Staying Connected

Posted in Kwajalein, Non-US Weather, Tropical Weather, Weather News at 5:16 pm by Rebekah

Here on an island with dial-up Internet at home and no cell phone service it can be hard to feel connected with the rest of the world sometimes.

However, even in an area with some of the least interesting (but perhaps most pleasant) weather in the world, you can still find global atmospheric connections.

Yesterday Kwajalein received 4.17 inches of rain. That’s not too unusual, but it’s still a pretty rainy day. The Christmas tree lightning and ceremony had to be postponed for a couple of days.

Meanwhile, my parents in the Pacific Northwest tell me that parts of the West Coast have been receiving good amounts of rain and snow due to “atmospheric rivers”. A while back I wrote a post on rivers of moisture, specifically the Pineapple Express (transporting atmospheric moisture from the tropical Pacific to the West Coast of the US) and the Rum Runner (tropical Atlantic to the UK and western Europe).

The following map (click to enlarge; from this precipitable water loop) shows the next moisture plume headed for the West Coast (green to yellow shading), and as you can see, most of that moisture can be traced back to Hawaii and points southwest of there. Kwajalein lies at about 8N, 167E, which on this map is in the middle of an orange band of juicy atmospheric moisture. Most of our moisture comes from the east and goes towards the west as we’re in the tropics, but it’s kind of cool for me to think that the moisture from all of our rain yesterday had pretty much the same source as the moisture headed towards my family.

This MTSAT infrared satellite image shows the picture in a different way, with a band of clouds marching westward through the tropics and a band of clouds streaming northeastward from the tropics through Hawaii and on to the West Coast. This is one of many conveyor belts through the atmosphere that works to balance out an aspect of weather, in this case transferring warm, moist air from the tropics towards the poles!

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