LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – We’re about 2-and-a-half months into the Atlantic hurricane season, and so far no real storms have developed.
The reason for that might 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 zero have reached hurricane status.
The season has been pretty quiet thus far, and one thing that we have to thank for that is Saharan Dust.
Before we talk about that dust, we should probably first talk about what some of the ingredients are that we need for Tropical Development. We need abundant moisture in the atmosphere, warm sea surface, temperatures usually above 80 degrees, abundant moisture in the atmosphere, converging winds at the surface to force air upward, warm sea surface temperatures, usually above 80 degrees, and upper-level winds that are blowing roughly in the same direction.
Now let’s talk about that dust and how it inhibits tropical development. That dust from the Saharan Desert is picked up by very song winds and carried through the tropics, and trade winds bring it across the Atlantic Ocean over to us in the United States. While that dust is over the Atlantic Ocean, it causes some of the sunlight to be reflected back into the atmosphere, and as a result, we have cooler water temperatures that are no longer favorable for tropical development.
Also, the air associated with that dust is around 50% drier than tropical air, so we no longer have that moisture available to generate any storms, and we have really strong winds as well, which are not favorable for a tropical storm’s vertical development.
Because stronger winds aloft will basically cause that storm to become lop-sided and pull more unfavorable conditions into the core of that system.
We normally see Saharan dust in mid-June to mid-August, which is why hurricane season will normally peak in September because that is when that dust will begin to settle.
Moral of the story is that even though that Saharan dust has resulted in a less active Hurricane Season so far, we can’t let our guard down just yet