The Great Southern Route : 2008 - 2009
GSR | 015 THIS ARTICLE WILL discuss in detail the general weather patterns across the Red Sea, northern, and southeastern Indian Ocean for the entire year. The best times for transiting will be summarized in order to provide the smoothest voyage possible (or if actions need to be taken during the more unfavorable seasons). THE RED SEA. The weather conditions across the Red Sea, as well as the northern Indian Ocean as we will later discuss, alter significantly between the winter and summer months. From late November through March, strong cold fronts track into and across the far Northern Red Sea approximately every 3 days. Behind these cold fronts, cold air funnels through the Gulf of Suez southward to approximately 18N as a ridge of high pressure builds across northeastern Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. As a result, enhanced north-northwest winds surge across the Gulf of Suez and the northern Red Sea of approximately Beaufort Force 5-7 and swells will build up to 8-12ft (see Figure 1A). Behind exceptionally strong cold fronts, winds will increase up to sustained gale force (Beaufort Force 8-9) particularly near the Gulf of Suez and swells will build up to 10-15ft. During April and May, and again in September through early November, the cold fronts become weaker and only track as far south as the extreme northern Red Sea about every 4-5 days. The ridge of high pressure that builds over the eastern Mediterranean is also weaker during the spring and autumn, therefore the arctic air that usually funnels through the northern Red Sea in the winter is moderated. Hence, the north-northwest wind surges occur less often and are weaker. From May through early October a thermal trough of low pressure generally develops from northern Sudan northeastward to the central Arabian Peninsula. This weather feature changes little in strength but does fluctuate its orientation during the summer. For instance, if the thermal trough is across the central Arabian Peninsula and a ridge of high pressure builds over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, then northwest winds will become enhanced from the Gulf of Suez southward to approximately 20N. These winds are generally in the range of Beaufort Force 4-6 (highest near the Gulf of Suez and lowest near 20N) and swells build to 6-10ft across this region. When the thermal trough shifts farther west over the Red Sea, then the northwest winds north of 15N ease and become variable of Beaufort Force 4 or less (see Figure 1B).
2010 - 2011