General Satellite-derived Ocean/Atmospheric Conditions (v2.0)

We present here three ocean parameters and one atmospheric condition that may impact Tropical Cyclone (TC) intensity changes where:

  • Sea surface temperature (SST) is larger than 26°C the average sea surface temperature for hurricane genesis and to maintain hurricane strength winds;
  • Values of Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP, or upper ocean heat content), are above 50 kJ/cm2, which are areas where temperatures above 26°C reach at least 50 m deep;
  • The Sea Surface Salinity (SSS), mostly originating from riverine outflows, have values lower than 35 psu, representative of barrier layers that are warm upper ocean waters of very low density.
  • Values of Aerosol Optical Depth at 550 nm (AOD) are greater than 0.1, representative of the Saharan Air Layer.

The ocean properties presented here have been associated with hurricane intensification: when the three water properties (SST > 26°C, SSS < 35 psu, and TCHP > 50 kJ/cm2) overlap, they represent ocean conditions that may conduct to hurricane intensification. The atmospheric property in the map shows high values of AOD that are characteristic of dry and warm atmospheric conditions with strong winds that have been shown to suppress tropical cyclone formation and intensification.

The latest Ocean/Atmospheric Conditions are available here as a pdf. These maps are intended for research purposes only. Please direct your questions to or