Montag, 1. Dezember 2014

Temporada de huracanes concluye tranquila

La temporada de huracanes de este año en la cuenca atlántica, que terminó ayer domingo, ha sido “relativamente tranquila, tal como se predijo”, y supone nueve años consecutivos sin que un ciclón azote Florida, algo que sí resulta “extraordinario”, resaltó un meteorólogo.

“Ha sido una temporada relativamente tranquila”, pero lo que sí es “sorprendente” es que en los últimos nueve años ningún ciclón haya impactado las costas de Florida. Eso es todo un récord”, dijo Dennis Feltgen, meteorólogo y portavoz del Centro Nacional de Huracanes (CNH), dependiente de Administración Nacional de Océanos y Atmósfera de Estados Unidos (NOAA).

En junio pasado, al comienzo de la temporada, los cálculos de la NOAA preveían una actividad menor de lo normal, con la formación de entre ocho y trece tormentas tropicales, de las cuales entre tres y seis iban a llegar a huracanes, y uno o dos de ellos iban a ser de categoría mayor (3, 4 o 5 en la escala Saffir-Simpson).

El vaticinio fue exacto: hubo ocho tormentas tropicales, de las que seis se transformaron en huracanes

Montag, 6. Oktober 2014

Quietest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 1986

The traditional busiest month of the Atlantic hurricane season, September, is now over, and we are on the home stretch. Just three weeks remain of the peak danger portion of the season. September 2014 ended up with just two named storms forming--Dolly and Edouard. Since the active hurricane period we are in began in 1995, only one season has seen fewer named storms form in September--1997, with Category 3 Hurricane Erika being the only September storm. Between 1995 - 2014, an average of 4.3 named storms formed in September. With only five named storms so far in 2014, this is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season since 1986, when we also had just five named storms by the beginning of October. In terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), activity in the Atlantic up until October 1 has been only about 43% of the 1981 - 2010 average.

 Tracks of Atlantic named storms in 2014. Note how all of this year's hurricanes (tracks in red) have occurred well north of the tropics, north of 24°N latitude--a testament to how hostile for development conditions have been in the tropics, due to dry, sinking air. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

 Forecast for the remainder of hurricane season

Looking at climatology, since 1995, we have seen an average of 3.6 named storms form in the Atlantic after October 1. Two of those years--2006 and 2002--saw no storms form after October 1. The most post-October 1 storms was eleven, which occurred in 2005--no surprise there! The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS and European models show a continuation of the basic atmospheric pattern we've seen over the tropical Atlantic this season, with plenty of dry, sinking air. These conditions should lead to lower than average activity into mid-October, which is when historically, Atlantic hurricane activity begins to drop sharply. I expect we'll see at least one more named storm in the Atlantic this year, with two a more likely number. It's unlikely we'll get three or more post-October 1 named storms.

During October, the focus of Atlantic tropical cyclone genesis shifts to the Western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters between the Bahamas and Bermuda. The Lesser Antilles typically see very few tropical cyclones after October 1, and I expect their hurricane season is over. Sea Surface Temperatures over the Caribbean are currently 0.2°C above average, and 0.4°C above average in the Gulf of Mexico.

 Quiet in the Atlantic

A tropical wave predicted to come off the coast of Africa on Saturday is forecast by the UKMET and GFS models to develop by Monday in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands. An upper-level trough of low pressure over the Eastern Atlantic will bring high wind shear to this region early next week, though, making developing difficult. Another major invasion of dry air from the Sahara is currently in progress over the Tropical Atlantic, which will make it difficult for any tropical storms to make the crossing from Africa to the Lesser Antilles intact.

Freitag, 1. August 2014

Tropical Storm Bertha

Bertha is a sheared tropical cyclone with the center located on the
western edge of the deep convection as indicated by satellite. The
low-level circulation continues to be vigorous, but given the
current westerly shear the outflow is very limited. There are no
reasons to change the initial intensity which is kept at 40 knots.
Another Air Force reconnaissance plane will investigate Bertha in
the next several hours.
The current shear environment is not particularly favorable for
strengthening, but there are some indications by the global models
that the shear could decrease some as Bertha moves across the
northeastern Caribbean Sea. This should allow some slight
intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours. Once Bertha's
circulation moves away from Hispaniola beyond 48 hours, there is an
opportunity for additional strengthening if the shear becomes
lighter as suggested by global and statistical models. At this time,
the NHC forecast keeps Bertha with 45-knot winds over the
western Atlantic until it becomes more certain that the shear could
Bertha continues racing toward the west-northwest or 290 degrees
at 17 knots. The cyclone is being steered by the flow around the
Atlantic subtropical ridge which is forecast to persist. Once in
the western Atlantic near the eastern Bahamas, Bertha will be
steered by the southerly flow between the subtropical high
and a mid-level trough over the eastern United States. This pattern
will force Bertha to turn northward with a decrease in forward speed
and to eventually recurve northeastward over the Atlantic. 
The confidence in the track forecast, primarily in the next 2 to 3
days, is high since most the guidance is tightly clustered. The
confidence decreases after 3 days when the guidance becomes
divergent. The track envelope, however, brings Bertha northward
and then northeastward over the Atlantic, and the NHC forecast
follows closely the multi-model consensus.
Forecast positions and Max winds
Init  01/0900z 13.0n  57.0w   40 kt  45 mph
 12h  01/1800z 14.0n  59.6w   40 kt  45 mph
 24h  02/0600z 15.5n  63.0w   40 kt  45 mph
 36h  02/1800z 17.2n  66.0w   45 kt  50 mph
 48h  03/0600z 19.5n  68.8w   45 kt  50 mph
 72h  04/0600z 24.5n  73.5w   45 kt  50 mph
 96h  05/0600z 29.0n  74.0w   45 kt  50 mph
120h  06/0600z 35.0n  67.5w   45 kt  50 mph

Dienstag, 1. Juli 2014

Tropical Depression One Forms off the Coast of East Florida

The Atlantic's first tropical depression of 2014 is here, as Tropical Depression One finally formed at 11 pm EDT Monday evening from disturbance 91L. TD 1 was drifting southwest at 2 mph towards the east coast of Central Florida early Tuesday morning. Long-range radar out of Melbourne, Florida on Tuesday morning showed that bands of heavy rain from TD 1 were affecting the Northwest Bahamas, and sustained winds of 33 mph gusting to 36 mph were observed at Settlement Point in the Northwest Bahama Islands at 2 am EDT.

Satellite loops showed heavy thunderstorms were limited to the south side of TD 1's center of circulation, and were slowly increasing in intensity and areal coverage. The counter-clockwise circulation of an upper level high pressure over Florida was bringing northerly winds over TD 1 at high altitude, and these winds were creating moderate wind shear of 10 - 15 knots. Water vapor satellite loops showed very dry air to the north of TD 1, and the northerly winds were driving this dry air in the heart of the storm, interfering with development, and keeping any heavy thunderstorms from developing on the north side of the circulation. The Air Force Hurricane Hunters will investigate TD 1 on Tuesday morning, and the NOAA jet is scheduled to fly Tuesday afternoon.

Samstag, 21. Juni 2014

Atlantic Hurricane Outlook for the Remainder of June

There were no tropical cyclones anywhere in the world on Friday, and none of the reliable models for forecasting tropical cyclone genesis in the Atlantic (European, GFS, and UKMET) is predicting development over the coming five days. There is a tropical disturbance off the east coast of Florida that radar out of Melbourne, Florida shows some spin to. However, satellite loops show the area of heavy thunderstorms is very limited, and there is a lot of dry air interfering with thunderstorm development. Wind shear is a moderate 10 knots. In their 8 am EDT Friday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day and 5-day development odds of 10%. The disturbance will likely head northeast out to sea over the weekend.

Hurricane Forecast for the Remainder of June

Vertical wind shear is predicted to be very high over most of the tropical Atlantic the remainder of June, reducing the odds of tropical storm formation. With the active thunderstorm area of the MJO predicted to remain over the Pacific Ocean the rest of June, this will favor dry, sinking air over the Atlantic, further discouraging tropical storms from forming. 

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs), which are close to average over the Caribbean (an anomaly of +0.1°F) and cooler than average over the Gulf of Mexico (an anomaly of -0.2°F) will do no favors for any potential June tropical storms that try to form. If development does occur in June, the most likely location would be off the east coast of Florida, between the Bahamas and Bermuda, where SSTs are slightly above average and wind shear will be lower. Storms that form in this region are typically only a threat to Bermuda.

Since the active hurricane period we are in began in 1995, six of the nineteen years (32%) did not have a named storm develop in June. I give an 80% chance that 2014 will join that list. The most recent year without a June named storm developing was the El Niño year of 2009. The highest number of named storms for the month is three, which occurred in 1936 and 1968. There were two June named storms in 2013, Andrea and Barry.

Donnerstag, 29. Mai 2014

Temblor Punta Cana - Mona Canal

El temblor fue de 6 grados y se produjeron cinco réplicas.


 El Instituto Sismológico de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) informó que el temblor que se sintiò en gran parte del paìs ayer fue de 6 grados y que el epicentro se produjo en el Canal de la Mona, a 18 kilòmetros de Punta Cana.

Hasta ayer en la noche no se habían reportado daños materiales y tampoco humano, según el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia (COE), organismo que llamó a la calma.

En un reporte preliminar, el COE informó, además, que el sismo se sintió en las provincias de La Altagracia, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, La Romana, San Pedro de Macorís y el Gran Santo Domingo.

En su primera informaciòn la pàgina web del Servicio Geològico de Estados Unidos dio a conocer que el movimiento telùrico fue de 5.3 grados y màs tarde corrigiò que fue de 5.8 grados.

Entrevistado vìa telefònica, Andrés Moreta, del Sismològico de la UASD, informò que el epicentro del temblor se produjo en la latitud 18.5 y longitude 68.2.

Reporte de la agencia EFE indican que el sismo se sintiò tambièn en la zona metropolitana de San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cinco réplicas ayer 

Cinco réplicas se han registrado del sismo de 6 grados en la escala de Richter que se produjo en la tarde de hoy próximo a la provincia La Altagracia y que se sintió en gran parte del país.

Los movimientos telúricos han sido dos de 3.6, otro de 3.3, uno de 3.4 y de 3.0, según Andrés Moreta, analista de datos sísmico del Centro Nacional de Sismología (antiguo Instituto Sismológico de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD)

El temblor de 6 grados se produjo a las 5:15 de la tarde de hoy, en el Canal de la Mona y a 31 kilómetros de Boca de Yuma, en La Altagravcia, sin que se hayan reportado daños.

Moreta informó que veinte minutos después se registró una réplica de 3.6 grados en la latitud 17.93 y longitud 68.35, a unos 46 kilómetros al sureste de Mano Juan, en la Isla Saona, con epicentro en el mar Caribe y con una profundidad de 77 kilómetros

La segunda réplica fue a las 6:29 de la tarde, de 3.3 grados a 42 kilómetros al sureste de Punta Cana, también con epicentro en el Canal de la Mona y con una profundidad de 100 kilómetros.

El tercer temblor se produjo a las 6: 58 de la tarde, de 3 grados, con epicentro en el océano Atlántico y a 32 kilómetros al noreste de Las Terrenas. Otro de los eventos sísmicos fue a las 7:43 de la tarde, de 3.4 y al sureste de Mano Juan, en el mar Caribe, con una profundidad de 90 kilómetros.

A las 9:12 de la noche también se registró movimiento telúrico, de 3.6 en el mar Caribe y a 40 kilómetros de Mano Juan. Este tuvo una profundidad de 95 kilómetros.

Freitag, 23. Mai 2014

NOAA Predicts a Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season: 8 - 13 Named Storms

The Atlantic hurricane season starts in just over a week, and long-range models are already pointing to the possibility that the Western Caribbean will be capable of brewing the season's first "Invest" during the first week of June. But so far, the major hurricane forecasting groups are not impressed with this season's potential to be an active one. They are calling for 2014 to be a below average to near-average year for the Atlantic.

NOAA's prediction, issued this Thursday morning, forecasts a 50% chance of a below-normal season, a 40% chance of an near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of an above-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 8 - 13 named storms, 3 - 6 hurricanes, and 1 - 2 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 40% - 100% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 10.5 named storms, 4.5 hurricanes, 1.5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 70% of normal. This is below the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during the active hurricane period 1995 - 2013 have averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median.

 NOAA cites three key factors influencing their forecast for a below-normal to near-normal hurricane season:

1) An El Niño event is predicted for the summer and fall, which is expected to bring strong wind shear-inducing upper-level winds over the Tropical Atlantic. Vertical wind shear during the past 30 days was stronger than average across much of the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from the coast of Africa to the Caribbean. Sinking air at mid-and upper-levels was also stronger than average. The development of El Niño would mean a likely continuation of these non-conducive conditions, and both versions of NOAA's long-range CFS model are predicting enhanced vertical wind shear across the western MDR during August-September-October 2014. Strong vertical wind shear and sinking motion, linked to a rare jet stream pattern of record strength, were key suppressing factors during the unexpectedly quiet 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.

2) Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are near average in the MDR. Many long-range dynamical computer forecast models are predicting that SSTs in the MDR will remain near- or below-average throughout the hurricane season.

3) We are in an active hurricane period that began in 1995, and this positive phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) may act to keep hurricane activity higher than it would otherwise be.

Colorado State predicts a below-average hurricane season: 9 named storms

A below-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2014, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued April 10 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 1 intense hurricane, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 55, a little more than half of average. The forecast calls for a below-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (20% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (19% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also below average, at 28% (42% is average.)

 CSU's Analogue years: 2002, 1997, 1965, 1963, and 1957
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what they expect for this year: moderate El Niño conditions, neutral to slightly cool sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, and a positive phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). Those five years were 2002, which featured two major hurricanes that got their names retired: Lili and Isidore; 1997, a quiet year with only 8 named storms and 3 hurricanes; 1965, a quiet year with only 6 named storms (but one of these was a real doozy--Hurricane Betsy, which struck Louisiana as a Category 3 storm;) 1963, with 9 named storms and 7 hurricanes, including Cuba's deadliest hurricane of all-time: Hurricane Flora (8,000 killed); and 1957, a below-average year with 8 named storms and 2 major hurricanes, including June's deadly Hurricane Audrey, which was re-analyzed as a Category 3 storm this year. The average activity during these five analogue years was 9 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. The CSU team will issue an updated forecast on Monday, June 2, 2014.

 TSR predicts a near-average hurricane season: 12 named storms

The April 7 forecast for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season made by British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) calls for a near-average season with 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 75. The long-term averages for the past 64 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 102. TSR rates their skill level as modest for these April forecasts: 7 - 15% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. They project that 3 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1 of these being a hurricane. The averages from the 1950-2013 climatology are 3 named storms and 1 hurricane hitting the United States. TSR rates their skill at making these April forecasts for U.S. landfalls just 5% - 8% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects one named storm and no hurricanes in 2014. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR's two predictors for their statistical model are the forecast July - September trade wind speeds over the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic, and the forecast August - September 2013 sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical North Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes. Their model is calling for SSTs 0.32°C below average and trade winds 1 m/s stronger than average during these periods; both of these factors should act to decrease hurricane and tropical storm activity. The July-September 2014 trade wind prediction is based on an expectation of moderate El Niño conditions in August-September 2014. TSR will issue an updated forecast on May 27, 2014.

Penn State predicts a below-average hurricane season: 9 named storms
A statistical model by Penn State's Michael Mann, alumnus Michael Kozar, and researcher Sonya Miller is calling for a quiet Atlantic hurricane season with 9.3 named storms, plus or minus 3 storms. Their prediction was made using statistics of how past hurricane seasons have behaved in response to sea surface temperatures (SSTs), the El Niño/La Niña oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and other factors. The statistical model assumes that the mid-May 2014 0.29°C above average SSTs in the MDR will persist throughout hurricane season, a moderate El Niño will be in place, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be near average.

The PSU team has been making Atlantic hurricane season forecasts since 2007, and these predictions have done pretty well, except for in 2012, when an expected El Niño did not materialize. They were the only major forecast group that issued a successful 2013 Atlantic hurricane season forecast.

2007 prediction: 15 named storms, Actual: 15
2009 prediction: 12.5, named storms, Actual: 9
2010 prediction: 23 named storms, Actual: 19
2011 prediction: 16 named storms, Actual: 19
2012 prediction: 10.5 named storms, Actual: 19
2013 prediction: 16 named storms, Actual: 14

UK Met Office predicts a below-average hurricane season: 10 named storms
The UKMET office forecast for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, issued May 16, calls for below-average activity, with 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and an ACE index of 84. In contrast to the statistical models relied upon by CSU, TSR, PSU, and NOAA, the UKMET forecast is done strictly using two dynamical global seasonal prediction systems: the Met Office GloSea5 system and ECMWF system 4. Their forecasts for the past two years have not verified well:

2012 prediction: 10 named storms, ACE index of 90; Actual: 19 named storms, ACE index of 123
2013 prediction: 14 named storms, 9 hurricanes, ACE index of 130; Actual: 14 named storms, 2 hurricanes, ACE index of 31

NOAA predicts an above-normal or near-normal Eastern Pacific hurricane season: 17 named storms
As is usually the case when an El Niño event is threatening, NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, is calling for an active season. NOAA expects there to be 14 - 20 named storms, 7 - 11 hurricanes, 3 - 6 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 95% - 160% of the median. The mid-point of these ranges gives us a forecast for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4.5 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 127.5% of average. The 1981 - 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The outlook calls for a 50% chance of an above-normal season, a 40% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical Eastern Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. Since 1995 the Eastern Pacific has been in an era of low activity for hurricanes, but this pattern will be offset in 2014 by the impacts of El Niño.

NOAA predicts a near-normal or above-normal Central Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Central Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, calls for a near-normal or above-normal season, with 4 -7 tropical cyclones. An average season has 4 - 5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. The outlook calls for a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 40% chance of an above-normal season, and a 20% chance of a below-normal season. El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. Since 1995 the central Pacific has been in an era of low activity for hurricanes, but this pattern will be offset in 2014 by the impacts of El Niño. Hawaii is the primary land area affected by Central Pacific tropical cyclones.

Even a quiet hurricane season can be devastating
Quiet hurricane seasons with below-average activity can still produce major hurricanes that cause massive devastation. The five seasons that CSU lists as analogue years for 2014 produced five hurricanes that had their names retired, including one that killed 8,000 people in Cuba (Flora of 1963) and one that killed over 400 people in Texas and Louisiana (Audrey of 1957.) Even if an El Niño does develop this year, that doesn't mean it will be a quiet season. Recall the El Niño year of 2004, when four major hurricanes pounded the U.S.--Ivan, Charlie, Jeanne, and Frances. Those of you in Hurricane Alley should prepare for the 2014 season the same way you would for a predicted hyperactive season, and be ready for the Storm of the Century to hit your location. 

Jeff Masters

Montag, 19. Mai 2014

Was ist das El Nino Phänomen ?

Mit El Nino bezeichnet man eine Erwärmung des oberen Ozeans im gesamten tropischen Pazifik, die etwa alle vier Jahre auftritt. Das Wort "El Nino" kommt aus dem Spanischen - El Nino= Das Christkind - und wurde von den peruanischen Fischern bereits im letzten Jahrhundert geprägt. Diese beobachteten, dass jedes Jahr zur Weihnachtszeit die Meeresoberflächentemperatur anstieg, was das Ende der Fischfangsaison anzeigte, und die Fischer belegten zunächst dieses jahreszeitliche Signal mit dem Wort El Nino. 

In manchen Jahren allerdings war die Erwärmung besonders stark, und die Fische kehrten auch nicht wie sonst üblich am Ende des Frühjahrs wieder. Diese besonders starken Erwärmungen dauern etwa ein Jahr lang an. Heute werden nur noch diese außergewöhnlichen Erwärmungen mit El Nino bezeichnet, welche in unregelmäßigen Abständen von einigen Jahren - im Durchschnitt etwa alle 4 Jahre - wiederkehren. Die Abbildung unten, zeigt die Anomalie der Meeresoberflächentemperatur, wie sie im Dezember 1997 beobachtet wurde. 

Der großskalige Charakter der Erwärmung ist deutlich zu sehen: Sie erstreckt sich etwa über ein Viertel des Erdumfangs in Äquatornähe. Das für El Nino typische Erwärmungsmuster besitzt die stärksten Temperaturerhöhungen im äquatorialen Ostpazifik, mit Anomalien von über 50°C vor der Küste Südamerikas. Mit El Nino gehen auch Veränderungen in der Meeresoberflächentemperatur in anderen Regionen einher, wie z.B. eine Erwärmung des tropischen Indischen Ozeans oder eine Abkühlung des Nordpazifiks. Letztere werden durch eine veränderte atmosphärische Zirkulation in diesen Gebieten als Folge der El Nino-Erwärmung im tropischen Pazifik ausgelöst.

Dienstag, 13. Mai 2014

Ocean Temperatures Reach El Niño Threshold

For the first time since the fall of 2012, weekly-averaged sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific have reached the threshold needed for an El Niño event to be declared. By definition, an El Niño episode occurs when SSTs are at least +0.5°C from average for three consecutive months in the region 120°W - 170°W, 5°S - 5°N (called the Niño 3.4 region.)

The weekly ENSO update issued by NOAA on May 12, 2014, put ocean temperatures in this Niño 3.4 region for the past seven days at +0.5°C from average. An El Niño event is still not a sure thing, though. We saw similar behavior in the fall of 2012, with SSTs warming up above the +0.5°C threshold, prompting NOAA to issue an El Niño Watch. However, the ocean SSTs were not able to hold for the required three month period, and no El Niño event ended up happening. However, this year the odds appear more favorable.

NOAA has issued an El Niño Watch for the summer and fall of 2014, giving a greater than 65% chance that an El Niño event will occur during summer, a boost upwards from their >50% chance given the previous month. The May 8 El Niño discussion from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center noted that "There remains uncertainty as to exactly when El Niño will develop and an even greater uncertainty as to how strong it may become. 

This uncertainty is related to the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring." None of the El Niño models (updated in mid-April 2014) predict La Niña conditions for peak hurricane season, August-September-October 2014, and 16 of 20 predict El Niño conditions. There is currently not a strong Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) over the equatorial Pacific Ocean helping push warm water eastwards towards South America. There have been three of these WWBs so far in 2014, and if we get one more in the next month or two, that should be enough to push the system into a full-fledged El Niño event.

Figure 1. Departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for May 12, 2014. A plume of warmer-than-average temperatures stretched along the equatorial Pacific from the coast of South America westwards into the Western Pacific, a harbinger of a developing El Niño event. Image credit: NOAA.

El Niño events usually lead to quiet Atlantic hurricane seasons

El Niño conditions tend to make quieter than average Atlantic hurricane seasons, due to an increase in upper-level winds that create strong wind shear over the Tropical Atlantic. The last official El Niño event occurred from summer 2009 - spring 2010, and as expected, the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season was a relatively quiet one, with 11 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. No 2009 hurricanes got their names retired, and there were only six fatalities.

Donnerstag, 1. Mai 2014

Disfrutando de las playas

Sabido es que los turistas tienen diferentes tipos de gustos a la hora en que salen de vacaciones, y mucho tiene que ver con eso el hecho de que depende estrechamente del periodo del año en el que nos encontremos.

Para las temporadas de verano, las playas son el sitio favorito por los turistas del mundo entero, de modo que la isla hispana representa una de las mejores opciones con las que nos podemos llegar a encontrar. 

Sucede que las playas en esta parte del Caribe parecen ser soñadas, ya que tanto por la blancura de sus arenas como el turquesa de sus aguas suelen estar catalogadas como uno de los paraísos naturales más importantes que existen en todo el planeta. No solo en viajes a Santo Domingo o viajes a Punta Cana encontraremos bellezas, ya que todas las costas del país presentan estas similitudes.

Dienstag, 22. April 2014

Llegarán más cruceros hasta República Dominicana

República Dominicana es a día de hoy uno de los lugares de preferencia de una gran cantidad de cruceristas y es por ello por lo que cada vez son más las navieras las que desean llegar a República Dominicana y las que tienen cruceros a este país suelen aumentar sus escalas debido a que el éxito en los cruceros es realmente importante.

Lo cierto es que República Dominicana se está convirtiendo en uno de los grandes clásicos en materia de cruceros y por lo tanto es una buena noticia desde el punto de vista del turismo y de su economía, ya que se espera que los próximos meses más navieras y más escalas puedan llegar a los puertos del país dominicano, una buena noticia que seguro repercutirá positivamente en la economía del país y es por tanto una buena noticia que se irá produciendo en los próximos meses.

Es un lugar que gusta a las parejas que apuestan por un crucero debido a que ofrece excelentes temperaturas y también es un buena oportunidad para disfrutar de hermosos paisajes a lo largo de un paseo en barco por República Dominicana, lo que permite que las parejas puedan disfrutar de unas atractivas vacaciones a lo largo de todo el año y por ello se convierte en un lugar adecuado en el que se puede acudir en barco. Se espera que este incremento de la llegada de barcos al país pueda ser realmente interesante para la mejora de la economía.

Sonntag, 13. April 2014

Las culebras verdes de República Dominicana

Las Uromacer frenatus, Uromacer Catesbyi y la Uromacer oxyrhynchus son endémicas de la isla.


En la isla de la Hispaniola existen tres especies endémicas de "Culebras verdes" con poblaciones abundantes en sus respectivos hábitats en la isla.

Encontramos una de ellas (Uromacer catesbyi) en el monumento natural Salto de la Damajagua (27 Charcos de Damajagua) y otra especie (Uromacer oxyrhynchus) en el Jardín Botánico de Santo Domingo.

Las tres especies son dóciles, pero se han reportado mordidas de la especie Catesbyi durante su manipulación, algunos de los afectados han dicho sentir adormecimiento en la zona de la mordida lo que sugiere que son ligeramente venenosas como otras especies de colmillos traseros.


 Uromacer oxyrhynchus

 Es una serpiente delgada arborícola con un hocico puntiagudo. Su longitud es de 1,500 mm (hocico-cloaca) aproximadamente. Esta especie presenta variación de color dentro de una misma población. Algunas serpientes son verdes por todas partes, mientras que otros pueden ser de color verde arriba y menos abajo , o ya sea de color gris o marrón por encima y por debajo . Todas las variedades de color muestran una línea lateral blanca prominente.

Se encuentra en Haití y la República Dominicana y sus islas satélites. Uromacer oxyrhynchus es muy similar en apariencia a Uromacer frenatus , su pariente más cercano , pero es generalmente más grande . Además, los rangos de hábitat de la Uromacer oxyrhynchus y U. frenatus se entrelazan en una pequeña zona de la isla en la en el sur profundo lo que ayuda en su identificación. Esta especie se encuentra tanto en las zonas húmedas y secas y es común en los matorrales de acacias.

De las tres especies Uromacer la oxyrhynchus es la más especializada. Se especializa en alimentarse de lagartijas del género Anolis que forman parte del 80% de su dieta.

Es una serpiente diurna y principalmente arborícola aunque algunas veces puede encontrarse en el suelo. Captura a sus presas utilizando la estrategia de posarse-esperar.

En cautiverio han vivido hasta casi 19 años.

 Uromacer catesbyi es una culebra verde de hocico corto, endémica de la isla de La Española y sus islas satélites. La Uromacer catesbyi es siempre verde, y su longitud máxima es de 830 mm (hocico-cloaca) aproximadamente. Hay ocho subespecies reconocidas de Uromacer catesbyi .

Cuenta con la distribución más amplia de las tres especies, y se encuentra en toda isla y sus islas satélites. Prefiere hábitats boscosos. De las tres especies de Uromacer, es la más fácil de identificar debido a su cabeza roma y hocico corto; las otras especies, oxyrhynchus y frenatus tienen hocicos puntiagudos. Uromacer catesbyi es también la única especie Uromacer que es tanto terrestre y arborícola.

 Uromacer catesbyi

 Esta especie se encuentra a menudo sentada en arbustos y ramas bajas. Es a la vez una cazadora activa y con la técnica de posarse-esperar. Es también la cazadora más generalizada de las especies Uromacer ya que se alimenta de ranas y lagartijas, mientras que la oxyrhynchus y la frenatus sólo se alimentan de lagartijas. Aunque es dócil puede llegar a morder, algunas personas que han reportado una sensación de ardor en la zona de la mordida, lo que sugiere que la especie, al igual que muchos culebras con colmillos traseros, son ligeramente venenosas.

La catesbyi es verde en su totalidad a diferencia de las otras dos especies de uromacer que presentan variaciones de color.

Esta especie es también diurna y aunque es arbórea es vista frecuentemente en el suelo y arbustos bajos. El combate entre individuos es frecuente en esta especie.

Uromacer catesbyi catesbyi Schlegel
Uromacer catesbyi cereolineatus Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi frondicolor Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi hariolatus Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi inchausteguii Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi insulaevaccarum Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi pampineus Schwartz
Uromacer catesbyi scandax Dunn

También llamada en inglés pointed snake, es una culebra delgada con un hocico muy puntiagudo. LaUromacer frenatus puede mostrar variación de color dentro de una misma población. Su espalda puede ser verde, marrón, gris o marrón, y su vientre puede ser tan, marrón o gris. Su Longitud máxima (hocico-cloaca) se encuentra registrada a 930 mm .

Se encuentra tanto en la República Dominicana y Haití , aunque su alcance se limita más o menos al sur profundo de República Dominicana. Se ha encontrado tan alto como 915 m de altitud sobre el nivel del mar y vive tanto en ambientes húmedos como secos.

 Uromacer frenatus

Uromacer frenatus es muy similar en apariencia a oxyrhynchus U. , que también es su pariente más cercano . Se distingue de U. oxyrhynchus porque su cuerpo y hocico son menos alargado. Uromacer catesbyi es su pariente más próximo .

Uromacer frenatus es diurna y arbórea, si bien se encuentra a menudo cerca de la tierra o incluso en el suelo duerme en las ramas finas. Es una cazadora que usa la técnica de posarse-eperar y se especializa en Anolis , Ameiva y Leiocephalus .

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Donnerstag, 10. April 2014

La mayoría de los militares y policías que conducen van sin licencia.

Cuando vea a un policía o militar conduciendo un automóvil, jeepeta o motocicleta, piense que hay mucho más posibilidades de que lleve una licencia vencida o caducada a que tenga su documento al día.

De 46 mil 336 licencias de conducir expedidas a militares, 26 mil 226 están vencidas, o sea, que no las han renovado, y otras dos mil 488 ya caducaron, de modo que tendrían que tomar de nuevo los exámenes requeridos para adquirirla.

En el primer caso se trata del 56.6 por ciento y en el segundo el 5.3 por ciento.
Estos datos, todos correspondientes a la categoría 2 (la más común) están registrados por la Dirección General de Tránsito Terrestre, cuyo director, Luis Osvaldo Estrella, acudió a una entrevista este miércoles en el programa El Despertador, del Grupo SIN.

Los policías, incluidos agentes de la Autoridad Metropolitana de Transporte (Amet), no se quedan atrás.

De 16 mil 801 licencias a nombre de agentes, sólo hay siete mil 648 al día. Nueve mil 135 están vencidas, para un 54.37%. En la lista de caducadas, sólo hay 18.

La conducta no es exclusiva de los que tienen rangos y están llamados a hacer cumplir las leyes, pues entre civiles las estadísticas muestran proporciones similares.

Estos datos están actualizados al 11 de marzo de este año.

Dienstag, 1. April 2014

2014 Atlantic hurricane season

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be an event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. The season will officially start on June 1 and end on
November 30; these dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time.

Seasonal forecasts

Forecasts of hurricane activity are issued before each hurricane season by noted
hurricane experts Philip J. Klotzbach, William M. Gray, and their associates at
Colorado State University (CSU) ; and separately by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters.

Klotzbach's team defined the average number of storms per season (1981 to 2010) as 12.1 tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes, 2.7 major hurricanes (storms reaching at least Category 3 strength in the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale) and an Accumulated Cyclone Ene index of 96.1.

NOAA defines a season as above-normal, near-normal or
below-normal by a combination of the number of named storms, the number
reaching hurricane strength, the number reaching major hurricane strength, and the ACE index.

Pre-season forecasts


On December 13, 2013, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) , a public consortium consisting of experts on insurance, risk management, and seasonal climate forecasting at University College London, issued their first outlook on seasonal hurricane activity during the 2014 season. In their report, the organization called for a near-normal year, with 14 (±4) tropical storms, 6 (±3) hurricanes, 3 (±2) intense hurricanes, and a cumulative ACE index of 106 (±58) units. The basis for such included slightly stronger than normal trade winds and slightly warmer than normal sea surface temperatures across the Caribbean Sea and tropical North Atlantic.

 A few months later, on March 24, 2014, Weather Services International (WSI) —a subsidiary company of The Weather Channel—released their first outlook, calling for 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. Two factors, including cooler-than-average waters in the eastern Atlantic and the likelihood of an El Niño, were expected to negate high seasonal activity.

Storm names

The following names will be used for named storms that form in the North Atlantic in 2014. Retired names, if any, will be announced by the World Meteorological Organization in the spring of 2015. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2020 season. This is the same list used in the 2008 season with the exception of Gonzalo, Isaias, and Paulette, which replaced Gustav, Ike, and Paloma, respectively. The first name to be used this season is Arthur.

Arthur (unused)
Bertha (unused)
Cristobal (unused)
Dolly (unused)
Edouard (unused)
Hanna (unused)
Isaias (unused)
Josephine (unused)
Kyle (unused)
Laura (unused)
Omar (unused)
Paulette (unused)
Rene (unused)
Sally (unused)
Teddy (unused)
Fay (unused)
Gonzalo (unused)
Marco (unused)
Nana (unused)
Vicky (unused)
Wilfred (unused)

Season effects

This is a table of all of the storms that have formed in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s)–denoted by bold location names – damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave, or a low, and all of the damage figures are in 2014 USD.

"Background Information: The North Atlantic Hurricane Season"

Montag, 31. März 2014

Los jardines de Amapolo en Vicentillo avisan la primavera en el Este

Existe la creencia en Vicentillo de que las féminas no deben pisar la flor cuando caen al suelo.


Llegó la estación de Primavera y con ella los galanes jardines naturales de Amapolo, en el Distrito Municipal de San Francisco-Vicentillo, en El Seibo, que  constituyen un verdadero espectáculo de la naturaleza, que sirven de paragua a las empinadas montañas, plantaciones de cacao y valles, agradando a turistas y llevando colorido al campo.

Haciendo simetría ante los ojos humanos, este hermoso árbol de más de 14 metros de altura, hace pensar que se está en un parque de recreo o en un jardín botánico.

Existe la creencia en Vicentillo de que las féminas no deben pisar la flor cuando cae al suelo, porque despierta el apetito sexual, por los poderes afrodisíacos que se le atribuyen al árbol.

Sus hojas al parecer  hacen perder la vista en la lejanía restándole protagonismo a las demás plantaciones de árboles de la zona.

El intenso color rojo de sus rosas, al ser tocadas por los vientos alisios que son más intensos por las montañas de la Cordillera Oriental, se hacen inflorescente.

Desde las alturas de la carretera Vicentillo-Yabón los árboles parecen racimos alineados y sombrillas de color rojo.

El cultivo del amapolo se acentuó en Vicentillo después del ciclón Georges (1998), cuyos vientos pudieron transportar semillas que se incrustaron en la tierra con las correntías de agua, haciendo de esta zona un verdadero jardín.

El llamativo árbol es muy perceptivo al frío, por lo que su cultivo se restringe solo a tierra pródiga, como al parecer lo es la de Vicentillo.

Las alineaciones y su color rojo anaranjado, quitan la vistosidad a las plantaciones de cacao y café que abundan en la zona.

Actualmente los amapolos de Vicentillo están en la etapa de floración, por lo que su color es más espectacular y atrayente al ojo humano.

Al caminar por los campos, su exuberante sombra sirve de sombrilla roja al visitantes y las demás especies de arbustos menores, especialmente a las plantaciones de cacao.

Cuando caen al suelo, las flores alfombran de rojo las plantaciones de cacao, que es donde más se desarrolla la gigante y roja planta

Mitos y creencias

Para los turistas y nativos, el árbol está rodeado de creencias y mitos, que hacen conocer más de la naturaleza y el poder atractivo del frondoso árbol.

En Vicentillo, los productores de cacao, tienen la creencia de que las adolescentes no deben pisar la flor de amapola, porque la misma le alienta el apetito sexual.

Hay quienes aseguran que muchos matrimonios se produjeron en el pasado reciente, cuando niñas campesinas de 13 y 17 años pisaban la flor de amapola, que le atribuyen poderes afrodisíacos.

Los amapolos engalanan a Vicentillo, zona donde se visualizan las mayores plantaciones, en medio de cacaotales, montañas y alambradas rurales.

Son enormes jardines que se aprecian en las comunidades de La Pocilga y Yabón, en cuyas zonas están los saltos de agua Yabón y El Jobo, dos espectáculos de la naturaleza en El Seibo.

Los paraguas rojos que forman los árboles son más llamativos a media montaña, donde sobresalen a los verdes pastizales.