Atlantic and Pacific hurricane tracks

Hurricane Lorenzo currently in the mid Atlantic is cited as the most intense hurricane east of 45 degrees West longitude in the historical record. It’s heading north and only The Azores is at possible risk, depending on how it tracks and how much energy it retains.

This is detailed in Category 4 Hurricane Lorenzo is the Most Intense Hurricane So Far East in the Atlantic Ocean on Record, but included in that report is a fascinating map of category 4 or greater hurricanes in the Atlantic recorded since 1950.

Nearly all hurricanes begin north of the equator. Some of them come from a relatively small area west of Africa, with many beginning in a narrow band several hundred kilometres north of the equator, heading west and often veering north.

 

Tracks of all Atlantic Basin Category 4 or stronger hurricanes from 1950 through 2017. Segments during which each hurricane was Category 4 or 5 is shown by the pink and purple line segments, respectively. The position of Lorenzo when it first reached Category 4 status is denoted by the dot and arrow. The location of Julia when it was a Category 4 hurricane in 2010 is also highlighted. (Note: 2018 tracks were unavailable in the online database as of the time of this article.)

(NOAA)

Even in the heart of hurricane season, tropical waves moving off the coast of western Africa usually take some time to mushroom into intense hurricanes.

This is often due to intrusions of dry air, known as Saharan air layers, moving off Africa’s Sahara Desert. Fledgling tropical disturbances need warm, moist air to intensify, so battling these intrusions can prevent intensification or even spell doom in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

In Lorenzo’s case, that wasn’t a big problem.

A lack of shearing winds, typically warm ocean water and moist air allowed Lorenzo to rapidly intensify so far east.

Wikipedia shows more on this in Atlantic Hurricane:

File:Atlantic hurricane tracks.jpg

Tracks of North Atlantic tropical cyclones (1851–2012)

Most storms form in warm waters several hundred miles north of the equator near the Intertropical convergence zone from tropical waves. The Coriolis force is usually too weak to initiate sufficient rotation near the equator.

Storms frequently form in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the tropical Atlantic Ocean as far east as the Cape Verde Islands, the origin of strong and long-lasting Cape Verde-type hurricanes. Systems may also strengthen over the Gulf Stream off the coast of the eastern United States, wherever water temperatures exceed 26.5 °C (79.7 °F).

Steering factors

Tropical cyclones are steered by the surrounding flow throughout the depth of the troposphere (the atmosphere from the surface to about eight miles (12 km) high)…Specifically, air flow around high pressure systems and toward low pressure areas influences hurricane tracks.

In the tropical latitudes, tropical storms and hurricanes generally move westward with a slight tendency toward the north, under the influence of the subtropical ridge, a high pressure system that usually extends east-west across the subtropics.

South of the subtropical ridge, surface easterly winds (blowing from east to west) prevail. If the subtropical ridge is weakened by an upper trough, a tropical cyclone may turn poleward and then recurve, or curve back toward the northeast into the main belt of the Westerlies. Poleward (north) of the subtropical ridge, westerly winds prevail and generally steer tropical cyclones that reach northern latitudes toward the east.

Eastern Pacific hurricanes show similar patterns.

File:Pacific hurricane tracks 1980-2005.jpg

Tracks of East Pacific tropical cyclones (1980–2005)

Most of these head out into uninhabited parts of the Pacific.

The North west Pacific has a lot of typhoon activity.

File:Pacific typhoon tracks 1980-2005.jpg

Tracks of all tropical cyclones in the northwestern Pacific Ocean between 1980 and 2005.
The vertical line to the right is the International Date Line.

Closer to home we are sometimes affected by South Pacific tropical cyclones.

Within the Southern Hemisphere there are officially three areas where tropical cyclones develop on a regular basis, these areas are the South-West Indian Ocean between Africa and 90°E, the Australian region between 90°E and 160°E and the South Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W.

Within the basin, most tropical cyclones have their origins within the South Pacific Convergence Zone or within the Northern Australian monsoon trough, both of which form an extensive area of cloudiness and are dominant features of the season.

The ancient mariners of the South Seas who roamed the tropical Pacific before the arrival of the Europeans, knew of and feared the hurricanes of the South Pacific.

They were keen and accurate observers of nature with traditional myths and legends, reflecting their knowledge of these systems.

There are fewer and much more scattered tracks in our part of the Pacific.

Tracks of all tropical cyclones in the southwestern Pacific Ocean between 1980 and 2005

You can see the inactive equatorial band between the north and south Pacific tracking maps.

You can see north of Australia and north and south Indian ocean tracks here (this post has already become a lot longer than intended): Tropical cyclone basins

Heat in the ocean waters is a major factor in hurricanes. If as most science suggests our oceans have been absorbing an increasing amount of heat then there is a risk of more hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones, and they are at risk of being more intense.

Leave a comment

26 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  28th September 2019

    ” cited as the most intense hurricane east of 45 degrees West longitude in the historical record.”
    hahaha, more fanciful claims. What they mean is satellite records
    The North Atlantic map with this claim “Tracks of North Atlantic tropical cyclones (1851–2012)” is complete nonsense. They dont know tracks at all fro at least 100 yrs or so of that. let alone know the change from tropical storm to Cat 1 or 2 hurricane., something that is only estimated in the ocean

    Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  28th September 2019

    WOW so many old angry people,Greta could help with storm tracks

    Reply
    • What really seems to be annoying people is her hysterical hectoring manner, her hypocrisy and her know it all attitude. She comes across as a real brat as she shrieks and screams at people as if she was the only person on earth who cares; a total turnoff for those who are, in fact, concerned and doing something.

      She used a boat made of fossil fuels and then flew back, making her own large carbon footprint. She uses devices made of fossil fuels !

      She’s an objectionable little madame who will probably antagonise people more than she converts them.

      Reply
      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  28th September 2019

        She hasn’t flown back to Sweden (yet)… It was the boat crew that flew back to Monaco from New York.
        Greta travelled up to Montreal on Friday by car.
        https://www.mtlblog.com/news/canada/qc/montreal/greta-thunberg-is-arriving-in-montreal-in-arnold-schwarzeneggers-car

        I think she still has to travel down to South America for some shin-dig.
        Not sure how she’s getting back to Sweden.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  28th September 2019

          I think that I can guess.

          So five people flew instead of one ! That is insane.

          The people who whinge about her being criticised forget that she began it. She can’t be a child in some things and not others, I’m afraid, She abuses adults; she and her admirers must expect that the compliment will be returned.

          She is so tiresome that her message (such as it is) will be overshadowed by the hectoring and shrillness of the way she says it.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  28th September 2019

            Should she be spending some time on the Naughty Step?

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  28th September 2019

              What about the Amazon basin. Snakes, disease and natives. Stuff the real world is made from. Let’s see what here fame is worth there.

            • Gezza

               /  28th September 2019

              We’ll have to be quick getting her there!

              Brazil’s new right wing President Bolsonaro is busy flogging all Brazil’s Amazonia off to gold miners, oil explorers, and monoculture farmers at a fair rate of knots to make a quick buck, looking after the rich pricks first: & stuff the natives and the conservationists!

              And other SAm countries incorporating parts of Amazonia are having problems with (or even quietly allowing, no doubt thru corrupt officials) illegal mining and forest clearing / logging to go on at a rapid rate also.

              The “lungs of the world” is disappearing at a phenomenal rate, from what I’ve seen on Al Jazeera lately.

            • Duker

               /  29th September 2019

              The Amazon isnt the lungs of the world- that was discredited years back
              https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/why-amazon-doesnt-produce-20-percent-worlds-oxygen/
              Some claim its NETT O2 contribution may be close to zero. There maybe other good reasons why to retain the rain forest, giving you oxygen isnt one of them

            • Gezza

               /  29th September 2019

              I’ve downticked you for being a pain the arse, having no SOH, and lacking any sense of literary flair.

            • Pink David

               /  29th September 2019

              “Brazil’s new right wing President Bolsonaro is busy flogging all Brazil’s Amazonia off to gold miners, oil explorers, and monoculture farmers at a fair rate of knots to make a quick buck, looking after the rich pricks first: & stuff the natives and the conservationists!”

              You do realise that 30 million people live in the Amazon don’t you?

              “The “lungs of the world” is disappearing at a phenomenal rate, from what I’ve seen on Al Jazeera lately.”

              It’s not the lungs of the world.

            • Gezza

               /  29th September 2019

              Christ. Ditto. 😠

            • Corky

               /  30th September 2019

              Cripes..Simon ‘The Bridge’ Bridges, was quoted on OneNews last night saying there is no climate emergency. Big call. A call that will either make or break him at election time. First thing he needs is a transcript of Magic Radio broadcasting the historical data regarding hurricanes and cyclones.
              That’s the first thing he will be asked by climate cultists, along with the increasing number bushfires. 😊

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2019

              Mt bet? 3 questions to Simon about Climate Change & he’ll be stuffed.
              The Bridge is dumb, imo.

            • Corky

               /  30th September 2019

              😊

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2019

              👍🏼

              🙄 😬 *Mt = My

            • Corky

               /  30th September 2019

              I don’t do spelling mistakes if that’s what you think the smiley face was about. I was laughing at this:

              ”The Bridge is dumb, imo.”

              I keep thinking of the ways he and National are going to fug up the political gifts Jacinda and Labour are giving him.

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2019

              No, I do spelling mistakes. And sometimes I just feel the obligation to wince about them about them on this blog. It’s my way of reminding myself I’ve become a shit proof-reader of my own writings.

    • Corky

       /  28th September 2019

      Why didn’t you tell me about this helpline before, Lurchy? I could have saved money on not sparking up my Browns Gas machine. I’m downticking you for being a nasty liberal, sucked in by a vacuous 16 year old talking head.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  28th September 2019

        The helpline is a heavy-handed attempt at satirising the people who dislike the little tick.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  30th September 2019

          Simon Bridges dislikes the hysterical fearmongering that is going on, and I agree with him.

          It won’t change anything and is terrifying people for no reason.

          Reply
  3. alloytoo

     /  28th September 2019

    Are you referring to the “Science” that was recently retracted by Nature just as it was being used to stir up hysteria?

    Reply
  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  28th September 2019

    If as most science suggests our oceans have been absorbing an increasing amount of heat

    Last year, with much fanfare, a paper was published in Nature asserting that claim.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-oceans-are-heating-up-faster-than-expected/
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/pu-eoh103118.php

    But within a few hours of publication, a retired chap with just a B.Sc. in maths had pointed out
    that the paper was fatally flawed and incorrect analysis had been used.
    There was no extra heat being held in the oceans.
    https://judithcurry.com/2019/09/25/resplandy-et-al-part-5-final-outcome/

    The paper was finally retracted by Nature on 25th September…. the same day the IPCC released its Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere.
    https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  28th September 2019

      if it went the other way and the Science paper authors became climate heretics, boy they would be in hiding now and facing the sack from their jobs

      Reply
  5. Duker

     /  29th September 2019

    Whats happened to all the Climate comments from yesterday ? Has A server ‘error’ wiped them ?

    Reply

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