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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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, Typhoons. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Andrew says:

    “low wind shear and warm ocean temperatures.”

    And yet the present no wind fields, clearly wanting to leave the impression that the warm water is more important. In point of fact without the low wind shear it wouldn’t matter how warm the water was, the storm couldn’t survive.

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