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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If I remember correctly it is the convection which dies out, but the wave axis continues to trek onwards and as long as the wave axis is present it bears watching in the western Caribbean. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
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Quoting pottery:

Well, Good call.


Hey Pottery.....i first thought the energy might hold together into the Western Caribbean but, with stronger Shear to the West....it might be tough to keep any energy intack. Needs to be watched tho as the energy can duck under shear when the low is at the lower levels......this does have a good 850mb vorticity return so a low level spin is still there.
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2890. hcubed
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I did that for other years... I averaged out the years that are of the same cycle and drew up a prediction based on the averages. When I compared what I had "forecast" to the actual average of that year they were exactly identical.


So please post, by itself, the chart that this year should follow.
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2889. pottery
Well I am out.
It has stopped raining!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Felix
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Webcam Thredbo - Oceania, Australia, Thredbo VillageThredbo Village
More snowcams can be found here.
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2886. pottery
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
new surface map (00Z)




Nice! The ITCZ has leapt north by about 5 degrees in short time.
In fact, if it bent a little more, it would verify the entire "hockey-stick" theory. LOL
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2884. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
felix 2007 from ISS
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Quoting hcubed:


What will be interesting would be to compare this year's tracks to the particular graph. See if the tracks follow the average.

This might become a way to use the "history" to predict the future.
I did that for other years... I averaged out the years that are of the same cycle and drew up a prediction based on the averages. When I compared what I had "forecast" to the actual average of that year they were exactly identical.
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new surface map (00Z)



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2881. SLU
KEEPER what storm is that? .. wonderful pic. I wish to see the day when visible satellite pics would look like that ...
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Quoting pottery:
Greetings Atmo!

G'Morning!
(I usually operate on UTC time...)
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BP Again Changes Oil Containment Timeline

BP has changed its tune once again on the precise timing of when it believes it will be able to contain the oil gushing from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico
.

BP said on Wednesday it is dialing back a prediction by its chief operating officer that the leaking oil would be reduced to a "relative trickle" by next week. It now says it will take more time to reach that point.....
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Quoting bappit:


That looks like a pretty suspect news source. Might as well post a link to the Onion.

And what would be wrong with that? Done that myself a couple of times ;-)

Really, though. Name me one news source that is always a. on top of it, b. never gets it wrong
It's up to you and me to decide what has any veracity. My opinion of that one is...well maybe there is some accuracy. There is a little truth in anything. How much remains to be seen...or maybe will never be.
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2877. pottery
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

What Dat?
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like the Wave that it moving through the Islands is dying out as i said it would....it was purly divergernce caused by shear. Wishcasters can now relax and find another blob to wish upon a star for......LOL....just kidding all....but it did do as said.


The energy will need to be tracked as it heads across the Caribbean. Things could get interesting in the W. Caribbean early next week, IMO.
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2875. hydrus
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Awesome. I can see individual towering cumulonimbus clouds in the front of the image.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Evening All!

KOTG, were you able to make a determination?
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2873. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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2872. pottery
Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like the Wave that it moving through the Islands is dying out as i said it would....it was purly divergernce caused by shear. Wishcasters can now relax and find another blog to wish upon a star for......LOL....just kidding all....but it did do as said.

Well, Good call.
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2871. hcubed
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Here are the results:

It's a five year cycle from West to East with the furthest west year being labeled the "A" year, and the furthest East year labeled the "E" year.

1995, A "D" year:


We see that in 1996, the "E" year, the average track has shifted slightly to the east.


In 1997, the cycle begins at an "A" year. The track resets to the west.


In 1998, the track does bulge further west than in 1997, but if the line were to be smoothed you would notice the average is in fact further east. This is a "B" year.


In 1999 we see that the track shifts to the east. A "C" year.


In 2000, the track continues to shift east slightly. A "D" year.


In 2001, the track reaches the end of its eastward trek. An "E" year.


It all starts over again in 2002 with an "A" year. Notice how far west the average track has gone.


Back to the east a little in '03. "B" year.


A little more to the east in 2004. "C" year.


In 2005 the track stays in about the same place, but with more storms occurring further east than in 2004. (This is the only outlier in the set, and it's not even very far off at all.) "D" year.


In 2006, it's hard over to the east again. An "E" year.


In 2007 is restarts in the west. "A" year.


2008. "B" year.


2009. "C" year.


...which means this year we should be looking at an average track slightly to the east of last years :)


What will be interesting would be to compare this year's tracks to the particular graph. See if the tracks follow the average.

This might become a way to use the "history" to predict the future.
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2870. SLU
Quoting pottery:

OH! GREAT image SLU.


Thanks. check out the archives
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Quoting jamesrainier:


You mean how could I post a link to a perfectly valid internet thread where he or others might find answers to their oil leak webcam questions because the people there have a 24/7 webcam watch going? Because although I haven't been following that thread I know it exists and thought people going omg lava, fire, might find that other more knowledgeable people watching weren't freaking out.


sorry but it bugged me thinking you were telling someone to leave this blog because they were talking about the oil spill webcam. the website address seemed like it was a doom n gloom thing. i guess i should have look.
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2868. JRRP

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Looks like the Wave that it moving through the Islands is dying out as i said it would....it was purly divergernce caused by shear. Wishcasters can now relax and find another blob to wish upon a star for......LOL....just kidding all....but it did do as said.
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2866. SLU
Quoting hydrus:
I dont know where he gets them but keep them comin.


Link

GOES SATELLITE ARCHIVE. You can see every storm develop in the Atlantic or anywhere in the world from 1974 - 2010.
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2865. bappit
Quoting atmoaggie:

I cannot imagine what is wrong with that.

Only points out that there are international groups with capabilities we don't seem to have and says we have ignored them. I don't think anyone would argue with a charge of mismanagement by all parties, so far.


That looks like a pretty suspect news source. Might as well post a link to the Onion.
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2812 Ossqss "Interesting for those who can see it. Why was my post earlier on this blacked out to the general public?"

Probably a random glitch. Same thing happened earlier to reedzone for no discernible reason. And by the time he posted again, his complaint about the blackout as well as his following postings had become visible again.
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2863. pottery
Greetings Atmo!
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2862. hydrus
.
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2861. scott39
Looks like the wave of intrest is dying. IMO
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Quoting Ossqss:
Interesting for those who can see it. Why was my post earlier on this blacked out to the general public? Really, why??? It is only news from another country. Are we edited?????????

Here is the link that paved the way for removal of my post by virtue of voting or admin. Why would that be?>>>??????? Please tell me why those who live in the US would not want to know why better technology was not used to help us!
............

Just sayin............... Don't let the minus from a few rule the site ...........

http://beforeitsnews.com/news/75/195/Why_Did_The_U.S._Refuse_International_Help_on_The_Gulf_Oil_Spi ll.html

I cannot imagine what is wrong with that.

Only points out that there are international groups with capabilities we don't seem to have and says we have ignored them. I don't think anyone would argue with a charge of mismanagement by all parties, so far.
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2858. bappit
Quoting SLU:





Alma of 1974 - Aug 12 - 15.

Satellite pictures don't get much more vintage than this .....



Alma was as far south as they get.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is an oscillation that affects the strength of the Atlantic subtropical high. But looking at thee graphs initially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter-NAO-Index.svg) doesn't show correlation with the period of your trend.


Actually that is a graph of the winters of Europe from NAO, not really related to what we are talking about. Maybe researching the NAO could lead you to an answer.
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2856. hydrus
Quoting pottery:

OH! GREAT image SLU.
I dont know where he gets them but keep them comin.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is an oscillation that affects the strength of the Atlantic subtropical high. But looking at thee graphs initially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter-NAO-Index.svg) doesn't show correlation with the period of your trend.
Well then it would be good to figure out what is causing the trend that I found.

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2854. pottery
Quoting SLU:





Alma of 1974 - Aug 12 - 15.

Satellite pictures don't get much more vintage than this .....


OH! GREAT image SLU.
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2853. hydrus
.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
If you look at my plots you can easily gauge the strength of the atlantic high by the curvature of the avg line.... I'm fairly sure the high just strengthens and weakens on a five year cycle. If anyone has ever noticed this before, I don't know, but it looks to me from this data that it does.

Please someone... input on this?


The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is an oscillation that affects the strength of the Atlantic subtropical high. But looking at thee graphs initially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter-NAO-Index.svg) doesn't show correlation with the period of your trend.
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2851. hydrus
.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting Orcasystems:


Evening Valley Boy, hows it going


All in all doing all right. Got caught by state cut-backs so am "retired" which means unemployed looking for the next adventure.

Maybe I'll buy a boat and go skim oil. LOL

How are things in Upper America?

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First snow falls of the season, just in time for the Queens Birthday long weekend this weekend.

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2847. pottery
OK!! Tropical Storm Alma, 1974, passed over Trinidad, then went over Caracas and resulted in 2 deaths. It dissipated just west of Caracas, and remained inland (just on the coast) of Venezuela after leaving Trinidad.
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Hey all ... is there anything out there to be concerned about.....or to be watching just for interest measures? Just very interested...
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2795 Chicklit "irony at the gas pump...
[photo of BP gas station with the sign: WARNING
DO NOT LEAVE PUMP UNATTENDED
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SPILLS ] "

Got a genuine chuckle outta that, followed by a genuine "hee hee hee" at how much the entire setup looks like an expression of sarcastic wit that an editorial cartoonist would have loved to have dreamt up.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting NCHurricane2009:
In NC, I also noticed that the NC coast got hammered a lot in 1996 (Bertha and Fran), 1998 (Bonnie), 1999 (Dennis and Floyd), and then it got quiet, and then in 2003 we had Isabel. FLWeatherFreak91, were these above mentioned years kind of up and down the east coast?

Well there were storms going all over the place each year. I just calculated the average position of all the tracks.
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In NC, I also noticed that the NC coast got hammered a lot in 1996 (Bertha and Fran), 1998 (Bonnie), 1999 (Dennis and Floyd), and then it got quiet, and then in 2003 we had Isabel. FLWeatherFreak91, were these above mentioned years kind of up and down the east coast?

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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.