Weather Around The World: Tropical Storms; Solstice; Seaweed; Coffee Fungus; Monsoon; World Cup


Home / Weather Around The World: Tropical Storms; Solstice; Seaweed; Coffee Fungus; Monsoon; World Cup
This week's weather may be messy in some parts of the world. Image courtesy of NOAA

This week’s weather may be messy in some parts of the world. Image courtesy of NOAA

Nebraska’s been hit by some significant tornadoes.

The eastern Pacific, western Pacific, and Indian Oceans have already had tropical storms this year.

We’ll look for the likely place for the next one to originate and visit the Indian monsoon, fouled beaches in Texas, coffee plantations in Guatemala, and Brazil (of course).

And it’s the (official) start of summer. Let’s go around the world.

Tornadoes In Nebraska: A Sharp Dip In The Jet Stream

The jet stream has retained some of its winter strength across the United States. When a pronounced trough (dip) entered the central plains in ‘tornado alley’ yesterday, tornadoes, along with violent thunderstorms, erupted.
The stage is set by the northward movement of humid air from the Gulf of Mexico. The dry flow aloft over the Rocky Mountain creates the condition for severe weather, and any time a jet stream trough comes by, it lifts the air on its front side; the atmosphere literally boils — strong up and downdrafts result in thunderstorms.
If the vertical structure of the atmosphere is conducive (primarily a change of wind direction with height), tornadoes can form. More tornadoes are likely today along the axis of the jet stream in the upper midwest.

Three Tropical Storms Dissipate; Where Should We Look For The Next One?

Hurricane Cristina fizzled out in the eastern Pacific after moving northwestward over colder water; Nanauk failed to reach land in the northern Indian Ocean; Hagibis dissipated after making landfall in China.

There are no tropical disturbances at this time, but the water temperatures will give us a clue  as to where to look for the next one.

The very warm water south of Mexico is this year's breeding ground for hurricanes. Graphic courtesy of NOAA

The very warm water south of Mexico is this year’s breeding ground for hurricanes. Graphic courtesy of NOAA

The hotspot south of Mexico, which has spawned three tropical systems already, two of them hurricanes, is still pronounced. Conditions are favorable for another storm, possibly as soon as next week.

The Gulf of Mexico is warm and the Caribbean is marginally warm. Cold water still dominates the Cape Verde area, where many powerful Atlantic hurricanes originate. June is generally quiet in the Atlantic basin, and although some forecast models show a developing storm in the northwest Caribbean next week, the chances are slim.

The eastern Pacific has already hosted eight named storms since January 1, one of which became a typhoon, and action could heat up there at any time, since the water temperatures are high.

Summer Solstice In Four Days

June 21 will mark the summer solstice, the sun’s farthest foray into the northern hemisphere. Days will get shorter after that until a reverse turnaround in the southern hemisphere in December.

The summer solstice is the start of astronomical summer, which lasts until the fall equinox on Sept. 23. Due to the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit (eccentric means out-of-round, not acting like your elderly aunt), the seasons are not the same length.

The earth is at perihelion (closest to the sun) on Jan. 3 and at aphelion (farthest from the sun) on July 4.

Kepler discovered that the planetary orbits sweep out equal areas in equal amounts of time, so the earth moves faster when it’s closer to the sun and therefore there are fewer days in northern hemisphere winter; thus astronomical summer is 94 days long, while winter is only 89 days.

Seaweed In Galveston

Sargassum is a seaweed that proliferates in the north Atlantic gyre, a vortex that spins slowly clockwise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean around 25 degrees latitude. Wind and currents sometimes transport large quantities of weed to Florida beaches.

Occasionally the weed gets  carried into the Caribbean Sea and through the Yucatan Channel into the Gulf of Mexico. From there, prevailing winds carry it to the Texas shore.

This year has witnessed a heavy influx of weed in the Galveston area for the past month. The weed is harmless, and in fact provides cover and forage for many ocean-going critters.

But when it decomposes, the smelly remains are a turnoff to beachgoers. Galveston officials have plowed the weed up away from the water and the weather looks like it will cooperate by providing winds that will keep weed away for the start of summer and hopefully through the Fourth of July holiday.

Coffee Rust. Photo credit: Neil Palmer

Coffee Rust. Photo credit: Neil Palmer

Coffee Fungus Affects High-End Beans In Central America

La roya, or rust fungus, is slashing the coffee bean harvest in Guatemala and other Central American countries. The immediate result is an increase in coffee prices, especially for the high-end arabica bean.

The problem seems to be that arabica has a narrow window of temperature and precipitation in which to grow, and increasing temperatures have allowed the rust to invade the suitable areas. The general lesson is that climate change, though it may seem manageable for humans, implies all kinds of problems, particularly those stemming from the fact that pathogens are more adaptable than the crops that humans normally cultivate.

Monsoon Wind Reaches Delhi

Temperatures all last week in northern India were above 110 degrees. Finally, on Thursday, a whiff of the monsoon wind shift brought some relief, but temperatures this week will still break the century mark before the monsoon takes hold next week with ‘comfortable ‘ temperatures in the 90s. The heavy rain is forecast to start next week, and that could bring high temperatures down into the 80s.

World Cup, Brazil, Last Stop

World Cup weather has been pretty good overall: hot in Manaus and rainy in Natal, but comfortable elsewhere. The heat, humidity, and precipitation have had minor effects on a couple of games, but all things considered, World Cup weather has been reliably good — more than can be said for the officiating. No doubt Brazil’s weather will still be of interest next week when we go around the world.

This Week’s Weather

From Nebraska’s twin tornadoes to the conditions at the World Cup Games, this week’s weather has ranged from hot and humid to destructive. What’s the weather like in your location?

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