A record quiet start to the 2010 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:42 PM GMT on August 12, 2010

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The remnants of Tropical Depression Five have re-organized this morning, and the storm is pounding Southeast Louisiana with heavy rains. Radar imagery out of New Orleans shows that the remains of TD 5 have have formed some respectable low-level spiral bands that have brought heavy rains in excess of five inches in some areas. However, with the circulation center now moving over land, not much further development can occur.


Figure 1. Morning radar image of TD Five's remains.

Why so quiet in the Atlantic?
The Tropical Atlantic is quiet, and there are no threat areas to discuss today. The Invest 93 system we were tracking has been destroyed by dry air and wind shear. There are a couple of long-range threats suggested by some of the models--the GFS model predicts a tropical depression could form off the coast of Mississippi six days from now, and the NOGAPS model thinks something could get going in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche seven days from now. Neither of these possibilities are worthy of concern at present. Overall, it's been a surprisingly quiet August, considering the pre-season predictions of a hyperactive season. According the National Hurricane Center, this hurricane season has been exactly average so far. There have been three named storms and one hurricane as of August 12. The average date of formation of the third named storm is August 13. One hurricane typically forms by August 10. One reason for this year's inactivity may be an unusual number of upper-level low pressure systems that have paraded across the tropical Atlantic. These lows, also called Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough (TUTT) lows, tend to bring high wind shear that inhibits tropical cyclone formation. The other major factor appears to be that vertical instability has been unusually low in the Atlantic over the past month. Instability is measured as the difference in temperature between the surface and the top of the troposphere (the highest altitude that thunderstorm tops can penetrate to.) If the surface is very warm and the top of the troposphere is cold, an unstable atmosphere results, which helps to enhance thunderstorm updrafts and promote hurricane development. Since SSTs in the Atlantic are at record highs, enhancing instability, something else must be going on. Dry air can act to reduce instability, and it appears that an unusually dry atmosphere over the Atlantic this month is responsible for the lack of instability.


Figure 2. Vertical instability (in °C) over the Caribbean (left) and tropical Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles Islands and coast of Africa (right) in 2010. Normal instability is the black line, and this year's instability levels are in blue. The atmosphere became much more stable than normal in both regions at the end of July. This lack of instability also extends to the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America, as well as the Western Pacific east of the Philippines, and the South Indian Ocean. Image credit: NOAA/CIRA.

A record quiet start to the 2010 tropical cyclone season in the Northern Hemisphere
What is really odd about this year, though, is the lack of tropical cyclone activity across the entire Northern Hemisphere. Usually, if one ocean basin is experiencing a quiet season, one of the other ocean basins is going bonkers. That is not the case this year. Over in the Eastern Pacific, there have been five named storms and two hurricanes. The average is seven named storms and four hurricanes for this point in the season. This year's quiet season is not too surprising, since there is a moderate La Niña event underway, and La Niña conditions usually supresses Eastern Pacific hurricane activity. But over in the Western Pacific, which usually generates more tropical cyclones than any ocean basin on Earth, it has been a near-record quiet season. Just four named storms have occurred in the West Pacific this year, and the average for this date is eleven. Only one typhoon season has had fewer named storms this late in the season--1998, with just three. The total number of named storms in the Northern Hemisphere thus far this year is fifteen, which is the fewest since reliable records began in 1948. Second place belongs to 1983 and 1957, with eighteen named storms. According to an email I received from NOAA hurricane researcher Gabe Vecchi, the lack of tropical cyclones so far this year in the Northern Hemisphere is between a 1-in-80 and 1-in-100 year event.

So, what is causing this quiet tropical cyclone season? One possibility is that since Northern Hemisphere land areas have heated up to record temperatures this summer, this has created strong rising motion over the continents. This rising motion must be compensated by strong sinking motion over the adjacent oceans in order to conserve mass. Sinking air causes drying and an increase in stability. Another possibility is that the unusual jet stream configuration that is responsible for the Russia heat wave and record flooding in Pakistan is also bringing dry, stable air to the Northern Hemisphere's tropical cyclone breeding grounds. It is also possible that climate change is causing the reduction in tropical cyclone activity, for a variety of complex reasons. Computer simulations of a future warmer climate generally show a reduction in global number of tropical cyclones (though the strongest storms get stronger), and it is possible we are seeing a preview of that future climate. Or, this year's quietness may simply be natural variability. It will be interesting to see when the Russian heat wave breaks if vertical instability over the Atlantic increases back to normal levels. Current forecasts from the GFS and ECMWF models project the Russian heat wave to break late next week.

Moscow's air remains clear; coolest temperatures in two weeks
Moscow's winds remained favorable for keeping smoke away from the city today, and temperatures "cooled" to at Moscow's Domodedovo airport to 33°C (91°F)--the lowest maximum temperature since a high of 32°C (90°F) was recorded on July 30. Moscow's airport has reached a maximum temperature of 30°C (86°F) or higher for 35 consecutive days now (at Moscow's official observing site, the Moscow Observatory, this string is 30 days.) Moscow's average high temperature for August 12 is 20°C (68°F). Moscow's high temperatures have averaged 15°C (27°F) above average so far this August--a truly extraordinary anomaly for a country so famous for its notorious cold weather. The latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures of 30 - 33°C (86 - 91°F) Thursday through Monday. This is still 23°F above normal, but will be a welcome change from the extreme heat of the past two weeks. Long range forecasts from the ECMWF and GFS models continue to suggest that a series of troughs of low pressure will begin to attack the ridge of high pressure anchored over Russia beginning on Wednesday, bringing cooler temperatures just 5°C (8°F) above average to Russia late next week. By ten days from now, the ECMWF model shows a strong trough of low pressure over Moscow, and a end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010.

Next update
I'll have an update Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Please corrcet me if I'm wrong. Positive NAO would mean that CV hurricanes would tend to keep a more westerly track, increasing the chances for East Coast, FL landfall, and perhaps Gulf Coast. Negative NAO would mean a tendency for CV Hurricanes to recurve to the north (fish storms). So I must conclude that a negative NAO would make hurricanes forming in the GOMEX a bigger threat to the central Gulf Coast and perhaps the west coast of Florida right? As far as Hurricane formation and intensity the NAO has no influence, it onluy affects steering. Did I get this correct?
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Quoting Krycek1984:
What's all this talk about football...I thought football season doesn't start for a long time?
Take it to the football blog! This is a weather blog.
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Quoting ElConando:


There was a rumor of that? People spreading rumors that 2,000 people died or something?
Yeah, the casualties were higher but not reported. I think it had something to do with the homeless.
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Quoting MoltenIce:
Will this year be like 1977?
Who cares!
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I know why GFS has this system going so far north and not far west it's because GFS start the low level invest too far north starts it off near 18/19N I think it will start at like near 10/11N
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I'm sure this has been asked and answered, but does anybody know why ex-95L is so *persistent*?
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new blog
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Quoting Jeff9641:
6 Years ago at 8:30pm I was bracing for the eye of Charley in Orlando. Most trees in my neighborhood were knocked down, roofs torn off, and cars blown down my apartment complex near UCF. It was strange becuase once the eye moved overhead the sky had a weird glow to it in the night and then the other side came. That was the first time I ever experienced the roar of 100 plus mph winds.


Charley was hauling butt so there wasn't much time for it to wind down as it passed over. It was just a huge F3 tornado barreling across the state! I work with local county government so I had to go out to Fort Myers Beach immediately after to deliver some laptops with aircards so permitting could get people started on rebuilds and repairs right away and I remember my car slipping and sliding around on the sand still on the streets. There was still 6 inches or more of sand in the streets, some mixed with sewage, and that was after they'd cleared it with dozers...PEEEYEEEWWWW!!!...UGH!
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Last time I was on Lefty and stormtop were here.Went through Ivan,Dennis and part of Katrina. Moved to Mo. then here and got Ike 6 weeks later,my kids want me out of the area. LOL.....StormW is right...season will start soon...be prepared.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Just doing everthing i can SW to improve my current situation especially now more than ever with a new family on the way.

Well hello killer. Hogozit?
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Quoting hurricane23:


actually drake iam almost done with my BS in meteorology and applied mathematics from the university of miami down here in coral gables. Current minors are psychology,geography and regional studies. Thanks for asking


Wow, two degrees from big rival schools. How is it down at UM, I might go there after my freshman year?
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1876. IKE
Imagine the arguments on here... that would have ensued over Charley's track? I remember following it on visible and radar on this website and then the anemometer at Ponte Gorde went.....out.....

He wasn't that big, but he had a punch.
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NEW BLOG
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1873. angiest
Quoting TampaSpin:
Dang blog ate my post.....LOL....Nearly every single model as exTD5 looping back into the GOM near the Panhandle and most redevelop it into a nice storm......wonder if it will get a name this time and will it be TD6!


If it is identifiable as the same system then it remains TD5.
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Quoting StormW:


Dang Adrian! Don't you have a headache at the end of class with all that?


Just doing everthing i can SW to improve my current situation especially now more than ever with a new family on the way.
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1870. hydrus
Quoting hurricanejunky:
6 years ago today Hurricane Charley, the infamous Friday the 13th Cat 4 buzzsaw came roaring through Southwest Florida.
The Wrath and Aftermath of Charley
Does not seem like 6 years already.
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1869. snotly
Quoting Drakoen:

Link


Looks like another low forming in the NW. Caribbean
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Well, from what we have observed this hurricane season, it seems that global warming plays a diferent set of meteorological equations, where established prediction models have a larger margin of error...Well, that's what we have observed with some of the Invests predictions this year...
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1867. Drakoen
NAM 12z


Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919
6 years ago today Hurricane Charley, the infamous Friday the 13th Cat 4 buzzsaw came roaring through Southwest Florida.
The Wrath and Aftermath of Charley
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1864. divdog
Quoting 69Viking:


Yeah it's pretty much stuck not going anywhere. Kind of annoying. Sunny and hot here in the Panhandle and then a Tropical downpour and cool down and then Sunny and hot again and then Tropical downpour over and over and over....
better than hot and no downpours
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1862. Drakoen
Quoting hurricane23:


actually drake iam almost done with my BS in meteorology and applied mathematics from the university of miami down here in coral gables. Current minors are psychology,geography and regional studies. Thanks for asking


Oh you double majored? I was thinking about do that as well.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919
Quoting StormW:


Well, if you look at the graph, Drak is correct in his statement regarding the 16th, and it appears to be slight positive. If you look close though, the ensemble is split, so basically it would tend to neutral. Also, notice the values on the charts...the corrected obs aren't that strong into the positive.



If you also look at the surface maps, the A/B high is forecast to be around 1022-1020mb in about 144 hours, indicative of a more negative NAO



3 years with values close to what the graph is showing, and close as far as NAO trend, is these 3 years:







Thanks W for that complete explanation with the graphics.
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Quoting Waltanater:
Correct me if I am wrong, but does that really have anything to do with it? I thought the temp diff between top most cloud formations and SST would be more informative.


Read the research...the majority say fewer but more intense storms. It may very well have everything to do with it...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
GFS still has a northern bias, the storm may make it to Bermuda. It'll be interesting next week, our first real Cape Verde Storm.
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Dang blog ate my post.....LOL....Nearly every single model as exTD5 looping back into the GOM near the Panhandle and most redevelop it into a nice storm......wonder if it will get a name this time and will it be TD6!
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Quoting Drakoen:


Good to hear.

Btw, did you finish getting your degree from FSU?


actually drake iam almost done with my BS in meteorology and applied mathematics from the university of miami down here in coral gables. Current minors are psychology,geography and regional studies. Thanks for asking
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1855. Drakoen
Quoting StormW:


Drak,
Do you have a link for that? Some nice stuff there.

TIA!

Link
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919
Quoting maxbyte:
Perhaps the slow start to the hurricane season is one of the benefits of climate change, eh? May it go out the same door it came in.

Of course, it is much too early to get giddy about it. The sky could fall on us a week from now and stay that way through October.

Has anyone checked the NH temperature differential between land and SST, historically? If that info is available I'd love to see it.
Correct me if I am wrong, but does that really have anything to do with it? I thought the temp diff between top most cloud formations and SST would be more informative.
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1852. IKE
GFS has had it as a fish-storm the last 3 runs. I've seen it do systems before like that and then switch to a more western track. Then again it may hold on as a true fish storm.
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Quoting MiamiThrice:
I have not seen the GFS so consistent with a track and cape verde tropical formation since hurricane dean in 2007. The formation aspect was correct but the track was consistently a recurvature/ eastern seaboard hit. and we all now dean eventually went into the carib. and beliz/mexico.

I believe cyclogenesis with this future feature is a good bet but way too far out to speculate on track.

We are currently moving into a neutra and eventually negative nao and this could be causing the problems with the gfs handling of this feature. I personally favor a track more west than the gfs due to the shift in NAO



There is potential for a more northern track if a weakness develops. The last time I have seen the GFS this consistent was with hurricane Bertha looks like the Atlantic might be about ready to produce a big one.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23606
Quoting IKE:
NAM puts TD 5 right over this area in 60 hours....>


Yeah it looks like will be in a wet pattern for several days! I guess it beats the heat we've been having, should help on the electric bill and give the A/C a bit of a reprieve!
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1849. IKE
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Ike, do ya think it will make it back to the GOM? Gosh it's so much cooler this morning. I love it. I can actually breath. The heat has been horrible this summer, especially at the boat shop, our building is made of tin and no insulation, last couple of weeks it's been between 110-118 inside.
sheri


I know it's been terribly hot. This is almost refreshing.

The models like the ECMWF...CMC...GFS and NOGAPS put it back in the GOM. I'm not sure it makes it to a TS, but maybe it could.
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1848. Drakoen
The GEFS is further westward than the operational but opens up the possibilities with the deviation in the mid-Atlantic.

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919
Quoting IKE:
NAM puts TD 5 right over this area in 60 hours...






Ike, do ya think it will make it back to the GOM? Gosh it's so much cooler this morning. I love it. I can actually breath. The heat has been horrible this summer, especially at the boat shop, our building is made of tin and no insulation, last couple of weeks it's been between 110-118 inside.
sheri
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1845. SQUAWK
Quoting hurricane23:
Thanks to everyone...Its been a very long road from me a my wife and to finally get that positive blood test was a feeling i cant express. Me and the wife have been preparing for this for a while now financially etc. It takes a lot to be a good parent and iam willing to give 100 percent of myself towards being the best parent i can possibly be.

Thanks again


Hey there "killer," good to see you.
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:
I have a two word forecast for those living on coastal waters for this hurricane season. Its pretty reasonable considering all the distractions plus its a brief downtime in the tropics...

here it is...are you ready?

BE PREPARED.

We can look at future forecast all day and blog on them but if you wait till the storm of all storms for this year is barelling down your throat, then its lost time if your not prepared.


And the choir says - AMEN!!

Personally I'm hoping that our wonderful friends to the south (Outer Banks) continue to shield SE VA from the worst of any MidLant stuff. However, the prep is done, and I just replenished the batteries (AGAIN).

And for those who don't particularly care for potted meats - look at it this way - at the end of the season you can put them in your local food drive!
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I have not seen the GFS so consistent with a track and cape verde tropical formation since hurricane dean in 2007. The formation aspect was correct but the track was consistently a recurvature/ eastern seaboard hit. and we all now dean eventually went into the carib. and beliz/mexico.

I believe cyclogenesis with this future feature is a good bet but way too far out to speculate on track.

We are currently moving into a neutra and eventually negative nao and this could be causing the problems with the gfs handling of this feature. I personally favor a track more west than the gfs due to the shift in NAO
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Quoting Patrap:




Link

The Saints defense abused New England's pass protection in practice. In one-on-one drills, it seemed like the Saints rushers were consistently getting by New England's pass blockers. New England coaches at one point even yelled at their players demanding that they stop holding.

We likely won't see much of Aaron Hernandez in pass protection, as he was abused by Will Smith and gave up a strip sack on Tom Brady in practice.

New England's aerial attack is essential to their success on offense, and Brady is the engine that keeps the Flying Elvises flying.


Lucky for Him Cool Whip Jason
Stick to the weather! Not "whether" or not TB will play.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Congratulations Hurricane23 I am very happy for you!


Hey Jeff! Iam really excited but at the same time iam also very nervous and been having alot of anxiety. I think its pretty normal especially for a first time parent. Negative experiences in life along with my parents very difficult divorce has only made me a better person.

Thanks again to everyone for the kind comments.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Storm at this point the GFS has been back and forth showing a pretty substantial trough in the Western atl. Just some long range speculation. I've been on high the past couple days found out after a very long road that wifey is 5 weeks pregnant hope your doing ok.


Congrats, man!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
1839. IKE
NAM puts TD 5 right over this area in 60 hours...




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1838. Drakoen
Quoting hurricane23:


Thanks drak appreciate the comment. She's due april 15.


Good to hear.

Btw, did you finish getting your degree from FSU?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919

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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.