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 stillwaiting:
what is this????swirly thingy???
I don't know time to investagate
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what is this????swirly thingy???
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1091. Seastep
Quoting Seastep:
Time for bed, but if anyone sees chicklit, I'm serious, and I'll even up it to five to one. Five t-shirts if any depression or higher exists on that day.

Goodnight.


Sorry... just for clarity... Atlantic.
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1090. Seastep
Time for bed, but if anyone sees chicklit, I'm serious, and I'll even up it to five to one. Five t-shirts if any depression or higher exists on that day.

Goodnight.
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Wow.. this blog went...
whats the word? Nuts?
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1088. Drakoen
GFS 00z really showing something in the EATL before the resolution goes out.
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Quoting Drakoen:


It is necessitous!


lol Excellent!
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1086. Drakoen
Quoting presslord:
No way my man Taz wants to see me in a G-string....he'll do the right thing....


It is necessitous!
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No way my man Taz wants to see me in a G-string....he'll do the right thing....
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1084. Seastep
Apologies to the ladies... I just assumed.
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1083. Seastep
Quoting Tazmanian:
here is why the back E been haveing a cool summer so far


Link


Hmmm... subject change. I am just ROFLMAO.
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1082. Seastep
Quoting presslord:
I'll be delighted to share the "booty" with Oss...


LMAO. Taz is awfully silent. ;)
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Seastep...some of the worst are she types...
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1080. Seastep
Quoting Drakoen:


May you haven't been here long enough.


Really? I have trouble believing that.
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I'll be delighted to share the "booty" with Oss...
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1078. Drakoen
Quoting Seastep:
Here's the deal. MIL supposed to be here for one day and it is now day 4 (just recalced... only 3... but tomorrow will be four).

Any ideas?

No offense to the women. Ever noticed that there is never a female troll?


May you haven't been here long enough.
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1077. Seastep
Here's the deal. MIL supposed to be here for one day and it is now day 4 (just recalced... only 3... but tomorrow will be four).

Any ideas?

No offense to the women. Ever noticed that there is never a female troll?
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1076. Ossqss
Quoting Seastep:
Chicklit - I'm in, thought you were talking UNTIL the next full moon (not biting on that one). Conditions:

1. No exact... that day is good.

2. Signed dresslord photo mailed to ossqss.

Quote me and it's done.


I am going to have nightmares now for 3 days. Nooooooooooooo!

I knew I should have kept my fingers silent.

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Got circulation? Check.
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1074. Skyepony (Mod)
05W
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Quoting Patrap:
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin



I met him when I was 13 or 14 years old(31 now),He was a extemely nice person and I'm glad I got to meet him,I still have a autographed picture I got when I met him!!!!
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1072. Drakoen
Quoting Ossqss:


Google a C - String and think of Press and feel the fear ! Yikes, L8R


LOL!
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here is why the back E been haveing a cool summer so far


Link
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1070. Seastep
Chicklit - I'm in, thought you were talking UNTIL the next full moon (not biting on that one). Conditions:

1. No exact... that day is good.

2. Signed dresslord photo mailed to ossqss.

Quote me and it's done.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Penguin:
Incapable? Of course not. But just because storms in those years ulimately made landfall or were stumbled upon by a ship doesn't mean all were measured.

Go look at the full paper at the link I posted. He shows the obs for an average day in 1907, shows how the percent of TCs making landfall has dropped as remote sensing has improved and coastal populations have grown. And more. Really shows the effect of improved observations and the likelyhood that we missed many.

And, do you propose that it is impossible that a season like 2005 couldn't occur every 70 years or so? All of the factors that made that one what it was surely have happened before and will again...hopefully not anytime soon.


Simple question. All things being equal, i.e. wind shear, dust, etc. Will the probability of tropical activity increase or decrease as a direct relationship to ocean temperatures?

The main point being, there are some people expending a lot of energy to prove that increased energy (aka heat) in the tropical oceans will have no effect on tropical activity.

The net result may end up that activity maintains "normal" levels because wind shear or dust levels may increase, or some other cyclonic genesis factor may change, but to continute to say AGW can't effect storm activity defies logic.
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1068. Ossqss
Quoting Drakoen:


Thong is for amateurs. G-string is where it's at.


Google a C - String and think of Press and feel the fear ! Yikes, L8R
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G-string it is then....Taz, it's all on you, pal...
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1065. Ossqss
Quoting presslord:
Taz!!!! You're on!!!! I think that's worth $10,000!!!!!!!! Taz in a dress for $10,000 in Portlight contributions!!!!!!!!!!!!


Press, are you sure this is a good idea? I am sceeerrrrd !

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Quoting presslord:
...and when I say bikini, I'm talkin' thong...


omg... lol
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1063. Seastep
Quoting Tazmanian:



LOL


LOL... you said it.

And I think press is of the same mind as me in thinking you're a man of your word. LOL.

OK.... ROFLMAO... start shopping.

NO BIKINI!
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...and when I say bikini, I'm talkin' thong...
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Quoting presslord:
Y'all get to decide...

Would you rather see Taz in a dress...or me in a bikini?

I don't think there is enough eye bleach in the world for the latter.
Member Since: 3 août 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
I just stepped outside (trying to figure out if the crickets/cicadas are outside or inside), and I noticed it was rather toasty still. So I came in to check and see how hot it was, and this greeted me...

(reminder, its 11:25PM here)

Grogan's Mill, The Woodlands, Texas (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago
Clear
85.0 °F
Clear
Humidity: 78%
Dew Point: 77 °F
Wind: 0.0 mph
Wind Gust: 1.0 mph
Pressure: 29.99 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 96 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0.0 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 139 ft
Member Since: 3 août 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
Y'all get to decide...

Would you rather see Taz in a dress...or me in a bikini?
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1058. Madokie
alright yall im headed to bed have a great night!
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Quoting presslord:
Taz!!!! You're on!!!! I think that's worth $10,000!!!!!!!! Taz in a dress for $10,000 in Portlight contributions!!!!!!!!!!!!



LOL
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1056. Patrap
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
Quoting presslord:
504...careful there...ya might scare any children who happen to be on the blog...


lol... Its too funny...
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1054. Madokie
Quoting Chicklit:
Greetings, Madokie. Is tornado season now finally over for y'all out there?


Yes it is, We had a mild one actually stayed north towards Kansas this year.
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Taz!!!! You're on!!!! I think that's worth $10,000!!!!!!!! Taz in a dress for $10,000 in Portlight contributions!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
OMG, that pic is *almost* enough to scare me straight!

Awww...Sweet!
Thanks for the levity. Goodnight!
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Greetings, Madokie. Is tornado season now finally over for y'all out there?
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Quoting TheWeatherMan504:


LOL... I still have the link from last year... hahahahha Link

OMG... No one questions your dedication to 'The Cause' Paul. But shave those legs!!!
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oh cars i put on a dress if you all like
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Quoting presslord:
How ya doin' Taz?



doing well
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504...careful there...ya might scare any children who happen to be on the blog...
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How ya doin' Taz?
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Quoting presslord:
Absolutely!!!!!!!!! Consider it done!!! I'll throw in an autographed picture of me in the dress if it'll help...


LOL... I still have the link from last year... hahahahha Link

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1043. Madokie
evening all, greetings from the hot as heck midwest!!
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About JeffMasters

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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