The Atlantic is quiet; Russian heat wave ends; huge 926 mb South Indian Ocean storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on August 19, 2010

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A tropical wave in the western Caribbean approaching Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is generating disorganized thunderstorms. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 15 knots over the region, and water vapor satellite images show that there is some dry air to the west that will interfere with any development that might occur. None of the reliable computer models develop this wave, and NHC is giving it a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the disturbed region of weather of the coast of Africa, south of the Cape Verdes Islands.

The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models continue to predict that a tropical storm will form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands sometime in the period 3 - 6 days from now. There is an area of disturbed weather south of the Cape Verdes Islands, but there is no obvious organization to the cloud pattern. Wind shear is a hefty 20 - 30 knots in the region, and the disturbance is a 1 - 2 day journey away from reaching a lower shear area where development can occur. Preliminary indications are that if a storm did develop in this region, it would track west-northwest and pass well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands 7 - 8 days from now. However, 7-day forecasts of a storm that hasn't even formed yet are not to be trusted.


Figure 2. The cold front that brought an end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 lies east of Moscow in the NASA MODIS photo taken at 8:35 UTC August 19, 2010. Smoke from wildfires is visible over a wide swath of Russia east of the front. Image credit: NASA.

The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 ends
A powerful cold front swept through Russia yesterday and today, finally bringing an end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010. Temperatures at Moscow's Domodedovo airport hit 25°C (77°F) today, which is still 4°C (7°F) above average, but the high temperature since late June. Moscow has seen 62 consecutive days with a high temperature above average, but the latest forecast for Moscow predicts that remarkable string will come to an end Friday, when the high will reach just 17°C (62°F).

Massive 926 mb extratropical storm generating huge waves off Antarctica
One of the most intense extratropical storms in recent years is churning up the waters near the coast of Antarctica in the South Indian Ocean. The powerful storm peaked in intensity yesterday afternoon with a central pressure of 926 mb--the type of pressure typically found in a Category 4 hurricane. Storms this intense form on average once per year, or perhaps less often, according to an email I received from Jeff Callaghan of the Australia Bureau of Meteorology. Since extratropical storms do not form eyewalls, the winds at the surface from this monster storm probably reached "only" 100 - 120 mph (equivalent to a Category 2 or 3 hurricane.) The storm is forecast to generate huge waves with a significant wave height of 13 meters (44 feet) today, according to the NOAA Wavewatch III model (Figure 3.) I have flown into an extratropical storm this intense--in 1989, I participated in a field project based in Maine that intercepted a remarkable extratropical storm that "bombed" into a 928 mb low south of the Canadian Maritime provinces. You can read my story of that somewhat harrowing flight here.


Figure 3. Satellite image taken at 8:10 UTC August 19, 2010, showing the intense extratropical cyclone that has weakened to 940 mb in the South Indian Ocean near the coast of Antarctica. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 4. Surface pressure analysis from 18 UTC August 18, 2010, showing a 926 mb low in the South Indian Ocean, just north of Antarctica. Image credit: Jeff Callaghan, Australia Bureau of Meteorology.


Figure 5. Predicted wave height from the NOAA Wavewatch III model for 2pm EDT (18 UTC) today, August 19, 2010. Peak wave heights of 13 meters (44 feet) are projected over ocean areas between Antarctica and Australia. Long-period waves (19 seconds between crests) up to 7 meters (22 feet) high are predicted to affect the southwest coast of Australia by Sunday. The waves are predicted to propagate eastwards to New Zealand 8 - 9 days from now, and be a respectable 4 - 5 meters high then.

Jeff Masters

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527. unf97
Quoting pensacolastorm:
What is the swirl NE of the Virgin Islands? ULL? Sure looks low level.


It is an Upper Level Low
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Quoting spartankicker:


You summed up my point better than I did. These things change their mind like crazy, even with a healthy hurricane at times.

I was one of a few that called a Mississippi/Louisiana landfall for Katrina when models and the NHC forecast had it hitting the FL panhandle near Apalachicola. All I did was look at the steering aloft, upper-air patterns and Ocean Heat Content. I ignored the models and I was (very unfortuantely) correct. Some people called me a deathcaster, etc. I still wish I was wrong about that one.

Katrina and others are why I put my trust in the data and not computers that crunch it. It's like simulating a season of Madden on Xbox and saying you think a team is going to win the Super Bowl because they did on the game.
Thing is, in Ike and... Jeanne, I think? the MODELS were calling for the change; the HUMANS didn't believe it because it was counterintuitive to expectations / experience. This doesn't make ur point less valid, though. Perhaps such storms have to come along in order to remind forecasters that the model isn't automatically right - or wrong - but simply an indicator of potential.
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Not quite true; any such celestial body must also have enough spin that centrifugal 'force' creates an equatorial bulge. Some bodies that have rounded themselves via gravity do not have such a spin.


I didn't say every last one of them. :) I couldn't come up with any obvious examples off the top of my head that didn't match the statement but I figured there is some number.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Never seen probs in ORANGE before on that map.


Means much higher chance for development for a 24 hr period.
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ECMWF is running...
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Quoting Neapolitan:


True. But given that, absent the ability to post true three-dimensional holograms on the internet, any squashed oval (from the Latin ovum, for "egg') must be represented in two dimensions, and two dimensions only. IOW, a 2-D planar section of an oblate spheroid will always be a squashed oval.



Not quite true; any such celestial body must also have enough spin that centrifugal 'force' creates an equatorial bulge. Some bodies that have rounded themselves via gravity do not have such a spin.

"Oh baby I hear the blues a callin, tossed salad and scrambled eggs...oh my"
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512 that looks like a loaded pistol aiming west.
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Quoting DestinJeff:



Accurate on so many levels...
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Patrap

What did you mean by, "Checking the Local CONUS".
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Quoting angiest:


Um, LOL, no, it's not an oblate spheroid. The key is spheroid. A spheroid is a three dimensional structure. What we have here is two dimensional.


True. But given that, absent the ability to post true three-dimensional holograms on the internet, any squashed oval (from the Latin ovum, for "egg') must be represented in two dimensions, and two dimensions only. IOW, a 2-D planar section of an oblate spheroid will always be a squashed oval.

Quoting angiest:


The Earth is an oblate spheroid (as are virtually all celestial bodies that have strong enough gravity to make themselves round).


Not quite true; any such celestial body must also have enough spin that centrifugal 'force' creates an equatorial bulge. Some bodies that have rounded themselves via gravity do not have such a spin.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Time again for the daily dose:

The current 26°C isotherm depth chart. Note the hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean with 26°C or warmer water down to between 250' (green) and 325' (yellow) below the surface, while in the Caribbean, 26°C water extends down to nearly 500'.

Come and get it!

Source

Here's the current Sea Surface Temperature (SST) map. Note that most of the non-land area in this image is capable of sustaining tropical cyclones; only those areas in blue and located outside the solid red line are too cool for TCs.

Come and get it!

Source

And finally, the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) map. The entire light-blue (and lighter) area bounded by the solid line has a storm-developing potential of at least 70 kJ/cm2, while the rapidly-growing red and pink areas in the Caribbean and creeping north through the Yucatan channel have a pretty remarkable TCHP of between 110 and 140 kJ/cm2.

Come and get it!

Source

Note 1: From Dr. Jeff Masters: "When using the TCHP map, TCHP is not really a good measurement in water that is shallow (less than 50 meters or so). Because TCHP is a function of volume and depth of warm water, TCHP will never appear to be high around coastlines/ocean shelves that are shallow. Remember Charley of 2004 strengthened significantly just offshore of SW FL. [That is,] in a region of low TCHP."

Note 2: most of the Gulf generally sees its maximum SSTs this month, while the northern half of the Caribbean tops out in September. The southern Caribbean and parts of the eastern Atlantic max out in October. (Link)


With the TCHP (all caveats included) chart getting going like that, god help us if we get one of those SW Caribbean monsters forming (ala Carla, Camille, Gustav(?)).
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Quoting blsealevel:

Never seen probs in ORANGE before on that map.
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Yellow hatch off of Africa.......nothing to really speculate about too much until we at least have a tropical depression. This time of year things can change fast....have a great and productive afternoon.
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Quoting dsenecal2009:
OT = off topic, posting this seems pretty ironic


I recieved a short ban not long ago for posting an OT pic and I haven't done it since. I still see it happening too often though.
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Quoting StormW:
Good afternoon!

Afternoon Storm!
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509. JRRP
see u later


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Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey, Betsy was up past 25 N before it swung around and came back.... There's some logic in our paranoia, ayuh...


Actually, she did it twice, at least one of them was a complete loop.
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Hola y'all. Woohoo! FINALLY - two yellow circles. 20% chance of development on the CV wave, and 90% chance of screeching chaos here at the WU blog.
Just for fun, since we're all playing the waiting game - what's the ONE THING you wouldn't go through a hurricane without? Not including water - that's too obvious.
The weirder the better.
I'll start the ball rolling with... green tea and cucumber scented baby wipes.
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Off topic, I assume.kquote class='blogquote'>Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I don't know what an OT pic is.
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OT = off topic, posting this seems pretty ironic
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Quoting Matt1989:
This season is going to be summed up like this. Dry air,Hot sea surface temps, ULL, wind shear, recurvature. All great factors to keep the US safe from storms except hot temps. But sea surface temps dont make a storm.. The atmosphere does.
Great forecast! Now if we could only be sure u r right....
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Quoting StormW:
Good afternoon!

Hi Storm!
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Quoting BahaHurican:
However, Ike was very much NOT the climatological norm in that southwesterly path. In fact, the MODELS were actually forecasting that turn for a couple-three runs before anybody would believe it; there was a lot of consternation about it at the time, IIRC.


You summed up my point better than I did. These things change their mind like crazy, even with a healthy hurricane at times.

I was one of a few that called a Mississippi/Louisiana landfall for Katrina when models and the NHC forecast had it hitting the FL panhandle near Apalachicola. All I did was look at the steering aloft, upper-air patterns and Ocean Heat Content. I ignored the models and I was (very unfortuantely) correct. Some people called me a deathcaster, etc. I still wish I was wrong about that one.

Katrina and others are why I put my trust in the data and not computers that crunch it. It's like simulating a season of Madden on Xbox and saying you think a team is going to win the Super Bowl because they did on the game.
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Still here, sometimes I like to be just a viewer of things... ;)
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Quoting angiest:


That is exactly why I always caution people to keep an eye on a storm, even if it appears to be going away from them. Even the less likely scenario is not a 0% chance, and so I will certainly keep an eye on this storm (should it develop) for two reasons, 1 is because it is a hobby of mine, and 2 is because it will be a potential threat to me all the way out here in Texas until dies or tracks east.

Remember, Ike, as did Betsy, actually started to make the northward turn (in close to the same area, to boot) before being deflected and winding up in the GOM.
Hey, Betsy was up past 25 N before it swung around and came back.... There's some logic in our paranoia, ayuh...
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Quoting StormW:
Good afternoon!


Good afternoon. :)
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting KanKunKid:


I agree with you. There is only a fine line of material that can used here without violating the community standards and another standard that is rather ambiguous and its axe falls with impunity on the transgressors, no matter who they are. I was banned last year for my entry into a ____ caster (informal) contest when we were naming the different kinds of forecasters by their style etc. I said ___ caster (donkey). Poof! I was gone for 24 hours. I learned my lesson. So yes it is difficult to come up with new material for humorous blog entries, but the occasion arises. Personally, I have had much tragedy and loss in my life and humor keeps me from losing it. So I always look for the lighter side of life. I usually find it along with kindred souls, such as Jeff, who seem to make normal things and life just a little more bearable. ..... etc

Just as an extension of your point; fellowbloggers, anything that comes across as swearing is like, AUTOMATIC ban territory in this blog. Back in 2006 we had terrible problems with it, which is one of the reasons why we even have these community standards / rules of the road stuff. Blog admins are very aware that lots of under-18s read/post on this blog, and don't want to get into boycott territory. The other thing that will get u a ban if u aren't swift enough is excessive repetition of OT pics. That I suppose is a band-width issue. D-Jeff's been walking the fine line with the hurricane chart; however, because it's actually RELEVANT to the discussion, admin isn't likely to pull it. [I guess it'll be kinda hard to pull Jeff now that the good Doc's posted "his" chart... lol]

Anyway, I guess we all have to "live and learn". Just hope somebody learns from our experiences....
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What is the swirl NE of the Virgin Islands? ULL? Sure looks low level.
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Time again for the daily dose:

The current 26°C isotherm depth chart. Note the hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean with 26°C or warmer water down to between 250' (green) and 325' (yellow) below the surface, while in the Caribbean, 26°C water extends down to nearly 500'.

Come and get it!

Source

Here's the current Sea Surface Temperature (SST) map. Note that most of the non-land area in this image is capable of sustaining tropical cyclones; only those areas in blue and located outside the solid red line are too cool for TCs.

Come and get it!

Source

And finally, the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) map. The entire light-blue (and lighter) area bounded by the solid line has a storm-developing potential of at least 70 kJ/cm2, while the rapidly-growing red and pink areas in the Caribbean and creeping north through the Yucatan channel have a pretty remarkable TCHP of between 110 and 140 kJ/cm2.

Come and get it!

Source

Note 1: From Dr. Jeff Masters: "When using the TCHP map, TCHP is not really a good measurement in water that is shallow (less than 50 meters or so). Because TCHP is a function of volume and depth of warm water, TCHP will never appear to be high around coastlines/ocean shelves that are shallow. Remember Charley of 2004 strengthened significantly just offshore of SW FL. [That is,] in a region of low TCHP."

Note 2: most of the Gulf generally sees its maximum SSTs this month, while the northern half of the Caribbean tops out in September. The southern Caribbean and parts of the eastern Atlantic max out in October. (Link)
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Quoting BahaHurican:
However, Ike was very much NOT the climatological norm in that southwesterly path. In fact, the MODELS were actually forecasting that turn for a couple-three runs before anybody would believe it; there was a lot of consternation about it at the time, IIRC.


You aint kidding. So much so our local met screamed at the camera and I quote, "This WILL NOT come into the gulf!" And that's about the least destructive thing he said that year.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting angiest:


Um, LOL, no, it's not an oblate spheroid. The key is spheroid. A spheroid is a three dimensional structure. What we have here is two dimensional.

The Earth is an oblate spheroid (as are virtually all celestial bodies that have strong enough gravity to make themselves round).

All of this just because I thought it was a squished oval? lol
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Be sure to appoint a designated blogger.
LOL... somebody got my pt... lol
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Quoting DestinJeff:


"Despite all my rage, I am still just a Pouch in a cage!"


All in all it was just a pouch in a cage.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Her sign recurved.

I just thought she was Austrailian.
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Quoting Neapolitan:


I think the correct term is oblate spheroid...but yes, you're right. :-)


Um, LOL, no, it's not an oblate spheroid. The key is spheroid. A spheroid is a three dimensional structure. What we have here is two dimensional.

The Earth is an oblate spheroid (as are virtually all celestial bodies that have strong enough gravity to make themselves round).
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


no right now it is a possible invest near the CV Islands that has not yet developed

jason meet reality
Great idea! Let's make a show.

Jason,
Make a video of you walking through a door and pretend to meet reality...just be like "WOW". That would make my day. :)

Make sure to ring the fire alarm too. Also be like "WOW". That would also make my day. Lol.
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Quoting spartankicker:


Models also showed Hurricane Ike hitting South Florida and moving back into the Atlantic for days as well, to the point that the NHC was even forecasting it.

We all know how that one ended....

The fact of the matter is that models that far in advance are not always trustworthy, even with developed systems.

I'd love for this to be a fish storm, but climatology dictates that we look at the factors at hand. StormW's blog today does a great job of that.
However, Ike was very much NOT the climatological norm in that southwesterly path. In fact, the MODELS were actually forecasting that turn for a couple-three runs before anybody would believe it; there was a lot of consternation about it at the time, IIRC.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.