Hurricanes and Climate Change: Huge Dangers, Huge Unknowns

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:57 AM GMT on August 05, 2013

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Hurricane Sandy's enormous $65 billion price tag put that great storm in third place for the most expensive weather-related disaster in U.S. (and world) history, and six of the ten most expensive U.S. weather-related disasters since 1980 have been hurricanes. Thus, how the strongest hurricanes may be affected due a changing climate is a topic of critical concern. Since hurricanes are heat engines that extract heat energy from the oceans to power themselves, hurricane scientists are confident that the very strongest storms will get stronger by the end of the century, when Earth's land and ocean temperatures are expected to warm 2 - 3°C, to levels unmatched since the Eemian Era, 115,000 years ago. Computer modeling work consistently indicates that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11% by 2100. But hurricanes are fussy creations, and are sensitive to wind shear and dry air. Although the strongest storms should get stronger when "perfect storm" conditions are present, these "perfect storm" conditions may become less frequent in the future, due to the presence of higher wind shear, altered atmospheric circulation patterns, or more dry air at mid levels of the atmosphere. Indeed, the climate models used to formulate the 2007 IPCC report suggested that we might see the strongest hurricanes getting stronger, but a decrease in the total number of hurricanes in the Atlantic (and worldwide) later this century. However, the latest set of models used to formulate the 2013 IPCC report left open the possibility that we might see in increase in the total number of hurricanes, and and increase in their intensity. Given the conflicting model results, we really don't know how global warming will affect the number of hurricanes and their intensity, but we run the risk of making one of humanity's greatest scourges worse.


Figure 1. The list of most expensive U.S. weather-related disasters since 1980 is dominated by hurricanes.

Climate models and hurricane frequency
The database we have on historical hurricanes does not extend far enough into the past and is not of high enough quality to make many judgements on how human-caused climate change may be affecting these great storms. A landmark 2010 review paper, "Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change", authored by ten top hurricane scientists concluded that the U.S. has not seen any long-term increase in landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes, and that "it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes" (tropical cyclone is the generic term which encompasses tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons.) Based in part on modeling studies using climate models run for the 2007 IPCC report, the scientists concluded that "it is likely that global mean tropical cyclone frequency will either decrease or remain unchanged owing to greenhouse warming." For example, one of the modeling studies the review paper quoted, Knutson et al. (2008), "Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century warming conditions", projected a decrease in Atlantic tropical storms by 27% and hurricanes by 18% by the end of the century. An important reason that their model predicted these decreases was due to a predicted increase in wind shear. As I explain in my wind shear tutorial, a large change of wind speed with height over a hurricane creates a shearing force that tends to tear the storm apart. The amount of wind shear is critical in determining whether a hurricane can form or survive.

But a July 2013 study by MIT's Dr. Kerry Emanuel, "Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century", challenged this result. Dr. Emanuel argued that tropical cyclones are likely to become both stronger and more frequent as the climate continues to warm. This increase is most likely to occur in Western North Pacific, with smaller increases in the Atlantic. Dr. Emanuel took output from six newer higher-resolution climate models used to formulate the 2013 IPCC report, and used the output to drive a high-resolution hurricane model. The simulations found that the global frequency of tropical cyclones would increase by 11% to 40% by 2100, with intensity increases as well. The combined effects produced a global increase in Category 3 and stronger hurricanes of 40%. The behavior of these strongest hurricanes is critical, since they do most of the damage we observe. Over the past century, Category 3 - 5 hurricanes accounted for 85% of US hurricane damage, despite representing only 24% of U.S. landfalling storms. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes made up only 6% of all U.S. landfalls, but accounted for 48% of all U.S. damage (if normalized to account for increases in U.S. population and wealth, see Pielke et al., 2008.)


Figure 2. Projected changes in tropical cyclone track density during the 2006-2100 period compared to the 1950-2005 period, using output from six climate models included in the 2013 IPCC report. The global frequency of tropical cyclones is predicted to increase by 11% to 40%, with the largest changes occurring in the Northwest Pacific off the coast of Japan. Smaller increases are predicted for the Atlantic and near Australia. Image credit: Kerry Emanuel, "Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 8, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301293110.

However, a study by Knutson et al. (2013), using the same latest-generation climate models as used by Emanuel (2013), but using the output from the models to drive a different high-resolution hurricane model, found a 20% decrease in Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes by 2100. Two other 2013 studies by Villarini et al. and Camargo, also using output from the 2013 IPCC models, found essentially no change in Atlantic tropical cyclones. The reason for the differences, lies, in part, with how much global warming is assumed in the studies. Dr. Emanuel's study, which found an increase in tropical cyclone activity, assumed a worst-case warming situation (RCP 8.5), following the "business as usual" emissions path humanity is currently on. The Knutson et al. study, which found a decrease of 20% in Atlantic tropical cyclones, used a scenario (RCP 4.5) where it was assumed humans will wise up and cause about half of the worst-case greenhouse warming. The study found found "marginally significant" increases in Atlantic Category 4 and 5 hurricanes of 39% - 45% by 2100. These dramatically different results give credence to Dr. Emanuel statement at the end of his paper, "the response of tropical cyclones to projected climate change will remain uncertain for some time to come." The 2013 IPCC report also emphasized the high amount of uncertainty in how climate change might affect hurricanes, stating that there was "low confidence" that we have observed any increases in intense tropical cyclones due to human causes. However, since the 1970s, it is virtually certain (99 - 100% chance) that the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms in the North Atlantic has increased, and there is medium confidence that a reduction in small air pollution particles (aerosols) over the North Atlantic caused part of this effect. The report's forecast for the future stated that it is "more likely than not" (50 - 100% chance) that human-caused climate change will cause a substantial increase in intense tropical cyclones in some ocean basins by 2100, with the Western North Pacific and Atlantic being at particular risk. Also, there will likely (66 - 100% chance) be an increase in both global mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed and rain rates by 2100, and more likely than not (50 - 100% chance) that the increase in the most intense tropical cyclones will be larger than 10% in some basins.


Figure 3. Expected change in Atlantic Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per decade expected by the year 2100, according to Knutson et al. (2013), "Dynamical Downscaling Projections of 21st Century Atlantic Hurricane Activity: CMIP3 and CMIP5 Model-based Scenarios." This research used the latest generation of climate models from the 2013 IPCC report, and found "marginally significant" increases in Atlantic Category 4 and 5 hurricanes of 39% - 45% by 2100.

Commentary
Hurricane damages are currently doubling every ten years without the effect of climate change, according to Pielke et al., 2008. This is primarily due to the increasing population along the coast and increased wealth of the population. The authors theorize that the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 monster that made a direct hit on Miami Beach, would have caused about $150 billion in damage had it hit in 2005. Thus, by 2015, the same hurricane would do $300 billion in damage, and $600 billion by 2025. This is without considering the impact that accelerating sea level rise will have on storm surge damages. Global sea level rise over the past decade has been about double what it was in the 20th century, and the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase further in the coming decades. Storm surge does the majority of damage in major hurricanes, and storm surges riding on top of higher sea levels are going to do a lot more damage in the coming decades. If we toss in the (controversial) increases in Category 3 and stronger storms like Dr. Emanuel suggests may occur, the hurricane damage math gets very impressive. We can also add onto that the relatively non-controversial increase in tropical cyclone rainfall of 20% expected by 2100, which will sharply increase damages due to fresh water river flooding. It is controversial whether or not we are already be seeing an increase in heavy precipitation events associated with tropical cyclones in the U.S., though. The total number of daily rainfall events exceeding 2" associated with tropical cyclones in the Southeast U.S. on a century time scale has not changed significantly, according to Groisman et al., 2004. But a 2010 study by Kunkel et al., "Recent increases in U.S. heavy precipitation associated with tropical cyclones", found that the number of Southeast U.S. tropical cyclone heavy precipitation events, defined as 1-in-5-year events, more than doubled between 1994 - 2008, compared to the long-term average from 1895 - 2008.


Figure 4. Time series of the 15-year running average (plotted at the end point of the 15-yr blocks) of a Tropical Cyclone Heavy Precipitation Index (red) and 15-year running average of U.S. landfalling hurricanes (blue). Note that there has been no long-term increase in U.S. landfalling hurricanes, but there has been a sharp increase in extreme rainfall events associated with landfalling tropical cyclones--the kind of rainfall events most likely to cause damaging flooding. Image credit: Kunkel et al. (2010), "Recent increases in U.S. heavy precipitation associated with tropical cyclones", Geophysical Research Letters.

It is essential that we limit coastal development in vulnerable coastal areas, particularly along barrier islands, to reduce some of the astronomical price tags hurricanes are going to be causing in the future. Adoption and enforcement of strict building standards is also a must, as well as more reforms to the government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which subsidizes development in high-risk coastal regions that private insurers won't touch. NFIP is now $25 - 30 billion in the red, thanks to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Reform of NFIP is already underway. In 2012, before Sandy hit, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which requires people with NFIP policies to pay large premium increases of about 25% per year over the next five years. Naturally, this move has caused major controversy.

References
Camargo, S., (2013), "Global and regional aspects of tropical cyclone activity in the CMIP5 models," J. Climate.

Emanuel, K.A., 2013, "Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century", PNAS, July 8, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301293110

Groisman, Pavel Ya, et al., "Contemporary changes of the hydrological cycle over the contiguous United States: Trends derived from in situ observations," Journal of Hydrometeorology 5.1 (2004): 64-85.

Knutson et al., 2010, "Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change", Nature Geoscience 3, 157 - 163, Published online: 21 February 2010 | doi:10.1038/ngeo779

Knutson et al., 2013, Dynamical Downscaling Projections of 21st Century Atlantic Hurricane Activity: CMIP3 and CMIP5 Model-based Scenarios, Journal of Climate 2013 ; e-View
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00539.1

Pielke, R.A, et al., 2008, "Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900 - 2005," Natural Hazards Review, DOI:10.1061/ASCE1527-6988(2008)9:1(29)

Villarini, G, and G.A. Vecchi, 2012, "Twenty-first-century projections of North Atlantic tropical storms from CMIP5 models," Nature Clim. Change 2:604–607.

Related posts
Global warming and the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes: model results, my 2010 blog post.

Climate Central's analysis of the new 2013 Kerry Emanuel paper.

Goodbye, Miami: Jeff Goodell's sobering 2013 article in Rolling Stone on the challenges Miami faces due to sea level rise and hurricanes.


What the official climate assessments say about climate change and hurricanes
The 2013 IPCC report gives “low confidence”--a 20% chance--that we have observed a human-caused increase in intense hurricanes in some parts of the world. This is a reduction in odds from the 2007 report, which said that it was more likely than not (greater than 50% chance.) The IPCC likely took note of a landmark 2010 review paper, "Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change", authored by ten top hurricane scientists, which concluded that the U.S. had not seen any long-term increase in landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes, and that "it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes." The 2013 IPCC report predicts that there is a greater than 50% chance (more likely than not) that we will see a human-caused increase in intense hurricanes by 2100 in some regions; this is also a reduction from the 2007 report, which said this would be likely (66% chance or higher.)

The May 2014 United States National Climate Assessment found that “The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.”

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 418. VR46L:


I spotted him this morning . He must be lurking .. miss him around .
VR.......It is a real mess here with the algae bloom....Looks like we really screwed this one up....Will we ever learn?
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418. VR46L
Quoting 417. PalmBeachWeather:
Haven't heard from Indian River Guy in a while...I'm sure he has been busy...What a freekin' mess in the Stuart area and the Indian River with the discharge from Lake "O"


I spotted him this morning . He must be lurking .. miss him around .
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Haven't heard from Indian River Guy in a while...I'm sure he has been busy...What a freekin' mess in the Stuart area and the Indian River with the discharge from Lake "O"
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"one created by a convenience store clerk who graduated high school 341st out of a class of 355 (Drudge)"

So that is a fact that he is a convenience store clerk and a high school graduate?
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Quoting 379. Neapolitan:
Not necessarily. Climate Progress is headed by Joseph Romm, a man who earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT, who worked at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography; who was awarded an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellowship for the U.S. House of Representatives; who provided science and security policy advice to Representative Charles E. Bennett, who worked as Special Assistant for International Security at the Rockefeller Foundation; who served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, in charge of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and who is widely considered to be one of the top experts on climate and climate policy. So to lump his site in with, say, one created by a convenience store clerk who graduated high school 341st out of a class of 355 (Drudge) is both insulting and ludicrous. In truth, Romm's site--which often quotes Dr. Masters--is very well respected for publishing scientific articles that are based on fact and evidence.


I will take your point that Romm is educated and well spoken, an thus very influential. I was not attempting to insult anyone's intelligence, and in fact did not bring it up.

But you missed my point... the site a megaphone for the left. Just a quick search of the internet highlights that web site's place in the argument.

Here is an example, Check this out...
"The Center for American Progress funds several blogs that disseminate Left-wing propaganda. Think Progress is probably the best know, but I’ve come across “Climate Progress” recently for the first time. In their own words:

Climate Progress is dedicated to providing the progressive perspective on climate science, climate solutions, and climate politics. It is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization."

Now that's taken from a right-leaning site, but still, "consider which way the megaphone is pointing".

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Indicative of a La Nina:



Run this loop and you will see the GOM start to warm and the EPAC start to cool offshore Ecuador.

Link
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8164
Quoting 306. Tribucanes:
There have been 370,000 people killed by climate change fueled weather events in the last decade. A couple weeks ago Climate Progress published a very troubling infographic that expose how deeply the fossil fuel industry is intertwined with members of Congress. More that 51 million, this year, has come in campaign contributions from big oil and gas. As part of this quid pro quo deal, many members of congress are responsible for opposing any legislation that would in any way curb greenhouse gas emissions. While we are hopelessly divided and keep these crooks in office; they are not beholden to us. They are bought and paid for to do the biddings of corporations. When I read reports on climate change, I always like to read the comments too. Between 80-90% of the comments are always that GW isn't happening and it's all wrong. The science and what the populace believe is light years apart. Combine that with a House and Congress that is corporate corrupt to do everything in their power to stop needed legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and you get what your going to get. We will reap this harvest and the sowers are we the people. Wait for the methane releases to combine with the CO2. While many here get it and know the truth, the vast majority don't at all. When the truth is suppressed, bad things happen, and evil, greed, and corruption are allowed to reign. The car's already screaming towards the drop-off, now our "Leaders" are doing everything they can to remove the guardrail too.
The rest of the post is ok, but I take issue with that first number. How in the world did they calculate 370,000 extra deaths that were incrementally caused by climate change? Are all the deaths from Katrina due to climate change? Are all the deaths from world-wide droughts caused by climate change? How do they measure the extra deaths caused by climate change? These type of numbers thrown out there don't help the cause, imo.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5562
Quoting 403. PalmBeachWeather:
Rumbling again here in West Boynton.....Seems to be an everyday occurrence lately


Gotta love the rainy season.
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Quoting 410. PalmBeachWeather:
Rumbling has now turned to "rumbling and heavy rain"


Here in Sunrise, half the sky is blue and sunny, and the other side is just pitch gray and blue.
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Quoting 403. PalmBeachWeather:
Rumbling again here in West Boynton.....Seems to be an everyday occurrence lately
Rumbling has now turned to "rumbling and heavy rain"
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Kingston Jamaica weather station
( updated Mon, 05 Aug 2013 12:59 pm EST )

32°C
High: 33°C | Low: 26°C
Partly Cloudy

Sunrise: 5:44 am
Sunset: 6:38 pm
Visibility: 9.99 km
Feels like: 32°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: 33.8 km/h

The weather station for Kingston today - August 5, 2013, 1:04 pm: It is a HOT and NOT CLEAR today with an average degree of 32°C , visibility is at 9.99 km. However, there is relatively NORMAL humidity in the air at 59%, so it feels QUITE COMFORTABLE out here at the moment. Wind blow is so STRONG at 33.8 km/h on an EARLY sun rising day at: 5:44 am .
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Quoting 401. hurricanes2018:
lets hope you are right


Only if the shear is persistent, which I doubt it will, but we'll see.
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Quoting 404. Levi32:
The tropical wave near the Cape Verde Islands will be in the western Caribbean in ~10 days. Given the pattern it's moving into with a very favorable upper-level wind configuration in its path, I think it may be a long-range threat to watch. The GFS ensemble mean is starting to see the precipitation swell with it in the NW Caribbean. No models show tropical development yet, but I think they might later.

Always glad to here from you Levi
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Lots of lightning with these storms in Orlando.

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The 370,000 killed as a result of GW in the last decade is from the UN weather agency and is backed by numerous credible sources.
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The tropical wave near the Cape Verde Islands will be in the western Caribbean in ~10 days. Given the pattern it's moving into with a very favorable upper-level wind configuration in its path, I think it may be a long-range threat to watch. The GFS ensemble mean is starting to see the precipitation swell with it in the NW Caribbean. No models show tropical development yet, but I think they eventually might.

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Rumbling again here in West Boynton.....Seems to be an everyday occurrence lately
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Quoting 351. nrtiwlnvragn:
Basin scale HWRF seems to like the system coming off of Africa:


There is a low attached to that TW.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8164
Quoting 400. mitchelace5:


It may encounter shear down the road.
lets hope you are right
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Quoting 397. hurricanes2018:
tropical wave getting more rain and t.storm with it..the rain from this tropical wave is picking up!


It may encounter shear down the road.
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Some thunderstorms, including one that produced a landspout tornado, are firing over NW Kansas. This area is under a slight risk of severe weather for the threat of large hail and damaging winds with an isolated tornado. The slight risk area covers much of the northern plains actually. It won't be an outbreak or anything like that, but the risk for severe storms is definitely there. That threat will be shifting to the east over the next few days.
EDIT: Of course I get comment #399 :/


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Quoting 362. DFWdad:


Websites with 'progress' in the url or name, are as far left (with the Huffington Post), as Drudge and NewsMax are to the right.

Not that I mind free speech, but have to consider the source, and which way the megaphone is pointed.



What I blogged on was factual amount of money given by gas and oil megacorps to drive their agendas. I'm not far left or far right. I'm a conservative Christian who's only agenda is truth. We've been manipulated into divisive politics here in America. Never have we been so divided, and it's only benefiting corporations; we the people are getting crushed under misinformation and the power of division. There is no common ground any more, your either Left or Right and the truth is easily buried when intellectualism of self thought declines to the point it has here in America. Corporations along with our Congress know that if you can divide you can conquer and the status quo will remain just that. We have been divided, almost 50/50 down the middle rendering the power of the people down the nothing.

"The man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides." Heri Frederic Amiel. Swiss critic.

People in America are so ideologically driven now that looking and studying the scientifically overwhelming evidence is out of the question. That's Left science, it can't be true, so they know without seeking. No one has ever come to the truth without seeking. Man driven GW/climate change though isn't left or right. It's just science and it's overwhelmingly been proven. The fact that it's overwhelmingly rejected by the populace shows that we the people in large have become tools of the corporate machine. A house divided cannot stand.
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tropical wave getting more rain and t.storm with it..the rain from this tropical wave is picking up!
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Thanks Dr. Masters! Good afternoon all!
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I decided to read further into the topic of Category 5 impacts to Florida in the distant past. According to an article from the Sun Sentinel on hurricane history some experts believe a severe hurricane which hit Key West after September in 1846 could have been a category 5, based on the damage reports. Could have just as easily been a cat. 4 in my opinion though (based on the article's description).

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Quoting 392. Grothar:


2nd largest fresh-water lake.
When my Aunt Mildred (RIP) jumped into the county pool in Xenia Ohio...Now that was the largest "cannonball" in the USA...Just thought I would share that
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Quoting 383. PalmBeachWeather:
MiamiHurricanes... I never held much in the term "due one" It's like my dear uncle that had 4 daughters and wanted a boy...Everyone said he was "due one" (a boy).... didn't happen....
I guess you were just lucky...or unlucky. :) From a climatological perspective, we're due for a category 5 hurricane in the sense that history shows us that it's extremely rare for category 5 hurricane to take longer than 8 years in between.
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Quoting 363. PalmBeachWeather:
Lake Okeechobee....Florida...Second largest lake in the USA....


2nd largest fresh-water lake.
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Very warm 93F out, and there are trails of popcorn storms forming.

North Florida
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I would put it at 60kts at 2 PM advisory.
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Quoting 381. wxchaser97:

TAFB is also at T3.5 for 18z update.

EP, 08, 201308051800, 10, DVTS, CI, , 1230N, 12840W, , 3, 55, 2, 994, 2, DVRK, , , , , , , , , , , , , , E, TAFB, AL, VI, 5, 3535 /////, , , GOES15, CSC, T,
The 18z best track is at 55kts in accordance with both estimates.

EP, 08, 2013080518, , BEST, 0, 124N, 1285W, 55, 996, TS
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Wow. There is significantly less dust in the Caribbean than last week! However, there is still high shear across the Caribbean, Bahamas, and off the coast of the Carolinas, which should die down by next week.


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Quoting 384. theyoungmet:
My first attempted tropical update: (here goes nothing)

If I get anything wrong, please tell me.

This is likely one of the last quiet weeks we will have before the season takes a turn on the active side. The only thing that really interests me in the tropical atlantic right now is the wave that’s in the MDR that’s gaining cyclonic vorticity as it moves closer to the islands. It doesn’t have any vorticity to speak of in the mid levels (500 mb), but it does have a little a low level vort. present with scattered showers in a disorganized mess. This is all ahead of the kelvin wave that’s incoming into the atlantic currently. Also, anything coming through the atlantic (thas weak and is steered by low level trade flows) will stay south and not recurve if the 12z GFS is correct. By hour 45, the dominating high in the Atlantic moves over the Azores and a high develops off the New England coastline making an elongated ridge. The ridge dies down in about a week on the GFS and the NAO is predicted to go slightly negative/neutral. The negative NAO favors a weaker trade wind flow off of Africa coupled with warmer SSTs. The MJO is also forecasting to go into phases 1/8 in about a week or so, but as we get into the peak of the season- the MJO doesn’t matter as much (someone mentioned this above). For the next week or so, the only thing I really would expect would be a ULL come off of the TUTT above cuba/the Bahamas and retrograde westerward into the GOM while trying to work its way down. By next week though, we should really see shear die down and the air over the MDR saturate to a point where it won’t inhibit development that much.

So far so good keep it up mate
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This storm in NW Kansas has produced a confirmed landspout tornado, tornado warning continues on it for about another half hour.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7754
Quoting 375. mitchelace5:


What about for southern Florida?


All I can do is guess, based on limited past data. I would say Florida (usually Southern FL of course) averages a Cat. 5 hit every 75 years or so. In the 20th century, FL was impacted by the 1935 Labor Day 'cane and Hurricane Andrew, which were 57 years apart. I am guessing, for some reason that the long-term average return period for Cat. 5 hurricanes is a bit longer than 57 years, so I will say roughly 75 years. Of course, without reliable data to pinpoint possible category 5 impacts from before the 20th century, this is just conjecture on my part.
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My first attempted tropical update: (here goes nothing)

If I get anything wrong, please tell me.

This is likely one of the last quiet weeks we will have before the season takes a turn on the active side. The only thing that really interests me in the tropical atlantic right now is the wave that’s in the MDR that’s gaining cyclonic vorticity as it moves closer to the islands. It doesn’t have any vorticity to speak of in the mid levels (500 mb), but it does have a little a low level vort. present with scattered showers in a disorganized mess. This is all ahead of the kelvin wave that’s incoming into the atlantic currently. Also, anything coming through the atlantic (thas weak and is steered by low level trade flows) will stay south and not recurve if the 12z GFS is correct. By hour 45, the dominating high in the Atlantic moves over the Azores and a high develops off the New England coastline making an elongated ridge. The ridge dies down in about a week on the GFS and the NAO is predicted to go slightly negative/neutral. The negative NAO favors a weaker trade wind flow off of Africa coupled with warmer SSTs. The MJO is also forecasting to go into phases 1/8 in about a week or so, but as we get into the peak of the season- the MJO doesn’t matter as much (someone mentioned this above). For the next week or so, the only thing I really would expect would be a ULL come off of the TUTT above cuba/the Bahamas and retrograde westerward into the GOM while trying to work its way down. By next week though, we should really see shear die down and the air over the MDR saturate to a point where it won’t inhibit development that much.
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Quoting 378. MiamiHurricanes09:
It's been 6 years since the last category 5 in the Atlantic basin (Felix -- 2007). The longest span since 1950 of no category 5 hurricanes was 1980 to 1988 (8 years -- Allen, Gilbert, respectively) and 1992 to 1998 (6 years -- Andrew, Mitch, respectively) so we're definitely due for one. Whether it happens this year, or the next, or the one following that one, remains to be seen.
MiamiHurricanes... I never held much in the term "due one" It's like my dear uncle that had 4 daughters and wanted a boy...Everyone said he was "due one" (a boy).... didn't happen....
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How rare is a Cat 5 system for south FL?
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Quoting 369. MiamiHurricanes09:
SAB at T3.5 with Henriette (55kts).


05/1800 UTC 12.5N 128.7W T3.5/3.5 HENRIETTE -- East Pacific

Waiting on TAFB.


TAFB is also at T3.5 for 18z update.

EP, 08, 201308051800, 10, DVTS, CI, , 1230N, 12840W, , 3, 55, 2, 994, 2, DVRK, , , , , , , , , , , , , , E, TAFB, AL, VI, 5, 3535 /////, , , GOES15, CSC, T,
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Gil has restrengthened a little.

EP, 07, 2013080518, , BEST, 0, 133N, 1390W, 30, 1006, TD

It will be crossing 140W into C-Pac territory soon:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7754
Quoting 362. DFWdad:


Websites with 'progress' in the url or name, are as far left (with the Huffington Post), as Drudge and NewsMax are to the right.

Not that I mind free speech, but have to consider the source, and which way the megaphone is pointed.
Not necessarily. Climate Progress is headed by Joseph Romm, a man who earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT, who worked at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography; who was awarded an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellowship for the U.S. House of Representatives; who provided science and security policy advice to Representative Charles E. Bennett, who worked as Special Assistant for International Security at the Rockefeller Foundation; who served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, in charge of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and who is widely considered to be one of the top experts on climate and climate policy. So to lump his site in with, say, one created by a convenience store clerk who graduated high school 341st out of a class of 355 (Drudge) is both insulting and ludicrous. In truth, Romm's site--which often quotes Dr. Masters--is very well respected for publishing scientific articles that are based on fact and evidence.
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It's been 6 years since the last category 5 in the Atlantic basin (Felix -- 2007). The longest span since 1950 of no category 5 hurricanes was 1980 to 1988 (8 years -- Allen, Gilbert, respectively) and 1992 to 1998 (6 years -- Andrew, Mitch, respectively) so we're definitely due for one. Whether it happens this year, or the next, or the one following that one, remains to be seen.
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Quoting 364. prcane4you:
Who cares about it?
Me.

EDIT: Thanks 4 the info, Civicane49.

Isn't there some kind of correlation between active EPac / CPac and less active ATL?

Seems like that's being borne out so far this season...

Afternoon all, BTW, from sunny Massachusetts....
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Quoting 306. Tribucanes:
There have been 370,000 people killed by climate change fueled weather events in the last decade. A couple weeks ago Climate Progress published a very troubling infographic that expose how deeply the fossil fuel industry is intertwined with members of Congress. More that 51 million, this year, has come in campaign contributions from big oil and gas. As part of this quid pro quo deal, many members of congress are responsible for opposing any legislation that would in any way curb greenhouse gas emissions. While we are hopelessly divided and keep these crooks in office; they are not beholden to us. They are bought and paid for to do the biddings of corporations. When I read reports on climate change, I always like to read the comments too. Between 80-90% of the comments are always that GW isn't happening and it's all wrong. The science and what the populace believe is light years apart. Combine that with a House and Congress that is corporate corrupt to do everything in their power to stop needed legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and you get what your going to get. We will reap this harvest and the sowers are we the people. Wait for the methane releases to combine with the CO2. While many here get it and know the truth, the vast majority don't at all. When the truth is suppressed, bad things happen, and evil, greed, and corruption are allowed to reign. The car's already screaming towards the drop-off, now our "Leaders" are doing everything they can to remove the guardrail too.


That's a bold unsubstantiated statement.
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Quoting 373. HurrMichaelOrl:


It could happen, but I feel it would be a 1/1000-5000 year event. Extremely rare.


What about for southern Florida?
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Nice healthy thunderstorm just moved through Altamonte Springs, FL (north of Orlando). Lots of lightning and winds 20-30 mph gusting to 40 easily for several minutes.
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Quoting 361. Bluestorm5:
Not out of question if you got fast moving Category 5 going NW into NC like Isabel. Conditions got to be extremely perfect and there's never a Category 5 at that latitude. The farthest north Category 5 is Camille (shocking, right?).


It could happen, but I feel it would be a 1/1000-5000 year event. Extremely rare.
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Quoting 370. HurricaneDevo:


sorry, got caught up in the insanity.

Got that right
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Quoting 368. PalmBeachWeather:
Smart to delete that


sorry, got caught up in the insanity.

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SAB at T3.5 with Henriette (55kts).


05/1800 UTC 12.5N 128.7W T3.5/3.5 HENRIETTE -- East Pacific

Waiting on TAFB.

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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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