Jul 19, 2016

The Atlantic remains quiet--but beware of this year's ocean heat content!

Atlantic Ocean
by
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson
,
Weather Underground
Total oceanic heat content (called the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, or TCHP) in kilojoules per square centimeter (kJ/cm^2), for July 15 for the years 2005 - 2016. TCHP was at near-record or record values over much of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and waters surrounding the Bahamas in July 2016. TCHP in excess of 90 kJ/cm^2 (orange colors) is commonly associated with rapid intensification of hurricanes. Image: NOAA/AOML
Total oceanic heat content (called the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, or TCHP) in kilojoules per square centimeter (kJ/cm^2), for July 15 for the years 2005 - 2016. TCHP was at near-record or record values over much of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and waters surrounding the Bahamas in July 2016. TCHP in excess of 90 kJ/cm^2 (orange colors) is commonly associated with rapid intensification of hurricanes. Image: NOAA/AOML

When we finally do get the surface low pressure, rising air, low wind shear, plentiful low to mid-level moisture and an African tropical wave needed to spawn an Atlantic hurricane, watch out. Record to near-record levels of heat energy are in the Atlantic in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and waters surrounding the Bahamas (figure above), exceeding even the heat energy that was available during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. This year's high levels of ocean heat content in the Atlantic increases the odds of dangerous rapidly-intensifying major hurricanes if the other conditions needed for intensification are present