Showing posts with label Sandy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sandy. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Did Sandy trigger major earthquakes off Vancouver?

The NASA image below gives an impression of the strengtrh of hurricane Sandy, as it approached the U.S. coast on October 28, 2012. 

Image produced with data from a radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Oceansat-2,
showing the strength and direction of Sandy’s ocean surface winds on October 28, 2012.
The animation below was created by Alex Hutko, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) in Seattle. It shows how seismic stations lit up as hurricane Sandy continued its path.

 
The images below are screenshots from the animation, showing how three eathquakes hit the coast off British Columbia in Canada, coinciding with large tremors caused by Sandy. A 7.7 magnitude earthquake (image below) hit the coast off Vancouver on October 28, 2012, at around 2:00 EDT. The USGS later upgraded the earthuake to magnitude 7.8 and gave the time as 3:04 UTC.
 
 
A 6.3 earthquake below hit the area the same day (October 28, 2012) at 17:00 EDT (USGS: 18:54 UTC).
 
 
A 6.2 earthquake (image below) followed on October 30, 2012.
 
 
The USGS image below gives further time and location details of these earthquakes using UTC time. 
 
 
There were more earthquakes than that. At the USGS site, I counted 90 further earthquakes in the area with a magnitude of at least 4 that occurred within days of the first earthquake.
 
Paul Beckwith, regular contributor to this blog, gives the following comments on the question whether Sandy was the trigger for major earthquakes off Vancouver.
“Sandy was a massive storm, packing an enormous amount of energy. According to Jeff Master's Wunderground blog, she carried the energy equivalent of five Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.
 
As she approached the eastern seaboard of the United States she was detected on the seismic stations in the U.S. As she moved her large size (tropical storm winds within a 900 mile diameter) and extremely low pressure center (940 mb usually indicative of Category 3 or even 4 magnitude hurricanes), she sucked enormous quantities of ocean water upward.
 
Clearly, this adds tremendous stresses onto the earths crust and pushes it downward; this was reflected in the seismic stations. The animation of her progress shows the ground stresses across North America between October 14th and November 1st. On her northward jaunt up the eastern coast the seismic strain lit up to a peak and there was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake (Oct 28th, 3:04 UTC) off Vancouver, as shown in the first image.
 
As she continued northward and just before her extremely unusual left turn (due to extreme waviness of Rossby wave jet streams leading to continental low and northward tilted blocking high), there was another maximum of red seismic activity and a 6.3 magnitude aftershock (October 28, 18:54 UTC).
 
Then she turned left and as she crossed the coastline just south of NYC there was a second large aftershock of 6.2 magnitude (October 30, 2:38 UTC). Again, this aftershock coincided with large seismic activity indicated in red on the east coast.
 
Coincidence? I think not. Stress on one side of a continental plate (North American plate in this case) can deflect the plate downward locally and cause it to bow up or down afar, i.e. on the other side of the plate of the west coast). The precise coincidence of the timing for the main quake and the 2 aftershocks with peaks of seismic activity on the eastern coast seems to match too closely to be a mere coincidence, but more study is required.”

In conclusion, there is a danger that storms and cyclones trigger submarine earthquakes, which can in turn cause shockwaves and landslides over a wide area, destabilizing hydrates and triggering massive releases of methane in the process. As the sea ice disappears, the Arctic Ocean increasingly features open waters which are more prone to cyclones.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy intensifies climate change debate

By Dorsi Diaz

Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood of Loisaida, October 30, 2012, moments before an explosion at the power substation took out power to the neighborhood. Credit: David Shankbone
Although recent polls show that 70% of people now believe in climate change, recent extreme weather events are sure to drive that number even higher. With the East Coast of the U.S. reeling from the extreme devastation of Hurricane Sandy, attention has been brought back to what caused the Superstorm and why.

Many in the scientific community point to climate change as being a major contributing factor in the unprecedented storm.

Paul Beckwith, climate scientist at The University of Ottawa and member of the Sierra Club Canada, goes into detail in explaining how Hurricane Sandy was fueled by climate change:
“Rising greenhouse gases are rapidly warming our climate with Arctic amplification by 5x due to darkening from sea ice and snow cover collapse. The resulting decrease in temperature gradient between the equator and Arctic slows the jet stream winds which increases their waviness in the north/south direction. Combined with 4% higher water vapor in warmer atmosphere, this waviness makes storms more intense and frequent and larger in size and occur in different places. It made Sandy enormous in size and made her turn left onto the U.S. coast instead of turn right like every other hurricane in history.”

In a comment to Dorsi Diaz, reporter for the Examiner, Beckwith goes on to explain what would have happened had Sandy not been influenced by the climate anomalies that fed into the storm:
“Without the blocking high pressure northward and low pressure trough pulling her to the coastline (from the jet stream waviness) she would have headed harmlessly out to sea. Without the huge waviness of the jets the massive and ongoing drought in the U.S. would not be occurring. As sea ice further declines these storms and drought and all extreme weather events are certain to explode in magnitude, size, and frequency.”

According to Sam Carana, AMEG member (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) and editor of the Arctic-News blog:
“Warming in the Arctic is accelerating at a pace several times that of the rest of the world. This is changing the jet stream, which is what forced Sandy to move inland, to spread out and to hang around for such a long time. Without more effective action on climate change, weather events like this can be expected to hit the U.S. more often and with increasing force in future.”

Although some die-hard climate skeptics say that Hurricane Sandy was not caused or fueled by climate change, that minority seems to be losing ground as evidence piles up in favor of those that believe that extreme weather events are being caused by a warming climate.

Nathan Currier, senior climate advisor for Public Policy Virginia, who also writes about climate change, had this to say about it in a recent article:
“All major components of this super storm show the signature of human-induced climate change to varying degrees, and without global warming the chance of the three occurring together like this would have a probability of about zero. So, let's make it simple, and just say climate change caused this storm.”

In a sampling of Americans, there are some interesting views and comments being made about climate change and its effects on the globe.

Writer Julia Hanna was amazed at Hurricane Sandy’s strength and ferocity,
“I heard about the hurricane from people posting about how the replica ship Bounty went down, and it seemed surreal to hear about a hurricane taking down a ship. I am not a climatologist, but I have never heard of a hurricane of such severity.”

Although losing ships in a hurricane is not a new phenomena, evidence is piling up that devastating hurricanes are on the rise due to global warming. In a report by the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), hurricanes are expected to become more frequent in the coming decades:
“Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause hurricanes globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario). This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size.”

As the clean-up from Hurricane Sandy continues, more people are starting to wonder why we are having such extreme weather events around the globe. Doug Harry, West Coast resident, comments:
“Too many people dismiss climate change. You don’t make mother nature angry.”

Many that Diaz interviewed agree with Doug, that the Earth is now showing us the consequences of not tackling climate change earlier on.

Patrick McNulty, another AMEG member, has some ideas for tackling the problem that climate change is bringing us.
“Not allowing solar radiation to re-radiate back out to space because of fossil fuel GHG's trapping that energy in the atmosphere/oceans raises Earths total energy budget closer to the surface. You can now expect once in a lifetime storms to occur every decade. BTW, my tunnel idea reverses this trend.”

Patrick McNulty proposes tunnels
Patrick’s tunnel idea for dealing with the effects of Arctic ice melting are one of the many “solutions” that are being examined in the response to battling the effects of climate change.

Changing the way we consume fossil fuels is being tackled by other inventive people including an idea that includes the use of “bio-fuel”. One manufacturer of this bio-fuel cites that there would be less impact on our environment, one way to slow down human’s contribution to the problem of our warming climate.

In a opening statement on their website, the makers of the new bio-fuel Envirolene say it's:
“the world’s strongest, cleanest alcohol fuel. It’s a new, more powerful class of ”oxygenate” fuel. It’s stronger and cleaner than ethanol, more profitable to produce, and this new clean fuel powers any gas or diesel engine from a ship to a small engine with no modifications.”

Jay Toups, CEO and managing partner of BioRoot Energy, the makers of Envirolene, comments,
“There are 1 billion plus tailpipes and smokestacks spewing emissions every day. That's the real threat because it never stops.”

Mead Rose, who has also been following the climate change debate for several years, closely follows the melting of the Arctic ice and it’s ramifications.

In one of the articles that Mead submitted, the evidence of climate suppression is exposed. In an 2009 article named, “Group Promoting Climate Skepticism has Extensive Ties to Exxon-Mobil”, evidence makes it clear that there has been an ongoing battle by Big Oil companies to discredit scientific evidence about climate change.

In his blunt statement in the article, Joseph Romm, lauded climate expert and author of the blog Climate Progress, said:
“Exxon-Mobil essentially funds people to lie. It’s important for people to understand that they pay off the overwhelming majority of groups in the area of junk science.”

Joe Romm also makes the connection between Superstorm Sandy and climate change when he stated today at Climate Progress:
“Scientists worst-case scenarios are already happening - latest findings deserve attention so that Sandy doesn't become just another Cassandra whose warnings are ignored. Now climate scientists project that we risk up to 10 times as much warming this century as in the last 50 years — with many devastating consequences from dramatic sea level rise to Dust-Bowlification.”

With the battle over climate change continuing, climate skeptics and disinformation concerns climate scientists who have been trying to warn of catastrophic consequences if we don’t address it now.

One well know climate scientist, Michael Mann, a Penn State University scientist who has been studying the climate for decades, said that ocean waters were about 1 degree warmer thanks to man-made climate change, one factor that clearly caused Sandy to swell. Mann, author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, has been an outspoken critic on the debate over climate change.

Politicians, who used to shy away from the discussion of climate change, are even starting to “come clean” about what’s happening to our climate. With an estimated 3 foot rise in California’s sea level expected by 2100, California Governor Jerry Brown is pulling no punches in dealing with climate change deniers.

In a dire warning the California governor recently said:
Humanity is getting close to the point of no return.

EQECAT, a consultancy based in Oakland, California, estimates the economic losses from Hurricane Sandy at between $30 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, including property damage, lost business and extra living expenses.

The question is now, how much longer can we afford to debate about climate change?


From an article posted earlier at Examiner.com - posted with the author's permission

Related

Read other eye-opening reports by Dorsi Diaz on what happens next if unchecked climate change continues:
Climate Change: Extreme Weather, Storms and Hurricane Sandy
The Tipping Point - a Global Climate Change Warming Point of No Return
The Arctic Sea Ice is Melting: What Does This Mean For Us?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hold on folks… the times they are a-changin’

Melting Arctic sea ice aims Frankenstorm Sandy directly at the Big Apple
Paul Beckwith,
B.Eng, M.Sc. (Physics),
Ph.D. student (Climatology)
and Part-time Professor,
University of Ottawa
 
by Paul Beckwith

Frankenstorm Sandy is a scary beast. A hybridization between a tropical hurricane and a mid-latitude cyclone, her behavior is not natural at all. Moving northward off the east coast, Sandy is turning left toward land instead of right toward the sea. Sandy’s being blocked from moving north by a high pressure area of enormous magnitude, and being sucked west by a low pressure region of very exceptional (and highly unusual) strength.

Thus the designation “Frankenstorm”.

Because the Earth rotates on its axis, circulating air deflects toward the left in the Southern Hemisphere and to the right in the Northern Hemisphere. This deflection is called the Coriolis Effect and explains why storms in the northern hemisphere generally always turn to the right. Sandy should be turning right.
The Coriolis Effect - image credit: NOAA

So why is Sandy turning left towards the U.S. east coast? That’s where meteorology comes in - and the meteorology is now a lot different thanks to climate change. How so?

As I wrote in my last blog, push something and it moves a little … push it a little more and it moves a little more. This is called a “linearity” response. But sometimes a little push can lead to something totally unexpected! This is called “nonlinearity” and, contrary to what one might think, nonlinearities are inherent in most systems - like our atmosphere. Until recently, our atmosphere and oceans behaved like linear systems: incremental dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere caused incremental changes, like rising temperatures and predictable rates of ice melt. But things are now changing unexpectedly fast – nonlinearity is kicking in! Make no mistake about it, Frankenstorm Sandy IS a nonlinearity event; totally unpredicted and totally unprecedented - the latest example of global weirding.

For the first time in at least 3 million years, the Arctic icecap will soon completely disappear. Without it, sunlight that would normally reflect back out to space will be absorbed by the water - warming it and the air above it. The old climate models predicted the Arctic Ocean wouldn't be ice-free for 30 years or more, but now we know it could be gone in as little as 3 years (and no more than 7). When this happens, the temperature differential (between the Northern and Southern hemispheres) will be reduced even further, and in short time.

NASA image with data from the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Special Sensor Microwave/Imager.
The line on the image shows the average minimum extent from the period covering 1979-2010, as measured by satellites. 
Meteorology 101 shows us this change (reduction) in the temperature differential slows west-to-east winds and jet streams. And as fast jet streams slow, they become much wavier and travel much more north and south (this is contributing to the large high pressure area we are seeing directly north of Hurricane Sandy and large low pressure area over the United States).

If you think this storm is bad, get used to it. Frakenstorms like Sandy will become commonplace, the new norm, as it were.

As I write this blog for Sierra Club Canada, Frankenstorm Sandy maintains (and may even be gaining) strength as she approaches the U.S. coast. She’s expanded in size so much that gale force winds are now covering an area over 1500 km in diameter.

Sandy is now the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Her winds have reached 150 kilometers per hour and her barometric pressure has dropped to 940 millibars (among the lowest pressure ever measured anywhere in the continental United States).

As I’ve been predicting in my blog since August, hold on folks… the times they are a-changin’.

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured this image of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28 at 1302 UTC (9:02 a.m. EDT).
The line of clouds from the Gulf of Mexico north are associated with the cold front that Sandy is merging with.
Sandy's western cloud edge is already over the mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. (Credit: NASA GOES Project)
Originally posted October 29, 2012, at Sierra Club Canada; posted here with author's permission

Forces behind Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy hit North America's east coast in a devastating way. This justifies an analysis of the forces behind Sandy and the links with global warming and climate change.

Global warming causes temperatures of oceans and the atmosphere to rise. A warming Gulf Stream fuels hurricanes traveling north along North America's east coast.

More heat translates into more wind; specifically, stronger hurricanes are getting stronger over the years, as illustrated by the inmage on the right from James Elsner et al. (2008).

Additionally, sea levels are rising, especially on the Atlantic coast of North America, which is a hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise, as described in a study by Sallenger et al. (2012).

Generally, global warming will cause more extreme weather events, says James Hansen (2012). This is especially the case for heavy rainfall events, since global warming causes more evaporation of seawater, while warm air can also carry more water. According to Kevin Trenberth (2011), the water holding capacity of air increases by about 7% per 1°C warming, which leads to increased water vapor in the atmosphere. Hence, storms, whether individual thunderstorms, extratropical rain or snow storms, or tropical cyclones, supplied with increased moisture, produce more intense precipitation events. All this leads to a greater hurricane danger; they can be expected to be stronger and wetter, causing flooding and further devastation along the east coast of North America.

The situation in the Arctic is making things even worse. Several studies, such as by Jennifer Francis (2012), by Greene et al. (2012) and by Liu et al. (2012), show that atmospheric circulation is changing as a result of sea ice loss. This circulation change results in more frequent episodes of blocking patterns that lead to increased cold surges over large parts of northern continents. Moreover, sea ice loss results in an increase in atmospheric water vapor content in the Arctic region during late autumn, and this provides enhanced moisture sources.

More open water in the Arctic Ocean results in more warming of the overlying atmosphere. This warming can be expected to change precipitation. An analysis by Julienne Stroeve (2011) shows an autumn increase in cyclone-associated precipitation over the past decade, linked to a shift in atmospheric circulation towards more frequent and more intense cyclones in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic.

The authors added that more research was needed; indeed, the devastation caused by Sandy calls for further analysis. Warming in the Arctic is accelerating at a pace several times that of the rest of the world, as a result of multiple feedbacks as described in the post Diagram of Doom; changing of the jet stream is only one out of multiple feedbacks.

Changes to the jet stream were behind Sandy's path inland. A strong and prolonged high pressure area over Greenland blocked Sandy from going north or east. This also caused it to spread out and to hang around for such a long time.

Big changes are taking place in the Arctic, in terms of sea ice loss, snow line retreat and albedo change in Greenland. Without more effective action on climate change, weather events like this can therefore be expected to hit the east coast of North America more often and with increasing force in future.


References

- The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones, James Elsner et al. (2008)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7209/abs/nature07234.html

- Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America, Asbury Sallenger et al. (2012)
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1597.html

- Perception of climate change, James Hansen et al. (2012)
http://www.pnas.org/content/109/37/E2415

- Changes in precipitation with climate change, Kevin Trenberth (2011)
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/SSD_Trenberth_2nd_proof.pdf

- Linking Weird Weather to Rapid Warming of the Arctic, Jennifer Francis (March 2012)
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/linking_weird_weather_to_rapid_warming_of_the_arctic/2501/

- An Arctic wild card in the weather, Chuck Greene and Bruce Monger (2012)
http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/25-2_greene.html
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/June12/arcticWildcard.html

- Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall, Jiping Liu et al. (2012)
http://www.lasg.ac.cn/UpLoadFiles/File/papers/2012/2012-pnas.jiping_liu.pdf

- Attribution of recent changes in autumn cyclone associated precipitation in the Arctic, Julienne Stroeve et al. (2011)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0870.2011.00515.x/abstract
http://www.tellusa.net/index.php/tellusa/article/view/15846/17736
poster at:
http://soa.arcus.org/sites/soa.arcus.org/files/sessions/2-3-arctic-change-and-natural-variability/pdf/stroeve.pdf

Related

- Warming Gulf Stream causes methane release
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/10/warming-gulfstream-causes-methane-release.html

- Diagram of Doom
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/08/diagram-of-doom.html

- Opening further Doorways to Doom
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/08/opening-further-doorways-to-doom.html

- Climate Change Sandy Says to US: 'Take That, Idiots!'
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/10/climate-change-sandy-says-to-us-take-that-idiots.html

- Hurricane Sandy moving inland
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-moving-inland.html

- Big changes in Arctic within years
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/10/big-changes-in-arctic-within-years.html

Monday, October 29, 2012

Climate Change Sandy Says to US: 'Take That, Idiots!'

By Nathan Currier


Superstorm Sandy shows signature of human-induced climate change 

Nathan Currier, senior climate advisor for Public Policy Virginia

After the second presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley said, "Climate change -- I had that question, all you climate change people. We just -- you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing, so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy." And the media's been talking about low information voters?

Now, along comes Sandy, who says to Candy, "Okay, then, take that!" See, Sandy doesn't get into debating these things, either. Now, let's see what Sandy's bill ends up being -- anyone taking bets? -- then let's sit down and talk some economy. In fact, there's an idea: Maybe a new American pastime could be organized 'disaster gambling,' with states collecting revenue as everyone bets on the tab for each new upcoming climate change disaster in their respective states?

Perhaps some still take issue with the suggestion that a superstorm like this is caused by our human-engendered climate change. But cigarette packages say things like, "cigarettes cause fatal lung disease." This, of course, is just shorthand, a monumental simplification, because in fact causation in complex systems is always a vastly complicated affair, and tobacco companies spent lots of money blowing smoke in the face of all that complexity: but the likelihood of getting lung disease is so greatly increased by smoking that eventually they gave up and we all agreed to go 'low-info' by just saying cigarettes cause fatal lung disease. As I'll demonstrate, in much the same way, we might as well keep it simple and just say this superstorm is caused by our human-made climate change.

I've been writing on the arctic crisis, and in a recent long list of immediate physical changes from loss of summer arctic sea ice, I listed (as #12) its potential impacts on weather at lower latitudes. It so happens that it is just at this time of year that this has the clearest line of causation, since lots of heat and moisture enter the atmosphere from the open waters that had been ice covered, and latent heat is released in the refreezing process, which progresses rapidly as the arctic cools down right around now. As Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University described in a recent paper: "This warming is clearly observable during autumn in near-surface air temperature anomalies in proximity to the areas of ice loss."

And this in turn becomes very important for large-scale atmospheric circulation. For example, Dr. Francis has used the metaphor of a river going down a steep incline, which runs straight, versus a river that runs along a flat plain, which tends to meander. Likewise the jet stream, since the normal energy gradient between arctic air and that of lower latitudes has become more relaxed in tandem with ice extent drops, is tending to meander more, and hence move more slowly as well. As the Francis paper said, "Previous studies support this idea: weaker zonal-mean, upper-level wind* is associated with increased atmospheric blocking events in the northern hemisphere." [*she means high west-east moving winds]

Let's look back again at this superstorm, and you'll see that important features of what you're about to experience stem from the arctic situation I've been discussing. First, arctic air is coming down to hook up with Sandy from the dip of the jet stream. Francis writes (from personal communication),
"The huge ice loss this summer, and subsequent enhanced warming of the Arctic (see attached figure), may be playing an important role in the evolution of Sandy by enhancing the amplitude of waves in the jet stream."

At the same time, high pressure over Greenland, and the extremely negative state of the North Atlantic Oscillation, is creating a blocking event that is impacting the path of Sandy herself, sending her back west over the U.S. Again, Dr. Francis (in personal communication):
"In this case, the effects could be causing strengthening of the block, elongating the block northward, and/or increasing its duration -- and this block is what's driving Sandy on such an unusual track westward into the mid-Atlantic coast."

Now, let's add to all that the underlying and obvious thing -- that Sandy is only surviving as a hurricane so far north, almost in November, because there are record high sea surface temperatures off the U.S. East coast right now. And while the third storm component, the one coming in from the west, might seem less remarkable, that is also something that generally becomes more probable with global warming, as our atmosphere can hold more water vapor as it warms and the evaporation rate is also increased by the warming. Thus, all major components of this superstorm show the signature of human-induced climate change to varying degrees, and without global warming the chance of the three occurring together like this would have a probability of about zero. So, let's make it simple, and just say climate change caused this storm.

I'm in New York City, just as much in the path of Sandy as so many others are, but come on, you do just have to sit back and love it, appreciate the full irony of it all, with Sandy striking right at those most sensitive loins of our American democracy, threatening to interrupt our sacred electoral process, after that process blocked climate change out, and now an atmospheric blocking pattern, created by that very climate change, pushes Sandy back on us. In a time when climate silence trumps climate science, when the candidates seem terrified to mention the 'C-word,' Candy, I hope you enjoy meeting Sandy. Maybe if the election gets as messed up as 2000, you three can even find time to meet up again, and go over a little issue you couldn't quite find time to fit in before? In my next piece I'll get back back to discussing what we should do right away, and hopefully it will at least be a bit clearer that this is serious business.

[First posted at the Huffington Post; posted with author's permission]

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy moving inland

Hurricane Sandy is moving inland and its impact is forecast to be felt as far away as in Toronto and Ottawa.

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone
Hurricane SANDY Advisory #019       11:00 PM EDT Fri October 26, 2012
from:  National Hurricane Center (check link for updates!)



Paul Beckwith,
B.Eng, M.Sc. (Physics),
Ph.D. student (Climatology)
and Part-time Professor,
University of Ottawa
 
This prompted Paul Beckwith to make the following comments:

All storms veer to the right in the northern hemisphere due to the spinning of the earth (1 revolution per day). Except when there is a tilted high pressure region northward and it has to go left and there is a massive low pressure region left that sucks it there as well. 

Why the high pressure ridge and massive low pressure? Because the jet stream is wavier and slower, a situation that is happening more and more often, because of massive sea ice decline this summer. Which is due to Arctic amplification feedbacks. Which in turn is due to rising greenhouse gases. Which is due to humans.

The situation is further illustrated by the image below, from ClimateCentral.

An atmospheric "blocking pattern" will push Sandy north, then northwestward, into the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast. Click to enlarge the image.     Credit: Remik Ziemlinski, Climate Central.
In an earlier post, Paul Beckwith described that a very rare cyclone churned up the entire Arctic region for over a week in early August 2012, destroying 20% of the ice area by breaking it into tiny chunks, melting it, or spitting it into the Atlantic. Cold fresh surface water from melted sea ice mixed with warm salty water from a 500 metre depth! Totally unexpected. A few more cyclones with similar intensity could have eliminated the entire remaining ice cover. Thankfully that didn't happen. What did happen was Hurricane Leslie tracked northward and passed over Iceland as a large storm. It barely missed the Arctic this time. Had the storm tracked 500 to 600 kilometres westward, Leslie would have churned up the west coast of Greenland and penetrated directly into the Arctic Ocean basin.

We dodged a bullet, at least this year. This luck will surely run out. What can we do about this? How about getting our politicians to listen to climatologists, for starters.

Below, rainfall forecast from the Hydrometereological Prediction Center of the National Weather Service - check the link for updates! 




Related

- Vanishing Arctic sea ice is rapidly changing global climatearctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/09/vanishing-arctic-sea-ice-is-rapidly-changing-global-climate.html

- Storm enters Arctic region

- Huge cyclone batters Arctic sea ice
arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/08/huge-cyclone-batters-arctic-sea-ice.html