of random convection out there today, it looks like the start of cane season for sure.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
groovy song there, Ike.


You're mixing decades there, dude
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heard that an oil pipeline in Alaska busted -

happens to be owned by BP, of course.

Here is the slightly, and rightfully, biased blog I found it on. Some good reading.

http://blog.buzzflash.com/contributors/3238
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Here it comes....



I just told my Boss to get ready to turn off all the computers..LOL
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When comparing our season to 1995 or 98, does that mean that Tropical Cyclones will follow similar tracks as those years ?
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Hello everyone and thanks to Jeff Masters and others for all the great information and analysis. I'm here to learn. Whenever I hear about systems that oscillate, I wonder what causes them to oscillate. Since we're talking about ENSO here, I'll ask about that. From what I've read, it's related to changes in the strength of the easterlies. But what causes the easterlies to shift? Is there some negative feedback internal to the system?

By the way, did you all hear about the macroburst that stormed through eastern Massachusetts Sunday? Trees down and roofs damaged all over the area.
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Quoting Drakoen:
This season will probably end up being more sever than 1998. If we look at the sea level pressure anomalies from the EUROSIP muli-model forecast we can see the expanse of the below normal pressures around the Greater Antilles, Bahamas and the GOM region.




In 1998 we can see the GOM and the northeast was the primary focus of the below average MSLP. We saw storms form in the GOM that year, some off the eastern seaboard and then some in the subtropical alantic.




We are more likely to see the focus of tracks advect further westward as we have La Nina negative NAO combo.


Yeah, that Eurosip puts a frog in my throat for sure.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting Dakster:


Better and good... Thanks. You?



Let's just say that any morning you wake up on the right side of the grass is a good one...LOL
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
Oh my just heard on the Weather Channel another oil rig developed a slow leak.Has been going on since April 30.


They all leak to some degree...
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94. IKE
12Z GFS is running...


Song on my brain:)

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting dagaleaa:
I am just saying hello. I've been reading the forums here off and on for almost 2 years. I don't understand all the weather terms, but I have learned many things here. Two years ago I was in a Publix grocery store and overheard two men talking about this site on the internet. I came home and looked it up, and have been reading it since---especially when hurricane season arrives. I live in Naples, FL. I grew up in Miami, FL.
Another one from SWF! Welcome
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Good morning everyone.

Tropical Tidbit for Tuesday, June 8th
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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.