La Niña becomes weak; February the globe's 14th-17th warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:48 PM GMT on March 22, 2011

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The equatorial waters of the Eastern Pacific off the coast of South America have steadily warmed during March, and it appears increasingly likely that the current La Niña event will be over by June. This week, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", warmed to 0.8°C below average, according to NOAA. This puts the current La Niña in the "weak" category for the first time since the event began in July 2010. If these SSTs continue to warm such that they are no more than 0.5°C below average, the La Niña event will be over, and we will be in "neutral" conditions. An animation of SSTs since late November shows this developing warmth nicely. Springtime is the most common time for a La Niña event to end; since 1950, half of all La Niñas ended in March, April, or May. The weakness displayed by the current La Niña event has prompted NOAA's Climate Prediction Center to predict that La Niña will be gone by June. As La Niña continues to wane, we can expect that rainfall over the drought regions of the southern U.S. will gradually return to normal levels by mid-summer.


Figure 1. Latest runs of the long-range El Niño models have 5 predictions for La Niña conditions during hurricane season, 7 for neutral conditions, and 5 for El Niño. Image credit: IRI.

Impact on hurricane season
It is well-known that when an El Niño event is in place, a significant reduction in Atlantic hurricane activity results due to an increase in wind shear. With La Niña likely gone by June, what are the chances of having El Niño in place by the August-September-October peak of hurricane season? Well, our long-range El Niño models do a poor job of making accurate predictions in the spring, a phenomena known as the "spring predictability barrier." True to form, the March predictions by these models are all over the place (Figure 1.) There are 5 predictions for La Niña conditions being present during the upcoming hurricane season, 7 predictions for neutral conditions, and 5 predictions for El Niño. If we look at past history, since 1950, there have been six La Niña events that ended in the spring. During the subsequent hurricane season, two of those years experienced El Niño conditions: 1951 (10 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes) and 1976 (10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.) The other four years had neutral conditions during hurricane season. These years were 1968 (8 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 0 intense hurricanes), 1989 (11 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes); 1996 (13 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 6 intense hurricanes); and 2008 (16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes.) An average hurricane season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. So, three of these six analogue years had five or more intense hurricanes (including one of the El Niño years). Looking at sea surface temperature in the hurricane main development region (MDR), the stretch of ocean between the coast of Africa and Central America, including the Caribbean, February temperatures this year were 0.62°C above average, the 7th highest February anomaly since the late 1800s. Of the six analogue years since 1950 when La Niña ended in spring, only 1996 had a much above average February SST anomaly in the MDR (0.61°C.) Thus, I believe it is a reasonable speculation at this point to predict this year's hurricane season will be similar to 1996, with its 13 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 6 intense hurricanes--assuming we end up with neutral and not El Niño conditions this fall.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average for February 2011. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

February 2011: 14th - 17th warmest on record for the globe
February 2011 was the globe's 17th warmest February on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated February the 14th warmest on record. February 2011 global ocean temperatures were the 10th warmest on record, and land temperatures were the 28th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were average, the 14th or 17th coolest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). The global cool-down from November, which was the warmest November on record for the globe, was due in large part to the moderate strength La Niña episode in the Eastern Pacific. The large amount of cold water that upwells to the surface during a La Niña typically causes a substantial cool-down in global temperatures. The coldest places on the globe in February, relative to average, were Eastern Europe and northeastern Siberia. Central Africa, central China, and western Greenland were exceptionally warm. For the contiguous U.S., February temperatures were near average, ranking the 51st coldest in the 117-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Precipitation was also near average, ranking as the 41st driest February since 1895. February 2011 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was tied for the lowest on record in February, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Satellite records extend back to 1979. This is the third consecutive month of record low Arctic sea ice cover.

Mostly offshore winds expected over Japan through Thursday
Radioactive plumes emitted from Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant will mostly head to the south today, passing just east of Tokyo. Northerly winds wrapping around the back side of an area of low pressure moving out to sea to the east are responsible for this pattern. As high pressure builds in over the next few days, mostly offshore winds will carry radiation from the Fukushima plant out to sea. This should change on Friday, when an approaching low pressure system will once again bring northeasterly onshore winds to Japan, possibly blowing heightened levels of radioactivity into Tokyo.


Figure 3. One-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 100 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Tuesday, March 22, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Mostly offshore winds are predicted to keep the plumes east of Tokyo. Image created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 4. One-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 100 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Wednesday, March 23, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Offshore winds are predicted to carry radioactivity away from Japan. Image created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.

Resources
The Miami Herald has an interesting article discussing how Japan's earthquake caused a 3-inch jump in ground water levels in South Florida 34 minutes after the quake struck on March 11.

Seven-day weather forecast for Sendai near the Fukushima nuclear plant

The Austrian Weather Service is running trajectory models for Japan.

Spring is here, and wunderground has set up an eCard to send messages to friends and family celebrating the arrival of spring.

My next post will probably be on Thursday.
Jeff Masters

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Quoting aquak9:
I'll take anything, ya'll. Appreciate the good wet wishes.

Don't quite know who Rasta is, I've seen him post but I don't really know him yet. But I don't like rainwishcasters.



RastaSteve is Jeff9641
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829. IKE
  • Oil+0.74Price/barrel$106.49
:(


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I'll take anything, ya'll. Appreciate the good wet wishes.

Don't quite know who Rasta is, I've seen him post but I don't really know him yet. But I don't like rainwishcasters.
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Here ya go Aqua. Maybe this will help a little.

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see the picture home page of the bruno who the mortgage company is using to sell their wares. come on now!
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Morning all.



It may be boring, but it's beautiful, too.... lol

Quoting EYEStoSEA:
Well, I guess I finally get on and everyone's leaving....Why would you want more than 50 comments on a page anyway....it would take forever to "get past" a bad page........just thinking ...
I hate having to flip back to the last page to finish reading, so I use the 200 comments view. And there shouldn't BE any bad pages....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
I took my cuppa coffee outside this morning to walk around the yard...when I came back in, there were nuthin' but little sparklin' granules in the bottom of my cup.

Red Flag Warning in effect sometime today; hadn't seen this dry of a westerly wind in a long long time.

Please send rain.
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further to the earlier discussion, an Olympic size swimming pool holds about 600,000 gallons of water (answers.com)
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Quoting Jedkins01:



The advantage of being a college student, I work on Calculus almost everyday.


sure we should call it an adavantage haha, I can't wait to see summer, ive looked at way to many multi-variable calculus and quantum physics equations to last a life time this semester.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Seems like some of you haven't took a math session since God knows when.



The advantage of being a college student, I work on Calculus almost everyday.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Seems like some of you haven't took a math session since God knows when.

Thats a fact.
And the same applies to Written English too. For some folk, anyway. :):)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Goodnight.
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Well, I guess I finally get on and everyone's leaving....Why would you want more than 50 comments on a page anyway....it would take forever to "get past" a bad page........just thinking ...
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Seems like some of you haven't took a math session since God knows when.
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Quoting Chicklit:


If you elect businessmen to run government (Florida governor for example) and privatize our public schools, do you think the public will get more and better services or less? Will we be safer and healthier or more at risk?


More and better services.

Safer and healthier.

Bad business plan, otherwise.

Good evening all. :)
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Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Yeah. That sounds right.

Edited/Added: Well the 7,650,000 lbs is right, but that would be 3875 tons; i.e., one ton is 2000 lbs.

OOOPS!!
True.
Sorry.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting bappit:
So that much steam would have to boil off to leave that much salt behind?

Yeah, About 800,000 gals of water would need to boil away...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Yeah. That sounds right.

Thanks.
That's a LOT of water to move through fire engines working sporadically.
Assuming 100% evap. too.
It does not sound right (the alarm raised about the salts build-up in the reactor).
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
So that much steam would have to boil off to leave that much salt behind?
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Quoting pottery:

Sounds like you are correct.
So a simple way to look at the thing would be--

255,000 lb salt would need 225,000 X 30 LB of water = 7,650,000 lb water. Or 7,650 tons. Or 7,650 cu yds.

am I correct here?


Yeah. That sounds right.

Edited/Added: Well the 7,650,000 lbs is right, but that would be 3875 tons; i.e., one ton is 2000 lbs.
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Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Double checking w/ Wiki here it says that seawater has a salinity of 35g/L. Using WolframAlpha to translate below:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=35+g%2FL+in+ lbs%2Fcu+ft

says this is equal to about 2.2 lbs/cu ft.

So it seems the 2.2 lbs/ cu ft is correct; still possible I made a mistake somewhere though--I welcome any confirmation or otherwise.

Sounds like you are correct.
So a simple way to look at the thing would be--

255,000 lb salt would need 225,000 X 30 LB of water = 7,650,000 lb water. Or 7,650 tons. Or 7,650 cu yds.

am I correct here?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting Patrap:
How much salt do I add for a 33 Lbs sack of Live crawfish with water to cover?




2 cups
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Quoting pottery:


A ratio of 1 to 30 ??

Beats me, I still doubt the story.
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All I could find in Wiki on cooking crawfish:

A common myth is that a crawfish with a straight tail died before it was boiled and is not safe to eat. In reality, crawfish that died before boiling can have curled tails as well as straight, as can those that were alive, and may very well be fine to eat. Boiled crawfish which died before boiling are safe to eat if they were kept chilled before boiling and were not dead for a long time. (This does not mean that a sack of crawfish that are all dead should be boiled.) A much better test than the straight tail as to the edibility of any crawfish is the tail meat itself; if it is mushy, it is usually an indication that it should be avoided.[17]
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Quoting pottery:

I did not look at your link, but sea water is about 35 parts per thousand salts.
And a cu'ft of water is about 7.5 galls. Or about 77 lb. So 2.2 lb salt from 77 lb water is a lot higher than 35 ppt.
So one of us is wrong...

I hope someone can clear this up.


Double checking w/ Wiki here it says that seawater has a salinity of 35g/L. Using WolframAlpha to translate below:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=35+g%2FL+in+ lbs%2Fcu+ft

says this is equal to about 2.2 lbs/cu ft.

So it seems the 2.2 lbs/ cu ft is correct; still possible I made a mistake somewhere though--I welcome any confirmation or otherwise.
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Quoting bappit:
Feel the wiki, be the wiki.

Oxygen 85.84 Sulfur 0.091
Hydrogen 10.82 Calcium 0.04
Chloride 1.94 Potassium 0.04
Sodium 1.08 Bromine 0.0067
Magnesium 0.1292 Carbon 0.0028

Seawater composition by mass. So 4+2=6, carry the 1.

Seawater is 96.66% water, thereabouts, or ...
3.44% "salt". (Agrees with Pottery's number.)

Take the reciprocal, 1 ton of salt to abooouuut 30 tons of seawater. But that's only 30 cubic meters of water, that is, if you get all the salt out (won't happen). That's a lot of tons of seawater to pump through the reactor to get that much salt.

I doubt it. Then again they do add bromine I think. That ups the salt content and bromine absorbs neutrons, hmmmm. Need to be a real nuclear engineer to figure this out, but I doubt that story.


A ratio of 1 to 30 ??
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting Patrap:
How much salt do I add for a 33 Lbs sack of Live crawfish with water to cover?





Depends on how much beer is involved....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
792. flsky
Just finished watching a great program on the History Channel called "Journey to the Earth's Core." I highly recommend it if it is shown again.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Hey man! I was noticing earlier in the week the 10 day was showing a 60% chance of rain Mon/Tue of next week but now I'm only seeing a 30% chance on Tue/Wed! How is fire season up there? We are REALLY dry right now. Had some neighbors burning the last few days and the horses next door were hacking and we were getting a little affected by it as well. Don't know what they were burning but it smelled BAD. Division of Forestry came out and sited him. While he was there the ranger educated us on burning guidelines. Although we're on AG-2 zoned land (residential/agricultural) and burning is allowed, we have to call to get a daily permit from Division of Forestry. Once you receive permission you can then only burn between dawn and dusk. You also have certain setbacks and guidelines for the burn pile. Thankfully our fire pit is totally compliant. Interesting info...right now we're under fire weather warning and I can't believe anyone is burning.Wildfires in Charlotte County and Lehigh Acres but thankfully contained. Nothing outrageous YET.
ayy HJ,been busyall day,our fire situation up here in sarasota is not good and son w/be bad as ourrainy season doesnt usually start until june at. the earliest!!!,we need rain soon or it'll be a tinderbox come may....
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Quoting sirmaelstrom:


I'll give it a go...
Twice 99,000 + 57,000 yields 255,000 lbs of salt.

From here it says one cubic foot of seawater yields 2.2 lbs of salt.

250,000/2.2 gives 116000 cubic feet of seawater to yield 255000 lbs of salt; which is about 868000 US gallons.


I suggested last week that Saltwater would not be a good thing on those reactors as salt also decreases the boiling point of water. The insultation also does make total sense.........They are in trouble now!
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How much salt do I add for a 33 Lbs sack of Live crawfish with water to cover?




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
Feel the wiki, be the wiki.

Oxygen 85.84 Sulfur 0.091
Hydrogen 10.82 Calcium 0.04
Chloride 1.94 Potassium 0.04
Sodium 1.08 Bromine 0.0067
Magnesium 0.1292 Carbon 0.0028

Seawater composition by mass. So 4 2=6, carry the 1.

Seawater is 96.66% water, thereabouts, or ...
3.44% "salt". (Agrees with Pottery's number.)

Take the reciprocal, 1 ton of salt to abooouuut 30 tons of seawater. But that's only 30 cubic meters of water, that is, if you get all the salt out (won't happen). That's a lot of tons of seawater to pump through the reactor to get that much salt.

I doubt it. Then again they do add xxxxxxx BORON I think. That ups the salt content and xxxxxx BORON absorbs neutrons, hmmmm. Need to be a real nuclear engineer to figure this out, but I doubt that story.
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Quoting sirmaelstrom:


I'll give it a go...
Twice 99,000 + 57,000 yields 255,000 lbs of salt.

From here it says one cubic foot of seawater yields 2.2 lbs of salt.

250,000/2.2 gives 116000 cubic feet of seawater to yield 255000 lbs of salt; which is about 868000 US gallons.

I did not look at your link, but sea water is about 35 parts per thousand salts.
And a cu'ft of water is about 7.5 galls. Or about 77 lb. So 2.2 lb salt from 77 lb water is a lot higher than 35 ppt.
So one of us is wrong...

I hope someone can clear this up.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting Chicklit:




okay, math whizzes figure this one out, please!
SeawaterSaltConcentrations

Where is atmoaggie when you need him?!


I'll give it a go...
Twice 99,000 + 57,000 yields 255,000 lbs of salt.

From here it says one cubic foot of seawater yields 2.2 lbs of salt.

250,000/2.2 gives 116000 cubic feet of seawater to yield 255000 lbs of salt; which is about 868000 US gallons.
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Stop talking that blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah.....
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Quoting Chicklit:




okay, math whizzes figure this one out, please!
SeawaterSaltConcentrations

Where is atmoaggie when you need him?!

Well, this is what we have so far...

a total (estimated) of aprox 255,000 lb of salt (about 25,500 tons!!)
ocean salinity is around 35 parts per THOUSAND.
So if ALL the water boiled away (which it did not or the place would have gone crazy), then we needed to pump water 255,000 X 1000 and divide by 35.

Eh???
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
No good news here.



Japan NHK English Channel..LIVE
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128273
Quoting Grothar:


I'm sure he's looking up in Wiki, as we speak. LOL


aw cmon he can figure that out in his head!
anyway, i'm outta day.
night all.
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Thanks Grothar. I guess that is my sign to go to bed.

I have a hectic 7 day period coming up, so if u don't see me it's not because I don't love u guys anymore.... lol

Night all.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101

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About

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