An interesting view on Hurricanes

A view of historical hurrican tracks from the South Pole point of view

A view of historical hurrican tracks from the South Pole point of view

Original and several other sizes

Gigantic size here

I find this a fascinating picture. It says something about the physics of the land and air. I’m not sure what though ;-)

There’s the odd North / South disparity. There’s that “gap” in the southern circle. It’s just odd…

I tracked it down from this site:

that includes a Mercator like projection and a graph of N/S and E/W disparity.

Looks like Panama rarely / never gets a direct hurricane hit…

I find it fascinating that South America gets a ‘pass’ on hurricanes. Perhaps as cold water flows up from the Antarctic there. I suspect the large shallow semi-trapped nature of the Gulf of Mexico is important to the North American numbers, and that overall the tendency for the Southern Ocean to be able to conduct heat to the south pole helps dump the energy without hurricanes (while the N. Oceans can’t get to the pole as well, so more must be dumped via vertical cyclone processes).

So we have a warm “Gulf Stream” while there’s less such warmth in the south?

It’s an interesting picture, even if a bit more mystery than enlightenment for me…

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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9 Responses to An interesting view on Hurricanes

  1. John F. Hultquist says:

    “I find it fascinating that South America gets a ‘pass’ on hurricanes.”

    Mostly so. Still, this is worth reading and the photos interesting:

  2. R. de Haan says:

    “Looks like Panama rarely / never gets a direct hurricane hit…”
    That’s one of the reasons why Panama is an attractive retreat.
    But it doen’t mean they have no bad weather:

  3. philjourdan says:

    The answer for your questions (Panama and South America) probably does lie in the currents of the oceans. It will be fascinating to see when some real scientists look into it to discover the real reason for the trajectory of tropical cyclones.

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    South atlantic magnetic anomaly, now covering most of SA?

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Looks like part of the answer is in that link:

    Typically, tropical cyclones do not form in the South Atlantic Ocean, due to strong upper level shear, cool water temperatures, and the lack of a convergence zone of convection. Occasionally though, as seen in 1991 and early 2004, conditions can become slightly more favorable. For Catarina, it was a combination of climatic and atmospheric anomalies. Water temperatures on Catarina’s path ranged from 24 to 25 °C, slightly less than the 26.5 °C temperature of a normal tropical cyclone, but sufficient for a storm of baroclinic origin.

    So it’s a mix of lower water temperatures and more wind shear near South America. Then seasoned with insufficient convergence / convection…

    @R. de Haan:

    The spouse only said candidate places only had to have ‘no hurricanes’, not ‘no bad weather’ ;-)


    Looking at this graph:

    and knowing there’s strong winds circumpolar Antarctica. It looks like the Peru current is cold, then on the Brazil side, it’s warm, but only just (not a lot of room / time to warm) as that gyre turns fairly fast from the jet of water through the Drake Passage; and just about the point where it’s had time to make a cyclone, runs into the searing winds down near Drake Passage.

    That’s my thesis, anyway…


    Yes, the ‘new north pole’ is trying to form just off shore S. America. Don’t think it is as important as the wind shear and cooler water, though. (Unless you are trying to navigate by compass alone…)

    There’s several spots like that, where loops of magnetism are trying to form local anomalies. Just part of how the process works. One is off of Bermuda (the ‘Bermuda Triangle’) and as a loop pops up, makes compasses a bit wonky. (Then slips back below the surface and things are ‘normal’ again). Lead to all sorts of crazy talk of space aliens and time portals. Just magnetic loops (like we see on the sun all the time, but weaker and slower) doing what they do.

    In another couple of thousand years, we’ll likely have several “north poles” and several “south poles” before the change completes and we return to just one of each, at one end of the other… I’d love to watch it happen, but it’s too slow a process for human life spans.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Well, it happens in the end, from one day to the other. As for the north pole….it seems that it´s gonna be in Siberia (at least according to Vuk´s graphs). Right now, at the pacific coasts we are having colder than normal sea water temperatures, hope you are not right but, as I write this here, though according to the calendar we are in springtime, I am wearing a jacket on….Hope you are wrong. It´s La Niña anyway, :-)

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: One more thing, it is not that I just trying to navigate on MAGNETIC compass alone, but you should remember that there is always an ELECTRIC CURRENT at 90º of the magnetic field lines. (Oersted´s Law)…So it is not about hot and cold air but about potential differentials, voltage you know….

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m fairly certain that Habibulo has it right. That would mean an entry into a Little Ice Age starting sometime between now and 2014. Max depth about 2030 to 2040.

    The first ‘symptom’ of that, IMHO, will be a cold shiver up the spine of South America as a cold surge of water runs into Drake Passage and heads north. I think we had that about a year (or is it two now?) ago. Next ought to be very cold Polar Vortex formation. That’s what I think you are experiencing this “spring” ;-)

    It will take a couple of years to get rolling, IMHO, but the polar vortex will be ever colder, year over year, and the equatorial heat load ever less, year over year. In about 2 years Arctic ice (and glaciers) ought to start coming back, faster every year for the next 30. Folks down hill from those ‘missing’ glaciers will regret it…

    Eventually that cooling will reach equatorial latitudes and even further down the mountains. That’s about the time that crop failures in Europe will ‘be an issue’ and we’ll likely have severe drought in the USA West. (When it goes cold, we go dry as other places get wetter).

    The biggest issue is that the “nice everywhere” we’ve had for 30 years turns back into ‘too wet there, to dry here, cold up there, some spots of hotter, and periodic crop failures everywhere’. India to get back the days of ‘monsoon failure’ sporadically. Europe to have The Big Wet like in the Little Ice Age in some years. North America doing the ‘western droughts’. And Eastern big storms hitting land again (after a 50 year absence.)

    Part of why I’m pondering ‘moving’. Just figuring out ‘where’ is a bit tough… It does look like ‘toward the middle’ South America stays nice, lucky you ;-) Just more further down slope… Avoid the places where the Maya Codex says you get massive rains / floods. And the far south tip which gets it’s nose froze ;-) Other than water, California ought to be OK, while way up North gets frozen and the Gulf Coast has a lot of flooding / storms (but inland N-E of Mexico has drought). I’d not want to be in the Middle East, either. The history shows massive droughts there during cold spikes. China has water issues too. And Russia has a very cold Siberia…

    So on the one hand, I’d like to move somewhere better. OTOH, California is likely one of the better places for climate. Only S. America and some Pacific Islands look to beat it. (IFF my projections / predictions are correct). (Oh, and Sub-Sahara Africa likely does OK, but it will be a social / political / racial mess, so not interesting.)

    So ‘short form’: Yeah, I hope I’m wrong too. But fear I’m not…

    FWIW, the ‘confusion’ of the magnetic field ought not to do much to living things. Life evolved and lived through many such events. Yeah, some magnetic navigation gets screwed up, but most species use a mix of means, not just magnetic.

    We go through a ‘muli-polar’ phase, not a ‘zero field’ phase, so all the hand wringing about ‘losing’ the mag field are silly. We might get 4, 6, or even 20 “poles”, but we still have poles. The most interesting thing would be having aurora all over the planet ;-) Unfortunately, we’re likely a few hundred to a few thousand years too early to see it. (It’s a very slow process…)

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