Weather Around The World, 4/7: Super-Typhoon Dissipates; CO2 Record; El Niño Shows Muscle

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The satellite view from Monday (yesterday)

The satellite view from Monday (yesterday) shows two tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean. India is clear except for a small area of mesoscale instability in the north. Satellite photo courtesy of US Navy.

Tropical cyclones rage in both northern and southern hemispheres; atmospheric CO2 hits a new high; Major League Baseball opens with nice weather; and El Niño Eggplant strengthens.

Let’s go Around The World.

Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone

At this time of year, the waters of the sub-tropical western North Pacific Ocean are still warm, as the deeper waters have retained much of the summer heat, which they now share with the surface water.

Super-Typhoon Maysak began as a tropical disturbance in the central Pacific on March 26, was named on March 27, attained typhoon strength (75 mile per hour wind) on March 28, and became a Super-Typhoon (winds over 150 miles per hour) on March 31. Maysak headed for the Philippines, but fortunately, before it could reach the island nation that typhoons have so battered in the past two years, Maysak ran into hostile conditions (vertical wind shear) and rapidly lost strength. It crossed the northern island as a minimal tropical storm.

In the summer, the storm would have been a threat to Vietnam and China as it crossed the South China Sea, but the shallower waters have cooled and the storm dissipated yesterday. All in all, The Philippines dodged a bullet, with only minor damage; but this is just the start of the serious typhoon season.

Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclones 

An arcane system for naming South Indian Ocean cyclones depends on exact location and intensity. At various positions and intensity levels, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center on Reunion Island, The Sub-Regional Tropical Cyclone Advisory Center in Mauritius, and The Sub-Regional Tropical Cyclone Advisory Center in Madagascar have jurisdiction.

Suffice it to say that what was previously called Tropical Cyclone 21S is now named Ikola. Ikola  reached its maximum intensity last night with top winds of 100 miles per hour, and is now winding down over colder water. Still, Ikola will be identifiable as a tropical system when it makes landfall near Perth, Australia on Friday, though top winds will not exceed 30 miles per hour.

A second southern hemisphere tropical system, originally called 22S, is now in the central Indian Ocean. Somebody has named it Joalane. As it spins in place over the open ocean, Joalane will reach category three strength with winds up to 120 miles per hour. The storm will blow itself out as it finally moves south over colder water without affecting any land areas.

Mesoscale Instability And Severe Weather

While most of India – as well as last weekend’s Decoded Science Fair Weather Pick of the Weekend, Kathmandu, Nepal – is clear, there is a cluster of stormy weather over northern India and adjacent Pakistan which is causing flooding.

This kind of system, called a mesoscale area of instability, is midway between a tornado and a nor’easter in size. Such systems are common in the central United States from April to September. One will bring severe weather to the plains and midwest later in the week, possibly beginning with some severe weather this afternoon.

Decoded Science will have a complete analysis of, and forecast for, this outbreak tomorrow. It will be long-lasting (several days) and possibly very powerful.

El Niño Strengthens

The water temperature analysis for April 2 shows that temperatures have risen dramatically along the coast of South America. Analysis courtesy of NOAA.

The water temperature analysis for April 2 shows that temperatures have risen dramatically along the coast of South America. Analysis courtesy of NOAA.

The marginal El Niño conditions in the Pacific which Decoded Science named Eggplant three months ago and NOAA recently recognized, have become more indicative of a moderate or strong El Niño, with water temperatures near the coast of South America spiking in the last week.

A continuation of the trend bodes well for chances of rain in parched California, and could inhibit hurricane formation in the Atlantic this summer.

MLB Opening Day Lucks Out

Major League Baseball decided to open its 2015 season with an Easter Sunday night game in Chicago, where the average temperature normally dips into the low 40s by late evening. The scheduler must have a divine connection, because temperatures were in the mid-50s for most of the game. Though the weather was unusual, the result of the game was not: The Cubs lost 3-0.

Atmospheric CO2 Exceeds 403 PPM

CO2, as measured on Mount Mauna Loa, Hawaii, hs exceeded 403 ppm twice this year -- the first times ever. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

CO2, as measured on Mount Mauna Loa, Hawaii, hs exceeded 403 ppm twice this year — the first times ever. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Last Tuesday, the weather station on Mount Mauna Loa, Hawaii reported a CO2 reading of 403.31 parts per million (ppm). This was the second time this year that the CO2 measurement topped 403 ppm, a level never before seen.

For the week ending April 4, the average daily reading was 401.94 ppm, 1.51 ppm higher than a year ago, and 19.50 ppm higher than ten years ago.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to billow into uncharted territory.

Given that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that allows solar radiation to reach the surface of the earth but blocks the microwave radiation that the earth emits, the inescapable implication is that the atmosphere will become warmer.

The rapid rise of the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is unprecedented by virtually any standard, and the end result is unknown. But to bet against a much warmer planet would be foolish.

Spring Is In The Air And That Means Change

The surest sign of spring for many sports addicts is the start of the Major League Baseball season. But birds are also migrating and flowers are blooming. Tell Decoded Science when you see the proverbial first robin of spring. Or anything else you think is meteorologically noteworthy.

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