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 StormW:
Good morning all!


Morning Storm.

---

On another note, looks like Bradley quit as USA coach - onto manage Villa with Lerner. Funny, considering Birmingham (albeit AL) was mentioned yesterday.

---

As the UKMET's tropical guidance only goes out for 3 days, might see if they latch onto to the system off Africa by Sun/Mon (though, not sure why they're so respected; they're not particularly here).
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Re: 1584 and the anomolous AB high position: OPC is forecasting it to stay that way until Sunday - Monday time frame. It's not that there aren't any waves out there, it's just that they're really far south, and under the influence of this rather elongated high.
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1586. MahFL
StormW, please re-asssure us all the tropics will explode soon.....thanks.
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Quoting aquak9:
Baha- probably no one here remembers tartin' and twinkin' with Leftyy...

or the night we all said "WTH is graupel?"
LOL.... there are a few of us left.... lol I kinda miss lefty [never thought the day would come when I would say that.... lol] And that graupel thing is why I have a soft spot for TC Felix... that was one amazing little storm...

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And here is the reason for the quietude...



The tip of that high is down near 15N.....
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1583. IKE
GFS has a potent eastern ATL system on the 6Z run @ 180 hours....




But then sends it to fish-land at 300 hours....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1582. aquak9
Baha- probably no one here remembers tartin' and twinkin' with Leftyy...

or the night we all said "WTH is graupel?"
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1581. IKE
Mobile,AL....

LONG TERM [MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY]...AN INTERESTING PATTERN PLAYS
OUT FOR THE FORECAST AREA DURING THE LONG TERM PERIOD WITH THE
GFS/ECMWF/GEM MOVING THE SURFACE LOW WESTWARD ACROSS THE MARINE AREA
MONDAY TO NEAR SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA MONDAY NIGHT WHILE A TRAILING
FRONT FROM A CANADIAN SYSTEM MOVES INTO THE SOUTHEAST STATES AND
STALLS NORTH AND WEST OF THE REGION. THE GFS CONTINUES TO BE
SOMEWHAT STRONGER WITH THE SURFACE LOW AND APPEARS TROPICAL IN
NATURE AND THE GEM SOLUTION IS CLOSE TO THE GFS AS WELL. THE
EXTENDED RANGE HPC DISCUSSION NOTES THE CONSISTENCY OF THE GFS FOR
THIS TREND BUT SUSPECTS MODEL FEEDBACK PROBLEMS
SO HAVE GONE WITH A
BLEND OF THE GFS/ECMWF/GEM WHICH MOVES THE SYSTEM NORTHWARD INTO THE
CENTRAL GULF COAST STATES AND WEAKENS TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY...BUT
WILL CONTINUE TO CLOSELY MONITOR. CONSIDERING THIS HAVE STAYED WITH
GOOD CHANCE DAYTIME POPS FOR MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY WITH CHANCE TO
SLIGHT CHANCE POPS EACH NIGHT. TEMPERATURES WILL BE NEAR SEASONABLE
LEVELS BUT DID NOT GO AS COOL AS THE MEX FOR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1580. surfmom
Any word on the shoreline in regards to OIL mixed w/this TD????
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1579. surfmom
Quoting Cotillion:


Morning Surfie; wanted to see some, but as it always is, too cloudy to see anything.


Hey Cot! was lucky I saw what I did - kinda in between clouds...

Sadly most folks want to be entertained more then they want information - so Mr. B gives them the vaudeville show they want
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Remarkably quiet out there....

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Quoting IKE:


You are correct.

And from post 1544 by xcool with Bastardi's thoughts of....The tropics are getting ready.

Joe...you thought they would in July. You thought 93L could be Danielle.

Anyone could say they're "getting ready" in mid August. Climatology says it will heat up soon.



I won't turn this into a JB bashing session, but, yeah, I see him as a bit of a nowcaster. That is, he'll loudly predict sunshine, but then walk outside later, see that it's pouring, and run back in to change his forecast to "Rain". That's only human, I guess...but JB's failing is that he then trumpets loudly the fact that he called for rain when all the other idiot meteorologists were calling for sunshine, completely failing to mention that he himself was among the loudest of those idiots.

Oh, well. If it weren't for clowns, life wouldn't be quite the circus it is, eh? ;-)
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1575. IKE
I can't recall the last time I've seen remains of a tropical system moving east along the northern gulf-coast, in August....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting surfmom:
Good Friday 13th Morning~ some nice FIREBALLS in the sky courtesy of the Perseid Showers - 2 last evening and few this early AM.
Now I'm wandering, Coffee in hand, trying to see what the weather scene will be this weekend.


Morning Surfie; wanted to see some, but as it always is, too cloudy to see anything.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Good morning all. Been reading back in case anybody else nominated a storm...

Legends of the Wunderblog

13. Ike 2008 aka "Ike Jr."; "It's gonna slam South Florida!!!... NOT"

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1572. surfmom
Good Friday 13th Morning~ some nice FIREBALLS in the sky courtesy of the Perseid Showers - 2 last evening and few this early AM.
Now I'm wandering, Coffee in hand, trying to see what the weather scene will be this weekend.
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With that Tuesday AEW:

GFS has backed off a bit from its apocalyptocane prediction, CMC drops it, and the Euro is as it was - knows it's there, but is distinctly unimpressed.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
1570. IKE
Quoting Neapolitan:


Quiet, that is, as measured up against pre-season forecasts of a hyperactive season; it hasn't actually been "quiet" from a climatologically average POV.

And, yes, excellent blog post, indeed...


You are correct.

And from post 1544 by xcool with Bastardi's thoughts of....The tropics are getting ready.

Joe...you thought they would in July. You thought 93L could be Danielle.

Anyone could say they're "getting ready" in mid August. Climatology says it will heat up soon.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting IKE:
And a high-five to Dr. Masters for trying to explain why this 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has been so quiet. Excellent blog!


Quiet, that is, as measured up against pre-season forecasts of a hyperactive season; it hasn't actually been "quiet" from a climatologically average POV.

And, yes, excellent blog post, indeed...
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1568. aquak9
(peeks in)
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1567. IKE
And a high-five to Dr. Masters for trying to explain why this 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has been so quiet. Excellent blog!

Also...the 2009 season is going to catch up with the 2010 season on Monday. By then both seasons will have had 3 named systems(assuming 2010 doesn't have one between now and Monday, which looks unlikely).
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Good morning.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
1565. IKE
Looking at the 00Z ECMWF, it shows a weak low...appears to be the remains of TD5...near the northern gulf coast...next Tuesday. Also shows a low near 20N and about 45W at 240 hours. This appears to be the low the GFS has been spinning up into a major fish cane the last 2 runs. ECMWF keeps it much weaker.


Here's the eastern ATL view through August 23rd...Link

..........................................


SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
430 AM CDT FRI AUG 13 2010

.SYNOPSIS...LOW PRES 1007 MB...REMNANTS OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION
FIVE...ALONG THE SE MISSISSIPPI COAST NEAR 30N89W WILL CONTINUE
TO WEAKEN AND DRIFT NE AND INLAND OVER THE WEEKEND. A WEAK E TO
W RIDGE WILL CONTINUE ALONG 25N THROUGH SAT THEN SHIFT W SUN.
THE WEAKENING LOW PRES WILL MEANDER ACROSS THE SE U.S. THIS
WEEKEND AND IS EXPECTED TO SINK BACK TOWARD THE SW AND INTO THE
FAR NE GULF MON AND MOVE W INTO THE N CENTRAL GULF TUE NIGHT AND
WED...ACCOMPANIED BY ACTIVE WEATHER.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1564. Hhunter
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Just for the record, in 2005, ST predicted every cyclone that was within 10 degrees to hit NOLA as a cat6. Katrina was roughly the 5th or 6th one that year that he forecast to hit NOLA.
.
There's nothing supernatural about it. Whoever he was he had a thing for forecasting cyclones to hit NOLA..
.
Then, when his dream turned into a real life tragedy....he stopped those forecasts.
.
I realize many think it's silly, but if anyone should get "credit" for forecasting Katrina's NOLA landfall, it's LaDobeLady and the ants that she reported...just for that one storm. And the ants were right.


yes..this is true
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Member Since: January 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 40

Member Since: January 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
oliver stone may make a movie about the 2010 season if this keeps up
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Quoting weatherblog:


Yeah, there's no denying that, but we've been saying this the whole season and it still hasn't come to pass. Time is running out and it looks like the tropics may be quiet for another month. 2004 had a busy August/September but they are already into the heart of their season. If things don't start picking up by the end of the month (which there is a chance it won't), then this may very well be a much slower season that we all (including me) originally thought.


Oh it's definitely going to be a slow season -- at least insofar as the predictions from CSU are concerned. But it's still going to be very active, probably something along the lines of 1998 or 1999.

More importantly, we've been seeing a lot more storms appear in the model fields over the last week or so, which is something we hadn't really seen before. That seems to me, to indicate a pattern shift.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


It should also be noted that we've already had two tropical cyclones develop this month, and it's not even half over yet. And this was during a period of hostile conditions. Just imagine what might happen when conditions improve.


Yeah, there's no denying that, but we've been saying this so far the whole season and it still hasn't come to pass. Time is running out and it looks like the tropics may be quiet for another week. 2004 had a busy August/September but they are already into the heart of their season. If things don't start picking up by the end of the month (which there is a chance it won't), then this may very well be a much slower season that we all (including me) originally thought.
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1558. xcool
iammothernature EMAIL ME LATER/MY SON IS WAKE UP .BYE ALL
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XCOOL, do you have a list where I can find all the links to all the places where you get these cool satellite images and model forecasts??

I'd appreciate it.
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TD 5 remnants and coc is spinning just south of Gulfport and producing some pretty heavy rain here right now. I thought it had moved over land until I zoomed in on radar. Maybe someone can oopy the zoomed in radar on this page because I dont know how.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


True, but if 2009 can churn out 4 storms in a single month during a strong and intensifying El Nino, we should be able to do at least that this year.


It should also be noted that we've already had two tropical cyclones develop this month, and it's not even half over yet. And this was during a period of hostile conditions. Just imagine what might happen when conditions improve.
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1554. kathin9
Climate change is causing this reduction in hurricanes, BUT, climate change is causing and increase in strong hurricanes, wow! Now there is some good science to sink my teeth into Dr. Masters. Drinking some of that good old Al "the pervert" kool aid? Can we just be happy there are no hurricanes thus far, and as for the storms, I had to evacuate for Alex, then you tried to make the next TD into something it wasn't, then there was Bonnie which by the way never should have been named, and then there was Colin which also never should have been named, the winds didn't support a TS status, but all for your own self grandizing in being right about all the storms we are going to be having, because of global warming, aka climate change, we are hammered with the possibility of the next storm before they even leave the continent. Please report when there is something to report on, I live on the gulf coast, in deep south texas and do not need to live in total fear of a hurricane until there is at least a storm.
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Quoting weatherblog:
If we don't get another named storm over the next few days, even 2009 is going to catch up with us for the amount of named storms.


True, but if 2009 can churn out 4 storms in a single month during a strong and intensifying El Nino, we should be able to do at least that this year.
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1552. xcool
LOL
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Quoting KatywasnoLady05:
Like sands thru the hourglass, these are the days of our lives....


lol
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If we don't get another named storm over the next few days, even 2009 is going to catch up with us for the amount of named storms.
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Like sands thru the hourglass, these are the days of our lives....
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1548. xcool


ADD UKMET



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1547. xcool
BEEP
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I wopuld not be surprised if td5 become a ts after all anyway it always wanted to become one what a stuborn girl just dosen't know when to quit LOL
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12710
Quoting david276:
KoritheMan whats your sc2 user if you want to post it here. Id like to play some wu hc blog peeps


ArtofLimit. Character code 565.
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1544. xcool
THURSDAY 9:30 PM
WHERES THE DUST?

A look at at the CIMSS Saharan dust reveals that there is little left.

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/salmain.php?&prod=splitEW&time=

The tropics are getting ready.

Earlier in the day there was a post here that wasnt supposed to get on. I wrote it, then when I re read I said, oh what the heck if you are right you are right, if you are not, you are not, dont let these people upset you. The combination of the meteo dept at PSU not being what it was when I was here ( we were the acknowledged number one meteo school in the nation, turning out 2/3rds of the worlds meteorologists We didnt have a department driven by agendas and concerned with how much funding they could get, while having an electronic map wall that can heat every house in Nome Alaska in the dead of winter) and a betrayal my family suffered at the hands of the athletic dept...put it this way, they dont value the Bastardi's in their so called PSU athletic family, and all I have left here is the wrestling team. No longer will I try to promote anything that has to do with their meteo dept, or for that matter, anything beyond where my true education was.. in that wrestling room.

BY JOE
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KoritheMan whats your sc2 user if you want to post it here. Id like to play some wu hc blog peeps
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tropics quiet as hell as everyones said either its going to stay this way or its the calm before the storm, as a meteo major i really want to see some amazing stuff, as a person im hoping against that.
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I plan on attending a Starcraft 2 tournament near New Orleans on August 22. I hope TD5 doesn't decide to pull some surprises. >_>

wunderkid, you could be right. That was just what I concluded after a quick glance. Didn't really take an in depth look.
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1540. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:
ecmwf cmc GFS TD5XXX model support


Yup and the models have it turning around and heading for the Gulf, might get interesting or messy if that happens.

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hmm the nhc 24-72 hours forecast shows a tropical wave and a low pressure system to show up just east of Nicaragua in 24 hours so I don't see how this is the semipermanent Colombian heat low sorry but by 72 hours they lost it but has our trough split with a developing low and a few outher surface troughs out in the atlantic maybe that is the spark in the fireworks
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1538. xcool
ecmwf cmc GFS TD5XXX model support
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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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