Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Tornado Watch – Much of Florida

08 AM 11-30-08
11:08 AM 11-30-08

THERE IS A TORNADO WATCH FOR MOST OF THE NORTH HALF OF FLORIDA AND PARTS OF GEORGIA NEIGHBORING FLORIDA.  THE “ENDING TIME” OF THE WATCH VARIES WITH LOCATION.  PLEASE CHECK YOUR LOCAL WEATHER FOR DETAILS.

THIS IS TIME-SENSITIVE,

HAVING BEEN POSTED AT APPROXIMATELY 10 A.M. EST NOVEMBER 30, 2008 – WHICH IS, INCIDENTALLY, THE LAST DAY OF THE OFFICIAL 2008 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON.

For an update of the radar image above, click on the following link:

http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/southeast.php

A HINT OF ADIABATICS – IT’S A GAS!

LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Friday, 11-21-2008

Several years ago this bag of corn chips was purchased somewhere in Southern California.  Shortly afterwards one of my two former students hiking the Mt. Whitney trail with me pulled it out of his backpack when we were taking a break at the 11,395′ benchmark near Consultation Lake.  Adam and Carl were game hikers and a joy to be with.  I’ve lost track of Adam but Carl (Opper) is an earth science professor at St. Petersburg College.  He makes me proud.

I must admit that right now I have a problem with this image:

IT ACCURATELY DEPICTS

HOW MY ABDOMEN FEELS THIS EVENING!

That strange statement will be explained in a moment.

Of course the reason why the bag is near bursting is because the atmospheric pressure upon it is so much less than it was where it was packaged and sealed.  The image also illustrates that when air rises, it expands.  Interestingly, the “heat” within the air inside the bag is spread out over a greater volume due to the expansion.  Therefore, were it measured, one would find the temperature of the air at any point inside the bag to be colder than it was at the beginning of the hike.  But, the amount of heat inside the bag would be essentially the same as at the beginning of the hike, except for the small amount lost due to radiation cooling of the bag’s surface.

Did you catch that?  When air rises and expands the temperature changes but the amount of heat remains essentially the same.  I was reminded many times during my years of teaching that many people do not discriminate between the word, heat and the word, temperature.  The fact is, they do not mean the same thing.  For example, it takes a lot more heat to increase a gallon of room temperature water up to boiling than to increase a quart of room temperature water up to boiling – though the temperatures of each once the heating was accomplished would be the same at boiling.

When unsaturated air rises, its temperature drops at a rate of about 1degree C. per 100 meters of ascent!  When saturated air rises its temperature drops at a rate of about 0.6 degrees C. per 100 meters.  The reduction (retardation) is due to the fact that when saturated air is rising and being further cooled by expansion – condensation occurs which releases heat; the heat released slows down the rate of expansion cooling.

This is the crux of adiabatic cooling, a subject which will come up sooner or later at this site (as well as adiabatic heating).  NOW: Back to the strange comment about my abdomen.

Even before we returned to our Florida home from our month-long stay at our mountain cabin I knew that something inside my lower abdomen was not quite right.  After getting back to Florida I investigated on-line and correctly reached the conclusion that I had a hernia.  The surgeon found a second one when he examined me.  I had surgery that took a little over two hours early in the afternoon on Monday.  The surgeon found a third hernia while he was in there looking around with his magic wand, the laparoscope.

All went well.  The surgery was done on an out-patient basis.  That’s not a complaint.  Once my head hit the pillow at home I felt very tired but I was not sleepy!  I was so relieved that I jabbered off and on all night long.  My poor wife!  Perhaps the medication played a role in that.

The surgery is the main reason for my inactivity on line – that plus the fact that there is no tropical weather going on right now, being near the end of the official season.  I’ve read that it’s over but my feeling always at this time of year is, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!” spoken first (I think) by the great living sage, Yogi Berra.  Out-of- season storms have occurred though such events are relatively rare.  Here are two examples:

1) Hurricane Alice formed at 1 A.M. EST December 30, 1954 and continued as a hurricane into January 6, 1955.  Here’s a plot.

http://www.stormpulse.com/hurricane-alice-1954

2) A hurricane formed on March 6, 1908.  It is called both “The March, 1908 Hurricane” and “1908 Hurricane #1.”  Here’s a plot.

http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1908/1/track.gif

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Link to Prognostic Loop for North America

wisconsinexamplestill
LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

THE IMAGE ABOVE IS NOT CURRENT!

FOR AN UP-TO-DATE LOOPED VERSION CLICK ON

THE LINK AT THE END OF THIS POST.

Old retired guys like me, who learned our meteorology initially during a time of hand-plotted synoptic maps, the absence of the data provided by satellites, the absence of personal computers and the Internet – when bulky weather thermo-fax machines were considered a high-tech way to communicate and telephones were still dial models find today’s technology fascinating, miraculous, and extremely exciting.  Most of us feel so very lucky to be able to glimpse at these new marvels.  Many of us fantasize about how great it would have been to be able to do our work with such tools.  A few of us, (like myself) are lucky enough to be able to continue teaching (albeit on a small scale) using much of the information that is now easily accessible on line.  In my case I am able to project on line images on a big screen in the classroom.  I will never cease to be amazed by it.

Whenever I watch a water vapor loop I pause for a moment and marvel over how I am able to do something that at one time I never dreamed would be possible.  I can actually watch images of the very recent movement of air using a marker that is invisible to the naked eye, the water vapor molecule!

The willingness of computer-savvy weather enthusiasts to share what they do and what they learn gives me hope for the future.  I love this freedom that we have and the ease with which we can communicate.

On that note, here’s a little sharing from me of a page I enjoy.  It is a 72 hour weather forecast graphic LOOP from the University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Science.  It shows the plots for surface pressure (msl) and 500 millibars as well as an interesting precipitation forecast.  Enjoy.

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?eta_pcpn_slp_thkn+///6

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HURRICANE SEASON BUSY IN CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND BAHAMAS

LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE
TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS TO ENLARGE

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc100?OpenForm

Immediately above you will find a link to ReliefWeb, from which this graphic was derived.  This gives you an idea of what the Caribbean and Bahamian islands have had to deal with this season.

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Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies! GOES 12 Image.

Never in my wildest dreams during my 41 years of teaching college/university meteorology did I ever think that I would be able to sit in my recliner at home (or anywhere else for that matter) with a personal computer on my lap allowing me to gaze at color images of our beautiful earth from near space in nearly real time!  Nor did I ever imagine being able to electronically transfer that image to a web-log for hundreds of interested (and interesting) people who visit the site.

The only thing about all of this that disappoints me is my not having been able to do similar things in the classroom for the nearly 25,000 students who took my courses.  I feel very fortunate, however, to have a wonderful following of Senior Institute participants at Central Florida Community College in Ocala.  In the classroom where I meet with them I am able to project on-line images on a large screen.  That they seem to enjoy my use of the technology in the classroom is icing on the cake.  I know how lucky I am to be able to continue after retirement, teaching and learning more and more about subjects I love.

Please take a look at this beautiful image.  Enlarge it as much as you are able.  I suggest right-clicking on the image and saving it so that you can study it using an image viewer of your choice; do that, ONLY after getting the image as large as you are able following the instructions immediately below.

TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU

A VERY LARGE IMAGE WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO SEE

DETAIL MUCH BETTER SO LONG AS YOU SCROLL

UP AND DOWN, RIGHT AND LEFT.

PLEASE BE PATIENT.

DEPENDING UPON YOUR CONNECTION SPEED,

LOADING MAY TAKE A WHILE.

11-10-2008-345p-est

This image was completed at 3:45 PM EST, November 10, 2008; the time stamp is at the upper left corner but is easy to read only when you enlarge.  The satellite that did this, GOES 12, is in geosynchronous orbit.  This simply means that it completes one orbit (revolution) in the same period of time the earth makes one rotation; that period of time is one day.  Also, it orbits within the equatorial plane.  Therefore, as the satellite travels rapidly though space it stays over the same point above earth (about 22,300 miles from the earth’s surface).  The distance between the satellite and earth’s surface is almost three earth diameters – so “high” that full disk images of earth can be captured.

With adequate enlargement you can see the aqua-blue of the shallow Bahama Platform.  You can also see ice and snow in the Southern Andes, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic peninsula.  You can see the remnant of what was once hurricane Paloma centered slightly north of Cuba.  You can see the bright tops of high clouds and the grey tones of the lower clouds.  If you know weather circulation patterns as marked by clouds you will see cyclonic circulation in both hemispheres.  In the North Pacific there is a very large cyclonic system approaching B.C. Washington, and Oregon.  There is a huge front stretching across the South Pacific.  The Intertropical Convergence Zone is very well marked by clouds in the Pacific.  There is a large extratropical cyclone over the Middle United States. The list goes on and on.

Being able to see all of this, to my mind, is a miracle.

Yours Truly,

Tonie Ansel Toney

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AS A STORM, PALOMA IS A “GONER” – THANK GOODNESS!

11-10-08-floater

I have placed a red dot at the approximate center of the remnant low, all that remains of Paloma.  Two independent left clicks should give ample enlargement.

Here is the 7 AM EST report

from the National Hurricane Center:

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL

TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

700 AM EST MON NOV 10 2008

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…

1. A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE…THE REMNANT OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION PALOMA…IS CENTERED ALONG THE NORTH COAST OF CUBA ABOUT 60 MILES NORTH OF CAMAGUEY.  RE-DEVELOPENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT EXPECTED DUE TO STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS.

ELSEWHERE…TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$

FORECASTER FRANKLIN

Paloma, Still Centered Over Cuba, Is Now a Tropical Storm

11-9-08-navy-hr

The image you see above shows Paloma at 2:15 EST today (Sunday, 11-9-2008).  It’s maximum sustained wind velocity was 60 mph at 10 AM but likely to be less now.  It may become a remnant low very soon.

FOR A MUCH ENLARGED VIEW, TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD WORK FOR YOU.

This is a high resolution visible image from the Naval Research Lab.  In spite of the fact that this photo was completed early in the afternoon, the low sun angle for this time of year provides a good view of the cumuliform cloud tops over the Bahamas; this is because the shadows the cloud tops cast give us a better view of their respective shapes.  Incidentally, the lowest sun angle for any given daylight hour for those of us in the “Lower 49” occurs on the first day of Winter, which is also the day with the shortest length of daylight (Winter Solstice).  It is necessary for me to exclude Alaska in that statement because there are parts of that state which, during the Winter, experience days with no daylight.

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CAMAQUEY, CUBA RADAR OF PALOMA – SATURDAY EVENING

The image loop below is from Camaquey, Cuba

radar covering from 6:45 to 7:45 PM EST 11-8-2008.

Please left click on the image for 15 minute interval animation.


SORRY - THIS WILL NOT ENLARGE

Paloma Approaches Cuba As a Category 4 Hurricane

11-8-08-5-day
TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS TO ENLARGE IMAGE

As of 1:00 PM EST Paloma remained a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds up to 140 mph.  The storm is not likely to get stronger due to an increase in the wind shear aloft.  It expected to begin dying down soon (if not already) as it works it’s way over Cuba and into the Bahamas.  The combination of shear and movement over Cuba should cause it to weaken relatively quickly.

This advisory is interesting in that we do not see “cones of uncertainty” but rather, circles.  You won’t see this often.

Paloma is very strong for a November storm.  I can only recall one that was stronger, “Wrong Way” Lenny in 1999.

According to Dr. Jeff Masters (and I quote) “This year is now the only hurricane season on record in the Atlantic that has featured major hurricanes in five separate months. The only year to feature major hurricanes in four separate months was 2005, and many years have had major hurricanes in three separate months. This year’s record-setting fivesome were Hurricane Bertha in July, Hurricane Gustav in August, Hurricane Ike in September, Hurricane Omar in October, and Hurricane Paloma in November.”

The image below is using the visible spectrum and was completed at 1:45 PM EST. TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU CONSIDERABLE ENLARGEMENT.

11-8-08-paloma-145-p-est

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HURRICANE PALOMA IS HEADING FOR CUBA

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

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ALMOST ALL POSTS IN THIS WEB-LOG ARE TIME-SENSITIVE.

Paloma is now a “high-end” category 1 hurricane and continues to strengthen.  The greatest concerns throughout the Caymans are high winds – storm surge concerns are not as pressing.  Jamaica is expected to get only fringe winds.  Paloma is expected to continue toward the northeast, travel across Cuba and into the Bahamas.

Those of you who have studied the circulation of air with tropical cyclonic systems can probably “see” in the satellite image above both inflow and outflow cloud patterns.  For those who are not familiar with the difference between the two I am including an image below of hurricane Ike on September 9, 2008.  He is centered just offshore of northwest Cuba.  I have drawn air flow arrows to show the cyclonic inflow (red) and the flow that occurs aloft, anticyclonic outflow (blue).

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THE IMAGE

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THE IMAGE

Inflow consists of the harder-edged clouds with sharp contrast – Outflow consists of the more diffuse cirrus and cirrostratus of the upper layer.