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 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.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
292. DDR
Quoting Weather456:
If anyone missed it:

Solar System's Wild Weather

I hope to get a blog on recurvature of TCs 2mr.

Interesting topic,reminds me of NGC's 'The Universe' space and the planets orbit the sun,very fascinating.

Member Since: April 27, 2007 Posts: 14 Comments: 1729
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.
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Quoting aquak9:
And you may ask yourself--- well...how did I get here?

And the blogs go by...

Aqua...do me a favor and send me a message.
Just want to check on things.
And I'd keep an eye out for that tropical wave near 35. Something's spinning maybe.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:


Typhoon Watch for region of Northern Phillipines, southern Japan island (Okinawa), Taiwan, and southeastern China!


I have friends from Taiwan but not sure they are into checking weather like I am. That said, I'm a novice -- is the Typhoon watch enough of a threat that I should mention it to them?
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I hope to get the Southeast Weather blog back up and running tomorrow.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
And you may ask yourself--- well...how did I get here?

And the blogs go by...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 177 Comments: 26644
Yes! 456, caught that earlier. Good stuff. Pics alone are worth the read.

Many thanks.
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If anyone missed it:

Solar System's Wild Weather

I hope to get a blog on recurvature of TCs 2mr.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
And atmo... I did lift my left hand and look at my right elbow... no licking, though. Had to visualize. ;)
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lol atmo.

I'm here. Currently watching the wave over the yucatan based on the PTHMF index.

Mood seems good to me. We got a nice evening update from StormW. It's been civil. We've seen some humor and good lighthearted stuff. From weird tornado stuff to skating babies.

I'm certainly not complaining.

Do I have to break out the pics of my relatives from WV? :)
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Quoting atmoaggie:


No better or worse than usual. I am trying to lighten my own mood a little...annoying tech issues at work and home on vastly different computers festering in the back of brain during every waking moment lately. Maybe I will lighten the mood in here in the same stroke...couldn't hurt.

Jokes at my expense are ok...just only throw if you can catch.

I see the guys were a bit funny earlier. Good.


Try this, if you can make it through the 3 short videos :)

Found it while looking for some mixed music. I used to DJ many moons ago and it caught my eye. I learned some things from this even though I didn't want to. Its about all of us in the end. All 3 or don't waste your time.

L8RLink
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Hi everyone whats new when will I see development
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Quoting atmoaggie:


No better or worse than usual. I am trying to lighten my own mood a little...annoying tech issues at work and home on vastly different computers festering in the back of brain during every waking moment lately. Maybe I will lighten the mood in here in the same stroke...couldn't hurt.

Jokes at my expense are ok...just only throw if you can catch.

I see the guys were a bit funny earlier. Good.


Well I am new to this site and I knew what you were trying to do with those two posts, so its all good,

your middle line about the jokes is very good advice.
Quoting Drakoen:


Are you okay...mentally?


No better or worse than usual. I am trying to lighten my own mood a little...annoying tech issues at work and home on vastly different computers festering in the back of brain during every waking moment lately. Maybe I will lighten the mood in here in the same stroke...couldn't hurt.

Jokes at my expense are ok...just only throw if you can catch.

I see the guys were a bit funny earlier. Good.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
If anyone else can see this wave with your left hand...and lick your right elbow.

EDIT: Oh, goody. I can see my own posts, now. Thanks for waving you guys, but I didn't see anyone licking their elbows.


Are you okay...mentally?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
If anyone else can see this wave with your left hand...and lick your right elbow.

EDIT: Oh, goody. I can see my own posts, now. Thanks for waving you guys, but I didn't see anyone licking their elbows.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
What's going on here? Did I put myself on ignore? Probably deserved it...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


stay safe over there!


Thanks SRT. Hope you got some rain. We finally did for about 10 minutes lol. That's so weird how those things can pop up out of nowhere. Geesh! I think round 2 is coming from the east. Hopefully it's not as angry as that one.

Weather Student I'm sorry I missed your question. I saw the story on the weather channel. I think it happened yesteday but they didn't mention any injuries or anything. Apparently they thought it as a tornado but NWS said it was strait line winds. Now I understand the importance of those Thunder storm warnings. I knew the lightning was bad but didn't realize the winds could be so strong and not be a tornado.
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Careful for what you wish for. Our first real rain in a month's time came with downtrees (commonly heard as one word on NOAA radio), some roof damage, no power for 6 hours, etc.

Then it rained. And rained. And rained a couple of days later. Rinse and repeat. And if you call now we'll send two more weeks of rain for the price of one.



Soggy under the 200% of normal rainfall during the last 14 days. (and my sky isn't that blue.)

Now a trip into the yard makes me sing a certain little song by GNR.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
OSS---

lol! that is amazing...haha! needed that laugh
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What was the year of 92 deemed: El Nino like Modoki or La Nina (neutral or not?)
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
456,where is the wave that you are following that is still inside Africa,that now GFS in its 18z run,gives some life to it?

Link

Quoting Weather456:


One near the prime meridian and the other near 10E

The GFS is really trying to spin it up, but as soon as the model goes to a lower resolution at 168hr, it completely loses it.
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as the simple question goes: What wave?
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Hummm, technology is getting scary. I just got this in email. Can we believe our eyes anymore? Its gettin close,, L8R :)

Are they doing this with the weather models?

Link
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
456,where is the wave that you are following that is still inside Africa,that now GFS in its 18z run,gives some life to it?

Link


One near the prime meridian and the other nearing 10E
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting jeffs713:
The Woodlands got some rain yesterday morning, about 1.75". I didn't know what to think at first when some thunder and rain woke me up.

That said, I second the motion for a good soaking. Get me 3-4 days worth of rain over a week, with totals around 5-6", and this area will be much better off. (I don't want 5-6" in one day, though... then it just runs off)


well said!
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266. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


Typhoon Watch for region of Northern Phillipines, southern Japan island (Okinawa), Taiwan, and southeastern China!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Woodlands got some rain yesterday morning, about 1.75". I didn't know what to think at first when some thunder and rain woke me up.

That said, I second the motion for a good soaking. Get me 3-4 days worth of rain over a week, with totals around 5-6", and this area will be much better off. (I don't want 5-6" in one day, though... then it just runs off)
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Quoting catfuraplenty:
Random, I blew the cobwebs off your blog and posted a picture in there that I think sums up how we feel in Texas. :) Dude, you gotta blog. lol


HAHA! thanks for the dust off :)
I need to get into the habit of doing so!

LMBO! That pic does do some summing up! Love it!
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Random, I blew the cobwebs off your blog and posted a picture in there that I think sums up how we feel in Texas. :) Dude, you gotta blog. lol
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456,where is the wave that you are following that is still inside Africa,that now GFS in its 18z run,gives some life to it?

Link
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thanks OSSQSS for the info!!!
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Homeless this link is the radar for Yonkers and I don't see much of anything there. Hope this helps.
Link
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The ongoing cyber attack is not the conflicker. It was modified MyDoom from 04.

Being a botnet attack, thousands of pc's participated and did not even know it.

It would be recommended that everyone ensure you have the latest net security updates in place. I am told this was a test.

If you would like to see if you have any issue with conflicker, just try to access one of the major security software providers like Symantec.com. If you cannot access their site, you are probably infected. Hope this helps for some, there appears to be more to come.

BTW, this article will provide a more detailed understanding of the current senario. The other is on conflicker.

4th cyber attack

Infection Test imbedded in this article
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Quoting WeatherStudent:
Homeless, please, give me that link, I've got family up there, of which I'm awfully concerned about presently.


I think homeless will be back in a bit the weather is quite bad here
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What a difference a year makes...

Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
Quoting homelesswanderer:


Hope so SRT. And just rain. It is roll...ACK!! Lights just went nuts. BBIAB


stay safe over there!
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


HAHA! large hail too... I may get some of the rain


Hope so SRT. And just rain. It is roll...ACK!! Lights just went nuts. BBIAB
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we need some real rain... just a good slow rain... desperately! my pond has dried up and a lot of the local waters are on their way
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no rain here.....
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


HAHA! large hail too... I may get some of the rain


None for me... again.. surprise surprise
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Quoting catfuraplenty:
Weather456, pictures of your grandma are not convincing. hehe


He actually got a pic of my mother in law.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
The National Weather Service in Lake Charles has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
northeastern Jefferson County in southeast Texas...
central Orange County in southeast Texas...
this includes the cities of... Mauriceville... Bridge City...

Can't we just get regular rain??


HAHA! large hail too... I may get some of the rain
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246. It's ridiculous. We've only had about a half in. of rain here (south of Houston) in 6 weeks. Water rationing sucks... trying to keep my landscaping alive. But if we don't get a few inches soon the rationing is going to get worse :(

ETA - correction - since the end of May my town has received .22 of rain. SUCKS
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Check out this top 10 weird things done by tornadoes. Link

Txalways, we were supposed to have broken our drought here outside of Houston but our rain gauge didn't get spit. Of course, if it rains at Intercontinental, the Houston says "everyone got a good soak." liars, liars, pants on fires

And today is abysmal. I have to wrap myself in an asbestos sunsuit to go outside and not catch fire. darned thing itches too. :)
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Wow! They just showed the damage caused by strait line winds in Yonkers, NY. Looked like a tornado went through.
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Texas - drought - no end in sight :(
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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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