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Archive for the ‘Pacific Ocean’ Category

Unraveling El Niño Mysteries

Posted by feww on March 18, 2010

The following entry is adopted from a NOAA site. They say their researchers have found clues in stratosphere, troposphere and Arctic Vortex that help them unravel El Niño’s ‘mysteries.’

Unraveling El Niño’s Mysteries: New Clues Found in Stratosphere, Troposphere and Arctic Vortex

El Niño’s emergence in the Pacific Ocean creates ripple effects that extend around the globe.

El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) is a natural phenomenon that refers to irregular periods of sea surface temperature warming in the tropical Pacific that impacts global weather patterns.


Supercell.
Source NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño influences our weather:  Ocean temperature, air temperature, ocean currents, winds at various altitudes, air pressure … , and its effects are even more complicated  by human-caused climate change.

El Niño causes weather chaos across the globe:

  • More intense storms in the West Coast of  United States,  but  fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.
  • India, southeastern Africa, northern Brazil, and Australia usually experience dramatically drier conditions. Shifts in patterns are even stronger in other parts of the world.


Layers of the atmosphere. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño creates  highly complex “ripples” that alter atmospheric features from the ocean surface right up to the stratosphere, high above the Earth.

The stratosphere,  a layer of the atmosphere beginning about five miles above sea level, influences weather at ground level. The stratospheric layer of the atmosphere is located above the troposphere.

The troposphere begins at the Earth’s surface and extends up to 6-20 km (4-12 miles) high. We occupy this layer.  The stratosphere begins above the troposphere and extends up to 50 km above the Earth’s surface. This layer holds 19 percent of the atmosphere’s gases but very little water vapor.

Researchers say they have recently found a connection between another atmospheric feature, swirling upper-level winds called the Arctic vortex, and colder than average winters in Europe. They have found links between three factors that also influence the Arctic vortex:

  • El Niño
  • Cooling of the tropical stratosphere
  • Warming of the Arctic stratosphere

More information on El Niño :

Posted in Arctic vortex, atmosphere, Pacific Ocean, stratosphere, Supercell | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) FINAL Update (17 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 17, 2010

TC RENE Wreaked Havoc on Tongatapu Island as Forecast

Tongan capital of  Nuku’Alofa was left battered, though it could have been much worse had RENE not weakened before the assault. There were no reported injury or fatality as of posting.


Tropical Cyclone RENE.
Sat image JTWC/SATOP. Date/Time: 16 feb 2010 at 17:30UTC – Click image to enlarge.

Background:

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 17 February 2010 –  00:30 UTC
  • Position:  Near 26.5ºS, 177ºE
  • Sustained Movement: 225  degrees
  • Forward speed: ~ 25 km/hr (~ 14 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone RENE has been tracking  SOUTHWEST over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 65km/hr (~ 35 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 80 km/hr (~ 45 kt)
  • RENE is expected to dissipate as a TC over open water in the next 12 hours.

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 5m (15 ft)
  • Location: TC RENE was located about 1,200 km (~ 650 NM) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, Pacific Ocean, storm, storm rene, Tropical Cyclone RENE | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TC RENE (TC 15P) Update 6 (16 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Cyclone RENE still strong, but won’t last long!

Unfavorable environmental conditions, especially cooler sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content, will bring an end to RENE as a tropical cyclone over open water in the next 24 to 36 hours.


Tropical Cyclone RENE – GOES  IR Satellite image (JSL2 enhancement) – Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Background:

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 16 February 2010 –  01:00 UTC
  • Position:  Near 24ºS, 177ºW
  • Sustained Movement: 225  degrees
  • Forward speed: 24 km/hr (~ 13 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone RENE has been tracking  SOUTHWEST over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 120km (~ 60 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 150 km/hr (~ 110 kt)
  • RENE is now a Cat. 1 Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale.
  • Unfavorable environmental conditions, especially cooler sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content will bring an end to RENE as a tropical cyclone over open water in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 8m (24 ft)
  • Location: TC RENE was located about 780 km (~ 420 NM) Southeast of  NADI, FIJI.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, Pacific Ocean, storm, storm rene, Tropical Cyclone RENE | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Update 2 (13 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 13, 2010

RENE Hovering Near PAGO-PAGO

Cyclone RENE continues to intensify, seemingly intent on wreaking havoc in the S Pacific island groups

In fact, based on the available information, there’s little to prevent the cyclone [turning around] tracking west, and targeting Samoa Islands, despite the forecast paths.


Cyclone Rene.
NOAA GOES AVNCOLOR Enhancement IR Satellite image. Click image to enlarge.  Click HERE or the Latest Image.  See Enhanced Image.


Political Map of American Samoa and Samoa Islands. Click image to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 13 February 2010  at  03:00 UTC
  • Position:  Near 13.5ºS, 169.5ºW

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 130km (~ 70 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 160 km/hr (~ 85 kt)

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 8.5m (25 ft)
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also:

Posted in cyclone, hurricane, Pacific Ocean, storm, tropical cyclone | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Update 1 (12 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 12, 2010

Slow Forward Motion May Help RENE to Strengthen


Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) – Water Vapor Satellite Image. Source: UW-CIMSS. Click Image to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 12 February 2010 –  01:30 UTC
  • Position:  Near 13.0ºS, 166.0ºW
  • Sustained Movement: 215  degrees
  • Forward speed: 9 km/hr (~ 5 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone RENE has been tracking  SOUTH over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 110km (~ 60 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 140 km/hr (~ 75 kt)

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 6m (18 ft)
  • Location: TC RENE was located about 500 km (~ 270 NM) ENE of Pago-Pago
  • Rene could intensify to a Cat 2B Hurricane [probability of 65 percent] possibly a Cat 3A Hurricane [probability of 45 percent] within the next 72 hours, depending on its forward motion speed.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

South Pacific and North America are two places to avoid right now!

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also:

Posted in cyclone, hurricane, Pacific Ocean, storm, tropical cyclone | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Cyclone PAT (TC 14P) Update 1 (10 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 10, 2010

Where Shall I Go Next? Avarua is on the Way!

Cyclone PAT Tracks South on Open Waters, For Now


Tropical Cyclone PAT – IR NHC Enhanced Satellite Image. Source: CIMSS – Date/time – Feb 10, 2010 at 00:01UTC. Click image to enter CIMSS portal.

TC PAT Details

  • Time/Date: 10 February 2010 –  00:01 UTC
  • Position:  Near 16.9ºS, 159.1ºW
  • Sustained Movement: 190  degrees
  • Forward speed: 13 km/hr (~ 7 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone PAT has been tracking  southward over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: 143 km (~ 77 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 167 km/hr (~ 90 kt)
  • Cyclone PAT is currently a Category 1 Hurricane

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 5.7m (17 ft)
  • Location: PAT was located about 510 km (~ 275 NM) north of Rarotonga
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, Pacific Ocean, South Pacific, Tropical cyclone 14P, Tropical Cyclone PAT | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Deepest Erupting Submarine Volcano

Posted by feww on December 18, 2009

Erupting West Mata Volcano shown in newly released video, images

Researchers have recorded the deepest erupting volcano known, West Mata Volcano, describing high-definition video of the submarine eruption as “spectacular.”


An explosion at the West Mata Volcano throws ash and rock, with molten lava glowing below. Credit NOAA/NSF

“For the first time we have been able to examine, up close, the way ocean islands and submarine volcanoes are born,” said Barbara Ransom, program director in NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “The unusual primitive compositions of the West Mata eruption lavas have much to tell us.”


Bubbles of gas-rich magma burst, spewing lava fragments into the water.


A sequence of closer views of the eruption, with bright flashes of hot magma.

Credit: National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Download as Quicktime: Video 1 [Web resolution] (Credit: NOAA and NSF)
Download as Quicktime: Video 2 [Web resolution] (Credit: NOAA and NSF)

The volcanic eruption, discovered in May, is nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area bounded by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.


Summit of West Mata Volcano, shown in red, is nearly a mile below the ocean surface (1,165 meters / 3,882 feet), and the base, shown in blue, descends to nearly two miles (3,000 meters / 9,842 feet) deep. Eruptions occurred at several places along the summit, in an area about 100 yards. The volcano has a six-mile-long rift zone running along its spine in a SW/NE orientation. Credit: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.


West Mata Volcano (white ellipse on bathymetric map) is not the largest volcano in the northeast Lau Basin, but appears to be the most active. Map represents the area visited and mapped on two recent expeditions. Summit of West Mata Volcano is nearly one mile deep, the base is nearly two miles deep. Tonga Trench (north and east of the expedition area) is nearly seven miles deep. Credit NOAA. Click image to enlarge.


West Mata Volcano, in the Lau Basin, is located in the southwest Pacific, within an area bounded by Samoa, Tonga and Fiji (the black areas on the map, which are the only areas above water). Area is home to many submarine volcanoes. Credit NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

“We found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep-ocean seafloor,” said the expedition’s chief scientist Joseph Resing, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington.

“It was an underwater Fourth of July, a spectacular display of fireworks nearly 4,000 feet deep,” said co-chief scientist Bob Embley, a marine geologist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Newport, Ore.

“Since the water pressure at that depth suppresses the violence of the volcano’s explosions, we could get an underwater robot within feet of the active eruption. On land, or even in shallow water, you could never hope to get that close and see such great detail.”


An eruptive blast at West Mata Volcano, with superheated pillow lava flowing downslope. Credit: NSF/NOAA

Imagery includes large molten lava bubbles three feet across bursting into cold seawater, glowing red vents exploding lava into the sea, and the first-observed advance of lava flows across the deep-ocean floor.

Sounds of the eruption were recorded by a hydrophone and later matched with the video footage.

Expedition scientists released the video and discussed their observations at a Dec. 17 news conference at the American Geophysical Union (AGU)’s annual fall meeting in San Francisco.

The West Mata Volcano is producing boninite lavas, believed to be among the hottest on Earth in modern times, and a type seen before only on extinct volcanoes more than one million years old.


The orange glow of magma in an eruptive area the length of a football field along the summit. Credit: NSF/NOAA

A University of Hawaii geochemist believes that the active boninite eruption provides a unique opportunity to study magma formation at volcanoes, and to learn more about how Earth recycles material where one tectonic plate is subducted under another.

Water from the volcano is very acidic, with some samples collected directly above the eruption, the scientists said, as acidic as battery acid or stomach acid.


Shrimp congregate near the summit of West Mata Volcano, withstanding hot, acid waters. Credit: NSF/NOAA

A microbiologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, found diverse microbes even in such extreme conditions.

A biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), found that shrimp were the only animals thriving in the acidic vent water near the eruption. Shank is analyzing shrimp DNA to determine whether they are the same species as those found at seamounts more than 3,000 miles away.

The scientists believe that 80 percent of eruptive activity on Earth takes place in the ocean, and that most volcanoes are in the deep sea.


Superheated molten lava, about 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, is about to explode into the water. Credit: NSF/NOAA

Further study of active deep-ocean eruptions will provide a better understanding of oceanic cycles of carbon dioxide and sulfur gases, how heat and matter are transferred from the interior of the Earth to its surface, and how life adapts to some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

The science team worked aboard the University of Washington’s research vessel Thomas Thompson, and deployed Jason, a remotely-operated vehicle owned by WHOI.


A pillow lava tube extends downslope in an area about three feet across. Credit: NSF/NOAA

Jason collected samples using its manipulator arms, and obtained imagery using a prototype still and HD imaging system developed and operated by the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab at WHOI.

###

Other expedition participants were affiliated with Oregon State University, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Western Washington University, Portland State University, Harvard University, the University of Tulsa, California State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, the University of California Santa Cruz and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

Related Links:

Posted in boninite lavas, extinct volcanoes, Pacific Ocean, Submarine eruption, West Mata Volcano | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

El Niño Update [2 Nov 2009]

Posted by feww on November 3, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  2 November 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.6ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.5ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.2ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.4ºC


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 1.0°C above average between 165°E and 140°W and in small areas in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, equatorial SST anomalies strengthened across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies increased in much of the central and eastern Pacific.

SST Tep Dept Eq Pacific

Tropical OLR and Wind Anomalies During the Last 30 Days

  • Positive OLR anomalies (suppressed convection and precipitation, red shading) were present over Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. Negative OLR anomalies (enhanced convection and precipitation) were located across the northern Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and over the western tropical Pacific Ocean.
  • Low-level (850-hPa) westerly anomalies were observed over parts of the western and central equatorial Pacific.
  • Upper-level (200-hPa) easterly anomalies were observed across most of the equatorial Pacific.

HC evo eq Pacific

200-hpa Vel Pot Anom

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to greater than +2.0°C), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 1 November  2009
The CFS ensemble mean predicts El Niño will last at least through Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last at least through Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in Climate Prediction, El Niño, ENSO, Indian Ocean SST, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update [28 Oct 2009]

Posted by feww on October 28, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  26  October 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.4ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.1ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.1ºC


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 1.0°C above average between 165°E and 140°W and in small areas in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, equatorial SST anomalies strengthened across the central Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies increased over the central Pacific.

SSTD EP 26-10-09

Tropical OLR and Wind Anomalies During the Last 30 Days

  • Positive OLR anomalies (suppressed convection and precipitation, red shading) were present over Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. Negative OLR anomalies (enhanced convection and precipitation, blue shading) were located across the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and in the western tropical Pacific Ocean.
  • Low-level (850-hPa) equatorial winds were near-average over the central and eastern Pacific. Westerly anomalies were observed in the western Pacific.
  • Upper-level (200-hPa) easterly anomalies were observed across most of the equatorial Pacific.

200-hpa Vel Pot Anom

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to greater than +2.0°C), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during during November-December-January 2009-10. Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (updated 15 Oct 2009).

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 18 October 2009
The CFS ensemble mean predicts El Niño will last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in El Niño, ENSO, Gulf of Alaska, Indian Ocean, North Pacific Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, positive OLR, Positive SST, suppressed convection and precipitation, wind anomaly | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update [13 Oct 2009]

Posted by feww on October 14, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 13 October 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 1.0ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ (-0.7)ºC


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
WeeksDuring the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least1.0°C above average across parts of the central and eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks
During the last four weeks, SST anomalies remained positive across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, except in the far eastern Pacific, which have become negative. •During the last month, equatorial SST anomalies decreased over much of the eastern Pacific and increased over the central Pacific.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures (°C) in the Equatorial Pacific

SSTD - Eq Pac sml

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days
During mid August through September, an anomalous trough was prevalent in the North Pacific Ocean/Gulf of Alaska. During September, an anomalous ridge was present downstream, focused over Canada and the northern United States. The pattern also featured a weak trough over the central U.S., which contributed to below-average temperatures in the region, while the northern U.S. and Canada remained warmer-than-average. Recently, an anomalous ridge has dominated the Gulf of Alaska, and a downstream trough has led tobelow-average temperatures across much of the western and northern U.S.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5ºC to +2.0ºC), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in El Niño, ENSO, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST, wind anomaly | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Typhoon Melor Leaves a Trail of Destruction in Japan

Posted by feww on October 8, 2009

Typhoon Melor Causes Widespread Destruction and Disruptions in Japan

Melor was the first typhoon in two years to make landfall in Japan, striking in Aichi prefecture,  southwest of Tokyo, on the main island of Honshu, killing 2 people and injuring more than 30.

melor in Japan reuters
A man points to a wall torn down by high winds from the third floor of a house in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture north of Tokyo October 8, 2009. Typhoon Melor barrelled into Japan’s main island on Thursday, disrupting flights and trains, closing some factories and tearing roofs off houses, but damage was much less than had been feared. REUTERS/Kyodo. Image may be subject to copyright.

It caused widespread damage through strong winds, with gusts of up to 200km/h, and heavy rain including flooding roads, cutting off power and phone lines, destroying traffic signals, uprooting trees, and tearing roofs from building  and knocking over trucks on the flooded roads.

Numerous Flight bullet train and commuter train services were canceled, stranding tens of thousands of commuters in the morning rush hours.

Melor forced the world’s largest car-maker, Toyota, to shut its factories in central Honshu as a precautionary measure.

At least 100,000 homes were left without electricity in Gifu, Mie Kanagawa prefectures, and parts of  Tokyo Metropolitan.

The authorities issued various warnings against mudslides and risk of landslides throughout Honshu.

Recent Typhoon Damage in SE ASIA

  • Typhoon Tokage pummeled Western Japan in October 2004, killing up to 100 people.
  • Typhoon Etau, avoiding a direct hit in Japan, caused  flash floods and large landslides that killed up to 30 people in August, 2009.
  • Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan also in August, causing extensive landslides that swept entire villages, killing as many as 1,000 people.
  • Tropical Cyclone Ketsana left a trail of devastation across Southeast Asia, killing hundreds of people, mostly in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Typhoon Parma left a swath of destruction in its wake killing at least 16 people in the northern Philippines  and flooding dozens of villages.

BREAKING NEWS: Two new weather systems are racing west across the Pacific ocean heading towards the Philippines.

Related Links:

Posted in New Typhoons, Pacific Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Ketsana, Typhoon Etau, Typhoon Morakot, Typhoon Parma, Typhoon Tokage | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

El Niño Update [28 Sept 2009]

Posted by feww on September 29, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 28 Sept 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ -0.1ºC


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution
SST anom 28-sept-09

Highlights

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least1.0°C above average across much of the central and eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures  (ºC)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

Weekly SST Departures (ºC) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, SST anomalies remained positive across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last month, there was little change in the equatorial SST anomalies.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures (ºC) in the Equatorial Pacific

  • In the first half of September 2009, temperature anomalies increased in the eastern Pacific due to the downwelling phase of a Kelvin wave.
  • The most recent period shows a continuation of positive anomalies across the equatorial Pacific, with the largest values between 50-150m depth.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days
During late July through September, an anomalous trough was prevalent in the central North Pacific Ocean. During September, an anomalous ridge was present downstream, focused over Canada and the northern United States. The pattern also featured a trough over the southern U.S., which contributed to cooling in the region, while the northern U.S. and Canada remained warmer-than-average.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to +2.0°C), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

Enso Forecasts Sept 2009
Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (updated 14 Sept 2009).

ONI Evolution
The most recent ONI value (June –August 2009) is +0.7oC.

Summary:

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in El Niño, ENSO, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST, wind anomaly | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update [21 Sept 2009]

Posted by feww on September 22, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 21 Sept 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.9ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.3ºC


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution
sst anom 21 sep 09

Highlights

During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least1.0°C above average across much of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

Global SST Departures  (ºC)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

Weekly SST Departures (ºC) for the Last Four Weeks
During the last four weeks, SST anomalies have remained positive across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. •During the last month, the change in equatorial SST anomalies was slightly positive in the east-central Pacific.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days
During late July through mid-September, an anomalous trough was prevalent in the central North Pacific Ocean. Downstream over the United States, the anomalous height pattern generally featured a trough over the eastern United States with ridging prevalent over the western U.S. This anomalous pattern led to below-average temperatures over the central and eastern U.S. and to above-average temperatures over portions of the western U.S.

ONI Evolution
The most recent ONI value (June –August 2009) is +0.7oC.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to +2.0°C), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

Enso Forecasts Sept 2009
Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (updated 14 Sept 2009).

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 20 September 2009
The CFS ensemble mean predicts El Niño will last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) remain +0.5 to +1.5ºC above-average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Climate Prediction, El Niño weekly report, Global SST anomalies, Oceanic Kelvin waves, equatorial Pacific Ocean

Posted in El Niño, ENSO, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST, wind anomaly | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update [8 Sept 2009]

Posted by feww on September 8, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 8 Sept 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.9ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.0ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.7ºC


El Niño Map.
[SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution
SST anom 8-sept-09

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
Avg SST anom 8sept09

During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 0.5°C above-average across the Pacific Ocean and at least 1.0°C above average near the Date Line and in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
Avg SST anom global 8sep09

During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

ONI (°C): Evolution since 1950
ONI  8-sept-09

The most recent ONI value (June – August 2009) is +0.7°C.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) remain +0.5 to +1.5 above-average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

For additional information see following links.

Relate Links:

El Niño Updates

ENSO, wind anomaly , , , ,

Posted in ENSO, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST, wind anomaly El Niño | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

El Niño Update [24 Aug 2009]

Posted by feww on August 25, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 24 August 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.9ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.8ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution

sst anom 24 aug 2009

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks:
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 0.5°C above-average across the Pacific Ocean and at least 1.0°C above average near the Date Line and in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

Weekly SST Departures for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, SST anomalies have been positive across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last month, there has been little change in SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures in the Equatorial Pacific

  • During late-June through mid-August 2009, positive sub-surface temperature anomalies weakened in the eastern half of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The most recent period shows positive anomalies across the equatorial Pacific, with the largest anomalies near 125m depth in the west-central Pacific.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to +2.0°C), but a majority of the models indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

model forecasts of enso

Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (updated 18 Aug 2009).

Summary:

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) remain +0.5 to +1.5 above-average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Current observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate ElNiño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

See  El Niño Home Page for previous entries and related links.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates

Posted in El Niño, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update – 27 July 2009

Posted by feww on July 28, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 27 July 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.6ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.9ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.0ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.6ºC

El Niño map
El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution

most recent SST anomalies

Summary

  • El Niño conditions are present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) remain +0.5 to +1.5 above-average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Current observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate ElNiño conditions will continue to intensify and are expected to last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific

avg SST anomalies - 28 june 25 iuly 2009

During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least +0.5°C above-average across the equatorial Pacific Ocean and at least +1.0°C above average in the east-central and eastern Pacific. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Global SST Departures

avg sst anom global 28 jun - 28 jul 2009
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Central & Eastern Pacific Upper-Ocean (0-300 m) Weekly Heat Content Anomalies

Upper Ocean Heat Anoms
The upper ocean heat content was below-average across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean between mid-August 2008 and March 2009, with a minimum reached in late December 2008. The heat content anomalies have remained positive since April 2009. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEPFull Report

Related Links:

Notes:
1. NOAA Operational Definitions for El Niño and La Niña

  • El Niño:characterized by a positive ONI greater than or equal to +0.5°C.
  • La Niña:characterized by a negative ONI less than or equal to -0.5°C.
  • By historical standards, to be classified as a full-fledged El Niño or La Niña episode,these thresholds must be exceeded for a period of at least 5 consecutive overlapping 3-month seasons.
  • CPC considers El Niño or La Niña conditions to occur when the monthly Niño3.4 SST departures meet or exceed +/-0.5°C along with consistent atmospheric features. These anomalies must also be forecasted to persist for 3 consecutive months.

2. Oceanic Niño Index (ONI)

  • The ONI is based on SST departures from average in the Niño 3.4 region, and is a principal measure for monitoring, assessing, and predicting ENSO.
  • Defined as the three-month running-mean SST departures in the Niño 3.4 region. Departures are based on a set of improved homogeneous historical SST analysis (Extended Reconstructed SST –ERSST.v3b). The SST reconstruction methodology is described in Smith et al., 2008, J. Climate, vol. 21, 2283-2296.)
  • Used to place current events into a historical perspective.
  • NOAA’s operational definitions of El Niño and La Niña are keyed to the ONI index.

3. The most recent ONI value (April –June 2009) is +0.2oºC.

El Niño Conditions Set in Across Pacific Ocean [From NASA’s Earth Observatory]

EO image
El Niño conditions are evident in this sea surface temperature anomaly image based on data from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 26. The current data are compared to 12-year average temperatures (1985-1997) measured by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers that have flown on several NOAA missions.

Cream-colored places represent near normal temperatures; red is warmer than normal temps; while, blue shows cooler than normal areas. The dark red area on the eastern Pacific off the coast of Peru and Ecuador (north of Peru) indicates much warmer than average temps. Across the Pacific, ocean temperatures around Indonesia were slightly cooler (light blue) than usual.

Earth’s largest ocean, the Pacific is the single biggest influence on the average temperature, rainfall, and vegetation conditions in the tropics. The Pacific’s primary climate pattern, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO),  includes an ocean component (the El Niño/La Niña pattern) and an atmospheric component, the Southern Oscillation.

Every 3-8 years, the prevailing easterly winds over the eastern equatorial Pacific weaken or reverse, surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific climb, and rainfall declines over most tropical land areas. In 1997-98, an El Niño event contributed to devastating fires in Indonesia’s tropical forests, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which completely destroyed the Mentawai coral reefs west of Sumatra.

El Niño ocean conditions does not guarantee full ENSO event. So far the atmospheric component of the pattern, the Southern Oscillation, isn’t fully cooperating. As of July 26, the trade winds in the western Pacific (near Indonesia) had shifted direction and were blowing weakly toward the east (see NOAA wind anomaly graphic), but across the central and eastern Pacific, easterly trade winds were still of average or slightly above-average strength. For an ENSO event to fully develop, the easterly trades will have to weaken across a much wider area of the Pacific than now.

NASA image by Jesse Allen, using AMSR-E data processed and provided by Chelle Gentemann and Frank Wentz, Remote Sensing Systems. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.  [Edited by FEWW.]

Posted in El Niño, equatorial Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, North Pacific, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh NASA

Posted by feww on February 24, 2009

NASA Still Believes You Need a Rocket Scientist to Launch a Satellite into Orbit!

NASA’s mission to measure carbon dioxide from space fails as the $300 million satellite dives into Antarctica.


NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and its Taurus booster lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. A contingency was declared a few minutes later. Image credit: NASA TV

OCO was launched on a Taurus XL, the smallest rocket used by NASA.  XL is manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation and has reportedly flown eight times, with a 25 percent failure rate (two failures including the OCO  launch).

In a statement released shortly after the failed launch NASA said:

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to reach orbit after its 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff this morning from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.

The spacecraft did not reach orbit and likely landed in the Pacific Ocean near Antarctica, said John Brunschwyler, the program manager for the Taurus XL.

A Mishap Investigation Board will immediately be convened to determine the cause of the launch failure.

Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency, ESA, reconstructed its Cryosat spacecraft after it was destroyed on launch in 2006.  ESA officials recently announced that it would be launched again in late 2009.  However, the future of the OCO mission remains uncertain for now.


This is an artist’s concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The mission, scheduled to launch in early 2009, will be the first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the principal human-produced driver of climate change. It will provide the first global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide and the places where this important greenhouse gas is stored. Such information will improve global carbon cycle models as well as forecasts of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and of how our climate may change in the future. Image credit: NASA/JPL. Caption: NASA.

Posted in Atmospheric carbon dioxide, Climate Change, JPL, Pacific Ocean, Taurus XL | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Copra on Taveuni

Posted by feww on February 14, 2009

Copra

Copra is the dried meaty sections, or kernel, of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Traditionally, Copra has been the most important crop produced on Taveuni, Fiji.


Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Source: SOPAC. Image may be subject to copyright.


Ripe coconuts are split with a machete and laid out to dry in the sun. (Source).

Taveuni

The third-largest island in Fiji, Taveuni  has a total land area of 440 square kilometers. The island is a gigantic shield volcano situated on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  Taveuni is known as the ‘Garden Island of Fiji’ because of its copious flora, thriving on rich volcanic soil.


The massive shield volcano rises to 1241 m and is dotted by about 150 volcanic cones along a NE-SW rift extending the length of the island; some of the SW-flank vents are visible on this Space Shuttle image (with north to the upper right). Taveuni has been frequently active during the Holocene, and eruptions impacted island settlements in prehistorical time. At least 58 eruptions have occurred on Taveuni since the first known human settlements of the Fiji Islands about 950-750 BC; all of these eruptions affected the southern two-thirds of the island. A period of voluminous eruptions between about 300 and 500 AD caused abandonment of the southern part the island of Taveuni until about 1100 AD. The latest known eruption produced a lava flow at the southern tip of the island sometime between about 1450-1650 AD. NASA Space Shuttle image STS111-719-74, 2002 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/). Caption: GVP

Posted in Coconut oil, Fiji Island, Holocene, Pacific Ocean, volcanic eruptions | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Floating Toxic Garbage Island

Posted by feww on April 10, 2008

WILD FACTS SERIES: North Pacific Gyre

A patch of garbage dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in North Pacific Gyre. Depending on the source, the size estimate of the patch varies from the size of Texas to twice as large as the continental United States.

  • About 46,000 pieces of plastic float on each square mile of sea (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
  • Researcher Dr Marcus Eriksen believes the Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the coast of California, across the Northern Pacific to near the coast of Japan.
  • According to the Independent newspaper 100 million tons of plastic garbage float in the North Pacific Gyre.


The North Pacific Gyre (top, center)is one of five major oceanic gyres. (Image Credit: NOAA)

Following are links to a series of short videos by VBS.TV.


Marine debris on the Hawaiian coast (Image Credit: NOAA)

Related Links:

An Interesting animation of how the garbage entering the ocean is caught by the gyre.

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Posted in Bisphenol A, california, Hawaii, infertility, Pacific Ocean, plastic bags, polyethylene, PVC, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »