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 Hurricanejer95:
Time: 19:07:30Z
Coordinates: 21.8N 86.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 974.3 mb (~ 28.77 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 300 meters (~ 984 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1009.1 mb (~ 29.80 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 250 at 38 knots (From the WSW at ~ 43.7 mph)
Air Temp: 20.2C (~ 68.4F)
Dew Pt: 14.7C (~ 58.5F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 39 knots (~ 44.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 22 knots* (~ 25.3 mph*)
SFMR Rain Rate: 17 mm/hr* (~ 0.67 in/hr*)

Recon found 45 mph winds
do they use surface or flight level for their wind parameters? i always thought measured surface winds.
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Is that the full recon report or is there more data to come?
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Quoting Cotillion:


Yeah, not too bad for a developing system.

What was the ATCF estimate, 1008mb\30kts?



Yes 1008/30
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
1109. angiest
Quoting Hurricanejer95:
Time: 19:07:30Z
Coordinates: 21.8N 86.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 974.3 mb (~ 28.77 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 300 meters (~ 984 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1009.1 mb (~ 29.80 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 250° at 38 knots (From the WSW at ~ 43.7 mph)
Air Temp: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Dew Pt: 14.7°C (~ 58.5°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 39 knots (~ 44.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 22 knots* (~ 25.3 mph*)
SFMR Rain Rate: 17 mm/hr* (~ 0.67 in/hr*)

Recon found 45 mph winds


Flight level though.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Time: 19:07:30Z
Coordinates: 21.8N 86.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 974.3 mb (~ 28.77 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 300 meters (~ 984 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1009.1 mb (~ 29.80 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 250° at 38 knots (From the WSW at ~ 43.7 mph)
Air Temp: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Dew Pt: 14.7°C (~ 58.5°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 39 knots (~ 44.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 22 knots* (~ 25.3 mph*)
SFMR Rain Rate: 17 mm/hr* (~ 0.67 in/hr*)
(*) Denotes suspect data
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 332
1088 I did
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Dude, if you have a problem with this guy Keith, settle it with him. Why does the entire blog have to suffer through your childish and neurotic idiocy?
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Should see a special product issued, and a renumber.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1101. Daveg
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Quoting Hurricanejer95:
Time: 19:07:30Z
Coordinates: 21.8N 86.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 974.3 mb (~ 28.77 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 300 meters (~ 984 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1009.1 mb (~ 29.80 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 250° at 38 knots (From the WSW at ~ 43.7 mph)
Air Temp: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Dew Pt: 14.7°C (~ 58.5°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 39 knots (~ 44.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 22 knots* (~ 25.3 mph*)
SFMR Rain Rate: 17 mm/hr* (~ 0.67 in/hr*)

Recon found 45 mph winds

How many times do i gota say it, that flight level not ground...
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1098. Levi32
Quoting RitaEvac:
Levi lets go into your blog


Anyone who wishes to is certainly welcome to do so.
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Time: 19:02:30Z
Coordinates: 22.0167N 87.0333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 973.3 mb (~ 28.74 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 301 meters (~ 988 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1007.5 mb (~ 29.75 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 285° at 26 knots (From the WNW at ~ 29.9 mph)
Air Temp: 22.8°C (~ 73.0°F)
Dew Pt: 15.7°C (~ 60.3°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 28 knots (~ 32.2 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 25 knots (~ 28.7 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 4 mm/hr (~ 0.16 in/hr
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Geez, this is getting old quick. If these trolls don't stop doing this, WU will start losing members fast.
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1088. goavs4
Rita, how about you just put him on your ignore list instead of spamming the blog yourself?
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Rita, it was spamming for ppl who already have the troll on ignore!


Oops
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Wind shear in the GOMEX is still decreasing the chances of a hurricane are getting better although still unlikely
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Product: Air Force Tropical RECCO Message (URNT11 KNHC)
Transmitted: 27th day of the month at 19:07Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 300)
Mission Purpose: Investigate third suspect area (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 06

Mandatory Data...

Observation Time: Wednesday, 19:03Z
Radar Capability: Yes
Aircraft Altitude: Below 10,000 meters
Coordinates: 22.0N 87.0W
Location: 60 miles (96 km) to the N (350°) from Cancún, Quintana Roo, México.
Turbulence: None
Conditions Along Flight Route: In the clear
Pressure Altitude: 330 meters
Flight Level Wind: From 270° at 31 knots (From the W at ~ 35.6 mph)
- The above is a spot wind.
- Winds were obtained using doppler radar or inertial systems.
Flight Level Temperature: 25°C
Flight Level Dew Point: 16°C
Weather (within 30 nautical miles): Thunderstorm(s)
Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSLP): 1007 mb (extrapolated)

Optional Data...

Estimated Surface Wind: From 250° at 25 knots (From the WSW at ~ 28.7 mph)
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Additional ones in the high thirties, just below TS strength.


Yeah, not too bad for a developing system.

What was the ATCF estimate, 1008mb\30kts?

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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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