Hurricane tracks, changes in hurricane clustering, and other notes from Tucson

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:44 PM GMT on May 12, 2010

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I'm in Tucson for the American Meteorological Society's 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. This is the premier scientific conference on hurricanes, and is held only once every two years, so pretty much all of the world's greatest hurricane experts are here. Below are some quick snapshots of four of the talks I attended yesterday; I hope to more more snapshots each day this week.

Angela Colbert of the University of Miami/RSMAS showed how different weather and climate patterns affect the Azores-Bermuda High, and thus the tracks of Atlantic hurricanes. She divided storms into straight-moving storms that move straight west-northwest through the Caribbean, recurving landfalling hurricane that hit the east coast of the U.S., and recurving ocean storms that miss land. Roughly 1/3 of all hurricanes between 1950 - 2009 fell into each of these three categories. These proportions stayed pretty constant during La Niña and neutral years, but El Niño caused a weakening of the high, resulting in far fewer hurricanes hitting the U.S. East Coast. These storms instead recurved out to sea.

Jim Kossin of the University of Wisconsin separated all Atlantic storms from 1950 - 2007 into 4 clusters, based on genesis location. Two of the clusters were more northerly-forming storms that tended to be less tropical in nature--Gulf of Mexico storms, and storms off the U.S. East Coast that tended to recurve. The other two clusters were more southerly tropical-origin systems--ones that tended to form in the Caribbean, and storms that form near the Cape Verde Island region off the coast of Africa. The more tropical Cape Verde and Caribbean storms dominated major hurricane frequency by a factor of four. In mid-1980s, there was an abrupt shift to more of these more dangerous tropical type storms--ten years prior to the active hurricane period that began in 1995. It is unknown what caused this shift. The shift is unlikely to be a result of measurement error, since we had good satellite imagery then. Independent of any trends in frequency, this shift caused an increase in intensity metrics of Atlantic hurricanes. A doubling of these tropical systems has also occurred since 1950. Interestingly, there has been no change in the number of Gulf of Mexico storms, and a slight increase in storms forming off of the U.S. East Coast. Since slight changes in track can make a big difference in what SSTs and atmospheric environment a storm sees, there is a lot of natural "noise" in the system that will make it difficult to get a clear sense of when climate change is having a substantial impact on hurricane intensity.

Bin Wang of the University of Miami studied the global number of storm days from 1965 - 2008, which should be a less sensitive quantity to data problems than the number of storms or their intensity. Storm days were defined as any day when a tropical cyclone of tropical depression strength or greater existed. However, there are still some data problems, as evidenced by a sharp drop in storm days observed in the North Indian Ocean beginning in 1978. Dr. Wang found that there was no global trend in storm days. The Atlantic was the only individual basin that showed an increase in storm days.

Greg Holland of NCAR looked at the distribution of the strongest hurricanes over time by using a mathematical description of the historical hurricane data. His analysis showed that during the period 1995 - 2008, we probably had about a 30% increase in Category 5 storms in the Atlantic, and an 18% increase in Category 4 hurricanes. Using a climate model, he predicted that by the years 2045 - 2055, we should see a 60% increase in Cat 5s, 32% increase in Cat 4s, and 16% increase in Cat 3s in the Atlantic.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting kmanislander:


Not even dew. But, when it starts it probably won't stop. Looks like some headed your way. Have you taken a look at the TCHP readings for today ?. Unbelievable how fast they chage from day to day.

Yes indeed. Spent a really sweaty day...
It rained in the north of the island, afternoon showers.
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Viman, did you see my post # 477 ?
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Quoting viman:
Actually it is a new computer with Windows 7 and it is taking some getting use to -- Explorer

download Mozilla Firefox. I had problems with IE and switched to Firefox.
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Don't see anything 96 hours out.

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Quoting pottery:
Any Rain, Kman?>


Not even dew. But, when it starts it probably won't stop. Looks like some headed your way. Have you taken a look at the TCHP readings for today ?. Unbelievable how fast they change from day to day.
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Quoting viman:
Actually it is a new computer with Windows 7 and it is taking some getting use to -- Explorer
at the top of your ie window near address bar at end on the right see icon that looks like a piece of paper torn in half click that for compatibility mode
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Any chance this could cross over into the SW Caribbean and develop ?
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Hi. Please, WU Admins, do not ban me for this. I know it is off the topic of weather, but I feel that it is very important that I relay this information.

There are several users that are being hacked in the Weather Chat. They are all acting very peculiar, and saying very derogatory and sometimes eccentric things. Admins, if you see this, I URGE you to go into the chat and confront all users in there about the situation. Again, I do not mean to be off topic; I just feel that it is necessary that I post this. Thank you.
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Any Rain, Kman?>
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481. beell
Quoting RTLSNK:
Photo of what BP said caused the problem:


My 16 year-old daughter just laughed at that. She had no explaination for why it struck her as "funny" other than "wierd". That was funny.
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480. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting RTLSNK:
Photo of what BP said caused the problem:


also excellent...
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478. viman
Actually it is a new computer with Windows 7 and it is taking some getting use to -- Explorer
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Quoting viman:
If anyone can, please help. When I sign on to the wunderground tropical page it is regular size and fits on the page, but when I click on Dr. Master's page it gets really large which makes it difficult to follow everyones posts. I think i remember this being discussed already, but for the life of me I can't remember how to correct it. If anyone can assist me it would be greatly appreciated.


Take a look at the lower right side of your screen. If it says 125% or higher reset to 100%
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Photo of what BP said caused the problem:
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Quoting viman:
If anyone can, please help. When I sign on to the wunderground tropical page it is regular size and fits on the page, but when I click on Dr. Master's page it gets really large which makes it difficult to follow everyones posts. I think i remember this being discussed already, but for the life of me I can't remember how to correct it. If anyone can assist me it would be greatly appreciated.

What browser are you using?
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Quoting viman:
If anyone can, please help. When I sign on to the wunderground tropical page it is regular size and fits on the page, but when I click on Dr. Master's page it gets really large which makes it difficult to follow everyones posts. I think i remember this being discussed already, but for the life of me I can't remember how to correct it. If anyone can assist me it would be greatly appreciated.


use Firefox
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Quoting Levi32:


Darn thing won't behave...
lol
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472. viman
If anyone can, please help. When I sign on to the wunderground tropical page it is regular size and fits on the page, but when I click on Dr. Master's page it gets really large which makes it difficult to follow everyones posts. I think i remember this being discussed already, but for the life of me I can't remember how to correct it. If anyone can assist me it would be greatly appreciated.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
There went your avatar again.


Darn thing won't behave...
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470. xcool
LMAO PAT
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Quoting Levi32:


I don't believe so.

ok, just thought I should point it out to get some expert analysis.
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Quoting Patrap:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Pat that is the ugliest animal I've seen in a while.



I agree


Maybe we could shave these guys and ,well..


nevermind..



Excellent!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting Levi32:


I don't believe so.
There went your avatar again.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Patrap:


Maybe we could shave these guys and ,well..


nevermind..

LMAO.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Pat that is the ugliest animal I've seen in a while.



presslord: I agree





Maybe we could shave these guys and ,well..


nevermind..

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Quoting AussieStorm:

would it be worth watching?


I don't believe so.
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194


BP sets up on Northshore for training, claims

British Petroleum announced Wednesday, it will open a claims office on the Northshore later this week.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm not liking the strong waves the 18z NOGAPS is showing (96 hours)...



We can use the rain in Jamaica
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Pat that is the ugliest animal I've seen in a while.


I agree
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Pat that is the ugliest animal I've seen in a while.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
458. txjac
How cute!!!
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.."Im not happy at all over dis, BP"..






Alpaca fiber heading to Gulf to aid oil cleanup
By The Associated Press
May 12, 2010, 5:43PM


Hair from more than 100 central Pennsylvania alpacas is on its way to the Gulf of Mexico to soak up oil that's being released by a leaking well.

The owners of the Eastland Alpaca Farm say they're sending about 200 pounds of waste fibers to a warehouse in Florida where it'll be used in booms to surround and soak up spilled oil.

Sue and Kevin Zurin are donating the fibers to Matter of Trust, a San Francisco environmental charity. The alpaca hair and other natural materials including human hair, wool and feathers are stuffed into nylon stockings and used to make the floating booms.

The Zurins sheared 100 of their own alpacas at their Mount Joy farm on Monday and about three dozen more on Tuesday.
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456. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Hope you get it Pottery! Getting a few unexpected showers here in Lake Worth, Fla.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow beautiful place you live in. Well, I don't think you will have much to worry about. All this system might bring is thunderstorms but nothing large.

Good! We need the rain..
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Quoting pottery:

Trinidad. At the end of the arrow!!
Wow beautiful place you live in. Well, I don't think you will have much to worry about. All this system might bring is thunderstorms but nothing large.
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452. xcool



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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I had to re do it because the image was very old. What is your location?

Trinidad. At the end of the arrow!!
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Quoting pottery:

I dont like the way that big red arrow is pointing straight at me.
I had to re do it because the image was very old. What is your location?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
TWC covering a live tornado in Oklahoma.


it's nice to see greg forbes out there with vortex 2, to hear him break down the super cell they are watching.
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
447. xcool
Link


Live Video: Okla. Tornado Coverage
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:

I dont like the way that big red arrow is pointing straight at me.
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Very old image, let me re-do it.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
TWC covering a live tornado in Oklahoma.

What. They could'nt find a dead one??
sorry, couldnot resist.

Hope it does no harm to anyone......
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Finally found a number I’ve been looking for, the new temperature for the lower stratosphere. I was mistakenly thinking it was -.6 C. But that referred to some overall number. The number that really matters is the altitude where Hurricanes reject their heat. I found in one of Kerry Emanuel’s papers the data shows a -6 degree C drop, while we see a .5 degree C increase in ocean SSTs. This increases the Carnot Efficiency from 33% to 35.1%. I was fortunate enough to still have a copy of his simulator deck and ran the four possible cases to see what the maximum possible intensities were the original Ocean SST used was 30 degrees C, Stratosphere at -70. So the four cases came out like this:

30 C, -70 C = 187.9 mph, 883 mb
30.5C, -70 C = 191.6 mph, 878 mb
30 C, -76 C = 198.2 mph, 864 mb
30.5 C, -76 C = 202.1 mph, 857 mb

This produces a clearly non-trivial increased drag force on structures of 15.7%, and a dissipated power increase of 24.4 %.

We all know that only a few percent of storms ever reach their theoretical maximum intensity. But it does happen. With the remarkable TCHP in the Atlantic Basin so far, and the record SSTs, maybe we’ll get to see a new record holder to take the place of Wilma at 185 mph and 882 mb. Looks like El Nino ~ is fading too. It will be an exciting season no doubt.

By the way,…anyone watching the conditions in the North Indian? Wow!!! SSTs and TCHP,..sky high. I compared them to previous years,..amazing.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
I don't know but on the Bid Ed show tonight they had a environmentalist that said the dispersant they are using on the golf oil leak will eventually wipe out all the corals from the Keys to Martin county on Fl. east coast.Before you'll get excited, I know his program is a little left of center what ever that means, but it was interesting to know that the water passing between Fl. and Cuba is 80 times greater than the flow of all the worlds rivers.

They would need to dump a million tons of toxic stuff there, do do what he says will happen. Note what he says about the amount of water involved flowing by there....maybe a million cubic yards a second or something.
What is being put into the Gulf is BAD, but it is miniscule in reality.
But it is all relative to what is being put in there already. Any increase of anything bad is a disaster. Not going to kill the corals though, I dont think.
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Quoting Levi32:


Just a tiny little surface trough. It is marked on surface analysis.


would it be worth watching?
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Can someone watch this loop and see if they can see what I am seeing. There is a spinning cloud feature north of the CV islands (20N 30W), I think that's what I am seeing.
Quoting AussieStorm:


Spinning cloud feature at 20N 30W. Loop
It looks low level, can just be seen on Infrared, and can't be seen on water vapor.


Just a tiny little surface trough. It is marked on surface analysis.

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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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