More pre-season predictions of a very active Atlantic hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on July 12, 2010

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Hello again, it's Jeff Masters back again after a week away. Well, the past week was a wicked hot time to be in New England, where I was vacationing, and I certainly didn't expect to see 98° temperatures in Maine like I experienced! Fortunately, it's not hard to find cold water to plunge into in New England. Thankfully, the tropics were relatively quiet during my week away, and remain so today. There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss at present, and none of the reliable computer models is forecasting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. The NOGAPS model does show a strong tropical disturbance developing near the waters offshore of Nicaragua and Honduras this weekend, though. With not much to discuss in the present-day tropics, let's take a look at more pre-season predictions of the coming Atlantic hurricane season.

2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Penn State
Dr. Michael Mann and graduate student Michael Kozar of Penn State University (PSU) issued their 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast on May 28. Their forecast utilizes a statistical model to predict storm counts, based on historical activity. Their model is predicting 19 to 28 named storms in the Atlantic, with a best estimate of 23 storms. The forecast assumes that record warm SSTs will continue in the Atlantic Main Development Region for hurricanes. Dr. Mann has issued two previous forecasts, in 2007 and 2009. The 2007 forecast was perfect--15 storms were predicted, and 15 storms occurred. The 2009 forecast called for 11.5 named storms, and 9 occurred (the 2009 forecast also contained the caveat that if a strong El Niño event occurred, only 9.5 named storms were expected; a strong El Niño did indeed occur.) So, the 2009 forecast also did well.


2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from the UK GloSea model
A major new player in the seasonal Atlantic hurricane season forecast game is here--the UK Met Office, which issued its first Atlantic hurricane season forecast in 2007. The UK Met Office is the United Kingdom's version of our National Weather Service. Their 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast calls for 20 named storms, with a 70% chance the number will range between 13 and 27. They predict an ACE index of 204, which is about double the average ACE index.

I have high hopes for the UK Met Office forecast, since it is based on a promising new method--running a dynamical computer model of the global atmosphere-ocean system. The CSU forecast from Phil Klotzbach is based on statistical patterns of hurricane activity observed from past years. These statistical techniques do not work very well when the atmosphere behaves in ways it has not behaved in the past. The UK Met Office forecast avoids this problem by using a global computer forecast model--the GloSea model (short for GLObal SEAsonal model). GloSea is based on the HadGEM3 model--one of the leading climate models used to formulate the influential UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. GloSea subdivides the atmosphere into a 3-dimensional grid 0.86° in longitude, 0.56° in latitude (about 62 km), and up to 85 levels in the vertical. This atmospheric model is coupled to an ocean model of even higher resolution. The initial state of the atmosphere and ocean as of June 1, 2010 were fed into the model, and the mathematical equations governing the motions of the atmosphere and ocean were solved at each grid point every few minutes, progressing out in time until the end of November (yes, this takes a colossal amount of computer power!) It's well-known that slight errors in specifying the initial state of the atmosphere can cause large errors in the forecast. This "sensitivity to initial conditions" is taken into account by making many model runs, each with a slight variation in the starting conditions which reflect the uncertainty in the initial state. This generates an "ensemble" of forecasts and the final forecast is created by analyzing all the member forecasts of this ensemble. Forty-two ensemble members were generated for this year's UK Met Office forecast. The researchers counted how many tropical storms formed during the six months the model ran to arrive at their forecast of twenty named storms for the remainder of this hurricane season. Of course, the exact timing and location of these twenty storms are bound to differ from what the model predicts, since one cannot make accurate forecasts of this nature so far in advance.

The grid used by GloSea is fine enough to see hurricanes form, but is too coarse to properly handle important features of these storms. This lack of resolution results in the model not generating the right number of storms. This discrepancy is corrected by looking back at time for the years 1989-2002, and coming up with correction factors (i.e., "fudge" factors) that give a reasonable forecast.

The future of seasonal hurricane forecasts using global dynamical computer models is bright. Their first three forecasts have been good. Last year the Met Office forecast was for 6 named storms and an ACE index of 60. The actual number of storms was 9, and the ACE index was 53. Their 2008 forecast called for 15 named storms, and 15 were observed. Their 2007 forecast called for 10 named storms in July - November, and 13 formed. A group using the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECWMF) model is also experimenting with some promising techniques using that model. Models like the GloSea and ECMWF will only get better as increased computer power and better understanding of the atmosphere are incorporated, necessitating less use of "fudge" factors based on historical hurricane patterns. If human-caused climate change amplifies in coming decades, statistical seasonal hurricane forecasts like the CSU's may be limited in how much they can be improved, since the atmosphere may move into new patterns very unlike what we've seen in the past 100 years. It is my expectation that ten years from now, seasonal hurricane forecasts based on global computer models such as the UK Met Office's GloSea will regularly out-perform the statistical forecasts issued by CSU.

2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Florida State University
Last year, another group using dynamical computer forecast models entered the seasonal hurricane prediction fray. A group at Florida State University led by Dr. Tim LaRow introduced a new model called COAPS, which is funded by a 5-year, $6.2 million grant from NOAA. This year, the COAPS model is calling for 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes. Last year's prediction by the COAPS model was for 8 named storms and 4 hurricanes, which was very close to the observed 9 named storms and 3 hurricanes.

Summary of 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecasts
Here are the number of named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes predicted by the various forecasters:

23 named storms: PSU statistical model
20 named storms: UKMET GloSea dynamical model
18.5 named storms, 11 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes: NOAA hybrid statistical/dynamical model technique
18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes: CSU statistical model (Phil Klotzbach/Bill Gray)
17.7 named storms, 9.5 hurricanes, 4.4 intense hurricanes: Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), hybrid statistical/dynamical model technique
17 named storms, 10 hurricanes: FSU dynamical model
10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes: climatology

Only four hurricane seasons since 1851 have had as many as nineteen named storms, so 5 out of 6 of these pre-season forecasts are calling for a top-five busiest season in history. One thing is for sure, though--this year won't be able to compete with the Hurricane Season of 2005 for early season activity--that year already had five named storm by this point in the season, including two major hurricanes (Dennis and Emily.)

Tropical Storm Conson threatens the Philippines
Weather456 has an interesting post on why the Western Pacific typhoon season has been exceptionally inactive this year. It looks like we'll have out first typhoon of the Western Pacific season later today, since Tropical Storm Conson appears poised to undergo rapid intensification, and should strike the main Philippine island of Luzon as a Category 1 or 2 typhoon.

Next post
I'll have an update Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Nice wave over Western Africa:


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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Wave's are rolling off Africa as we speak with increasing intensity. Look over Africa, see that wave train just setting up? The train will erode the SAL within a few weeks.


weeks?
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Quoting angiest:


As I recall, hurrkat was forecasting that event.
Oh oh, I thought you were saying that, LOL!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hurrkat05:
teddy i agree with you on that point but that is going to take quite a while to happen like mid august


Wave's are rolling off Africa as we speak with increasing intensity. Look over Africa, see that wave train just setting up? The train will erode the SAL within a few weeks.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24166
Looks like a Storm would make everyone get along a little better....
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok. Did you just say that you're waiting for Alex to make a NE turn. LOL. Ok...


As I recall, hurrkat was forecasting that event.
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Quoting angiest:


Well, you know, I was *tracking* storms with a paper chart and a pencil when I was a kid. But tracking and providing meaningful forecasts aren't the same thing. :)

Still waiting on Alex to make that hard turn to the NE and hit the Sabine Pass area as a major.
Ok. Did you just say that you're waiting for Alex to make a NE turn. LOL. Ok...
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
599. xcool
MiamiHurrican ANYTIME
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


You mean you have lots to learn right? Miami knows more than you. ;)
Lol.
Quoting xcool:
MiamiHurric .COOL KID
Thanks. Lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


You mean you have lots to learn right? Miami knows more than you. ;)


Well, you know, I was *tracking* storms with a paper chart and a pencil when I was a kid. But tracking and providing meaningful forecasts aren't the same thing. :)

Still waiting on Alex to make that hard turn to the NE and hit the Sabine Pass area as a major.
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595. xcool
hurrkat05 :0
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
WOW the storms are firing up in Georgia. Severe thunderstorms surrounding savannah on all sides. Severe thunderstorm in eatonton.. Tornado in sumter. Got a significant weather advisory up just to our west. Getting dark fast.
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592. xcool
MiamiHurric .COOL KID
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Reminds me of a donut. Mmmmm...
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StormW, I have a question concerning MJO graphs. Ok, from what I've heard, an octet is the strength of the MJO (1,2,3,4 where it says RMM1). And an octave is the location of the MJO (1,2,3,4,etc...). Thanks for any input.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Robots attempting to put on new cap, capture majority of oil

Robots attempting to put on new cap, capture majority of oil


by Tom Breen and Harry Weber / Associated Press

wwltv.com

Posted on July 12, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Updated today at 3:19 PM

Deep-sea robots swarmed around BP's ruptured oil well Monday in a delicately choreographed effort to attach a tighter-fitting cap that could finally stop crude from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico nearly three months into the crisis.

Video of the billowing brown oil leak showed glimpses of yellow equipment and swinging robot arms engaged in a project akin to building a giant Lego tower underwater.

BP officials said that the 18-foot-high, 150,000-pound metal cap should be attached on Monday but that they will have to test the equipment for two days to see if it can throttle the nation's worst offshore oil spill. Late Monday afternoon, the cap was being lowered into place and was just 40 feet away from the top of the well.

From the White House to Gulf Coast marinas and town halls, all eyes were on the slow, deliberate process a mile below the sea. President Barack Obama is getting repeated updates, his adviser David Axelrod said. Residents on the coast were skeptical, though, and know that even if the gusher is contained, the disaster will be far from over.

If the cap works, the blown-out well will still be leaking. But the newer, tighter cap will enable BP to capture all the oil and funnel it up to ships on the surface.

A permanent fix will have to wait until one of two relief wells being drilled reaches the broken well, which will then be plugged up with drilling mud and cement. That may not happen until mid-August.

BP's confidence in the cap is growing, Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said at a Monday news briefing. But he struck a cautious note, after a series of failed attempts by the company to contain the leak since the April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill.

"Until we have the cap on, securely fitted in place, and know it's operating per the design, we have to recognize this is a complex operation," Suttles said.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration planned to issue a revised moratorium on offshore drilling Monday to replace the one that was struck down by the courts as heavy-handed. The original moratorium the halted the approval of any new permits for deep-water projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

Work on the new capping operation began Saturday with the removal of a leaky cap that captured about 1 million of the 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons of oil the government estimates is spilling from the well every day. The removal of the cap allowed oil to gush unhindered into the Gulf again.

The new cap was designed to snap into place on top of another piece of equipment installed overnight. BP said that once it is securely fastened, it will be tested by shutting off vents -- perforations in a pipe that allow oil to flow out the top.

Engineers will be watching pressure readings. High pressure is good, because it would mean the leak has been contained inside the wellhead machinery. But if readings are lower than expected, that could mean there is another leak elsewhere in the well.

"Another concern right now would be how much pressure the well can take," and whether intense pressure would further damage the well, said Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute.

Suttles said there is also a slight chance of the formation of ice-like crystals known as hydrates on the new cap. Hydrates foiled an earlier attempt to stop the leak by lowering a huge steel-and-concrete box over the gusher.

BP also hoped to start siphoning oil directly from the well Monday to a new vessel called the Helix Producer, which will be able to take roughly a million gallons per day within a few days of starting up.

Gulf residents closely watched the operation, knowing the damage already done to the biologically rich Gulf and the coast's two leading industries, fishing and tourism.

"I think we're going to see oil out in the Gulf of Mexico, roaming around, taking shots at us, for the next year, maybe two," said Billy Nungesser, president of Louisiana's oil-stained Plaquemines Parish. "If you told me today no more oil was coming ashore, we've still got a massive cleanup ahead."

BP "can't do much, but they know how to drill wells," dock master Jimmy Beason said at a marina in Orange Beach, Ala. "I think that by the end of the month it will be stopped, and this work with the cap is part of it. I see the light at the end of the tunnel."

As of Monday, between 89 million and 176 million gallons of oil had poured into the Gulf, according to government estimates.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128638
587. xcool
CBS4 Mind ya Buizness NO WAS TALK TO YOU
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
TORNADO WARNING
SCC079-085-122045-
/O.NEW.KCAE.TO.W.0011.100712T2020Z-100712T2045Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE COLUMBIA SC
420 PM EDT MON JUL 12 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN COLUMBIA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN RICHLAND COUNTY IN CENTRAL SOUTH CAROLINA
NORTHWESTERN SUMTER COUNTY IN CENTRAL SOUTH CAROLINA

* UNTIL 445 PM EDT

* AT 417 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR OAKLAND...
OR ABOUT 12 MILES NORTHWEST OF SUMTER...MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
OAKLAND

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 900 PM EDT MONDAY
EVENING FOR EAST CENTRAL GEORGIA AND CENTRAL SOUTH CAROLINA.

&&

REPORT LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS OR FLOODING TO YOUR COUNTY
SHERIFF...OR CALL THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...TOLL FREE 1 877 6 3
3...6 7 7 2.

LAT...LON 3409 8043 3384 8041 3389 8084 3406 8076
TIME...MOT...LOC 2020Z 278DEG 16KT 3401 8056

$$

TTH
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurrkat05:
miami like i said before you have lots to learn and i was tracking hurricanes when you were still inyuor mothers womb...so sit back and observe..


You mean you have lots to learn right? Miami knows more than you. ;)
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582. 7544
Quoting btwntx08:
to me 18 storms sounds reasonable



agree
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Quoting StormW:


What would you like to know?


OK, it appears to be looking at the northern hemisphere from above the north pole. (Except that EPac is missing and I don't know what maritime continent is in this context). Presumably this is used to show where the MJO is supposed to be. What are the sections? (The pieces between the dashed lines numbered 1, 2, 3, etc) And what do RMM1 and RMM2 mean? That's at least a start.

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Quoting xcool:
MiamiHurricanes09 YOU WRONG I DNOT listening TO KNOW NO ONE .:)
LMAO.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Patrap:
Mother Nature takes a pause after Hole 3, Even par.

..She looks to be grasping for the Woods though, here on 4..


hahaha...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BDAwx:
I feel people tend to forget:
1. that we could have multiple storms going at once (eg. 2008)
2. that we could get a lot of short lived storms (eg. 2007)
3. that we could get storms that defy the odds and survive/develop (eg. 2005)
4. that we could get storms that affect next to nobody that make it feel less active


Best post of the day! Kudos.. :)
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Quoting hurrkat05:
i get your point teddy but i still say until the conditions change waves are going to have a rough time developing..the best chance will be the gom until the end of july...


I'm not sure you do. The wave's themselves change the environment, making it more moist. Sure, they will fizzle out once they hit that SAL barrier but as each one does they gradually erode the SAL making a path for a stronger wave that has potential to develop.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24166
574. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 YOU WRONG I DNOT listening TO KNOW NO ONE .:)
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting xcool:
MiamiHurri I DID lotS of Homeworklast night & That' how I Feel.
Doesn't make sense that your numbers would be so low considering all the factors present, but ok. We'll see.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
570. xcool
Tazmanian LMAOOOOOO :)
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
569. xcool
MiamiHurri I DID lotS of Homeworklast night & That' how I Feel.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
I am not part of the "click" group here and really don't care but I would like to say that today is July 12th. To say that the rest of the month will have no storms is outrageous. No one can trust those models for a 2 week period. There are some here who are on all day...step outside and get some air. There's more to life than the GFS, ECMJWF, GEm and so forth.
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567. BDAwx
I feel people tend to forget:
1. that we could have multiple storms going at once (eg. 2008)
2. that we could get a lot of short lived storms (eg. 2007)
3. that we could get storms that defy the odds and survive/develop (eg. 2005)
4. that we could get storms that affect next to nobody that make it feel less active
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Quoting Tazmanian:



make up your mine lol
Probably changing his forecast because he's listening to the most unreliable source, and that's Stormtop.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hurrkat05:
i get your point teddy but i still say until the conditions change waves are going to have a rough time developing..the best chance will be the gom until the end of july...
LMAO! What do you think Ted is saying???
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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