Quiet tropics; update on Bill Proenza's doings

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

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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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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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625. IKE
11:21 AM CDT on June 24, 2007
Speaking about no troughs...this from the NO extended...

"Long term...
high over Gulf will break down and moist flow axis will be
displaced north. Will maintain chance probability of precipitation Wednesday through Sat.
GFS deepens a trough over the East Coast and bring a front through
the area late Saturday.
Will maintain near normal probability of precipitation and temperatures
over next weekend for now.
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624. nash28
4:16 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Pretty sobering thought considering the SST's are usually at their warmest come mid August. Still two more months of heat potential before then....

So again, SST's are important yes... Not just the EATL, but more importantly, the GOMEX and Caribbean, which at this rate will be bath water come August.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
623. nash28
4:10 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
SST's as of today---

Clearwater Beach, FL- 87 degrees
Naples, FL- 88 degrees
Venice, FL- 85 degrees

Very warm and rising along the west coast of FL. Temps at some of the buoys in the central Gulf are hovering around 83-84 degrees.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
621. WPBHurricane05
12:10 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
SST must be warming up in the Atlantic, 89 with a heat index of 95 in West Palm.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
620. TheRingo
12:03 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
The Ringo: Maybe I am looking at them 2 heat maps wrong but it kinda looks a little warmer than 2005 or have i got it all wrong. Still in learning mode. Thanks Sheri

2007 image looks cooler in the middle area of the gulf than 2005. But there's more concentrated heat along the edges. Which leads me to believe that the drought is starting to have an impact on the gulf and the temps are bleeding into it from the periphery.
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619. nash28
4:06 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
With many of the models putting a halt on the troughs diving down and sweeping across the ATL, the A/B High may be setting up shop a couple of weeks earlier than normal. Where it sets up and how strong it is will be very important.
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618. nash28
4:04 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Great point JP. Many of those storms began west of 60W.
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617. nash28
4:03 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Believe me.... We are all hoping for a quiet season in terms of storms not threatening land. I'll take a season of 20 storms that all curve harmlessly out to sea.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
615. WPBHurricane05
12:01 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
SST Anomalies in 2005 Link
SST Anomalies now Link

For those interested here is the website I found those images.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
614. nash28
3:59 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
The SSt's out in the EATL are indeed cooler, but it really doesn't mean anything.

Look at the SST's in the Caribbean and Gulf. Even if the SST's are marginal at best in the EATL, once a tropical wave reaches about 60W it will reach much warmer waters that are plenty warm enough to support deepening.

The one variable that will or will not save our bacon is wind shear.
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613. catastropheadjuster
3:53 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
WPB: Thanks for the link i booked marked it.
The Ringo: Maybe I am looking at them 2 heat maps wrong but it kinda looks a little warmer than 2005 or have i got it all wrong. Still in learning mode. Thanks Sheri
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612. nash28
3:58 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
And that was a neutral ENSO year.
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611. nash28
3:57 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
One more point SK- Do you remember 2004? Seems like everyone forgets that year and only compares 2005. 2004 didn't have squat until August. Then all hell broke loose.
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609. nash28
3:55 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
SK- You said experts predicted 23 named systems. Which experts would those be? I haven't seen any above 17.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
608. nash28
3:49 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Once again Stormkat speaks with absolutely no clue as to what the next 6-8 weeks will hold.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
606. stormkat
3:45 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
y/w WPB HURRICANE just dont want you guys to get the people excited for a few little blobs...you have to look at the whole equation when you are forecasting the tropics..i have tons of experience guy ill be happy to share with you....just be patient....StormKat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
605. TheRingo
11:50 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
the gulf is already catching up to 2005 in temps.

2007 Gulf SST

2005 Gulf SSTs
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604. WPBHurricane05
11:43 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
Website from which the data was retrieved Link
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602. WPBHurricane05
11:42 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
I feel safe again. Thanks StormKat.
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601. catastropheadjuster
3:37 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
WPBHurricane05: Thank you for posting that.
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600. stormkat
3:11 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
guys these strong waves coming off the coast of africa will fizzle when it hits the cooler water...its just not time guys and most of the waves are still below 10 degrees...i would give this area another 6 weeks....the shear is very strong coming off of s america and if anything tried to develop near the winward islands it would be ripped apart...guys i can be sure when i say this we are in for a slow late hurricane season for 2007..once again the experts if you want to call them that blew it again...no way their will be 23 storms this year...they are lucky if we have 9...also about lanina whoever said it was strong its not guys its a very week la nina and i dont think it will have much to do with our hurricane season this year...i will be back on if anything changes guys but i just dont see this pattern moving out anytime soon...we are safe through at least mid july is the way i see it now..the shear will not slacken up anytime soon....anyone on here especially the newbies if you have any questions feel free to email me and i will be glad to answer them for you...StormKat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
599. Skyepony (Mod)
3:34 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Trolling the weather news today death tolls were pretty high in Pakastan~ over 200 due to gales & thunderstorms. India~ over 120 with that noname storm. China is having a lotta problems around the 3 gorges dam with record rain. Nasa had just released a study how that monstrosity has changed the local climate there. Articles are in my blog.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
598. WPBHurricane05
11:37 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
2006 Heat potential Link
2005 Heat potential Link
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
596. WPBHurricane05
11:34 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
Current heat potential Link
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
595. TheRingo
11:25 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
once the trade winds decrease in the atlantic you will see surface temps climbing. Still a ways to go until the meat of the season.
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594. Skyepony (Mod)
3:34 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Doldrums raise SST about faster than anything..

current doldrums...
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
593. catastropheadjuster
3:25 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
H23 what does it look like right know The GOM?
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592. pottery2
11:25 AM AST on June 24, 2007
Guyana weather now
Thunderstorms and rain
temp 75
press 1014
591. hurricane23
11:16 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
The heat potential was an amazing sight to see in 2005.

ssts
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589. hurricane23
11:12 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
Posted By: texascanecaster1 at 11:04 AM EDT on June 24, 2007. (hide)
hmm. Could be adrian however ssts have been warming up quickly. They could still get to be as high if not higher than 05.

Higher then 2005...Not a chance the SST'S that were in place in 2005 were incredible.

gg
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588. pottery2
11:04 AM AST on June 24, 2007
Good Morning. Nice cloud cover over Trinidad now. Humidity still low at 66. Pres. 1013 steady. Some distant rumblings to the deep south of me .Looking forward to being innundated !
586. Stormchaser2007
11:08 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
Hey 1900:)
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583. 1900hurricane
10:05 AM CDT on June 24, 2007
Hey y'all!
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580. Stormchaser2007
11:01 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
Ive just noticed that a nice pool of warm water has just reached in the GOM, which wasnt there a few days ago.
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579. hurricane23
11:00 AM EDT on June 24, 2007
What iam watching closely is sst's across the atlantic like the MDR region which is only running slightly above normal in most areas.Infact Most of the atlantic is well below the very warm values we have seen in the last 2- 3 hurricane seasons.

All this leads me to think that the UKMET office and CPC are on to something and we indeed may not see as an active season as thought before.Adrian
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578. nash28
2:57 PM GMT on June 24, 2007
Great explanation STL. The data pretty much points to a reversal of last season. Doesn't automatically mean a ton of storms, but it will make conditions ripe for them to form.
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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.