It is mostly quiet in the northern front!

Schematic depicting the back and forth swing of the Earth's axis with respect to the Sun (courtesy of Wiki-Pedia)

Schematic depicting the back and forth swing of the Earth’s axis with respect to the Sun (Wiki-Pedia)

It is now mid-November and the Earth’s axis continues to tilt toward the ecliptic north pole bringing more and more of the southern hemisphere  face to face with the Sun, as our planet approaches the winter solstice on 21 December 2014, in a cycle already repeated millions of times.

Satellite image of 16 November 2014 (NOAA) for the aviation industry (AVN) showing a rather quiet north Atlantic basin in terms of tropical cyclone activity
Satellite image of 16 November 2014 (NOAA) for the aviation industry (AVN) showing a rather quiet north Atlantic basin in terms of tropical cyclone activity

Under the influence of this annual dance tropical cyclone activity increases and peaks in the region of the Earth facing the Sun, as the atmosphere and oceans get warmer and other contributors to cyclogenesis influenced by the Sun’s energy coalesce  in various basins.

Satellite image (NASA) of 16 November 2014 showing a large tropical wave in the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Madagascar, which shows potentioal for cyclonic development
Satellite image (NASA) of 16 November 2014 showing a large tropical wave in the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Madagascar, which shows potentioal for cyclonic development

Today is Sunday 16 November 2014 and there are no tropical cyclones active anywhere in the northern hemisphere, however we already see cells of disturbed weather on both sides near the equator, but mainly in the southern hemisphere There is in fact one large tropical wave around a center of low pressure over the southern Indian Ocean, which is already showing signs of potential cyclonic development.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 November 2014 (NOAA) showing a tropical wave with potential for cyclonic development in the southern Indian Ocean to the  west of Madagascar
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 November 2014 (NOAA) showing a tropical wave with potential for cyclonic development in the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Madagascar

Satellite images and date collected by satellites show a mostly quiet western hemisphere, in terms of tropical cyclone activity, and progressively cooler surface waters in the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Map of sea surface temperatures in the northern Atlantic basin, based on remote sensed data from satellite observations (N)AA) for 15 November 2014
Map of sea surface temperatures in the northern Atlantic basin, based on remote sensed data from satellite observations (N)AA) for 15 November 2014

02 November 2014: It is all in the Pacific!

It was it the low to mid 40s [degrees Farenheit] early this morning of Sunday 2 November 2014, and much colder in central and northern Florida. Could this be a sign that winter is approaching?  For some in the South and other places in the U.S.A. with snow on the ground and freezing wind-chills WINTER is already here.

Despite these signs of the approaching change in seasons tropical cyclone activity is present today at both ends of the northern Pacific Ocean. Ten thousand kilometers apart Tropical Storm VANCE over the eastern Pacific and Typhoon NURI over the northwestern Pacific reminds us of just how active the northern Pacific basin has been so far in 2014, in terms of cyclonic activity.

Infrared satellite image [NASA] of 2 November 2014 showing a strengthening Tropical Storm VANCE off the Pacific coast of Mexico
Infrared satellite image [NASA] of 2 November 2014 showing a strengthening Tropical Storm VANCE off the Pacific coast of Mexico

 Projected track for tropical cyclone VANCE [courtesy of the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory] as of 1 November 2014

Projected track for tropical cyclone VANCE [courtesy of the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory] as of 1 November 2014

Tropical storm VANCE is strengthening, and may become a hurricane over the next 12 – 24 hours, as it begins to change its course toward an eventual turn toward the NE in the general direction of Cabo San Lucas in the Baja California peninsula and Mazatlan. VANCE is the 20th named storm of what has been a record-breaking East Pacific hurricane season in 2014.

Infrared satellite image [NASA] of 2 November 2014 showing a strengthening category 3 Typhoon NURI over the Philippines Sea
Infrared satellite image [NASA] of 2 November 2014 showing a strengthening category 3 Typhoon NURI over the Philippines Sea
Projected track for Typhoon NURI [courtesy of the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory]  as of 2 November 2014
Projected track for Typhoon NURI [courtesy of the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory] as of 2 November 2014

Typhoon NURI brushed past Guam a couple of days ago, and it is now a strong category 3 typhoon that is continuing to strengthen as it tracks into a favorable ocean-atmospheric environment and continues to change course toward the waters off eastern Japan.

As the years comes to an end, it will be interesting to look back and take count of what has transpired in terms of cyclonic activity in 2014. There have been some interesting events that will be worth examining in greater detail. As I write this two recent tropical cyclones come to mind because of their longevity. One is tropical storm ANA, which tracked by the islands of Hawaii to then veer North and NE before being ‘picked-up’ by a system that carried it all the way back to the mainland of Canada and the U.S.A. northwest eventually affecting the U.S.A. all the way to the mid-west more than two weeks later. A similar story was Hurricane Gonzalo, which was generated over the west-central Atlantic near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, hit Bermuda and  continued toward extreme eastern Canada and eventually mainland Europe, where it continue on an eastern track until it caused extreme rains and flooding in Greece more than two weeks later.  It will be interesting to analyze what contributing factors made both ANA and GONZALO last so long, travel so far north and then east, and affect such a wide region.