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

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 376 - 326

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40Blog Index

agreed, tampa just lost major amount of credit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
100%!!!

Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5128
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.


Sorry to say what I said so rudely, didn't mean to say it like that.


Thats only if it finds a closed LLC, we shall see. Everyone just sit back, relax, and watch Google Earth.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I performed a bird population cursory check at lunch time while grabbing a bite in the Kemah/Seabrook area. There were none of the usual monk parrots, or brown pelicans. Both species were MIA, I saw a total of one gul and a couple black birds, including when I crossed the 146 bridge at Clear Lake
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Any idea of the storm surge in Galveston Bay if it heads toward Matagorda .... Im at 12ft msl .... just curious
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



Maybe the map is having issues, I don't understand it either. NHC up to 100%


I am not doubting it won't become a TD and Storm ......I am just saying if the Graphic of Convergence is correct......its not a TD or Storm yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok so we will have a TD or Don question is where will it go and how strong will it get? Your thoughts? I think it goes Cat2.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
If anyone is looking for links to track 90L and the rest of the tropics this hurricane season check out this site. That way you don't have to bookmark hundreds of links :) You can find links to radars, surface obs, satellite imagery, etc.


Awesome!! Thank you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
366. beell
Quoting TampaSpin:
I'm just stating the facts. Sorry to offend the Wishcasters out there. If it was as organized as you think, why hasn't NHC at least got it to Tropical Depression by now?


Gosh, maybe they should send a plane out...
; - )
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Boy it's getting ready to get stacked, upper level outflow is improving still, 70mph storm is looking likely down the road easily I think
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Very surprised the NHC went with 100% i thought it would stay the same with the new developments. Although this storm is not far away from becoming a TD and can happen at anytime
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
I'm just stating the facts. Sorry to offend the Wishcasters out there. If it was as organized as you think, why hasn't NHC at least got it to Tropical Depression by now?


AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.


Sorry to say what I said so rudely, didn't mean to say it like that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
361. JRRP
99.99%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok 100% good enough for me I will chat later today after I get off work :o)

Yall play nice and see you all soon :o)

Taco :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yep, this will definitely be TD 4 now... Just wait for the HH at this point.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4453

Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook
------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------


000
ABNT20 KNHC 271746
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 27 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM
COULD BE FORMING ABOUT 90 MILES NORTH OF CANCUN MEXICO. AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.
INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR
THIS SYSTEM AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT..OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It looks to me like the system is already responding to the mid-level vort stacking with the rest of the vorticity. There has been an increase in convection and banding since it occurred.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Our system approaching the Islands is actually more organized at the surface than is 90lL.....The MODELS are still winning over manys thinking!



Maybe the map is having issues, I don't understand it either. NHC up to 100%
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5499
THIS
SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT..OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

0 to 100 faster than my car.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
lololol near 100%!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
TD #4/Don at 5pm

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 27 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM
COULD BE FORMING ABOUT 90 MILES NORTH OF CANCUN MEXICO. AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.
INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR
THIS SYSTEM AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT..OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN

WOW
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting louisianaboy444:


No hes right, you cant have a surface low without convergence. Its not something that is optional I really dont think this thing is as organized at the surface anymore as it was earlier today...


Radar supports a well-defined low-level circulation. Satellite observations support a closed low-level circulation. The hurricane hunters are enroute to find out, but more likely than not, we have TD #4/Don.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm just stating the facts. Sorry to offend the Wishcasters out there. If it was as organized as you think, why hasn't NHC at least got it to Tropical Depression by now?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
00
ABNT20 KNHC 271746
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 27 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM
COULD BE FORMING ABOUT 90 MILES NORTH OF CANCUN MEXICO. AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.
INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR
THIS SYSTEM AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT..OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sky1989:


That is a tropical wave interacting with an ULL, which is initiating the convection. That is not favorable for tropical cyclone formation, however, with the shear. It is definately something to watch down the road though as it continues moving to the west.


Definitely our next player, I still think 90L "looks better"...I think NHC shall agree.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4453
100%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Near 100%.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Again, wrong sir.


No hes right, you cant have a surface low without convergence. Its not something that is optional I really dont think this thing is as organized at the surface anymore as it was earlier today...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


The circulation is not over Cuba. lol



Not saying it is I just see something there. No biggie. So where is it???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TD #4/Don at 5PM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 27 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM
COULD BE FORMING ABOUT 90 MILES NORTH OF CANCUN MEXICO. AN AIR
FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY ENROUTE TO
INVESTIGATE THE AREA...AND IF IT CONFIRMS THE PRESENCE OF A
CIRCULATION...ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED THIS AFTERNOON.
INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR
THIS SYSTEM AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT..OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Announced on local news that Shell has begun evacuating their workers offshore


Shell evacuates for a small thunderstorm lol just joking. besides that is likely just their production platforms. They will wait as long as possible to evacuate them but even longer for a drilling rig. It's not much work to evacuate one of those (production platforms) it just has to be shut in. A drilling rig is much much more work. Plus the oil companies like Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Apache, etc. are leasing these rigs with an average day rate of $75,000 to $125,000 a day. That's just the jack-ups. Now do you think the drilling companies are gonna lose that kind of money on a evacuating for something that is still an invest? It's the drilling company that makes the call to evacuate not the oil company.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
go directly to ts don,do not pass go,do not collect $200,lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Our system approaching the Islands is actually more organized at the surface than is 90lL.....The MODELS are still winning over manys thinking!


That is a tropical wave interacting with an ULL, which is initiating the convection. That is not favorable for tropical cyclone formation, however, with the shear. It is definately something to watch down the road though as it continues moving to the west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kwgirl:
I'm not Levi but I would hazard a guess that there is deep water there, and/or maybe an underground river spewing into the gulf. Either one should be the only reasons.


I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure those waters off the Northern Mexican coast are very shallow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


The only truthful thing about what you just said is that it has no convergence.



Truthful.......POOOF your gone dude!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
IMO....the storm is gonna do what it is gonna do...it has fooled many in the days past and will fool many in the days to come...what has been supposed to be hasnt been so far with this thing...watching it until the last raindrop falls....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
If anyone is looking for links to track 90L and the rest of the tropics this hurricane season check out this site. That way you don't have to bookmark hundreds of links :) You can find links to radars, surface obs, satellite imagery, etc.
Thanks for this!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For all those worrying about wind shear I guess you haven't seen the SHIPS forecast...

* ATLANTIC SHIPS INTENSITY FORECAST *
* GOES AVAILABLE, OHC AVAILABLE *
* INVEST AL902011 07/27/11 12 UTC *

TIME (HR) 0 6 12 18 24 36 48 60 72 84 96 108 120
V (KT) NO LAND 30 32 35 38 41 48 53 61 66 72 75 77 76
V (KT) LAND 30 32 35 38 41 48 53 61 40 31 28 27 27
V (KT) LGE mod 30 32 35 38 41 47 55 63 42 31 28 27 27
Storm Type TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP TROP

SHEAR (KT) 8 8 0 6 11 3 11 5 4 1 8 3 8
SHEAR ADJ (KT) 1 -3 -3 -2 -2 -2 -1 -3 -3 0 -3 -4 -3
SHEAR DIR 351 27 242 293 4 99 26 80 44 265 31 20 41
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Im not saying invest 90L wont develop im saying its going to take its time to organize and will be a tropical strom most likely at landfall in texas
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Our system approaching the Islands is actually more organized at the surface than is 90lL.....The MODELS are still winning over manys thinking!


Again, wrong sir.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Our system approaching the Islands is actually more organized at the surface than is 90lL.....The MODELS are still winning over manys thinking!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 376 - 326

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Carrot Nose in Danger
Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto
New Years Day Sunset in Death Valley