Modiki El Niños and Atlantic hurricane activity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:48 PM GMT on July 08, 2009

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It's an El Niño year, which typically means that Atlantic hurricane activity will be reduced. But not all El Niño events are created equal when it comes to their impact on Atlantic hurricane activity. Over the past 150 years, hurricane damage has averaged $800 million/year in El Niño years and double that during La Niña years. The abnormal warming of the equatorial Eastern Pacific ocean waters in most El Niño events creates an atmospheric circulation pattern that brings strong upper-level winds over the Atlantic, creating high wind shear conditions unfavorable for hurricanes. Yet some El Niño years, like 2004, don't fit this pattern. Residents of Florida and the Gulf Coast will not soon forget the four major hurricanes that pounded them in 2004--Ivan, Frances, Jeanne, and Charley. Overall, the 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 6 intense hurricanes of the hyperactive hurricane season of 2004 killed over 3000 people--mostly in Haiti, thanks to Hurricane Jeanne--and did $40 billion in damage.

A new paper published in Science last Friday attempts to explain why some El Niño years see high Atlantic hurricane activity. "Impact of Shifting Patterns of Pacific Ocean Warming on North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones", by Georgia Tech researchers Hye-Mi Kim, Peter Webster, and Judith Curry, theorizes that Atlantic hurricane activity is sensitive to exactly where in the Pacific Ocean El Niño warming occurs. If the warming occurs primarily in the Eastern Pacific, near the coast of South America, the resulting atmospheric circulation pattern creates very high wind shear over the tropical Atlantic, resulting in fewer hurricanes. This pattern, called the Eastern Pacific Warming (EPW) pattern, occurred most recently during the El Niño years of 1997, 1987, and 1982 (Figure 1). In contrast, more warming occurred in the Central Pacific during the El Niño years of 2004, 2002, 1994, and 1991. The scientists showed that these Central Pacific Warming (CPW) years had lower wind shear over the Atlantic, and thus featured higher hurricane activity than is typical for an El Niño year. One of the paper's authors, Professor Peter J. Webster, said the variant Central Pacific Warming (CPW) El Niño pattern was discovered in the 1980s by Japanese and Korean researchers, who dubbed it modiki El Niño. Modiki is the Japanese word for "similar, but different".


Figure 1. Difference of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from average during the peak of hurricane season, August-September-October, for seven years that had El Niño events (except for 2009, when the SST anomaly for July 1 - 3 is plotted). On the left side are years when the El Niño warming primarily occurred in the Eastern Pacific (EPW years). On the right are years when the warming primarily occurred in the Central Pacific (CPW years). Shown on the top of each plot is the number of named storms (NS), hurricanes (H), and intense hurricanes (IH) that occurred in the Atlantic each year. Atlantic hurricane activity tends to be more prevalent in CPW years than EPW years. An average hurricane season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

What, then, can we expect the current developing El Niño event to do to 2009 hurricane activity? Kim et al. note that in recent decades, the incidence of modiki CPW El Niño years has been increasing, relative to EPW years. However, the preliminary pattern of SST anomalies in the Pacific observed so far in July (lower left image in Figure 1) shows an EPW pattern--more warming in the Eastern Pacific than the Central Pacific. If Kim et al.'s theory holds true, this EPW pattern should lead to an Atlantic hurricane season with activity lower than the average 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. There is still a possibility that the observed warming pattern could shift to the Central Pacific during the peak portion of hurricane season, however. We are still in the early stages of this El Niño, and it is unclear how it will evolve.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting presslord:
well....several saw it last night...but if you've nothing to hide then there's no issue...glad it's settled...

Agreed :)
Anyone who wants to see the email.. just ask for it on WUmail... more then happy to forward it.
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well....several saw it last night...but if you've nothing to hide then there's no issue...glad it's settled...
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Many was asking last night Whom was bashing Portlight........Humm....Maybe some might figure it out now.....History follows the same pattern...
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Quoting presslord:
gator...he posted it on the blog last night...then removed it...it was hardly private...


Nope.. it was never posted on the blog.
It was an email, I don't have anything to hide.

Your email reply was sent to me in a email.. and you posted your reply on the blog.

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gator...no argument here...thanks for the compliment...
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Quoting presslord:
gator...he posted it on the blog last night...then removed it...it was hardly private...


I dont want to get into a online arguement with two people i respect. I just think we can settle this civily
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gator...he posted it on the blog last night...then removed it...it was hardly private...
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Quoting presslord:
gator...I didn't say I did...

ok i just think he expressed his opinion to you politely in the privacy of an email an you posted it.
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ts arthur formed on the 14th of july 2002 and 2002 was eye catching year for some
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oh no, people play nice. We all use this blog in time of need. All of you have contributed to this blog and provided info and solace for many of us during storms.
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gator...I didn't say I did...
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I know i stepped away for an hour...maybe i better go for another HOur...PressLord you causing trouble again......What am i gonna do with you........LOL
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.Press Why do you want him banned?
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Quoting gator23:


???


It was a private email I sent to presslord.. apparently he wants to turn it into a blog war to have me banned from the blog...
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well its time for bed

anyway im out, night everyone
Quoting presslord:
yup...this is the kind of stuff he likes to do with his "hobby"

"Its bad enough having a charity pushed on the blog, its completely another to make up its own user name with multiple users..and then have you "quote" them with a remark like "Portlight...well said"

The defence of:

Quoting Portlight:
No one person is Portlight, but we are all Portlight...And tonight Press is not the person posting for Portlight either.

Is pure BS, unless your trying to say everyone on the blog is "we are all Portlight", or a no one?

I don't have a problem with Portlight as a charity... I do have a problem when that charity starts to infringe on my hobby to try and sell stuff."

he's not a nice guy...


???
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ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!
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I am not going to play your game :)
If you want to post private emails, not blog posts on the blog... have a ball :)
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Sydney Videography
Link

More video's on the right menu
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Quoting KeepItSimple:
Dear God...When are the Admins gonna ban Orca from spamming this blog with his silly little amateurish blog?!?!!?!


I like Orcas' blog, I think its informative

Also um in case you didnt know, most of this site is amateurs lol, good ones but they are amateurs lol
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Plenty of active seasons have had the 1st storm form after July 10th


Correct, let me rephrase. A season that is slow to begin.
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Quoting gator23:

I had July 10-12 the average day for this. If I am wrong than it is officially a slow season as we don't have a named stormed on the average days.


Plenty of active seasons have had the 1st storm form after July 10th
Quoting hahaguy:

Don't feel bad mine was June 14th LOL.

I had July 10-12 the average day for this. If I am wrong than it is officially a slow season as we don't have a named stormed on the average days.
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too me El Niño is here
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115107
Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah, it's weird. Last year, it forecast the genesis of Bertha a week out.

This year, it develops major hurricanes in areas where there is no disturbance to take advantage of favorable conditions.


yeah, i think it is so slow that the models don't even know what to do...lol
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting extreme236:


It hasn't done terrible in the past but not too good this year.


Yeah, it's weird. Last year, it forecast the genesis of Bertha a week out.

This year, it develops major hurricanes in areas where there is no disturbance to take advantage of favorable conditions.
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Link
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah dude, tell me about it.

It has certainly gained a lot of notoriety this year due to its consistent forecasting of ghost storms.


It hasn't done terrible in the past but not too good this year.
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The GFS's track record is very poor this year as far as TC Genesis goes. I will take it with a grain of salt until there is Strong support from other Global Models.
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
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Quoting extreme236:


I don't really trust the GFS right now.


Yeah dude, tell me about it.

It has certainly gained a lot of notoriety this year due to its consistent forecasting of ghost storms.
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AOI

AOI
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

I think GFS can answer this


I don't really trust the GFS right now.
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Heading out... but before doing so. Want to leave a little something to make you laugh a bit... who knows it might come true.

CFS at 22HR (July 17th) frontal area stalls like always in FL with trailing end in the GOM.. and by 26HR (July 19th) there's a low pressure area starting to develop in the SE GOM heading slowly NE.

Another one... @ 90HR (Aug 20th) on the ECFL coast.

Made me laugh but you never know... good night.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
So is there anything of tropical interest out there at all? Cause looking around---I just don't see it.


As pat would say, nuthin'.

Wave approaching carib has the highest potential in terms of non-fish activity, but dry, dry, dry out there.

Visual that comes to mind is an old movie and a mummy coming to life coughing dust.
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Quoting extreme236:


Um, no one can really answer this.

I think GFS can answer this
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Upon first glace I thought maybe someone had an International House of Pancakes fly overhead.

That might require interesting weather.
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Quoting delstonejr:
Looks to me like this will be a traditional El Nino year. Good.


Kind of early to determine this.
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Quoting cctexgal:
Just watched the International Space Station fly over the house. Then ran back inside to cool off.

BAH! I set an alarm on my cell phone... then promptly forgot to take my phone off silent. booo
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Looks to me like this will be a traditional El Nino year. Good.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
when will we see ts ana


Um, no one can really answer this.
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Quoting cctexgal:
Just watched the International Space Station fly over the house. Then ran back inside to cool off.
Yea I caught it too. Clouds covered it part of the way but still real cool
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when will we see ts ana
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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.