Europe expected to see a large increase in Hurricane Sandy-like hybrid storms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:18 PM GMT on April 08, 2013

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Watch out, Europe. Dangerous part-hurricane, part extratropical hybrid storms like Hurricane Sandy of 2012 are expected to be an increasing threat for Western Europe by the end of the century due to global warming, said a team of scientists led by Reindert J. Haarsma of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. In a paper called "More hurricanes to hit Western Europe due to global warming", published in April 2013 in Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers describe the results from runs of a high-resolution (25 km grid spacing) climate model based on the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) numerical weather prediction model. The model predicts that the breeding ground for Atlantic hurricanes will shift approximately 700 miles eastwards as the oceans warm this century. Hurricanes which form farther to the east can spend more time over warm tropical waters before turning north and northeast towards Europe, increasing the odds that these storms will have hurricane-force winds upon arrival in Europe. The model showed that wind shear will change little in the region over the coming decades, resulting in a large increase in storms with hurricane-force winds affecting Western Europe. Most of the these storms will not be tropical hurricanes upon arrival in Europe, but will be former hurricanes that have transitioned to extratropical storms. However, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy of 2012, these hybrid storms can be extremely dangerous. Summed over Norway, the North Sea, and the Gulf of Biscay, the model found that the number of hurricane-force storms in August - October increased from 2 to 13 over the 21st century, with almost all future West European hurricane-force storms predicted to originate as hurricanes or tropical storms in the tropics by 2100. The researchers conclude that "tropical cyclones will increase the probability of present-day extreme events over the North Sea and the Gulf of Biscay with a factor of 5 and 25 respectively, with far reaching consequences especially for coastal safety."


Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy at 10:10 am EDT October 28, 2012. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Europe's hurricane history
Only once since accurate records began in 1851 has an actual hurricane with full tropical characteristics hit Europe. This happened on September 16, 1961, when Category 1 Hurricane Debbie hit northwestern Ireland. Wind gusts reached 106 mph at Ballykelly and 104 mph at Tiree and Snaefill, and coastal radio stations reported the airwaves were jammed with calls for help from small ships and fishing craft. Eleven people were killed and 50 injured in the storm. The only other tropical cyclone recorded to have hit Europe since 1851 was Hurricane Vince of 2005, which hit southern Spain as a tropical depression on October 11, 2005. Historical documents also suggest a hurricane hit Spain on October 29, 1842.


Figure 2. Hurricane Debbie of 1961 was the only fully tropical hurricane ever recorded to hit Europe.

Britain's history of ex-hurricane strikes
Hurricanes that transition to powerful extratropical storms hit the British Isles several times per decade, on average. In 2011, Hurricane Katia brushed by Newfoundland, made the transition from a tropical system to a powerful extratropical storm, and maintained strong winds of 50 - 65 mph as it crossed the Atlantic. Ex-Katia hit northern Scotland on September 12, 2011. Glen Ogle, Scotland, at an elevation of 1500 feet (546 meters), received sustained winds of 60 mph, gusting to 86 mph. Cairngorm, in the Scottish Highlands at an elevation of 4085 feet, reported sustained winds of 67 mph. With the trees in full leaf, tree damage was much higher than a winter or springtime storm of similar ferocity would have caused. One person was killed by a falling tree, and heavy tree damage and numerous power failures were reported throughout Britain. Other gusts experienced in Britain included 76 mph at Edinburgh Blackford Hill, 75 mph at Capel Curig in Wales, 72 mph at Glasgow Bishopton, and 71 mph at Loftus, North Yorkshire.


Figure 3. Image of Hurricane Katia taken from the International Space Station at 15 GMT September 9, 2011, by astronaut Ron Garan. At the time, Katia was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. Long Island, New York is visible at the lower left.


Figure 4. Surface wind estimate from the Windsat satellite at 4:04 am EDT on Monday, September 12, 2011. The center of Extratropical Storm Katia is marked by an "L", and winds in excess of 50 knots (58 mph, purple triangles) were occurring to the southwest of the center, near the west coast of Ireland. Image credit: NOAA.

As reported by UK Met Office forecaster John Hammond in a post on the BBC 23 degrees blog, Britain has been affected at least eight times in the past twenty years by extratropical storms that were once tropical storms or hurricanes. Before Katia of 2011, the most recent such storm was Hurricane Bill of 2009, which hit Ireland as an extratropical storm on August 25 with sustained winds of 45 mph. Bill was a Category 4 hurricane northeast of the Lesser Antilles five days prior. In 2006, a record three extratropical storms that had once been tropical cyclones hit Britain:

Extratropical Storm Alberto, which had been a strong tropical storm that hit the Florida Panhandle, hit northern Ireland and Scotland as an extratropical storm with 35 mph winds.

Extratropical Storm Gordon hit Ireland on September 21, 2006, with sustained winds of 65 mph. Gordon brought record warm temperatures as tropical air pushed north across the UK, and also strong winds that brought down power lines in Northern Ireland. Wind gusts to 60 mph (97 km/h) occurred in the Isles of Scilly off the southwest coast, and 81 mph (130 km/h) on the mainland.

Extratropical Storm Helene hit Northwestern Ireland on September 27, 2006, with sustained winds of 45 mph.

Figure 5. Path of Hurricane Lili of 1996, which caused $420 million in damage to the U.K. as an extratropical storm.

Other post-tropical cyclones that have the U.K. in the past twenty years include Hurricanes Isaac and Leslie of 2000, Hurricane Karl of 1998, and Hurricane Lili of 1996. The most severe of these storms was Extratropical Storm Lili, which hit Ireland on October 28, 1996, with sustained winds of 65 mph. Lili caused $420 million in damage (2011 dollars) in the U.K. According to Wikipedia, Lili produced a 92 mph (148 km/h) gust at Swansea, South Wales, while bringing a 4' (1.2 meter) storm surge that inundated the River Thames. In Somerset, 500 holiday cottages were severely damaged. A U.S. oil drilling platform, under tow in the North Sea, broke loose during the storm and nearly ran aground at Peterhead. On the Isle of Wight, a sailing boat was beached at Chale Bay; luckily all five occupants were rescued. It was the most damaging storm to have struck the United Kingdom since the Great Storm of 1987, which killed 22 and did $660 million in damage (1996 dollars.) However, Lili also broke a four-month drought over southwest England.

All but one of these storms hit during the peak part of hurricane season, mid-August - late October. The only exception was Ex-Tropical Storm Alberto of 2006, which hit Britain in June.


Figure 6. Hybrid subtropical storm of October 8, 1996, off the coast of Italy. According to Reale and Atlas (2001), the storm had characteristics similar to a hurricane, but formed over cool waters of 21.5°C (71°F.) They reported that "The maximum damage due to wind occurred over the Aeolian Islands, at 38.5°N, 15°E, to the northeast of Sicily: assistance for disaster relief was required. Unfortunately, no weather station data were available, but the media reported sheds, roofs and harbor devices destroyed, and houses and electric lines damaged, due to 'extremely strong westerly wind.' The perfect agreement between the observations at Ustica, the storm scale, the eye-like feature position and the damages over the Aeolian Island reasonably suggest that the hurricane-level intensity of 32 m/s (72 mph) was reached over the Aeolian Islands." A similar hybrid low affected Algeria on 9 - 10 November 2001. This storm produced upwards of 270 mm (10.6") of rain, winds of 33 m/s (74 mph), and killed 737 people near Algiers, mostly from flooding and mud slides. Image credit: Dundee satellite receiving station.

Hurricanes in the Mediterranean Sea?
The Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa has experienced several damaging hybrid subtropical storms in recent decades, but has never experienced a fully tropical hurricane in recorded history. However, global warming may cause the Mediterranean to start spawning hurricanes by 2100, according to a 2007 study by a research team led by Miguel Angel Gaertner of the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo, Spain. They ran nine different climate models with resolutions of about 50 km and found that some (but not all) of the models simulated hurricanes in the Mediterranean in September by the end of the century, when ocean temperature could increase by 3°C, reaching 30°C.

Though the Mediterranean may start seeing hurricanes by the end of the century, these storms should be rare and relatively short-lived for three reasons:

1) The Mediterranean is quite far north and is subject to strong wind shear from jet stream activity.

2) The waters are shallow, and have relatively low heat content. There is no deep warm water current like the Gulf Stream.

3) The Mediterranean has a lot of large islands and peninsulas poking into it, increasing the chances that a tropical storm would weaken when it encountered land.

References
Gaertner, M. A., D. Jacob, V. Gil, M. Dominguez, E. Padorno, E. Sanchez, and M. Castro (2007), Tropical cyclones over the Mediterranean Sea in climate change simulations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L14711, doi:10.1029/2007GL029977.

Haarsma et al., 2013, More hurricanes to hit Western Europe due to global warming, Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/grl.50360

Reale, O., and R. Atlas. 2001: Tropical Cyclone-Like Vortices in the Extratropics: Observational Evidence and Synoptic Analysis, Weather and Forecasting, 16, No. 1, pp. 7-34.

Jeff Masters

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Oh, sorry.
I ordered the boring weather to help me catch up on other work and pump up the volume on surface waters. Gambling on a few tropical storms instead of heavy afternoon showers, has not been paying off for Florida lately.
Did you want the exiting weather back now? I just need 9 more inches in east central Florida, then you can have your excitement. Should take about 2 weeks? 2 months?
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The cap in SE Texas has begun to erode somewhat, on the left is the 10AM RAP analysis, on the right is the 1PM RAP analysis. CIN values have dropped from 600-300 J/kg to less than 100 J/kg around the Houston area permitting the occasional small shower.

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652. MTWX
Storms trying to break in South Central Kansas too...

Link
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:


Sunset. That's about right, about when I take my cap off. ;)


Ok, Beell, are we looking at a severe weather outbreak in the next couple days?


hey MLC how hell ya been
long time no see
hope things are good for ya
or as good as can be anyway
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Quoting louisianaboy444:
I feel sorry for any chasers this spring it looks to be a lost cause....Thats why I'm glad I chase hurricanes but even that department has been boring the past couple of years! Who turned on the boring weather button :)

FYI: In terms of Gulf Coast storms...I felt I needed to post this before I get a 1000 comments freaking out saying "Sandy! What about Sandy!"


Isaac?
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Hilarious. Severe thunderstorm in a freezing rain thunderstorm. 100% sure ice of some form is falling there!

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warned cell

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Quoting Skyepony:


frontal passage


Thank you!

Ritaevac noted ETX busted through: that's with 82o expected to reach 88o. No such luck here in Austin, currently 72o forecasted 82o later.

Maybe if everybody in Austin washes their trucks today..
usually brings rain.
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I feel sorry for any chasers this spring it looks to be a lost cause....Thats why I'm glad I chase hurricanes but even that department has been boring the past couple of years! Who turned on the boring weather button :)

FYI: In terms of Gulf Coast storms...I felt I needed to post this before I get a 1000 comments freaking out saying "Sandy! What about Sandy!"
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Quoting Xandra:

...one of Sweden’s leading climate scientists, Lennart Bengtsson, has to say...

Lennart Bengtsson is NOT a climate scientist. He is a meteorologist.

Many climate scientists do not have upper level degrees in climate science, FYI...
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644. beell
Quoting moonlightcowboy:


Sunset. That's about right, about when I take my cap off. ;)


Ok, Beell, are we looking at a severe weather outbreak in the next couple days?


Been trying to sneak a peek here and there between work, MLC. Have not looked since last night and the focus was on today. I think the Moderate risk for today is just right for now. If that's sounds like a cop-out, it is!

Plan on wasting several hours tonight not knowing much more than I know now.

Glad to see you're still alive and kickin'.
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643. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting redwagon:


Been waiting for someone to ask the definition of 'fropa' and of course I could google it but I'd rather hear it from y'all.


frontal passage
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621 Chucktown: Can't wait for that carbon tax to kick in so we can give our U.S. politicians a raise, yet cut back on the NWS.

I'm sure you are trembling with impatience. You're one of those who've written here in support of killing off the NationalWeatherService in favor of "private weather services".
And it's your favored money-worshipping AGW-denialist politicians who are out to gut the NWS.
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641. MTWX
Some very strong ice/snow storms moving through central Nebraska right now...

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Quoting moonlightcowboy:


Sunset. That's about right, about when I take my cap off. ;)


Ok, Beell, are we looking at a severe weather outbreak in the next couple days?


Been waiting for someone to ask the definition of 'fropa' and of course I could google it but I'd rather hear it from y'all.
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cap busting in E TX

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NWS geared up for potential severe weather:

Critical Weather Day Has Been Declared

START: 1800Z Tue Apr 09 2013

END: 0000Z Fri Apr 12 2013

TYPE: Regional

WHO: NCEP, NWSTG, NCF, Southern/Central Region

REASON: Potential for severe weather across the central and southern U.S.



GOES-E RSO WILL BE IN PLACE FROM 1514Z-0314Z IN SUPPORT
OF SEVERE WX OPS ACROSS THE SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL PLAINS.
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Quoting Chucktown:
Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link


"Science that cannot be questioned is not real science at all."



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Quoting clwstmchasr:


And CNN, ABC, NBC etc.....


So you favor CBS?
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


And CNN, ABC, NBC etc.....


FOX is the most biased of all news stations.

They are a freaken joke!
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633. MTWX
Quoting beell:


You may be right but...

Check the juxtaposition of the cooler 700mb temps overspreading the area from the west against the location of the dryline at 00Z (the sharp cut-off of SBCAPE over TX and OK) Dryline convergence and the dryline circulation itself along with the coldfront intersection, along with strong insolation may just work that cap off around sunset.


Have the feeling this evening is going to be similar to last night... A few good cells to drop some hail with a couple small tornadoes right at nightfall..
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Quoting beell:


You may be right but...

Check the juxtaposition of the cooler 700mb temps overspreading the area from the west against the location of the dryline at 00Z (the sharp cut-off of SBCAPE over TX and OK) Dryline convergence and the dryline circulation itself along with the coldfront intersection, along with strong insolation may just work that cap off around sunset.


Sunset. That's about right, about when I take my cap off. ;)


Ok, Beell, are we looking at a severe weather outbreak in the next couple days?
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629. MTWX
Afternoon all! I see that SPC dropped their Moderate risk for today...

Seems the cap is going to hold up, and any storms that do get the chance to spin up, look to be undercut by the front before they can really get their act together.
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628. beell
Quoting 1900hurricane:

And Jarrell isn't the only place with cap issues. Pretty much everyone with 700 mb temps of 10*C or greater has a cap just as large as the one I posted above. Not going to be much of anything prior to fropa I would guess.



You may be right but...

Check the juxtaposition of the cooler 700mb temps overspreading the area from the west against the location of the dryline at 00Z (the sharp cut-off of SBCAPE over TX and OK) Dryline convergence and the dryline circulation itself along with the coldfront intersection, along with strong insolation may just work that cap off around sunset.
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Quoting Chucktown:
Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link


Did you really link to a page that uses quotes from anonymous commentors on a blog? Like maybe... all of us?
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This is a good read about El-Nino effects over the past 1800 years..Tropical Ice Reveals Rare Climate Record
4/5/2013 8:50:32 AM

A new and rare ice core record of tropical temperatures highlights changes in the enfants terribles of world climate, the El Niño/La Niña–Southern Oscillation.

The climate record comes from Peru's stunning Cordillera Oriental mountain range, home to Quelccaya, the world's largest tropical ice cap. Researchers trekked to an altitude of more than 18,000 feet (5,600 meters) to probe the ice.Link
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Quoting Chucktown:


Or political agenda, either one works for me. Glad we see eye to eye. Can't wait for that carbon tax to kick in so we can give our U.S. politicians a raise, yet cut back on the NWS.


Forget it, man.

This blog is just as biased as Fox News.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Or political agenda, either one works for me. Glad we see eye to eye. Can't wait for that carbon tax to kick in so we can give our U.S. politicians a raise, yet cut back on the NWS.


See, your problem is you think we are somehow carbon copies of each other. (see what I did there, puns are fun!). I have no agenda, and don't support a carbon tax. I'm just a guy with a science background, and I support what the science says.
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Quoting Naga5000:


Yup it's some global conspiracy. We are actually being paid by the government and universities. Well, I'm clocking out for my break. Every four hours I work, I'm required to take a 15 minute break you know.


Clocking in to be your relief- see ya after break!
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Quoting Chucktown:

Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link

...one of Sweden’s leading climate scientists, Lennart Bengtsson, has to say...

Lennart Bengtsson is NOT a climate scientist. He is a meteorologist.
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Quoting Naga5000:


Yup it's some global conspiracy. We are actually being paid by the government and universities. Well, I'm clocking out for my break. Every four hours I work, I'm required to take a 15 minute break you know.


Or political agenda, either one works for me. Glad we see eye to eye. Can't wait for that carbon tax to kick in so we can give our U.S. politicians a raise, yet cut back on the NWS.
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R.I.P. NOAA-17

Details/Specifics of Change: Following almost 11.5 years of service NOAA-17 (NOAA-M prior to launch) will be decommissioned on April 10, 2013, on REV 56109 at 1216 UTC. Should a contingency date by required, the decommissioning will occur one day later on April 11, 2013.

NOAA-17 was launched on June 24, 2002. The spacecraft engineering team in the The Office of Satellite and Product Operations (OSPO) was granted approval from NESDIS headquarters to proceed with plans to decommission the spacecraft after evaluating its health and ability to provide meaningful data to the scientific and weather community.
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Quoting VR46L:


You are gonna wake them up and make them upset


I can already hear them crying "D3N1ER!" already
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Quoting Chucktown:


I told you before, someone is always up. They work in shifts to keep the "denialists" and "skeptics" from being heard too loud. Kind of like sneaking out after mom and dad are asleep. You may get away with it for a short time, but they will eventually find out.


Yup it's some global conspiracy. We are actually being paid by the government and universities. Well, I'm clocking out for my break. Every four hours I work, I'm required to take a 15 minute break you know.
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613 allahgore: Is this Mr FOIA smoking gun?

I wouldn't be surprised to find that Mr.FOIA has been smoking a gun.
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616. VR46L
Quoting Chucktown:


I told you before, someone is always up. They work in shifts to keep the "denialists" and "skeptics" from being heard too loud. Kind of like sneaking out after mom and dad are asleep. You may get away with it for a short time, but they will eventually find out.


Doh I forgot! That was a couple of weeks ago !!

My Bad!!
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6811
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Jarrell looks pretty safe for at least the day today. Mid-level lapse rates are steep and shear profiles are favorable but nothing short of record summer heat is going to do a thing to that cap without some help, and with the forcing hanging back today, help's not going to come.




And Jarrell isn't the only place with cap issues. Pretty much everyone with 700 mb temps of 10*C or greater has a cap just as large as the one I posted above. Not going to be much of anything prior to fropa I would guess.

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Quoting VR46L:


You are gonna wake them up and make them upset


I told you before, someone is always up. They work in shifts to keep the "denialists" and "skeptics" from being heard too loud. Kind of like sneaking out after mom and dad are asleep. You may get away with it for a short time, but they will eventually find out.
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Quoting Chucktown:
Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link


10 minutes of my life wasted. Just another denier website spouting the usual drivel (and probably being paid).
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Quoting Chucktown:
Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link


Sorry, I lost interest at this point "It is without question that Global Warming is a result of Mann. It was Michael E. Mann who published the (fully discredited) 'Hockey Stick' analysis of Global Warming."

You really believe this drivel? Seems like you'll believe anything as long as its not in a scientific study. Obviously the scientists are wrong, but that guy with a computer and a web site knows better....
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610. VR46L
Quoting Chucktown:
Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link


You are gonna wake them up and make them upset
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6811
Quoting beell:


Only unusual in the sense that just about every "classic" major spring tornado outbreak over the plains since the dawn of man involved a similar mid-level trough moving out of the SW!


No kidding.
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Jarrell looks pretty safe for at least the day today. Mid-level lapse rates are steep and shear profiles are favorable but nothing short of record summer heat is going to do a thing to that cap without some help, and with the forcing hanging back today, help's not going to come.



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607. beell
Quoting Levi32:


There is nothing "extreme" about this jet. Nowadays every kink is dubbed with that adjective it seems.



Only unusual in the sense that just about every "classic" major spring tornado outbreak over the plains since the dawn of man involved a similar mid-level trough moving out of the SW!
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slight negative tilt, weak LL winds however, and weak CAPE

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9718
Quoting yonzabam:


Do they have dart boards and Guinness?


Sure enough. I actually play in a dart league and drink the finest pints of Guinness in Orlando. :)
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Here this will keep the AGW crowd busy today - Spindoctors Assemble !!

Link
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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.