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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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?
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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


Congrats! Kids are awesome!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3094
1836. MahFL
Quoting stoormfury:
After a long period of uncertainty the cape verde season is about to begin. most of the global models are latching on to some form of development in the eastern atlantic as early as tuesday of next week. this reminds me of DEAN in. 2007 when the GFS was predicting cyclogenesis for two weeks. it is kind of early to predict track and intensity, but judging from the environment condtion ahrad of this models' predicted system, i expect a significant disturbance which according to the long range steering current to track west for a long time


But then recurve harmlessly north ?
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
925 AM CDT FRI AUG 13 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN GEORGE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI...
WEST CENTRAL MOBILE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 1115 AM CDT

* AT 919 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RADAR INDICATED VERY HEAVY
RAIN FROM A THUNDERSTORM NEAR MOVELLA...OR 15 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
LUCEDALE...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 5 MPH. RADAR INDICATED TOTALS OF UP
TO 3 INCHES IN THE LAST HOUR ACROSS A SMALL PORTION OF SOUTHEAST
GEORGE COUNTY AND THE ADJACENT AREAS OF MOBILE COUNTY.

* THE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING VERY HEAVY RAIN WILL BE NEAR...
TANNER WILLIAMS BY 1020 AM CDT...
6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF MOFFET BY 1050 AM CDT...
BIG CREEK LAKE BY 1055 AM CDT...
WILMER BY 1105 AM CDT...
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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.
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Congrats 23! :-) good luck!
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24553
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


Congrats, hope the two of you are doing good.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Posting The Chart is against Community Standards...



I am such a rebel!
Post away dude...isnt bothering me AT ALL!
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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


I pray for blesssing over you and your family. Press on my friend.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Good Luck!


Thanks drak appreciate the comment. She's due april 15.
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1825. Drakoen
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


Good Luck!
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After a long period of uncertainty the cape verde season is about to begin. most of the global models are latching on to some form of development in the eastern atlantic as early as tuesday of next week. this reminds me of DEAN in. 2007 when the GFS was predicting cyclogenesis for two weeks. it is kind of early to predict track and intensity, but judging from the environment condtion ahrad of this models' predicted system, i expect a significant disturbance which according to the long range steering current to track west for a long time
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And it doesn't look like it's going anywhere fast! Excerpt from Drakoen's post.

As an aside, a majority of NCEP ensemble members also slowly bring ex-TD#5 back to the northern Gulf Coast with a closed circulation, lingering between Days 3-7 (Mon-Thu).
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3094
Quoting Drakoen:


Nice discussion


Will be nice to see the matrix on the Daily Reports fill in.
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0z ECMWF
240hrs
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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
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Ike, thank you. It's weird u look outside and it looks like your in a dome.
Sheri

Still bone dry down here in Mobile and my grass is almost dead and this doesn't look good :(
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Quoting Patrap:


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....
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3094
1815. Drakoen
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Same thinking on recurvature from the PREDICT Ensemble Discussion


Nice discussion
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Quoting Patrap:


Pouring here in Mid-City again......
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Anyone curious that 94L/5D is forecast to circle the Gulf? I find that very interesting.....
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1812. Drakoen
Looks like the wave to develop is just west of 10E. The models show the wave increasing in vorticity as it advects westward towards the Western African coast. A strong high amplitude wave near 10W will be moving to the the northwest and act as the forerunner to clear the SAL and increase the instability in the Eastern Atlantic.



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Ok, StormW says negative NAO comming and Drakoen says positive. The question is which will be right? I guess time will tell.
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1810. IKE
Congratulations to you 23...is this your first child?
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1809. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129457
1808. IKE
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Ike, thank you. It's weird u look outside and it looks like your in a dome.
Sheri


It's raining here in the Florida panhandle...thunderstorm now and 78.1 outside. I'm east of the low...looks like a washout off and on type day here.
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Quoting StormW:


The GFS however has always had a northern bias...and doesn't look as if the tweak fixed it. The steering forecast at 144 indicates if a recurvature were to take place, it would be almost at 70-75W. Steering east of there, up until that time, strong push to the WSW...so with the other factors in the steering layers, most likely a hefty push west at a low latitude, until it gets close to 65-70W.

CONGRATULATIONS Man! Very happy for you guy's!!


Thanks SW appreciate that.
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Quoting hurricane23:


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!!!
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1805. IKE
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Same thinking on recurvature from the PREDICT Ensemble Discussion


Thanks for posting that...The system is predicted to gain
significant latitude as it moves downstream, typically
approaching 20N by the time it has reached 40-50W.
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Not getting caught up in the two week forecasts--at this point the forecasts have not been that great for 48hours, much less two weeks. In fact, lets see how the season shapes up and then re-evaluate the value of the very long range forecasts.....
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Quoting IKE:


Good morning.

COC of former TD5 is just west of Mobile,AL...moving further inland now....



Ike, thank you. It's weird u look outside and it looks like your in a dome.
Sheri
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Quoting dsenecal2009:
A record high minimum temperature was observed yesterday morning
at Houston Intercontinental Airport. This reading tied the record
set for the month of August...and is only one degree shy of the
all-time high minimum temperature record for Houston.



They are projecting heat indexes of over 110 here this weekend.

Suddenly, I'm VERY happy I spent the money on a more energy efficient house, and an oversized AC unit...
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Posting The Chart is against Community Standards...



I am such a rebel!


Looking at that chart and people saying that the season is over is like saying they made it up to the summit of Mt Everest and all they did was climb a few small "hills" in Fl!
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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! :)
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Quoting Drakoen:


I think that is reasonable. The ensembles have the NAO heading positive after the 16th which would tend to favor recurvature.


Same thinking on recurvature from the PREDICT Ensemble Discussion
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1796. IKE
Quoting KimberlyB:
Mornin' Storm, Pat, Ike, P-Doug, KotG, Drak

Mornin' WU.

Mornin' quiet Atlantic......or should that read......

Mornin' quiet BEFORE THE STORM(S) Atlantic?



Good morning.

COC of former TD5 is just west of Mobile,AL...moving further inland now....

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Even the FIMZ develops it.
0z FIMZ
102hrs
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1794. Drakoen
Quoting hurricane23:
Pretty favorable pattern in place were it will be pretty diffcult for CV wave to threaten the US.


I think that is reasonable. The ensembles have the NAO heading positive after the 16th which would tend to favor recurvature.
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Quoting BenBIogger:


0z UKMET
96hrs


A Hudson Low? In August?!
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1792. Patrap
Morning Kimberly
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129457
This was posted by somebody else last night, but I'm going to have to re-post this:



In the past three weeks, SSTs just north of the Kuroshio Current have warmed in excess of 4C. This vast zone of warm anomalies is tracking east and threatens to cut off the California Current, reducing the cold PDO. A similar phenomenon occurred off Chile in February, where the southeastern tongue of the Central Pacific El Nino Modoki threatened to cut off the Humboldt Current.

Current SST anomalies, where warm anomalies have reached the coast at the Queen Charlotte Islands:

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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.


H23, good morning, and congratulations. I hope you have a good day.
sheri
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Mornin' Storm, Pat, Ike, P-Doug, KotG, Drak

Mornin' WU.

Mornin' quiet Atlantic......or should that read......

Mornin' quiet BEFORE THE STORM(S) Atlantic?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link
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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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