Klotzbach and Gray: final 2010 two week hurricane forecast

First, a confession – I’m not feeling terrifically motivated to write up this forecast. As we stumble to the end of the 2010 hurricane season, there’s a lot dry air around, there’s a minor hurricane that’s taking a track that is typical only in the late season, and it’s clear that the season will end short of forecasted ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy).

Even the forecast for October 13-26:

We expect that the next two weeks will be characterized by average amounts of activity

does little to add motivation.

Note on the chart above that the average hurricane activity over this period is greater than the first two weeks of August, so average activity can be enough disrupt a nice fall day!

Hurricane Paula (I have to be a bit careful here, my wife’s name is Paula) looks to be traveling along Cuba’s mountains and hence should have a short life, and add little to the seasonal total ACE. Still, average activity over these two weeks is so low that “The average forecast is due primarily to Hurricane Paula.”

The only other forecast factor of interest is the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a global wave around the tropics, currently centered between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, an area where the MJO tends to inhibit Atlantic storm development.

That’s about it. The GFS weather forecast model apparently “is hinting at the development of a system in the western Caribbean in about five days.” So even the GFS isn’t very “enthusiastic” about the forecast.

As for the previous two week period, it “was somewhat of an over-forecast. We predicted above-average ACE (>13.8 units), while only 8.2 ACE units were observed.”  Except for some activity around the peak, the season struggled to get going, and a premature end seems likely.

I see the folks on top of Mt Washington in New Hampshire are giddy over snow, sleet, freezing rain, and winds that reached 98 mph (160 Km/h, about the same speed as Paula). I’m beginning to share their sense of excitement over the coming winter even though it’s still autumn here in New Hampshire and the fall foliage is at near peak conditions south of the White Mountains.

32 thoughts on “Klotzbach and Gray: final 2010 two week hurricane forecast

  1. Just shows what alarmists say, a warming world will produce more storms may be true(?). Conversely a cooling world will produce less storms. The exception to this was during the Little Ice Age when the worst on record storm hit British shores and sunk hundreds of ships. just shows how fickle weather and climate is, neither can follow any rule that we think applies.

  2. Hurricanes are just a phenomenon of our turbulent atmosphere, which are produced by the deterministic chaos which drives our climate. What brings about turbulent events is not well understood and we don’t yet have sufficiently good tools to accurately quantify the metrics of these daughters of chaos.
    Werner Heisenberg quote: “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.”

  3. Darn it, I was hoping we’d get a nice cat 2 or cat 3 through here so I could get y’all (er, I mean ‘the government’) to buy me a new roof. I guess now I’m going to have to go up there and fix that leak myself.

  4. @ John Marshall,
    It’s often stated that a warmer world will be stormier, but I’ve no idea what the scientific justification for this is. Heat engines such as storms are driven by temperature differences, not by temperature.
    Most of the global warming occurs with night and winter temperatures, and tends to be larger towards the poles. All of these suggest that global warming has reduced temperature differences. If so, one would expect a warmer world to be less stormy.
    The historical record is clear. During the Little Ice Age there were many vast storms, some of them killing 100,000 (from data collected by H.H.Lamb). One storm may have killed 400,000. There were so many extreme and unexpected weather events that people believed it could not be natural (does this sound familiar?). As a result possibly tens of thousands of innocent people throughout Europe were executed for ‘weather cooking’. Even then there were sceptics who had the courage to speak out against this madness.
    This is what happened when the world was colder. In comparison, the warmer world that we currently enjoy is far more benign. In terms of deaths, the Pakistan floods and heat wave in Russia come nowhere close (and there is plenty of evidence that they were not caused by global warming). These catastrophes have always occurred and always will.
    Scientists pushing AGW insist that a warmer world will be stormier. But it’s not science. It’s propaganda. Oh, yes, and if they’re right it’s rather odd that hurricanes have been steadily falling in intensity over recent decades.

  5. I guess all of this proves the one fact that we really know is true for sure, namely we know little about the system and its causes & effects and understand even less. AND on this state of knowledge and understanding, some people (politicians and activists) want to gamble trillions of dollars. Heaven help us.

  6. According to The Weather Network (TV Channel) in Canada this is one of the biggest/most active seasons ever! Shows what you know, eh? 🙂
    Of course admitting that it really was a nothing season just would not work. They have a tight relationship with Environment Canada — and the agenda is — surprise! CAGW!

  7. Good Doctor Klotzbach and Professor Gray,
    I think you did an excellent job in your prediction.
    I was totally off in numeric numbers for I focused again on numeric numbers of sunspot activity and overlooking that the Earth is still warm from six warm sunspot cycles.
    On the other hand, I knew it would be a weak season and that tropical storms would nearly match hurricane numbers. I really didn’t worry one bit that any storms would hit us here in Florida.
    What I was looking for were the first paragraphs of climate change in a solar sunspot minimum.
    One observation is the land mass weather of the North America turned nearly all the storms away.
    Two, the lost of humidity in the upper atmosphere dropped this passed year and I place the cause on the drop in sunspot activity over the last 6 years. Is that why North America turned the storms away?
    Three, I didn’t see the Iceland volcano having much cooling affect on the Atlantic Ocean, which I thought it would.
    Four, if this were the first preliminary stage in an ice age, we can now see why an ice sheet formed more easily over the United Kingdom. They received the storms this year over the US. Thus, we fell deeper into drought conditions while they will be prime for a heavy winter snows.
    The US on the other hand, per the Farmers’ Almanac should have a cold-dry winter.
    How will that play on next year?
    Paul Pierett

  8. If it has been such a slow hurricane season (which I am not doubting), why does NOAA still say it was above average:
    ABNT30 KNHC 011156
    800 AM EDT FRI OCT 01 2010
    What the heck are they using for an average? I note they refer to an AVERAGE for the September activity, but a LONG-TERM MEDIAN for the whole season. Are they pulling a switch here in order to find some way of making it sound “Worse Than We Thought”?

  9. Rob Potter-one thing-NOAA names every large cumulonimbus now, in the Atlantic,
    gets the numbers up.

  10. We have to clarify this issue of Climate Change/Global Warming/Climate Disruption/etc.,etc.
    By saying:
    -There is only one and single field.
    1. When the two polar forces oppose, at sin 0°=0, and Cos 180°= -1 ,
    the resultant field is 100% an EMISSION FIELD.
    2. When the two polar forces oppose at an angle of 45°, the resultant field is a MAGNETIC FIELD, composed of two equal and opposing vectors: One, the attraction field, Gravity, going from the periphery to the center, and being equal to:
    G1= Sin y = + 0.70711
    And, the second one, the repulsion field, Emission Field (EM), going from the center to the periphery:
    M= Cos y = – 0.7011
    3. When the two polar forces oppose at any other angle different to 0° we will always find a compound field of three forces: One positive, One negative and One neutral.
    4. Thus the constants which appear as a factor in all laws of physics, are not constant but variables, more precisely ONE variable, which corresponds to the addition of the Sin and the Cosine values of the angle between the two polar forces of the ONLY ONE EXISTENT FIELD.
    Φ/Φ1=Sin y + Cos y
    6. Then the Max Planck equation can be generalized also:
    E= hν
    h = Sin y + Cos y
    and being ν=C/λ
    Then: E= (Sin y + Cos y)(C/λ)
    What does all this mean when dealing with “temperature” and “climate”?: Whenever there are changes in the field (or in the believed different “fields” we have “designated”) , energy -“heat”- can be the result. But which one is the “culprit”?: Obviously we do not know unless we measure which one changed in the first place.
    Thus, when we witness the discussions among WUWT regulars, as Dr.S, Dr.Vuk or Dr.Evans and the rest, all of them are right (well, rather than them ,ME :-)), as they are seeing the phenomenon from different angles: One prefers magnetism, the other takes his place at 90° and calls it “electricity”, while a third one appears and blames changes in Gravity (the old theme of “barycenter”) and takes his place at 180° from the first one.
    For more details:

  11. Rob Potter says:
    October 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

    If it has been such a slow hurricane season (which I am not doubting), why does NOAA still say it was above average:

    What the heck are they using for an average? I note they refer to an AVERAGE for the September activity, but a LONG-TERM MEDIAN for the whole season. Are they pulling a switch here in order to find some way of making it sound “Worse Than We Thought”?

    They’re likely using “the long-term (1944-2009) averages of 4 tropical storms … 2 hurricanes .. and about 1 major hurricane for the month of September” like they shout above.
    The only thing that has made this a slow season is a comparison to other positive AMO years. The K&G seasonal forecast goes into that in a lot more detail. Also the lack of impact on US land. Compared to both positive and negative AMO periods then this season is well above average as they report, but September stands out as the only active month, almost as though it was the only month able to break out from various inhibitory pressures.
    Be careful about how you use “activity.” That often refers to ACE, the sum of the squares of max wind speed. That skews the plot of ACE vs year to have long tail on the high end, and that makes using the median instead of the mean a sensible choice.
    As for named storms, that has more of a symmetric shape to the curve, and the mean and median are likely not much different.
    The only trouble I have with the NHC statement is not separating out the active and inactive periods, but given it’s a statement for the general public, it’s about par for today’s general public.
    Personally, I’d rather gripe at weather sources that provide maps without isobars, that’s something that can annoy me all year long!

  12. OG says:
    October 13, 2010 at 3:50 am
    > Darn it, I was hoping we’d get a nice cat 2 or cat 3 through here….
    The two week forecasts have two interesting images, but I’ve only been pulling out the first. The second shows all the storm tracks for the period, and unless you’re in Florida, it’s unlikely you’ll have a good blow.
    Oh – I forgot to include the URL for the forecasts! The list of all the two week forecasts is at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Includes/Documents/Two_Week_Forecasts.html

  13. It definitely “Worse than we thought” there was only one big storm and two fairly big storms this season in the Atlantic. About 5 middle of the road storms. and about 8 dinky little storms making up the list. All this gives a count which can be construed as “more active” but only Mexico and Central America seems to be the primary target. The season seems pretty dead now, and worldwide the ACE count looks pathetic. Hey, why not turn civilization upside down to defend against this non-threat ?

  14. Chris Wright’s 4:14 post got me thinking about Brian Fagan’s book, The Little Ice Age. There was a chapter that dealt with some of the more memorable storms that hit northwestern Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries. I believe it was one of these storms that passed over London, which gave that city its lowest recorded barometric pressure. The storm caused extensive flooding in the Dutch lowlands, and the strong easterlies that preceeded its passage litterally covered several Scottish estates in 60 feet of sand. Fagan said forensic meterologists at Oxford believe that this powerful cyclone began as a Hurricane (based on ship reports), migrated into the mid-latitudes where it transitioned rapidly from a warm core to a cold core low. They also suspect that the famous series of cyclones that ravaged the Spanish Armada and saved the UK began as a tropical storm before evolving into a mid-latitude storm.
    This brings up the obvious question, “What exactly was going on in the Atlantic?” Is there something that we are fundementally missing? We’re assuming the AMO during the coldest periods of the LIA would be such that tropical storm activity would be driven closer to the equator, as SSTs would be too cold to support vigorous TCs development. We do know from ship records that the Atlanitc Cod migrated towards warmer waters, and away from the North Atlantic. But, how warm were the waters in the subtropics? And one would assume these tropical storms were already intense when they made thier transition from warm core to cold core.

  15. At least the Western Pacific will have a Super Typhoon in 2010. TD15W has developed into a tropical storm, will be named Megi, and should have no problem exploding to Category 5. Satellite Imagery

  16. We have had mainly fish storms in the Atlantic this year. It appears that fish storms, at least in my lifetime, comprise at least about half of all Atlantic cyclones. In the past, say counting back starting 50 or so years ago, when weather satellites did not exist, how many of these fish storms did 17th, 18th, and 19th century “climatologists” miss? W.A. Guess: 90%. The occasional ship probably recorded some, if they survived the storm.
    So the mean or median of the past 200 or 300 years is a bogus figure, by my simple reckoning.
    Secondly, as a physical chemist, I know that turbulence occurs at the boundary gradient condition in systems. This means that storms should occur most often and be highest in energy, all things being equal, when the gradients are steepest. These scenarios should occur when the climate shifts from cold to hot or vice-versa. For example, a strong year like 2004 occurred at a gradient between the warming cycle of the 1980s and 1990s and the cooling cycle of the 2000s and 2010s, before adequate mixing has occurred (i.e before equilibration). I would expect strong cyclone energy to happen before the next stepwise transition, perhaps next year or so, as we move further into the cooling epoch predicted to happen soon.
    Of course, localized gradients could occur anytime to obscure any longer term trend and yield a strong or weak year even in the presence of an opposing trend. The ocean surfaces and adjacent atmosphere do not comprise an adiabatic system, so bets are off.
    Weather can trump climate, you know…

  17. Last I checked the Atlantic ACE was 133. My early August prediction of 129 for the 2010 season is looking pretty darn good now. I handily bested the experts and I might have beat the monkey and octopus too although I don’t recall offhand what the animal prophets predicted.

  18. “Juraj V. says:
    He he, even Joe Bastardi was off, predicting busy hurricane season. ”
    Last i checked we have 16 storms so far, probably 1 or 2 more at least should develop with Richard being hinted at in the long range and then something else might appear. so Joe Bastardi predicted this back in February with 17-19 storms i think, and then revised to 18-20 storms. if we get 2 more storms we will have 18, like Joe Bastardi said we would. Joe Bastardi has not gotten the impacts on the USA, yet, as he predicted, but in terms of a busy season he definetly was dead on with the only tropical activity being in the Atlantic.

  19. NOAA’s May forecast:
    We estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity this season:
    * 14-23 Named Storms,
    * 8-14 Hurricanes
    * 3-7 Major Hurricanes
    * An ACE range of 155%-270% of the median.
    Seems pretty good – now at 164% of ACE and climbing. 16 named, 8 hurricanes, 3 or 4 major.

  20. @Ric Werme,
    Thanks, I bit my lip after posting that, am in South Florida and am keeping a wary eye on Paula, but I should know better than to tempt fate with comments like that! 🙂

  21. Ric Werme says:
    October 13, 2010 at 6:32 am
    Thanks Ric (I won’t copy your reply)
    This illustrates my point that you have to define what kind of an average you are using and the time period you are calculating over in order to make any kind of comparison.
    My personal pet-pieve is the forecaster who says “today will be warmer(colder) than it SHOULD be for this time of year” as if a long-term average has got anything to do with what the most likely temperature would be! In that case a mode would be the best figure to quote – particularly relevant where a non-normal distribution is observed as here when one ‘tail’ is cut off by zero.
    Since storm numbers are integers (hard to get .33 of a storm after all) does anyone calculate the mode (most common number of storms)?

  22. truthsword says: “A warming world will have less hurricanes, a cooling one more. Physics.”
    Depends on what kind of ‘physics’ you’re talking about.

  23. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/10/klotzbach-on-atlantic-hurricane-season-analysis/
    Klotzbach in a guest post predicted an Atlantic ACE of 185 in the August mid-season update. See above link and search the page for ACE.
    The Atlantic ACE history from 1950 is interesting. The following table ranks all years by activity level and keeps the current season up-to-date. Atlantic ACE is currently 140. One big late season blow and Klotzbach might be pretty close.

  24. jorgekafkazar says:
    October 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    truthsword says: “A warming world will have less hurricanes, a cooling one more. Physics.”
    Depends on what kind of ‘physics’ you’re talking about.

    Pole to equator temperature gradient in northern hemisphere I recall was the hypothesis. “Global” warming isn’t uniform. The higher latitudes appear to get more than lower latitudes which reduces the temperature gradient and hence the energy available to drive extreme weather events. Seems like a reasonable hypothesis at first blush.

  25. Dave Springer says:
    October 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Pole to equator temperature gradient in northern hemisphere I recall was the hypothesis. “Global” warming isn’t uniform. The higher latitudes appear to get more than lower latitudes which reduces the temperature gradient and hence the energy available to drive extreme weather events. Seems like a reasonable hypothesis at first blush.

    That should apply more to extratropical storms, they develop along weather fronts between relatively warm and cool air masses. When I have a chance, I’ll finish a post on an interesting site history.
    Tropical storms are driven more by both the vertical temperature difference and warm SSTs. Warm water is needed to evaporate enough water to power the heat engine, and a rule of thumb is SSTs have to be at least 80°F (27°C) to develop a decent storm. Semi OT – there’s a class of extratropical storm that develops off the New England coast into something that sure looks like a hurricane. That phase never lasts long enough to investigate with an airplane, but radar images show “eye-like” structures. I suspect they really are warm core storms that are living beyond their means and rapidly reconfigure back to cold core.

  26. Staffan Lindström says:
    October 14, 2010 at 10:36 am
    > …Ric…you don’t mean a polar low???????????
    Oops, I forgot about those. No, I don’t mean them, though they also have eye-like structures. http://www.geo-web.org.uk/PolarLow.pdf seems to be a good description.
    What I’m talking about happens at lower latitudes, and while the eye has a brief life, the rest of the storm lasts for days. The official definition of “bombogenesis” (the NWS wants a better name) is a drop in surface pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
    A few links referring to bombogenesis:
    http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_13789.html (a Pacific storm with satellite photos)
    Some of the links refer to a 1978 storm that stalled off of New England and remains the most impressive winter storm I’ve experienced firsthand. People find my http://wermenh.com/blizz78.html nearly every day.

  27. Planet Earth rotates on its axis, and the atmosphere doesn’t want to turn with it, as per Newton’s laws of motion. Consequently, the roughness of the planet, surfaces above sea level, trees and other protrusions into the atmosphere of varying altitude, and even waves on the oceans move through the atmosphere, and this moves the air, and causes turbulence, and causes eddy currents to form. Just like eddy currents caused by obstructions in a river bed cause whirlpools to form, which move quite randomly, but within bounds, and dissipate as friction de-energizes the eddy currents and turbulence. Go fishing on a river and check it out for yourselves. Just as the surface level (depth of water) of a river varies because of eddy currents and turbulence, the depth/height of the atmosphere varies, causing higher and lower pressures, at the bottom of the river, for water, and at the surface of the Earth, for air pressure.
    As water is an incompressible fluid, and air is a compressible fluid, the results aren’t quite the same, but seem quite close.
    I have done a good deal of hydraulic engineering, so have a good bit of knowledge as to how water flows under varying circumstances.
    Saying the wind blows is akin to saying the sun rises in the east. Both appear to happen, but really don’t. If, however, proper terms aren’t used, it all gets very confusing quite quickly. That is my experience as a professional civil engineer.
    Of course, I am a mere engineer, not a “scientist”, but people would have gotten really annoyed had my hydraulic designs not worked.

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