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North Atlantic wind shear refers to the variation in wind speed and direction with height in the atmosphere over the North Atlantic Ocean. Wind shear plays a significant role in the development and intensity of tropical storms, including hurricanes.

Tropical storms rely on warm ocean waters and a favorable atmospheric environment to strengthen and maintain their structure. Wind shear can either enhance or hinder tropical storm development, depending on its magnitude and vertical distribution.

In regions where wind shear is low, meaning there is little change in wind speed or direction with height, tropical storms tend to thrive. Low wind shear allows the storm's circulation to remain vertically aligned, enabling the storm to develop a well-defined and symmetric structure. With little interference from the surrounding environment, the storm can intensify and organize more efficiently.

Conversely, high wind shear disrupts the structure of tropical storms. Strong vertical wind shear can tilt and distort the storm, causing the low-level circulation to become separated from the upper-level convection. This disconnection hampers the storm's ability to maintain its strength or undergo further intensification. In extreme cases, high wind shear can even completely dissipate a tropical storm, preventing it from developing into a hurricane.

Image source: CIMSS Tropical Cyclones Group).

Current Wind Shear (Click Image to Enlarge)

Wind Shear Tendency in the past 24 Hours (Click Image to Enlarge)

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