Buresh Blog: More active tropics... Melting Arctic sea ice... Off to Mars... Longest lightning strike!

Jacksonville, FL — The tropics are “perking up”. There will be the potential for at least several named storms over the Atlantic between now & the first 10-15 days of August. The peak of the season is still more than a month away (Sept. 10th). Go to “Talking the Tropics With Mike” for daily updates. One of the key factors in anticipating an uptick in activity is the “Velcocity Potential Anomalies” -- see the map below. The green lines roughly correlate to rising air which can lead to an increase in t’storms & even an increase in tropical activity. The narrow but strong area of vertical velocities over the Central/Eastern Pacific will spread eastward over the next couple of weeks.

Arctic sea ice typically melts this time of year but is especially low right now. In fact, the arctic sea ice is at a record for low for mid July in the satellite era. Data can be found at the National Snow & Ice Data Center. On July 15, Arctic sea ice extent stood at 7.51 million square kilometers (2.90 million square miles), 330,000 square kilometers (127,000 square miles) below the record for July 15, set in 2011.

NASA is headed back to Mars. Liftoff is currently scheduled for July 30th although the launch window continues through Aug. 15th. The target landing date on Mars is Feb. 18, 2021 with an expectation of investigating Mar’s surface for about 2 Earth years (one Mars year). More from NASA * here *. “Perseverance” will be the rover... image below from NASA:

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed the world’s longest lightning strike - stretching 440 miles across Brazil in South America! Images below from WMO. The first one is an infrared satellite of the intense t’storm cluster (mesoscale convective system [MCS]) that produced the lightning strike (Oct. 31, 2018). The 2nd image shows the distance originating over Argentina before ending just off the coast of Brazil (along with the longest duration flash over Argentina set on March 4, 2019).