TSR predicts very active hurricane season; Atlantic May MDR SSTs warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:51 PM GMT on June 10, 2010

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The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) has joined the ranks of NOAA and Colorado State University in calling for an exceptionally active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. The latest TSR forecast issued June 4 calls for 17.7 named storms, 9.5 hurricanes, 4.4 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 181% of average. These numbers are much above the 50-year average of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, and are an increase from their April forecast of 16.3 named storms, 8.5 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes. The TSR June forecast numbers are the highest they've ever gone for in the eleven years they've been issuing Atlantic hurricane season forecasts. TSR predicts a 85-90% chance that activity will rank in the top 1/3 of years historically, and a 85% chance that U.S. landfalling activity will be above average. TSR rates their skill level as 20-34% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology, though an independent assessment by the National Hurricane Center (Figure 1) gives them somewhat lower skill numbers.

TSR projects that 5.7 named storms will hit the U.S., with 2.5 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2009 climatology are 3.2 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these June forecasts for U.S. landfalls at 10 - 17% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.8 named storms, 0.8 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR cites two main factors for their forecast of an exceptionally active season:

1) Their model predicts that sea surface temperatures will be 0.6°C warmer than average in August and September over the Main Development Region (MDR) for Atlantic hurricanes. This is the area between 10°N and 20°N, between the coast of Africa and Central America (20°W - 80°W). It is called the Main Development Region because virtually all African waves originate in this region. These African waves account for 85% of all Atlantic major hurricanes and 60% of all named storms. When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results (if there is no El Niño event present.)

2) Their model predicts slower than normal trade winds in August and September over the Main Development Region (MDR). Trade winds are forecast to be 1.2 meters per second (about 2.7 mph) slower than average. This would create more spin for developing storms, and allow the oceans to warm up, due to reduced mixing of cold water from the depths and lower evaporational cooling.


Figure 1. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and tropicalstormrisk.com (TSR) from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August), using the Mean Squared Error. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.

2010 hurricane season forecasts from CSU and NOAA
NOAA's 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, issued May 27, called for 18.5 named storms, 11 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 210% of normal (using the mid-point of their range of numbers.) The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Colorado State University (CSU) issued on June 2 called for 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. So, the consensus forecast from NOAA, CSU, and TSR is 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. The June forecast numbers from all three groups were the highest they've ever gone for in their history of issuing Atlantic hurricane season forecasts.

May SSTs in the tropical Atlantic set a new record
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic's Main Development Region for hurricanes had their warmest May on record, according to an analysis of historical SST data from the UK Hadley Center. SST data goes back to 1850, though there is much missing data before 1910 and during WWI and WWII. SSTs in the Main Development Region (10°N to 20°N and 20°W to 80°W) were a remarkable 1.51°C above average during May. This is the fourth straight record warm month, and the warmest anomaly measured for any month. The previous record warmest anomaly for the Atlantic MDR was 1.46°C, set last month. Third place goes to June 2005 and March 2010, with a 1.26°C anomaly. As I explained in detail in a post on record February SSTs in the Atlantic, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), are largely to blame for the record SSTs, though global warming and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) also play a role. However, trade winds over the tropical Atlantic have increased to near-normal speeds over the past week, since the Bermuda-Azores High has strengthened to near-normal pressures. The Bermuda-Azores High and its associated trade winds are forecast to increase to above average strength during mid-June, according to the latest runs of the GFS model. This means that Atlantic SST anomalies have probably peaked for the year, and we can anticipate that the June SST anomaly in the MDR will not be as great as the May anomaly--and may even fall below the June record set in 2005.


Figure 2. The departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for June 10, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

Oil spill update
Light southeast or south winds of 5 - 15 knots will blow today through Tuesday, 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 Pensacola. 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 3. The oil spill as imaged on June 9, 2010, by NOAA's Terra satellite. The spill appears highly reflective in the sunglint portion of the image.

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

I'll have a new post on Friday. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting calder:


Yup, the downcasters/wishcasters just need to be ignored! All they want is the attention.. Im gonna end up having 100 ignorees (if that's the right terminology!)
That isn't smart because when the active season comes all you will see is a blog with your own posts. And I don't see the "wishcaster" you are referring to.
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Responsible Companies Try Wriggling Out of Paying Oil Spill Costs
By: Scott Nance
June 7th, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

Its already starting... wait for it
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Nothing will form in the SW Caribbean until October. As these waves come across they traverse over the Great Antilles and toward the GOM come next week. SW Caribbean missed the boat until October.
October? So what you are saying is that waves emerging off of Africa will no longer be associated with the ITCZ and be completely dependent, I don't think so. I have yet to see any proof of what you are saying. Waves will continue to be associated with the ITCZ and continue to move westward into south America.
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1396. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
1130 AM EDT FRI JUN 11 2010

.SYNOPSIS...A TROPICAL WAVE S OF 16N ALONG 71W THIS AFTERNOON
WILL MOVE W AT 15 KT TO ALONG 76W SAT...78W SUN...81W MON THEN
MOVE W THROUGH THE GULF OF HONDURAS MON NIGHT. OTHERWISE
EASTERLY TRADES WILL PREVAIL ACROSS THE AREA THROUGH THE PERIOD.



SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
1030 AM CDT FRI JUN 11 2010

.SYNOPSIS...HIGH PRES NEAR THE FLORIDA BIG BEND WILL SHIFT W
REACHING A POSITION OVER SOUTHERN LOUISIANA SUN NIGHT AND MON.
THE HIGH CENTER WILL BECOME ABSORBED IN AN ATLC RIDGING WHICH
WILL BUILD W ALONG 27N MON NIGHT AND TUE.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1395. calder
Quoting Hurricanes101:


2005 is still part of the data set though

either way there is no evidence that La Nina developing or not developing would affect the numbers during the season, which is what my original point was


Yup, the downcasters/wishcasters just need to be ignored! All they want is the attention.. Im gonna end up having 100 ignorees (if that's the right terminology!)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 416
Quoting Hurricanes101:


2005 is still part of the data set though

either way there is no evidence that La Nina developing or not developing would affect the numbers during the season, which is what my original point was
Yeah I have yet to see that too. Good point.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Hey everyone!
Please WUmail or post on my WU blog your detailed personal accounts of weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, winter weather, etc.) along with any images you might like to include. I will be putting these stories on my weather site under the "Your Stories" section. I'm sure there are many here who have some intense weather stories to relate. Thanks!


Morning. On your blog, posted my story on riding out Hurricane Fran inland in Raleigh, NC (was pretty significant) while I was a kid.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
True.


2005 is still part of the data set though

either way there is no evidence that La Nina developing or not developing would affect the numbers during the season, which is what my original point was
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Quoting Jeff9641:
I am glad to say that I am about to embark on my Turks & Caicos trip later today and won't be back until June 19th.
Have fun!
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Nothing will develope anytime soon unless these waves can get further north. Anything that tries tom get into the Caribbean will be killed immediatly. Now if something forms in the Gulf or Bahamas then watchout.
It's only June, waves are going to stay in the ITCZ for a while. What you have to watch for is when the waves cross through south America and make it to the SW Caribbean. That's where we'll probably see our first named storm. The Bahamian region isn't an area for tropical development in June, we could see the trailing end of a trough in the Bahamian region and possibly develop sub-tropically, but that's it.
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Quoting calder:
Neutral seasons on average are more active than La Nina seasons

That was only because of the small sample that Dr. Masters used - 2005 skewed the data significantly
True.
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1384. calder
Neutral seasons on average are more active than La Nina seasons

That was only because of the small sample that Dr. Masters used - 2005 skewed the data significantly
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 416
For Sleetman1:
El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion Link
Click weekly ENSO Update. Last updated June 7, so pretty current.
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An interesting article related to BP:

Link
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting errantlythought:


Two word responses rarely suffice, kids. Learn to read your own articles.


Ergo the link, for the ones on here to young to remember :)
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Two word response: Bhopal disaster


Two word responses rarely suffice, kids. Learn to read your own articles.
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From NOAA:
TUTT Low
Tropical Upper-Tropospheric Trough or TUTT Low - A semipermanent trough extending east-northeast to west-southwest from about 35N in the eastern Pacific to about 15 to 20N in the central west Pacific. A similar structure exists over the Atlantic Ocean, where the mean trough typically extends from Cuba toward Spain
Link

Wikipedia Page: Link
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1377. keiser
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If you need a good laugh go to Youtube and type in BP Coffee Spill. :)
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1375. hercj
Quoting Skyepony:
Kermit is flying over the current eddy today..map here.

Sky how do you get this before me. Are u at Macdill?
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Quoting scott39:
Thanks, I do well with pictures.
Lol, no problem.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Inside the green line is where shear is favorable for TCs ... which means forget about development across the Central/Eastern Carribbean and Atlantic anytime soon. Perhaps a western Carribbean system could spin and survive due North into Eastern GOM, but nothing suggests that is happening.

Development should become more likely in the Caribbean in about 7-10 days or so.
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1371. scott39
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL. This graph below should help you out, remember red and orange indicated favorable conditions.



GFS 72 Hour Shear Forecast
Thanks, I do well with pictures.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

June caused it. June is expected to end at, or about, the end of June.
(in case you needed another answer.)

LOL!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I think if people keep trashing BP, and making demands on it... like paying the wages of laid off rig workers (due to Government new rules)... then BP is going to do the logical legal thing.

Pay their 75 Million penalty as laid out in your laws... and say.. sue us for the rest..it would take years to get any money.



The $75 million I believe doesn't apply if there is negligence on the part of BP. It's pretty obvious there was. I think you are right though, BP may very well declare bankruptcy. Texaco did it after their spill.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1367. scott39
Quoting atmoaggie:

June caused it. June is expected to end at, or about, the end of June.
(in case you needed another answer.)
Thats what im talkin about LAYMAN terms for weather dummies like me. Although i still do appreciate learning the weather terminology and what it means.
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Quoting hydrus:
TUTT is usually around whether it is an active year or not.
True. It's a semi-permanent feature.
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Quoting errantlythought:


Doesn't work that way. Besides the fact that they're likely to be placed under criminal law due to negligence. Especially if sat phone records show that the reported "Are you happy?" conversation actually occured.

Further, BP chose to waive the liability limits. They cannot simply take their own legal statement back.


Two word response: Bhopal disaster
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Quoting scott39:
Thanks, Thats how long it takes me to learn something and thats on a good day.LOL How long will the pattern of all clear of the shear last for, when it starts? It will only take 4 times i promise.
LOL. This graph below should help you out, remember red and orange indicated favorable conditions.



GFS 72 Hour Shear Forecast
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1363. hydrus
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah that's what I was saying. I'm sure that there are some lingering effects from the El Nino, but the current high wind shear in the Caribbean isn't one of them.
TUTT is usually around whether it is an active year or not.
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1362. scott39
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I've said it about 6 times, lol, look at post 1345.
Thanks, Thats how long it takes me to learn something and thats on a good day.LOL How long will the pattern of all clear of the shear last for, when it starts? It will only take 4 times i promise.
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I also think that when people see how high the numbers are being predicted for this season, they assume the season should have already had a storm and that just isn't always the case.

We could have our 1st named storm in May and only end up with 9 storms

We may not have our 1st named until late July and end up with 18 storms.

There are examples of both, June has very little to do with the overall activity in a season.
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Quoting sporteguy03:


I just think it is great that there is no tropical activity out there right now, hopefully those involved in the oil spill will look at it as a gift to work harder to fix the oil spill as best as possible before the season really starts. It is just borrowed time.
I agree. I don't think we will see much activity in the GOM until July. June should be good for those workers down there.
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Quoting Skyepony:


Hey Robbie, good to see you back..

Quoting hydrus (1357):
some good news for a change, thank you for posting it.


You're too kind!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I think if people keep trashing BP, and making demands on it... like paying the wages of laid off rig workers (due to Government new rules)... then BP is going to do the logical legal thing.

Pay their 75 Million penalty as laid out in your laws... and say.. sue us for the rest..it would take years to get any money.



Doesn't work that way. Besides the fact that they're likely to be placed under criminal law due to negligence. Especially if sat phone records show that the reported "Are you happy?" conversation actually occured.

Further, BP chose to waive the liability limits. They cannot simply take their own legal statement back.
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1357. hydrus
Quoting Skyepony:
They found Sutherland alive out in the Indian Ocean, smacked around by 30'waves. Mast broke, dream of the record over but atleast the 16 year old girl is okay:)

Hey Robbie, good to see you back..
some good news for a change, thank you for posting it.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Ok well I think what you are mistaking for El Nino still being there may just be some lingering effects from El Nino due to how quickly we are going from El Nino to La Nina. I do think maybe the atmosphere is lagging a bit behind, but El Nino itself was declared dead a few weeks back.
Exactly!
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Quoting IKE:
I think with a downward MJO...climatology....taking the atmosphere a while to adjust to the changes, that June could wind up 0-0-0.

I predicted a named storm in the GOM by July 1st. Maybe a weak to moderate TS. I could eat crow on that prediction.

Things will start to get going early to mid-July as the MJO comes back(assuming it does), then become active for Aug...through early October. But you could say that about any season.

I'm sticking with 13-7-4 as my totals. I made them 3-4 months ago. Everything needs to stay out of the GOM, or the story of the year(oil), may get much worse.



I just think it is great that there is no tropical activity out there right now, hopefully those involved in the oil spill will look at it as a gift to work harder to fix the oil spill as best as possible before the season really starts. It is just borrowed time.
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Quoting hydrus:
This is the fastest ENSO switch I can remember. I know that it is not uncommon for a La nina to form right after an El Nino winter.
Yeah that's what I was saying. I'm sure that there are some lingering effects from the El Nino, but the current high wind shear in the Caribbean isn't one of them.
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Quoting sleetman1:
HURRICANES 101 lets just see what happens in a week conditions on the pacific side are ripe for development now ...so we will see..im not disagreeing with storm w its IMO the weak el nino is still out there..i have my own reasons why i think so..its just my opinion..


Ok well I think what you are mistaking for El Nino still being there may just be some lingering effects from El Nino due to how quickly we are going from El Nino to La Nina. I do think maybe the atmosphere is lagging a bit behind, but El Nino itself was declared dead a few weeks back.
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Quoting scott39:
Could somebody please tell me what is causing the current strong wind shear? When is it expected to decrease?

June caused it. June is expected to end at, or about, the end of June.
(in case you needed another answer.)
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Quoting scott39:
Could somebody please tell me what is causing the current strong wind shear? When is it expected to decrease?
I've said it about 6 times, lol, look at post 1345.
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Quoting keiser:
I Heard about the 2010 Hurricane season and yourr predicitions and the same as the rest. I hope to god it is not going to beavtive like 1996 Cause if it does people on the coastlines and in the carribean are going to be in trouble where I live we have a 50% of getting hit by a major hurricane, where my uncle lives he has a 51% chance of a major hurricane, Entire US coastline: 76%. I am really keeping my eye on the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The most active months are: July through September.
I would say that August, September, and October are the most active (based on climatology). The GOM, Caribbean, and U.S eastern coast are at the highest risk this year.
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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.