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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Thanks Patrap and scott......! Nothing like the information station here!
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Quoting RMM34667:


LOL then I guess you didn't click on the link.


I did click and listened to a small portion initially.

Funny stuff, my apologies. EVO4G here, well, EVO3G here, waiting on 4G.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Of course, that was only an observed correlation and does not imply that either event caused the other one. But it's a potential theory to watch.


Here's one from NewScientist: Link

Besides low solar activity, climatic change also has the potential to cause such events. If temperature gradient is reduced, jet streams will slow down and allow large intrusions of warm or cold air, especially over continents. The air masses may stabilize the jet stream pattern as they cling to continents, which is the likely cause of the snowfall pattern in the United States last winter.
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Quoting leu2500:
Interesting article about the jet stream and the heat in Russia. "Some research" links the current conditions to "low solar activity."

Link



I just posted that LOL
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I would add Rita 2005, cleaned out New Orleans better than two years of environmental work would have done.
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Quoting pottery:

Scarry......


Of course, that was only an observed correlation and does not imply that either event caused the other one. But it's a potential theory to watch.
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1282. leu2500
Interesting article about the jet stream and the heat in Russia. "Some research" links the current conditions to "low solar activity."

Link

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1281. pottery
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Kuroshio Current anomalies streaming toward Queen Charlotte Islands.

In late February, intrusions of warm water and rapidly fluctuating SSTs occurred over the Humboldt Current off Chile a few days prior to the February 27 earthquake.

Scarry......
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
For you:

"To Say This Season Is A Bust Is........

Foolish, dangerous, and irresponsible. A season is only declared a bust when it is over. We are still in the middle of the season. This type of thinking leads to complacency and people let their guard down. They think this season is not going to be active, which means we should be okay. Active or not or early or late starting, we can have really devastating seasons. Case in point, 1961, 1998, and 2004. All were late starters that were devastating and deadly. A less active season like 1900 and 1992, which produced the Great Galveston Hurricane and Andrew. Both were El Nino years. People would of written those seasons off. Guess what, if a massive hurricane comes barreling towards to your area, people are not prepared, they are going to be in a pain of their life."


I think you got trolled into that response.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Then why post about it?


LOL then I guess you didn't click on the link.
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Arctic Sea Ice extent and concentration:



The Northwest Passage is open. The Northeast Passage will soon follow.
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Quoting stormhank:
Did any of you read Storm W's post today?!


This
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Quoting geepy86:
I want a breadfruit tree. Do they grow in FL. ?


I am sure they do. Problem is though you have to take a shoot from around the root of an existing tree and legend has it that you have to plant the shoot in the same compass direction as the root of it when cut from the tree otherwise it will not take.

Sounds like hocus pocus but there you have it.

I roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour then let them sit in the heat for another hour or two.

Remove, peel off the skin, slice and spread with butter. Alternatively, slice thin and fry as a chip. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy.
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Quoting RMM34667:


I don't care!


Then why post about it?
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Whats scary is the set up for more storms to threaten the coasts and not recurve..similiar it seems to 04 n 05 seasons
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Quoting SLU:


WOW. The stage is definitely being set.


Unless something that isn't in the protocol continues to hamper the basin that is. Climate change is real folks, lol.

We're in the denial stage right now.
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1271. pottery
Quoting aspectre:
1179. pottery "A picture of the Matterhorn?" [referring to post 1178]

As a matter of horn, it's been suffering through a raging fever.

Yeh!
I had read about that earlier.
When the Mountains start Crumbling...
sounds like an old song from another time.
But here we are.....
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


4g, lol.

Just like the models, Lagging big time, coverage sucks.


I don't care!
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Quoting stormhank:
Evening Kman how are you doing?? Seems as I just posted from Storm W;s post today were bout to open the lid on tropical storm activity it seems


Doing well thanks. I think we are still 7 to 10 days away from increased activity. With tranquil conditions evident everywhere I don't see anything that could pose a threat at least a week out.
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Kuroshio Current anomalies streaming toward Queen Charlotte Islands.

In late February, intrusions of warm water and rapidly fluctuating SSTs occurred over the Humboldt Current off Chile a few days prior to the February 27 earthquake.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RMM34667:


don't forget the 4Gs and the wi-fis

Link


4g, lol.

Just like the models, Lagging big time, coverage sucks.
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1266. scott39
Is XTD5 still showing a loopty loop on the models?
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1265. geepy86
I want a breadfruit tree. Do they grow in FL. ?
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Quoting pottery:

Interesting....
And, as temps rise, globally, the heated air will rise higher and faster, and create additional new weather scenarios all over the World.


Mass conservation. See above in the article. As the land masses heat up the air must sink over the oceans to compensate.

When we see the unlocking of the jet stream we may also see the unlocking of the "cap" on tropical activity.

Interestingly, I have posted several times that I expect activity to pick up after the end of next week. That also coincides with the forecast for the jet stream to unlock over Russia.

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Evening Kman how are you doing?? Seems as I just posted from Storm W;s post today were bout to open the lid on tropical storm activity it seems
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Looks like we are about to get another round of rain here. That swirl that is just about to hit the I-10 mark on the map is just about at my front door...Just south of I-10 in Ocean Springs....
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1260. SLU
Quoting KeithInSoFL:
SAL July 10:



SAL August 12:



WOW. The stage is definitely being set.
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Quoting Patrap:
A fly cant fart in the BAsin without someone noticing it here. I highly doubt a Hurricane will sneak up on the CONUS with the "intranets" and all.

Plus,,theres always JB and accuweather to warn the Populace.

Ciao..!


don't forget the 4Gs and the wi-fis

Link
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1258. Patrap
Lowercal's casual Astronomy wunderblog
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
Quoting KeithInSoFL:
SAL July 10:



SAL August 12:

I remember tracking that tropical wave on July 10th...it later became Bonnie.
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Did any of you read Storm W's post today?? Seems the lid on the tropics is going to pop open soon!!
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Quoting Patrap:
A fly cant fart in the BAsin without someone noticing it here. I highly doubt a Hurricane will sneak up on the CONUS with the "intranets" and all.

Plus,,theres always JB and accuweather to warn the Populace.

Ciao..!


Well, fly's don't change much, just annoying.
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Quoting kmanislander:


How did you realize that ?

Because of lack of visibility, it seems like. And I have no idea why.
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#5 is alive . No Disassemble Johnny Five

Still looks pretty rough on IR but I am going to stay up and watch this one :)
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Quoting crashingwaves:
Very well said. Just because we haven't seen a lot of activity this far doesn't mean this season is going to be a dud.

well we know who the non sayers are.. It shows there true colors.. But yeah this season aint no dud unless its over with.. I agree!
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Hey, I am on your side here, lol. But, you can see the businessman in Dr. Masters.
True, lol.
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1250. scott39
Quoting thunderblogger:
Hey people, quick question...StormW mentioned it earlier but I forgot.....What is it exactly you can see tonight in the western sky? Isn't the moon and 2 other planets or something???

Thanks,
Meteor showers about 10pm best between 3am-4am
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1249. pottery
Quoting kmanislander:
Here is an interesting article about the blocked jet stream and the Russian heat wave.

Could this be related to the " quiet start " to the 2010 hurricane season ??

Link

Interesting....
And, as temps rise, globally, the heated air will rise higher and faster, and create additional new weather scenarios all over the World.
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Quoting StormGoddess:
Hey guys guess what I just realized! There are tons of people who appear to just lurk on here constantly and just push the (-) key all day long! XD


How did you realize that ?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL, Dr. Masters did not say this season was a bust...he just explained the slow start.


Hey, I am on your side here, lol. But, you can see the businessman in Dr. Masters.
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Hey guys guess what I just realized! There are tons of people who appear to just lurk on here constantly and just push the (-) key all day long! XD
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1245. Patrap

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
SAL July 10:



SAL August 12:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1243. Patrap
A fly cant fart in the BAsin without someone noticing it here. I highly doubt a Hurricane will sneak up on the CONUS with the "intranets" and all.

Plus,,theres always JB and accuweather to warn the Populace.

Ciao..!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Seems a question for Dr. Masters

In the name of an unnamed 3 year old

HE STARTED IT.
LOL, Dr. Masters did not say this season was a bust...he just explained the slow start.
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1179. pottery "A picture of the Matterhorn?" [referring to post 1178]

As a matter of horn, it's been suffering through a raging fever.
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Quoting thunderblogger:
Hey people, quick question...StormW mentioned it earlier but I forgot.....What is it exactly you can see tonight in the western sky? Isn't the moon and 2 other planets or something???

Thanks,


perseid meteor shower

wish I could stay up to watch.. but probably too much light polution here anyway.. If you can catch it make a wish for me!!
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Very well said. Just because we haven't seen a lot of activity this far doesn't mean this season is going to be a dud.
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RGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
229 PM MDT THU AUG 12 2010

...WINTER-LIKE CONDITIONS EXPECTED FOR HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF GLACIER
NATIONAL PARK LATE TONIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...

.A STRONG CANADIAN COLD FRONT WILL PUSH SOUTHWARD THROUGH
NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MONTANA THIS EVENING...WITH WIDESPREAD
PRECIPITATION...FALLING TEMPERATURES AND LOWERING SNOW LEVELS TO
AROUND 7000 FEET ALONG THE NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT.

MTZ009-130600-
/O.NEW.KTFX.WW.Y.0029.100813T0600Z-100813T1800Z/
NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT-
229 PM MDT THU AUG 12 2010

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
NOON MDT FRIDAY FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 7000 FEET...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREAT FALLS HAS ISSUED A WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 7000 FEET FOR SNOW...WHICH
IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO NOON MDT FRIDAY.

* TIMING AND MAIN IMPACT: LATE TONIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: UP TO THREE INCHES ABOVE 7000 FEET. RAIN AND
SNOW MIX BETWEEN 6500 AND 7000 FEET.

* WINDS AND VISIBILITY: NORTH-NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.

* ELEVATIONS: FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 7000 FEET.

* LOCATIONS AFFECTED INCLUDE: LOGAN PASS AND HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW
WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW
COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE
DRIVING.

FOR SPECIFIC ROAD AND TRAVEL CONDITIONS IN MONTANA...DIAL 5 1 1.

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115085

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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.