New NHC revelations; Atlantic tropical update; Hawaii watches Cosme

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:47 PM GMT on July 19, 2007

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There are no areas of interest to talk about in the tropical Atlantic today, but we will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. The tail end of this front could serve as the focus for development of a tropical disturbance. The UKMET model is forecasting the development of a low pressure system here on Sunday. This low may be an ordinary extratropical storm, though, due to the presence of high wind shear.

Large amounts of dry air and African dust cover the eastern Atlantic, and this dusty air is moving westward towards the Caribbean. Tropical storm development is unlikely in this region for the coming five days. Thereafter, as a major shift in the Northern Hemisphere weather pattern puts a ridge of high pressure in place over the Eastern U.S., the Saharan dust outbreaks may decrease. Additionally, wind shear over the tropical Atlantic is expected to decrease substantially by next week, and chances of tropical storm formation are much higher next week than they were this week.

Hawaii eyes Cosme
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands need to keep an eye on Tropical Depression Cosme, which is headed towards the islands and may impact their weather by Saturday. Cosme is struggling with 10-20 knots of wind shear and ocean temperatures of about 25 degrees C. Satellite imagery of the storm shows that the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has decreased some this morning, and it is possible that the unfavorable shear and SSTs will kill the depression before it encounters warmer waters and lower shear on Friday. If Cosme does survive the next 24 hours, it could re-intensify to a weak tropical storm and brush the Big Island of Hawaii on Saturday.


Figure 1. Sea Surface temperatures beneath Cosme were about 25 C (78 F), just below the 26 C threshold favorable for tropical cyclones. Cosme will be traversing a region of 24-25 C SSTs through Friday, then SSTs will warm to 25-26 as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday.

More on the National Hurricane Center controversy
In an article published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday, senior hurricane specialist James Franklin said that employees of the center were not coerced by NOAA management into signing the July 5 letter of no confidence against director Bill Proenza. This view was echoed by NHC's top administrator in an Orlando Sentinel article. Franklin outlined a variety of reasons why the staff lost confidence in Proenza--Proenza lacked experience in hurricane forecasting and showed little interest in learning the science, ignored his employees to the tune of 2000 unread email from them, and lied to the press about his employees' reaction to his reprimand from NWS chief Mary Glackin.

Also in the Houston Chronicle story is the revelation that Proenza never applied for the position of director of NHC. He was demoted into it, according to Daniel Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization. This raises the question, who put Proenza into the job? Why did they do it? Hopefully, this will get answered at today's congressional hearing. The list of people testifying include Bill Proenza; QuikSCAT expert Dr. Robert Atlas; emergency management officials who worked with Proenza; and the head of NOAA, Admiral Lautenbacher. With the exception of Lautenbacher, all these witnesses are likely to be allies of Proenza. Also testifying will be Dr. Jim Turner, deputy director of the federal agency NTIS (National Technical Information Service), who led the inspection team that showed up at NHC without notice on July 2. Dr. Turner's report was scheduled to be completed this Friday, July 20, but is now scheduled to be released to the Congressional panel today. Notably absent from the list of people called to testify is anyone from the National Hurricane Center. Also absent is a QuikSCAT science expert besides Dr. Atlas, who has thus far not addressed in his public comments, that I have seen, the very high uncertainties surrounding the impact of QuikSCAT data on track forecasts of landfalling hurricanes. In fact, in comments published in the Orlando Sentinel, Dr. Atlas claimed that Proenza's statement that loss of the loss of QuikSCAT could reduce the accuracy of hurricane-track forecasts by as much as 16 percent represents "the consensus of the scientific community." Well, that is not the case, as myself and senior hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center will attest to. I'll be sure to present a full analysis of the science presented--and the science left unsaid--at today's hearing.

The hearing charter for today's hearing raises these questions:

Why was Proenza chosen to be Director of the highest profiled Center at NOAA?

Beyond the items listed in the Glackin memorandum--which NOAA stresses was not a reprimand document and was not placed in Mr. Proenza's personnel file--are there any other actions that better justify the action to place Proenza on leave?

Why was there such a depth of dissatisfaction over Proenza's focus on a particular satellite?

What is needed to properly equip the Tropical Prediction Center, and are those resources available at this time?

Was the Tropical Prediction Center incapable of carrying out its core task of identifying, tracking and predicting hurricanes before the evaluation team was dispatched by Admiral Lautenbacher?

Jeff Masters

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210. benirica
5:14 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
i agree jp
it still doesnt look like much to me... just reminds me of the wave that was in the Caribbean earlier in the week or last week... there was the same ULL and it made the wave blow up and look intense, but it really wasnt anything...
i still have a hard time seeing where this one will form
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206. Drakoen
5:09 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
things are getting slightly more interesting. Buoy 42059 has this: (this buoy is in the same place as the mid level low)
Wind Direction (WDIR): ENE ( 70 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 7.8 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 9.7 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 5.2 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.3 sec
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.93 in
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.04 in ( Falling )
Air Temperature (ATMP): 80.2 F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 83.5 F
Dew Point (DEWP): 75.4 F
Heat Index (HEAT): 85.5 F


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205. Tazmanian
5:11 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
i see we have a vary nic spin her

Link
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204. benirica
5:10 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
hopefully ill get a break between 3 and 4 to drive into san juan... dont want to drive in these downpours, its never fun
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203. benirica
5:07 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
first thunder rolling in here in Puerto Rico now... its 1:09pm and its dark as night.
well the wave off of Africa isnt impressive because it just came off of the coast, dont they usually have to transition from being a land low to going into being on water? besides right at the coast it seems the water is colder.
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202. flaboyinga
5:06 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Has anyone heard from Patrap lately?
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201. mrpuertorico
1:07 PM AST on July 19, 2007
hey benerica duck and cover bad weather this afternoon and tonight for us
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200. Drakoen
5:04 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
the wave of Africa is not very impressive compared to when it was over land. We will have to see what it does during the nightime hours.
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199. stormybil
5:04 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
does anyone know where wave no 1 is it heading . thanks
198. Drakoen
5:03 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Tazmanian at 5:02 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

: Drakoen where is this wave going up to the gulf coast?


Its hard to tell. It depends on how strong it gets, if it does so. Its moving to the WNW.
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197. gthsii
4:59 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
drak: u posted a few nice IR shots of the africa coast yesterday i think that originated from meteosat...can you report?

edit: repost, i mean.
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196. homegirl
5:01 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
thx for those overview guygee, i don't have time to listen to the hearing but, i am very interested in what's being said!!
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195. kmanislander
5:01 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Drakoen at 5:01 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

Posted By: Tazmanian at 4:54 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

: Drakoen dos it have a ch of 97L?

If i can develop a SFC and maintain its convection throughout the nightitme hours.



AND : the ULL over the NW Caribbean gets out of the way !!
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194. Tazmanian
5:01 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
: Drakoen where is this wave going up to the gulf coast?
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193. Drakoen
4:59 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Tazmanian at 4:54 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

: Drakoen dos it have a ch of 97L?


If i can develop a SFC and maintain its convection throughout the nightitme hours.
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192. guygee
4:39 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Mr. Robinson and Mr. Don McKinnon, local emergency management officials from Texas testify strongly in favor of Bill Proenza's scientific contributions and leadership skills. They are being questioned alongside Dr. Atlas.

Dr. Atlas speaks towards the need for higher resolution data as input for high-resolution models.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) speaks in favor of NHC forecasters. Asks Atlas how NHC could improve.

Atlas points out the need to narrow the cone of uncertainty, and also the role that improved intensity forecasts should play in narrowing the cone.

Atlas, regarding potential loss of QuickSCAT, "...certainly if we do nothing, we will lose forecasting accuracy" then discusses mitigation plan that includes use of ASAT and increased airborne resources.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida):
Do we currently use ASAT?
Atlas: "No...its use is being evaluated but there are problems that need to be solved" (rough paraphrase)
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191. Tazmanian
4:58 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
where is this 97L may be going?
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190. benirica
4:56 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
hey i hadnt seen that wave comming off of Africa, nice spin to it, the convection was gone from the actual spot the spin comes from but it does look like its got alot of potential after these last waves paved the way
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189. benirica
4:54 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
ok heres the latest report from a local PR met...
40W wave at PR by monday...
wave comming off Africa doesnt have much dust to fight off and a tropical low is likely to form in the next day or so in the area.
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188. stormybil
4:54 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
is the wave moving nw . where is it heading . taz might be right on this one thanks
185. Tazmanian
4:53 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
: Drakoen dos it have a ch of 97L?
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184. homegirl
4:52 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
nexsat
nexsat image with quickscat overlay
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183. Drakoen
4:51 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Tazmanian at 4:49 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

wind shear is low!


yea shear is only 5 kts over the system.
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181. pottery2
12:43 PM AST on July 19, 2007
Trinidad weather now ( = piarco )
Temp 76
rain
94 % humid.
wind SSW 9 mph
press. 1014
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180. Tazmanian
4:49 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
wind shear is low!
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179. Drakoen
4:43 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
at least it has the upper level high with it.
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178. charley04survivor
4:41 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
If this had a SFC low, I think we'd see Chantal.
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177. benirica
4:35 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
as far as im concerned its already going to do what it would do either way, bring a load of rain to Puerto Rico, rain I really dont want right now honestly...
what keeps ringing in the back of my mind is how she mentioned that the wave that just came off of Africa is "interesting".
i usually trust this met very much, she doesnt tend to jump to conclusions and when Florida is threatened by a storm they usually take her over to the NHC to help out (for the latin community)
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176. Drakoen
4:39 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: bobw999 at 4:37 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

organized, for being disorganized.........


the reason i said that is because it doesn't have a SFC low.
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175. bobw999
12:37 PM EDT on July 19, 2007
Atlantic Wide View Link
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174. guygee
4:36 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Next Witness Dr. Robert Atlas ...Director of Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Points out QuickSCAT problems with rain contamination...

Atlas states that three forecasters from the Ocean Prediction Center told him, "It is the best tool we have."

For tropical prediction, states that QuickSCAT will detect tropical cyclogenesis before "cloud-based" satellite detection.

Points to 2003-season study supporting high value of QuickSCAT data as model input in tropical forecasting and also acknowledges conflicting results of similar Navy study.

"...we need a next-generation replacement for QuickSCAT..." (paraphrase).

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173. pottery2
12:18 PM AST on July 19, 2007
Hi all.
We have had 2 inch rain since midnight at 11n 61 w. Bright sky now.
Whats the position for the next few days ??
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172. Tazmanian
4:36 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
from the nhc

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico...

cloudiness and showers over the eastern Caribbean Sea and the Lesser
Antilles are associated with a west-northwestward moving tropical
wave. There are no signs of organization at this time...and any
development should be slow to occur.
Elsewhere...tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the
next 48 hours.
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171. bobw999
12:36 PM EDT on July 19, 2007
organized, for being disorganized.........
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170. charley04survivor
4:35 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
weathersp, I don't see how the wind field map confirms anything
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169. Drakoen
4:33 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
we will have to see how it fairs tonight. Local news stations have mixed views, better to stay with the NHC. It is still farily disorganized in my opnion.
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168. Tazmanian
4:34 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
STL talk to me
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167. weathersp
12:30 PM EDT on July 19, 2007
Go here to see the wind field map... The zoom out 2 clicks.. There is something going on down there. The Bouy confirms it...

Click me! and Zoom out 2 clicks!
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166. Drakoen
4:31 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
bobw999 that all depends on how strong the system gets.
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165. charley04survivor
4:31 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Local news just said there could be "slow development".
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164. benirica
4:30 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
met. in PR says this the wave is just interaction between the wave and the ULL making it blow up. but there will be constant rain atleast where I live (South East) until tomorrow (1 to 3 inches expected but 10 are possible if the flare up lasts).
no development too imminent.
also says that in her next intervention she is going to mention an "interesting wave that just came off of Africa"
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163. ryang
12:30 PM AST on July 19, 2007
Here's what i think, the southern part of the wave has to take over, absorb the northern part, also shear is lower to the south.
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162. Tazmanian
4:31 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
from the nhc

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico...

cloudiness and showers over the eastern Caribbean Sea and the Lesser
Antilles are associated with a west-northwestward moving tropical
wave. There are no signs of organization at this time...and any
development should be slow to occur.
Elsewhere...tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the
next 48 hours.
$$
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161. weatherblog
4:29 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Just finished watching the "tropical update" on Channel 7 news Miami.

They said it appears to be looking a little more organized but has a few limiting factors.
Then stated some slow development is possible...
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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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