Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Day 2007 (open trackbacks)

I want to wish all my blogger friends and family a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year. An old Irish saying goes something along the lines of:

"May the best thing that happened this past year be the worst thing that happens to you next year."
I once knew an Irish priest who accidentally said that backwards and was accused of laying a curse on someone. OOPS!

Growing up in the NY metro area, one of my favorite holiday traditions was watching the ball drop over Times Square in New York City. Ever since I was old enough to stay up to see the ball drop it has always been a key part of any party or celebration that I was at. Here in Houston there is no special tradition like this. Some cities have fireworks displays but nothing that rivals the July 4th fireworks. We've popped off some fireworks when we lived outside city limits but we cannot so that anymore. The NY ball drop is also not very well coordinated here. Many of the TV stations carry it live which means that the we see the ball come down at 11:00 pm instead of midnight. It is a little disappointing and when I have made a big deal of it being the New Year on the east coast (in real time if you will) people look at me like I am an idiot.

So tonight we'll watch the ball drop at 11 like normal and that will let me get the little kids in bed an hour early. And then at midnight we'll usher the new year in with the older kids who are still at home and not at parties with some wine or champaign and maybe listen for the booms and bangs of a few firecrackers and bottle rockets.

From the Times Square

History of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball

Revelers began celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square. This original Ball, constructed of iron and wood and adorned with 100 2
5-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of iron replaced the original.

The Ball has been lowered every year since 1907, with the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when its use was suspended due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square in those years greeted the New Year with a moment of silence followed by chimes ringing out from One Times Square.

In 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum ball weighing a mere 150 pounds. This aluminum Ball remained unchanged until the 1980s, when red light bulbs and the addition of a green stem converted the Ball into an apple for the "I Love New York" marketing campaign from 1981 until 1988. After seven years, the traditional Ball with white light bulbs and without the green stem returned to brightly light the sky above Times Square. In 1995, the Ball was upgraded with
aluminum skin, rhinestones, strobes, and computer controls, but the aluminum ball was lowered for the last time in 1998.

For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration at the Crossroads of the World, the New Year's Eve Ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal. The new crystal Ball combined the latest in technology with the most traditional of materials, reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millenium.

About "Time-Balls"

The actual notion of a ball "dropping" to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year's Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first "time-ball" was installed atop England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. This ball would drop at one o'clock every afternoon, allowing the captains of nearby ships to p
recisely set their chronometers (a vital navigational instrument).

Around 150 public time-balls are believed to have been installed around the world after the success at Greenwich, though few survive and still work. The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day - and of course, once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight not for a few ships' captains, but for over one billion people watching worldwide.

The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Today

The current version of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball, designed by Waterford Crystal, made its first descent during the last minute of the 20th century, at the Times Square 2000 Celebration.

The Ball is a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, and weighs approximately 1,070 pounds. It is covered with a total of 504 Waterford crystal triangles that vary in size and range in length from 4.75 inches to 5.75 inches per side.

For the 2007 New Year's Eve celebration, 72 of the crystal triangles feature the new "Hope for Peace" design, consisting of three dove-like patterns symbolizing messengers of peace. The remaining 432 triangles feature Waterford designs from previous years, including the Hope for Fellowship, Hope for Wisdom, Hope for Unity, Hope for Courage, Hope for Healing, Hope for Abundance, and Star of Hope triangles. These crystal triangles are bolted to 168 translucent triangular lexan panels which are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball. The exterior of the Ball is illuminated by 168 Philips Halogená Brilliant Crystal light bulbs, exclusively engineered for the New Year's Eve Ball to enhance the Waterford crystal. The interior of the Ball is illuminated by 432 Philips Light Bulbs (208 clear, 56 red, 56 blue, 56 green, and 56 yellow), and 96 high-intensity strobe lights, which together create bright bubbling bursts of color. The exterior of the Ball features 90 rotating pyramid mirrors that reflect light back into the audience at Times Square.

All 696 lights and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors are computer controlled, enabling the Ball to produce a state-of-the-art light show of eye-dazzling color patterns and a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square. The New Year's Eve Ball is the property of the building owners of One Times Square.

Trackbacked to: Dumb Ox News, Woman Honor Thyself, 123 Beta, ABFreedom, Dragon Lady's My Republican Blog , Gobbleblog, Don Surber

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Track Santa's ride into town

Use this link to track Santa tonight direct from NORAD - the North American Air Defense Command

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to all my new friends (and open trackback holiday)

Merry Christmas to all of my new friends from our humble abode here in Houston.

I started blogging early in 06 thanks to help and support from The Dumb Ox. In June I started GCHT thinking I would have a bunch to wrote about for the 2006 hurricane season. Well that didn't happen, fortunately.

What did happen is that I met some people I consider to be friends. NY, Alberta, Austin, Bayonne, Phoenix, San Francisco by way of Honolulu, right here in Houston and a few other places location unknown. With y'alls help I have met people from all over the world and I've learned so much on many different topics. I hope you all have a very blessed and happy Christmas.

I hope we all get much of what we want and not too much of what we actually deserve :-) LOL

Many years ago my aunt gave me a decoration for under the Christmas tree of Santa with his hat off kneeling in front of baby Jesus. That is probably my favorite decoration of the season. It is certainly the most meaningful to me. I call it "Priorities". I hope with all of the last minute rushing around and the craziness of all the commercialization that we can all remember this statuette and make an attempt to keep our priorities straight and in the proper perspective.

Remember, over 2,000 years ago a solitary light came into the world and lit up the place forever. Let us all remember that the light of the world is the most important in all that we do and Jesus is that light. Let's let His birth shine and not just hide Him under a bushel basket in a misguided attempt to not offend anyone.

Finally, all of my trackbacks are open all the time. I just want to emphasize that especially this Christmas week. I am sending this post out to all my friends. Send me yours back and have a blessed week.

Trackbacked to: Dumb Ox News, Woman Honor Thyself, 123 Beta, ABFreedom
, Dragon Lady's My Republican Blog , Michelle Malkin, Bottom Line Up Front (Amy Proctor), Speed of Thought

Friday, December 15, 2006

Effect of climate change on hurricanes

More discussion on the potential for global warming to affect the number and intensity of hurricanes .

Kerry Emmanuel of MIT used historical data to show that hurricanes have become substantially more powerful over the past 50 years. Peter Webster at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and colleagues, suggested there have been more severe tropical cyclones and fewer weaker storms in the last 30 years.

Alternately, as I reported in an earlier post, Kazuyoshi Oouchi of the Advanced Earth Science and Technology Organization in Japan, used some of the highest-resolution models available to show that a warmer climate should reduce the number of tropical cyclones globally...

The Atlantic is unique in that the temperature regularly alternates between the 27C threshold associated with hurricane formation while the other oceans around the globe generally remain above 27C. This explains why the Atlantic has a regular hurricane season while the Pacific is susceptible to cyclone formation year-round.

Of course the big argument is whether the temperature variations are natural or man-made. So either we will have more hurricanes or less and it might be our fault or it may be natural. Doesn't sound like much of a consensus to me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Burden of proof (Part 2)

Another article supporting my comments from earlier. Anyone can spout alarmist nonsense without question, but when a real expert in the field tries to discuss actual data and honest research he is immediately discredited.

You're a respected scientist, one of the best in your field. So respected, in fact, that when the United Nations decided to study the relationship between hurricanes and global warming for the largest scientific endeavour in its history -- its International Panel on Climate Change -- it called upon you and your expertise.

You are Christopher Landsea of the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory. You were a contributing author for the UN's second International Panel on Climate Change in 1995, writing the sections on observed changes in tropical cyclones around the world. Then the IPCC called on you as a contributing author once more, for its "Third Assessment Report" in 2001. And you were invited to participate yet again, when the IPCC called on you to be an author in the "Fourth Assessment Report." This report would specifically focus on Atlantic hurricanes, your specialty, and be published by the IPCC in 2007.

Then something went horribly wrong. Within days of this last invitation, in October, 2004, you discovered that the IPCC's Kevin Trenberth -- the very person who had invited you -- was participating in a press conference. The title of the press conference perplexed you: "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity." This was some kind of mistake, you were certain. You had not done any work that substantiated this claim. Nobody had.

As perplexing, none of the participants in that press conference were known for their hurricane expertise. In fact, to your knowledge, none had performed any research at all on hurricane variability, the subject of the press conference. Neither were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability, you knew, showed no reliable upward trend in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes. Not in the Atlantic basin. Not in any other basin.

The article continues to explain this slight and we see how once again qualifications and credentials don't matter, only that you stay on message... even if the message is faulty or outright false.

Trackbacked to: Dragon Lady's World,Perri Nelson's Website, Right Wing Nation, Woman Honor Thyself,

Friday, December 08, 2006

Looking ahead to 2007

The 2006 hurricane season has just finished and already we are starting to see predictions for next year. This article (H/T Drudge Report), predicts the same type of season for 07 that had been originally predicted for 06. This is certainly reasonable considering that we are in a period of high tropical activity in the Atlantic. We need to be prepared for several years of high activity before we see a drop off.

"Based on current and projected climate signals, Atlantic basin and US landfalling tropical cyclone activity are forecast to be 60 percent above the 1950-2006 norm in 2007," said Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), a London-based consortium.

"There is a high (around 80 percent) likelihood that activity will be in the top one-third of years historically," it added in its press release.

It gave the rough forecast of more than 15 tropical storms, of which nearly nine would be hurricanes, and nearly four intense hurricanes.

Trackbacked to: Dumb Ox News, Woman Honor Thyself, 123 Beta

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant but lead is OK???!?

This takes the cake. The Supreme Court is currently deciding a case on whether the EPA has to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The effect of this ruling could result in auto manufacturers having to control the emissions of this vital trace gas from new vehicles. California is suing auto makers to force them to reduce CO2 emissions and I am certain there will be penalties for past releases of this pollutant.

Now the same EPA is actually considering de-listing lead as a pollutant.

In trying to obtain legal standing and public policy to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the alarmists have been increasingly referring to CO2 as a pollutant. By referring to CO2 as a pollutant often enough, the radical alarmists are conditioning the public that CO2 is dangerous and must be eliminated. Forget the fact that we exhale it every breath.
U.S. environmental regulators are considering removing lead, a heavy metal linked to learning problems in children, from a list of regulated pollutants because past rules have greatly reduced levels of the toxin.
In considering taking lead off the list of pollutants the EPA is not saying that it does not cause harm, the argument is that since the concentration of lead in the atmosphere has been reduced so much, we no longer need to consider it a pollutant and can just handle it like any other ordinary matter.
The EPA said that from 1980 to 2005 the national annual lead concentrations have dropped more than 90 percent.
OK so just because we've been successful in eliminating this dangerous heavy metal compound from the environment means that it is no longer dangerous? Have we somehow changed the chemical structure and physical properties of lead so that it is now inherently safe? NO!

Lead is a heavy metal. It is a neuro toxin. It attacks the central nervous system and the liver and can be deadly in very small amounts. Carbon dioxide is the natural end product of complete combustion. It is the natural product of normal respiration and is critical for life to exist on this planet or any other planet.

I'm trying to put all of this in perspective:
  • Real data shows that CO2 is harmless so we better ban it
  • Lead is very harmful and has been shown to be a potent chronic toxin but we'll consider calling it safe.
I guess we can sum this up with a quote from the wise Forrest Gump:

Stupid is as stupid does!

Trackbacked to: Dumb Ox News, Woman Honor Thyself, 123 Beta

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another study linking hurricane frequency with global warming - inversely

You read that correctly. The attached article from World Climate Report (hat-tip Junk ) discussed a study in which the frequency of Tropical Storms would decrease by as much as 36.6%.

The first study discussed was by two LSU scientists published in Geophysical research Letters. In short:

They gathered data on start dates of hurricanes from 1851-2005, and found that “Other seasons with storms with early dates of occurrence include 1887, 1933, 1936, and 1995.” There is no trend here with three of the five years with early storms occurring between 1887 and 1936. They made no link to global warming, but they did conclude “All of these seasons are associated with a positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” which is the warm phase of the oscillation. (Emphasis added)
In the other research article, from The Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan, Yoshimura et. al. developed a model to investigate the effect of global warming on tropical cyclone activity. Their model accurately simulated the geographical distribution of tropical systems and realistically accounted for El Nino and La Nina conditions. One of the most frequent complaints about the models used to predict the potential effects of Global Warming is that the models do not accurately calculate the data to date yet alone predict the future. So this model is ahead of the curve to begin with.

Now for the bottom line on tropical storms (TS) and tropical depressions (TD) from the recent research out of Japan. In the global warming experiments, the team found the “frequency of TS formation decreases by 9.0–18.4% globally, and some of these changes are statistically significant. Total frequency of TSs and TDs decreases significantly in all of the warm-climate experiments. For relatively intense TCs (e.g., maximum surface wind > 25 m s-1), there are no coherent changes in global frequency.”

Is this big news that should surprise anyone inter
ested in the subject? No — Yoshimura et al. present the table below showing the results from other research in which scientists used high resolution general circulation models to investigate hurricane frequency in response to global warming. As we see in their table, Bengtsson et al. (in 1996) gave it a go and found that global warming would decrease tropical storm frequency by 36.6% (Bengtsson et al. find similar results in a paper published too recently to be included in Yoshimura’s Table, see here for our coverage of the recent Bengstsson findings of decreased TC activity in a CO2-warmed world). Sugi et al. took a stab at the “problem” and found a 33.6% decrease in storm frequency (we are noticing a trend here) thanks to global warming. Yoshimura et al. used their various deep convection algorithms and found anywhere from a 9.0% to a 18.4% decrease in the tropical storms.

The reason I am bringing these studies up is that this is significant in the fact that the results of the study are the exact opposite of the claims by Gore and other global warming alarmists and that this is not being published anywhere except at the World Climate report. Maybe the half dozen or so of you who read my blog can help spread this information to show that the science regarding climate change is nowhere near being complete or fully understood and that the debate is just starting.

Trackbacked to: Dumb Ox News, Woman Honor Thyself, 123 Beta, Don Surber

2010 Atlantic Hurricanes (courtesy of

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Radar (courtesy of

NOAA West Atlantic & Caribbean Radar (courtesy of

NOAA East Atlantic Radar (courtesy of