Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can a High Pressure in the US Provoke Tropical Activity in the Atlantic?

The concept was brought to my attention that a high in the eastern US or close to the tropics can heighten the potential for tropical systems to form. Today, I decided to act on that concept and see if it was true.

I decided to look at the 2011 hurricane season and use the date of formation to view 500mb maps. Sure enough, in a surprising majority of cases, the tropical system did form when a high pressure system was somewhere in the eastern half of the US.

Now, this was only discovered by me today (although I'm quite sure many others know about this topic), so I don't have too much information on it for now. However, high pressure in the eastern US would most likely act to divert the jet stream north to block any strong winds that may otherwise head to the Gulf and Atlantic. Lack of strong upper level winds is key to have tropical systems form. Additionally, it provides room for the moist, warm Atlantic and Gulf air to possibly rise and give off showers and storms, that may eventually turn into tropical systems.

I looked over the latest ensembles for today, and it does look like a ridge of high pressure will soon return to the eastern US, which may very well give the tropics some room to act up.

Again, this is very preliminary, and I am conducting ongoing research. In my eyes, this could enhance tropical weather forecasts in the future, but let's not get too carried away.


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