Hector (cloud)

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Hector viewed from Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin looking Northwest at a distance of approximately 80km (HDR image)

Hector is the name given to a cumulonimbus, or thundercloud, that forms regularly nearly every afternoon on the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia, from approximately September to March each year.[1][2][3] Hector, or sometimes "Hector the Convector", is known as one of the world's most consistently large thunderstorms, reaching heights of approximately 20 kilometres (66,000 ft).[4]

History[edit]

Named by pilots during the Second World War, the recurring position of the thunderstorm made it a navigational beacon for pilots and mariners in the region. Hector is caused primarily by a collision of several sea breeze boundaries across the Tiwi Islands and is known for its consistency and intensity.[5] Lightning rates and updraft speeds are notable aspects of this thunderstorm and during the 1990s National Geographic Magazine published a comprehensive study of the storm with pictures of damaged trees and details of updraft speeds and references to tornadic events.

Since the late 1980s the thunderstorm has been the subject of many meteorological studies, many centered on Hector itself[4][6][7][8] but also utilising the consistency of the storm cell to study other aspects of thunderstorms and lightning.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The cloud called Hector. The Cloud Appreciation Society. Retrieved on 2010-11-30.
  2. ^ P. T. May et al. (2009). "Aerosol and thermodynamic effects on tropical cloud systems during TWPICE and ACTIVE". Atmos. Chem. Phys. 9: 15–24. doi:10.5194/acp-9-15-2009. 
  3. ^ Beringer, Jason; Tapper, Nigel J.; Keenan, Tom D. (2001). "Evolution of maritime continent thunderstorms under varying meteorological conditions over the Tiwi Islands". International Journal of Climatology 21 (8): 1021. Bibcode:2001IJCli..21.1021B. doi:10.1002/joc.622. 
  4. ^ a b Crook, N. Andrew (1 June 2001). "Understanding Hector: The Dynamics of Island Thunderstorms". Monthly Weather Review 129 (6): 1550–1563. Bibcode:2001MWRv..129.1550C. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(2001)129<1550:UHTDOI>2.0.CO;2. 
  5. ^ Beringer, Jason; Tapper, Nigel J.; Keenan, Tom D. (30 June 2001). "Evolution of maritime continent thunderstorms under varying meteorological conditions over the Tiwi Islands". International Journal of Climatology 21 (8): 1021–1036. Bibcode:2001IJCli..21.1021B. doi:10.1002/joc.622. 
  6. ^ Barker, Anne (14 November 2005). "Researchers to investigate impact of storms". The World Today (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Casben, Liv (14 February 2006). "Scientists complete storm study". PM (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "Our changing atmosphere". Planet Earth Online (Natural Environment Research Council). 23 April 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2011.