tagged w/ Hurricanes
by Sid Perkins
When Superstorm Sandy struck the United States on 30 October, it didn't just devastate the Eastern Seaboard, it shook the ground as far away as the West Coast, producing tiny vibrations in Earth's crust that were picked up by seismometers there. Scientists can use this activity to track the path of the storm. Now, they say that analyzing past records of these vibrations may help them discern whether climate change has influenced the amount of storminess over the world's oceans in recent decades.
Hurricane Sandy swept northward a few hundred kilometers off the East Coast, hooked left, and then slammed into the shore just northeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Long before the storm struck land, however, minuscule vibrations triggered in Earth's crust could be picked up on instruments onshore, says Oner Sufri, a seismologist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While some of the motions were produced by surf pounding beaches, a larger fraction came from large storm waves far offshore that smashed into each other.
The most intense ground motions were triggered as Sandy swerved toward shore—which also happened to be toward the nationwide network of seismometers shaken by the storm, Sufri reported today at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America in Salt Lake City. For the new study, Sufri and university colleague Keith Koper analyzed data recorded across the continental United States between 18 October and 4 November, an interval that also included at least two significant earthquakes.
Storm-induced seismic vibes aren't a newly recognized phenomenon. In 2005, ground motions triggered by Hurricane Katrina were picked up by seismometers in California. And even storms that remain far from land can trigger ground motions, Sufri and Koper note.
Because the strongest ground motions are typically created at or near a storm, researchers can track its progress using seismic data alone. That offers opportunities for scientists to delve through old data sets—especially those from the presatellite era—to look for signs of storms that might have been missed by earthbound observers, or to better estimate their paths and intensities, Sufri says.
The ground motions generated by strong storms over the sea typically cycle at low frequency, outside the range of most vibrations produced by earthquakes, says Daniel McNamara, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado. "Previously, such vibrations were thought of as seismic noise and they were filtered out, but now they're recognized as useful," he notes.
By poring through seismic data gathered in recent decades, researchers might gain insight into whether and how changing climate has influenced long-term trends in the storm-induced waviness of Earth's oceans. "This is just another piece of the puzzle that can help researchers resolve storminess trends in the global oceans," Aster says.
Although it's now possible to track major storms at sea using images from space, seismic data could help fill in any gaps created if a weather-gazing satellite fails before its replacement is traveling in the same orbit, Sufri says.
More at the linkby Sid Perkins When Superstorm Sandy struck the United States on 30 October, it... more
At first glance, it would appear that Sandy is not the threat it used to be. It is a minimal hurricane, and looks less organized on satellite. DO NOT BE FOOLED!
Sandy is already taking on some extratropical characteristics, and the lack of a traditional tropical appearance (symmetric eye, eyewall, etc) does not mean it’s any less of a risk.
http://www.ufo-blogger.com/2012/10/watch-live-hurricane-sandy-online-video.htmlAt first glance, it would appear that Sandy is not the threat it used to be. It is a... more
An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling "Frankenstorm" is likely to blast most of the East Coast next week, focusing the worst of its weather mayhem around New York City and New Jersey.
U.S. government forecasters on Thursday upped the odds of a major weather mess, now saying there's a 90 percent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday.
Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Bahamas
Hurricane Sandy roars into Cuba
Hurricane Sandy prompts storm watch in Florida
Meteorologists say it is likely to cause $1 billion in damages.
The storm is a mix of Hurricane Sandy, now in the Caribbean as a Category 2 storm, as well as an early winter storm in the West and a blast of arctic air from the North. They're predicted to collide and park over the country's most populous coastal corridor and reach as far inland as Ohio.
Hurricane Sandy lashed the central Bahamas on Thursday night with violent winds and torrential rains, after raging through the Caribbean where it caused at least 21 deaths and forced postponement of a hearing at the Guantanamo naval base on Cuba.
The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco. But this is a storm that will affect a far wider area, so people all along the East have to be wary, Cisco said.
Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, mostly from the hurricane part, he said, and the other parts of the storm will reach inland from North Carolina northward.
"It will get broader. It won't be as intense, but its effects will be spread over a very large area," the hurricane center's chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said Thursday.
One of the more messy aspects of the expected storm is that it just won't leave. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say. Weather may start clearing in the mid-Atlantic Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 in the Northeast, Cisco said.
"It's almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event," Cisco said Thursday from NOAA's northern storm forecast center in near Washington. "It's going to be a widespread serious storm."An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now... more
How's this for some election-year timing: The East Coast faces the real possibility of taking a battering next week from a “perfect storm” roaring in from the Atlantic — right at the tail end of a campaign in which President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and their debate moderators have all drawn criticism for avoiding discussion of climate change.
The brewing, blustery mess could affect the same region that was already knocked around by this summer's derecho and soaked in 2011 by Hurricane Irene. And it could come just two months after Hurricane Isaac forced the GOP to cancel the first day of its convention in Tampa.
This time, the meteorological mayhem would be courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, which is forecast to barrel northward across Jamaica and Cuba during the next 24 hours before slicing toward the Bahamas.
While much of Florida's east coast and the Upper Florida Keys are already under a tropical storm watch, some forecasting models — particularly one from the European weather agency — have hinted that the real trouble could come early next week, after Sandy ceases to be a tropical cyclone. It then could merge with other atmospheric patterns over the Atlantic and possibly get whipsawed back to the U.S. coast, somewhere from Virginia to Maine.
Other models suggest the storm will curve out to sea. But the more dramatic possibility is getting some attention in weather-watching circles.
“What seemed like a fluke of an idea — a hurricane-like system hitting the northeastern U.S. — is gaining credibility,” wrote Weather Channel hurricane forecaster Bryan Norcross in a blog post Wednesday morning. “Originally the European model was on its own with the spectacular but somewhat bizarre idea that Sandy would be injected with jet stream energy and curve back toward New England as a stunningly strong storm. Now one model after the other, including the ensembles, are favoring a swing back toward the East Coast after the storm goes by Cape Hatteras.”
Meteorologists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center near Miami were more cautious, saying it's too early to know whether the scary scenario will play out.
“There are some models that are showing that, and there are also some models that show it will go out east toward the ocean. It’s really too early to tell,” said NHC hurricane specialist Robbie Berg.
“If this storm hits, it would probably be a billion-dollar storm,” Masters said.
The timing of a major storm hitting right before Election Day is not lost on the environmental community, which has taken both presidential candidates to task for not adequately communicating the threat of climate change on the campaign trail.
“Sandy is yet another reminder that the candidates should stop competing over who can poison the weather faster with increased oil, gas and coal production,” said Brad Johnson, campaign manager at ClimateSilence.org, a website aimed at getting the candidates to make climate change a major part of the election-year debate. “If they fear that honesty about global warming could cost them votes, they should instead be more concerned that climate silence costs lives.”
Many scientists warn that climate change will cause hurricanes and other storms to become more intense, although they are usually hesitant to connect any one weather event to global warming.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, a climate-change advocacy group that has criticized both Romney and Obama, said he sees little hope that a storm like this would turn climate change into a major issue in Washington.
“These guys will never notice. They've been treated with some kind of special weatherproofing,” he said in an email. “They didn't notice the hottest month in U.S. history [July 2012], nor the drought of their lifetimes — they've got some kind of special coating. A hurricane would roll right off their backs.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82813_Page2.html#ixzz2AKNvmTQAHow's this for some election-year timing: The East Coast faces the real... more
As Hurricane Isaac batters the Gulf Coast, some experts are warning that the storm could threaten more than levees, power lines and gas prices.
Isaac's high winds and rains, they speculate, could also stir up remnant crude oil from the BP's Deepwater Horizon spill -- exposing more residents and wildlife to its potentially toxic effects.
"This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we're going to have to deal with," Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. "The threat is not insignificant."
Up to 1 million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. That oil remains, Graves said, because BP has failed to clean it all up in the more than two years since the tragedy. "That's four to five times the oil that was spilled with the Exxon Valdez," he added.
In total, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico when the offshore rig exploded on April 20, 2010. As HuffPost reported on the spill's two year anniversary, some people, particularly children, may still be dealing with chronic coughs, headaches and other effects of exposure to contaminated air, water and seafood.
Graves fears the hurricane could spawn another wave of similar health issues.
He also noted that hurricane clean up could be complicated by the oil. Debris from a destroyed home, for example, could become hazardous waste and need special, more expensive disposal, rather than simply going to the landfill.
"The frustrating thing is that this could all have been entirely prevented," said Graves. "We've known all this time that oil is there, but BP has not been proactive in trying to remove it."
Mitchell Roffer, president of Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service and an adjunct professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, shares Graves' concerns about the storm dredging up the old crude. "This is something that we talked about way back in May following the gulf spill," he said.
Roffer and others then argued against the widespread use of chemical dispersants to combat what would become the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history.
"All it was doing was putting oil at the bottom of the ocean -- out of sight, out of mind," Roffer said. "I strongly believe that there is going to be some oil coming back up from submerged depths, into the water column and onto beaches."
The idea that oil deep on the ocean floor could be stirred up by a tropical storm is debated, though a growing body of research does support the possibility.
"Winds will push water away from the center of a storm, which causes an upwelling as the ocean tries to adjust," said Nick Shay, professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami. "It brings whatever is near the bottom up higher in the water column and currents can then push it towards the coast."
His research team has found upwellings from prior tropical storms as deep as 1,500 feet. Crude oil settled at such dark, cold depths tends to break down slower than oil closer to the surface.
Robert Weisberg, a marine scientist at the University of South Florida, follows the work of Shay and others. He, too, sees "no reason not to believe" that Deepwater Horizon oil will resurface. "We will know pretty soon," he said. "Isaac will do his own talking."
Less controversial is the potential rise of oil buried in the sand or near the shore of Gulf beaches as the hurricane bears down on the coast.
"That's the most obvious way that the oil might come back into the public eye. Erosion could expose and churn up tar balls and tar mats," said John Amos, president of the nonprofit SkyTruth, where he is urging the public to post photos of oil pollution in the wake of Isaac.
Water surges could also flush water out of marshes -- where BP oil is known to have traveled -- and back into the coastal areas. Sea turtles, added Roffer, would be among the many that could suffer the consequences.
"This is the time of year that these little baby turtles hatch," he said. "Oil is not health food for anyone."
more at the linkAs Hurricane Isaac batters the Gulf Coast, some experts are warning that the storm... more
Isaac is on track to become the first landfalling hurricane this season as it closes in on the Louisiana coast.
http://www.examiner.com/article/isaac-spins-into-4th-atlantic-hurricane-of-season-on-approach-to-louisiana-coastIsaac is on track to become the first landfalling hurricane this season as it closes... more
I think the years of oxycontin abuse have finally pickled Rush's brain.
(thanks again to Copper for this scoop)
http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/08/27/752491/limbaugh-hurricane-isaac/I think the years of oxycontin abuse have finally pickled Rush's brain.... more
The uncertainty on where Tropical Storm Isaac will ultimately make landfall continues as the latest forecast track shifts the storm much further to the west.
http://www.examiner.com/article/mississippi-central-gulf-coast-under-hurricane-watch-as-isaac-track-shifts-westThe uncertainty on where Tropical Storm Isaac will ultimately make landfall continues... more
After days of disorganization, Isaac has gotten its act together and has strengthened into a strong tropical storm.
http://www.examiner.com/article/isaac-strengthens-into-strong-tropical-storm-watch-issued-for-south-floridaAfter days of disorganization, Isaac has gotten its act together and has strengthened... more
I think this is a fair question, don't you?
There is a growing element of willful ignorance carrying the day. Rep. Todd Akins (R-MO) spouted his now infamous lines about women's bodies being able to correct the effects of "legitimate rape" and then said he 'misspoke'. Nothing could be further from the truth. He truly believes every ignorant word.There is a growing element of willful ignorance carrying the day. Rep. Todd Akins... more
The fifth named storm, Ernesto, of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season has formed, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) confirmed Thursday afternoon.
http://www.examiner.com/article/tropical-storm-ernesto-spins-up-the-atlantic-on-path-toward-the-caribbeanThe fifth named storm, Ernesto, of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season has formed, the... more
After the record start to the Atlantic hurricane season from late May into June, no tropical storms formed during the month of July for the first time since 2009.
http://www.examiner.com/article/july-2012-ends-with-no-atlantic-basin-tropical-storms-since-2009After the record start to the Atlantic hurricane season from late May into June, no... more
Biologists, volunteers rush to save Florida butterfly species
By Phil Gast, CNN
updated 10:38 PM EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
The Schaus swallowtail butterfly is contained to a relatively small area in southeast Florida.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues emergency authorization
Biologists hope to capture four females of the species, gather and raise eggs
The Schaus swallowtail butterfly is listed as endangered
It lives only in a small area within South Florida, mostly on small islands
(CNN) -- In a region saturated with spectacular aquamarine waters and bright coral reefs, the colorful Schaus swallowtail butterfly once was a familiar sight as it flitted over Biscayne National Park in South Florida.
But the insect's numbers have declined over the past decade. With only five recent sightings, three confirmed, at the island park, federal wildlife officials are trying to save the species from extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service late last week issued an emergency authorization to collect up to four Schaus swallowtail females within the park and collect and raise their eggs.
"This is a very low number of individuals compared to what should be in the field," said Jaret Daniels, an entomology researcher with the University of Florida.
Biologists and state and federal officials, in a conference call Wednesday, said there was no one factor responsible for the butterfly's decline.
Habitat destruction, drought, hurricanes and pesticide use outside Biscayne National Park are likely contributing, they said.
Also, the Schaus swallowtail's breeding habits aren't helping.
"It has one generation a year, which is unusual for a subtropical butterfly," said Daniels.
The Schaus swallowtail, contained to a relatively small area in southeast Florida, in 1976 was listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened. It reached the endangered status eight years later.
During the 2011 survey, there were 41 sightings, mostly on Elliott Key, the park's largest island. Six of the 41 were found on north Key Largo.
Finding, or for that matter catching, four females won't be easy. Of the five sightings since May, only one was a female.
"This is needle in a haystack stuff," said Elane Nuehring, president of the Miami Blue chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.
Once collected -- very carefully -- females will be temporarily confined in a mesh cage in their natural habitat, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.
The hope is that they will lay eggs on host plants inside the cage. Females will be confined for up to four days and then released. The eggs will be placed in small vials and transported to the University of Florida in Gainesville for rearing.
The butterflies will emerge bearing black-brown wings with yellow markings and a broad rusty patch beneath the hind wing. Adults have a life span of one month.
Captive breeding also was done in the 1980s and 1990s, boosting the Schaus numbers for a time.
"There was great hope at that time the reintroductions would bolster the population," said Nuehring. "As time went on, the reintroduced populations began to dwindle yet again. This time, it has been harder to figure out why."
"Captivation is normally a last-ditch effort," said Ricardo Zambrano, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Surveys of the species, assisted by the North American Butterfly Association and other volunteers, will continue through the end of June.
Normally hardy, the Schaus swallowtail is accustomed to living in a harsh environment that is accompanied by the occasional hurricane.
"Extended drought has played an extensive role in this butterfly's decline," Daniels said.
Biscayne National Park, south of Miami, supports intact native habitat, critical for the Schaus swallowtail's survival, and does not use pesticides to control mosquitoes.
The butterfly's food sources include cheese shrub, guava nectar and the torchwood tree, according to the Butterfly Conservation Initiative.
In a separate habitat restoration project in the area, officials are replacing invasive plant species with ones more typically found in hammock forests, said Dana Hartley, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.
Experts say pollinators such as butterflies are at risk throughout the United States.
Elsa Alvear, chief of natural resources at Biscayne National Park, said the reduced use of pesticides at home and in gardens, coupled with the introduction of native plants, will help their numbers.
Schaus swallowtails are big, charismatic butterflies, said Nuehring.
The butterfly group is concerned about other imperiled butterflies in South Florida and elsewhere.
"Some people might argue extinction is a natural thing, that we lose species all the time," Nuehring said. "(But) you lose genetic diversity whenever something disappears."
.CNN... . Biologists, volunteers rush to save Florida butterfly species By Phil... more
With the extreme weather the country has been experiencing, especially over the last year, wireless carriers and the federal government have teamed up and created a new system to automatically warn people of dangerous weather and other emergencies via a special type of text messaging to cell phones.
http://www.examiner.com/article/cellphones-to-begin-receiving-severe-weather-alerts-first-nationwide-systemWith the extreme weather the country has been experiencing, especially over the last... more
With the start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season less than six weeks away, overall forecasts so far are for the season to be normal to slightly below.
http://www.examiner.com/article/overall-forecasts-for-upcoming-2012-hurricane-season-point-toward-normal-seasonWith the start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season less than six weeks away, overall... more
Forget about a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – autumn looks instead set to feature 80mph winds as Hurricane Katia, which is currently crossing the Atlantic, lines up to strike Britain this weekend.
Though it failed to make landfall in the United States, forecasters are warning Katia may cause trees to fall, along with structural damage and travel delays, in the UK. The first high winds could arrive tomorrow night and severe weather warnings have been issued along the entire western and south western coasts.
The most exposed areas could be hit by 50ft waves, and the predicted gales could coincide with high tides that cause localised flooding – although experts have played down comparisons to the Great Storm of 1987, in which 18 people died.
However, the Met Office admitted that it may be hard to predict where and when the deep, slow-moving depression will strike and advised people to keep up to date with the changing forecast if they were planning to travel. As it sweeps northwards, Katia is expected to lose its tropical character, arriving in the UK as an Atlantic gale.
Chief forecaster at the Met Office, Eddie Carroll, said: "Although it will be very windy everywhere, it is uncertain exactly which parts of the country will see the strongest winds." The extremely windy weather is expected to ease by the middle of the week, although it will remain blustery – continuing the wet start to the autumn, after the coolest summer for 18 years.
More at the linkForget about a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – autumn looks instead... more
Injured pelicans, other birds, rescued in Waveland
Posted: Sep 05, 2011 5:04 PM PDT
Updated: Sep 05, 2011 5:24 PM PDT
By Steve Phillips
WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -
A wildlife rescue team is working to save young pelicans and other birds injured by the tropical storm. Strong winds and pounding waves from the storm system washed ashore several birds that were either injured or exhausted.
With a net in hand, wildlife rescue volunteer Randy Hines captures a young pelican on the beach in Waveland Monday. The bird shows signs of storm trauma: Bruised feet and swollen joints.
"They're bruised from all the paddling they've had to do when getting blown off their islands," Hines said.
Tropical Storm Lee's wind and waves pushed baby pelicans off their nesting grounds.
"The Chandelier Island chain in Louisiana have a lot of rookeries, pelican rookeries out there. And we had the same problem happen in Gustav in 2008, where a lot of them were washed in from those rookeries off of the islands," said Allison Sharpe with the Wildlife Care & Rescue Center.
Healthy pelicans fly off as Hines approaches with the net. The remaining bird, an injured juvenile, was frightened, but unable to fly away.
Anyone who stumbles across an injured pelican should not attempt such a rescue.
"First of all, people have to understand these are federally protected birds and they're not supposed to touch them. We've been receiving calls since late yesterday afternoon about a lot of the birds down here on the beaches with injuries to their wings."
And it's not just pelicans. The group picked up an injured seagull at the Pass Christian Harbor. They also found an exhausted northern gannet is also a storm rescue bird.
"They dive into the water, just like our pelicans, to catch their meal."
The goal is the same for all rescued bird: Nurse them back to health, and return them to where they belong.
"Try to get them re-hydrated, get some food into them, get them where they're old enough to start flying by themselves and to obviously release them."
Again, if you find an injured pelican or other sea bird, you should call the professionals rather than attempt a rescue yourself. You can reach the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center at (228) 669-2737.
.WLOX... . Injured pelicans, other birds, rescued in Waveland Posted: Sep... more
Seeing even only a little bit of what Irene as a tropical storm did in my little community you get a sense of the totality of it. I did today and it also got me thinking that maybe, just maybe the way this trash was lifted from the bay and pushed up onto the grass so strategically was a way for mother nature to tell us that we better start taking responsibility for our actions.
And as I was walking today I saw many downed trees, trees pulled out of the ground from their roots and one beautiful big tree snapped like a twig as if struck by lightning. It's simply physics we need to understand now.Seeing even only a little bit of what Irene as a tropical storm did in my little... more
As Hurricane Irene gradually weakened from a category 2 hurricane to a tropical depression New York residents saw their city prepare for what seemed like the end of the world. As hordes of New Yorkers clamored around grocery stores forcing shortages of water and non perishables on shelves, many wondered if this is sane? Some us saw it this storm for it was, a gross political spectacle of crisis spun by the likes of the weather channel and the federal & local government for something simply dealt with a raincoat.
Just a reminder to our newly arrived New Yorkers... we are not Florida! Chill out
http://gothamist.com/2011/08/27/mta_insider_on_hurricane_irene_wors.phpAs Hurricane Irene gradually weakened from a category 2 hurricane to a tropical... more