Belize Tropical Weather Outlook: October 10, 2015

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Belize NMS Forecast

3:00 AM in Belize, October 10, 2015

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours.

Tropical Atlantic Wide Infrared Satellite Image:

USA National Weather Service Forecast

October 10, 2015

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

There is no tropical storm activity for this region. Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.

Tropical waves...
Tropical wave extends from 12n32w to 20n27w moving W at 10-15 kt. The wave coincides with a relatively sharp 700 mb trough axis with the troughing influencing the waters between 26w-34w. Total precipitable water imagery shows the wave embedded in a moisture maximum stretching from the northwestern Cape Verde Islands near 18n28w SW to near 10n40w. Scattered moderate convection is from 13n-18n between 28w-34w.

Tropical wave extends from 11n73w to 19n71w moving W at 10-15 kt. The wave coincides with 700 mb troughing between 67w-76w with a maximum in 850 mb relative vorticity at the southern extent of the axis. Moving beneath an upper level low centered south of Hispaniola near 17n73w...isolated moderate convection is from 15n-21n between 66w-72w.

Discussion, The Caribbean Sea...
A broad upper level low is centered south of Hispaniola near 17n73w influencing much of the basin this morning. West of 73w...water vapor imagery indicates mostly dry and stable northerly flow aloft with only a few isolated showers lingering in the waters between Cuba...Jamaica...and Hispaniola. East of 73w...relatively moist southwesterly flow aloft along with a tropical wave analyzed along 72w is providing a fairly unstable environment across the eastern and north-central Caribbean supporting isolated showers and tstms N of 15n between 66w-72w. Another area of scattered showers and strong tstms is occurring across the SW Caribbean S of 12n between 76w-84w due to close proximity to the monsoon trough analyzed along 09n/10n. Otherwise...moderate to fresh trades persist across the basin with the strongest winds noted S of 15n between 67w-77w.

48 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

Infrared Satellite in Belize City

Joaquin Still on Track to Impact Spain, Portugal.

10/10/2015 11:20:07 AM

Tropical Rainstorm Joaquin is located at 44.2 N, -16 W with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, gusting to 60 mph

Joaquin, a non-tropical storm system, will continue to move towards Portugal and Spain. This storm will have the potential to bring rain and gusty winds to those locations through this weekend.

The rest of the tropical Atlantic remains quiet and is expected to stay that way into next week.

120 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

Western Caribbean Tropical Development Next Weekend Is Quite Possible & Needs To Be Monitored Closely
Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services

October 10, 2015

Western Caribbean Tropical Development Next Weekend Is Quite Possible & Needs To Be Monitored Closely: The chances that we will see tropical development in the western Caribbean is gradually increasing as pretty much all of the latest model guidance are now showing the potential for a tropical cyclone to form in the western Caribbean next weekend and that this tropical cyclone could track northward into the southern Gulf of Mexico by next Monday or next Tuesday (October 19th-20th).

The latest GFS model guidance forecasts that low pressure will form in the western Caribbean very near the coast of Belize around Friday or Saturday of next week. From there, the GFS model forecasts to slowly track northward along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula during next Sunday (October 18th) and next Monday (October 19th) before moving into the southern Gulf of Mexico next Tuesday (October 20th). Ultimately, the GFS model guidance forecasts this tropical cyclone to track east-northeastward across south Florida and the northern Bahamas around next Wednesday (October 21st). It should be pointed out that the GFS model has been particularly very consistent in not only forecasting tropical development in the western Caribbean next weekend, but also quite consistent with forecasting a tropical cyclone impact on south Florida and the northern Bahamas around October 20th-21st.

The Canadian model guidance is now on board with tropical development in the western Caribbean as it forecasts a tropical depression to form in the western Caribbean around Thursday and forecasts it to intensify into a tropical storm and then a hurricane as it tracks into the northwestern Caribbean around Friday or Saturday of next week. The Canadian model guidance then forecasts this system to track across Cuba and into south Florida around next Monday (October 19th).

For the second run in a row, the European model guidance forecasts tropical development to occur in the western Caribbean near the coast of Belize around next Saturday and forecasts it to track slowly northward towards the Yucatan Channel by next Sunday and then near western Cuba around next Monday (October 19th).

Looking at the ensemble guidance, it appears that they continue to be split between forecasting development around next weekend in the western Caribbean and development in the eastern Pacific. So, tropical development in the eastern Pacific instead of the western Caribbean is a distinct possibility. With that said, the GFS ensemble guidance is forecasting at least a 60 percent chance for tropical development in the western Caribbean by next weekend. Also, the European ensemble guidance is forecasting a 60 to 70 percent chance for tropical development near the east coast of Nicaragua around Friday with these chances lowering to a 40 percent chance for tropical development near the coast of Belize by next Sunday.

Here Are My Thoughts: My confidence in that we will see tropical development in the western Caribbean next weekend is starting to increase, especially given the building consensus and agreement among the model guidance. In addition, there is also some agreement among the model guidance that any tropical cyclone that forms in the western Caribbean could become a threat to south Florida and the northern Bahamas between Monday, October 19th and Wednesday, October 21st.

Even though my confidence in that we will see tropical development in the western Caribbean is increasing, it is far from being a sure thing. One item that could prevent tropical development is land interaction with Central America. A small difference in where the low pressure system forms will likely mean large differences with what occurs with this system. Should the low pressure system forms over Central America, it would mean very little development or a track that takes it into the eastern Pacific where it develops there. On the other hand, if the low pressure system does form in the western Caribbean next weekend, then this is a system that would need to be monitored extremely closely as the environment could be favorable for strengthening along with a potential track that could take it towards south Florida and the northern Bahamas.

We also need to consider that the upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation is forecast to move into the Caribbean at some point next week. In addition, there are signals in the data that suggest the Madden Julian Oscillation could be in the correct phase to support tropical development in the western Caribbean and the southern Gulf of Mexico.

The western Caribbean is also a climatologically favored area for tropical development this time of year and we should be watching this area anyways for potential tropical development. In addition, tropical cyclones in October normally tracks to the northeast towards south Florida and the Bahamas.

Bottom line is that I’m going with between a 10 and 20 percent chance that we will see tropical development in the western Caribbean between Friday (October 16th) and next Monday (October 19th). The reason I am not going with a higher chance for tropical development is the fact that there are uncertainties on whether this forms over Central America which would limit development or in the eastern Pacific rather than developing in the western Caribbean.

So, it goes without saying that I am keeping close tabs on the potential for tropical development in the western Caribbean by next weekend and I will keep you all updated on the latest.

The next tropical weather discussion will be issued by 9 am EDT/8 am CDT Sunday Morning.

Deadly Worldwide Coral Bleaching Episode Underway--Earth's 3rd on Record
Jeff Masters

12:47 PM GMT on October 09, 2015

Earth is entering its third worldwide coral bleaching event of the last 20 years--a disturbing example of how a warming planet can harm vital ecosystems--NOAA announced on Thursday. NOAA also released an eight-month outlook that projects even more bleaching to come in 2016. The only other global-scale bleachings in the modern era of observations happened in 1998 and 2010. Global bleaching is defined as an event that causes bleaching in each of the planet’s major coral-reef areas. "We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year," NOAA coral reef watch coordinator Mark Eakin said, in an interview with Associated Press. Florida started getting hit in August. The middle Florida Keys aren't too bad, but in southeast Florida, bleaching has combined with disease to kill corals, Eakin said. It has also hit Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is about to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, he said, adding, "you kill coral, you destroy reefs, you don't have a place for the fish to live."

The current global bleaching is the culmination of regional problems that began in mid-2014, when very warm conditions emerged in several parts of the tropics. Hawaii is one of those areas: as Jeff Masters reported in July, Hawaii experienced its worst bleaching on record in 2014 when record-warm ocean temperatures caused 50 - 70% of the corals sampled in Northeast Oahu's Kāneʻohe Bay to bleach. Another hard-hit area was the coral-rich Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which extends hundred of miles northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands. “Last year’s bleaching at Lisianski Atoll was the worst our scientists have seen,” said Randy Kosaki, NOAA’s deputy superintendent for the monument. “Almost one and a half square miles of reef bleached last year and are now completely dead.” This year, the same warm waters that have fed record numbers of tropical storms and hurricanes have laid the foundation for additional bleaching in and near Hawaii. "Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now," Eakin said. "It's severe. It's extensive. And it's on all the islands." In one part of northwestern Hawaii, "the reef just completely bleached and all of the coral is dead and covered with scuzzy algae."

Figure 1. NOAA's four-month bleaching outlook (top) shows a threat of bleaching continuing in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Kiribati, and potentially expanding into the Republic of the Marshall Islands. An extended bleaching outlook (bottom) showing the threat of bleaching expected in Kiribati, Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific, especially east of the dateline. The bleaching may affect Polynesia and most coral reef regions in the Indian Ocean by May 2016. Corals experiencing "Alert Level 2" conditions (dark red colors) can expect widespread mortality due to severe bleaching. Image credit: NOAA.

Figure 2. Healthy corals play host to microscopic algae (zooxanethellae) that live in their tissues (panel 1). The coral reef helps protect the algae and provides the plants with carbon dioxide and key nutrients. At the same time, the algae serve as food for the coral and are the source of coral reefs’ often-spectacular colors. During stressful conditions (panel 2), algae leave the coral tissue. If the stress continues for weeks to months, the food-deprived corals experience bleaching: they lose their color and become more susceptible to disease or death (panel 3). Image credit: NOAA.

El Niño isn’t helping
Rising global temperatures are increasing the likelihood of bleaching, but it is often El Niño that pulls the trigger for the most widespread events. A strong El Niño can suppress upwelling and raise sea-surface temperatures across much of the central and eastern tropical Pacific and other low-latitude areas. Because the algae embedded in coral depend on photosynthesis to survive, coral reefs are limited to the uppermost reaches of the ocean, where sunlight can filter through. When the sea surface temperature is 1°C warmer than the highest monthly mean temperature corals usually experience, coral polyps will expel the symbiotic algae that live in their tissues, exposing the white skeleton underneath and resulting in a "bleached" appearance. Death can result if the stress is high and long-lived--for instance, if unusually warm ocean temperatures persist for months.

Figure 3. Divers laid out transect lines to guide surveys that took place in the coral reef habitats of American Samoa and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from January to May 2015. Image credit: NOAA.

We may see major areas of bleaching in 2016 well beyond the period covered in the latest NOAA announcement. It is looking increasingly possible that a significant La Niña event will occur later in 2016 in the wake of the current El Niño event (see below). A recent study led by Joanie Klepyas (National Center for Atmospheric Research) examined heat stress in the Coral Triangle of the tropical Northwest Pacific. This is one of the world’s most expansive regions of coral reefs with nearly 600 varieties of coral and more than 2000 species of reef fish. Thanks to El Niño, much of the Coral Triangle is now experiencing sea-surface temperatures a bit below average, but the SSTs could rise quickly if El Niño segues into a moderate to strong La Niño. In 1998, this sequence of events led to the region’s worst bleaching event on record.

“I'm very concerned about the probability of intense bleaching in the Coral Triangle into 2016. NOAA's projections look a lot like what happened in the 1997-98 El Niño,” Kleypas told me in an email. “It is quite possible that the Coral Triangle region will experience warming later into 2016, even into the fall.”

When bleaching occurs year after year
Coral reef experts have warned that multi-year bleaching events could become increasingly common as our climate continues to warm in the 21st century. The possibility of two or more consecutive years of bleaching in Hawaii may be a harbinger of this future. Bleaching occurred from 2010 to 2013 in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, following widespread coral disease unrelated to bleaching in 2009. This was the first time four consecutive years of mass mortality have been observed in any coral reef on Earth. In a study published this spring, Bernhard Riegl and Sam Purkis (National Coral Reef Institute) took a close look at this four-year disaster and found what they call a “degradation cascade.” About two-thirds of the coral cover in the area studied was lost during the four-year event. Disease outbreaks often followed bleaching, and the corals that survived tended to shrink. “Certain coral species are more vulnerable to warming and disease than others, and as conditions degrade, one can expect to see big shifts in the coral communities,” noted Kleypas.

Disease fostered by warmer temperatures is a major threat to coral reefs in its own right, as explored in a 2015 study led by Jeffrey Maynard (Cornell University). “There is great spatial variation in the projected timing of the disease-favoring conditions, which is in keeping with much new research highlighting that the impacts of climate change will not be spatially uniform,” said Maynard and colleagues in the paper.

NOAA’s El Niño report for October
The well-publicized El Niño event of late 2015 continues to unfold pretty much as expected, according to the latest NOAA monthly diagnostic discussion. The latest probabilistic forecast issued by NOAA in conjunction with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society shows a greater than 95% chance of El Niño conditions persisting through the period Dec-Feb 2015-16, with a greater than 70% chance through March-May 2016. By the end of the period (May-July 2016), neutral conditions are the most likely outcome (just over 50%), although the odds of La Niña are beginning to rise quickly by that point. Major El Niño events are often but not always followed by a significant La Niña during the subsequent northern fall and winter.

Figure 4. Maximum temperatures for the week ending on October 6, 2015, soared above 36°C (96.8°F) across roughly half of Australia, with the heat especially intense for this time of year across southern parts of the continent. Image credit: Australia Bureau of Meteorology.

We can expect an increasing onslaught of El Niño signs and symptoms to emerge in the coming months. Across parts of Australia, vicious summer heat has arrived prematurely. Dozens of stations across southern Australia notched records over the last few days for their hottest day so early in the warm season. On October 5, the nation’s capital, Canberra, hit 31.8°C (89.2°F), the city’s earliest 30°C reading on record. Melbourne scored its earliest 35°C day ever recorded when it hit 35.8°C (96.4°F) on October 6. This hot spell follows the third-driest September in 106 years of Australian record-keeping. Extreme heat is a common byproduct of El Niño in the populous southeast part of Australia, as noted by the Bureau of Meteorology in a special statement on the October heat wave.

On a quirkier note, tuna crabs (pleuroncodes planipes) were reported on the beaches of Monterey Bay this week, far from their usual domain around Baja California. Their last sighting in Monterey was during the super-strong El Niño of 1982-83.

Joaquin Begins to Move Away from the Bahamas – No Threat to the United States

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Tropical Atlantic Wide Visible Satellite Image

Edited by Marty (Today at 06:42 AM)