The Intersection

When Storms Commit Suicide

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Something very interesting has happened to Cyclone Gamede in the South Indian basin over the past day or so. Due to “competing steering influences” (as the Joint Typhoon Warning Center puts it), the storm hasn’t moved much. Instead, it has remained perched off the coast of Madagascar, its rainbands repeatedly lashing that island as well as the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and Reunion, as you can see from the NASA image above.

Meanwhile, as Gamede has continually churned over the same stretch of ocean, it has also weakened. Why? Because the storm created huge waves that, in turn, mixed the ocean and so drew up more and more cool water from below. This cooler water, in turn, sapped the storm’s strength, notes JTWC:

RECENT ANIMATED ENHANCED INFRARED IMAGERY INDICATES THAT TC 15S HAS LOST THE MAJORITY OF ITS OF DEEP CONVECTION AROUND THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER (LLCC). THE DECREASE IN CONVECTION CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO A LOCAL DECREASE IN SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES UNDER THE CYCLONE DUE TO INCREASED UPWELLING AND MIXING DURING THE PERIOD WHEN THE STORM WAS QUASI-STATIONARY.

In short, Gamede was sitting over the ocean slowly killing itself. However, the storm is now moving south, and is expected to re-intensify somewhat…

Comments

  1. #1 John L. McCormick
    February 27, 2007

    Chris, where do you find the time to provide such a broad serving of issues, topics and good information–I am referring to your coveage of the tropical cyclone seasons. Thank you for reminding US it is not all about the Gulf Coast.

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