Understanding the Weather
Group Leader: Nick Ricketts
Meets: 2nd Mon from 11.00 at Palace Gate, South Street
A variety of topics ranging from local events to climate change.
A recent report from the British Antarctic Survey states that the extent of summer sea ice in the Weddell Sea has decreased by about a third in recent years. Sea ice grows around the Antarctic continent during the austral winter, effectively doubling its area. Nearly all the sea ice melts during summer, apart from over the Weddell Sea. There are usually few storms over the area during the austral summer, but December 2016 was an exception. The combination of strong winds and the advection of warm air led to significant melting of Weddell Sea ice and a rise in ocean temperatures, which persist to this day. This reduction in sea ice is expected to have significant ecological effects.
A large plume of dust from the Sahara is heading across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean and is expected to reduce the likelihood of hurricane formation for at least a week. The reason is not just the presence of the dust, but the atmospheric conditions that generated the plume. The air will be dry and there will be considerable vertical shear, both conditions that will inhibit tropical storm development.