Quiet tropics; update on Bill Proenza's doings

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on June 22, 2007

The tropical Atlantic is quiet today. The low pressure system over northern Florida that brought rain to the state Thursday has moved out to sea and weakened. Wind shear is high over this low, sea surface temperatures beneath it are cool, and I don't expect any development. None of the computer models are showing any tropical development over the next week. Our best chance of a new threat area to watch may not occur until the next strong cold front pushes off the U.S. East Coast. The long range GFS model forecast expects this to happen around Saturday June 30.

Bill Proenza news
In the absence of much to talk about in the tropics, we can always talk about the latest on new NHC director Bill Proenza. The View from the Surface blog is keeping up with the latest. Last night, I listened in to Proenza's comments on the Barometer Bob Show, an Internet radio show. I asked him where he got his numbers of 16% and 10% improvement for 72-hour and 49-hour hurricane track forecasts made using QuikSCAT satellite data (his boss, acting NWS director Mary Glackin, said "I'm not willing to stand by those numbers.") Proenza cited a study done of hurricane tracks from 2003 that showed these improvements, and Margie Kieper is working on getting a copy of this study for the View From the Surface blog. Margie came across a 2006 study which shows that for one storm studied (Hurricane Cindy of 1999), inclusion of QuikSCAT data improved track forecasts at 24 hours and 48 hours by 30-50% (Figure 1). There is also a 2007 study which showed improvements of 25%-50% for 24 hour - 48 hour model track forecasts of 2002's Hurricane Isidore using QuikSCAT data vs. no QuikSCAT data (Figure 2). We'll have more on the ongoing Bill Proenza hullaballo next week, with more info on just how important QuikSCAT is to hurricane forecasting.

Figure 1. Forecast error in the track of Hurricane Cindy (1999) with and without using QuikSCAT data. Image credit: NOAA. Data taken from the 2006 paper, The use of remotely sensed data and innovative modeling to improve hurricane prediction, by Robert Atlas, O. Reale, B-W. Shen, and S-J. Lin.

Figure 2. Forecast error in the track of Hurricane Isidore (2002) with and without using QuikSCAT data. Image credit: American Meteorological Society, "The Impact of Assimilating SSM/I and QuikSCAT Satellite Winds on Hurricane Isidore Simulations", by Shu-Hua Chen. Monthly Weather Review 135, issue 2, pp 549-566, February 2007.

Jeff Masters

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676. mermaidlaw
8:58 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Thanks for the info SW and Michael. I feel that July may show some changes in the tropics. Aug. and Sept. might get interesting! I sure hope any storms that form are fish storms! We can only hope. It is always good to stay informed, and prepared! I hope everyone does that.
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673. mermaidlaw
8:41 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Hello SW, it looks like La Nina may be here. Any thoughts?
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667. WPBHurricane05
4:13 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
I hear you DoveflowerFtMyers. Its been warm on the east coast of Florida also. Miami seems to be hogging all the rain from the rest of the state.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
665. DoveflowerFtMyers
8:02 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
I dont remember last June being this HOT! Today in Ft Myers, no wind and 93! Feels like 100...Where are the afternoon T-storms when ya need them...
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664. Skyepony (Mod)
7:26 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
kman~ I hear ya on the cut off part. I started going through the different routes & sources links I got on quiksat.. Hit on the 3rd one, through nexsat. Looks up to date but nexsat has a limited range.

It does catch the swirl off FL nicely
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663. kmanislander
7:22 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
hi all

Just a quick stop in on a quiet day. I was just looking at various links and saw that the quikscat link is down and the GHCC site is still down as well. Took a look at buoy 42057 and noticed that there are only 4 data sets displayed ( no pressure, wave direction etc. )

I hope that buoy is not beginning to fail as this would leave only one of three working in the central and NW Caribbean ( the Yucatan buoy ). Seems as if we are slowly but surely being cut off LOL
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662. overwash12
7:15 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
the upper low east of fl. still has a chance to descend to the surface and become tropical in nature. It has been known to happen.
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660. mermaidlaw
7:12 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Yea JED I hear ya. I do enjoy Fl. summers, yet now that I am older, the heat seems to get to me more! I have lived in Fl. all my life. I remember being in St. Pete. in the fifties, when i was young, and I ran around enjoying the heat all day. We always seemed to get those afternoon thunderstorms that cooled things off abit.
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659. Jedkins
7:09 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
hope ya have nice sunday too, weather is hot but great, once you get used to the nasty heat here, Florida summers are just as great as any time of year, actually better in my oppinion cause its the wet season.
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658. mermaidlaw
7:06 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Thanks Nash!:) All of our ponds and lakes are dry here. The little bit of rain that comes this way, seems to miss my area. I guess I am in the dome. LOL!

I agree that the gom water feels very warm, and if trade winds lighten up, things may be changing soon. What are your thoughts on the B high set up for this year?
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657. Jedkins
7:00 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Exactly, I mean common I'm 16 years old and Ive known that forever, in fact, I would have noticed their big error even when I was 13.

Its sad because I'm sure they have the ability to think for themselves, but instead, they shut down their brains and let the computer models take control as head meteorologist.

Whats the point of evening having a meteorologist or going through all the education to become one if the computer models are so great. Eexactly, they are NOT gods, they are just forecasting tools, I can make a better forecast then then without using any computer guidance, because I would use straight up common sense and put to use what I actually learned in becoming a meteorologist to make a forecast.

I'm sure these guys have the standerd for knowledge as we do for a meteorologist, but what good is a smart mind and what good is knowledge unless you put it to use.

Knowledge without works is dead, and I'm sick of seing meterologists being pawns of computers. Good thing there are still meteorologists that don't worship them and use them as tools and actually use their knowledge.

There is a local guy here that does it, Denis Philips if anyone knows who that is, and guess what? He is a lot more accurate then the other guys that follow what the models always say on the other stations.
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656. nash28
7:03 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Middle of the week is our next best chance. High pressure is forecast to lift northward which will allow for a more typical flow with our afternoon seabreeze. Otherwise, hot and nasty.
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655. mermaidlaw
7:02 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
I have heard a wave is coming to SE Fl. around Wednesday. Is that true? And will it give us any rain here in hernando county?
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654. mermaidlaw
6:59 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Hello H2O, JED, and NASH. I hope your having a nice Sunday.
Do you see any hope of rain for the central West coast of Florida? We are very dry here!! Thanks for any info!!
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653. nash28
6:42 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Correct Jed. Their forecast would have made more sense had they said something like "the trade winds will remain strong due to a very strong High Pressure". The best they could do was SST's. Pretty sad.
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652. Jedkins
6:09 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Ya I live on the west coast of Flirida, water temps have warmed up dramatically from a few weeks ago, the water feels like its 90 already, although bouys currently are reading about 87 for the temp.

Still water temps were below average only 3 weeks ago, now that are above average.

The UKMET is bull*hit, if we do have a below average season, it won't be from a lack of warm water.

And of course instead of using their brain they follow what ever the model says like puppets.
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651. ClearH2OFla
2:13 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
Good Afternoon all anything exciting going on
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650. lightning10
10:36 AM PDT on June 24, 2007
This is as exciting as it gets here in So Cal for late June.

GFS solutions still want to drop a cold front south through the
area for late week and into the weekend. With 580 dam heights or
higher at 500 mb...no real threat of precipitation except maybe
some drizzle out of the marine layer. Confidence remains low in
the frontal boundary making it this far south. Better agreement is
establishing between the GFS and European model (ecmwf) solutions...but for now
expect a persistent cooler trend for late week and next weekend
relative to the early part of this week with marine layer being
quite extensive.
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648. mello121
5:03 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Thank You MichaelSTL. I can usually figure the acronyms out (SAL, etc.)but that one had me stumped.
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647. hurricane23
4:54 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
The entire atlantic as whole is running only slightly warmer then average and also well below the warm values we have seen in the last 3 years.SST'S are very important towards tropical cylone development but at the same its only a small piece of things that have to be in place for a tropical cyclone to flurish.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13857
645. wundergroundfan
4:48 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
What is the mjo?
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644. mello121
4:52 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
What does MJO stand for?
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643. Skyepony (Mod)
4:49 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
MJO forecast makes your point even better. It's not real suprising things aren't active right now.
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642. Patrap
11:46 AM CDT on June 24, 2007
Start with this frame..then nav forward to see the wave emerge...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 438 Comments: 136310
641. TheRingo
12:44 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
the mjo is starting to show up again.
we were quiet last 2 weeks because the mjo was over in india.

Madden-julian oscillation.
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640. nash28
4:40 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Pretty damn similar map.
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639. Patrap
11:40 AM CDT on June 24, 2007
SE La. true color visible 1KM MODIS image..yesterday, with Aircraft contrails. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 438 Comments: 136310
638. Skyepony (Mod)
4:28 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Temps at 100M deep

East gulf has got so hot from the persistant doldrums there the last few weeks. Little wind = little evaperation= alotta warming.

2005~ we didn't see much develop in the mid Atlantic because of the outragous SAL. It would choke waves & keep them naked til they got closer, shook the dust & formed. SAL didn't save us last year, the shear did as it ripped up what was left of the naked swirls.

Nash~ You were refuring to 2005 as the neutral year?? 2004 was an El Nio year...
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637. StormJunkie
4:39 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
So 50 to 100m across much of the Carib and S Atl?
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636. nash28
4:38 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Bingo SJ. Ok, I know I am leaving, but one more post:-)

I believe the biggest factor in the season is the upper level winds. It doesn't matter if SST's are running in the mid 70's or mid 90's. If shear is hostile, game over.

If the shear relaxes for an extended period of time in the trouble spots especially within the Herbert box, look out.
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634. StormJunkie
4:34 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
As far as the SSTs go, yes it is getting dangerously warm if a well developed system were to get over these SSTs. Although these waters were pretty warm last year and the shear managed to keep everything in check. Will have to see how the season progresses. Wait and see as usually...
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633. nash28
4:37 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Ok guys. Gotta run for the day. Have a great rest of your weekend and happy forecasting:-)

Let's see what the next couple of weeks brings for us....
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632. nash28
4:32 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
True SJ. Storms with weak steering currents that sit in place for a bit will do more upwelling than a storm moving at a pretty good clip.

It's almost like we are looking at a ticking time bomb. I expect we will be seeing several invests come late July moving forward.
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631. Patrap
11:32 AM CDT on June 24, 2007
GOM WAVCIS 60 hour SST's model..and more..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 438 Comments: 136310
630. StormJunkie
4:28 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Good to see ya nash

The depth will be interesting to see, although I would think that the depth of the heat is only critical depending on the storm. I would think that a storm moving over about 15 to 18 mph would not require the same depth as a slower storm would.
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629. nash28
4:26 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Hey there SJ. What will be interesting to see is how deep will these warm SST's go.
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628. StormJunkie
4:25 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Hopefully the Gulf maps from John Hopkins will get on to the same scale soon.
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627. StormJunkie
4:19 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Afternoon all ☺

The sea temps are really warming quickly. The maps in my blog don't show much of the mdr, but you can clearly see that the western portion of the Atlantic is much warmer then it has been over the past several years. Just a month ago much of this area was cooler then the past few years.
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626. TheRingo
12:23 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
right now the loop current is stronger in the west caribbean than the gulf. Which will probably concentrate more heat in the caribbean. Watch for this area to build sst's.

2007 loop current

2005 loop current
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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