Bombogenesis

Bombogenesis is a delightfully fun word to say, but is substantially less fun to experience. This evocative word marks a sudden intensification of a storm after a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, and an all-too-common phenomena this winter.

The NOAA image is average global wind speeds in January and February of this year. White is the historic average wind-speed for the past 30 years. Blue is winds faster than that (up to 12 miles per hour above average), and brown is winds slow (down to 12 miles per hour below average).

Bombogenesis

In January and February, we had 20 unique hurricane-force wind events. Of those, 14 triggered a bombogenesis event, dropping at least 24 millibars of pressure over 24 hours and dramatically intensifying the cyclone.

Compared to the average, the North Atlantic is having a more severe storm season than usual with higher-than-average wind speeds, disrupting the major shipping corridor. Slower-than-average winds in the Northeast Pacific have kept storms at bay, feeding California's drought.

Image credit: NOAA