Back at the end of June, we prompted y’all to send us questions for our monthly mailbag.

Then we forgot to answer your questions. Sorry. This we noted when it came to ask for July’s mailbag questions.

We received several great inquiries for both months, and today, we are providing you with a 2-for-1 special. This is notably superior blogging to last month’s 0-for-1 special.

Breaking down the pieces of this question into layman’s terms:

  • Marine, baroclinic cyclone: Winter storm over the ocean
  • Explosive deepening: Surface low pressure center falling (i.e strengthening) at a rate of 24 mb/day. Also known as BOMBOGENESIS.
  • Self-Development: A positive feedback process where the dynamics inherent within a storm cause it to strengthen.

I’m not much of a synoptician, but there’s some great research on this published in Roebber et al (1993). Here’s an excerpt from the absract on the role of self-development.

“This antecedent vorticity growth was initiated by advection offshore of the east coast of North America of a tongue of stratospheric potential vorticity, identifiable in the conventional constant analysis as a weak short-wave trough at 500 mb. Once initiated, low-level development continued as a result of a self-development process involving an interaction between quasigeostrophic forcing of ascent and latent heat release; upon the arrival of the polar trough, rapid surface deepening ensued. The self-development process during the antecedent stage effectively lengthened the time scale of intensification, leading to greater increases in surface relative vorticity through vortex stretching. In addition, the upstream 500-mb trough was amplified during this period.”

This question stems from The Weather Channel’s usage of an eyebrow-raising headline describing the Fujiwhara effect between last week’s Eastern Pacific hurricanes Hillary and Irvin.


Rather than describing the Fujiwara effect, we feel inclined to discuss the “Hurricane Cannibalism” phrase itself. We at AtmoLife are not opposed to click-generating buzzwords. Heck, we even wrote a clickbait article about clickbait article buzzwords. The best meteorology buzzwords need to be genuine descriptors however, and with this in mind we will examine the validity of hurricane cannibalism.

Cannibalism implies that the stronger hurricane would fully consume the weaker cyclone ultimately ending with a merging of low pressure centers. What seems to be more common however, is the stronger hurricane shearing apart the weaker storm well before the eyes can meet. Perhaps a more apt albeit longwinded phrase would be HURRICANE FIDGET SPINNER DEATH MATCH.

Everyone on #wxtwitter is by now familiar with the cursing police/wx police/impersonation accounts. For those of you fortunate enough to be living under a rock, some troll has nothing better to do with their time than create what seems like dozens of twitter accounts each day just to annoy people specifically in the weather community. The trolling has evolved from egg avi accounts telling people to stop cursing to imitations of well-known meteorologists on twitter. People have reacted with varying levels of annoyance and anger. Most folks just take a few seconds to block the accounts as they arise and not make deal of it. Other people however, choose to feed the troll, which is a huge internet no-no, by making a huge fuss over the trolling thereby validating the troll’s purpose.

At AtmoLife, we ourselves have recently fallen into this latter category, as we are OUTRAGED by the impersonation accounts. Why the hell have we not been impersonated yet? We’re an important twitter account in the weather community, DAMMIT. This troll is handing out free tickets aboard the blue-check express to verificationland, and we want ours.