Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Walls of water 10ft high in a month-long mega hurricane: California told to prepare for biblical 'ARkStorm'. Scientists are now warning Californians that the long-awaited 'big one' earthquake could be the least of their environmental concerns. Another more deadly threat awaits the West coast of America - in the form of a biblical ‘ARkStorm’, which could bring death and destruction on a scale never before seen and which they say is long overdue. Walls of water 10ft high, rain falling in feet instead of inches, and nine million people’s homes flooded during a hurricane-like megastorm that could last more than month.
The every-other-century event last happened in 1861 and left the central valley of California impassable. The cost was impossible to quantify - but should a similar event happen today the damage could total more than 300 billion. Large storms have struck in 1969 and 1986 but the last ARkStorm hit in 1861. Beginning on Christmas Eve, the storm continued into the following year and lasted 45 days in total. The flooding was so severe it turned the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea and in southern California lakes were formed in the Mojave Desert and the Los Angeles Basin. Across the entire state storms wiped out nearly a third of the taxable land, leaving the state bankrupt.
The U.S. Geological Survey has now begun planning for the return of the ARkStorm, so named after the boat Noah used to escape the flood in the Bible. The 'A' and 'R' stand for 'atmospheric river'. They have recruited 17 researchers and a string of agencies to work with local emergency crews and government officials across California to ensure that should it arrive, they would be best prepared for it. The team says that a storm on the scale of that which struck in 1861 is ‘inevitable’. It was widely considered the worst and longest on record.
The weather system will start in the Tropics due to atmospheric rivers of moisture forming, grow larger and gain speed as it travels to the West coast of America where it would become roughly the same strength as a hurricane. It would take some weeks to form, which would hopefully give them time to better prepare when it arrived. "We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes. Floods are as much a part of our lives in California as earthquakes are. We are probably not going to be able to handle the biggest ones." Scientists say a plausible super-storm that could devastate California would be fed by an "atmospheric river" moving water at the same rate as 50 Mississippi rivers discharging water into the Gulf of Mexico.
But what is an "atmospheric river"? Atmospheric Rivers are narrow corridors driven by jet-stream winds which have a direct affect on ocean currents. When these streams have a high level of concentrated moisture, the newly termed "atmospheric rivers" may strike land. When this occurs, they produce flooding rains that can disrupt travel, induce mudslides, and cause catastrophic damage to life and property.
There is nothing "new" about such events. What drives such phenomena? The answer is "charged particles" such as solar flares, cme's, coronal holes, gamma ray burst, and galactic cosmic rays. Scientists who study historic storms to understand the risks modern California faces discussed on Friday developing a scaling system to measure the intensity of an atmospheric river. The storm scenario released by the USGS this week says such a storm has the potential to cause flood damage to a quarter of the houses in the state. The report describes a storm lasting more than 40 days and dumping up to 10 feet of rain.
A large coronal hole on the Sun has recently opened up [not unusual], releasing large amounts of charged particles referred to as 'solar winds'. When this flow of particles hits the Earth's magnetic field, it will have a direct effect on ocean and jet stream currents. Watch for an increase in extreme weather over the next 72 - 96 hours. On the North American continent, the most vulnerable areas would be the Pacific North West, and yes, California.

**Faith is taking the first step
even when you don't see the whole staircase.**
Martin Luther King, Jr.

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
1/17/11 -

Cyclone ZELIA was 346 nmi NW of Auckland, New Zealand.

Two weather systems were set to bring severe weather to parts of New Zealand today. MetService is forecasting heavy downpours, gale force winds and humid conditions for much of northern and central New Zealand. A low pressure system - formerly Tropical Cyclone Vania - was expected to bring rain to the top of the South Island and to the southern of the North Island. The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Zelia would pass over the southern North Island would bring about six hours of gales to the central North Island tonight.


Shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reflecting ever less sunshine back into space in a previously underestimated mechanism that could add to global warming. Satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice, glaciers, winter snow and Greenland's ice were bouncing less energy back to space from 1979 to 2008. The dwindling white sunshade exposes ground or water, both of which are darker and absorb more heat. The study estimated that ice and snow in the Northern Hemisphere were now reflecting on average 3.3 watts per square meter of solar energy back to the upper atmosphere, a reduction of 0.45 watt per square meter since the late 1970s.
"The cooling effect is reduced and this is increasing the amount of solar energy that the planet absorbs. This reduction in reflected solar energy through warming is greater than simulated by the current crop of climate models. The conclusion is that the cryosphere (areas of ice and snow) is both responding more sensitively to, and also driving, stronger climate change than thought."
As ever more ground and water is exposed to sunlight, the absorbed heat in turn speeds the melting of snow and ice nearby. Arctic sea ice, for instance, has shrunk in recent decades in a trend that the United Nations panel of climate scientists blames mainly on greenhouse gases from mankind's burning of fossil fuels in factories, power plants and cars. Many studies project that Arctic sea ice could vanish in summers later this century in a trend that would undermine the hunting cultures of indigenous peoples and threaten polar bears and other animals, as well as adding to global climate change.
"There are a lot of other things that determine climate ... this is just one of them." Other factors include whether in a warmer world there will be more clouds whose white tops also reflect sunlight. Or there could be more water vapor that traps heat in the atmosphere. Temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have risen by about 0.75 degree Celsius in the past three decades. The study did not look at the Southern Hemisphere, where Antarctica has far more ice but is much colder and shows fewer signs of warming.

WASHINGTON - Spring-like weather and gusty winds vaporized winter snow over the weekend, causing flooding in Cashmere, a rock slide near Soap Lake, and roof damage near Mattawa. The temperature heated up to 57 degrees in the Wenatchee Valley on Friday, BREAKING THE PREVIOUS RECORD of 53 set in 1974
Local rivers and streams were flowing high, but none had reached flood stage by late morning. Weather that traveled across the Pacific from somewhere near Hawaii is to blame for the Pineapple Express storm that has brought unseasonably warm and windy conditions. Wind gusts exceeded 60 mph in Grant County Sunday night. Despite three days of higher-than-normal temperatures, the mountain snowpack in the Upper Columbia region was still 101 percent of normal.

NEVADA - The weather proved to be RECORD-BREAKING for residents of the Las Vegas Valley: The temperature climbed to 74 degrees Monday afternoon, surpassing the 72-degree record set in 1976 on the date. Las Vegas hit the 60s after 9 a.m., heating up to 70 degrees by noon. A high pressure system situated off the coast of Southern California is bringing the dry and mild conditions to Southern Nevada. The average high temperature for today's date in Las Vegas is 57 degrees, while the average low is 37 degrees. The coldest low temperature on record for the date in Las Vegas is 20 degrees, set in 1949.