Latest Gulf of Mexico Sea Surface Temperatures

The Caribbean is above average over a broad area (though not by much) with the colder anomaly confined to the Gulf Coast. I wonder if we're just seeing some upwelling due to the offshore flow.



I've actually been meaning to do a post about this for the last month.

What I would like to know is whether there is an established historical correlation between (GoM) SST anomalies and tornadic activity.

Who knows the answer to this?

Bob... good question... I would say that there would be a minor indirect relation, perhaps. Warmer SSTs usually mean more evaporation. This means greater low-level moisture which can be advected into an area. All other things being equal (well, shear, mesoscale environment), an area characterized by 75/68 would have greater tornado potential (again, the mid-upper levels being the same) than 80/55, attributing to both instability and LCLs. I think that above-avg SSTs could mean more than usually low-level moisture. I would think this would mean an earlier start to the season. HOWEVER, as we all know, this seems to depend more upon the upper/mid level pattern (western US trough? consistent polar instrusions? etc) than much else. That being said, if we had 65 tds up here tomorrow, we'd likely be looking at a good chase day...

Here's an informal article by SPC's Rich Thompson, which also has some good references:

These techniques seem to work best in the "cold season", when vegetation is dormant. When the "warm season" rolls around, the gulf contact layer is usually in equilibrium and there is also evapotranspiration to figure into the mix.