Drought continues; Yellowstone fires could become more frequent; 90L set to develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

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Southern Drought Continues

Temperatures continue to soar into triple digits in the Southern Plains this week, and are expected to remain well above average for at least the next month. High air temperatures and low humidity (because of the low soil moisture) will continue to maintain drought conditions in the South unless we see some Gulf-landfalling tropical cyclones—a good remedy for a such an extreme drought.

This year's drought in the South is unprecedented by many definitions. Last year at this time, 0% of the contiguous U.S. was in exceptional drought. Last week, the exceptional drought region covered 11.96%. The area of contiguous U.S. in exceptional drought conditions has never been this high since the Drought Monitor record started in 2000. The highest it had been before June of this year was 7.85% in August of 2002.


Figure 1. Temperature anomaly (difference from average) in degrees Celsius for the period July 1 through July 25 (top) and soil moisture anomaly in millimeters (bottom) on July 25 (from the Climate Prediction Center).

In late June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 213 counties in Texas (84% of the state) as primary natural disaster areas. As I mentioned yesterday, the Texas drought and wildfires are one of the nine billion-dollar disasters of 2011 so far. The National Climatic Data Center estimated that this event had cost up to $3 billion as of June 16. This number is surely rising every day that the South doesn't see rain.

New study concludes Yellowstone wildfires could become more frequent

In a study published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have concluded that global warming could have a serious impact on the severity and frequency of wildfires in the Yellowstone region (an area where the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming come together). Historically in this region, fewer than 5% of wildfire occurrences account for 95% of the total area burned. But in a global warming scenario, they found that fire activity could become more severe and more frequent, causing the ecosystem to change dramatically.

Using climate conditions and historical fire data from 1972 to 1999, it was possible to link certain environmental thresholds (temperature, humidity, etc) to past wildfire events. Then by employing the output of various climate models, fire frequency can be forecast well into the future. Figure 2 illustrates the result from one of the climate models they used in the study, and the upward trend of fire activity over the next 100 years. In 1988, a particularly hot and dry year, 36% of the park burned. The study uses this year as a baseline to compare future events.


Figure 2. Figure 2B from the manuscript. Observed burn area (blue line) median of predicted area burned (black dotted line), and ranges (light and dark orange) aggregated over the Yellowstone area defined by the study by Westerling et al. (Source).

What was once a low-probability event could become a high-probability event by mid-century. Fires that have only happened every 100 to 300 years in the past could now be occurring every 30 years in the future. The results of this research has implications for sub-alpine forests across the globe. Warming temperatures and decreasing humidity will lead to more wildfires, and will cost billions of dollars to fight them, if we choose to do so.

Invest 90L

90L has moved west overnight and looks ripe to develop today. While the upper level circulation (500 mb) is very much displaced, the lower level circulation looks strong and coherent through the system's mid-levels (850 and 700 mb). Thunderstorm activity continues to organize, and it appears that a surface circulation is developing. Moisture remains high in the system (around 4.5 g/kg specific humidity) and wind shear should be somewhat favorable as it crosses through the Gulf of Mexico. In terms of track, the statistical models have generally been favoring a Brownsville landfall scenario, but the dynamical models have been inching north over the past day or so. The HWRF is in line with the ECMWF deterministic today, with landfall near Corpus Christi.



The Hurricane Hunters have a mission scheduled for 18Z today (2pm EDT) to investigate whether or not 90L has a closed surface circulation. If it does, given the amount of organized convection and moderate wind speeds (around 34 mph in the latest invest update), the Hurricane Center will probably call this system at least Tropical Depression Four.

If 90L develops this afternoon, I will have another update to look at track and intensity forecasts.

Angela

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Quoting tkeith:
is it safe now?

I dont know what I did to rile this troll up, again I apologize.


Good to see you came out of that unfazed.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting tkeith:
is it safe now?

I dont know what I did to rile this troll up, again I apologize.



its safe
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
1324. Grothar
Navy has is as a Tropical Depression #4
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Quoting mamakins:
Can someone please tell me the timeframe for landfall for 90L? I have been following discussion and looking at the various models but I wasn't sure about the timeframe. I live in Clear Lake area south of Houston and we are trying to make preparations.

Thanks so much!!!!!


Hey, I'm from Clear Lake as well! I live on El Dorado Blvd.
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Can I get a link to recon data. Sorry if it was posted before. All my bookmarks were on my old non-working computer. Thanks!!!
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1320. tkeith
Quoting Tazmanian:



thanks for banneding him
is it safe now?

I dont know what I did to rile this troll up, again I apologize.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
I have been following this blog since I moved to Texas from Colorado and needed to learn about hurricanes. I finally joined and look forward to learning more from many of you.
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SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 48 knots* (~ 55.2 mph*)
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
Quoting angelafritz:
Tropical Depression 4.
Thanks ;)
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Quoting TxHurricanedude11:
once again the 12z ECMWF takes td4/don to TX/MX Border...has been very consistent about it
It looks to be heading a little bit more to the northwest now, it could be just a jog though.
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Can someone please tell me the timeframe for landfall for 90L? I have been following discussion and looking at the various models but I wasn't sure about the timeframe. I live in Clear Lake area south of Houston and we are trying to make preparations.

Thanks so much!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
a hurricane watch may be needed for TX
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
Quoting alfabob:

Because Todd is launching a DOS attack, so I'm informing him of the consequences since he's probably some 23 year sitting in his parents basement.


If it was a true DOS attack, the site would be inaccessible.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Polo


Now don't you start old man... back in the box with you :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting angelafritz:
Tropical Depression 4.
Thank you for taking out that freak
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Everybody in central Texas is praying this thing comes through and dumps some rain, but I'll be in Austin this weekend doing a little bar-hopping. I'll probably just pray for clear skies and accept my invitation to hell. None of the forecasts have factored this thing in so far, so right now Austin is scheduled for perfect weather this weekend.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Already been posted. No need to post again.

Well sorry to say it, but this blog is moving at a blazing pace right now, especialy woth the spam.I missed it the first time, and it's pretty clear you said this to aggregate Nea.
Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
Quoting angelafritz:
Tropical Depression 4.


Thanks Angela!
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1303. angiest
Quoting jpsb:
Well I created a blog so I could ignore trolls, but it appears that I've missed the quote button and hit the ignore button more than I wanted.

How do I take posters off of ignore? Anyone? Thanks in advance.


Go to your blog and click the edit Ignore list button in the upper right. Delete names and click update or save, whatever it is called.
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Quoting angelafritz:
Tropical Depression 4.



thanks for banneding him
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
Quoting jpsb:
Well I created a blog so I could ignore trolls, but it appears that I've missed the quote button and hit the ignore button more than I wanted.

How do I take posters off of ignore? Anyone? Thanks in advance.


Go to your blog, bring up the ignored list, delete the mistaken entry, save.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Marco
Polo
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1299. j2008
Quoting angelafritz:
Looks like HH found westerlies and easterlies on south and north side of the system, respectively. They'll want to see circulation on all four sides, plus more data to make a call on intensity.

Thanks for the clarafacation. That means we still might have a TS after all.
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1297. Patrap
Don Tejas'

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
And there I was trusting Tampaspin when he said it couldn't possibly be a TD/TS because of no lower convergence!

,,

On a more serious note, visual shows the strong feeder band from the south starting to wrap round, if that happens then trouble is afoot.

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Quoting lazerpointernerd:
You know, with all the RIPs this system got a few days ago, and now that he has triumphantly returned, I think the most appropriate name for this system will be "DON OF THE DEAD".

Get it? eh? EH?


BADA BOOM
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BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_RENUMBER_al902011_al042011.ren
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201107271917
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
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Quoting lazerpointernerd:
You know, with all the RIPs this system got a few days ago, and now that he has triumphantly returned, I think the most appropriate name for this system will be "DON OF THE DEAD".

Get it? eh? EH?

lol
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"Around this time, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of the storm, making Marco the smallest known tropical cyclone on record"

Lol there's your answer
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1291. Grothar
.
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1290. jpsb
Well I created a blog so I could ignore trolls, but it appears that I've missed the quote button and hit the ignore button more than I wanted.

How do I take posters off of ignore? Anyone? Thanks in advance.
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1288. hydrus
Looks like it is trying to wrap up again..
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Quoting MrstormX:


Not sure, in the ATL maybe.


It's a smaller system but nothing unusual. Plus these systems usually grow larger as they gain spiral bands.
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1286. angelafritz (Admin)
Tropical Depression 4.
Quoting Tazmanian:
by the way whats the smallets ts have we evere had


Link

This is pretty close in my opinion with tropical storm witns extending only 15-20 mi from the center.
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Quoting alfabob:
Doesn't look good.

"And just last month, 23-year-old Mitchell L Frost, of Bellevue, Ohio, was given a 30 month prison sentence for a series of DDoS attacks he launched against the websites of high profile US right-wingers Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Rudy Giuliani."
Link
And what exactly does posting this have anything to do with the topic, seriously?
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1273 Lol
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Quoting Tazmanian:



so could this be the 2nd smallets?


Not sure, in the ATL maybe.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting SaintPatrick:
how to yall get the projected path of hurricane or storms on google earth?


Here is one source
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11215
We have Tropical Depression #4:

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_RENUMBER_al902011_al042011.ren

AL, 04, 2011072718, , BEST, 0, 223N, 870W, 30, 1004, TD, 34, NEQ
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Quoting NotCircumventing:
Oh no, I think my cover is blown.

and such a good disguise, too.

I think NHC goes to TS Don at the update, no joke. Enough warrant for it, if for nothing else but to get people to pay attention.
Every one is now on Levi blog till this hysteria is passLink
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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.