Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for February 19th, 2010

On the Lookout for Atmospheric Blocking

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Climate Info Public release  by University of Missouri-Columbia

Warmer planet temperatures could cause longer-lasting weather patterns

MU researchers are studying whether high levels of carbon dioxide and higher global temperatures could lead to more frequent atmospheric blocking

Whether it’s never-ending heat waves or winter storms, atmospheric blocking can have a significant impact on local agriculture, business and the environment. Although these stagnant weather patterns are often difficult to predict, University of Missouri researchers are now studying whether increasing planet temperatures and carbon dioxide levels could lead to atmospheric blocking and when this blocking might occur, leading to more accurate forecasts.

Tony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri, is studying atmospheric blocking and how this weather pattern could be increasing due to global warming.

“In this research, we’re trying to see if increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting atmospheric warming will affect the onset and duration of future blocking events,” said Tony Lupo, professor and chair of the atmospheric science department at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “We’re hoping that the research will add cues that could help fellow forecasters better predict blocking and warn people in cases of long-lasting, severe weather.”

Atmospheric blocking occurs between 20-40 times each year and usually lasts between 8-11 days, Lupo said. Although they are one of the rarest weather events, blocking can trigger dangerous conditions, such as a 2003 European heat wave that caused 40,000 deaths. Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place and, because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked. Lupo believes that heat sources, such as radiation, condensation, and surface heating and cooling, have a significant role in a blocking’s onset and duration. Therefore, planetary warming could increase the frequency and impact of atmospheric blocking.

“It is anticipated that in a warmer world, blocking events will be more numerous, weaker and longer-lived,” Lupo said. “This could result in an environment with more storms. We also anticipate the variability of weather patterns will change dramatically over some parts of the world, such as North America, Europe and Asia, but not in others.”

Lupo, in collaboration with Russian researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences, will simulate atmospheric blocking using computer models that mirror known blocking events, then introduce differing carbon dioxide environments into the models to study how the dynamics of blocking events are changed by increased atmospheric temperatures. The project is funded by the US Civilian Research and Development Foundation – one of only 16 grants awarded by the group this year. He is partnering with Russian meteorologists whose research is being supported by the Russian Federation for Basic Research.

Lupo’s research has been published in several journals, including the Journal of Climate and Climate Dynamics. He anticipates that final results of the current study will be available in 2011.

Contact: Christian Basi
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Links:

Posted in atmospheric science, Climate Dynamics, extreme weather, Global Warming, Meteorology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Images of the Day:

Tropical Cyclone GELANE Strengthens as Forecast

As of about 06:00UTC on February 19, Cyclone GELANE has intensified to a Cat. 4A Hurricane force on the FEWW New Hurricane Scale with sustained winds of about 222 km/he (119.8 kt) and gusts of 260 km/hr (140 kt).

Cyclone GELANE has developed a perfectly round 20-km eye.
Visible Images. Source: UW-CIMSS.  Click images to enlarge.

Cyclone Gelane – 2010-02-19 00:00 — 2010-02-19 09:45 Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS, with Infrared (MIMIC-IR) – Version 1

Related Links:

Posted in Cyclone GELANE, Cyclone GELANE update 19 feb, hurricane, storm, Tropical Cyclone 16S | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Whale of a Story

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Submitted by a reader in Australia

As Sea Shepherd protester boards a Japanese whaling vessel to ‘arrest its captain,’ New Zealand govt agents quietly euthanize 28 Pilot whales

Pete Bethune, a Sea Shepherd protester from New Zealand, boarded a Japanese whaling vessel, Shonan Maru No. 2, to ‘arrest its captain’  for the ‘‘destruction of the Ady Gil and attempted murder of the six Ady Gil crew members,’ ‘A statement on the Sea Shepherd website said.

Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd’s ‘stealth vessel,’ collided with Shonan Maru No. 2 on Jan 6, and sank later.  Both parties have since blamed each other for the incident.

According to Sea Shepherd skipper Paul Watson Bethune traveled by jet ski from the Steve Irwin, the group’s flagship vessel to deliver a letter to the Shonan Maru No. 2 requesting he return with him to the Steve Irwin, to be transferred to New Zealand’s Maritime Safety Authority and police.

‘‘If you refuse to be arrested, then I am requesting that you deliver me to Wellington (New Zealand),’’ Bethune wrote in his letter to the Japanese captain.

‘‘Having sunk my vessel, and with our issuing of a mayday call, you have an obligation under maritime law to provide me with safe passage back to land,’’ he added.

‘‘I will only leave the Shonan Maru when you transfer with me to the Steve Irwin, or when we arrive on land, be it New Zealand or Australia.’‘

Bethune reportedly delivered an invoice for the cost of replacing Ady Gil, threatening the captain with criminal charges if payment was not received in four weeks.

‘‘We will be seeking punitive damages, in addition to the full replacement cost of the Ady Gil…further to this we will be laying criminal charges against the captain of the Shonan Maru (No. 2),’’ wrote Bethune.

Meanwhile, amid all the action on the high seas, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation quietly euthanized at least 19 pilot whales that were allegedly beached at West Ruggedy Beach on Stewart Island.

Department of Conservation (DOC) employees said they were forced to euthanize the whales, because the seas were rough.

“They were in reasonably good health when we got there but the weather conditions were so bad it would have been far too dangerous to try anything else,” an official said.

In December 2009, at least 150 whales died after they  became stranded on Coromandel peninsula, most probably due to noise pollution from NZ oil exploration, tourist boats and planes, as well as toxic pollution in New Zealand’s coastal waters.

Related Links:

Posted in new zealand, Ruggedy Beach, Stewart Island, whale, whaling | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ongoing Seismicity, More Avalanches in Calif, Alaska

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Old Hazards Enhanced by ‘New’ Factors

Persistent low-level seismicity, extreme rain events in California and Alaska increases the frequency of avalanches, landslides

Just days after an avalanche in Alaska killed the President of ConocoPhillips Alaska operations and left his top financial aide missing, another avalanche closed the only highway between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska a few hours ago,  KTUU reported.

The avalanche piled snow as much as 20 feet high in some places (Rich Jordan/KTUU-DT). Image may be subject to copyright. see Fair Use notice. Click image to enlarge.

In California, “the transition roads from the westbound Interstate 10 and northbound 71 Freeway to the northbound 57 Freeway” were shut down by Caltrans down after an entire hillside collapsed onto traffic lanes below, Daily Press reported.

The clean up may take up to a week as rain is expected over the weekend, California Highway Patrol officials were reported as saying.

Caltrans officials view a landslide that covered the connector road from the westbound 10 Freeway to the northbound 57 Freeway in San Dimas on Thursday (local time). (Keith Durflinger/Staff Photographer).  Image may be subject to copyright. see Fair Use notice.

Related Links:

Posted in Anchorage highway, avalanche, extreme rain, Kenai Peninsula, San Dimas | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Klyuchevskaya, Bezymianny and Sakurajima Erupt

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Satellite images of 3 erupting volcanoes

Sakurajima Volcano in southern Japan erupted more than 400 times during 2009, and activity was increasing in early 2010. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the erupting volcano on February 15, 2010. Gray ash is visible in the plume that extends northeast (towards the lower-right) of the volcano. Ashfall is a regular occurrence at the daikon and mandarin farms surrounding the volcano, as well as in the nearby cities of Kagoshima and Kirishima. NASA Earth Observatory image and caption by Robert Simmon. Click image to enlarge.

Neighboring volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula Klyuchevskaya Volcano in the north and Bezymianny Volcano in the south both erupted. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this false-color image on February 13, 2010. [But the image was released today, 6 days later.]  Reaching a height of 4,835 meters (15,860 feet), Klyuchevskaya (also Kliuchevskoi) Volcano is both the tallest and most active volcano on Kamchatka. Dwarfed by its neighbor, Bezymianny reaches 2,882 meters (9,455 feet) above sea level. It released a smaller, thinner plume than Klyuchevskaya.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in erupting volcano image, volcanic activity, volcanic eruption, volcano | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cyclone GELANE UPDATE 2 (Feb 19)

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

TC GELANE Strengthens to a Category 3A Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale

With sustained winds of about 190 km/hr (gusts of up to 235 km/hr), Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) is now a Category 3A Hurricane on  FEWW New Hurricane Scale. Fire-Earth believes the cyclone would reach Category 4A strength, possibly stronger, as forecast yesterday.

The system is expected to continue intensifying during the next 36 hours. The coral reef island of Rodrigues should expect heavy rain as the cyclone moves closer.

Cyclone GELANE. Water Vapor satellite images. Source: UW-CIMSS.  Click images to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) Details

  • Date/Time: 19 February 2010 –  01:00 UTC
  • Position:  Near 16.3ºS, 62.5ºE
  • Sustained Movement: 180  degrees
  • Forward speed:  9 km/hr ( 5 kt)
  • The system has been tracking  SOUTH over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds:  190km/hr (102 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 235 km/hr (~ 125kt)
  • GELANE is currently a Cat. 3A Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 9m (27 ft)
  • Location: TC GELANE was located about ~ 885 km (~ 475 NM) NE of Réunion island.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

GELANE through the eye of TRMM.

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, Cyclone GELANE, Indian Ocean, storm, TC 16S | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »