Popocatépetl’s Big Question

While driving back from a visit to my folks house on the Western Slope yesterday I had some ample thinking time. I had dropped off Justin at his mother’s house and then Aral passed out in the back of my truck so my mind, free of all influence, started to race around.

It occurred to me somewhere near Eagle that despite the spring predictions by the National Hurricane Center there have been relatively few named storms this year. Why is that? I wondered. And as my mind wondered around I thought of a potential hypothesis.

Hurricanes form in the Atlantic when warm moist air near the equator coalesces into a cyclonic body. A lot of variables need to be in working together, right time and place, for the formation of one of these storms.

Could a little known eruption be interrupting or retarding the expected formation of these storms? Popocatepetl has been spewing a cloud of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere up-wind of the area where hurricanes form. I wonder how much of it stays aloft, how its reflectivity in the upper atmosphere affects the penetration of solar radiation hitting the surface of the Atlantic near the equator?

I realize this is all speculative, the idea is more a plot device than anything else, but its certainly an idea worth investigation.

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