Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not your imagination; study says hurricane seasons are getting longer - There was some concern early last week that the tropics were becoming active once again. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were tracking a strong disturbance in the southern Caribbean Sea. By the middle of the week, however, dry air and upper level wind shear ripped the potential troublemaker apart, delaying, at least for now, the development of Tropical Storm Virginie.
Given how busy the 2010 hurricane season has been and how warm sea surface temperatures are in the Caribbean, it seems very possible that at least one more named storm may form this year. But then late-season storms seem to be the norm in recent years. November of 2008, for example, produced the second strongest November hurricane on record. In 2007 and 2005, there were VERY RARE storms in December. And tropical storms seem to be forming earlier in the season, too. The 2008 season saw four named storms in July while 2003 featured the first tropical storm ever in April.
All of this leads to a very unsettling question: “is hurricane season getting longer?” The answer is yes, there is an “apparent tendency toward more early and late-season storms.” Officially, the Atlantic Basin hurricane season runs for six long months, from June 1 through Nov. 30. Still, most of the action, especially the large, powerful storms we worry so much about, form during a six-week period stretching from middle August to the beginning of October. Storms in June and November are rare. If they do form during these months, the tropical cyclones tend to be weak and rarely cause much of a ruckus. But the new study found that we would likely see more activity in June and November in coming hurricane seasons. The hurricane seasons for both the period 1950 to present and 1980 to present got longer by five to 10 days per decade. The reason for longer hurricane seasons likely is warmer sea surface temperatures. This hurricane season, for example, saw THE WARMEST WATER TEMPERATURE IN HISTORY in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
When Hurricane Tomas skirted past Haiti recently, it was the fourth straight year with a hurricane in the month of November, the FIRST TIME IN RECORDED HISTORY that has ever occurred. November hurricanes may become the norm. One scientist suggested that there might be a 40- to 80-day increase in hurricane season by the end of the century.

** The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.**
Oscar Wilde

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/20/10 -
Back in time

11/19/10 -


INDONESIA - Mount Anak Krakatau saw 72 eruptions on Thursday, one eruption more compared to the previous day which saw 71. The status is still at level II or caution status. (The statuses for volcanos are: normal, caution, alert and danger.)

No current tropical cyclones.


Extreme Weather: EF-1 Tornadoes struck Maryland and New York on Wednesday. EF-1 tornado in Ghent, NY on 11-17-10 cut a 2 mile path of destruction at 5:37AM ET. A very potent weather system trekked across portions of the eastern United States on late Tuesday into early Wednesday morning. Atmospheric conditions were "just right" for a "SPRING-LIKE" severe weather outbreak.
With a near-perfect combination of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, a strong upper level Low, wind shear and cool, dry air from the Midwest; several squall lines developed from North Carolina into New York. While most people were asleep, the storm system left a trail of destruction in its path.
A whopping total of 128 wind damage reports have been logged by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma for November 16, 2010. Damage reports have been logged from northern Alabama all the way to central New York state. Particularly hard hit areas was the Parkville section of greater Baltimore, Maryland and the town of Ghent, New York on early Wednesday morning.


Pink pelicans in Russia - Russia's been having a RECORD-BREAKING AUTUMN weather-wise, with temperatures in Altai, in southwestern Siberia, remaining as high as 41° Fahrenheit. And it looks like the balmy weather has attracted some new residents: on Tuesday, a flock of seven African pink pelicans landed in the village of Suslovo. The birds, which had spend the summer in Kazakhstan, should have been flying south to winter in Africa. But that's where global warming stepped in. Confused by the UNNATURALLY HIGH TEMPERATURES to the north, the pelicans, all barely a year old, flew in the wrong direction.
Of the seven birds, four were captured by locals, and are currently being housed at a zoo in the nearby city of Barnaul. They will most likely be kept there for the winter out of fear for their safety. The three pelicans that were not captured flew away, and have not been seen since.
"It can't be denied that climate change is the culprit in this story- experts say that Russia is particularly exposed to the impact of global warming. The recent heatwave that drew the pelican flock to Siberia also killed off 25 million acres of crops, prompting President Dmitri Medvedev to call the event a "wake up call" to the threat of climate change. Add a group of heat-addled pelicans to a looming agricultural disaster, and hopefully the rest of the country will come to the same realization."


Asteroid Impact Early Warning System Unveiled - Astronomer reveals plans for a network of telescopes that could give up to three weeks' warning of a city-destroying impact.
At about 3am on 8 October last year, an asteroid the size of a small house smashed into the Earth's atmosphere over an isolated part of Indonesia. The asteroid disintegrated in the atmosphere causing a 50 kiloton explosion, about four times the size of the atomic bomb used to destroy Hiroshima. No one was injured in blast but the incident highlights the threat that planet faces from near Earth asteroids. Astronomers expect a strike like this once every 2-12 years. And the US congress has given NASA the task of sweeping the skies to identify anything heading our way. So far NASA has looked for objects of a kilometre or more in size and determined that none of these is on track to hit Earth in the foreseeable future. But what of smaller objects? Various estimates show that an impact with an asteroid just 50 metres across would cause some 30,000 deaths (compared with 50 million deaths from an impact with a 1 kilometre-sized object).
This raises two important questions. The first, is how best can astronomers monitor the skies for these smaller objects? The second, is what to do should we find something heading our way? The goal of finding 90 per cent of city-destroying asteroids in time to deflect them is extremely challenging. A scientist says a more realistic target is to evacuate the area under threat. And for that we'll need just three week's notice. Given these constraints, he believes he can do the job with an array of eight 25cm aperture telescopes with a wide field of view that simultaneously scan the visible sky twice a night. He calls this early warning system the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System or ATLAS. A more difficult question is whether three weeks is long enough to evacuate a city that may be home to several million people. It may be only a matter of time before we are forced to try.


Protests are rattling Haiti as cholera cases near 50,000.