Modiki El Niños and Atlantic hurricane activity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:48 PM GMT on July 08, 2009

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


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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

Viewing: 893 - 843

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

jason is cool man....but kinda looks like he's lost in a Walgreens...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
The 12 ECMWF hinted a low in the E ATL. I do think a strong tropical wave will emerge next week but development uncertain

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Wow that looks like the mountains in the back ground, can I safely assume this is Florida and a cloud?

Quoting hahaguy:
This is a picture that was sent into our local news station of bad storms down in Palm Beach County.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
888. BtnTx
Just a reminder Barometer Bob is on right now at www.hurricanehollow.com and will be having Bastardi on soon.. FYI
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricane23:
I was not expecting this...Pretty dramatic change in heat content.AOML has not updated in weeks.



It appears as though the heat is not as concentrated as it was in the Gulf of Mexico, but rather, it has spread out, so that most of the Gulf has some, albeit small, degree of oceanic heat content.

The east coast, however, appears much warmer.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
882 Beell.
True, so true.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For what its worth some of the GGEM ensembles want to develop something off the coast of Africa and keep it around.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
882. beell
?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

NASA developing ocean storm model

By Thomas A. Horne

NASA announced that it will combine satellite imagery with computer models and artificial intelligence to come up with a system that will be able to warn ocean-going pilots of dangerous thunderstorm-related turbulence. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., is a partner in the project.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
880. viman
That seems to happen alot on this site. lol :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I was not expecting this...Pretty dramatic change in heat content.AOML has not updated in weeks.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hi folks. I just want to step in and say, don't be concerned about how many storms we will have this year. Please just have a plan! As it has been said so many times here, it only takes ONE in your area to change your life! It is still early in the 2009 hurricane season. I hope things will stay quiet, yet you never know what MAY happen!

Stay safe everyone. My thoughts are with you ALL!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:


Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. If it did, it was likely NE of there at that time.
(If ya read that QuikScat paper, you'll know why I say these things.)
Quoting atmoaggie:


Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. If it did, it was likely NE of there at that time.
(If ya read that QuikScat paper, you'll know why I say these things.)


OK, but that is over complicating a simple observation, something I intend not to do. I've also read details on QuikSCAT imagery.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yeah, we knew about all of the storms before the satellites.



Credit: Chris Landsea


Is Landsee implying that because we didn't have satellites there was a big gap in the Atlantic data incapable of registering cyclones? Previous years would suggest otherwise. Storms were detected in that region.
1926
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1926_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

1929
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1929_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

1932
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1934_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

1934
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1934_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png


Finally, no need for satellites to tell you that 2005 was incredibly unusual, if not unprecedented, when you have a storm like Vince
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Vince_(2005)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
874. beell
A quick look at the loop in post 863 does show some energy diving S along 85W.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
More vigoruous waves rolling off. The most recent had a low level circulation (left).



Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. If it did, it was likely NE of there at that time.
(If ya read that QuikScat paper, you'll know why I say these things.)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT THU JUL 9 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH AN AREA OF DISTURBED
WEATHER LOCATED ABOUT 900 MILES SOUTH OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA CONTINUE TO SHOW SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION. CONDITIONS
APPEAR TO BE FAVORABLE FOR THIS SYSTEM TO BECOME A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION TONIGHT OR FRIDAY AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10
TO 15 MPH. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...GREATER THAN 50 PERCENT...OF
THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

THE REMNANTS OF BLANCA...ACCOMPANIED BY A FEW SHOWERS...ARE CENTERED
ABOUT 900 MILES WEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER PASCH

95E development up to high now
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
871. beell
I think so scott, Don't know where the model support for this scenario went. There does not seem to be any lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Refreshed Pictures


AOI

AOI
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Avatar is that post saying something could form in the gulf in 48 hours?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
More vigoruous waves rolling off. The most recent had a low level circulation (left).

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I think the trough will be less amplified towards the end of the summer and actually by September (for a monthly mean) it may actually reverse. I think a ridge will develop across most of the eastern USA, especially along and west of the Appalachians. This means the NAO should come in more positive in September but at any time the trough axis barrels east, that could setup a pattern that would scoop out anything to our south and flux it up into the GOM/East coast. The trough will come back to the East in October.

Adrian
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
864. viman
Yes I will agree, visibility very good and like I said very breezy, but just awfully hot, sauna type hot. Thank God for the breeze though, it would be unbearable if not for the breeze off the ocean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
are the storms in front of the wave at 55w or wrapped up in it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
861. beell
Also at post 730. Something to watch for.

TROPICAL DISCUSSION - INTERNATIONAL DESKS
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
222 PM EDT THU JUL 09 2009

DISCUSSION FROM JUL 09/0000 UTC. A BROAD MID/UPPER LEVEL RIDGE
REMAINS OVER THE WESTERN-CENTRAL USA AND NORTHERN STATES OF
MEXICO. THROUGH 48-72 HRS THE RIDGE WILL EXPAND TO THE MID
ATLANTIC REGION IN THE EASTERN USA. A TROUGH BOUNDS THE EASTERN
PERIPHERY OF THIS RIDGE...WITH AXIS SOUTH INTO THE EASTERN GULF OF
MEXICO. THE BROAD RIDGE IS DIVERTING SHORT WAVE ENERGY SOUTHWARD
INTO THE BASE OF THIS TROUGH. THIS WILL FAVOR FORMATION OF A
CLOSED LOW OVER THE NORTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO BY 30-36 HRS. BY 48
HRS THE LOW WILL CENTER NEAR 25N 85W...WHILE THE TROUGH EXTENDS
INTO THE NORTHERN YUCATAN/WESTERN CUBA. UNDER INFLUENCE OF THE
RIDGE...THE LOW WILL RETROGRESS TO THE SOUTHWEST TO JUST NORTH OF
THE YUCATAN BY 72-78 HRS...
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
856: Cool wall cloud shot!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
atmoaggie that is an excellent map!


Thanks, but the credit really belongs to Landsea. He beat down many hurricane historical myths concerning comparing seasons of the distant past to recent times in a 4-page Eos paper while everyone else writes 40 pages in BAMS extolling how AGW made the TC numbers go up.

The real source is here: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/landsea-eos-may012007.pdf

I especially enjoy the first part of Figure 3 that shows all of the measurements during an average day in 1907 and 2007. Astounding that we try to depend on any wind/pressure intensities from back then for anything.

I highly recommend the read.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting hahaguy:
This is a picture that was sent into our local news station.


Awesome shot.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
857. DDR
Quoting Weather456:
Pot, DDR and viman,

Nuttin' but hot weather up here.

Basseterre, SK


Bluest sky i've seen in a while,too much dust lately,that normal though.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
This is a picture that was sent into our local news station of bad storms down in Palm Beach County.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


lol, Climate change is a very delicate subject that I think no one can cover all angles. It is strongly debated with little agreement.


Except in this month's Discover mag. Poorly covered on one side only. ("Quick, we need to publish something now that drives the US Senate to pass the bill. Let us just get these few known proponents to answer some friendly questions...no tough ones! Yes sir.")

Canceling my subscription today.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
854. viman
Hey W456, dont feel no way, same ting here, alot of breeze, but still hot no rass.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:


Using ACE plots, some could say that we may have entered a lull phase should the type of season we had in 06 and 07 happen for a few more years. Remains to be seen, of course.



Credit: Ryan Maue


Great Graphic.......Well Folks, speaking of the kids, time to get them ready for bed. Have a great night folks....WW
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Don't want to open the door to a GW debate (sorry but a pet peave of Dr. M) but I wonder, assuming that temps are slowling rising due to increased carbon emissions (think China and India), whether this will effect the current cycle in any was as opposed to the historical "switch" prior to this current era........Lol....I will leave that question to my children I suppose. :)


lol, Climate change is a very delicate subject that I think no one can cover all angles. It is strongly debated with little agreement.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Pot, DDR and viman,

Nuttin' but hot weather up here.

Basseterre, SK

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
850. viman
Looking at the latest sat pics - and it seems like that wave is gonna pass on by to the south, unless we get a little northwest movement soon, which I doubt :( Oh well theres always more waves.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


NOAA normally states 1995 in their seasonal outlooks.

From their 2009 Outlook

Atlantic hurricane seasons exhibit prolonged periods lasting decades of generally above-normal or below-normal activity.

The current high-activity era began in 1995.

The season by 31 December this year should fall between their forecast of 9-14 named storms.


Don't want to open the door to a GW debate (sorry but a pet peave of Dr. M) but I wonder, assuming that temps are slowling rising due to increased carbon emissions (think China and India), whether this will effect the current cycle in any was as opposed to the historical "switch" prior to this current era........Lol....I will leave that question to my children I suppose. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Question I've asked a few times is when do we officially call the "end" of the active multi-decadal cycle?......After a few seasons of lower activity as we near the end of the historical 30 year cycle?.....I think this one started in the 1990's so do we have another 10-12 years to go?


Using ACE plots, some could say that we may have entered a lull phase should the type of season we had in 06 and 07 happen for a few more years. Remains to be seen, of course.



Credit: Ryan Maue
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
well we have gone from moderate drought to severe :::sigh:::
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
846. viman
Same here, it's been raining off and on, there have been a couple of good rain events lately, but it just seems that the main part of the rain always remains off shore. Seems like we just can't catch a good break. All it really takes is one good wave to get the cistern filled. Just hasn't happened yet this year. Not worried yet, but I would still feel a lot better when those overflow pipes start running.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Question I've asked a few times is when do we officially call the "end" of the active multi-decadal cycle?......After a few seasons of lower activity as we near the end of the historical 30 year cycle?.....I think this one started in the 1990's so do we have another 10-12 years to go?


NOAA normally states 1995 in their seasonal outlooks.

From their 2009 Outlook

Atlantic hurricane seasons exhibit prolonged periods lasting decades of generally above-normal or below-normal activity.

The current high-activity era began in 1995.

The season by 31 December this year should fall between their forecast of 9-14 named storms.

It normally last 20-30 years so we have atleast another decade (probably atleast 2015)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
Regardless of El Nino, the ongoing decadal oscillation should prevent 2009 from having numbers lesser than the least active season this decade, 2006.

In addition, most experts have already stated over and over that there is no correlation between early seasonal activity and the peak of the hurricane season.

Sea surface temperatures continue to significantly warm across the ATL.

EL Nino should moderate the season from being above average but its atmospheric effects are not as pronounce to produce 1992 and 1997 figures.

Based on this, there remains no reason to lower my seasonal forecasts of 12 named storms.




Good call to stick with what you think and not swayed by others.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hi DDR and VIMAN.
Hang on, it's comin'. Ready or not.
Although, with the ITCZ still so far south, look for a week of sun when this passes over. Again.
Good to meet you viman.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 893 - 843

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

Top of Page

Category 6™

About

Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather