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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according to the 12Z GFS run

starts a low level invest over W africa moves west on the 18 of Aug

low level invest comes off the coast of Africa and develops further

becomes near invest near the CV Islands on the 19

becomes a TD by miday on the 19 near the CV Islands

the TD upgraded to TS on the 20 west of the CV Islands

weakens slightly to weak TS/strong TD on the 21

get stronger to a strong TS on the 23

becomes a hurricane just east of the Leewards Is on the 24

continues hurricane status as it moves WNW-NW there after


I got a feeling that if this system forms it will not go that far north I think that it would be somewhere near 70-75W befor making it WNW-NW movements
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Never used TDWR..

it sucks as a radar tool..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
274. Kinda interesting that after traveling all that way it is still organized enough to become a TS again.
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Well, if Cyclone Olivia can bring out 253mph gust, but being a moderate Category Four on the SSWS, I'm sure high-end Cat 5s go even higher, it's just whether it's recordable.

Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Hey Patrap:



312 inches of rain! Don't you love TDWR?
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CMC picking up on possible 2nd coming of TD 5 as well.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Which ones joined?


CMC
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Camille was a small compact Hurricane and its effects in NOLA were Minimal..with Winds to 50 mph and some higher Gusts.

But down in Buras a lot of destruction occurred.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Quoting ElConando:
212mph! My goodness. Is that the highest recorded gust from a land falling cane in America? Anyone know?
Ibelieve 227mph was recorded in cuba not so long ago but it may have been higher cause the recorder stopped at that point i bet it would be safe to say it was blown away
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It will stay elusive until we develop a 225mph anemometer


There are plenty of those, even airspeed indicators for supersonic aircraft. The real trick is to make it wave-, surge-, and shrapnel-proof.
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Quoting TexasGulf:


Being a Mechanical Engineer, I could design a 225 mph anemometer.... but it would have to be a hand-held model. If you were very brave, you could record wind speeds up to 200 mph. ;>)


Does that take into account the speed of the person holding it? I tried to stand up in 100mph once...only very briefly, but I can honestly say I tried...
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Quoting Drakoen:
More models latching on to EATL development.


Which ones joined?
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Quoting ElConando:


I doubt it Cantore would have been in NOLA for Camille. Maybe Oz hes crazy enough.


I'll only watch if he has on the spiffy tinfoil suit he wore for Alex.
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Quoting Drakoen:
More models latching on to EATL development.


I'm guessing onto the wave in the Eastern Hemisphere.
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Hurricane History



This powerful, deadly, and destructive hurricane formed just west of the Cayman Islands on August 14. It rapidly intensified and by the time it reached western Cuba the next day it was a Category 3 hurricane. Camille tracked north-northwestward across the Gulf of Mexico and became a Category 5 hurricane on August 16. The hurricane maintained this intensity until it made landfall along the Mississippi coast late on the 17th. Camille weakened to a tropical depression as it crossed Mississippi into western Tennessee and Kentucky, then it turned eastward across West Virginia and Virginia. The cyclone moved into the Atlantic on August 20 and regained tropical storm strength before becoming extratropical on the 22nd.

A minimum pressure of 26.84 inches was reported in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which makes Camille the second most intense hurricane of record to hit the United States. The actual maximum sustained winds will never be known, as the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. The estimates at the coast are near 200 mph. Columbia, Mississippi, located 75 miles inland, reported 120 mph sustained winds. A storm tide of 24.6 ft occurred at Pass Christian, Mississippi. The heaviest rains along the Gulf Coast were about 10 inches. However, as Camille passed over the Virginias, it produced a burst of 12 to 20 inch rains with local totals of up to 31 inches. Most of this rain occurred in 3 to 5 hours and caused catastrophic flash flooding.

The combination of winds, surges, and rainfalls caused 256 deaths (143 on the Gulf Coast and 113 in the Virginia floods) and $1.421 billion in damage. Three deaths were reported in Cuba.

The National Hurricane Center also maintains the official Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Camille.

For an interactive map of Hurricane Camille visit the NOAA Coastal Services Center.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Quiet start? Perhaps...But me thinks it to be an ominent quiet.
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Who has a good link to the CMC and ECMF?
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Quoting IKE:
To those that accuse me of only posting models that show nothing....12Z CMC...


12Z NOGAPS through 180 hours...


Thank you Ike...keep posting...much appreciated.

v/r

Jon
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:


Cantore can handle it! Weatherman up! Lol.


I doubt it Cantore would have been in NOLA for Camille. Maybe Oz hes crazy enough.
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More models latching on to EATL development.
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212mph! My goodness. Is that the highest recorded gust from a land falling cane in America? Anyone know?
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Quoting ElConando:


That is true. Though I doubt it mattered much in the destruction. 160mph can do enough damage on its own let alone 190mph.


Cantore can handle it! Weatherman up! Lol.
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Round and Round..


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Quoting msgambler:
That was sustained. Camille had gusts above 200 I believe.


That is true. Though I doubt it mattered much in the destruction. 160mph can do enough damage on its own let alone 190mph.
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263. IKE
To those that accuse me of only posting models that show nothing....12Z CMC...


12Z NOGAPS through 180 hours...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Floater - RGB Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Hey Ike, thank God for the rain thats helping clear out the oil mess right?

Flooding isnt cool but its reported as helping the enviromental conditions.
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Quoting Patrap:


Camille's Highest recorded Gust was 212 at the Seabee Base at the end of Pass Road in Long Beach in 69...then it failed
OK, thought so. I was 8 miles from there to the NE.
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Quoting kmanislander:


The Doc's discussion sounds very similar to the points I have been making as recently as last night.

Going to have to go back and read a bunch of stuff.........
Well, that's OK!
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Quoting msgambler:
That was sustained. Camille had gusts above 200 I believe.


Camille's Highest recorded Gust was 212 at the Seabee Base at the end of Pass Road in Long Beach in 69...then it failed
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
256. IKE
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT THU AUG 12 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF
TROPICAL DEPRESSION FIVE HAS MOVED LITTLE DURING THE PAST SEVERAL
HOURS AND REMAINS CENTERED NEAR THE SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA COAST.
THIS LOW WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS AND
OCCASIONALLY GUSTY WINDS IN SQUALLS AS IT DRIFTS INLAND DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM REDEVELOPING INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS. LOCALIZED FLOODING IS POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHERN LOUISIANA AND
COASTAL MISSISSIPPI...PLEASE REFER TO STATEMENTS FROM LOCAL
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICES FOR ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI/AVILA
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Destin jeff did you see anything in Masters blog that he thinks this pattern will change soon? Im just a dumb old MBA major but i did not see him state although this will soon change.On the other note when i came on this morning all everyone was talking about was td 5 taking a loop back into the gulf.Now some one post a month a way model run thats at between 10 and 20 east. lol i thought he said 10 to 20 west that i might could look at.But come on 10 to 20 east? has this season been that disappointing that we are hanging hopes on a model running that far out and away?Not picking or starting a argument but those continued statements is what causes people to call some on here wishcasters they bring it on themselves.In closing the gfs is the same model that predicted this morning td5 to be a hurrricane next week you see what dr masters thought about that.lets let these phantom systems actually show up before we start posting and worrying about something that has not happened.this is not downcasting its present casting and at the present thier is no tropical system in the eastern atlantic.I know alot will disagree with this post just hope it gives some a little something to think about.


If I get called a wishcaster for trying to forecast the weather 2 weeks in advance then so be it.
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Quoting ElConando:


Two have had readings of 190mph Camille and Allen. It is reasonable that 200mph could be seen if the situation arises. Then again, why would it be needed.
That was sustained. Camille had gusts above 200 I believe.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Here's the wave at 114 hours on the GFS, or Tuesday


Emerges off the coast late Tuesday, looks to be a pretty good looking invest at that point.


Here is a great graphic. See all those High's? The 500 mb level has lifted way north and with very very warm SST's, and increased pressure then you can come to some pretty sure scientific conclusions about whats comming up...so easy even a caveman can google GFS and see this is comming.

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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Destin jeff did you see anything in Masters blog that he thinks this pattern will change soon? Im just a dumb old MBA major but i did not see him state although this will soon change.On the other note when i came on this morning all everyone was talking about was td 5 taking a loop back into the gulf.Now some one post a month a way model run thats at between 10 and 20 east. lol i thought he said 10 to 20 west that i might could look at.But come on 10 to 20 east? has this season been that disappointing that we are hanging hopes on a model running that far out and away?Not picking or starting a argument but those continued statements is what causes people to call some on here wishcasters they bring it on themselves.In closing the gfs is the same model that predicted this morning td5 to be a hurrricane next week you see what dr masters thought about that.lets let these phantom systems actually show up before we start posting and worrying about something that has not happened.this is not downcasting its present casting and at the present thier is no tropical system in the eastern atlantic.I know alot will disagree with this post just hope it gives some a little something to think about.


Its one thing for a model to show it once, but different when it shows consistency. And when I say consistency, I mean about 10-12 runs in a row! And just to let you know, its not a month away, the model is showing it the end of next week!
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The Low is really Liking Chandelier Sound today as that CoC is still chugging there.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Quoting Floodman:


It will stay elusive until we develop a 225mph anemometer


Two have had readings of 190mph Camille and Allen. It is reasonable that 200mph could be seen if the situation arises. Then again, why would it be needed.
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NASA Tracks Global Spread of Wildfire Pollution

GRIP Mission trailer

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127627
Quoting Floodman:


It will stay elusive until we develop a 225mph anemometer


Being a Mechanical Engineer, I could design a 225 mph anemometer.... but it would have to be a hand-held model. If you were very brave, you could record wind speeds up to 200 mph. ;>)
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Destin jeff did you see anything in Masters blog that he thinks this pattern will change soon? Im just a dumb old MBA major but i did not see him state although this will soon change.On the other note when i came on this morning all everyone was talking about was td 5 taking a loop back into the gulf.Now some one post a month a way model run thats at between 10 and 20 east. lol i thought he said 10 to 20 west that i might could look at.But come on 10 to 20 east? has this season been that disappointing that we are hanging hopes on a model running that far out and away?Not picking or starting a argument but those continued statements is what causes people to call some on here wishcasters they bring it on themselves.In closing the gfs is the same model that predicted this morning td5 to be a hurrricane next week you see what dr masters thought about that.lets let these phantom systems actually show up before we start posting and worrying about something that has not happened.this is not downcasting its present casting and at the present thier is no tropical system in the eastern atlantic.I know alot will disagree with this post just hope it gives some a little something to think about.
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DR. MASTERS.
Thank you very much for this blog.
I was wondering what the possible reasoning for the 'slow' season could be.
Lots to ponder here.......

Particularly interesting to me (someone raised this earlier as well) is the co-relation between the extarordinary heat in some regions and the Atl. Hurricane season.
Again, thanks for the insights.
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new main center coming ashore at Pass Christian
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Blast in the Brine - TD5 makes waves - waves better then yesterday, still disorganized like this storm has been
Surfers Perspective SWFL
Thx Gulfster
photo gulfster
TD #5 here today gone tomorrow! Leftover crumbs this morning in the thigh high range with a light to moderate onshore wind. The tide is starting to fill in and may help improve overall shape, but what little swell is left is starting to drop off. Get it while its there it could be even smaller this afternoon on the low tide. Models have this area of low pressure dropping back into the Gulf and getting caught in a sagging cold front that stalls in the NE. Onshore flow will be with us for a few days so grom/longboard size waves could be the result.
Gulf Temp 89°
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Quoting Floodman:


It will stay elusive until we develop a 225mph anemometer


LOL Floodman... I definitely understand your point. It was soooo creepy to watch the long term radar loop out of Slidell Louisiana as the infamous 'K' came in. I presume the entire radar facility was destroyed as the last radar image from that site for a month was of the eyewall hitting it.
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some kind of vort center moving towards Pass Christian
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239. RMCF
Quoting StormW:
Great update, Levi!

you two give me more insight in 20 min. I could find all day. Thank you guys for all that you do. Storm i bought those 20 units on google shopping a few months ago.
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South of Gulfport
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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.