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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

Cindy is weakening as Saharan dust pushes over the tropical Atlantic

Tropical Storm Cindy is barely hanging on. Its circulation center is well-displaced from the thunderstorm as strong upper-level rip at the system. By tomorrow, Cindy’s current lifespan as a tropical system is expected to come to an end.

The remnants might survive sufficiently intact, however, such that they can regenerate as the system moves north in the general direction of Bermuda.

Exactly when and in what form that regeneration might occur is an open question. Some computer forecasts indicate that the system will only briefly lose its circulation before developing back into a healthy tropical storm in the general vicinity of Bermuda. Other computer projections show it regenerating farther north, perhaps into a so-called subtropical storm – a hybrid of a tropical system and a storm like a nor’easter.

In either case, the regenerated storm would be called Cindy if an identifiable circulation survives the interim period before it restarts.

June across the tropical Atlantic has seen less Saharan dust than in any recent year. The lack of dust has contributed to a more conducive atmospheric environment for tropical systems to develop, and it’s also allowed stronger sunlight to heat the ocean water. Typical dust cover blanketing the tropics acts as a partial shield that absorbs some of the sun’s energy.

A large dust plume is now spreading across the ocean, however, so tropical activity should be suppressed in the Atlantic for a while.

The Pacific phenomenon, El Niño, is still coming on. And the eastern and tropical Atlantic continues to be spectacularly warm – not to mention the other oceans of the world, which collectively are the warmest ever recorded. How all these factors will play out for the balance of the hurricane season is unknowable.

But for now, things appear likely to calm down except for the question mark about a possibly regenerated Cindy heading into the North Atlantic.


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