Lull in the tropics not good for the monsoon - Tucson News Now

Lull in the tropics not good for the monsoon

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To kick off July, a surge of tropical moisture pushed north into Arizona. This was helped along by a series of tropical storms and hurricanes off the west coast of Mexico. This moisture revved up monsoon action with rain totals impressive for some areas of Southeast Arizona through mid-July.

There have been six named storms since the East Pacific Hurricane Season began on May 15th. Two of those storms strengthened into hurricanes. At present there is a lull in the tropical action. This isn't unusual. Generally there are periods of activity with breaks in-between depending on what conditions in the atmosphere favors. 

 

For more favorable conditions, we look to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). This is a wave of tropical energy that originates across the globe in the Indian Ocean. This wave of energy travels eastward and across the Pacific Ocean. When it arrives off the west coast of Central and South America the tropics generally become more active. Research has shown this then increases monsoon activity in southern Arizona days to a week later. 

Below is a latest MJO forecast from computer models monitored by the Climate Prediction Center. The green is unfavorable conditions for an active tropics. We want the orange to reach the west coast of Central and South America for favorable conditions. At present, this is forecast to happen in August.

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