Category Archives: Science


On this Saturday 19 August we are eleven weeks and two days into the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which means the ‘official’ Atlantic season is now 43.4% complete. Technically this means we have fourteen weeks and five days left in the season, unless Mother Nature decides to do something different.

More important than how much time is left for the official 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to be over, is the fact that we are approaching what historically  has been the peak of the Atlantic season, the first half of September.

Projected track for Tropical Storm HARVEY, the 8th named tropical cyclone of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, projected track (courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Lab)

The Atlantic has been busy with tropical cyclones so far in 2017, with eight named storms so far; Tropical Storm HARVEY, now in the east-central Caribbean and moving in the general direction of Belize and the Yucatan, is the 8th named tropical cyclone in 2017 in the Atlantic basin.

GOES East infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 08/19/2017 showing tropical storm HARVEY in the Caribbean and several tropical waves following behind all the way to the coast of equatorial Africa

In what could be a possible sign of things to come during the approaching peak of the season, there are several tropical waves and areas of disturbed weather following behind HARVEY to the northeast of Puerto Rico and along ‘hurricane alley’ all the way to the eastern Atlantic waters off the coast of equatorial Africa south of the Cape Verde Islands, which could be seeds for potential cyclogenesis in the basin. A possible contributing factor to such potential cyclonic activity could be the rather warm surface waters along ‘Hurricane Alley’, in the Caribbean and the Gulf and other areas of the Atlantic basin.

Image of 08/18/2017 showing rather warm surface waters of the Atlantic, which are reaching 30 Celsius in some areas, mainly along ‘Hurricane Alley’, in the Caribbean and near Florida and the Bahamas, which are an important contributing factor to potential cyclonic activity

On the other side of the continent, over the eastern waters of the north Pacific, the 2017 hurricane season that officially started on 15 May has also been a busy one so far, with eleven named tropical cyclones in 13 weeks. The latest tropical cyclone there is Tropical Storm KENNETH now moving NNW and away from land.

GOES West infrared image (NOAA) of 19 August 2017 showing Tropical Storm KENNETH moving away from land over tye eastern north Pacific off the coast of Mexico

All interest affected by cyclonic activity generated in the Atlantic basin and in the eastern north Pacific sub-basin must pay attention. Get ready. Be prepared. Remain alert. MITIGATE!

CLIMATE: The United States forsaken opportunities and responsibilities

By: Ricardo A. Alvarez (305)931-0871; 19530 NE 18th Ct, Miami, FL 33179-3656

Last April 24, 2017 the United Kingdom satisfied all its energy needs without using a single ounce of coal to generate power. All of its power was generated by renewables, natural gas and nuclear.

Just a week later on April 30 Germany, the 4th largest economy in the world,  provided  85% of its considerable needs by generating power from renewable sources.

A week ago China, the 2nd largest world economy and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, inaugurated the largest floating solar power plant in the world: a 40 megawatt facility floating on a man-made lake covering the site of an abandoned coal mine.

These are examples of how three of the leading economies in the world are meeting their commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate and their obligations to guard the welfare of their people and our planet Earth. These are examples of what leaders do.

In this context it is also important to note that China has committed to generating at least 20% of their immense power needs from renewable sources by 2030, investing $360 billion to do it while generating 13 million NEW JOBS in the process, which will offset by a large margin those jobs lost as a result of closing obsolete and high polluting coal-fired power plants and coal mines. Truly a smart and forward thinking approach to climate change mitigation.

In addition China is not just talking about doing this things, the country is actually doing what its leaders said they would do. Just in 2015 China installed more than 105,000 power-generating wind turbines and more than 29 million commercial solar power panels. These numbers are not new, China began this gargantuan effort a few years back altering the supply and demand equation in such a way, that it has made renewable energy from solar and wind sources highly competitive with energy derived from fossil fuels. In turn this has driven demand for renewable power even higher, which is already making it cheaper that non-renewable.

In its process of working to meet its commitments, China has also created millions of jobs and a strong niche in the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells, solar panels, and wind turbines, demonstrating with facts that investing in climate change mitigation and renewable energy is good for business and the economy.

In contrast, today 1 June 2017, the current U.S. administration announced it will withdraw from the Paris Agreement giving as a reason the need to protect our economy and jobs, which would suffer, or so the President claims, should the United States reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and invests more on the production of renewable energy. This despite the factual examples summarized before.

The United States will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that will not be parties to the PARIS Agreement on Climate. However in defense on Nicaragua and Syria let us consider the following: Syria has for the past few years undergone a horrible civil war where Syrian citizens have been displaced by the million, and also attacked with outlawed chemical weapons.  It is clear that under its current circumstances Syria is not focusing on climate change or the Paris Agreement. Nicaragua, on the other hand, did not sign the agreement because it considered it not strong enough, but the country has committed  to generating 90% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020. By 2015 Nicaragua had already achieved more that 60% renewable power generation (from hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and wind) compared to less than 15% in the United States.

In taking this action, and several others taken or proposed since Mr. Trump took office, the current administration is not only derelict of its sworn duty to safeguard the welfare of the people, but it is forsaking its responsibility to create jobs and generate business opportunities to underpin our economy. Not to mention that by rejecting facts, reason, and science, which clearly show the exacerbating influence of human activity on our planet’s climate, the President and current administration have chosen to deny the United States a critical opportunity to lead for the benefit of the people and humankind, electing instead to continue to move toward decline.