2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season: 120 days to go!

Composite satellite water vapor image creating a mosaic from the Indian Ocean to the East Pacific on 30 July 2011

The first 60 days of the Atlantic Hurricane season are coming to an end. On 30 July 2011 there are plenty of signs  of potential cyclonic activity throughout the northern hemisphere tropics. On the satellite image above we can clearly see a large tropical wave in the Caribbean off the Nicaragua-Honduras border, also one large tropical wave that is showing signs of organization and further strengthening to the east of the Lesser Antilles in ‘Hurricane Alley’ followed by another tropical wave to the east.

Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite image on 30 July 2011 showing a Caribbean tropical wave near Cape 'Gracias a Dios' on the Nicaragua-Honduras border, and a large tropical wave in 'Hurricane Alley" about 1000 kilometers to the east of the Lesser Antilles, which is showing signs of potential cyclone development in the next 24-48 hours.

Farther to the east over the eastern Atlantic and equatorial Africa we see the ‘Tropical-wave assembly line’ has gotten much better organized over the past couple of weeks and it is now showing regularly spaced pulses of tropical weather activity that will become tropical waves feeding into ‘Hurricane Alley’.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of the eastern Atlantic and western equatorial Africa on 30 July 2011

These satellite images gives us evidence that appear to indicate the northern tropics are finally organizing into a pattern of activity that is typical of the historically most active months, August-September and October, of the Atlantic hurricane season. On this day, for the first time in a while, we also see the ‘belt of tropical activity’ is once again girdling the Earth just north of the equator. This is shown in the satellite image below:

Composite full-disk satellite image of Earth's western hemisphere on 30 July 2011 showing the 'belt of tropical activity' circling the planet to the northof the equator

Other satellite imagery on 30 July 2011 shows equally active basins throughout the northern tropics, such as in the eastern and western Pacific and in the northern Indian Ocean, as seen below:

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image showing typhoon MUIFA in the western Pacific and other tropical activity in that region on 30 July 2011
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image showing tropical activity in the northern Indian Ocean on 30 July 2011

29 July 2011: It is 3 + 2 !

On Friday 29 July 2011 the northern hemisphere tropics are looking quite active. Today there are three active tropical storms and two tropical waves [ 3 + 2 ] that warrant close monitoring as they continue to develop.

A strengthening tropical storm DON is in the Gulf of Mexico approaching the southeastern coast of Texas, carrying much needed rain for that drought-parched state.

Infrared satellite view of Tropical Storm DON on Friday 29 July as it moves in the Gulf of Mexico toward the osutheastern coast of Texas where landfall is expected later today near Corpus Christi
Tropical Storm DON's track on 29 July 2011 developed by the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory.

Tropical storm NOCKTEN is in the South China Sea attacking the island of Hainan as it continues moving toward Viet Nam. Tropical storm MUIFA is to the east-northeast of the Philippin, over the Philippines Sea, veering toward southern Japan.

Tropical storm NOCK-TEN crosses the South China sea in route toward Viet Nam on 29 July 2011
Track for Tropical Storm NOCK-TEN on 29 July 2011 prepared by the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory
Tropical Storm MUIFA in the Philippines Sea, West Pacific, veering North by Northwest toward Southern Japan
Tropical Storm MUIFA in far West Pacific om 29 July 2011; track shown was prepared by the U. S. Navy Research Laboratory

In addition to these active tropical cyclones there is a large tropical wave in the midst of Hurricane Alley, in the Atlantic, which warrants closer investigation and monitoring as conditions ahead appear favorable for possible cyclonic development. And there is another similar tropical wave in the western Pacific near the northern Marianas, which also needs monitoring for potential cyclogenesis.

Infrared satellite image of tropical wave about mid-way between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, riding Hurricane Alley, on 29 July 2011
Tropical wave surrounded by a large region of disturbed weather over the western Pacific on 29 July 2011

Elsewhere in the northern tropics there are numerous areas of stormy weather, such as in the southern Caribbean off Central America, the eastern east Pacific off Central America. and in the northern Indian Ocean, as well as over equatorial Africa.