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 wayfaringstranger:
We just went at least 3 mins with no posts? Wow

UNPOSSIBLE!
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We just went at least 3 mins with no posts? Wow
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235
Sorry, it is being modeled, but it's a jumbled mess and probably meaningless.
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1734. FLdewey
Could watching the tropics save you 15% or more on your car insurance?

Did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home?

Check it out jackwagon

Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 42 Comments: 6269
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


oh I hear ya, 3 am big time boomers almost rolled me out of bed, and it poured rained. Local met said Biloxi got 2 inches while Pascagoula is almost at 4 inches. Funny, Tommy Richards said the former TD5 will curve around to Mobile....hummmmmmm

does anyone have any models to support this?


It's not being modeled anymore but it's pouring and thundering here in West Mobile now. Hopefully ya'll are drying out a little now.
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Quoting MahFL:
StormW, please re-asssure us all the tropics will explode soon.....thanks.
No!,StormW, Please don't!
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Some relief supplies are being sent to IA.

How are the folks in New Orleans, southern LA?

Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235
12Z update

AL 05 2010081312 BEST 0 307N 888W 25 1008 LO


BAMs no longer showing movement back to GOM, have to see if it stays consistent.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1729. FLdewey
Quoting tkeith:
You been watchin the History Channel again Dewey?

Mebe.

Discovery should change their slogan to "enlightened and frightened."
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 42 Comments: 6269
1728. MahFL
New feeder band on the SE side now of ex TD5.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3696
Quoting sailingallover:
The Models all have the AB high becoming an A only high past 168 hours. IF this happens( I used to have faith in the models about 25N but this year they have not been very accurate)
Anything that forms will go north just like the wave that started to develop at 50W two days ago.
It is now being sucked and sheared north the apex of the wave looks to be at 23N today where it was at 12N 2 days ago.
Look at todays GFS maps and the 160h forcast.
link please. and you are correct
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ECMWF 192 hours out.
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1725. Patrap
Quoting NEwxguy:
Pat,did you have your Saints party last night?



Yeah,,me the wife some Jambalaya and Dixie.

Was good game,,save for special teams.
Nothing Like the return of Gametime.

Next week the Dome will be full as a tick.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
good morning, the only AOI i see this morning is N Panama/Col
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1723. tkeith
Quoting FLdewey:
East Coast Mega Tsunami!!
You been watchin the History Channel again Dewey?
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Quoting Patrap:
..Its Friday Im in love..


Me too! Great song!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3077
1721. FLdewey
East Coast Mega Tsunami!!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 42 Comments: 6269
The Models all have the AB high becoming an A only high past 168 hours. IF this happens( I used to have faith in the models about 25N but this year they have not been very accurate)
Anything that forms will go north just like the wave that started to develop at 50W two days ago.
It is now being sucked and sheared north the apex of the wave looks to be at 23N today where it was at 12N 2 days ago.
Look at todays GFS maps and the 160h forcast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1719. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
NMFC Norfolk Tropical Feed
No Active Tropical Warnings in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Gulf of Mexico
By Maritime.CDO@navy.mil (NMFC CDO) from Naval Maritime Forecast Center Norfolk Virginia. Published on .

As of Fri 13 Aug 2010 12:45:01Z
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Quoting StonedCrab:


Is THAT why my coffee is brown?



LOL!
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Maybe this will lighten the crowd around here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJEzl31zL-I


Hmm, first post I read today, guess I better go back a bit and figure out where that came from LOL!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3077
1716. MahFL
Quoting PELLSPROG:
Things are nice and quiet my friends :)Let's hope it stays that way .


No. I want some action.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3696
1714. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1713. NEwxguy
Pat,did you have your Saints party last night?
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1712. Patrap
Maybe try da "tea"..


at a "Party" with Sugar..


Thats usually draws a crowd.

LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Maybe this will lighten the crowd around here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJEzl31zL-I
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1710. IKE
Quoting weatherguy03:
Tropical Update August 13th. 2010


Off til Monday....enjoy your weekend. I figured it was slow based on only a five minute discussion.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Pensacola News Journal.
Todays editorial page regarding Whitehouse Energy Advisor, Carol Browner (who formerly headed up the EPA)whose comment last week
didn't sit well with university professors.

Said Browner,

" My understanding of dissolved oil is that it is like if you take sugar and put it in a cup of hot tea, the molecules are gone."


Link


Is THAT why my coffee is brown?
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Pensacola News Journal.
Todays editorial page regarding Whitehouse Energy Advisor, Carol Browner (who formerly headed up the EPA)whose comment last week
didn't sit well with university professors.

Said Browner,

" My understanding of dissolved oil is that it is like if you take sugar and put it in a cup of hot tea, the molecules are gone."


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Well, the only weakness I see in shallow and mid layer, is from near 70W-80W. When this thing comes off the African coast, I doubt by 144 hours it's gonna be a Major Hurricane. So, mid layer steering at best to that time frame.

Those are steering winds right? So what causes the big hump between 0-25N at 50W?
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1706. tkeith
Quoting DestinJeff:


I'll make sure and limit my entries then to just those that say how the season is about to EXPLODE I guess.

Or maybe to GFS forecast MJO for the next 16 days.
OR...you could personally attack peoples opinions and posts, but then you wouldn't be the DestinJeff I know...
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1705. surfmom
Quoting KATRINABILOXIGIRL:
sometimes I wonder about Tommy, and I have a small rain gauge that is overflowing at 2 inches ...


go check Rainman32 - I got the best rain gauge - LARGE numbers & room for quantities of rain per his recommendation
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Good Morning WU...



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Tropical Update August 13th. 2010
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1700. Patrap
Sure nuff..twas in 98 the Robertsdale UFO thing. I remember talking to a officer who also saw it.

As he wrote my ticket.

LOL

On Saturday, February 7, 1998, Christie Edwards of Robertsdale, Alabama, a town on Highway 90 about 27 miles (43 kilometers) southeast of Mobile, videotaped the silver sphere as it hovered above her house.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting KATRINABILOXIGIRL:
sometimes I wonder about Tommy, and I have a small rain gauge that is overflowing at 2 inches ...


hehe I wonder about all 3 of them!! I really like Rob Knite (sp?)the weekend met,
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


That is the steering layers forecast out to 144 hours. What it's saying is..."forget about fish".

You can see it better here:

PSU

OK I'll bite the hook..
Why no more fish storms? All of them have a trough in the 700-200 upper level maps as well as you can tell by the low level steering there is a weakness in the MA ridge even though winds are E->W except in NOGAPS
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1697. Patrap
Quoting LAlurker:

Gotta behave through Loxley, Robertsdale and Foley. Especially this year since tourist seasoon was a bust, thanks to BP. - Trying to raise money.
During their off-season (Mid-November to early Jan) the Blues do their practice focused right by our place in Ft. Morgan. Unfortunately, we're usually only there on the weekends and their practices are Tues.- Wed.


Cool,

..wasnt their a UFO story from Robertsdale years ago?

That I could believe.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting Patrap:
1681. LAlurker


Love Ft. Morgan,,well save for Robertsdale Police,..LOL

Did work on two Beach Homes on Piers after Georges in 98.

Dem Blue Angels scared the doo-doo outta me one morn..




Gotta behave through Loxley, Robertsdale and Foley. Especially this year since tourist seasoon was a bust, thanks to BP. - Trying to raise money.
During their off-season (Mid-November to early Jan) the Blues do their practice focused right by our place in Ft. Morgan. Unfortunately, we're usually only there on the weekends and their practices are Tues.- Wed.
Quoting Patrap:
GOES-12 Atmospheric Imagery

These images are primarily for use in tropical storm monitoring. There are several areas to choose from providing a large-scale view of the Atlantic, down to the Gulf of Mexico. During hurricane season, the hurricanes page provides a variety of GOES atmospheric products to help monitor the active storms.




Hardly a cloud. WOW! Amazingly quite right now.
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1694. Patrap
Itsa tad early for a summary but the weaker AB High is good for some,,not so good for others,and maybe real good if recurvature to da Phishes becomes da pattern.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Good summary at 1660 by Patrap. Thanks.
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DestinJeff for whatever reason had most of his post deleted by administrators. I guess they don't like the graphic he post all the time like we don't know when the peak of hurricane season.
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Quoting StormW:


Two things off the top of my head...heat piles up in the Atlantic Basin, and a Negative NAO Value


UGH! Two of my least favorite words!
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1689. Patrap


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
1688. Patrap
Quoting superpete:
Good morning Patrap,BahaAre you dried out on N.O. yet?


Some..but trouble is coming from the Nwest this am. Some got 4-5 inches in a few Hours yesterday and the BAdly drained areas arent too Happy bout it.

They say we need a Billion to repair the Underground drainage from K,,and 40 mil a year to maintain.

Da new Mayor is gonna have a PC today on dat.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090

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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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