Garrett’s Blog: How a Typhoon in Japan is Related to Record Arkansas Lows
A little more than a week again, Typhoon Neoguri , moved near the island of Japan. Typhoons (or hurricanes as they’re called in the Atlantic and east Pacific) follow a clockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tropical cyclone systems are big movers of heat energy. They move from the equator towards the poles on the west sides of oceans with the warm water as the Earth struggles to find a balance because of uneven heating. This is why hurricanes don’t hit coastal areas like California or Europe. Typically, the water is too cold to sustain them.
It’s well-known among meteorologists that events that happen near Japan could affect the United States in around a week’s time. These are called Teleconnections; another event you might be familiar with is El Nino which also alters the global circulations.
In the Northern Hemisphere, we have the Polar and the Subtropical Jet Stream which created due to unequal heating and the effects of the Earths rotation. The speed of the Earth’s rotation affects weather patterns, you would actually weigh 1 pound less if you were standing on the equator than if you were at a higher latitude.
This NOAA image shows how the two jet streams develop and how the Polar Jet is the stronger of the two.
Large, powerful tropical systems like typhoons or hurricanes can disrupt the jet stream.
As Typhoon Neoguri followed the circulation around the high pressure in the Pacific it eventually merged with the polar jet stream
Much like swinging a jump rope, a large ripple effect moved from the west to the east with the polar jet stream. A very large ridge of high pressure developed in response to the trough of low pressure caused by the tropical low.
About a week later, that ripple made its way across North America allowing colder than normal air to spill south and it contributing to why record low temperatures are possible across Arkansas on Wednesday morning, July 16th. It won’t last for long, the ripple will continues its movement east with the mid-continent westerly winds and the heat will return around early next week.