Weather Around The World: Tropics Boiling; Heat Waves; Gulf Dead Zone


Home / Weather Around The World: Tropics Boiling; Heat Waves; Gulf Dead Zone
Pacific Ocean satellite image shows Halong (left), Genevieve (center), and Iselle and Julio (right). Image courtesy of US Navy

Pacific Ocean satellite image shows Halong (left), Genevieve (center), and Iselle and Julio (right). Image courtesy of US Navy

Though it’s five weeks before the average hurricane/typhoon maximum, tropical weather dominates today’s journey around the world.

One storm braved the odds, another crossed the international date line, and a duo is taking aim at Hawaii. Not to mention a former Super-Typhoon.

It’s midsummer, so it would be unusual if there weren’t a heat wave somewhere. And man’s activity is conspiring with the weather to affect water quality at both latitude extremes of the US. Let’s get going around the world.

Tropical Cyclones Across The Pacific And In The Atlantic Too

It’s more than a month before the peak of hurricane/typhoon season, but the tropics are looking more like early September than early August.

Tropical Storm Bertha: Bertha is truly the little storm that could. An easterly wave trickled off Africa more than a week ago, immediately ran into very dry air, moderate wind shear, and only marginally suitable water temperatures, but kept on truckin’. Eventually, as the wave approached the Windward Islands of the Caribbean, Bertha was born.

Undaunted by wind shear and the high mountains of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, Bertha became a hurricane northeast of the Bahamas. It is now winding down as it transitions to extra-tropical status and readies a try to cross the ocean and affect Europe. Don’t bet against Bertha.

 Typhoon Halong was once a Super-Typhoon, but still packs a punch as it approaches Japan. Uncertainty in the forecast track has now been resolved, and the storm will scrape the east coast of Japan’s southern islands. The track of Halong is only slightly to the east of that of Typhoon Neoguri, which had also formerly been a Super-Typhoon.

That’s three Super-Typhoons already this year in the western Pacific, and the season is just  getting into full swing.

Tropical Storm Genevieve is a strange one, in its third incarnation and about to enter its third jurisdiction. The easterly wave was deemed a tropical depression on July 25, degenerated into a remnant low, regenerated into a tropical depression, dissipated, then re-regenerated into a tropical depression and then a tropical storm well south of Hawaii.

Genevieve has once again become a tropical depression, but is expected to intensify into a tropical storm once again, and perhaps even acquire the wind speed of a hurricane.

By the time Genevieve generates winds of 75 miles per hour it will have passed 180 degrees longitude, so it would be classified as a typhoon. No one wants to try to forecast Genevieve’s Jekyll and Hyde act after that.

Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio are tightrope-walking along the warm water boundary heading for Hawaii. Julio seems to have the greater potential, but a storm following another closely is often affected by the upwelling effect of the leading storm, which brings cold water to the surface.

Weather: Who’s Been Hot And Who’s Hot Now?

Delhi, India suffered through an incredibly hot June. Temperatures topped 100 degrees on 29 consecutive days; 8 days in a row saw the mercury climb to 110.

The seasonal monsoon brought some relief in July, and now temperatures are below average, with with the temperature on some days in the coming week remaining in the 80s.

Moscow, Russia has had an amazing spell of warm weather, with temperatures over 90 on six consecutive days last week. The next ten days should see highs in the 80s. This may not seem like a big deal if you live in Texas, but the normal high temperature in Moscow at this time of year is 72. These temperatures present an attention-worthy departure from normal — consistent with, but not proof of, global warming.

Gulf Of Mexico Dead Zone Has Same Cause As Lake Erie Contamination

NOAA and EPA scientists have found a Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico of just over five thousand square miles; measurements were taken July 27-Aug 2. The Dead Zone is a result of oxygen depletion by algae, blossoming due to nutrient runoff — mainly from agricultural sources — and high water temperatures.

The good news is that this is about 50% less than the peak reading in 2002. The bad news is that it is three times the target set by the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force.

Another algae bloom forced a shutdown of the use of water from western Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio last week; these algae were toxic.

The changing climate will, if anything, exacerbate problems such as these. The algae thrive in warm water, so global warming will have an effect. In addition, the warmer climate will produce more rainfall, and therefore more runoff of fertilizers and other pollutants.

The Jet Stream And The Polar Vortex

The jet stream has not assumed a normal summertime pattern this year. The polar vortex has dipped down with winter time vigor several times. If the pattern remains as it is, this shapes up to be a very interesting winter.

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