Archive for the ‘Gulf of Mexico’ Tag

BONNIE APPEARS TO BE GULF OF MEXICO BOUND!

Those in or near South Florida including the Keys, in the Gulf of Mexico and on its shores should keep a very close watch on this weather system.  Of course the tragic oil pollution disaster will likely be rendered even more problematic by what appears to be on the way.

If you have been in the habit of examining forecast cones of uncertainty from the National Weather Service – this might look a little different to you this year.  There has been quite a debate over the straight black lines that heretofore have run through the cones, connecting the dots where the storms are projected to travel.   Notice, on this map, such a line does not appear.  Many meteorologists, myself included, believe that the lines have too often been mistaken as landfall predictions and that it has caused some people on the outer margins of the cones to have a false sense of security about where the storms might go.  My guess is that some (television, websites, web-logs) will choose to stick with the old style of depictions and others will prefer to leave that center line out.  I fall into the latter category.

Conditions have changed aloft such that wind shear has been reduced.  This favors intensification of the system.  Also, when air is heated from below, particularly if by warm water with high evaporation rates, intensification is favored.  This could happen as the system moves over elements of the Loop Current of the Gulf of Mexico.  What follows is a time sensitive forecast depiction of the Loop.

Courtesy National Centers for Environmental Prediction

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Hurricanes and the Gulf Oil Slick

*Note about the illustration (above) at the end of this posting.

The effect of a hurricane (or hurricanes) upon the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has countless people concerned. Also, some have wondered how the oil might effect a hurricane. NOAA addresses both topics in the following recent publication (PDF format) answering the following questions:

What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf?

What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?

Here is a link to the PDF file from NOAA.

hurricane fact sheet_Layout 1

Initially, I had planned to write on the subject myself, sharing my “notions” about interrelationships between the spill and hurricanes. However, I recently read the splendid treatment on the subject by Dr. Jeff Masters and it was clear to me that I’d simply be repeating, in one way or another, much of what he had written – and doubtfully as comprehensively. Rather than walk that thin line between “being a bystander who conveys the ideas of another” and “plagarism”, I’ll simply link you to his recent work published in the WeatherUnderground website. It is in two parts:

What would a hurricane do to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1492

How oil might affect a hurricane .

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1476


More links:


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127036434

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/hurricane-history-oil-slick_2010-06-02

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-change/stories/hurricane-season-combined-with-gulf-oil-spill-could-wreak-havoc

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/31/hurricane-gulf-oil-spill_n_595069.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0601/BP-oil-spill-could-make-Gulf-hurricane-season-devastating


*With apologies to Katsushika Hokusai and the gigantic number of people who admire his work – I took the liberty to be creative late this afternoon with his most famous work, The Great Wave off KanagawaThough this does not depict the Gulf of Mexico near whose shores Fuji would most certainly appear out of place, it seems fitting that such a strange and wild fantasy scenario is no less shocking than what has really happened in the Gulf of Mexico.  As I was painting the dark gray matter upon the modern water I was thinking “oil.”  But if you interpreted it to be floating pumice ash or something akin to that – it makes our present situation even more sad because at least a volcanic eruption is a natural event.

In my opinion this ongoing oil spill was triggered by mans’ stupidity, laziness, greed, incompetence, and failure to seriously address our need for clean and relatively safe sources of energy.  I feel strongly that we should have addressed the crisis years ago, at least by the mid-70’s, with as much vigor and determination as we addressed the attack upon Pearl Harbor.  I feel that we should focus upon geothermal energy as our principle source – utilizing heat beneath us to flash water into steam to turn turbines connected to generators making electricity.  We could then use much of that electricity to disassociate water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Hydrogen should be our fuel used to propel us from place to place.  It burns cleanly and it does not pollute.  Hot rock is everywhere beneath us – close in some places and deeper in others.  Our oil drillers would have plenty of work to keep them busy.  Try a search of “geothermal energy” and see what you find.

HURRICANE SEASON 2010 IS HERE!

MOST IMAGES IN THIS WEBLOG REACH FULL ENLARGEMENT

AFTER TWO LEFT CLICKS OF THE MOUSE/MOUSEPAD

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Today, June 1, 2010, marks the official beginning of the northern hemisphere’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. The season is 6 months long, ending at the end of November 30. However, hurricanes can occur outside that officially designated season.

I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the 11 workers who died in the April 20 oil drilling rig explosion and hope for a quick recovery for those 17 who were injured.  Sadly, before this is “over” there are likely to be even more casualties.

You have probably been hearing and reading a lot lately about the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current due to the resultant, catastrophic, ongoing crude oil discharge from the sea floor into the Gulf’s waters. The Loop has been described as a potential transporter of much of that oil around the Florida Keys and on up the East Coast of the United States (and even potentially further). The Loop is but a segment of the huge North Atlantic Gyre (sometimes called the Gulf-stream Gyre) and is an essential element in the process whereby heat energy is exchanged between the low latitudes and the higher latitudes. Without it, our climates would be far more severe on both ends of the thermal spectrum.

So – though I wish to emphasize that the Loop in-of-itself is not a bad thing, it has recently been portrayed that way because of its potential to spread the hazardous oil far beyond its source. Furthermore, when it comes to hurricanes, there have been clear examples of hurricane intensification while moving over the Loop. Recent examples are hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both in 2005. Katrina’s movement over the Loop is graphically illustrated above.

If you wish to read a bit more about hurricane intensification from warm water surfaces go to the following link from 2008 in which I am discussing hurricane Gustav.

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/gulf-temperatures-are-very-important-now/

I doubt it’s news to you that this season is predicted to be more active than usual. I won’t add to the myriad words on this subject already made available on-line within the last few days but here is a link to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration page (NOAA) if you want some detail:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100527_hurricaneoutlook.html

It is my great hope that your life is not complicated or endangered by a hurricane or hurricane’s this year or any other year. If you do live in “hurricane territory” I beg you to address preparation now if you have not already. I hope that you have not “caught” the disorder that seems to be epidemic these days, “terminal uniqueness.” Please know – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.” Please don’t become a victim because of that misconception. It’s important to realize that if you do have storm problems – assistance is not likely to be quickly and/or efficiently available. You might have to fend for yourself for quite some time. It is not smart to expect “quick response teams” to rush to your aid. If a strong hurricane visits your area it is likely to be a devastating event if you are not prepared. I’ll tell you this: From my experience with hurricane Andrew (1992), it’s tough enough when you are prepared.

Ida – Some Model Plots released tonight – 11-9-09

Here are some model forecasts for Ida (release time 10 PM EST.  Left click the image to enlarge.

Ida11-9-09-WU2

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Ida Is Weakening As Predicted – 11-9-09

The visible satellite image below is from 10:15 AM Eastern Time.  Wind shear has increased over Ida and it has moved off the warm Loop Current.  Dry air has been drawn in and has significantly disrupted the storms symmetry.  Water temperatures under her are barely enough to support a hurricane.  My source expects 50 to 60 mph winds when she makes landfall.  My advice is to consult the Weather Channel on television and/or your favorite on-line sources.

Currently, 19 ft. waves are being formed by the storm’s winds.  After watching a satellite loop showing the storms movement, I placed a blue dot as my approximation of the center.

Ida11-9-09-1015aEST

Some of the information on this site is published close to “real-time”  particularly as it applies to tropical weather.  But it is important to remember that the only “official” source of information is the National Hurricane Center. Decisions concerning life or death, property, and such should not be made based solely on the information found on this site or any other sites that are recommended here. unless they are official. Listen to your local authorities when conditions are life-threatening or there is possible loss of property.


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IDA FORECAST – 11-8-09

Some of the information on this site is published close to “real-time”  particularly as it applies to tropical weather.  But it is important to remember that the only “official” source of information is the National Hurricane Center. Decisions concerning life or death, property, and such should not be made based solely on the information found on this site or any other sites that are recommended here. unless they are official. Listen to your local authorities when conditions are life-threatening or there is possible loss of property.


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THE ENTIRE FIRST PARAGRAPH THAT FOLLOWS  IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM DR. JEFF MASTERS (PICTURED BELOW) THAT WAS CUT AND PASTED FROM HIS WEATHER UNDERGROUND SITE; DR. MASTERS IS MY MOST RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE SOURCE WHEN IT COMES TO TROPICAL WEATHER; HE IS A DEDICATED ‘WINNER:”  ONE REASON WHY I DEPEND SO HEAVILY UPON HIS WORK IS THAT HE IS NOT OPERATING UNDER THE CONSTRAINTS OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTER BUT HE BENEFITS FROM THEIR INTERPRETATIONS AS WELL AS FROM OTHER NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RESOURCES.  HE IS DEDICATED, “UP FRONT,” AND RESPONSIBLE.

bio_jeffm
Dr. Jeff Masters

The forecast for Ida


Posted: 10:21 AM EST on November 08, 2009


“The high wind shear of 20 – 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. Some slow intensification is still possible while Ida remains over the exceptionally warm water of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico, through tonight (Figure 2). Late tonight, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. With shear still expected to be at 20 -25 knots, I expect weakening to begin early Monday morning and accelerate on Monday afternoon. At that time, Ida will encounter 40 knots of wind shear associated with a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico, and begin transitioning to an extratropical storm. Exactly how strong Ida will be when it reaches the coast early Tuesday morning–and indeed if Ida even does reach the coast–is a forecast with high uncertainty. The computer models have a tough time forecasting the evolution of a tropical cyclone into an extratropical cyclone, and the models are all over the place on what will happen. Most of the models foresee a landfall near 1 am EST Tuesday between Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida, then a path northeastward over the Southeast U.S. However, Ida could come to halt before reaching the coast and turn west towards Tampa (the UKMET model’s forecast), or turn south back over the Gulf of Mexico (the NOGAPS model’s forecast). In any case, storm surge and heavy rain appear to be the main hazards from Ida. The GFDL model (Figure 3) is forecasting rain amounts of 4 – 8 inches for a large swath of the Gulf Coast, and there is a risk of tornadoes if the warm air from the core of Ida pushes ashore.”  END QUOTE

From my point of view, (this is Cloudman23 writing) everyone on the Gulf Coast  from Mississippi to Key West should have a “heads up” mindset while Ida is out there.  As Dr. Masters said, the computer models have a difficult time when the tropical to extratropical metamorphoses takes place.  Furthermore, the chance of tornadoes (mentioned by Dr. Masters) in association with warm, moist air from Ida and its inherent instability in such situations, this storm should not be taken lightly.

11-8-09 Ida 3pEST

Ida’s Current Model Forecasts – 11-7-09

The total amount of thermal energy at the surface in the Western Caribbean is high and wind shear aloft is relative low so it is anticipated that Ida will intensify before striking the Yucatan Peninsula.  The Yucatan does not have the type of topography that we associate with significant weakening of a storm due to friction.  But, read what Dr. Jeff Masters says this morning about the fate of Ida after she enters the Gulf of Mexico:

“Once Ida crosses into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday night, the storm will encounter much cooler SSTs and a strong trough of low pressure that will dump cold air into the storm and bring 40 knots of wind shear. This will cause Ida to lose its tropical characteristics and become a powerful extratropical storm with 45 – 55 mph winds. It is highly unlikely that Ida will hit the U.S. as a tropical storm, but it could still bring tropical storm-force winds of 45 mph to the coast next week as an extratropical storm.”

As for me, I have been favoring the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Model (GFDL) for the path that Ida will take; currently,  if I had to depend upon only one of the many models, that would be the one – in most instances anyway.  I have no real science to back that up – only my perception based upon experience.  Call it a “gut level” good feeling about the model’s past performance if you will.  Therefore I expect Ida to eventually curve rightward as the GFDL shows in the plot below.  By the time it does I expect it will have lost its tropical characteristics though the winds will still be strong.  In other words, it will become extratropical.  TO GET INSTRUCTIONS ON OBTAINING THE GFDL ANIMATION CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK: https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/gfdl-model-a-great-source-for-an-animation/https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/gfdl-model-a-great-source-for-an-animation/

The prefix, extra, means “outside of” or “beyond.”  Extratropical cyclones are sometimes called cold core lows whereas tropical cyclones are warm core lows.  When a tropical cyclone draws in cold air (as usually happens when a front interferes with the storm) it becomes extratropical.  The majority of the world’s extratropical cyclones develop in the middle latitudes (30 degrees to 60 degrees latitude) and for that reason are often referred to as middle latitude cyclones.

Graphic courtesy of Jonathan Vigh of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

11-7-09Ida

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IDA MODEL FORECASTS – 11-6-09

Thanks to the very fine work by Jonathan Vigh of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University I am able to provide you this morning’s model forecasts for Ida.  Left click to enlarge image.

11-6-09Ida

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Gulf Coast Residents – Ida Is Worth Watching

Ida developed quickly – in fact at a record pace (see Jeff Master’s Weather Blog at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1372).

Though relatively high wind shear could prevent Ida from becoming a significant threat to the U.S. mainland it is a storm that is worth watching, partly because warm Gulf waters could nurture it.

Here is a recent forecast plot from the National Hurricane Center (left click to enlarge image):

11-5-09 ida

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Ike – Less Than 72 Hours Away From Texas?

CAUTION – THIS POST IS TIME SENSITIVE – THE TIME ESTIMATES AND GRAPHIC NO LONGER APPLY

Though the validity date stamp on late cycle spaghetti plots is not as recent as some available to you on line, it is my opinion that they provide a more accurate picture.  The following late cycle plot for Ike pretty much tells it all with regard to a Texas coast landfall.  I am inclined to place a high personal degree of confidence upon this.  However, hurricanes in the past have pulled some terrific surprises.  If you are anywhere else along the Gulf Coast, particularly other segments of the western margin of the Gulf and the western half of the northern Gulf coast – I would not let my guard down if I were you.  And, if you are, say, 50 miles inland, consider that at the nearest point, Baton Rouge is about 60 miles from the Gulf and over 100 miles from the Gulf along a line in the direction that Gustav moved.  Do a search and see what a mess they are in – right now. According to the “Advocate” newspaper today, there are still 57,775 residents without electricity.  And their winds were mainly tropical storm force though some gusts up to 91mph were reported.

If you are in harm’s way with Ike, I suggest you think in terms of evacuation.  As I understand it, evacuation directives have already been issued along some parts of the Texas coast.  Please read my September 8 post (just 2 days ago) titled “Window Protection For Hurricanes Essential.”  If it’s not on this page it will be on page 2.  At the apparent end of the post there is a place where you can click and read an account of my family’s experience in the aftermath of hurricane Andrew.  Read it and ask yourself if you want to try to ride out a big hurricane.  If you think life is stressful now – try adding the trauma of enduring the dangers of a strong hurricane and then, if you live, dealing with the high probability of post-traumatic issues.  I can think of nothing material worth trying to “protect” when a storm is in progress.  The time to protect “things” is before a storm.  It is still not too late to do some of that and then get the heck out of there.  You are far more important than any material thing.

“The Plot (below) is provided courtesy of Jonathan Vigh, Colorado State University. For more information about this graphic, click here.”

LEFT CLICK THE IMAGE TWICE FOR A LARGER VIEW


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