La Niña by July?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:42 PM GMT on June 08, 2010

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El Niño rapidly dissipated in May, and we are now very close to entering into a La Niña event, according to the latest sea surface temperature (SST) data over the tropical Eastern Pacific. The weekly SST readings in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", fell to 0.4°C below average on June 7, a full 1°C drop in just one and a half months. This puts us very close to the -0.5°C threshold needed to be considered a La Niña event, according to NOAA's latest El Niño Discussion. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology showed conditions in the Niña 3.4 region were not quite that cool--0.2°C below average for the week ending June 6. Nevertheless, the speed of the collapse of El Niño makes it likely that a La Niña event is on its way this summer, and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch. Ten of the 23 El Niño models (updated as of May 19) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. However, as NOAA's Climate Prediction Center commented in their June 3 advisory, a number of the more reliable models are now calling for La Niña to develop this summer. They comment, "there is an increasing confidence in these colder model forecasts, which is supported by recent observations that show cooling trends in the Pacific Ocean and signs of coupling with the atmospheric circulation." Historically, about 35 - 40% of El Niño events are followed by a La Niña within the same year.


Figure 1. Atlantic named storm, hurricane, and intense hurricane activity since the active hurricane period we are in began in 1995. Both La Niña and neutral years have shown similar levels of Atlantic hurricane activity, though the figures are somewhat skewed by the record-setting year of 2005. Background photo: Hurricane Dean, taken from the Space Shuttle.

It is interesting to note that the last time we had a strong El Niño event, in 1998, El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. History appears to be repeating itself, and I predict the emergence of La Niña by July. Since La Niña events tend to bring lower amounts of wind shear to the tropical Atlantic, we can expect a much more active Atlantic hurricane season than usual in 2010. Since 2010 is similar to 1998 in the behavior of the El Niño/La Niña cycle, it is possible that this year's hurricane season could resemble the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. That year had about 40% above-average activity, with 14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes. The season was relatively late-starting, with only one named storm occurring before August 20. Once the season got going, six named storms affected the Gulf of Mexico, including two hurricanes, Earl and Georges, that passed directly over the location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Figure 2. Tracks of all named storms for the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season.


Figure 3. Typical regional weather anomalies observed during June - August when La Niña conditions are present. The Caribbean tends to be cloudier and wetter than average, but there is typically little change to temperature and precipitations patterns over North America. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Oil spill update
Light east, southeast, or south winds of 5 - 15 knots will blow today through Saturday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. These winds will keep oil near the beaches of Alabama, Mississippi, and the extreme western Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model are not predicting eastward-moving ocean currents along the Florida Panhandle coast this week, and it is unlikely that surface oil will affect areas of Florida east of Fort Walton Beach. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now show a southeasterly wind regime, which would prevent any further progress of the oil eastwards along the Florida Panhandle, and would tend to bring significant amounts of oil back to the shores of eastern Louisiana next week. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.


Figure 4. The oil spill on June 6, 2010 at 8:32pm EDT, as seen by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the Italian Cosmo-SkyMed (COnstellation of small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) satellite. A large region of oil was a few miles offshore of Pensacola, Florida. Image credit: University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
NOAA's fact sheet on Hurricanes and the Oil Spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

"Hurricane Haven" airing again this afternoon
The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. I'll talk about all this nothingness on my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question in the comments area on Shaun Tanner's blog. Some topics I'll cover on the show:

1) What's going on in the tropics right now--is this typical?
2) New advancements in hurricane science presented at this month's AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology last month

Today's show, which will probably be just 1/2 hour, will be at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast, as last week's show was.

I may take a break from blogging Wednesday, as I've got some catching up to do on other duties.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Levi32:


Yup pretty bright. 18 and a half hours of daylight now. We've been averaging temps in the 50s which has been nice...summer's in full swing. We even broke 60 a couple times last week.


haha wow, thats too much daylight for me, I like my nights. and I also enjoy my temps above 60 :p
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Already called it :) He really doesn't even try, does he?
Hey hurricaneswirl.Have things been good for you.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Already called it :) He really doesn't even try, does he?


How did you know?
Member Since: June 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
1788. Levi32
Quoting tornadodude:


how's Alaska these days? pretty bright I can imagine


Yup pretty bright. 18 and a half hours of daylight now. We've been averaging temps in the 50s which has been nice...summer's in full swing. We even broke 60 a couple times last week.
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Quite in the tropics.
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Quoting Levi32:


Hey Matt.


how's Alaska these days? pretty bright I can imagine
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Quoting SQUAWK:


The official end of season is Nov, 30. The reality is that is does not end until after the last hurricane. 2005 season went into January. I don't know why they call it a season. Storms don't start when the season starts and don't stop when the season ends. Makes no sense to me.


Quite true; however, they become very rare outside of the actual season.
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1784. Levi32
Quoting tornadodude:


morning Levi


Hey Matt.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Good call.


LOL nice avatar
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting NRAamy:
CapeVerdeCanes

CVC = JFV


Already called it :) He really doesn't even try, does he?
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Good info!! Storm Shutters, we should get ready Link
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1779. NRAamy
CapeVerdeCanes

CVC = JFV
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1778. SQUAWK
Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:


???


The official end of season is Nov, 30. The reality is that is does not end until after the last hurricane. 2005 season went into January. I don't know why they call it a season. Storms don't start when the season starts and don't stop when the season ends. Makes no sense to me.
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Quoting Levi32:
Good morning everyone.

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, June 9th


morning Levi
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How sad for Brian. Morning, Levi.
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well Caribbeanislands101 that is from the 2008 season

ZCZC MIATCDAT2 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL022008
500 AM EDT THU JUL 03 2008

THE STRONG TROPICAL WAVE AND SURFACE LOW OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC
OCEAN HAS ACQUIRED ENOUGH ORGANIZED CONVECTION TO NOW BE CONSIDERED
A TROPICAL DEPRESSION. SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A STRONG
BURST OF CONVECTION HAS PERSISTED FOR OVER 12 HOURS NEAR OR JUST
WEST OF THE APPARENT CENTER OF THE SYSTEM. BANDING FEATURES ARE
ALSO BECOMING MORE PRONOUNCED IN THE NORTHWESTERN PART OF THE
CIRCULATION. THE INITIAL INTENSITY OF 30 KT IS BASED ON A QUIKSCAT
PASS FROM LATE YESTERDAY THAT SHOWED SOME RELIABLE 25-30 KT WINDS.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT MOST GLOBAL MODELS...ESPECIALLY THE
GFS...SUGGESTED THE POSSIBILITY OF GENESIS IN THIS AREA OVER A WEEK
AGO...A REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT.
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Quoting hydrus:
Permanent ban? wow


yeah, he said it was for disrespecting the admin, but he also said its alright because he is focusing more on the hurricane season now and preparing to intercept storms as well
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Just got a note from Brian.....(CycloneOz) ...that he was permenently banned and will not pull a JFV just to come back.....that is really too bad as he's live feed would have been nice......i am trying to get linked up with him to help everyone out if i can...TOO BAD!


wth did he do to get a permanent ban? That is really too bad...
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1771. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting twhcracker:
gosh what did he do
went to far reached the point of no return too bad really but thats the way it goes
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54775
Just got a note from Brian.....(CycloneOz) ...that he was permenently banned and will not pull a JFV just to come back.....that is really too bad as he's live feed would have been nice......i am trying to get linked up with him to help everyone out if i can...TOO BAD!
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1768. hydrus
Quoting tornadodude:


yup, permanently
Permanent ban? wow
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I'm the first one to call it :)
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting CapeVerdeCanes:
:). Senior Chief, by when would you anticipate this season to REALLY begin in earnest?


Oh my. He's back.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1765. Levi32
Quoting WaterWitch11:
sorry levi i was wrong on that info last night. i was tired and didn't remember it correctly!


You mean about the 1930s? That's ok.
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1764. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting NRAamy:
Oz was banned?
yep
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54775
gosh what did he do
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 1448
:). Senior Chief, by when would you anticipate this season to REALLY begin in earnest?
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Quoting tornadodude:


yup, permanently


How? I couldn't help but chuckle a little
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Caribbeanislands101:

Which Bertha was that?
Bertha of 1996 ? 0r 2007


2008 lol
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
sorry levi i was wrong on that info last night. i was tired and didn't remember it correctly!
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Quoting NRAamy:
Oz was banned?


yup, permanently
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
The GFS did have some glory days...

Pre-Bertha's first Discussion:


THE STRONG TROPICAL WAVE AND SURFACE LOW OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC
OCEAN HAS ACQUIRED ENOUGH ORGANIZED CONVECTION TO NOW BE CONSIDERED
A TROPICAL DEPRESSION. SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A STRONG
BURST OF CONVECTION HAS PERSISTED FOR OVER 12 HOURS NEAR OR JUST
WEST OF THE APPARENT CENTER OF THE SYSTEM. BANDING FEATURES ARE
ALSO BECOMING MORE PRONOUNCED IN THE NORTHWESTERN PART OF THE
CIRCULATION. THE INITIAL INTENSITY OF 30 KT IS BASED ON A QUIKSCAT
PASS FROM LATE YESTERDAY THAT SHOWED SOME RELIABLE 25-30 KT WINDS.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT MOST GLOBAL MODELS...ESPECIALLY THE
GFS
...SUGGESTED THE POSSIBILITY OF GENESIS IN THIS AREA OVER A WEEK
AGO...A REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT.



Which Bertha was that?
Bertha of 1996 ? 0r 2007
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1754. NRAamy
Oz was banned?
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
WTH won't the CIMSS map post?


"I" can see it.....
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1751. Levi32
Good morning everyone.

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, June 9th
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morning folks!

(CNN) -- Federal authorities have given BP a 72-hour deadline to provide contingency plans for the collection of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a letter -- dated Tuesday -- sent to the company.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/09/gulf.oil.spill/index.html?hpt=T1
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.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting caneswatch:


It's getting its act together, fast.


NO ITS not......the convection is purely caused by the Shear!
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I'm not sure whether to trust the CIMSS map or the SSD map.

CIMSS:


SSD:


If the CIMSS is closer to accurate, there his high shear all over the east Caribbean, a short break in the central Caribbean, and then shear looks to be on the rise in the West Caribbean. There's not much of a chance.

If the SSD map is closer to accurate, it's only in 25-30 kts of shear (opposed to the 40-50 kts shown by the CIMSS), and instead of going into even higher shear, the shear lessens as it goes west and there is only 5-15 kts of shear in the entire central and western caribbean. There seems to be a much greater chance for development if it's correct.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1746. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54775
1744. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
That looks like a sheared wave to me.The islands could get some decent rains.


shear is west of it
TUTT looks to be moving in tantem with it
if ya ask me looks to move nnw into s ne carb south of PR.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54775
1743. Ossqss
Just cleaning up some old bookmarks and ran across this one from last year. Thought I would share it for most are still valid and there is an extensive list of the various models. Anyone recognize the name of the poster at the bottom of the page after the last link? :)

FORECAST MODELS and other stuff!


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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Convection looks like it might be shear-induced.


Just into 20-30 knots, 40-50 knots shortly thereafter. Adios amigo
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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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