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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Quoting Cotillion:


Tropical Storm Jose.

Who ??
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Post 352, ElConando.
Very Sad, that report.
I feel so very impotent in the stuff going on in Haiti (as I am sure others do too).
The Scandal there, is the amount of $$$$ that is spent by the Aia Agencies in keeping thier staff there, living in pretty "ideal" conditions (comparitively) driving thier Prados etc etc.
It was interesting, after the Earthquake, that it was said that there were 2000 UN people there. 2000 staff. Doing WHAT exactly???
Haiti has been an easy rape for the "civilised" world, for a very long time.
That is not going to change in the near future.
Billions of $$$$ going in, and we all want to find ways to take it back out, is how it appears to me.

How is it possible to justify the vast sums of money put in there in the last 20 years, with NO apparent change in ANYTHING?
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385. IKE
144 hr. 12Z ECMWF....

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Quoting NEwxguy:


Aw shucks,your one of my favourite,too!!!


LOL...and you used the King's English too!

How have you been, NEwx (just so you know, I pronounce that "nukes")?
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Coastal Flood Statement, Flash Flood Watch

Statement as of 11:04 AM CDT on August 12, 2010

Tides across southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi have
risen to one to two feet above normal... and are locally higher in
a few isolated areas. As the remnants of Tropical Depression Five
continue to move into and through the area... tides will remain
elevated. Tides should begin to fall back to normal late tonight.

The highest water levels are currently being observed from Shell
Beach in St. Bernard Parish Louisiana to Waveland in Hancock
County Mississippi. In these areas... low lying coastal roadways
may become covered in water. Otherwise... no significant impacts
are expected.|
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Quoting Floodman:


**blushing** Gawrsh!


Aw shucks,your one of my favourite,too!!!
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Snowing out west in Montana...


Statement as of 12:26 PM MDT on August 12, 2010

... Winter Weather Advisory in effect from midnight tonight to
noon MDT Friday...

The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a Winter
Weather Advisory above 7000 feet for snow accumulation... which is
in effect from midnight tonight to noon MDT Friday.

* Impacts/timing: snow late this evening through Saturday
morning.

* Snow accumulations: up to 3 inches above 7000 feet.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means that periods of snow
will cause primarily travel difficulties. Those planning to
adventure into the back country should be prepared for unseasonably
cold weather and snowfall.

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NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Velocity Azimuth Display Wind Profile Range 124 NMI

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StormPro wins the prize! I haven't decided what the prize is.
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Well if we are all honest, in my opinion which one of us has never found traits or cultures that do not upset us. I always say please speak your mind or we can never learn if we are wrong.That being said what the hell could possibly wrong with the Irish. BYOB
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Quoting fuzzy3456:
quick question, have there been any significant winds recorded with the "landfall" of former TD5?


Looking at the local METAR reports...it appears that the highest winds reported so far are about 15 to 18 mph (steady state at the surface) at Lakefront Airport and Boothville...

v/r

Jon
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Quoting cubanwave:
thanks flood !!!

you are still one of my favorite in here !!!


**blushing** Gawrsh!
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Wrong! Destin. The BB may have been a Sox affiliate, but he never made it to the Majors.
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Birmingham Barons
Quoting SWFLgazer:
Trivia question for Levi and Flood...

Which baseball team did MJ play for? No Googeleing.
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thanks flood !!!

you are still one of my favorite in here !!!
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371. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


Hint:

Start with a "W" and ends with a "hite Sox".


And I think he played on one of their minor league affiliates in Birmingham.....Alabama, that is.
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Quoting Prgal:


That was very nice of you floodman :-)


Thank you, prgal...
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Quoting DestinJeff:


as in "Methinks that the system the GFS is sniffing out is fairly strong, and should move more clotpoleward as a result."


The GFS is sniffing out a system moving towards Janiel?

(Last reference to that individual today)
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Quoting ElConando:


Odd I was just looking at the strongest earthquakes in recorded history.

This one had quite a depth so no tsunami thankfully and no injuries reported so far from what I can tell at the present time.
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366. Prgal
Quoting Floodman:


cubanwave, I now exactly which comment you're talking about, and it was directed at an individual (whose three letter original handle will not be named here) and not at the Cuban people in general; as Churchill said, I do not know how to write an indictment for a whole people.

Please accept my apologies if you took offense and remember, I tend to have issues with individuals and not groups (though I could name a few groups that are working their way on to my list...LOL)

Thanks again for the well wishes when I had my surgery; I appreciated every one and I was moved by the number I received...


That was very nice of you floodman :-)
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Quoting pottery:
Hey! Just some relevant trivia here.
My birthday is August 23.
There was a storm on that date, in 2005.
Wanna guess which one?

(booo, hissss, go away, etc etc)


Tropical Storm Jose.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It should be a Tropical Depression...



If not a tropical storm. NWS in NOLA issued special marine warning for thunderstorm packing winds of 34+ kts based on radar in western quadrant just a couple-dozen miles from center. I took that as a hint that if the NHC won't acknowledge this, then NOLA will. Near 30mph winds reported since this morning along Lake Borgne - closed circ. Strongest winds are in the northern quadrant no doubt but since when has that kept the NHC from classifying a system? BS
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Quoting Floodman:


That's the main thing here: you can't take a pre-season forecast like it's this weekends weather forecast...way too much air between here and there. The fact that the conservative forexcasters didn;t drop their numbers says something though...again, we wait, watch, we listen and if the need arises we act


Yep, and what worries me is that Ive been told a trough will set up on the east coast?? (not sure how accurate that is) which will turn stuff my way. So im keeping all eyes peeled once we get a CV rollin.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


He also has a Geography Degree from NC.

Probably one of the more rich Geographers.


Wonder if he knows when Bhutan is?
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Quoting pottery:
Hey! Just some relevant trivia here.
My birthday is August 23.
There was a storm on that date, in 2005.
Wanna guess which one?

(booo, hissss, go away, etc etc)


ummm, Katrina...
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I Google, You Google, He Googles...Is there a proper spelling for Googleing?
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Quoting pottery:
Hey! Just some relevant trivia here.
My birthday is August 23.
There was a storm on that date, in 2005.
Wanna guess which one?

(booo, hissss, go away, etc etc)
Trouble maker....LOL
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Quoting cubanwave:
hi flood!!!
you kmnow that i ve been here for years but dont like to post,,one of the few times i did it ,was to wish you a good recovery after surgery,,,,but i read one of your comments yesterday ,and never though you did not like cuban people ,,btw ,we dont speak dialects ,we speak SPANISH,and in too many cases also english ,or both ,i do speak four languages ,id like to see you trying one of them ,when next time you talk about people and cultures that look likes you dont even know about it,just be careful


cubanwave, I now exactly which comment you're talking about, and it was directed at an individual (whose three letter original handle will not be named here) and not at the Cuban people in general; as Churchill said, I do not know how to write an indictment for a whole people.

Please accept my apologies if you took offense and remember, I tend to have issues with individuals and not groups (though I could name a few groups that are working their way on to my list...LOL)

Thanks again for the well wishes when I had my surgery; I appreciated every one and I was moved by the number I received...
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Quoting IKE:


He played basketball at North Carolina in college and played for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA...perhaps the greatest NBA player ever.

He also tried his luck at MLB for a short period of time, but came back to the NBA after that failed.


He also has a Geography Degree from NC.

Probably one of the more rich Geographers.
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Hey! Just some relevant trivia here.
My birthday is August 23.
There was a storm on that date, in 2005.
Wanna guess which one?

(booo, hissss, go away, etc etc)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Trivia question for Levi and Flood...

Which baseball team did MJ play for? No Googeleing.
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quick question, have there been any significant winds recorded with the "landfall" of former TD5?
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Speaking of Earthquakes here is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article on the earth quake clean up efforts 6 months after.

Status of recovery after six months

In July, as much as 98% of the rubble from the quake remains uncleared. An estimated 26 million cubic yards (20 million cubic meters) remain, making most of the capital impassable.[210] Thousands of bodies remain in the rubble. The number of people in relief camps of tents and tarps since the quake remains at 1.6 million, and almost no transitional housing has been built. Most of the camps have no electricity, running water, or sewage disposal, and the tents are beginning to fall apart. Crime in the camps is widespread, especially against women and girls. Between 23 major charities, $1.1 billion has been collected for Haiti for relief efforts. Two percent of the money has been released.[211][212] According to a CBS report, $3.1 billion was pledged for humanitarian aid and has paid for field hospitals, plastic tarps, bandages, and food, plus salaries, transportation and upkeep of relief workers. By May 2010, enough aid had been raised internationally to give each displaced family a check for $37,000.[213]

CNN returned to Port-au-Prince and reported, "It looks like the quake just happened yesterday", and Imogen Wall, spokeswoman for the United Nations office of humanitarian affairs in Haiti, said that six months from now it may still look the same. The Haitian government says it is unable to tackle debris clean-up or the resettlement of homeless right now, because it must prepare for hurricane season. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive states, "The real priority of the government is to protect the population from the next hurricane season, and most of our effort right now is going right now in that direction."[214]

Speaking of the difficulties of living in one of the many camps, one refugee told a reporter, "They told us when we were coming here, that we would live well. But what we saw when we got here and the way we lived here, it’s the contrary. The place where we are here when it’s hot, the sun makes the tents hot, very hot. And also the wind comes and blows the tents and wrecks them". When asked what needs to happen now, he replied, "...In the situation we’re living here in the tents, we can’t continue like that anymore. We would ask them as soon as possible to give us the real houses that they said they were going to give us so that our situation could improve. Because the tents are torn, when it rains, rain comes in. We have very exemplary or a very indicative block, Block 6. It’s a zone which is completely unpassable when it rains".[215]

Land ownership is a particular problem for rebuilding, because so many pre-quake homes were not officially registered. "Even before the national registry fell under the rubble, land tenure has always been a complex and contentious issue in Haiti. Many areas of Port-au-Prince were settled either by tonton makout - Duvalier's death squads - given land for their service or by squatters. In many cases land ownership was never officially registered. Even if this logistical logjam were cleared, the vast majority of Port-au-Prince residents, up to 85%, did not own their homes before the earthquake."[216]
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More importantly, what has the increased hot air from wishcasters, and the "record number" of upcasters in the blog done to increase instability? That hot air has to go -somewhere-, methinks!
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Quoting StormGoddess:
7.1 mag earthquake in Ecuador. 189.9 km depth. IRIS Seismic Monitor: Link


Odd I was just looking at the strongest earthquakes in recorded history.
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To bad OZ couldn't be here for the 200mph hand held anemometer contest. Sounds like the making of at least a mini series, or we could place it on the food network man verse pizza in a 200mph wind.
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Quoting Patrap:
My Muffaletta has joined with my Dixie seems too.


Yep been waiting on it. Should start raining in my area later this evening.
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Quoting Levi32:


Right, I know he's a famous NBA player but didn't know he left and came back lol.


Now you know good sir, now you know.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Exactly, I am not calling this season a bust, I think activity will pick up, it just will as waves off the coast of africa will begin to hold together as SAL seems to have taken a vacation. Plus what the doctor said as instability coming back to normal once the jet stream moves again. I just hope that it does pick up, if only for the fact people pay attention next time there is predicted to be a bad season. As people who dont follow the weather everyday don't understand the complexity that goes into making these forecasts.


That's the main thing here: you can't take a pre-season forecast like it's this weekends weather forecast...way too much air between here and there. The fact that the conservative forexcasters didn;t drop their numbers says something though...again, we wait, watch, we listen and if the need arises we act
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I see the tropics are sleeping.....so odd for this time of year.....
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Are the terms ULL and TUTT synonomous? Or is it a specific kind of upper level low that's called a TUTT?

I'm a little confused on the relation between the two terms. Sometimes it seems they are used interchangeably and others not...

Help a poor soul out!
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7.1 mag earthquake in Ecuador. 189.9 km depth. IRIS Seismic Monitor: Link
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Quoting Cotillion:


It was.

Link


Must have missed that one ;) Oh well, better late than never to learn something new.
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Quoting Cotillion:


It was.

Link


The memory is the first thing to go...I remember reading that blog entry now that I've seen it again
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Quoting GBguy88:


Wow, actually, I was just browsing out of curiosity...I found an article that says that new data was found indicating a 253mph gust in Australia during Olivia. I'm not sure about that...but if it's accurate...good lord.
Just saw that myself. Wow, Wow, And freekin' Wow
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Quoting Floodman:
Thanks, Doc!

I wanted to address a comment I made to a number of people here from the last blog in particular VAbeachhurricanes:




I agree; we need to consider climatology and the current conditions; not a lock, and no promises, but we're looking at a very possible major outbreak in the tropics sooner than later...2-3 weeks looks plausible, based on anyone of a number of things, but I think Levi32 summed it up very well yesterday in his Tropical Tidbit (sorry, Levi, but that still makes me think of diced pineapple and mango).

That having been said, there's still a chance that the season does go belly up...I think we'd learn more about hurricane forecasting and climatology if it was a bust, but the smart monety is still on some nasties.

What happens here is that people get too caught up in the predictions and not in the chagning environment; when the good ones (StormW and Co start to amend their forecasts based on conditions folks get angry about it...the NASCAR comment was directed at them...weather prediciton is not now, nor is it likely to become anytime soon, an exact science. Listen, pay attention and be prepared, those of you who live close enough to a coast for a hurricane to become a life and death struggle; for the rest of you, "Lighten up, Frances"


Exactly, I am not calling this season a bust, I think activity will pick up, it just will as waves off the coast of africa will begin to hold together as SAL seems to have taken a vacation. Plus what the doctor said as instability coming back to normal once the jet stream moves again. I just hope that it does pick up, if only for the fact people pay attention next time there is predicted to be a bad season. As people who dont follow the weather everyday don't understand the complexity that goes into making these forecasts.
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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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