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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when will we see ts ana
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Then the Washington Monument wouldn't fit, being 555 feet tall. So if it doesn't fit, you must acquit!


Ohhhhhh, myyyyyy...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting hahaguy:

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


yea but stayed tuned after the season, I think we will have a classified unnamed storm or two

if 90L is upgraded in post-season then I think the date would be May 23rd

If 92L is the first to be upgraded in post-season then it would be June 3rd.
Just watched the International Space Station fly over the house. Then ran back inside to cool off.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Lordy I should keep my yap shut. Tomorrow was my guess for date of the first Atlantic tropical storm. Guess that is going by the wayside too.

Don't feel bad mine was June 14th LOL.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Then the Washington Monument wouldn't fit, being 555 feet tall. So if it doesn't fit, you must acquit!


Something that happens a lot in Washington lol
Quoting Ossqss:
Ya just never know what you find on the net. This quote is from the link I posted on manhole covers. Admin, its presslords fault:) Gnite all, and make it a great day tomorrow !

According to urban legend, a manhole cover was accidentally launched from its shaft during an underground nuclear test in the 1950s, at great enough speed to achieve escape velocity. The myth is based on a real incident during the Operation Plumbbob nuclear tests, where a heavy (900 kg) steel plate cap was blasted off the test shaft at an unknown velocity, and appears as a blur on a single frame of film of the test; it was never recovered. A calculation before the event gave a predicted speed of six times Earth escape velocity, but the calculation is unlikely to have been accurate and they did not believe that it would leave the Earth in reality. After the event, Dr. Robert R. Brownlee described the best estimate of the cover's speed from the photographic evidence as "going like a bat



Is Plumbbob related to Spongebob? lol
Quoting presslord:
well..there is actually a monument to Martha Washington next to the George Washington monument...it's a 480' foot hole in the ground...


Wow thats so wrong lol
Ya just never know what you find on the net. This quote is from the link I posted on manhole covers. Admin, its presslords fault:) Gnite all, and make it a great day tomorrow !

According to urban legend, a manhole cover was accidentally launched from its shaft during an underground nuclear test in the 1950s, at great enough speed to achieve escape velocity. The myth is based on a real incident during the Operation Plumbbob nuclear tests, where a heavy (900 kg) steel plate cap was blasted off the test shaft at an unknown velocity, and appears as a blur on a single frame of film of the test; it was never recovered. A calculation before the event gave a predicted speed of six times Earth escape velocity, but the calculation is unlikely to have been accurate and they did not believe that it would leave the Earth in reality. After the event, Dr. Robert R. Brownlee described the best estimate of the cover's speed from the photographic evidence as "going like a bat

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
but I like Tampas' answer too

Everything manmade in this world is as such because women behind the men made them do it their way lol


oh um except the Washington Monument LOL
but I like Tampas' answer too

Everything manmade in this world is as such because women behind the men made them do it their way lol
Quoting Seastep:
Part of my not realizing the power... and regret it, but I didn't shutter up the second floor in the back of my house for Wilma. By all accounts, it would pass to the N, so in the progression of things, that side of my house would only get the very beginning and not close to straight on at that.

After it, though, I got lucky. Jog to the S and I may have been in deep.

The regret is not setting up video up there! It would have been nice, first-hand, at home video.

I watched screens being blown away through those windows.

Needless to say, that was the only opportunity for video from this house. ;)

It will be interesting to see how that wave evolves as it gets into the carib.

Unlike earlier in the season, not a lot of complex patterns to watch.


Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

May we finally get Ana???
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I think the better question is why are manholes round?

Because women felt it was the easiest shape to use to have men fall through it lol
Quoting presslord:
not a trick question...an engineering question...


It's so they won't fall in...


That's exactly right. Ha ,,,, Very good press, my learnin is done for the day .....LoL

Link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Sorry, didn't mean for the additional indulgence.

No more stories.

Can anyone tell that the MIL is here?

Important stuff to do on the 'puter. ;)
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weather.com: The drought situation in Texas is getting worse and worse. Unless a tropical cyclone (or remnants) sits over the arid state, there is no end in sight to this terrible drought.

Areas of the state deemed to be in an extreme and exceptional drought have grown since the beginning of the year. The circled values point out that percentage increase.

A heat wave has begun in Texas and will continue at least through the weekend with temperatures soaring well above the 100 degree mark.

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So they won't fall in.
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Texas drought...

Link
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Part of my not realizing the power... and regret it, but I didn't shutter up the second floor in the back of my house for Wilma. By all accounts, it would pass to the N, so in the progression of things, that side of my house would only get the very beginning and not close to straight on at that.

After it, though, I got lucky. Jog to the S and I may have been in deep.

The regret is not setting up video up there! It would have been nice, first-hand, at home video.

I watched screens being blown away through those windows.

Needless to say, that was the only opportunity for video from this house. ;)
Quoting Chicklit:


Link

From 8 PM NHC Discussion:
TROPICAL WAVES...

A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 47W/48W S OF 17N MOVING W 15-20 KT. THIS WAVE IS JUST W OF A DEEP LAYER MOISTURE MAXIMUM OBSERVED ON TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY. A LARGE AREA OF SAHARAN DUST SURROUNDS THE WAVE THAT COVERS THE TROPICAL ATLC E OF 55W TO W AFRICA. WITH THE DRY SAHARAN AIR LAYER SURROUNDING THE WAVE...NO DEEP CONVECTION IS IN THE VICINITY OF THE WAVE.


It will be interesting to see how that wave evolves as it gets into the carib.

Unlike earlier in the season, not a lot of complex patterns to watch.
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Just to spice things up Chiklit, there may be something to that wave:

Link
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not a trick question...an engineering question...


It's so they won't fall in...
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Chicklit,

You are absolutely correct, we just have to be patient.
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Good try Tampa...but incorrect...
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Quoting presslord:
Trivia question: Why are manhole covers round?



OK, I will bite, but I smell a trick question,,,,,. LOL
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting presslord:
Trivia question: Why are manhole covers round?


Because a woman wanted it round....LOL
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Trivia question: Why are manhole covers round?
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Link

Shear Map
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Link

From 8 PM NHC Discussion:
TROPICAL WAVES...

A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 47W/48W S OF 17N MOVING W 15-20 KT. THIS WAVE IS JUST W OF A DEEP LAYER MOISTURE MAXIMUM OBSERVED ON TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY. A LARGE AREA OF SAHARAN DUST SURROUNDS THE WAVE THAT COVERS THE TROPICAL ATLC E OF 55W TO W AFRICA. WITH THE DRY SAHARAN AIR LAYER SURROUNDING THE WAVE...NO DEEP CONVECTION IS IN THE VICINITY OF THE WAVE.
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Link

Something's going to spin up one of these days... Goodnight!
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Lot's of rain. A couple of roads have been closed. Manhole covers popping off etc. So, I moved my plants over to the rain side of the porch : )
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Yea, they both launched from KSC atop a Delta II in 2003, the closest approach mars did to earth in many thousands of years.

REMINDER: Space Shuttle Endeavour set to launch Saturday @ 7:39 PM.

Thanks for that.
I may actually take a ride down to Merritt Island Wildlife Preserve in Titusville Saturday to watch the launch, although I can see it from the beach here, about 30 miles north of there, and about 50 miles north of launch site. It's amazing to watch every time. I was teaching middle school the day of the Challenger disaster, and we saw it break up overhead...knew it was wrong by the uncharacteristic cloud pattern.
LinkLink
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As a visual for those that may be complacent due to the "won't happen to me" factor...

It is etched in my brain. Going to check out the office after finally being able to get out to a main street, the street signs were folded in half.

They say, on post season analysis only a cat2 coming through here, but if you look at the loops, a nasty, dirty band came barreling through here at the end.

Powerful... beyond imagination... until you experience it.
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Miss Universe representatives from around the world will be in the Bahamas on 23rd August 2009 for the crowning Miss Universe 2009.
I hope no TD,TS or higher will be in the vicinity.
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Seastep + Florida = 2004

Wilma + Florida = 2005
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Quoting hahaguy:


Wilma was in 2005.
Did he say Wilma was in 2004 or did he say he moved to Fla in 2004. He said he was only lurking before Wilma.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Wilma was weird in Central Florida

50mph winds and 50 degree temps


I remember that week from up here in Ohio from a different low near Cleveland... It snowed here. I doubt Wilma had anything major to do with it but it was still odd because they were talking about them at the same time on TV so often.
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Quoting Weather456:
Mars is probably by far the most fascinating planet. It is also the most studied. Spirit and Opportunity are the best. I was so excited when they were launched and arrived safely in 2004.


Yea, they both launched from KSC atop a Delta II in 2003, the closest approach mars did to earth in many thousands of years.

REMINDER: Space Shuttle Endeavour set to launch Saturday @ 7:39 PM.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23663
Got up to 100 here today...ughhhh

Is this high ever going to move, except for like 3 days or so...?
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Quoting Seastep:
In 2004, they all passed N. I'm in N broward... Coral springs.


They both hit me in St. Lucie . =/
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Mars is probably by far the most fascinating planet. It is also the most studied. Spirit and Opportunity are the best. I was so excited when they were launched and arrived safely in 2004.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I have a story for 2005 (I see those eyes rolling).

Putting up shutters and my lung collapsed. Called spontaneous pneumo something-or-other.

Spend 7 days in ICU, with no one visiting you for half of that and NO CABLE!
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Quoting aquak9:
heck haha we had so many storms we couldn't even keep track of'm.

C'mon...WILMA?? We had to use the greek alphabet that year, I mean it was ridiculous! So forgive'm if he got the year wrong. We were lucky to remember our own names after that.


Wilma was weird in Central Florida

50mph winds and 50 degree temps
The rain sang, but the dog howled. Never wanna go thru a year like that again.
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In 2004, they all passed N. I'm in N broward... Coral springs.
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heck haha we had so many storms we couldn't even keep track of'm.

C'mon...WILMA?? We had to use the greek alphabet that year, I mean it was ridiculous! So forgive'm if he got the year wrong. We were lucky to remember our own names after that.
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Yes, it was, haha (love your dry humor btw... fits your avatar perfectly), that is why I was only a lurker.

Shuttered up 3 times at least in 2004 (over 20 windows).

Then... 2005... welcome to FL. ;)
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Quoting Seastep:
One word for me, aquak. Wilma.

Was lurking before that (moved to FL in 2004), but all in after that. Rocked my world, both personally and professionally.

Bottom line. I was NOT prepared.


Wilma was in 2005.
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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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