Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential – It’s All in the Presentation

UPDATE: If you’d like to contribute to the Philippine Red Cross you can do so here.
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The warm-looking image on the left in Figure 1 is of tropical cyclone heat potential for the Northwest Pacific. It made the rounds in numerous alarmist presentations of Typhoon Haiyan. It’s from the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory webpage Deep, Warm Water Fuels Haiyan Intensification.

Presentation 1

Figure 1 (Click to enlarge)

The text reads:

The intensification of Super Typhoon Haiyan is being fueled by “ideal” environmental conditions – namely low wind shear and warm ocean temperatures. Maximum sustained winds are currently at 195 mph, well above the Category 5 classification used for Atlantic and East Pacific hurricanes. Plotted here is the average Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential product for October 28 – November 3, 2013, taken directly from NOAA View. This dataset, developed by NOAA/AOML, shows the total amount of heat energy available for the storm to absorb, not just on the surface, but integrated through the water column. Deeper, warmer pools of water are colored purple, though any region colored from pink to purple has sufficient energy to fuel storm intensification. The dotted line represents the best-track and forecast data as of 16:00 UTC on November 7, 2013.

To explore this data in NOAA View, select Ocean>>Temperature>>Heat Content>>Energy for Hurricanes

Click on the NOAA View link. The viewer is listed as a beta version. Note the disclaimer at the top of the viewer (my boldface):

NOAA View provides access to maps of NOAA data from a variety of satellite, model, and other analysis sources. NOAA View is intended as an education and outreach tool, and is not an official source of NOAA data for decision support or scientific purposes.

Somehow, that disclaimer is missing from the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory webpage Deep, Warm Water Fuels Haiyan Intensification that was promoted by alarmists everywhere.

The dataset is the NOAA/AOML TCHP (Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential). See the webpage here. If you were to click on Northwest Pacific from the left-hand menu fields, here, you can select the date you wish. The right-hand map in Figure 1 is the tropical cyclone heat potential for the Northwest Pacific, for November 7, but with the scaling as provided by NOAA/AOML. It definitely doesn’t look as warm, especially where Haiyan was at the time, just southeast of the Philippines. In fact, much of Haiyan’s storm track was through the “yellow” mid-scale bands. It definitely wasn’t toward the high-end of the scale. Also, with the grids marked on the drawing, we can see that the “hotspot” was south of the equator, something that wasn’t apparent in the left-hand map provided by the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

For those interested, Animation 1 captures the maps from October 28 to November 8. You might need to click-start the animation.

NW Pacific TCHP 28-10 to 08-11

Animation 1

It looks as though some of the global-warming-alarmist hype was simply based on the scaling used by the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory in their webpage Deep, Warm Water Fuels Haiyan Intensification, which is “not an official source of NOAA data for decision support or scientific purposes.”

(Thanks for the link, Anthony.)

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UPDATE2:  (by Anthony) An important point here is that Typhoons don’t cross the equator, here is the track of Haiyan, note it formed about 6° North 156°E, at the very edge of the warmest TCHP and at the very edge of possibility for forming. Observations show that no hurricanes form within 5 degrees latitude of the equator.

The majority of Haiyan’s track was in cooler regions to the NW, including the period when it was claimed to be Cat5, even past landfall, when wind speeds were reduced:

haiyan_track

Another important point is that at the Equator, warmer water (and higher TCHP) is not unusual, it is the norm all around the planet:

latest_sst[1]

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34 thoughts on “Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential – It’s All in the Presentation

  1. The videos I have seen of the typhoon are dreadful. It must have been hell on earth when that arrived. Typical warmist response though, don’t show the victims any sympathy,just use it as another piece of evidence of “The Cause”!
    No doubt we will be hearing that the “missing heat” has unscientifically bypassed the atmosphere and gone straight to the ocean depths where it has caused this tragedy! These people really do p**s me off!!

  2. I wonder how the potential is calculated and how many meters they use.
    If they go to the bottom of the ocean the temperature is so low that there would be no potential.

  3. A dreadful event. I hope the death toll turns out to be less than what is being reported in the MSM but, regardless it is an awful tragedy for those affected. On the so called ‘bright side’, this hasn’t been as active a season as it could have been.
    As for the CAGW angle, it doesn’t matter if this was an extremely powerful CAT 5 storm or a slightly less powerful CAT 4, it’ll still be due to mans emissions of CO2. Please, don’t confuse the faithful with facts.

  4. This storm hit the area of the Philippians that isn’t normally hit buy strong typhoons. They normally hit farther north, mainly on the north island. :

    Probably why they didn’t have a good evacuation plan, with safe areas on each island, for each village.

  5. Svend Ferdinandsen says: “I wonder how the potential is calculated and how many meters they use.”

    I believe they use the temperature and depth of the water to the 26 deg C thermocline. I’m not certain, though. See the discussion of “oceanic heat content” from page 11 of the following paper:

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/pubs/Opal.pdf

    “The depth to which the temperature exceeds 26 deg C is proportional to the hurricane heat potential (Leipper and Volgenau 1972).”

    It’s from the NOAA/AOML TCHP publications webpage here:

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/pubs.html

  6. Warmists do a disservice to all the people who have been affected by previous cyclones, when they claim that earlier storms were somehow inferior for not having the ‘benefit’ of man’s input.

  7. The UK Met Office Atlantic basin forecast for 2013:

    Forecast for June to November 2013

    Issued 15 May 2013

    The most likely number of tropical storms predicted to occur in the North Atlantic during the June to November period is 14, with a 70% chance that the number will be in the range 10 to 18. This represents slightly above normal activity relative to the 1980-2010 long-term average of 12.

    The most likely number of hurricanes predicted to occur in the North Atlantic during the June to November period is 9, with a 70% chance that the number will be in the range 4 to 14. This represents above normal activity relative to the 1980-2010 long-term average of 6.

    An ACE index of 130 is predicted as the most likely value, with a 70% chance that the index will be in the range 76 to 184 – which is slightly above normal relative to the 1980-2010 average of 104.

    With 20 days to go, and no activity for the last 17 days, the actuals are: 12 storms, 2 hurricanes and ACE 29.9.

    No ‘deep water warm pools’ in the Atlantic then; and another ‘what went wrong’ paper required from the UKMO.

    Would whoever took the heat please return it.

  8. I wonder if those wind speeds are actually measured or estimated. A couple of years ago in Australia, we had cyclone Yasi. The experts said it would reach 180 mph+ (290 kph+), a figure repeated endlessly in the media as Yasi approached the coast. However, the highest wind actually measured on the ground was under 120 mph (190 kph), still strong but a huge difference.

    Nevertheless, Yasi is still rated a strong Cat 5 because the models said it was. Forget the real-world data. Sounds familiar.

    Having said that, the damage pictures from Haiyan look a lot worse than Yasi..

  9. FYI – Philippine php to usd for the link above to the Philippine Red Cross: 1000 PhP = $23.13 USD. Minimal donation is 100 PhP or $2.31 USD. You can designate Haiyan relief. (Just didn’t know what PhPs were…)

  10. I have just found out what is causing all the weird weather and it is not man!

    But by letting you know I have doomed us all because Ming The Merciless will destroy the world if anyone realises it is not natural or man made.
    I think I will now go for a lie down in a darkened room.

    James Bull

  11. The argument that Haiyan, or any tropical cyclone, was made worse because global warming made the ocean water slightly warmer is just wrong. Every year the water is warm enough to support supper cyclones, but the strength of these cyclones is far more dependent on the atmospheric conditions, which can vary a great deal. Proclaiming that slightly warmer water will make the storms worse is like proclaiming that my car will go faster if I always have just a little more gas in the tank.

  12. Haiyan was also moving much too quickly laterally to be upwelling deep water, so the temperature of that water is irrelevant to Haiyan’s power.

    That’s before we get to the actual location of that warm deeper water and whether the ‘missing heat’ from ‘the pause’ magically disappered from the atmosphere, reappeared below 2000m and then equally-magically reappeared a few dozens of metres from the sea surface.

    What maotivates those who suggest every storm is evidence of AGW? Oops, the absolutely-genuine typo in that sentence probably explains it…

  13. You know, the first thing that came to mind when I saw these “235 MPH TYPHOON OF DOOM IT’S ALL OVER FOLKS” headlines popping up was ‘someone can’t tell the difference between the letters k and m, apparently’, and it looks like I was right.

  14. Paul Homewood says:
    November 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I’m not sure if the link works, but the strongest typhoon in Philippines in recent years, in terms of gusts, was Reming in 2006, which peaked at 320 kph, or 200 mph. (This is based on PAGASA data).
    Yolanda on the same basis reached 171 mph.

    http://kidlat.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/cab/tc_frame.htm

    And click on important facts.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Note that the landfall for most of these storms was over just one spot: Virac, Catanduanes.

  15. the 1970 cyclone that hit the then east pakistan killed around 500,000 people…but winds were much weaker at around 110-120 mph…first time a a storm led to the breakup of a country

  16. Max™ says:
    November 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    “You know, the first thing that came to mind when I saw these “235 MPH TYPHOON OF DOOM IT’S ALL OVER FOLKS” headlines popping up was ‘someone can’t tell the difference between the letters k and m, apparently’, and it looks like I was right.”

    Sadly, Max, we’re now dealing with a generation of “low information journalists,” for whom fame, access, and notoriety trump simple common sense and intelligence.

  17. Jim Clarke says:
    November 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    The argument that Haiyan, or any tropical cyclone, was made worse because global warming made the ocean water slightly warmer is just wrong.

    Moreover, strong hurricanes have occurred in the past and will continue into the future. We have NO control over this. Unfortunately, CAGW alarmists can’t bring themselves to accept this simple truth.

    For those who are interested, please read about another famous and very strong storm that occurred over forty years ago in the Gulf of Mexico…

    Hurricane Camille (1969)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Camille


    “By maximum sustained wind speeds, Camille was one of the strongest landfalling tropical cyclones recorded worldwide, and one of only four tropical cyclones worldwide ever to officially achieve wind speeds of 190 miles per hour (310 km/h). The hurricane flattened nearly everything along the coast of the U.S. state of Mississippi, and caused additional flooding and deaths inland while crossing the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. In total, Camille killed 259 people and caused $1.42 billion (1969 USD, $9.04 billion 2013 USD) in damages. To this day, a complete understanding of the reasons for the system’s power, extremely rapid intensification over open water and strength at landfall has not been achieved.”

  18. Txomin says: “Only deniers funded by Big Oil would believe it is warmer at the Equator.”

    Please feel free to tell “Big Oil” that I could use the funding.

  19. Dear mister Watts,
    Using Google Advanced Search and Translate Google Com, I found an interesting article in the Russian press.

    http://oko-planet.su/pogoda/newspogoda/218389-na-magadan-nadvigaetsya-metel-snegopad-i-olimpiyskiy-ogon.html

    At Magadan approaching blizzard, snowfall and the Olympic flame
    Today from Yakutia to Magadan Olympic flame arrived . This stage passes the torch relay .
    Also, the emergency department of the Magadan region warns that today, the region is approaching cyclone.
    “On Monday and Tuesday there is a possibility of a disaster on the territory of Magadan, Ola , North Even Omsukchansky and regions due to snowfall and severe storms ” – the press service of the Fire and Rescue Center ( PSC ) of the region .
    Possible interruptions power lines and communication lines, irregularities in the operation of all types of transport , traffic and municipal services , education, snow drifts on the roads, avalanches . Area residents are asked to refrain from traveling through mountain passes and in avalanche areas.
    So far the translation by Translate.google.com. The MSM are paying much attention to the rituals concerning the Olympic Flame. Not even burning there, but the torch was in space. Now the Flame passes Magadan where during the aftermath of Haiyan, the cyclone that hit the Philippines, a blizzard is raging. It is a test for the MSM: Magadan should be in the center of attention, the Olympic Flame passes there during a blizzard that is related to Haiyan. But somehow I expect that a blizzard does not confirm the new Global Warming religion and so the news of the Olympic Flame traveling through a Haiyan related blizzard will not make the headlines.

  20. It’s important not to let warmist advocates politicise this and use it to promote emotive rush to inappropriate action on climate.

    Nevertheless the immediate problem is on the ground where we’d all like to help in whatever way we can.

    For most of us here there might not seem much we can do, but there are organisations that can and you might consider giving your support.

    http://teamrubiconusa.org/

    Team Rubicon is one such, known for getting faster and farther than more conventional NGOs.

    They are a group founded by former military special operations forces medics.

    They are known for finding unconventional routes into disaster zones while other NGOs collect at the airport.

    Their current deployment to The PhIllipines is mentioned in this newscast

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=weather&id=9320781

    Do give them a look over and see if you think they can help you contribute now time is of the essence.

  21. Tenney Naumer:
    If warmer oceans led to more and stronger cyclones, one wonders how ancient animal life fared in the intertidal zone. We know that Devonian tides were stronger than modern tides, but if lungfish were forever being smashed on the coast or buried in the open sea they might never have evolved in the first place. Pterosaurs too. In all likelihood the warmer the seas the milder was the climate, and the weather. If the current warming hiatus discontinues we may yet be saved from another little ice age and bask in the safety of a Mesozoic climate. –AGF

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