How does the Sahara Desert affect hurricanes?
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – We’re about 2.5 months into Atlantic hurricane season, and so far no real storms have developed.
The reason could be found in a desert thousands of miles away.
So far in the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, we have seen a total of three named systems, but none have achieved hurricane status.
It’s been a pretty quiet season so far, and one thing we have to thank for that is the Saharan dust.
Before we talk about this dust, we should probably first talk about some of the ingredients we need for tropical development. We need abundant humidity in the atmosphere, a warm sea surface, temperatures generally above 80 degrees, abundant humidity in the atmosphere, converging winds at the surface to force the upward air, warm sea surface temperatures usually above 80 degrees, and winds aloft blowing in about the same direction.
Now let’s talk about this dust and how it inhibits tropical development. This dust from the Sahara Desert is picked up by very singing winds and carried across the tropics, and the trade winds carry it across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. As this dust sits over the Atlantic Ocean, some of the sunlight is reflected back into the atmosphere and as a result we have cooler water temperatures which are no longer favorable for development. tropical.
In addition, the air associated with this dust is about 50% drier than tropical air, so we no longer have this humidity available to generate storms, and we also have very strong winds, which are not favorable to the vertical development of a tropical storm.
Because stronger winds aloft will essentially cause this storm to become unbalanced and attract more adverse conditions to the core of this system.
We normally see Saharan dust from mid-June to mid-August, which is why hurricane season will normally peak in September, as that is when the dust will start settling.
The moral of the story is that while the Saharan dust has resulted in a less active hurricane season so far, we can’t let our guard down just yet.