Research Spotlight: Tropical cyclone formation affected by ocean color


  • Ernie Tretkoff


The color of the ocean can alter the frequency of tropical cyclones, according to a new study. The absorption of sunlight is affected by the concentration of chlorophyll, with the Sun's heat penetrating deeper in clear, low-chlorophyll waters. In the ocean gyres this heat can get carried away so that lower concentrations of chlorophyll are associated with colder surface waters. Ocean surface temperatures can affect atmospheric circulation patterns and thus the formation of cyclones and other weather patterns.