The reason why Hurricane Ophelia is such a weird storm

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Monday 16 October 2017 15:15
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Picture:(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire )

Not only is Hurricane Ophelia a storm which appears to respect international boundaries, but it's also odd for another reason.

It feels as though there has been an endless run of hurricanes, and that's because there sort of has been.

Hurricane Ophelia is the 10th consecutive Atlantic hurricane, a pattern which was inaugurated with Hurricane Franklin in mid August.

According to meteorologist Philip Klotbach, the last time there was such a chain of occurred in 1893.

Yet the oddest part of Hurricane Ophelia is where she developed, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

In normal circumstances, warm water from the ocean rises, and is replaced by cold air, and resulting, rising condensation causes huge storm clouds to form.

The warm water factor common to most hurricanes means they usually begin over tropical areas, which the Atlantic Ocean is not.

When they do develop, it's rare one survives long enough to make landfall. Ophelia formed in a place in the Atlantic where hurricanes usually end their life span.

Moreover, most Hurricanes then head towards the American continents, North and South, rather than off towards Europe as Hurricane Ophelia has done.

According to Popular Science, Ophelia formed because of a 'persistent low-pressure' system and then slowly developed tropical characteristics.

This was only possible due to a favourable environment, and the development into a tropical cyclone took place at slower pace than happens in warmer waters.

Although the storm is unprecedented in the British Isles, it is not a record breaking category one hurricane like the recent ones to ravage the Caribbean and south eastern United States.

So why did it form in this weird place? Popular Science suggests that the extreme difference in temperature between the ice cold upper and tepid lower atmosphere have made up for the lack of warm water below.

HT Popular Science

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