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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

This March 4th is my 20th anniversary in Texas. I arrived 3 years to the day before my oldest daughter was born with my Mazda 626 filled to the brim with everything I could bring. I took a slow trip down from New Jersey taking 4 days to work my way down along Interstate 81 to I-59 to I-10. I remember the worst storm I had ever seen when I stopped at the Holiday Inn in Slidell, La (just north of New Orleans) and the lady in the lounge telling my "Honey, it gets a whole lot worse where you're going." Maybe that's when my interest in hurricanes and tropical storms started.

One of the things that has always gotten me in trouble was my refusal to accept the time change from real United States of America, this is what the country runs to time (aka Eastern Standard Time) to Central Time (or this is where we live so get used to it time).

The BC comic above shows this well. Whenever we stay home, we watch the ball drop in Times Square. The ball comes down at 12:00 midnight EST. That is when the new year comes to the US. In my pea brain, that is the perfect time to start drinking champaign and kissing and shouting Happy New Year. Of course the Texas-born wife looks at me like I'm a dork and says that it's not midnight yet so just settle down. That whole idea of partying from when the ball drops to midnight local time is a myth!

Of course this comes in handy now. We let the little ones watch the ball drop and wish them a Happy New Year and put them to bed at 11. Then we adults with the teenagers can enjoy the change of the Year without the kiddoes getting in the way. I guess it works best this way.

To all my blog family -

Have a very happy and safe 2008. May the best that happened last year be the worst happens this year.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Trackposted to
Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Is It Just Me?,, Rosemary's Thoughts, 123beta, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid,, Cao's Blog, Leaning Straight Up, Big Dog's Weblog, Conservative Cat, Adeline and Hazel, Pursuing Holiness, Nuke's, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Tropical Season Wrap-Up

Well, I guess it is time for a very overdue wrap up of the rather unusual 2007 tropical season. I have been holding out waiting for one last storm to sprout up before the end of the year.

With Andrea showing up 20 days before the season started and Olga forming 10 days after it was supposedly over, the initial thought would be that this was a very active season. In fact, as far as named storms was concerned, the Atlantic basin did experience a higher than normal tropical season that met the predictions of the forecasters for overall tropical storms.

I think it is important to recognize that the storm predictions are for the entire Atlantic Basic - The Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It is not a prediction of how many storms will hit any one area (although there were plenty of estimates in that regard as well).

So, including Andrea and Olga, there were 15 named storms for 2007 (The graphic to the right ends at Dec 1 and does not include Olga). There were also 2 tropical depressions that failed to strengthen to Tropical Storm strength. (Source: Wikipedia). This is an above average season, while last year was slightly below average.

Now when we look at the number of hurricanes, the story is less interesting. Only 5 storms grew to hurricane strength. Two of those storms intensified to Category 5, both of which slammed into Central America around Belize, Nicaragua and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. This count is much less than predicted.

The excitement over 2007 diminishes even more when we look at the total energy consumed by these storms. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index is a measure of the energy consumed by a tropical cyclone. According to Ryan Maue, PhD Candidate in Meteorology at FSU:
  • The 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season was below-normal and tied for 2002 as the most inactive since the El Nino depressed 1997 season in terms of storm energy [*].
  • When combined, the 2006 and 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Seasons are the least active since 1993 and 1994. When compared with the active period of 1995-2005 average, 2006 and 2007 hurricane energy was less than half of that previous 10 year average. The most recent active period of Atlantic hurricane activity began in 1995, but has been decidedly less active during the previous two seasons.
  • This is even more striking when you look at the entire northern hemisphere. (Source Ryan Maue, FSU)

  • The North Atlantic was not the only ocean that experienced quiet tropical cyclone activity. The Northern Hemisphere as a whole is historically inactive. How inactive? One has to go back to 1977 to find lower levels of cyclone energy as measured by the ACE hurricane energy metric. Even more astounding, 2007 will be the 4th slowest year in the past half-century (since 1958) .
  • Fewest Northern Hemisphere Hurricane Days since 1977. 3rd Lowest since 1958 (behind 1977 and 1973). Hurricane Days Graphic
  • When combined, the Eastern Pacific and the North Atlantic, which typically play opposite tunes when it comes to yearly activity (b/c of El Nino), brushed climatology aside and together managed the lowest output since 1977. In fact, the average lifespan of the 2007 Atlantic storms was the shortest since 1977 at just over two days. This means that the storms were weak and short-lived, with a few obvious exceptions. The figures below demonstrate the historic proportions of 2007 Tropical cyclone inactivity.
  • So for the entire northern hemisphere, Atlantic and Pacific Basins, the ACE index indicates that 2007 has been the least active season in the past 30 years. Certainly not meeting the hype from the news media that has been drilled into us since 2005's extremely active season.

    For two years we have heard over and over how the number and intensity of hurricanes would continually increase due to global warming. Al Gore specifically and incorrectly (dishonestly?) linked Katrina to anthropogenic global warming. Well 2006 was a complete dud and 2007 was clearly low in intensity but not in number. Yet CO2 levels are the same as they have been for the past several years. This shows that there is no clear connection between CO2 content and tropical storm occurrences. It also illustrates that the whole climate prediction concept is not accurate.

    There is a big difference between the scientific predictions and analysis of Drs. Gray and Klotzbach and the hype of a overpumped media being stoked by global warming alarmists. The 2007 season was more active than average. The prediction was correct. That only five of them developed into hurricanes and only 2 caused any major damage is a good thing. Sea surface temperature certainly played a big effect with Dean and Felix growing to Cat 5 strength. Having as big or bigger effect is wind shear which, to my knowledge, is not very predictable.

    As individuals, we need to be prepared for a hurricane strike and respond accordingly when appropriate but not to panic. Models and predictions give us a guideline and a glimpse into what might be. Remaining alert and actually observing the conditions around us and those coming towards us are best way to be ready for the next storm.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    Storm Watch with: Outside the Beltway, Stop the ACLU, Is It Just Me?, The Midnight Sun, Rosemary's Thoughts, Stix Blog, Right Truth, Shadowscope, DragonLady's World, Stuck On Stupid, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Chuck Adkins, Pursuing Holiness, Adeline and Hazel, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, DragonLady's World, The Uncooperative Blogger, Pirate's Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Stageleft, Right Voices, Blog @, 123beta, guerrilla radio, Adam's Blog, Cao's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Nuke's, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, CORSARI D'ITALIA, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Sunday, December 23, 2007

    Oh! Tannenbaum

    2007 has been a rather eventful year to say the least. A couple of weeks ago I finally set my mind to it and pulled the Christmas tree and the rest of the decorations out of the crawl space. Setting up our gen-u-ine plastic tree in front of the window sure did brighten up the house. Once I put the tree together and got the lights up the little kids had the fun of putting all the ornaments with Christmas music in the background.

    Boy did they have a blast. Of course only the bottom half of the tree had anything on it at first. I had to help spread stuff up to the upper branches.

    At the other half of the family, I had the usual complaints from the big kids about how we need a real tree and that it just isn't the same. That's because up until a couple of years ago, we used to go out to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a fresh tree. We originally went to K&K in far north Orange County and then to a farm in Anahuac where we had to ride a hay ride out to the area where we could pick out the tree. Both places had great cider and fresh popcorn after the tree was shook, bound and mounted on top of the van.

    The best tree was in 2000. A & I had gotten married the year before and had Ian 11 months later. That year we had the usual 10 ft tall tree that I had been getting in my 18 x 80 single wide. Well this time I wanted a BIG tree. We had a great room with a real high ceiling and I was gonna use it all.

    We got a tree that was so big that I had to climb to the 2nd floor just to put the star on top! It was a beauty, but that wasn't the best part. The best part was that the tree was SOOOOOO big that the bottom branches were high enough off the floor that Ian was able to walk completely underneath the tree without even noticing that it was there.

    It was such a funny site to see this little baby taking his unsteady steps right under the tree like it was the most normal thing around.

    The trees, the gifts, the decorations are great...but let's remember the real reason for our celebration... with appreciation to Mallard Fillmore:

    May you all have a blessed Christmas. I hope we all get most of what we want and not what we deserve. Peace and Love to all.

    Mary Do you know?

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    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    Spreading Holiday Cheer with Stop the ACLU, The Midnight Sun, Rosemary's Thoughts, guerrilla radio, 123beta, Stix Blog, Right Truth, Stuck On Stupid, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Big Dog's Weblog, Chuck Adkins, Conservative Cat, Nuke's, third world county, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Also:Woman Honor Thyself, Dumb Ox Daily News

    Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Ocean Acidity Changing - Is this a problem?

    A buoy in the north Pacific known as Ocean Station Papa has recorded increasing levels of acidity in this section of ocean 700 miles west of Seattle. Is this cause for concern or just an anomaly?

    The concern that as the oceans absorb more CO2, the acidity levels increase endangering aquatic life.

    And some scientists fear that the change may be irreversible.

    At risk are sea creatures up and down the food chain, from the tiniest phytoplankton and zooplankton to whales, from squid to salmon to crabs, coral, oysters and clams.

    The oceans are already 30 percent more acidic than they were at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, as they absorb 22 tons of carbon dioxide a day. By the end of the century, they could be 150 percent more acidic.

    "Everything points to dramatic effects," said Richard Feely, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. "There are suggestions the entire ecosystem could change over time."

    My first thought when I read this was that this could be a genuine concern, if it was real. As I read the article, though, it became obvious that this is another jump to a foregone conclusion. Consider the following points:
    • The higher than normal acidity is being measured on a first of its kind buoy. Well if it is a first device then how can the conclusion be reached that "The oceans are already 30 percent more acidic than they were at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, as they absorb 22 tons of carbon dioxide a day. By the end of the century, they could be 150 percent more acidic." What is the baseline to which this data is being compared.
    • The North Pacific is apparently the end point for the circulation of the ocean currents as they circulate around the globe.
    As the oceans' deepest waters circulate around the globe, they eventually arrive in the North Pacific, where they rise near the surface before plunging deep again to continue their global journey. When the water arrives in the North Pacific, it's already acidic from the carbon produced by decaying organic material during its 1,000-year journey from the North Atlantic through the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific, Feely said.

    As it surfaces, or upwells, in the North Pacific, the water absorbs even more carbon dioxide from the air. Cold water absorbs more carbon dioxide than warm water does.

    "The older water is in the Pacific, the newer water is in the Atlantic," Feely said. "There's 10 percent more carbon dioxide in the Pacific than in the Atlantic."

    Basic conservation of mass says unless there is accumulation of water in the North Pacific, the circulation coming into the region must also be leaving the region. There cannot be an accumulation in one part of a basin so the water into the area must be also laving the area in a steady circulation.
    • Finally, the time scale comes into question -

    Though cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions might slow or reverse global warming, scientist say it could take thousands of years or longer to reverse the increased acidity of the oceans.

    "For all practical purposes this is permanent," Emerson said. "That's not true of temperature. But with ocean acidification the time scales are long."

    Now if it only took 60 or so years for the acidity level to go from "normal" to irreversibly and catastrophically acidic, then why is thousands of years required for the oceans to go back (if this is a real phenomenon).

    OK, there are some real issues involved. The effect of acidic water on fisheries and wild aquatic life is a genuine concern. My issue is the cause and the knee jerk response.
    1. If the region is becoming more acidic, could the increased acidity be caused by acid rain? China is building coal-fired power plants and an exorbitant rate. These plants are not known to have the latest state of the art pollution controls. Nor is the coal likely to be low sulfur. The same issues that affect the northeastern US with acid rain from coal plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania could be the cause for the increased acidity in the north Pacific.
    2. If CO2 absorption is the cause, how does that directly lead to humans being the cause. Several volcanic eruptions have occurred over the past decades that could be the primary contributor to increased CO2. As far as I know, people still can't control or affect volcanic activity.
    Finally, as usual, the mis-interpretation or rush to judgment of raw data is used as justification to enact bad public policy.
    A San Francisco environmental group, the Center for Biodiversity, has asked 10 states _ Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Maine and Delaware _ to declare their coastal waters "impaired" under the Clean Water Act because of rising acidity. Such a move could clear the way for the states to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions.
    And now we are back to regulating the air we breath to try to save the whales. Let's monitor the data and analyze it objectively to determine what we are actually dealing with and if we humans can have any impact at all - good or bad.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    Trackposted to Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, The Midnight Sun, sTIX bLOG, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Chuck Adkins, Pursuing Holiness, third world county, Pirate's Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, Church and State, Blog @, 123beta, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Cao's Blog, nuke's, Wake Up America, Faultline USA, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Global American Discourse, The Yankee Sailor, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Pope condemns climate change prophets of doom

    Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged today that some environmental concerns are legitimate and should be addressed but warned that the ideologically driven hasty conclusions propagated by the environmentalist movement is nothing more than "scaremongering".

    The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.

    His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.

    The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.

    "Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow," he said in the message entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace".

    "It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.

    "If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations.

    The Pope's words show his wisdom. Any solutions that are imposed must be based on sound science and not on emotional, ideological rush to conclusions. Computer models may help to explain systems, but they are only as good as the inputs and assumptions used to formulate them. The atmosphere is too complex to model accurately. The measured data does not show that catastrophic warming even exists. Yes the temperatures have been generally trending upward, but catastrophic warming, I think not.

    Finally, the evidence is showing more and more that the warming that we have been seeing is caused by the sun's cycles and not by human activity with the temperature having peaked in 1998 at a value lower than that seen in 1934.
    Any proposals to address climate issues need to be based on sound science and rational discussion. We cannot use climate issues as an excuse to redistribute wealth and repress societies. The proposals suggested by the global warming crowd are all designed to make the average western guy poor and the poor 3rd world citizen destitute. It is time for the science to be discussed in a legitimate forum, evaluated in total with solutions that benefit all mankind and not just a few elite who stand to benefit by pushing half truths and mis-leading proposals.

    BTW - In case you hadn't heard: the polar bear picture (above) was taken of the bears playing in the summer. The caption at the time said that this was the loss of ice in the winter forcing the polar bears to starve to death. Polar bears have been thriving and their population has been growing yet the enviros use these lies to justify laws to raise taxes and remove personal liberties.

    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    The season that just won't go away

    Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather:

    2007 sure has been a weird year. Before the season officially got underway we had a bunch of activity with subtropical storms and tropical waves as early as May. The season itself was nothing to worry about - basically a non event that I will summarize up - I haven't forgotten, just really busy. Now here we are 2 weeks before Christmas and a storm wants to form in the western Atlantic. And there is nothing to stop it - water temperatures are still high and the wind shear has finally died down. It'll be interesting to see if this amounts to anything.

    This disturbance intensified intensified into subtropical storm Olga a couple of days ago. Olga dumped a bunch of rain on the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
    SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (Dec. 12) - Tropical Storm Olga triggered floods and landslides in this Caribbean nation Wednesday, killing at least eight people in the Dominican Republic and in Puerto Rico and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

    This freak storm caused a lot of destruction at a very unusual time for tropical systems. It is not unheard of to have a storm this late in the year, just unusual. This entire year has been rather odd with storms before the start of the season and now storms after the season was over but otherwise a fairly average year.



    WONT41 KNHC 092158
    500 PM EST SUN DEC 9 2007




    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