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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326. ryang
2:42 PM AST on June 23, 2007
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321. pottery2
2:32 PM AST on June 23, 2007
FLBoy, I did not intend to shoot the messenger at all. Your link came up while I was posting, I think. In any event, its good to see so many posts on this subject (SAL). I'm trying to figure it all out, just like everyone else.
313. louastu
6:28 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
You're welcome.
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310. pottery2
2:21 PM AST on June 23, 2007
Nice, STL.
And your conclusion is.......???
309. louastu
6:22 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
To see the width of any image just right click on the image and go to properties (I believe width is the first dimension).
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308. louastu
6:20 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
Comments are stored by month so if you post a comment on a blog that regularly gets 1000+ comments in the middle of the month, then you will have to refresh it to see your comment.
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306. louastu
6:17 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
There is however a well defined organized sfc low off the african coast that shows no signs of loosing organization.

Systems off the African coast often look good for as much as 24 - 36 hours before completely collapsing. Chances are likely that this one will do the same.
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304. pottery2
2:06 PM AST on June 23, 2007
STL and FLBoy, thank you for those 2 infotmative links. Most interesting......
300. pottery2
1:55 PM AST on June 23, 2007
Hellsniper, the new wave of dry air/ dust moving off Africa is westing very quickly.It may even move faster than the wave of weather to its South leaving room for the trop. wave to continue. But I doubt it will. Your point about the dust in the atmosphere creating nuclei for droplets to form is well taken, but you will notice the rapid dissipation of the dust in the west central atlantic. Bear in mind that all things being equal, dust cant float about in moist air, and quickly falls to the ground ( as dust surounded by a film of moisture ) So generally, dust would indicate dry air.
299. Hellsniper223
6:03 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
FLboy.. lol.. Windshear foiled the 2006 season. We had an unexpected El Nino.
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296. Inyo
5:55 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
enso's all over the place right now
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295. Hellsniper223
5:48 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
Dust has nothing to do with tropical development. It is the dry air that generally goes along with it that inhibits things. If the atmosphere is moist, Dust cannot harm a system. If anything it'll provide more nucli for water to wrap around.
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294. stormybil
5:45 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
tracking the african wave does it have a chance to form ?
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293. stoormfury
5:31 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
good afternoon

Where is everyone? The tropics are extremely quiet,so most persons have gone to sleep. this slumber will be short lived,as we get into the month of july. The models have not been predicting anything, although is an impressive looking wave is exiting africa. Although the SAL looks dense, there is also sufficient moisture around to keep it moving across the CATL.
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290. WPBHurricane05
12:17 PM EDT on June 23, 2007

Looks like some warming coming off around S. America.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
289. pottery2
12:07 PM AST on June 23, 2007
Guyana weather now
pressure 1012
humidity 89 %
wind 2 mph ssw

Trinidad weather now
1012 falling
58 %
14 mph E
288. sporteguy03
3:52 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
Any comments on the amount of Upper Level Lows this year? Seems to be less then 06. Also Trofs don't really mean storms won't hit the US, in 04 there was a strong trof that brought Charley into FL. There seems to be more activity this year already then last year an invest in EATL, a massive build up of storm in the Carib, if this was July, August who knows.
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287. Patrap
10:59 AM CDT on June 23, 2007
GOES night time composite imagery Central Gulf


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140005
286. Patrap
10:49 AM CDT on June 23, 2007
WAVCIS GOM 60 hour WAVE model..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140005
285. TheCaneWhisperer
11:39 AM EDT on June 23, 2007
Using that theory STL! One could say that La Nina conditions were experienced in 2005, even though it was never officially classified. One could also say that about this year. Even if it is not classified until later in the year, conditions are still experienced. IMO, the difference this year is that it will be officially classified, and using that theory, could be a long lasting one as cold water still resides on the coast of Peru.
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282. kingstaggi
3:16 PM GMT on June 23, 2007

thank you
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281. weathermanwannabe
11:12 AM EDT on June 23, 2007
STL, if that theory of "lag time" holds true, then it may explain (in reverse) what happened last year when El Nino conditions, which were not expected per se, "killed" the season as a result of the increased shear...
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280. stormkat
3:14 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
guys im back on to make sure you dont get to excited with the rainmaker in the caribbean...the shear is much to strong for anything to develop anywhere in the gulf or caribbean...and guys this is june the african coast blob you see is normal lol...when it hits those cooler water temps it will sizzle..i told you nothing was going to develop for at least another 3 weeks....and thats only if the shear slackens...guys nothing has changed since i came on last i can assure you i am monitoring the tropics and nothing will develop anytime soon.i will notify you if something comes up..if anyone has any questions feel free to email me ...newbies are welcome...StormKat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
278. Skyepony (Mod)
3:00 PM GMT on June 23, 2007
Here's the Quikscat verification studies done by NWS..Should I e-mail this link to Mary????
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43364
276. TheCaneWhisperer
11:02 AM EDT on June 23, 2007
First time I seen that FLBoy! Makes sense.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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