Tag Archives: extreme rain

The Northern Tropics are Acting-up!

Less than two weeks until the summer solstice marks the northenmost reach of the Sun’s zenith there is an active tropical cyclone, tropical storm ADRIAN, in the eastern Pacific, a tropical wave centered around an area of low pressure just west of the Philippines bringing rain and bad weather to that region, another tropical wave with plenty of stormy weather just off the western coast of India, and over in the Caribbean the remnants of a low pressure cell that flared-up earlier this week remains centered over the basin a day after causing heavy rains and flash flooding in Haiti, which resulted in at least 30 dead.

All in all this tropical activity, early into the 2011 hurricane season [which have different starting dates depending on the specific basin] is a sign of things to come over the next several months worldwide.

Ptojected track for tropical storm ADRIAN as of 8 June 2011 developed by the U.S. Navy reserach laboratory

Tropical storm ADRIAN is moving away from land toward the north by northwest, and it is expected to remain on that track over the next 48-72 hours. Atmospheric conditions ahead of this storm do not appear to be conducive for further development, but interest along the western coast of Mexico and in Baja California should monitor its progress closely to activate emergency plans if needed. The satellite image below shows this tropical cyclone on 8 June 2011:

Infrared satellite image showing tropical storm ADRIAN in the early morning on 8 June 2011

Far to the west over the South China Sea off the western coast of the island of Luzon in the Philippines a tropical wave has flared-up bringing rain, thunderstorms and generally disturbed weather to a wide region. This system is being monitored for potential further development over the next 24-48 hours. The infrared satellite image below shows this weather system on 8 June 2011:

Tropical wave over South China Sea on 8 June 2011

Continuing to move toward the west we find a large tropical wave off the coast of India, near Mumbai, over the Arabian Sea. This system is generating intense rain over the region and it is being monitored closely for potential further strengthening and tropical cyclone development over the next couple of days. The infrared satellite image shows this storm on 8 June 2011:

Active tropical wave in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India on 8 June 2011

Closer to our neck-of-the-woods a center of low pressure over the central Caribbean has shown little movement over the past 12 hours as it continues to generate rain over the major Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola [Haiti, Dominican Republic], Jamaica etc.). Wind shear and other atmospheric conditions over the larger basin are not conducive to further strengthening of this system, but rain remains a threat throughout the region. Interest in the Antilles, the Bahamas and even Florida should continue to monitor this system closely over the next few days.

GOES satellite image showing the low pressure weather system over the Central Caribbean on 8 June 2011

April 2011: Extreme Weather Events

In the spring and early summer of 1998 I researched various sources to write a paper titled  The Need for Action to Confront Potential Consequences of Global Climate Change on a Regional Basis, to set the topics of discussion for one of the regional conferences taking place nationally as part of a National Assessment of Consequences of Global Climate Change in the United States [ or just National Assessment or NA for short] mandated by the U.S. Congress. The specific region for this conference included the U.S. South Atlantic coastal regions of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In writing this paper and conducting my research I was striken by the complexity and interaction of natural processes governing the behavior of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, and the byproducts that become hazards with the potential for causing damage to life, all aspects of human activity and the environment in their paths.

Also significant to me was the realization that: (a) Our Earth’s climate is driven or affected by so many factors acting on time scales that vary from hours or days to millennia, and which in many cases conform to repetitive cycles; (b) While climate may be changing so slowly, almost imperceptebly, in response to a natural cycle lasting thousands of years such as changes in the orbital mechanics of Earth around the Sun and the galactic center, it also has the capacity for being puntuacted by localized extremes such as temperature or atmospheric pressure that lead to weather events that last from hours to days; (c) This contrast between extremely slow change and the turmoil of hourly or daily events requires Nature to constantly activate other components of the ocean-atmosphere complex seeking to restore equilibrium; (d) There is an inherent fragility in this struggle between extremes as climate is actually happening in that thin wispy vail of gases, the atmosphere, surrounding Earth where less than 3/100 of 1% of the component gases contribute to the conditions allowing multicellular – human – life to exist. It is simple to deduct how even minor changes may alter the equilibrium that Nature tries so hard to maintain, leading to potentially dire consequences and change perhaps even for life as we know it.

These findings influenced me not only in my writing of the white paper for the conference, but in naming the upcoming event the Climate Change and Extreme Events Workshop”. In retrospect, since this took place in 1998, I have to say the extreme event characterization was right on target as numerous weather events over the past 13 years have reinforced my ideas and findings expressed in the white paper mentioned above [which you can view by clicking here WHITEPAPERDraft1].

The above thoughts and reference serve as preamble to comments and illustrations I want to share relative to extreme weather events taking place in the United States over just a few passing days this April of 2011. You will find my comments on a brief paper under the title April 2011: Extreme Weather Events, which you can read by clicking of the following link:  April2011ExtremeWeatherEvents