Sunday, June 05, 2016

Caribbean Blob and the remains of TS Bonnie: 4th June, Update A

Finally, it's wine-o-clock and that means I can sit down and have a look at the tropical shenanigans of the day. :-)

Caribbean Blob
I see they have increased the chances that this will be the future Tropical Storm Colin to 80%, which pretty much means that he will become a Tropical Depression tomorrow (Sunday), and a named storm no later than Monday. Although his satellite images are still on the shabby side of the spectrum, he is slowly beginning to get better organized. Here's his latest infrared satellite imagery:
He is supposed to be centered somewhere around ~17N, 87W, which doesn't look like it has much going on from this image. I think that is partly because of the strong wind shear that he is experiencing, partly because he is interacting with land, and partly because he is so disorganized that they don't really know where his center is.
However, when I look at his circulation, there has been a small improvement in the lower levels of the troposphere during the day today. 

And in case you were wondering what this 'troposphere' is - it's where you live! You thought you lived on planet Earth? Nah... you actually live in the troposphere. Really, you do... 
<Science Alert!> The troposphere. Our atmosphere is divided into layers – like a delicious trifle or seven-layer dip or lasagna (depending on what country you are from). In each layer the air temperature either increases with height or decreases with height. The troposphere is one of these layers. It is the lowest section of our atmosphere and extends up from the earth (ground zero if you like) to about 15-16km in the equatorial regions, and to about 8km in the polar regions of the planet. This is the layer of the atmosphere we live in, this is the layer we breathe. All our 'weather' essentially occurs in the troposphere. The troposphere is defined by decreasing air temperature with increasing height. You would know this if you climbed a mountain. Or the easier option, of course, is to just look at pictures of mountains and see the snow at the top (known as the ‘Flat Florida Option’). J The top of the troposphere is called the tropopause. Strong tropical storms have clouds that reach as high as the tropopause - and in a few very strong cases, they can extend even higher into the next layer up - into the stratosphere, which is the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere. The stratosphere is defined by air temperature increasing with height. The ozone hole is in the stratosphere. The top of the stratosphere is around 50km height and is marked by the stratopause. And the layer above that is mesosphere, where air temperature decreases with height again... and so we go on until we get to space... <End Science Alert!>
Back to the Blob. He is still over very warm water, with sea surface temperatures around 30 deg C, and the upper 100m of the water column warmer than 26.5 deg C. I expect him to have a lot of clouds. But he is in an area of very high wind shear, and it looks like that will continue if he moves northward into the Gulf. He'll be a wimpy TD tomorrow - if he can survive the wind shear.  
The other change I'm starting to see is in his path. Either he is going to take a little longer than we think to move, or it looks like the northern/central Gulf coast is now also a possibility for his track. Again, this part is tricky because he is such a weak system.
Former Tropical Storm Bonnie
Of course someone who reads this is going to be one of the few people in the Atlantic. I should have guessed! ;-) Well luckily for you John S. and anyone else out there, it looks like she is going to be a non-entity by the time she/you get to the Azores:
Looks like it was a lovely and slightly breezy day in Bermuda today.  This really is my last update Bonnie! :-) 
I'll wrap with this quote: "Don't count the days; make the days count." - Muhammed Ali 
Until tomorrow!
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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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