DISCUSSION: During the course of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season thus far, there has been predominantly little to no tropical cyclone activity of any kind aside from much earlier this year. There are a number of different possible reasons and explanations for why any part of a given Atlantic or East Pacific hurricane season may end up being relatively quiet for a given time-frame. However, one of the key factors which will or will not facilitate convective updrafts within deep convective storm clusters over the open ocean to develop is vertical wind shear.
As can be seen in the graphical suite which is attached above (courtesy of Dr. Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University), there is a strong correlation between the overall basin-wide coverage and magnitude of vertical wind shear and the potential for tropical cyclone genesis and development thereof. More specifically, in general, the stronger the vertical wind shear is at a given time, the lesser the potential for any tropical cyclone development in the majority of cases. The reason for this is that when there is stronger vertical wind shear present, this does not allow for deeper thunderstorms clusters to become increasingly better organized with time. Thus, if deep convective storm clusters cannot have the opportunity to become more organized, this inhibits any and all tropical cyclone development which may attempt to unfold over some given period of time. Therefore, if the wind shear does let up a bit as is in the realm of possibility for later this month (i.e., August 2018), there is a possibility for oceanic and atmospheric conditions to become a bit more favorable for potential tropical cyclone development later this year here in 2018.
To learn more about other important weather stories and related issues occurring across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: As of earlier this morning, Tropical Depression Three was upgraded to third named storm of the 2018 Tropical Atlantic hurricane season by way of Tropical Storm Chris. This is an impressive feat for the Tropical Atlantic basin up to this point for several reasons. First off, the overall sea-surface temperature regime across a good portion of the critical main development region for the Tropical Atlantic basin have been notably below-average from climatological average sea-surface temperatures both before and from the start of the 2018 Tropical Atlantic hurricane season which officially began back on 1 June 2018, making the majority of the Tropical Atlantic predominantly unfavorable for tropical development for the most part.
In addition, several potent rounds of Saharan dust ejecting from the coast of Western Africa and progressing across the Tropical Atlantic over the past few weeks has also led to a large-scale suppression in potential tropical cyclone development across a good portion of the Tropical Atlantic basin. This is due to the Saharan Air Layer (as it is scientifically referred to) containing stronger vertical wind shear and dry-air intrusions which cut down on the ability of deeper convection to organize in and around the center of developing tropical cyclone vortices. Hence, several factors have combined for a mostly unfavorable tropical cyclone development scenario for the most part. Nonetheless, we do now have Tropical Storm Chris just off the East Coast of the United States and there is a good chance that Tropical Storm Chris may soon end up becoming Hurricane Chris if a few more things come together with this latest tropical cyclone here in July 2018.
The last part about Tropical Storm Chris which is also impressive is the fact that the average date for the formation of the third named storm in Tropical Atlantic happens to be August 13th. Thus, one could certainly make the argument that this 2018 Tropical Atlantic hurricane season is off to a somewhat rolling start despite conditions across much of the basin being much less than ideal. This just goes to prove the reality that even when under less than ideal circumstances, tropical storms can still form and perform over the course of their lifetime.
To learn more about other interesting tropical cyclone-related stories from around the world, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz