PSU Atlantic hurricane season forecast: 16 named storms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:25 PM GMT on May 18, 2011

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Expect a busy Atlantic hurricane season this year, with sixteen named storms, say Pennsylvania State University (PSU) hurricane scientists Michael Mann and Michael Kozar. Their annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast issued on May 16 calls for 12 - 20 named storms this season, which starts June 1 and runs until November 30. An average season has 10 - 11 named storms. Their prediction was made using statistics of how past hurricane seasons have behaved in response to sea surface temperatures (SSTs), the El Niño/La Niña oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and other factors. This year's forecast is primarily based on three factors:

1) The current above-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from Central America to the coast of Africa between 10°C and 20°C North latitude, will continue into the main part of hurricane season;
2) The fading La Niña event in the Eastern Pacific Ocean will be replaced by neutral El Niño/La Niña conditions;
3) The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be near average during hurricane season.


Figure 1. Hurricane Igor of 2010 as seen from the International Space Station.

The PSU team will also be making a new experimental forecast based not on the absolute MDR sea surface temperatures, but on difference between the MDR SST and ocean temperatures over the rest of the globe's tropical oceans. Some research has suggested that Atlantic hurricane activity is greater when this relative difference in SSTs is high, not necessarily when the absolute MDR SST is high (in other words, if all the world's tropical oceans have record high SSTs, we wouldn't get an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season, even with record warm SSTs in the Atlantic.) This new experimental forecast is predicting higher activity: 19 named storms in the Atlantic this year.

The PSU team has been making Atlantic hurricane season forecasts since 2007, and these predictions have done pretty well:

2007 prediction: 15 Actual: 15
2009 prediction: 12.5 Actual: 9
2010 prediction: 23 Actual: 19

NOAA will be issuing their annual pre-season Atlantic hurricane season forecast at 11:30am on Thursday, and I'll make a post on that Thursday afternoon. Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) issues their pre-season forecast on May 24, and Colorado State University issues theirs on June 1.

My next post on the Mississippi flood will be on Friday.

Links:

PSU 2011 Atlantic hurricane season forecast issued on May 16.

Jeff Masters

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WAVCIS uses the HYCOM system I believe.

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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
That polar bear looks pretty happy. Maybe the ice caps melting isn't such a bad thing after all. I mean, would you want to live in snow 24/7?
If it means more precip than what TX has received the past 3 months, I'd consider it...
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In the category of "totally awesome unexpected links", I present to you this gem:

Official CDC Zombie Preparedness Kit
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Quoting Patrap:
WAVCIS from ESL Loop Current GOM surface current 120 hr Model


That's what the EMC is showing (is WAVCIS showing the EMC model?) Again, no idea why the Navy product is so different, but it always is.

WTO
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Flooding In Louisiana's Great Basin: A Good Thing?
by Greg Allen, National Public Radio
May 18, 2011



The Army Corps of Engineers opened another bay on the Morganza Spillway Wednesday — diverting more water off the Mississippi through the bayous and rivers of Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin.

The corps says it will divert as much water as necessary to keep the Mississippi no higher than 45 feet as it passes through Baton Rouge.

But some of that water might actually be welcome.

'We Need Good Water'

Few people pay closer attention to water conditions in the Atchafalaya Basin than those who make their living catching crawfish.

Lee Wisdom and other craw fishermen in St. Martin Parish are launching their boats, not off the ramps, but from the levee. They can't get to the ramps. Water has already risen several feet on Bayou Benoit. And water from the Morganza Spillway hasn't even reached this area yet.

Mike Bienvenu, head of the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association, says he's not sure whether the coming flood will improve the crawfish crop or not.

"We don't like high water. High water is not good. We need good water. All we need is three or four feet [of] water to crawfish in, that's all we need," he says.

Craw fishing has declined here in recent years. Bienvenu and others blame the web of canals and levees that oil and gas companies have put in the Atchafalaya Basin, keeping fresh water from some bayous.

When the high water hits this area in coming weeks, it will flush out stagnant ponds with fresh water full of oxygen and sediment. Harold Schoeffler, who has fished these waters his whole life, says that's bound to improve things in the basin.

As water washes up on levees and other formerly dry areas, he says long-dormant crawfish will come out of the mud and start breeding.

"So you get this phenomenal production," Schoeffler says. "And then shrimp. This is an estuary where shrimp from the Gulf come into this system and reproduce. So you have this phenomenal amount of nutrients and water that's going to cause an enormous growth of shrimp that feeds speckled trout and redfish and flounder. And the whole thing just takes off."

Short term, the high water is threatening a huge animal population including as many as 150 black bears, plus many deer and smaller mammals. Schoeffler, who is the longtime chairman of the Sierra Club in this part of Louisiana, says, for the most part, the animals should do fine. Water is rising slowly, and he says, even at the crest, there will be plenty of high ground in the basin.

"We have spoil banks up there 50, 55 feet above sea level," he says. "Many hills in the 35- to 45-foot range, which are really an island for wildlife."

A Natural Part Of The Basin Ecology

It might be surprising that, although 1.5 million cubic feet of water per second may soon be released into this basin, those living here are remarkably undisturbed. That's in part because flooding is a natural part of this area's ecology.

This flood event, the largest since 1973, will reshape the basin — filling in some swamps with sediment and turning them into hardwood forests.

For Louisiana's long-eroding coastal wetlands, though, this flooding is a good thing.

Ivor van Heerden, a marine scientist formerly with Louisiana State University, says the tons of sediment washing down the river will spur plant and animal life and help build new wetlands.

"In the central part of the coast, because of the Atchafalaya, we're going to definitely be creating new marshes. We're going to be rejuvenating a huge area of marsh, so a lot of benefits," he says.

Paul Kemp of the National Audubon Society agrees. Unfortunately, he says, the place where new sediment and new marshes are needed most desperately — below New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi — won't be helped by the flood. Because of efforts to keep the Mississippi wide open for navigation, any sediment flowing down the river is likely to be dredged and dumped, not in coastal areas, but off the Continental Shelf.

"And I would have loved to say, 'This was the event we were waiting for. We were prepared and we were able to do 50 years of restoration in one year.' I can't say that today," Kemp says.

Kemp, van Heerden and others active in coastal restoration, hope this event will persuade the Army Corps of Engineers and other public agencies to take steps allowing not just the Atchafalaya but also the Mississippi to actually benefit from the flood. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Broadcast Dates

* All Things Considered, May 18, 2011
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Quoting Hurrykane:




That Navy forecast is always way out of whack when compared to the product at EMC. I have no idea why, but I always focus on the EMC NWS forecast. Can anyone clear up the confusion? Layer depth?
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Once again proving themselves to be masters of camouflage, the polar bear...
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Quoting jeffs713:
627. There look to be two primary origin areas... the Western Caribbean, and the Atlantic around the Windward and Leeward Islands.

Nothing special about that, since those are both common origins for all types of tropical cyclones.




Sure but your missing one thing. The lack of Cape Verde storms.
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WAVCIS from ESL Loop Current GOM surface current 120 hr Model
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26 degree isotherm:

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Quoting WatchingThisOne:
Here's the 120 hour loop current eddy forecast from the Environmental Modeling Center at NWS - twin loop current eddies.


The eastern one isn't fully split off yet. It is of more concern, since it already has more heat content in it.
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Link

Found this link on loop eddy history/real time/ historical info...cool.
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627. There look to be two primary origin areas... the Western Caribbean, and the Atlantic around the Windward and Leeward Islands.

Nothing special about that, since those are both common origins for all types of tropical cyclones.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
Here's the 120 hour loop current eddy forecast from the Environmental Modeling Center at NWS - twin loop current eddies.

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Brett Duke, The Times-Picayune

Tamar Taylor and her daughter, Willa Richards, 11, look through some of the wood that is piling up against an old pier along the Mississippi River in Kenner's Rivertown on Wednesday.


Rising Mississippi River pushing debris downstream
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 9:30 PM
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P451...nice. I needed a good laugh this morning; )
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Quoting Jax82:


Great figure, interesting to see all the landfalls along the NE Gulf and Bahamas.


Yeah, it's pretty clear the Bahamas get plastered during a neutral phase. I am rather confident this will be a pretty status quo neutral event, assuming no big swing to El Nino. Unlike years past with quick and drastic ENSO swings this recent event has been fairly normal.
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Quoting blsealevel:
Enforcement agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries responding to flooding in Louisiana captured images of wildlife fleeing water that has displaced them from their habitats

Link
I hope/expect they freed the deer that appeared to be caught in the barbed wire...

The pic of the possum walking...he just looks angry.
*Fraka, fraka humans and their flood diversions. I'm gonna find out who authorized this. I hate traveling in the daylight.*
Opossum
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Nutria?




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it's not NUTREAL it's NEUTRAL!!!

omg what I great graphic...P451
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Quoting P451:


See ya all in a few days LOL


Enjoy your ban...but dangit...that was worth it!! LOL!! But seriously...I'm having a July 4th cookout in the Palm Beach area...anyone know what the 1104 hr run of the models looks like and how reliable they are? ;-)
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635. Jax82
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Note the mean origin of FL land falling hurricanes during neutral years.




Great figure, interesting to see all the landfalls along the NE Gulf and Bahamas.
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


When I think of you Keep, the Pale Rider always comes to mind. :)
I think of Rick Moranis in Ghost Busters. :) "Are you the Key Master?"
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Quoting Cotillion:


Oh, you know that I'm aware of such things, Press :)



Hey P451. Posted occasionally, but like a lot, come out of the woodwork as soon as summer rolls around (unless there's been a significant event somewhere in the winter over here, which there wasn't).

Main story for here is that is much drier than it should be. Farmers (some anyway, fruit farmers are enjoying the above average heat) beginning to get a little worried.
Here you can take my rain.We're at a surplus right now.
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Quoting presslord:


Please take note: this post specifies North Carolina...Well done!!!


Oh, you know that I'm aware of such things, Press :)

Quoting P451:


Wow haven't seen you around. Was wondering when our NW Europe weather data link was going to start posting again.



Hey P451. Posted occasionally, but like a lot, come out of the woodwork as soon as summer rolls around (unless there's been a significant event somewhere in the winter over here, which there wasn't).

Main story for here is that is much drier than it should be. Farmers (some anyway, fruit farmers are enjoying the above average heat) beginning to get a little worried.

And love the graphic!
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..only 3 shopping day's left till the apocalypse.


4 till the Fla. Rainy Season start
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Going by the books it looks like FL, AL, MS & LA will be under the gun this year.


Speaking of the USA obviously, no disrespect to our friends to the south.
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Note the mean origin of FL land falling hurricanes during neutral years.


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Quoting muddertracker:

Any loop current eddy yet?


I don't think so but, do you really need one with those temps, lol.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



Living in FL, neutral years always leave me a little more concerned. Neutral years, on average, produce the most landfalls for our state due to the AB high being positioned farther west. This typically will set the mean trough position right up through the Great Lakes region. Not sure about other areas in the deep south but logic would tell you the chances are equally increased.
In the most recent nutreal years the Gulf has been under attack.2005,and 2008 are exsamples.And yes the waters off of Florida are really cooking.I hope no storm pulls a Charley if one threatens the state that is.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
The water temps in the Gulf Region and those off the FL east coast are adding to my concern as they are cooking already.

Any loop current eddy yet?
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The water temps in the Gulf Region and those off the FL east coast are adding to my concern as they are cooking already.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
It's been raining and raining and raining ever since Saturday around these parts.The river is awfully high right about now.And becuase of that my son's field trip had to be cancelled.Anyway like I've always said.If 2011 is more destructive than 2010 no one will care if 2010 was more active.Personally I wouldn't.But that's just me.....Oh and by th way watch out for those pesky nutreal years.They almost always turn out bad for the united states.



Living in FL, neutral years always leave me a little more concerned. Neutral years, on average, produce the most landfalls for our state due to the AB high being positioned farther west. This typically will set the mean trough position right up through the Great Lakes region. Not sure about other areas in the deep south but logic would tell you the chances are equally increased.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
ooh, ooh, ooh ...

I can't wait for next week! It will be so interesting.

Hey.What'll be happening.
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It's been raining and raining and raining ever since Saturday around these parts.The river is awfully high right about now.And becuase of that my son's field trip had to be cancelled.Anyway like I've always said.If 2011 is more destructive than 2010 no one will care if 2010 was more active.Personally I wouldn't.But that's just me.....Oh and by th way watch out for those pesky nutreal years.They almost always turn out bad for the united states.
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Good morning! Got the sense it was that time of year to jump on the blog again. Really interesting to read what Dr. Masters wrote about the experimental forecasting being done.
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im just wondering when the air in the carib is going to start "piling up",I cant wait until june 1st,lol
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Even Ike is getting in on the action
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Quoting jeffs713:
Completely insane having over 80% of the state in D3, and almost half in D4.


Yea, pathetic, I don't know what were gonna do.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Good morning....

Irony: flood conditions in a area of drought.

Just an observation this morning.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Completely insane having over 80% of the state in D3, and almost half in D4.
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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.