Talking the Tropics With Mike: Comparison of current sea surface temps. vs. active hurricane seasons

“Cloud” of Saharan dust continues over the Atlantic BUT.....

Talking the Tropics With Mike: Comparison of current sea surface temps. vs. active hurricane seasons

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Quiet conditions over the Atlantic Basin with no tropical development through the weekend into next week though I will be keeping an eye on a fairly active tropical wave that’s just come off the coast of Africa.

An interesting tweet from hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach on the mid June state of sea surface temps. A comparison vs. high ACE (accumulated cyclone energy) hurricane seasons currently shows similarities. The upshot: yet another indication of a potentially active hurricane season. Of course, how “bad” a season is perceived will not be simply dictated by an active season (high number of storms) but rather where & how strong any landfalls are.

Meanwhile... a good deal of Saharan dust (5th image below) is over the Central & Eastern Atlantic. Such large dust clouds are quite typical for June & July & is indicative of generally dry mid & upper level air which usually inhibits tropical development. However, I’ve seen tropical systems thrive just outside the dust cloud ... or once away from the dusty atmosphere (see 2004)... so it’s not a “shoe in” that there will be no tropical development just because a lot of dust exists. Other factors have to be considered such as the overall shear values across the Atlantic Basin, general vertical motion values & sea surface temps. which are nowhere near their seasonal peak yet.

I’ve found a very good (bad really) recent example of a tropical cyclone “outsmarting” a massive cloud of African dust. We only need to go back to mighty “Dorian” last year as the hurricane flourished just west & once through the atmospheric dust. We saw this kind of development time & time again in ’04. The image below is from Aug. 27, 2019:

Atlantic dust:

2020 names..... “Dolly” is next on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years... historic storms are retired (Florence & Michael last year) & Dorian is certain to be retired from the ’19 list....

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear of which there is plenty across most of the Atlantic at the moment:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content is extreme over the NW Caribbean:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Global tropical activity: