Tag Archives: Europe

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.

The cyclone that won’t go away!

Just about two weeks ago the tropical storm that became cyclone Giovanna generated over the central Indian Ocean near the equator. Since then this storm grew in size and strength reaching category 4 intensity one week ago before making landfall in Madagascar on 13 February, near the capital of Antananarivo. Weakened by its interaction with the topography of the island the cyclone still managed to traverse it to emerge over the Mozambique Channel the next day as a tropical depression.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image showing two tropical cyclones active over the southern Indian Ocean on 20 February 2012

Once over the warm waters between the African continent and Madagascar the cyclone strengthened once again becoming a tropical storm and reaching category 1 strength on 19 February, which it maintained until earlier today 20 February 2012. The cyclone has been downgraded to tropical storm category and late in the day was moving generally south by southeast some 500 kilometers south of Reunion in the southern Indian Ocean. While it appears Giovanna will continue to weaken as it tracks over progressively colder waters, this storm has traveled close to 7,000 kilometers over the past 14 days.

Tropical storm Giovanna is being chased by a cyclone currently designated as Tropical Storm 13, which formed as a tropical depression over the south-central Indian Ocean some 4-5 days ago, and is near the island of Rodrigues in the Mauritius archipelago on 20 February 2012 moving in a generally southward track toward the course being followed by Giovanna.

Current cyclonic activity and the long lasting course of cyclone Giovanna are testimony of the coupled ocean-atmosphere condition that prevail over most of the Indian Ocean and the tropical South Pacific. Evidence of this cyclogenesis-favorable environment is apparent in the satellite image above, in the form of very cold cloud tops over a vast region of disturbed weather and rainfall reaching from the western Pacific across the Indian Ocean all the way to just off-shore eastern Africa.

Elsewhere in around the world the Caribbean and most of the tropical Atlantic basin north of the equator are calm and cool on20 February, but both the northeastern Pacific and Northern Atlantic are different stories. Over the Pacific it appears the Pineapple Express is quite active interacting with a polar jet stream near Alaska to create pulses of disturbed winter weather over large regions of North America reaching all the way into Texas and the southeastern USA. The satellite image below illustrates these conditions on 20 February 2012.

Satellite view for the aviation industry showing the calm, mostly col and dry Caribbean, Gulf and a good portion of the tropical Atlantic basin on 20 February 2012

Color enhanced infrared satellite image showing stormy conditions over portions of the northeastern Pacific Ocean and North America on 20 February 2012

These pulses of winter stormy weather are pushed beyond North America over the northern Atlantic and Europe beyond, where extreme weather events over the past few weeks have caused considerable damage and death in many areas. The satellite image below partially illustrates some of those prevailing conditions over Europe and beyond.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image showing large regions of disturbed winter weather over the North Atlantic and Europe on 20 February 2012

The reality of this northern hemisphere winter in 2011/2012 is that it has been anything, but typical. Late in coming in some regions, extreme in others, warmer than usual, wetter than usual, rare etc. It is clear that patterns have been changing as the effects of global climate change are becoming more apparent.

What will the rest of 2012 brings us in terms of climatic conditions? What will happen by way of cyclogenesis around the various basins worldwide? Only time will tell, but if current and recent activities are any indication, it is certain to be interesting! Keep watching!