While We’re On the Subject of Hurricanes….

Colin Price at Tel Aviv University and colleagues have a paper in GRL looking at lightning storms in East Africa as precursors for the easterly waves that are precursors of Atlantic hurricanes:

More than 90% of the tropical storms and hurricanes during these 2 years were preceded by periods of above average thunderstorm activity in eastern Africa. During the 2006 season not only was the east African lightning activity 23% lower than during 2005, but there was 36% less lightning activity over the entire African continent during 2006. We suggest the possibility that lightning activity in tropical Africa may represent an important precursor of Atlantic hurricane formation.

One Comment

  1. An interesting hypothesis, but based as it is on only a single year, it might just be coincidence.

    It would be interesting to see if other active hurricane seasons were preceded by similar thunderstorm activity in east Africa — and to see if there might be an equivalent thing going on somewhere in the pacific.

    Also, where most of the Atlantic hurricanes started in 2005 may be highly relevant in this case.

    Most Atlantic hurricanes initiate off the coast of tropical west africa ,so one might expect there to be a connection between weather in west Africa and hurricanes. But then again, in southern Africa, E and west may be close enough together so that weather in one region impacts weather in the other.

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