Postcards from the Orlando Hurricane Conference

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:41 PM GMT on April 28, 2008

Share this Blog
1
+

I'm in Orlando this week for the 28th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, sponsored by the American Meteorological Society. The conference, held once every two years, brings together the world's experts on hurricane science. A few snapshots from this morning's talks:

HWRF hurricane model improvements for 2008
Naomi Surgi of NOAA oulined the progress with the new HWRF model, which debuted last year. The HWRF model outperformed the GFDL model in the Atlantic last year for forecasting hurricane tracks. The GFDL had consistently been the best-performing model for forecasting hurricane tracks in recent years, so this is good news. The HWRF model is intended to eventually replace the GFDL model. However, neither the HWRF or GFDL model performed as well as the GFS model last year, so there is room for the HWRF to improve. New for 2008 for the HWRF model is the ability to include real-time Doppler radar data from the NOAA P-3 hurricane hunter aircraft for initialization of the model. There are also upgrades to the equations governing the model's physics, plus improvements in how the model is initialized. These improvements should make for much improved intensity forecasts beyond 48 hours, Dr. Surgi showed. That's good news, because intensity forecasting has shown very little improvement over the past 15 years, despite a near doubling in the improvement in track forecasts.

Dust from Africa
Amato Evan of the University of Wisconsin showed that dust blowing off the coast of Africa has a very strong impact on Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Atlantic, amounting to 0.1°C to 1.0°C annually. Dr. Evan showed that most of the warming of tropical Atlantic SSTs in recent years can be explained by variations in the amount of dust coming off the coast of Africa. In particular, 2005 had very little dust, resulting in unusually high SSTs that help lead to the record breaking Hurricane Season of 2005, with its record 28 named storms.

Influence of Gulf Stream Loop Current on Katrina's intensity
Hurricane Katrina explosively deepened when it passed over an unusually far northern extension of the warm Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, and a Warm Core Eddy that had broken off from the Loop Current. Richard Yablonsky and Isaac Ginis of the University of Rhode Island showed that if the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current had been in its normal position, and no Warm Core Eddy had been present, Katrina would have had a pressure more than 20 mb higher and maximum sustained winds at least 20 mph lower. The study was done using the GFDL model.

I'll have more postcards from the Orlando hurricane conference every day this week. One other highlight from this morning: seeing the 5-year old daughter of one the participants entertain herself by setting up a little diorama complete with ponies, unicorns, and fairies on the floor outside of the main session this morning. Who needs Disney World to entertain a kid in Orlando!

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7Blog Index

58. Drakoen
9:18 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
Hey StormW!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
57. CaneAddict
9:07 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
45. MichaelSTL 8:37 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
So STL do you think an el Nino is going to kick in already?

I am not going so far as to say that one will develop in the next few months, but it seems that something is up, and more than a normal weakening of La Nina; just a couple months ago we had the strongest La Nina on record for February, both in SSTs and SOI, now it is only a weak La Nina, weaker than similar episodes 2 months after the peak, with a near-neutral SOI, which despite rising a bit a few days ago, has since continued falling and didn't affect the trades.


At this rate whats the earliest possible we could see an El nino?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
52. Drakoen
8:58 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
50. MichaelSTL 8:56 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
Also the precipitation values do not suggest El Nino if fact just the opposite with anomalously wetter conditions Brazil and Indonesia while have drier conditions in the West central Pacific.

I don't think using a 90 day average is valid however; the 30 and 5 day maps both show a weaker pattern.


Lesser because of the time and the availability of dry air or moisture. Also the scale for the 90 day and 30 day averages are different. The pattern still looks the same. Also 5 day maps are not good enough to show a pattern.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
49. Drakoen
8:53 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
I don't think we are in for an El nino yet. The Southern Oscillation index values are still positive. The climatological areas of high pressure to the South-east of Tahiti are still above average. Also the precipitation values do not suggest El Nino if fact just the opposite with anomalously wetter conditions Brazil and Indonesia while have drier conditions in the West central Pacific.

90 day Precipitation averages:
La Nina
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
48. moonlightcowboy
3:39 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
STL, what's your take on this NASA "PDO" article and how it may effect La Nina/El Nino? TIA!



Larger Pacific Climate Event Helps Current La Nina Linger
- complete article.

PASADENA, Calif. – Boosted by the influence of a larger climate event in the Pacific, one of the strongest La Ninas in many years is slowly weakening but continues to blanket the Pacific Ocean near the equator, as shown by new sea-level height data collected by the U.S.-French Jason oceanographic satellite.

This La Nina, which has persisted for the past year, is indicated by the blue area in the center of the image along the equator. Blue indicates lower than normal sea level (cold water). The data were gathered in early April.

The image also shows that this La Nina is occurring within the context of a larger climate event, the early stages of a cool phase of the basin-wide Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a long-term fluctuation of the Pacific Ocean that waxes and wanes between cool and warm phases approximately every five to 20 years. In the cool phase, higher than normal sea-surface heights caused by warm water form a horseshoe pattern that connects the north, west and southern Pacific, with cool water in the middle. During most of the 1980s and 1990s, the Pacific was locked in the oscillation's warm phase, during which these warm and cool regions are reversed. For an explanation of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and its present state, see: http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/ and http://www.esr.org/pdo_index.html .

“This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation 'cool' trend can intensify La Nina or diminish El Nino impacts around the Pacific basin," said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The persistence of this large-scale pattern tells us there is much more than an isolated La Nina occurring in the Pacific Ocean."

Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29598
46. Ivansrvivr
8:30 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
42. STL, the very weak Azores/Bermuda high suggests same thing
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
44. TerraNova
4:12 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
Five tornado warnings are currently in effect, three in Virginia, one in North Carolina, one in Maryland.

(20:21:12z Volume Scan)

1) The warned cell currently over Suffolk, VA has an active couplet (-45 kt/-55 kt) which indicates a funnel cloud has is forming, has formed, or a tornado is already on the ground. The TOR includes the cities of Newport News and Hampton. This cell is producing 0.75 inch hail. The rotation is such that it is causing a warp within the cloud structure, visible on TOPS (Echo Tops). It has a hook echo on BR (Base Reflectivity).

2) A portion of the squall line currently over Claremont, VA is producing rotation. There is no couplet associated with this storm, meaning that it is likely that there is no tornado or funnel cloud currently active, however, the rotation is still there and has previously produced tornadoes farther to the south. It seems to me as if this cell has been under cut.

3) Adjacent to the second cell, another portion of the squall line has been warned. The rotation (what is left of it) is east of Charles City, VA. It has weakened significantly and no longer appears to be a major concern.

4) Another portion of the squall line, farther north, has been TOR warned. I do not see a MESO structure, but part of the line has begun to bend ahead of its self, possibly an indication of a bow echo forming.

5) The cell south of Harrellsville has a couplet of -45 kts/ 35 kts, not as strong as the cell near Newport News, but this cell is likely producing a funnel. it has a hook on BR.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
41. weathermanwannabe
2:47 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
17. jphurricane2006 1:28 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
an intersting question here lol, maybe someone knows of a way to find out
ok here we go:
What is the one set of coordinates over the Atlantic basin that has seen the passage of most tropical systems?


JP; based upon a cursory visual scan of storm tracks for major hurricane strikes on the CONUS per the NOAA tropical cyclone records archives (1800's to 2004), and not counting tropical storms and minor canes (which are not included in that database), I'm going to go with the Southern Bahamas island chain as the most frequently "crossed" coordinate area in terms of climatology and tropical storms....Realize mind you that we are still talking about a huge geographical area which can stretch all the way from Nassau down to the Turks and Caicos so I cannot come up with an exact coordinate.........Let someone else (with more time) do the overlay and get us closer to a more exact coordinate...JP?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
39. hahaguy
2:53 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
ya noel seemed weird to me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
37. hondaguy
6:38 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
Thanks to StormW and Patrap for replying. It seems that it's not a huge factor (as I thought it may not be) I know the MS River in comparison to the GOM is pretty minute.

Thanks guys!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
36. weathermanwannabe
2:25 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
Subject: E11) How many tropical cyclones have there been each year in the Atlantic basin? What years were the greatest and fewest seen?
Contributed by Chris Landsea

Starting in 1944, systematic aircraft reconnaissance was commenced for monitoring both tropical cyclones and disturbances that had the potential to develop into tropica cyclones. This is why both Neumann et al. (1993) and Landsea (1993) recommend utilizing data since 1944 for computing climatological statistics. However, for tropical cyclones striking the USA East and Gulf coasts - because of highly populated coast lines, data with good reliability extends back to around 1899. Thus, the following records hold for the entire Atlantic basin (from 1944-present) and for the USA coastline (1899-present):


JP; as "landfalls" between 1899-1944 does not provide a quick reference to actual track coordinates during the approach, I guess you would have to go with 1994-present to try and figure out the most "crossed" region in the Atlantic basin; adding to my previous list of guesses (considering that the majority of hurricane strikes have occured on the SE/Southern coast of Florida) the area of the "Southern Bahamas" would also be a good prospect area to look at as this would cover a ton of storms that actually threatened the SE coast, but, would also probably cover a lot of "fish storms" that were swept off to the NE before getting into Gulf Stream area.....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
35. Patrap
1:29 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
The volume is a constant Delta-v. Its just higher from a wet spring.Volume is a given known.Its only fractional higher and isnt a factor, Id figure in overall volume to be heated.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
33. Patrap
1:28 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Geologic Framework and Processes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin March 1997


Lake Pontchartrain Basin Home



Topics of Investigation
Geologic Framework
Shoreline/
Wetland Change
Water Circulation


Satellite Imagery
Bonnet-Carré Spillway Event
Water Turbidity
Sea-Surface Temperature
1997 Algal Bloom

Project Contact:
Jack Kindinger

Bonnet Carré Spillway Event Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
32. hondaguy
6:26 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
31. Patrap 6:21 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
The River Water is colder annually this time of year from Snow melt and the regular spring melt overall. But the Loop current which is fed from deep water currents is not directly affected by the constant mean flow .Its just part of the natural cycle.


GOM 120 Hour Water Surface Temperature Forecast Model Link


Right, but my question was not related to the cold water in general...It's related to the volume of water which is spilling out that is the highest it's been in a decade?

Do the predictions take the volume of water into account?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
31. Patrap
1:18 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
The River Water is colder annually this time of year from Snow melt and the regular spring melt overall. But the Loop current which is fed from deep water currents is not directly affected by the constant mean flow .Its just part of the natural cycle.


GOM 120 Hour Water Surface Temperature Forecast Model Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
30. hondaguy
6:14 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
A previous comment on the last post. I am hoping to get some feedback on this if anyone knows anything regarding it.

Opinions welcome too!

In reference to the comments below about SST's.

Wouldn't the fact that the MS river is at it's highest level in nearly a decade have some affect on the SST's in the northern Gulf? It's an enourmous amount of water spilling out, and not just from the mouth of the river.

The Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened north of New Orleans and is allowing cold water from the river to spill into Lake Ponchartrain, which flows into the Gulf. Not only that but the Atchafalaya, which spills into the Gulf is also taking on about 30% of the MS River flow.

Wouldnt this have some, if not a slight, affect on SST's in the northern Gulf, mainly in and around the LA coast?

The last time the river was this high was in 1997. If someone could get a SST map from Spring of 97 (around the time the river was high) that might make for a good comparison to now.

Side Note: I know the MS river wouldnt have an affect on SST's in the Carribbean, I'm just talking the northern Gulf rim closer to land areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
28. weathermanwannabe
1:57 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
25. jphurricane2006 1:50 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
um no hcu, it was just a question


A very messy proposition to try to answer; I think you would have to "overlay" all of the accurate storm tracks for the last several decades over the Atlantic basin, and, try to figure out the general vicinity/coordinates where the most lines intersect.....Could potentially end up being in the general vicinity of a number places (I would guess either a) approching the Caribbean during the CV season, or, b) somewhere "inside and below" DR/Cuba/PR in the Caribbean, or c) perhaps in/near the Florida Straits.......).....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
27. bappit
5:55 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
Here's a question to pass the time with. How many people are still living in FEMA trailers?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
26. MrMarcus
1:50 PM EDT on April 28, 2008
Given the topic, and all of the media hoopla about Katrina (still!), I'm surprised that this event didn't happen in New Orleans...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
24. hcubed
5:48 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
17. jphurricane2006 asked:

"an intersting question here lol, maybe someone knows of a way to find out

ok here we go:

What is the one set of coordinates over the Atlantic basin that has seen the passage of most tropical systems?"


Are you trying to get us back into a Hebert Box discussion?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
23. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:46 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
The Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis [986 hPa] over southwest and adjoining southeast and west central Bay of Bengal remains practically stationary and lays as of 12:00 PM UTC near 13.0N 85.5E or about 550 kms east of Chennai.

Current Dvorak Intensity is 3.5. Maximum 3 minute sustained winds near the center is 55 knots with an estimated central pressure of 986 hPa.

Sea condition is very high around the system's center. Satellite imagery shows broken to solid intense convective clouds between 10.5 to 14.5N and 82.0 to 87.0E in association with the system.

Forecast: The system is likely to intensify further and move slowly in a north-northwesterly direction slowly for some time and thereafter, it is likely to move northeastwards. Forecast Dvorak Intensity in 25 hours is 4.5.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
22. stoormfury
5:38 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
what is this system off the coast of the eastern seaboard of the US? is it a mid level low with the possible it of working down to the service? although the sst in the area is only marginal ,vertical wind shear does not allow anything to develop in this immediate area
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
21. ajcamsmom2
12:42 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Thanks Dr. Masters
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
20. Patrap
12:28 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Coulda,woulda..shoulda...

Impacts were not the rule in 2007.

A very good thing.

Deaths were minimal..or unreported Link.

Sat Loop Hurricane Dean 2007 Link


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
18. moonlightcowboy
12:25 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
- Jp, hey. Excellent points!

- JFL, yes, the conference does look intense and interesting. Impacts of Saharan Dust Acting as CCN on the Evolution of an Idealized Tropical Cyclone

The starting time of rapid storm intensification and intensity divergence among simulations with various CCN concentrations were 24 hours earlier in the strong vortex experiments compared to the weak vortex ones.


....interesting stuff! The Doc should have some great post"cards" this week!

I'm out for a while. Ya'll, all, have a GR8 Monday!

Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29598
14. moonlightcowboy
12:14 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Thanks, StormW. It sure would be nice to be able to see the radar, too. Even if it's for just a short period of time.

- Hey, Pat. Nice historical of Audrey! Amazing older radar shot. Rita and her look like twins, same position, etc.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29598
12. Patrap
12:08 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Radar Image of Hurricane Audrey June 27,1957




Radar Image of Hurricane Rita Sept 2005


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
11. moonlightcowboy
12:06 PM CDT on April 28, 2008
Hey, StormW!

Are they just using the radar and data for initialization of the model, or will we also be able to actually see the radar?
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29598

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
72 °F
Mostly Cloudy