Sunday, November 8, 2015

Deja Vu All Over Again: Another Cyclone in Arabian Sea Threatens Yemen

Cyclone Chapala last week, left, and Cyclone Megh, now, right
seem like identical twins in the Arabian Sea.  
Last week, we talked about rare Cyclone Chapala, which became the first tropical storm of hurricane strength to strike the coast of Yemen.

As expected, Chapala caused a huge disaster, mostly through flooding. Yemen is normally arid, and Chapala dropped the same amount of rain in a couple days as normally falls there over several years.

Another cyclone in Arabian Sea, named Megh has developed, believe it or not, And it's threatening Yemen, This is EXTREMELY weird.

You do get the occasional cyclone (hurricanes as we call them in the good ole US of A) in the Arabian Sea, but not often. And they tend not to threaten to make landfall with any degree of huge strength.

But this year is different. This new cyclone, named Megh, if it indeed makes it to Yemen, might not be a full strength hurricane, but it will cause havoc by bringing lots more rain to a desert region already strangely saturated by the previous Cyclone Chapala.

About 50,000 people were displaced by Chapala in Yemen, and another 18,000 on the offshore island of Socotra, says Al Jazeera. 

Socotra was being battered again Sunday by this new Cyclone Megh as it travels towards Yemen, so things will only get worse.

Chapala and Megh were encouraged to develop by record high water temperatures in the Arabian Sea. Tropical cyclones are more likely to thrive the warmer the water gets.

A number of other factors are probably also contributing to the twin Arabian Sea cyclones, including global weather pattern called the Madden Julian Oscillation, which is an area of moisture and instability that often slowly circles the equatorial globe. When the MJO is in certain locations, it can encourage tropical storm development.

My guess is global warming contributed, but is not the only reason for the high Arabian Sea temperatures that contributed to the double cyclone disaster. Plus, there was just some bad luck involving weather conditions that favored tropical storm development.

As is the usual case, global warming could well be making what would have been a bad situation in Yemen worse.

1 comment:

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