Modiki El Niños and Atlantic hurricane activity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 13:48 GMT le 08 juillet 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 leftovers:
how about stay through the storm evacuate afterwards? not having power for a wk after fransis yu begin to worship that ac


I hear ya about the A/C. Didn't 2 hit you one after another in '04? If I got the wrong place I appologize. I saw a story about I think Francis and Jean hitting in the same place. It was an interview with the electrical workers where that happened. They were like " Come on! We just got it back up." I can't imagine taking a hit so soon after another like that.
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plus I know some people that would love to see a cat 5 hurricane coming to the caribbean and gulf and i don't like that at all i don't even like a strong cat 1 hurricane but i kinda like a tropical storm to pass by and bring some rain and a nice cool wind when needed like a very hot day that go on for a week or more
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Southeast Weather Blog
Member Since: 28 octobre 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
I think the GFS is propagating the little area of convergence in Nepal to the Gulf as a tropical system (j/k, but not too far off from the truth)...y'all enjoy hanging on to every forecast cycle.

Some will say GFS did well last year, but GFS, honestly, is rather poor at cyclogenesis and always has been. Good for track forecasts of an existing TS or better without large intensity changes. You guys are driving framing nails with a screwdriver.
Member Since: 16 août 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
kinda i don't like to see people lose there stuff and I don't like it but I have to live with it ever since ivan came to cayman I don't like it but if it dose happen it would only become a weak cat1 hurricane and i rather live with a cat 1 on the loose that a cat 5 ivan or cat 2 ike ,cat 3 katrina


No foul wonderkid, just be careful how you word your posts. We know you don't wish these storms on anyone......as I would never really wish one on you. Keep on blogging!
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Seriously though I hope y'all in the north get some pretty weather. This should be your time of the year. Payment for those brutal winters.
Just as we're paying for living in the south right now. And it stinks when we don't get any cool down. I remember in '06 going fishing on my dads birthday on January 5th. But then again we got snow last December. Lol. That was a rare treat.
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Quoting jeffs713:

I agree with you there. Hurricanes aren't something to wish for. If you think they are fun, I have quite a few examples of how they aren't fun, including a few on my blog. Hurricanes suck. Pretty to look at, horrible to live through.


I've had an interest in tropical systems for over 30 years and been through quite a few storms. I don't want anybody affected by these monsters because the days following a storm are simply miserable, to say the least.
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GFS, finally appears to be calming down, but its still hinting at something around T=168
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kinda i don't like to see people lose there stuff and I don't like it but I have to live with it ever since ivan came to cayman I don't like it but if it dose happen it would only become a weak cat1 hurricane and i rather live with a cat 1 on the loose that a cat 5 ivan or cat 2 ike ,cat 3 katrina
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Quoting NEwxguy:


Looks to be improving starting tomorrow,decent weekend, we're dancing in the streets,if temps hit 80 these days.


We have that same ritual in the south. Only we call it the "Yeah the cold front didn't stall dance" Lol
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ya ne i know weather sucks here in grt lakes as well we had no hot weather so far to speak of a few days thats it we should be in mid 80's for this time of year and its hard to get to mid 70's and the nights feel like early sept instead of early july
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we gonna be stuck with this pattern till early sept but the fall and winter should be mild


LOL,you sent me into a deep depression,thanks.
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


Well wonderkid, I live on the Gulf Coast and if by some fluke this does happen I hope it goes right up your snout first. Sorry for sounding trollish folks but I find post like that bothersome.

I agree with you there. Hurricanes aren't something to wish for. If you think they are fun, I have quite a few examples of how they aren't fun, including a few on my blog. Hurricanes suck. Pretty to look at, horrible to live through.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Good Morning Storm. NEw I hope you get better weather soon.


Looks to be improving starting tomorrow,decent weekend, we're dancing in the streets,if temps hit 80 these days.
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Quoting jeffs713:

You like getting hurricanes, and seeing people lose a majority of their belongings and possibly their lives? Are you actually serious?


I think he wants the hurricane to hit him...he probably thinks their fun.
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Quoting NEwxguy:
Still wondering if this weather pattern on the east coast will ever change.
we gonna be stuck with this pattern till early sept but the fall and winter should be mild
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
at the end of the GFS run has a hurricane in central gulf. It goes across the tropical Atlantic into the Caribbean passing by Jamaica then cayman to the western tip of Cuba into the gulf........I LIKE IT!!!!!

You like getting hurricanes, and seeing people lose a majority of their belongings and possibly their lives? Are you actually serious?
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Good Morning Storm. NEw I hope you get better weather soon.
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Link here is the link look at 150 hours -384 hours
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
at the end of the GFS run has a hurricane in central gulf. It goes across the tropical Atlantic into the Caribbean passing by Jamaica then cayman to the western tip of Cuba into the gulf........I LIKE IT!!!!!


Well wonderkid, I live on the Gulf Coast and if by some fluke this does happen I hope it goes right up your snout first. Sorry for sounding trollish folks but I find post like that bothersome.
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Still wondering if this weather pattern on the east coast will ever change.
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Good Morning Wunderbloggers!
Guess I'd better go ahead and take the dog for a long walk now...
Link
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WUNDERKIDCAYMEN


can you post the link please?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
at the end of the GFS run has a hurricane in central gulf. It goes across the tropical Atlantic into the Caribbean passing by Jamaica then cayman to the western tip of Cuba into the gulf........I LIKE IT!!!!!


You like it?
Member Since: 28 octobre 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615

Link

Shear Map
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Link

TROPICAL WAVES...
AN ATLANTIC OCEAN TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 50W TO THE SOUTH OF 17N MOVING WESTWARD 15 TO 20 KT. SCATTERED MODERATE SHOWERS TO ISOLATED STRONG ITCZ PRECIPITATION FROM 8N TO 12N BETWEEN 49W AND 58W.
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Quoting sporteguy03:


that model is way out there 384 hours out is throwing darts at a board, but I think the GFS is just beginning to adjust that we are heading into Cape Verde season.


I know about it being so far out. Lol. It would be nice if people or places had that much warning. Then again it might just make us more nuts than a 2 day warning. Lol.
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at the end of the GFS run has a hurricane in central gulf. It goes across the tropical Atlantic into the Caribbean passing by Jamaica then cayman to the western tip of Cuba into the gulf........I LIKE IT!!!!!
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Good Morning All......Nice & Quiet in the Tropical Atlantic....It's a good thing...Guess we'll be watching the models for the next few week for any hints of development in the second half of July.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Yuck! I like the 6z run that our Ike showed. :)
Ummm. By "our" I mean the blogs Ike and not the storm that hit here. And good morning everyone. Sry just woke up and that post caught my eye. Ugh. :( maybe I should go back to bed til October.


that model is way out there 384 hours out is throwing darts at a board, but I think the GFS is just beginning to adjust that we are heading into Cape Verde season.
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Quoting sporteguy03:
Ike,
interesting run by GFS 00z right into the GOM on July 25th, 384 hours out. Speaking of Ike, looks like an Ike path maybe, but good entertainment though to watch late night. See you at 6z for another run of GFS.


Yuck! I like the 6z run that our Ike showed. :)
Ummm. By "our" I mean the blogs Ike and not the storm that hit here. And good morning everyone. Sry just woke up and that post caught my eye. Ugh. :( maybe I should go back to bed til October.
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G'morning.

Kinda cool and still overcast here but with no rain despite the clouds continually trying to.

As long as it doesn't rain in Cardiff today...

The Ashes!

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look at this

something is gonna be there next week by Sunday or so
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it is not the GFS gone crazy, it is the persons who feed the information into the computers
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GFS gone crazy
Member Since: 28 octobre 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
Good morning.
It is a beautiful morning here at 11n 61w. No dust, after a week of heavy. Not a cloud to be seen. Excellent visibility. Feels like January to me !!
I see a patch of cloud on the Sat Images, off to the East. Have to hope for some rains from that.
Is it still dryseason? In July??
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455. IKE
Long-term discussion from Tallahassee,FL....

"LONG TERM...(SUN-THU)...WITH QUITE A FEW RECENT DISCREPANCIES
BETWEEN THE GFS AND ECMWF...DECIDED TO WAIT FOR THE NEW 00 UTC EURO
RUN TO ARRIVE...AND THEN DECIDED TO WEIGHT THE EXTENDED PACKAGE
TOWARDS THE NEW ECMWF SOLUTION WHICH DIFFERS SLIGHTLY FROM THE GFS.
THEREFORE...WENT WITH WARMER AND DRIER CONDITIONS FOR SUN THRU TUE
AS THE UPPER RIDGE TO THE W TRIES TO BUILD BACK EASTWARD TOWARDS THE
SE U.S....WITH COOLER AND WETTER WEATHER RETURNING FOR WED AND THU
AS THE RIDGE RETROGRADES ONCE AGAIN...WITH YET ANOTHER UPPER LEVEL
TROF PROGGED TO SET UP OVER THE EASTERN SEABOARD."
..........

Another trough.
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
454. IKE
Quoting sporteguy03:
Ike,
interesting run by GFS 00z right into the GOM on July 25th, 384 hours out. Speaking of Ike, looks like an Ike path maybe, but good entertainment though to watch late night. See you at 6z for another run of GFS.


6Z GFS is more east and north and less aggressive...
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
morning
the atl the caribbean and the gomex are vey trnquil this morning, what i have noticed the ingredients for the start of the season is about coming together. the stable atmosphere through out the MDR is allowing ssts to increase , while shear is becoming favourable. the SAL is also decreasing and the stage appears set for the cape vere season. hope this lull is not a precursor of things to come
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Big storm coming into the carribbean.
One week.Be prepared.
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Would not surprise me if we had a storm within a week or two since the East Pacific had one recently.

Is there a relationship of like storms forming in the Atlantic after the E'Pac?
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Good Morning;

The Cape Verde Season is fast approaching...

Recurving Vs Landfalling Cape Verde Hurricanes
Member Since: 24 juillet 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Hold on,
a big storm is coming into the carribbean.
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Strange to see a MJO forecast map this clean in July! Don't know i have ever seen this before!

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12 Month Loop....

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Come on baby, Momma needs a new pair of water wings, bring that lovely rain our way. :)
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TampaSpins Tropical Update!
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443. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary (0600z 09JUL)
=========================================
An area of convection (90W) located at 6.2N 151.5E or 75 NM south southwest of Chuuk. Animated multispectral imagery shows improving convection associated with a developing wave in the easterlies and southerly low level clouds are under the convection hinting at a low level circulation center. The system is in an area of low vertical wind shear with good upper level outflow giving the system potential for convective organization.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 10-15 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1007 MB. The potential for this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is UPGRADED TO FAIR.
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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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