There's nothing more seductive to a tropical meteorologist than watching the water vapor loop. It's a slow, sexy, subtle, seductive dance as the wet and dry areas mix their way across the globe in real time. Rivers of moisture, oozing this way or that as they make their way from Japan across the Pacific, through the Plains...the Great Lakes and then push off the coast of the Carolinas into the Atlantic Ocean. As the storms move into the Atlantic Ocean they come face to face with ridges and Upper Level Lows and there are more subtleties than watching a Lava Lamp over time.
Nothing is ever really stagnant even when you look at the IR Loop and you see not much going on.
A look at the wide view, on the surface would make one thing there is one large rainstorm in the Atlantic, a weak wave off of Africa and the remnants of TD7 cruising through the Caribbean.
Yet, turn on the Water Vapor Loop and you see every innuendo and mystery that is out there.
There are lots of other forecasting tools, but the Water Vapor Loop is mesmerizing and a good predictor of where the moisture is going, where it is flowing, where it is shut down and what may happen to any wave out there in the short term.
There IS an area of strong convection...also known as "big red dot" off the East Coast and it is getting the squeeze play apparent in the Water Vapor Loop and being shunted for now down to the South a bit vs moving Eastward into the Atlantic Ridge. Those areas are always fun to watch. Usually nothing happens, sometimes something does. Worth watching. Not much else to watch.
And, the area off the coast of Florida has a small purple sliver of plum pie showing the merest of possibilities that something could form there.
There is also an accumulation of convection in the Bay of Campeche over the last several hours and there is a cute large blueberry surrounded by a ring of grapes on the chart above so it's possible something could pop there.
The Cape Verde Island Wave has been swallowed up by the vacuum cleaner of the year in the Tropics... African Dust aka SAL. In fact, it's made it's way to the East coast in little clusters of dust, it even lit up the sky in Austin Texas last month with a colorful sunset.
See story links:
(has a day by day look at how the African Dust moved across Texas)
Sample: "Friday 07/20/12
The leading edge of a large African dust cloud is covering much of South Texas this morning and will likely move into Central and Southeast Texas this afternoon and evening and could raise the daily PM2.5 AQI to “Moderate” in much of this area. Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.
A large African dust cloud should cover most of the southern half of the state from Big Bend to Waco to Lufkin and should raise daily PM2.5 AQI levels to “Moderate” in most of this area. Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range. "
Again, the Tropics are always active even when there are no tropical cyclones threatening to blow some small town off the map. And, by watching the WV loop you can watch it in real time as the upper levels of the atmosphere that are filled with moisture move across the planet, mixing and dancing and rearranging the upper air currents as they come in contact with high, dry pressure.
It's an awesome dance... and even when there is nothing to track or chase or forecast...there is always the Water Vapor Loop.
Here's a loop:
Music to loop by: