Probe recommends Proenza's permanent removal; Atlantic and Hawaiian tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2007

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At a Congressional hearing yesterday, results of the independent probe sent by NOAA to investigate management problems at the National Hurricane Center were presented by Dr. Jim Turner. Dr. Turner is deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was leader of the independent team of five people sent to NHC on July 2. Their report (Attachment 9) recommended the permanent removal of Bill Proenza as director of NHC (also called the Tropical Prediction Center, or TPC):

"The current TPC director should be reassigned and not be allowed to return to his position at the center. This should be done due to his failure to demonstrate leadership within the TPC rather than his public statements about the QuikSCAT satellite or NOAA leadership."

In his testimony, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Conrad Lautenbacher, presented some very damaging evidence against Mr. Proenza. Lautenbacher's written testimony includes a letter (Attachment 2) providing a detailed description of a conference call requested by 11 NHC employees (including 7 of 9 of the hurricane forecasters), with the acting head of the National Weather Service, Mary Glackin. If you want to better understand the NHC controversy, read Attachment 2 describing what was said during the June 19 meeting.

I'll make one more post this afternoon analyzing the science of what was presented at the Congressional hearing. Then, it's time to let this issue fade until the next Congressional hearing on the issue, tentatively planned for December or January. The tropics are starting to heat up, and it's time to focus on the coming hurricane season.

Tropical wave near Puerto Rico
A tropical wave near Puerto Rico is spreading clouds and thunderstorms over a wide area of the Eastern Caribbean, northern Lesser Antilles Islands, and surrounding waters. This wave is under about 20-30 knots of wind shear, thanks to the presence of an upper-level low pressure system to its northwest (Figure 1). This upper low is expected to stay in place an continue to bring hostile wind shear to the area the next few days. I don't expect the shear will allow anything to develop from this tropical wave.


Figure 1. Water vapor image from this morning showing the tropical wave near Puerto Rico, and the upper level low with dry air (dark colors) to its northwest. This upper level low sucking in moist air from the tropical wave, and is bringing hostile wind shear of 20-30 knots over it.

We will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday, when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. Most of the models are predicting the formation of a low pressure system along the tail end of this front by Sunday. This low may be an ordinary extratropical storm--or possibly a subtropical storm--due to the presence of high wind shear. NHC has put a Hurricane Hunter aircraft on standby to investigate the region on Sunday afternoon, if necessary. Even if the low is extratropical, it may be able to suck up plenty of tropical moisture and douse the mid-Atlantic coast and/or New England with heavy rains as early as Monday.

Cosme to skirt Hawaii
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands can relax a bit now, as it appears that Tropical Depression Cosme, will pass well south of the Big Island on Saturday. The edges of the outermost spiral bands will probably bring rains of 1-3 inches to the east side of the Big Island. Wind shear has fallen to 5-10 knots, and ocean temperatures are beginning to warm to 80F under the storm, and I expect Cosme will regain minimal tropical storm strength by Saturday. Satellite imagery of the storm shows that the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has remained about constant so far today.

Jeff Masters

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218. Drakoen
6:54 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
look like the wave is still near the African coast.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30614
217. weatherboykris
6:52 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Actually jp,the gradual increase in track accuracy has been constant in the past 30 years,and did not accelerate with the advent of the QS.BBL.
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216. MissBennet
6:51 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: msphar at 6:48 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.

Sorry Miss Bennet not PC the other Bob's of the world might object.


We could call it a Thing-A-Ma-BLOB instead.. .it would be a little more fitting for this blog, and the Bobs of the world could breath a bit easier. =)

Thatcha think?
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214. MTJax
6:49 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Being I am in graphical mode today, lets do a pre-season briefing on symbols for those who might have forgotten over the long winter.

Graphical Products Legend
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213. msphar
6:44 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Sorry Miss Bennet not PC the other Bob's of the world might object.
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210. MTJax
6:44 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
closer views
Specialized Tropical Surface Analysis - CAR
Specialized Tropical Surface Analysis - CAR


24 hour Wind/Wave Forecasts
24 hour Wind/Wave Forecasts
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209. guygee
6:44 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I agree jp. Admiral Lautenbacher, who demoted Proenza to Director of NHC without Proenza even requesting the position, more or less said at the hearings yesterday, "I hope QuickSCAT lasts through this hurricane season". Not an exact quote, but close enough.

He hopes...
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208. MissBennet
6:42 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: MisterPerfect at 6:06 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
Deadly-Damaging-Whirly-Windy-Thing-A-Ma-Bob


Can we just replace the word "hurricane" with this phrase in all future posts? =) I was giggling and my Co-worker was looking at me oddly
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207. MisterPerfect
6:39 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
where will we be if the QS dies tomorrow? answer me that!

Right where we were before we blasted it up to begin with. Its not like one satellite protects citizens from being blown away over night. We still send hurricane hunter aircraft into storms even WITH a satellite in orbit.
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206. gthsii
6:39 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
thanks daytona...u dont have script error warnings turned off by any chance? do you see a little warning triangle at the bottom left of your status bar when the page finishes laoding? the error message I get indicates a missing object. i've noted a bunch of sites not quite perfectly supported on ie7 yet. i'm a web developer and have my options set to give me a warning for every js error.
205. DaytonaBeachWatcher
6:39 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
yes i do run ie-7 and dont have a prob
Member Since: June 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
204. gthsii
6:36 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Anyone surfing this blog running IE7? I'm getting javascript errors with each page reload...wondering if anyone else is.
203. moonlightcowboy
6:34 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Here's one, Jp.

Link
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202. eye
6:33 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
jp, right here blogging about blobs
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201. gthsii
6:33 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
he tried to play Leap-Frog with too tall of a totem pole

that is one heck of a visual
200. moonlightcowboy
6:33 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Great analysis, StormW. Really like your blog!

Posted by StormW:

Wind shear is now prevalent just NE of Hispaniola, and extends eastward a way, and then NEWD out into the Atlantic. (1)One will note on wind shear, that it is becoming more prevalent in cellular form, vice being associated with any TUTT (Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trof).

(2)Models agree in about 72-90 hours on more favorable upper level winds over the entire Caribbean and central Atlantic, but keep shear over the east coast of the U.S., and set it up as well over the GOMEX in about 96-120 hours.


Questions:
(1) means small pockets of shear?
(2) broke wave at 68w,15n may still be favorable for development?

TIA
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197. texascanecaster1
6:27 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
??? jp does the nhc really favor this thing THAT much??? that is RIDICULOUS. this thing is DEAD except for the wave now moving throguh the lower carib. the coordinates i put up represnt the tip edn of the second piece of the wave the on with the disturbance. how can they like it that much. it will not develop it is dead.
196. MisterPerfect
6:24 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
what did Proenza do? and what is the big deal about now? and why is it so important?

NHC Director means exactly what it says. It does not give you the authority to criticize and micro-manage budget problems and fiscal spending. In other words, he tried to play Leap-Frog with too tall of a totem pole.
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194. benirica
6:21 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
theres a third ULL in the west carib
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193. texascanecaster1
6:21 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
look to the points: 74 deg. west and 16 deg. north. you will see that the tropical wave has separted from the disturbance and is continuing on into the caribean. this spot is in very favorable conditions for development and has weak wave related rotation and moderate convection. That is the area that could do something.



also look at the new sfc anylysis map it shows that the wave has broken Link
192. benirica
6:17 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
thanks guygee thats what i was looking for and now i see the real reason why this IS a big deal.
not just because he was the director of the National Deadly-Damaging-Whirly-Windy-Thing-A-Ma-Bob Center
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
191. MTJax
6:17 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
...TROF CLOSING OFF OVER THE ERN US...
NAM IS FASTER AND MORE AMPLIFIED THAN GFS WITH S/WV DROPPING THRU
THE ERN OH VALLEY LATE D1...ULTIMATELY RESULTING IN A CLOSED MID
LEVEL CENTER FARTHER S OVER THE CENTRAL APPALACHIANS BY D3.
CONSEQUENTLY...NAM IS ALSO S OF GFS WITH SFC WAVE TAKING SHAPE OFF
THE MID ATL COAST LATE D2 INTO D3. BOTH THE HIGHLY RESOLVED 00Z
ECMWF AND 12Z GEM REGIONAL/GLOBAL MODELS LEND MORE SUPPORT TO THE
WAY THE NAM HANDLES THE S/WV OVER THE OH VALLEY D1 AND SUBSEQUENT
MID LEVEL VORTEX OVER THE APPALACHIANS BY D3. GEM GLOBAL IS
SLIGHTLY N OF THE NAM...AND WITH THE LATEST UKMET ALSO FARTHER
N...WILL SUGGEST A SLIGHT NWD ADJUSTMENT OF THE STRONG NAM/ECWMF
CONSENSUS.

MODEL TRENDS...

...TROF CLOSING OFF OVER THE ERN US...
NAM AND GFS HAVE TRENDED WWD WITH THE MID LEVEL CENTER OF VORTEX
OVER THE MID ATL STATES D3.

$$
CISCO
MODEL BIASES AT WWW.HPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV
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190. MTJax
6:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Monday off Alabama coast and off the Carolina coast

DAY 3 SFC PROGRAM
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188. guygee
6:00 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: benirica at 5:59 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
what did Proenza do? and what is the big deal about now? and why is it so important?

benrica - I don't want to cause another political argument here...Dr. Masters' has covered one side of the story pretty well in his recent blogs.

The opposing view is that Proenza was set up to be eliminated from his former high-ranking position in NOAA because he was a "whistleblower" who criticized NOAA's complete negligence in timely building and launching a replacement for QuickSCAT, and also his criticism of NOAA for spending millions of dollars on an anniversary celebration while his forecasters dealt with budget shortfalls and $700,000 that was cut from a hurricane research project. In this view, his removal was "engineered" at top levels of NOAA and the Commerce Department, and was made to look like a "revolution" from below by lies told to NHC forecasters about funding trade-offs and threats to their careers.
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187. benirica
6:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
hmm..
right
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186. MTJax
6:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
TROPICAL WAVE MOVING INTO THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN IS ALONG 69W S
OF 18N. SOME OF THE ENERGY ASSOCIATED WITH THIS WAVE APPEARS TO
HAVE BROKEN OFF TO THE N OF PUERTO RICO...AND IS POISED TO TRACK
NWWD AROUND THE PERIPHERY OF THE ATLC SFC RIDGE. THIS PORTION IS
BEING ANALYZED AS A TROUGH N OF PUERTO RICO. THE CARIBBEAN
PORTION IS TRACKING WWD 15-20 KT. ASSOCIATED SCATTERED
SHOWERS/ISOLATED TSTMS ARE FROM 15N-19N BETWEEN 68W-75W.


ATLANTIC OCEAN...
THE MAIN AREA OF FOCUS THIS AFTERNOON CONTINUES TO BE THE N
PORTION OF THE CARIBBEAN TROPICAL WAVE THAT IS NOW BEING
ANALYZED AS A SURFACE TROUGH ALONG 24N65W 19N68W. THIS...ALONG
WITH UPPER DIFFLUENCE BETWEEN THE UPPER LOW NEAR 26N67W AND AN
UPPER RIDGE EXTENDING NNE FROM THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...IS
SUPPORTING THE DISORGANIZED CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS EXTENDING NE
FROM PUERTO RICO INTO THE ATLANTIC FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE CURRENTLY NOT FAVORABLE FOR
DEVELOPMENT...BUT COULD BECOME MORE FAVORABLE DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS. ANOTHER CLUSTER OF MODERATE CONVECTION IS
ROTATING AROUND THE NE PERIPHERY OF THE UPPER LOW N OF 28N
BETWEEN 61W-66W. LIGHTNING DATA AGAIN SHOWS ISOLATED TSTMS IN
THE FAR WRN ATLC...MOSTLY OVER THE GULF STREAM AND AHEAD OF A
COLD FRONT MOVING TOWARDS THE SE US. ANOTHER BROAD UPPER LOW IS
NEAR 27N50W...SUPPORTING ISOLATED TSTMS N OF 26N BETWEEN
49W-53W. THE REMAINDER OF THE DISCUSSION AREA IS WIDELY
DOMINATED BY THE SRN PERIPHERY OF A STATIONARY 1033 MB HIGH NEAR
38N42W. THIS IS PRODUCING ABUNDANT FAIR WEATHER AND MODERATE
TRADES E OF 45W. THE TRADES ARE LITTLE STRONGER WITHIN 400 NM OF
THE AFRICAN COAST N OF 20N...WHERE THE GRADIENT REMAINS TIGHTER.
A FAIRLY DENSE AREA OF AFRICAN DUST NOTED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE
TROPICAL WAVE NEAR 47W...MOST CONCENTRATED E OF 30W.

$$
WILLIS
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185. Drakoen
6:06 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
i didn't think the coordinates suggested something of the Carolina coast...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30614
184. MisterPerfect
6:03 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
what did Proenza do?

He angered his staff in more than one way.


and what is the big deal about now?

Someone always has to take the blame in Washington.


and why is it so important?

He was the director of the National Deadly-Damaging-Whirly-Windy-Thing-A-Ma-Bob Center which main job is to inform the people of danger.
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183. hurricane23
2:03 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Recon is set to fly cause of the possibilty of some development of the carolina's.Not looking for a pure tropical system as upper levels winds will be fast.
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182. Drakoen
6:01 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
yea Adrian thats what i am wondering. They do say however that conditions will become more favorable so we will see.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30614
181. hurricane23
1:58 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
000
NOUS42 KNHC 201330
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0930 AM EDT FRI 20 JULY 2007
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 21/1100Z TO 22/1100Z JULY 2007
TCPOD NUMBER.....07-058

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: PSBL LOW LEVEL INVEST
NEAR 33N AND 66W FOR 22/1800Z.

II.PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
WVW

Not sure for what cause there's nothing out there worth flying into but indeed its getting to that time of year were things can pop up.
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180. stoormfury
5:55 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
the SAL is weakening. Is this a precursor of things to come for the remainder of the ALT hurricane season?



Link
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179. IKE
12:57 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: hurricane23 at 12:43 PM CDT on July 20, 2007.
There in control for now...


They helped kill the 2006 Atlantic season...they killed the last wave before this one....and their doing a number on it right now.
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178. benirica
5:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
sorry for the dumb and ignorant question, but ive been trying to ignore the political blabber on here for the past weeks and i guess now i cant ignore it and im curious...
what did Proenza do? and what is the big deal about now? and why is it so important?
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
177. Drakoen
5:56 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
lol misterperfect.
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176. WPBHurricane05
1:56 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
MP- Oh my!! LOL!!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
175. MisterPerfect
5:55 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
STOP THE WITCH HUNT!!


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174. benirica
5:47 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
the wave near africa does have a shot, not a big one, but the road ahead of it is not the same road the other waves weve seen have had to cross...
those last waves have made this a nicer road and gives it just a touch of a better chance...
but there still is dry air to the west of it, so we'll see
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
173. CJ5
5:43 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: Patrap at 4:46 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
I hope Cheney dont have the Codes. Id hate to see him shoot France in the Face..


That would be a blessing.
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172. hurricane23
1:42 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
There in control for now...

ull
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171. stormybil
5:40 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
thanks for that link pat does the new africa wave have a shot to develope ?
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170. guygee
5:26 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Nice link CaneWhisperer.

Posted By: MelbourneTom at 5:15 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
...
What happens to the ULL when it suddenly gets this much moisture?

At the upper levels it pulls the air down and dries it out. A lot of moisture would help weaken the ULL, but those ULLs look too vigorous to be filled in by the wave.
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169. Patrap
12:28 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
The Mosaic Atlantic and Globe Stitched..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090

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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.