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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

The New Year was rung in with flair first in Sydney Australia. Of course, they started the celebrations 3 hours early to jump the line in front of New Zealand but with the way 2009 has gone 2010 can't come soon enough.

Australia steals Kiwi thunder by starting New Year early (Times Online)
Sydney started its New Year celebrations three hours early with a fireworks display for children... that just so happened to coincide with the moment midnight arrived in Auckland.

Australia prides itself on the display it puts on over Sydney harbour each year but it appears it wanted to take no chances in grabbing the pictorial coverage of New Year around the world.

Auckland was the first city in the world to start 2010 at 1100 GMT and New Zealand marked the occasion with a firework display from the top of the Auckland Sky Tower. It was preceded only by Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, which is the first inhabited place on Earth to celebrate the New Year.
This reminds me of 2000 when Kiribati temporarily moved the International Date Line 2,000 miles east so it could be the first nation to enter the new millenium (I know it really began in 2001) instead of being the last.

Millenium (Honolulu Magazine)
Finally, there's Kiribati (pronounced KIR-ee-bas). Kiribati's island chain spreads over 2,000 miles of ocean — the span of Western Europe — but its 33 atolls cover less area than London. Prior to Jan. 1, 1995, Kiribati had two main island groups on each side of the date line. Consequently, the local time difference between the two groups was 23 hours — same island chain, two different dates. To simplify business and government work — and possibly to chase the new millennium, Kiribati "bent" the international date line to include its easternmost land mass, Caroline Island, which, not coincidentally, has been renamed Millennium Island.

"We [Kiribati's consul] are adhering to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which is the designated world authority on the time zones, and it has said that Millennium Island would be the first to experience the dawn of the new millennium," Paupe said.
In the end - an hour or three difference, it really doesn't matter. 2010 is here. Let's hope it's a lot better than 2009.

Happy New Year my friends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Student presses for balanced curriculum

A Rhinebeck, NY high school sophomore complained to the school board of her school's district that controversial topics are being presented in a biased manner. As an example she mentioned the showing of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" in her English and Science classes.

Michelle Dewkett pointed out that they watched the film for a week and then were tested specifically on how global warming is being caused by human activity and that unchecked AGW will kill us all.

I first saw this story on Fox and Friends this morning. The segment can be accessed through this link:

Balanced Curriculum? (Fox News)

My first thought hearing this was 'why is this movie being shown in an English class?' Unless the students were being asked to critique Mr. Gore's grammar or presentation style, the only reason that this film could be shown in an English class is to promote an agenda. Miss Dewkett points out that showing just one side of the issue and the showing of this in a class in which the topic is not part of the curriculum violates school district policy.

Student seeks balance in teaching of controversial topics (Daily Freeman)
Michelle Dewkett said the global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” was being shown in science and English classes without equal weight being given to other positions on the topic.

“As of now, the teaching of controversial topics is out of control,” Dewkett told members of the Board of Education on Tuesday. She also said the district is not following its own policy of providing students with a wide range of materials.

Dewkett cited a class on global warming as an example, saying the effects of human activity on the environment are not being balanced with information about the natural course of changes on Earth.

“It says (global warming) will kill us all without offering any alternative views throughout high school,” she said. “This goes against board policy which
states ‘Teachers shall approach controversial topics in an impartial and unprejudiced manner.’”

Dewkett also questioned the showing of “An Inconvenient Truth” as part of an English course, saying district policy states that “material will not be introduced for their own sake and must be part of normal instruction.”

Alarmists will accuse Miss Dewkett of pressing an agenda especially in saying that she wished she heard from commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I dismiss this presumed accusation. Limbaugh and Hannity stressing an issue does not make it untrue. Both have stated frequently that they will gladly debate the issues. Al Gore, on the other hand, makes a statement and refuses to debate or discuss it even after he is shown to be incorrect.

One of the comments at the end of the article asks if an alternate view should be presented if only a small number of scientists disagree with the so-called facts.
Should Rhinebeck include a lesson that teaches "less than 1% of scientists, mostly in the employ of fossil fuel or religious institutions, and none who tested with methods or got results that could be independently reproduced consistently, disagree with the information you were taught yesterday?" Because from an academic perspective, those are the facts. There would only be academic controversy if some semblance of balance existed in the numbers of deniers or the replicability of their results. (Steve Greenfield)

The statement by Mr. Greenfield is unequivocally false. The article was published December 25th. The e-mail scandal from East Anglia University clearly shows at least the potential for academic controversy and dishonesty if not out-right fraud. Well known climate experts have been questioning the conclusions of the AGW crowd for at least two years now. I am not talking about corporate scientists but academics such as Drs. William Gray, Richard Lindzen, John Coleman (founder of The Weather Channel) and many other meteorologists.

Thousands of scientists have signed documents and letters to Congress stating that the science is not settled and that CO2 is neither a pollutant nor the cause of increasing global temperatures. Current data shows that global temperatures as measured by satellite have remained steady or decreased since 1998.

It is clear that this issue is not settled. The global warming alarmists have focused on a plan of action that includes indoctrination of our youth to push their agenda. It is good to see a young person such as Miss Dewkett thinking for herself and having the courage to present the issue to the school board to be addressed.

For their part, the School Board stated that this will be addressed next week after everyone returns from the holiday. It will be good to see the board take an intellectually honest approach and recognize where the schools overstepped and take the appropriate steps that ensure that the approved curriculum is followed rather a one-sided indoctrination of the students to meet an agenda.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Another family milestone

Amongst all of the celebration for Christmas and New Year's, we also have a major milestone to commemorate. Michael is the oldest of the small army of kids we have. Last Friday, December 18th he completed all requirements and successfully graduated from Georgetown High School.

Michael's high school career has been quite varied. Standard classes did not provide the challenge in learning that Michael was looking for. He decided to try distance learning through Texas Tech University and successfully completed several classes in English, Algebra and the first half of Physics.

Eventually he recognized that advanced Physics and Algebra were a bit tough to learn on your own so he re-enrolled himself into Georgetown HS AND Austin Community College in a simultaneous dual HS/college program. His classes included government, English and computer science. He graduates this December with a full semester of college classes under his belt.

Now he starts the next chapter with an acceptance into the Army Cadet Program at North Georgia State College and Military School in Dahlonega, GA. In a couple of weeks he goes in for his Army physical and then takes his BASIC training. This fall he starts at Dahlonega with the Army Cadet Program.
Michael has a strong drive and is very excited about starting a career in the Army. His major focus is government and law with a goal to become a JAG lawyer.

Here's to Michael! Congratulations for a major accomplishment and godspeed as you prepare for an exciting career.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A PC Christmas

I just want to take a moment to wish all of you
great happiness
on this
Federally Sanctioned Holiday
officially known as

I hope the lines have not been
too long
and that you found some great bargains.

If by happenstance
your religious traditions
and highest holy days
intersect at this time of the year
with this American secular celebration

Then for you and only you
with no intent to offend or insult anyone
who thinks they know a better way


I wish you a very
Blessed and Holy
Merry Christmas.

May the blessings of the newborn Christ
Bless your family
and your home all the year long.

I also hope you had a
Happy Hanukkah
and that the hopes and promises
of that miracle so long ago
brings your home
peace and joy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tropical Cyclone David growing slightly

Tropical Storm David continues to churn in the South Indian Ocean. David has been moving towards the southeast for the past couple of days but now appears to be changing direction towards the southwest.

Weather Underground reports that while the storm has generally decreased in intensity, a slight increase is expected over the next 24 hours. This increase is primarily due to warn sea surface temperatures which are favorable for cyclonic formation. Increasing vertical windshear will cause David to break apart and diminish back to tropical storm levels.

The current predicted path by both Weather Underground and Tropical Storm Risk is that David is heading towards Rodrigues Island by Christmas Day. Forecasts right now indicate that David will be diminishing by then and may soon after become a remnant low.

As always, this is an estimate by amateur. Do not rely on any of this information for life or death decisions. Follow the guidance and requirements of local authorities at all times when dealing with approaching tropical systems.

Laurence makes second landfall; brings rain and floods inland

I've been off line for the past couple of days and have not been able to update the progress of Tropical Cyclone Laurence.

Laurence slammed into the northwest Australian coast at Wallal at 8pm local time Monday. Laurence was a level 5 cyclone on the southern scale with windspeeds of 280 km/h (170 MPH)and maintained tropical cyclone strength until this morning.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence strikes Western Australia (Examiner)
For the second time in a week, Tropical Cyclone Laurence made landfall in Western Australia Monday night. The storm which at one point was a Category 5 storm damaged buildings and uprooted trees but miraculously no injuries have been reported.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Laurence made landfall near Wallal just before 8:00pm local time. Packing winds of nearly 170 mph (280 km/h) the cyclone caused damage in the areas of Mandora, Eighty Mile Beech and Wallal.

Laurence is now a tropical low and is bringing heavy rain to drought stricken areas of the interior. The rain is heavy enough that severe flooding is likely. These areas have been very dry for quite some time and while I am sure that the rain is welcome, too much too quickly causes problems.

NSW flood warning in wake of cyclone (ABC News)

Authorities are warning of widespread flooding across north-western New South Wales, as Cyclone Laurence breaks up and moves inland.

Rainfall of more than 200 millimetres is predicted around Gilgandra, Coonamble and Bourke, tracking across to Narrabri and Moree and reaching the Queensland-New South Wales border late on Christmas Day.

Flooding is expected in the Castlereagh, Bogan, Lower Namoi and Lower Macquarie Rivers.

Gordon McKay, from the Bureau of Meteorology's Flood Warning Centre, says it is a long time since he has seen a weather map like it.

"We have had discussions with the State Emergency Service about an hour ago and historically these are quite high falls," he said.

"The actual message will be roads will be flooded and of course it certainly will have an impact on people's travel plans.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tropical cyclone 5S forms in the S. Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclone 5S has formed in the South Indian Ocean approximately 725 nautical miles northeast of Reunion Island. This cyclone has a sustained windspeed of approximately 40 MPH with gusts up to 50 MPH.

5S is currently on a southbound projected track and does not appear to be on a course that would bring it close to and land. The storm may increase in intensity to around 60 knots or so but is not expected to become a major cyclone.

Public Advisory (Weather Underground)
Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blame El Nino for 2009 tropical season (Part 3)

In this essay, we have attempted to explore some of the effects of El Nino on the formation and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. Part 1 and Part 2 both focused on the mild Atlantic hurricane season we experienced in 2009. The effect of El Nino on the Atlantic season was a marked increase in vertical wind shear which generally tended to prevent storm formation or break up a storm before it could it could get too strong or last too long. Of course there were a few exceptions but this was generally true.

The story in the Pacific basin was quite different, of course. As we documented in our 2009 Pacific Tropical Wrap-up, activity in both the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Western North Pacific Ocean were higher than typical.

The Eastern Pacific saw 18 names storms with 7 hurricanes including 4 major hurricanes. During the previous 10 years, the average number of named storms per year was just under 15 with slightly less than 7 hurricanes. Interestingly enough, the years preceeding 1997 had more named storms than 1997 - 2008 but less than the 18 storms of this past year AND more of those storms became hurricanes (9.2 on average compared to 7 this year).

This increase in storm activity can easily be linked to El Nino. The most well known affect of El Nino is the movement of warm water from the western Pacific to the eastern Pacific along the equator. This pool of warmer than normal water extends fairly far north. Its volume is larger than all of the water in the great lakes and it is larger in area than that of the continental US.

Seven out of nineteen named storms formed in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Mexico (this includes Tropical Storm Lana which formed as a depression in the eastern Pacific and travelled to the Central Pacific towards Hawaii). Additionally 11 eastern Pacific storms actually formed as tropical depressions or tropical lows in the Atlantic basin and maintained enough tropical characteristic that once they reached the Pacific Ocean, they could develop into full fledged storms.

In addition to the warm water pool shifting from west to east during an El Nino event, the atmospheric pressure in the region also shifts in the opposite direction. This effect is known scientifically as the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The pressure is typically higher in the eastern Pacific than in the west. This pressure gradient generates the tradewinds across the ocean.

During an El Nino event, the pressure in the east decreases and the pressure in the west increases. This reduction in the tradewinds may be the driving force that pulls the warmer water eastward. (Or rather the tradewinds drive the water westward where it is heated and the lack of tradewinds allows this warm water to slosh back to the east). Researchers do not know if the pressure changes causes the water temepratures to shift or if the temperature shifts cause the reduction in the trade winds.

El Nino / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Phenomenon (Max Planc Intitut fur Meteorologie)
The 'Southern Oscillation' is a see-saw in air pressure between the low pressure over south-east Asia and the higher pressure over the south-east Pacific. This pressure difference determines the strength of the trade winds along the equator in the Pacific. We know, however, that the surface temperature of the equatorial Pacific is affected by the strength of the trade winds. The trade winds force cold water to upwell to the surface along the coast of South America and the equator in the eastern Pacific - this is the cause of the relatively low sea surface temperatures in these regions.

The warming of the east Pacific that comes at the start of an El Niño event reduces the east-west temperature difference along the Equator, which in turn reduces the pressure difference between these areas – the pressure in the west increases from its low state and the high pressure in the east sinks. This weakens the trade winds, resulting in less cold water being upwelled in the eastern Pacific. As less cold water is being upwelled, sea surface temperatures in this region warm more, further reducing the east-west pressure gradient and the trade winds. This cycle of interactions between the ocean and atmosphere eventually results in a full El Niño event, with unusually high temperatures in the east Pacific and the stilling of the trade winds. A La Niña event develops in an analogous fashion, but with the processes happening in the opposite way (cooling water in the east strengthens the pressure difference and the trade winds and cools further).

Regardless of whether the wind or the temperature shift is the cause and which is the effect, one thing is for certain. As the trade winds die down, the amount of vertical shear decreases significantly. So in the eastern Pacific you have warmer sea surface temperatures with lower wind shear. Perfect conditions for tropical storm formation and development.

Tropical cyclone Laurence re-emerges; strengthening

As projected by the Australian Bureau of Meterology, Tropical Cyclone Laurence curved across the Kimberly coast and re-emerged over the Timor Sea. The storm had degraded to a tropical low before reaching the warm waters of the Timor Sea. Now the storm is re-organizing and strengthening and may potentially grow back to an intense tropical cyclone before making a second landfall near Wallal.

Cyclone Laurence moving away from Kimberley coast (Perth Now)
TROPICAL Cyclone Laurence is now moving away from the Kimberley coast after earlier threatening the northwest region.

At 8pm on Saturday, the cyclone was about 85km north-northwest of Broome and moving southwest at 9km/h.After almost a week of intense activity which has brought heavy rain to a large area of the Kimberley, the North-West was put on high alert again on Saturday morning with Laurence threatening to strengthen over the

Laurence peaked this week as a category five storm, packing winds of 285km/h at its centre, one of the strongest cyclones seen in Australia.

However it crossed the coast in a remote stretch of the north Kimberley, causing little damage, but dumping hundreds of millimetres or rain across a massive region, causing flooding in some parts.

Laurence is north of Broome this afternoon at a level 2 (on the southern scale). By tomorrow morning, Laurence is expected to grow to level 3 and reach level 4 within 12 hours after that. Current projections indicate that Laurence will strike land at Wallal as an intense tropical cyclone by the middle of the week

WA braces for resurgent cyclone Laurence (ABC News)

People in Western Australia's north are being warned to prepare for Tropical Cyclone Laurence as it moves closer to Broome.

About 5:00pm (AWST) Laurence was 120 kilometres north of Broome, and a cyclone warning has been issued for coastal areas from Cape Leveque to Wallal.

The cyclone has been downgraded to a category one, but Andrew Burton from the Weather Bureau says it has gained strength as it moves across the ocean.

"We do expect that it could easily become a severe tropical cyclone, possibly by tomorrow," Mr Burton said.

"It could intensify back up to a category four, even a category five system isn't out of the question.

"So we do expect Laurence will once again become a very intense tropical cyclone."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Intense cyclone Laurence peaks then strikes land

Tropical Cyclone Laurence burst to a very intense Category 5 cyclone with winds in excess of 200 kph just offshore of Kuri Bay early morning December 16th.

Cyclone Laurence Off Aust.’s Northwest Upgraded to Category 5 (Bloomberg)

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Cyclone Laurence, off Australia’s northwest coast, has been upgraded to a category 5 cyclone, the highest intensity rating, the Bureau of Meteorology said on its Web site. “Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence is a small but very intense tropical cyclone having very destructive winds with gusts to 285 kilometers per hour close to the cyclone center,” it said.

Less than 12 hours later, Laurence slammed into the coast making landfall and dropping quickly to a Category 3 cyclone. Overnight the storm degraded even further to a Category 2 cyclone.

Cyclone Weakens After Making Landfall in Northwestern Australia (Bloomberg)

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Cyclone Laurence, which weakened after making landfall overnight in northwestern Australia, remains a threat with destructive winds buffeting the Kimberley region, where offshore oil and gas rigs were evacuated earlier.

Red alerts, the highest-level warnings, are in place for Derby, Koolan Island and Cockatoo Island, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority said in its most recent statement, issued late last night.

The storm was downgraded to a category two cyclone today from the highest rating of five yesterday, according to a Bureau of Meteorology statement issued on its Web site at 7:20 a.m. local time.

Laurence, which has winds as high as 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour, was 90 kilometers northeast of the town of Derby at 5 a.m. and moving south-southeast at 6 kph, it said.

Laurence will track over land essentially parallel to the coastline dumping heavy rain along the way. In a couple of days the storm is expected to re-emerge into the Indian Ocean as a Category 1 cyclone.

I believe that the area over which Laurence is moving has been subjected to a severe drought for several years. Heavy rain from a tropical cyclone has the potential for flash flooding because the rain falls faster than ground can absorb the water.

Alternately, if Laurence is drivin towards the Australian interior, the resulting rain could provide relief and heavy rain to much of the country.

Laurence leaves a legacy of wild weather (NT News)
Bureau senior forecaster Angeline Prasad said weather swirling around Laurence had created monsoonal-like conditions for Darwin.

Not only that, but some weather models also suggest Laurence could help make Alice Springs' Todd River flow soon.

"It depends on what Laurence - or ex-Laurence - does," Ms Prasad said. She said ex-Laurence could travel to Central Australia as a rain depression and join forces with a cloud band already causing showers in the area.

If that happens, Ms Prasad said it was likely to cause significant rains.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Damage assessments from Cyclone Mick

Damage assessments are ongoing in Fiji as the effects of Tropical Cyclone Mick are determined. It appears that the brunt of the storm was felt by the island of Viti Levu. The Island of Vomo passed through the storm with no damage.

Vomo Island Fiji Unscathed After Cyclone Mick (Pacific Scoop)

Cyclone Mick passed over VOMO on Monday morning (14th December) and by the evening had made its way over the main island of Viti Levu.

Vomo’s General Manager Wayne Milgate says “our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and had homes destroyed. We were very fortunate, the most noticeable damage has been to the landscaping, with several trees uprooted, but that within 48-hours all debris will be cleared.”

After a brief disruption to telecommunication services the resort is now fully operational and all services have been restored.

Unfortunately, this was not the case on the main island, Viti Levu. Heavy flooding caused a great deal of damage to crops and many buildings had structural damage. Widespread power outages were reported across the island and at least three people have been killed, all as a result of drowning.

Cyclone Mick wreaks deadly havoc in Fiji (Argentina Star)

People have been killed in a savage cyclone that swept over Fiji's main island of Viti Levu on Monday.

Cyclone Mick, which has caused widespread flooding and damage, is believed to have led to the deaths of three people.

Police have reported that a 19-year-old man was swept away while crossing a river in northern Viti Levu on Monday. A 23-year-old also drowned in the Sigatoka area in the southwest of the island. A school student was reported killed in the northwestern highlands after being struck by a tree.

Power outages, property and crop damage in Fiji after cyclone (Radio New Zealand)

The president of Fiji’s retailers association says many consumers and businesses experienced power outages in the wake of Cyclone Mick.

The cyclone swept over the Yasawa islands yesterday and the main island of Viti Levu last night.

Himmat Lodhia says many homes on the outskirts of Suva city are still without power today.

He says the category two storm also ruined many food gardens with crops in the interior of Viti Levu devastated.

Mr Lodhia says he’s also hearing reports of flood damage to properties near rivers or on the coast.


A Fiji resident living on elevated land above the Rewa River in Nausori in Viti Levu says he fears river levels are rising again following the cyclone.

Dr Lepani Waqatakirewa, who lives in Baulevu near Nausori town, says many farm houses and much land remain underwater after the river burst its banks during the storm.

He says he can only see the roofs of many farm houses located in the valley below and fears the water level is likely to rise again.

Western regions also saw the destruction of farmlands.

Cyclone, flood assessment begins (Fiji Village)

The Commissioner Western's office is trying to arrange for helicopters to assess damages done by Tropical Cyclone Mick in the Yasawas, Vatulele and the Interior of Viti Levu.

Farmers who had invested alot of time and money in their fields, could do nothing but watch months of their hard work being washed away by flood waters last night.

Deo Shankar of Valley Road in Sigatoka said that Tropical Cyclone Mick has seen all their hard work go down the drain within the span of a few minutes.

Cyclone Mick is forecast to weaken as it continues its track to the southeast. The storm track has shifted slightly to the north which brings Tonga within the cone of uncertainty. Tonga will likely receive some rain and winds from Mick but it will be from a much diminished storm compared to that which slammed into Fiji.

Laurence predicted to make landfall Wednesday

As of 9:30 CST (8:30 WST) Tropical Cyclone Laurence has become a Severe categoty 3 tropical cyclone. Gusts as high as 165 kph has been recorded near Troughton Island and is expected to reach across the Mitchell Plateau. These winds are potentially destructive winds.


Tropical Cyclone Laurence continues to track parallel to the northwest coast of Australia dumping heavy rain on the area. Rainfall over 400 mm was recorded at the Darwin airport along with windspeeds as high as 130 kph.

Extreme rain and wind as TC Laurence makes his debut (North Queensland Register)
Darwin was whipped by a 93 kilometre an hour gust on Saturday as Laurence (then a mere tropical low) came within 30km of the city. This was the strongest since March this year and enough to cause damage to infrastructure.

Rain was also an issue. In the last 72 hours Darwin Airport has been deluged with almost 400 millimetres as Laurence continued to deepen, the wettest December in 11 years.

Other parts of the Darwin-Daly region were rained on heavily too. Batchelor has picked up 409 millimetres so far, and Dum-In-Mirrie 272mm.

Even as far inland as Katherine got a splash, which recorded 68mm to 9am on Monday morning, the wettest since February.

Currently, Tropical Cyclone Laurence is heading southwest, its course set to make landfall over the Western Australian Kimberley district sometime tomorrow.

Laurence edges closer to Kimberley coast (Sydney Morning Herald)
Gale-force winds are increasing as Tropical Cyclone Laurence edges closer to the north Kimberley coast.

The category one storm, which formed in the Timor Sea on Sunday, is expected to make landfall in the region by Wednesday afternoon.

Wind gusts have reached 110km/h over the north Kimberley coast and destructive winds of 130km/h may develop near Troughton Island later on Wednesday.

Heavy rain is expected to continue over the region and extend into the western Kimberley over the next two days.

TC Ward is dissipating

Tropical Cyclone Ward is dissipating as it makes landfall in Sri Lanka. The storm slowed greatly in forward movement and now appears to be falling apart as it interacts with land. The storm has become very disorganized and is expected to dissipate within the next 12 hours.

Cyclone Mick grows - pounds Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Mick increased further in strength becoming a level 2 cyclone based on the southern storm scale as it crashed into Fiji's main island. This put Mick at a solid Cat 1 on the Saffir Simpson scale. Mick had sustained winds of 90 - 110 kph at the center of the storm acccording to the Fiji Meterological Service. See Special Weather Bullitin here.

Cyclone Mick hammers Fiji (TVNZ)

Fiji is currently being hammered by Category Two Cyclone Mick.

Winds are averaging 110 kilometres an hour, with gusts up to 150 kilometres an hour.

It is expected to track through the middle of the island, hitting Suva at around 3am Tuesday.

Squally thunderstorms are forecast with flooding, as well as sea flooding in low lying coastal areas.

Mick apparently maintained its maximum strength as teh storm passed over the Fijian capital of Suva. Mick is now decreasing slightly, likely due to the interaction with land. Forecasts do not indicate a liklihood of further intensification.

Cyclone Mick: Eye of the Storm Passing Over Fiji (The Global Herald)

Tropical Cyclone Mick is now a category 1 storm. The centre was located at 11am FJT (12 hours ahead of GMT) about 110km North North-West of Nadi. The cyclone was moving South East at a rate of around 15-20 km p/h.

The cyclone is thought to be now past its peak and will be over North Western Viti Levu right now.

According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, the cyclone should maintain its southeast track overnight and tomorrow thus affecting nearly all parts of the Fiji Group. Rain has picked up dramatically in the Western division and should spread to other parts of the country overnight and tomorrow morning.

Flooding caused by Mick's heavy rain has taken one life.
Cyclone claims first life (Fiji Village)

Tropical Cyclone Mick has claimed a life in Sigatoka where a villager is believed to have drowned while returning from his farm earlier this afternoon.

Sigatoka Police confirm the matter was reported at Keiyasi Police Post this afternoon.

The incident happened in Nasikawa village, Keiyasi, where the man was returning with four others when he drowned and others managed to swim to safety.

Police are yet to find his body.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Laurence pounding North Australian coast

Yesterday Tropical Cyclone Laurence grew to a level 1 cyclone as it skirted along the northwestern coast of Australia west of Darwin. Latest storm track information indicates the storm jogged slightly to the north before continuing on a path parallel to the coastline.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence kicks off Cyclone season (North Queensland Register)
THE tropical low that has been punishing the Top End recently with heavy rain and damaging wind gusts has developed into tropical cyclone Laurence, the first tropical cyclone of the season.

The 48 hours from 9am Friday to 9am Sunday has seen a whopping 294mm of rainfall over Darwin, well over the monthly average.

This represents the highest two-day total for Darwin in eleven years.

Strong winds and thunderstorms accompanied this extreme weather, leaving the city with widespread power outages and storm flooded roads.

Laurence has dumped a very high amount of rain on Darwin and continues to pound the Kimberly coast.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence bears down on Kimberley coast (Perth Now)
NORTHERN communities including Wyndham, Oombulgurri and Kalumburu have been put on blue alert as tropical cyclone Laurence bears down on the Kimberley

Residents from the Mitchell Plateau to Wyndham have been warned to prepare for dangerous weather - meaning they should secure or remove loose material from around the home. This also involves ensuring that emergency kits are complete and checking that the family knows what to do.

At 2pm, the Category 1 cyclone was about 230km northeast of Kalumburu.

It is moving west-northwest at 15km/h.TC Laurence is expected to move parallel to the north Kimberley coast. Gales of 100km/h may develop in this area tomorrow.

I admit I am unfamiliar with the physics of cyclones in the southern hemisphere. Cyclones rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the north. In a northern hemisphere storm, the northeast quadrant of the storm contains the most severe weather. I do not know where the heaviest weather is in a southern hemisphere storm. I ask my readers to please comment and bring me up to speed on this.

If the southeast or southwestern quadrants of a southern cyclone is where the heaviest rain and wind is located, then the entire Kimberly coast is being pounded heavily by the deluge of rain brought on by Laurence.

The biggest concern is if Laurence makes a sudden turn to the south. The Kimberly coast is relatively sparsely populated so the damage would be minimal but further to the west the populations increases. If Laurence stays over water until it reaches a larger population center and then turns south, the results could be much worse.

Cyclone Mick crossing Fiji's main island

Tropical cyclone Mick has strengthened some and has adjusted course slightly as well. The storm headded for a direct impact on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Reports indicate that landfall occurred early Monday morning local time.

Cyclone Mick now predicted to hit Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu (Radio New Zealand)
Weather forecasters are predicting that Fiji will be hit during Monday night by a tropical cyclone that has been named Mick.

The cyclone is currently about 250 kilometres northwest of Nadi and has been classified as category one.

It has changed course slightly and is now said to be heading directly for the main island of Viti Levu.

But the whole country has been put under a gale warning.

Close to it’s centre, Mick is estimated to have average winds of up to 75 kilometres an hour with gusts up to 125 kilometres an hour.

The storm was expected to hit around 3 am Monday morning local time. Heavy rains began coming in around midnight. Flooding in low lying areas and some street flooding is already occurring. Authorities are warning people not to cross flooded roads. Tropical cyclone gale warnings are in effect for the entire country as the storm approaches the islands.

Cyclone Mick moves towards Fiji (Fiji Village)
Situation report on the weather currently being experienced, some roads in Rakiraki are under flood waters and people are being advised not to cross these roads.

Rakiraki Police have confirmed that the Rewasa and Korotale roads are under 3 feet of water and is closed to all traffic.

People in Rakiraki are also experiencing heavy rain and strong winds.According to Ba Police the strong winds and heavy downpour started at around 3 this morning and is continuing.

Meanwhile, strong winds and heavy rain continue for most parts of the Northern Division.People in Taveuni are facing strong winds and occasional heavy rainfall from last night.

Taveuni Police Station Special Police Constable, Maria Moapa says the weather is worsening on the Garden Island.

Here in the US we have adopted the phrase "Turn around, don't drown." Never venture into a flooded street. A surprisingle small amount of street flooding can carry a vehicle away and a sudden flash flood could surprise someone resulting in a drowning. The safest action is to never cross a flooded street or swollen stream.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cleo re-generates

The low pressure system that was Tropical Cyclone Cleo has re-organized into a tropical depression. Current forecast is that Cleo will gain tropical storm strength by Sunday night degrading back to a depression 24 hours or so later.

The storm track indicates that Cleo will pass between Mauritius and Rodrigues Island.

Ex-Cléo est devenue une zone pertubée (Zinfos 974)
Selon le bulletin Météo France publié à 16h00 heures locales, ex-Cléo est désormais une zone perturbée. Elle se situe à 14 degrés 4 Sud et 63 degrés 3 Est, soit à 1080 km au Nord-Est de notre île. Le système s'affaiblit donc encore mais il faut toujours être vigilant car un réintensification est toujours possible.

Australia issuing warnings on active tropical low

An active tropical low has been moving along the northwest coast of Australia. The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology is issuing warnings that this system is becoming more organized and intensifying

The system is expected to increase to a level 1 cyclone by 7 pm local time Sunday night and reach level 2 twelve hours later before making landfall along the Kimberly coast. Gale warnings have been issued from the WA/NT border to the Mitchell Plateau. A Gale watch is in place from Mitchell Plateau to Kuri Bay.

The storm, which will be named Tropical Cyclone Lawrence, is expected to move westward across the Timor Sea and strengthen.

Tropical cyclone 04P heading for Fiji

Tropical cyclone 04P formed in the South Pacific today and is heading towards Fiji. The storm is expected to remain at tropical storm strength and cross the islands overnight Sunday night into Monday local time.
Tropical storm Four (Reuters AlertNet)
Tropical storm Four is forecast to strike Fiji at about 08:00 GMT on 13 December. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 16.2 S, 177.4 E. Four is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 74 km/h (46 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.

Tropical Storm WARD turns sharply to the west

Tropical Cyclone Ward made a sharp turn towards the west. Now the storm is on a west southwestward track for a likely landfall in central Sri Lanka, cross the island and then make a second landfall at the southern tip of India.
Ward moved from the warmest waters in the region at 30 C which will make strengthening unlikely even though wind shear is decreasing along the storm's path.. Ward is expected to remain at Tropical Storm strength as it approaches land.
Cyclone Ward barrelling in towards TN coast  (Hindu Business Line)
Friday's tropical cyclone, 'Ward', over the south-west and adjoining south-east Bay of Bengal has decisively taken a turn to the west, shaping it up for a landfall over coastal Tamil Nadu.
Satellite imagery available on Saturday evening indicated that 'Ward' may have lost some of its intensity as it left behind the warmest waters (30 degree Celsius) to the comparatively cooler (28 degree Celsius) as it moved west overnight and closer towards the Tamil Nadu coast.
But this is still above the threshold limit of 27.5 degree Celsius needed for a tropical cyclone to hold itself together.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its outlook late on Saturday evening that 'Ward' weakened slightly but lay as a cyclonic storm more or less unchanged from its bearing overnight, about 350 km north-east of Batticaloa (Sri Lanka), 450 km east-southeast of Nagapattinam and 500 km south-east of Chennai.
The system is likely to move in a westerly direction and cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Pamban by Sunday night.
This could raise the spectre of massive storm surge along the Nagapattinam coast whose low incline has been notoriously known to harbour buster waves ahead of storms hurrying their way in.
After landfall, the weakened 'Ward' and its remnant circulation is shown to track straight west into the Tamil Nadu hinterland and empty its contents over Pudukkottai and Dindigul before wading into central Kerala.
Advisory from India Meteorological Department:(
The cyclonic storm 'WARD' over southwest Bay of Bengal moved southwards and weakened into a deep depression over the same region. It lay centred at 2330 hours IST of yesterday, 12th December 2009 near lat. 9.50 N and long. 83.50 E, about 350 km east-northeast of Jaffna (Sri Lanka), 400 km southeast of Nagapattinam and 450 km east-northeast of Pamban. The system is likely to move in a west-southwesterly direction and cross north Sri Lanka near Lat. 9.00 N around noon of today, the 13th December, 2009. It is then likely to emerge into Gulf of Mannar and cross south Tamil Nadu coast between Kanyakumari and Pamban around night of 13th December, 2009.

N Indian Ocean: Storm Alert issued at 12 Dec, 2009 18:00 GMT
Tropical Storm WARD (05B) is forecast to strike land to the following likelihood(s) at the given lead time(s):
Yellow Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
    Sri Lanka
        probability for TS is 70% within 12 hours
Yellow Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Trincomalee (8.6 N, 81.2 E)
        probability for TS is 65% within 12 hours
    Batticaloa (7.7 N, 81.7 E)
        probability for TS is 65% within 12 hours

Green Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Colombo (6.9 N, 80.0 E)
        probability for TS is 40% in about 24 hours

Note that
    Yellow Alert (Elevated) is CAT 1 or above to between 10% and 30% probability, or TS to above 50% probability.
    Green Alert (Low) is TS to between 31% and 50% probability.
    CAT 1 means Severe Cyclonic Storm strength winds of at least 74 mph, 119 km/h or 64 knots 1-min sustained.
    TS means Tropical Storm strength winds of at least 39 mph, 63 km/h or 34 knots 1-min sustained.

For graphical forecast information and further details please visit

This alert is provided by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) which is sponsored by UCL, Aon Benfield, Royal & SunAlliance, Crawford & Company and Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. TSR acknowledges the support of the UK Met Office.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Ward forms quickly; heads for southern India

A tropical low pressure system developed into tropical depression 05B this afternoon and quickly grew into a tropical storm. Ward is heading to the northwest toward the Indian coast. Landfall is expected sometime Sunday afternoon or evening local time between Pondicherry and Nagappattinam. There is a slight potential that Ward will grow to a Category 1 cyclone before making landfall.

TN coast on alert as Cyclone ‘Ward' prowls Bay of Bengal (Hindu Business Line)
The Tamil Nadu coast has been put under cyclone alert on Friday after the previous day's depression intensified double-quick into a deep depression and further into a cyclonic storm, named ‘Ward.'

India Meteorological Department said Tropical Cyclone Ward lay centred 550 km southeast of Nagapattinam and 700 km south-southeast of Chennai on Friday afternoon.

The system is likely to move in a northwesterly direction towards Tamil Nadu coast during the next two days. The IMD's outlook is exactly in agreement with that of the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) and the Tropical Cyclone Page of the US Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Centre (FNMOC).

India Meteorological Department is also looking at the potential that westerly winds could act as a steering current driving Ward to the northeast and away from the coast.

The IMD has rightfully expressed doubts about the onward movement of ‘Ward' as did international models thanks to the persistence of westerly flows from a prevailing western disturbance affecting northwest India.

It said that the satellite-derived steering wind in the upper levels would go to suggest a northerly to northeasterly movement of the system, which could cause it to avoid taking a swipe of the Tamil Nadu coast.

But a precipitation model of the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) tends to suggest that the westerlies would cause Tropical Cyclone Ward to steer itself north-northeast after taking a shot at the Chennai coast over the next two days.

According to the NCEP, the rampaging westerlies would drive away ‘Ward' into coastal Bay of Bengal waters in a north-northeasterly direction all the way into the Bangladesh/Myanmar coast, and fling the weakened system into the hinterland.

The question in the forecast seems to be how strong the westerly flow is from the disturbance affecting northwest India. If this flow is strong enough then the storm can be pushed into teh Bay of Bengal and northward toward Bangladesh. At this time, however, all official forecasts point to landfall on the Tamil Nadu coast.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Pacific Tropical Wrap-up

While the Atlantic tropical season was much more mild than usual, the Pacific Ocean saw a more active than typical season.

Eastern and Central Pacific

The 2009 hurricane season in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean was very active this year with 18 named storms including 7 hurricanes. Four of these hurricanes grew to become major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5.

Eastern and Central Pacific storms:

It is interesting to note that half of the storms listed formed in the Atlantic or Caribbean and crossed into the Pacific as a tropical wave before developing into a full fledge storm.

End of the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season (AccuWeather)

The 2009 East Pacific Basin hurricane season is over. The season featured two tropical depressions and 18 named tropical storms. Seven of the tropical storms reached hurricane strength and 4 of those hurricanes were major hurricanes. In a normal season this basin experiences 16 named storms nine of which become hurricanes. Four of those hurricanes normally become major hurricanes. Based on this information the 2009 season was slightly more active than normal.

By AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski

Eastern Pacific Hurricane Watch (Baja Insider)

The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season starts May 15th and it began very quietly. Usually we have our first tropical cyclone by May 22-25, the first
Tropical Depression didn't form until nearly a month later, June 18, and the first hurricane, Andres, formed on June 21. Andres gave some of the Baja rookies a case of nerves, initially forecast to move toward the Sea of Cortez, the storm fizzled due west of Puerto Vallarta. In June the air is warm enough for hurricanes but neither still enough (too many upper level winds) or humid enough to support tropical cyclone activity. In addition, the weather surrounding Baja are just reaching the nessicary 26°C levels to support cyclonic activity. The Baja veterans never got too worried about Andres.

For the next 70 days there was a normal level of cyclonic activity, but of lower intensity than usually. The net result for the season was above the norm for the last 11 years, but 4 tropical storms above normal versus the 44 year average. The number of Hurricanes and Major Hurricane was on par with the 30 year average but above normal for the last 11 years, which have been notably quieter. The graphic shown here has the 1966 to 1996 period, the 1997 to 2008 period (which was quieter than norm) and the current year.

Western Pacific

The western Pacific has no set season although the most activity occurs from May through November. Tropical storms may form at any time. Tropical systems in the western Pacific generally form closer to the equator where the sea surface temperatures tend to remain quite warm year round. Named storms in the western Pacific are known as typhoons.

The season is still active. 41 depressions formed of which 25 became tropical storms and 15 intensified to typhoons. 5 of these typhoons were strong enough to be considered Supertyphoons.

The Philippines, Vietnam, South China and Taiwan all have sufferred greatly due to landfalling typhoons primarily from August through mid-October. The result so far has been over 2300 people killed, more than 200 people missing and close to $11 BILLION USD in damage.

A fairly detailed synopsis of each storm in the season so far can be found in Wikipedia: 2009 Pacific typhoon season.

Additional discussions on the western Pacific typhoon season will follow in future posts. A single post cannot do justice to such an unusually harsh season.

Cleo weakens to a tropical storm

Tropical Cyclone Cleo weakened from a Category 3 cyclone yesterday to a tropical storm tonight. Cleo had intensified to a Category 4 storm on the Saffir Simpson scale by Monday with sustained winds of 115 mph (100 knots) with gusts as high as 138 MPH.

Cleo has been interacting with a low pressure trough which has subjected to storm to increased vertical shear and has started to push the storm in a more southerly direction into cooler waters.

Cyclone Cleo back down to tropical storm status (

Cleo has run into wind shear and it has weakened it from a cyclone to a tropical storm. Cleo's maximum sustained winds are now down to 69 mph, and expected to continue falling. NASA's TRMM satellite noticed that an opening in the storm's circulation is one of the reasons Cleo has weakened quickly.


NASA and the Japanese Space Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite flew over Cleo early this morning and confirmed that Cleo's low level circulation center is becoming exposed to the north. Open leads to weakening, and Cleo has weakened more quickly than expected.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CO2 cannot (and should not) be regulated as a pollutant

The US EPA declared that CO2 and other greenhouse gasses are a danger to public health. This is a reckless and political decision that was timed to coincide with the start of the climate conference in Copenhagen. It clearly is meant to be a demonstration that the US government is leading the fight against dangerous global warming.

In reality, this is an end-run by the executive branch of the government around the legislature. Legislation will not be passed because there are enough representatives and Senators who recognize that the science behind climate change is not settled. The science really is still up for debate and with the release of the e-mails from East Anglia, the science may not be sound at all. So the EPA is just going to take matters into its own hands and push things forward anyway.

Carbon dioxide cannot be regulated. First of all carbon dioxide is an essential trace gas necessary for plant life to thrive. Secondly, carbon dioxide is exhaled by every animal on the planet. There is no point source to monitor and control. Every living animal is an emission source.

But the intent of this declaration is to attack industry and energy sources to force the usage of so-called clean fuels and green technologies. Well carbon dioxide is the natural product of all combustion processes and all degradation process. When a fuel burns completely to 100% conversion, the result is water and CO2. Burn gasoline - produce carbon dioxide. Burn ethanol - produce carbon dioxide. Burn bio-fuels - produce carbon dioxide. Exhale while doing any of this - produce carbon dioxide. Use biodegradable materials - produce carbon dioxide.

The other product of complete combustion is water vapor. Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) does not even recognize water vapor as a greenhouse gas. The IPCC Third Assessment Report lists as greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, N2O (do they also mean NO2 or N2O4??), several flouride compounds and then HFC's and CFC's refrigerants. They do not mention water.

Water vapor exists in our atmosphere at absolute humidity levels as high as several percent. Relative humidity of 100% means that there is so much water vapor in the air at that temperature and pressure that the moisture is about to precipitate out. The air cannot hold any more moisture.

It is the combination of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that creates the greenhouse effect that regulates the Earth's average temperature to the comfortable level it is at. Of course we would never attempt to regulate water vapor, would we? Who would think we would try to regulate the very air we breathe and claim that in doing so we could make significant changes in the atmosphere of an entire planet.

Some scientists point to Venus and claim that if we continue to burn fossil fuels that we will also experience the same runaway greenhouse effect. Venus's atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide. Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen/21% oxygen. It is not realistic to assume that we could pump enough carbon dioxide into the air to create the type of atmosphere that Venus has. Venus also has a much thicker atmosphere with much higher pressures and Venus is a lot closer to the Sun. All of these items combine to make Venus as hot as it is. Earth's atmosphere and it's position in the solar system are such temperatures are moderate and are generally self regulating through natural systems.

All of the gases on the IPCC list of greenhouse gases except carbon dioxide are regulated now because they are hydrocarbons. They are actual pollutants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Methane, fluorocarbons, nitrogen oxides are toxins and are rightly controlled. These chemicals are indeed hazardous to human health.

The human body must inhale a certain level of CO2 with every breath. Pure oxygen can make us lightheaded. Have you ever hyperventilated? - what is the solution? Breathe into a paper bag to increase the level of carbon dioxide in your lungs. What about artificial respiration? The rescuer exhales a stream of air that is slightly more rich in carbon dioxide directly into the lungs of the victim. If CO2 is a danger to public health, as the EPA now claims, how can it be that by breathing in CO2, the victim is revived?

Can it be that carbon dioxide is only a pollutant at certain times and is beneficial at other times? The dosage makes the poison? I do not subscribe to the precautionary principle which states that if a large concentration of a chemical is bad then any concentration, no matter how small, is also bad. I do recognize that the concentration makes a large difference in effect and toxicity.

The EPA is saying that the current 388 ppmv is bad but 300 ppmv was OK. Then at what concentration does carbon dioxide become toxic?

Information from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety shows that a very high concentration of CO2 is required before adverse effects occur.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is naturally present in the atmosphere at levels of approximately 0.035%. Short-term exposure to CO2 at levels below 2% (20,000 parts per million or ppm) has not been reported to cause harmful effects. Higher concentrations can affect respiratory function and cause excitation followed by depression of the central nervous system. High concentrations of CO2 can displace oxygen in the air, resulting in lower oxygen concentrations for breathing. Therefore, effects of oxygen deficiency may be combined with effects of CO2 toxicity.

Volunteers exposed to 3.3% or 5.4% CO2 for 15 minutes experienced increased depth of breathing. At 7.5%, a feeling of an inability to breathe (dyspnea), increased pulse rate, headache, dizziness, sweating, restlessness, disorientation, and visual distortion developed. Twenty-minute exposures to 6.5 or 7.5% decreased mental performance. Irritability and discomfort were reported with exposure to 6.5% for approximately 70 minutes. Exposure to 6% for several minutes, or 30% for 20-30 seconds, has affected the heart, as evidenced by altered electrocardiograms.
Workers briefly exposed to very high concentrations showed damage to the retina, sensitivity to light (photophobia), abnormal eye movements, constriction of visual fields, and enlargement of blind spots. Exposure to up to 3.0% for over 15 hours, for six days, resulted in decreased night vision and colour sensitivity.

Exposure to 10% for 1.5 minutes has caused eye flickering, excitation and increased muscle activity and twitching. Concentrations greater than 10% have caused difficulty in breathing, impaired hearing, nausea, vomiting, a strangling sensation, sweating, stupor within several minutes and loss of consciousness within 15 minutes. Exposure to 30% has quickly resulted in unconsciousness and convulsions. Several deaths have been attributed to exposure to concentrations greater than 20%. Effects of CO2 can become more pronounced upon physical exertion, such as heavy work.

Carbon dioxide levels of 2% or less pose no health hazards. Current data shows that global temperatures have remained consistent over the past 10 years in spite of increasing carbon dioxide levels by a few ppm. E-mails indicate that the science behind global warming is suspect. It is clear that the US EPA not only jumoed the gun, but plowed ahead with total disregard for anything that threatened their agenda.

EPA Issues Greenhouse Gas Warning Despite Concerns Over Leaked E-Mails (Fox News)

The EPA signaled last April that it was inclined to view heat-trapping pollution as a threat to public health and welfare and began to take public comments under a formal rulemaking. The action marked a reversal from the Bush administration, which had declined to aggressively pursue the issue.

Business groups have strongly argued against tackling global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. Any such regulations are likely to spawn lawsuits and lengthy legal fights.

Democrats, though, claimed that the announcement Monday only strengthens the argument for government action.

"It is now clear that if we take our responsibility seriously to protect and defend our people from this threat, the Senate has a duty to act on climate change legislation," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement.

"In light of the EPA endangerment finding, the president's appearance in Copenhagen will carry even more weight, because it shows that America is taking this issue very seriously and is moving forward."

Of course, if you create the crisis, then delare that the crisis exists, it is really easy to claim an moral imperative to solve the crisis. How convenient.

Tropical Cyclone Cleo intensifies in the South Indian Ocean

Tropical Cyclone Cleo formed int he Indian Ocean yesterday and quickly intensified to a Category 2 cyclone. Current storm track projections indicate that the storm is on a heading towards the northern half of Madagascar. The storm is expected to pass to the south of the island of Reunion.

Cyclone Cléo : bulletin de suivi (Meteorologic)

Au bulletin de 6h UTC le cyclone de catégorie 2 Cléo se situait à 10.8° de latitude sud et 76.4° de longitude est, il se déplaçait vers l'ouest sud-ouest à une vitesse de 10 noeuds. Le vent moyen atteignait en son centre les 175km/h, les rafales maximales les 215km/h.

Cléo devrait se renforcer et devenir dans les prochaines 48h un cyclone de catégorie 4, sa trajectoire pourrait l'amener à toucher le nord du Madagascar d'ici un peu plus d'une semaine.

L'île de la Réunion serait d'après les prévisions actuelles épargnées par ce système, l'échéance lointaine et la puissance imprévue de ce cyclone invitent toutefois à la prudence.

Hurricane Cleo: bulletin followed (English translation courtesy of Google Translate)

Tropical Cyclone Cleo is expected to continue to intensify reaching a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale during the night on Wednesday local time. The storm will continue at a Category 4 storm Wednesday and Thursday while slowly moving towards the west southwest. Thursday night Cleo is expected to increase forward speed and decrease in strength.

Cyclone Cléo: Océan Indien (Meteo-World)

Cléo s’est rapidement renforcé et est devenu cyclone de catégorie 2/5 sur l’échelle de Saffir Simpson ce matin.Les vents soufflent à 175 km/h en moyenne et jusqu’à 212 km/h en rafale.

Pour le moment, les prévisions de trajectoires font passer Cléo au nord de la Réunion entre le 13 et 14 décembre, puis il devrait toucher le nord de Madagascar.

Il faut surveiller Cléo de près, car il pourrait encore ce renforcer dans les prochaines heures, atteignant alors la catégorie 4/5 sur l’échelle de Saffir Simpson.

Hurricane Cleo: Indian Ocean (English translation by Google Translate)

Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Cold snap across the USA

Saturday December 12, 2009 saw the coldest weather in the USA this winter season. The map below from Meteo World shows the extent of the cold at 6 am EST Saturday morning.

I've seen this same map on Fox News in Degrees F but I think the French map in Degrees C is a bit more dramatic. Everything in blue is below freezing.

The graphic is from the article: Vague de froid sur les Etats-Unis. Neige sur Houston et dans le nord du Mexique (Meteo World)

Cold temperatures reached all the way to the Mexican border. This cold air mass is apparently moving to the east. Saturday morning the low just north of Atlanta was in the lower 40's (4 C as shown above.) This morning, the front yard thermometer read 24.9 F. Temperatures stayed below freezing this morning until around noon or so and finally hit a high of 43 by 3 pm.

The English translation of the above article (courtesy of Google Translate) is here: Cold wave on the United States. Snow in Houston and northern Mexico

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Recalculation of climate data is the ONLY legitimate option

Approximately two weeks ago we all learned of e-mails written by those individuals supposedly considered to be the leaders in climate research that discussed manipulation of data and suppression of alternate positions. At the very least, these e-mails demonstrate an appearance of impropriety. Alternately, they may likely be evidence of outright fraud.

Investigations are planned or underway at the University of East Anglia and Penn State University. These investigations alone are insufficient. Science and politics are so deeply entangled that honest debate is practically impossible.

As an example, the UK Met Office is planning on re-examining 160 years of climate data to re-assure the public that the conclusions that warming is real are legit. But hasn't the planet been warming over the past 200 years on average having emerged from the Little Ice Age? Would not such an assessment simply re-validation of the same preconceived conclusion?

Met Office to re-examine 160 years of climate data (Times Online) Hat tip Climate Depot
The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails.

The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012.

The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN’s main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week’s climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

The data from the past 1000 years must be assessed - all the data. Then a comparison of temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period with present day temperatures can show whether or not the warming seen at the end of the 20th century is necessarily a prelude to a catastrophe.

This week begins the UN's climate conference in Copenhagen. All of the data and conclusions based on that data are suspect. Until this situation can be clarified, there is no legitimate basis for the draconian measures planned to reduce energy consumption and lessen CO2 generation. Governments and individuals who say we need drastic action now are putting politics ahead of science. Scientific rigor and academic honesty require that the data be reanalyzed.

The new analysis cannot simply be a rehash of the same-ol same-ol. The data must be made public. Academia, government and private industry all have a stake and scientists from each of these areas should have access and be allowed to draw their own independent conclusions. The studies must be peer reviewed for the legitimacy and appropriateness of the method - not based on where the funding came from. If the science is sound it does not matter who is paying for it even if the conclusions are different.

The Copenhagen conference should take place as schedule. The agenda must be radically changed. The conference needs to become a working meeting in which the leaders of the conference publicly recognize that the science is not sound and place a moratorium on further actions until and unless the science can demonstrate that the changing climate in indeed being caused by human activity.

Proof of human cause is needed, not just the repetition of theory. The existence of global warming does not prove that it is man made. Proxy data for millions of years shows temperatures and CO2 concentrations far warmer and far cooler than exist today. Data from the Middle Ages and Little Ice Age show similar fluctuations during historical times. Recent temperature data shows natural cooling along with increasing CO2 concentrations. All natural sources must be accounted for and accurately represented.

The Copenhagen conference needs to be a turning point in which the UN IPCC recognizes that mistakes were made - possibly some deliberate. The IPCC must agree to a public accounting of what happened and who was involved. a follow-up conference should be schedule for 2012 or later after the data has been properly vetted.

Anything less would be illegitimate and truly does represent fraudulent behavior in light of the allegations that have come to light.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rare early December snow across the southland

A snow storm is currently depositing as much as a 6 inches of snow in New Mexico tonight and willforge a path across the southern states into the mid-Atlantic. This will be one cold wet weekend and most of us will see anywhere from a light dusting to a few inches in areas that typically do not see snow this early in the year, if at all.

Texans Brace for Late-Week Snowstorm (AccuWeather)
A new storm with accumulating snow will push eastward across Texas and Louisiana late Thursday night and Friday.

After depositing up to half a foot or more of snow over the mountains of eastern New Mexico tonight, this new storm will turn its eyes on Texas.

People in Waco, Austin, San Antonio and Houston are next in line for their first snowfall of the season Friday.

Snow along the Texas Gulf Coast is unusual because the cold temperatures and the moisture have to arrive at the same time. Typically a cold front will come through the area when the temperatures are rather high, anywhere from the 50's to the 70's. After the front passes the region, the temperature begins to drop slightly. Sometimes the temperature the following day will stay cool due to heavy cloud cover. That night the clouds move away or dissipate and the temperature plummets to as low as 30 degrees or so.

Many times we got a blue norther - clear skies and a driving wind the next day. Bitter cold but no precipitation. All the precip came as warm rain the day before.

To get snow in our typically tropical clime the timing must be just right, with cold air arriving at the same time as atmospheric moisture. It seems plausible this will happen Friday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says much of the area could get from a trace to an inch of snow.

But Houston only sees snow, on average, about every four years. And never this early in the season: Friday's, if it comes, would be the earliest snowfall ever in Houston, beating the record tied last year by six days. So forecasters like Fred Schmude, of ImpactWeather, are wary.

“Most of our forecasting data is caught right in the middle, meaning any subtle change in the position of the upper level disturbance will have huge consequences on how much, if any, snow falls across the Greater Houston area,” he said.
The storm will stick to the southern states dropping snow in Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia before turning north towards the mid-Atlantic states. Current forecasts are indicating that the snow will be light if at all but even flurries are unusual in the deep south during the winter let alone this early in the year.

Accumulating snow is coming to places in the South Friday night into Saturday that rarely see such an event even in the dead of winter.

A swath of up to 6 inches of snow will stretch from parts of northeastern Texas to central Louisiana to central Mississippi, northern Alabama, and the mountains of northern Georgia and western North Carolina.

While some snow will melt as it falls on highways in this area, a burst of snow could quickly coat roads for a short time. Bridges and overpasses, which tend to cool more quickly, could be especially hazardous.

Snow is most likely to weigh down trees in the area of the 6-inch swath. Sporadic power outages could result.While some flakes will fly, odds are against an accumulation in metro areas of Montgomery, Atlanta, Greenville, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.

While we may see some whiteness on the ground Saturday, I don't expect that it will last very long. The further north you go into the mountains will be the areas that see better chances of accumulation.

Graphics courtesy of AccuWeather

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tropical Storm Nida degrading; soon to dissipate

Nida has now degraded to a tropical storm and is expected to dissipate within the next 24 - 36 hours.

Nida's journey through the Pacific began as a tropical depression on November 22 with 30 MPH sustained winds. She slowly grew to a Tropical Storm and then a Category 1 typhoon over the next two days. Suddenly, Nida surged in strength to a Category 3 typhoon with an increase in sustained winds of 30 MPH. Within 6 hours Nida increased to a Category 4 typhoon and reached a Category 5 storm 6 hours after that.

A maximum sustained wind speed of 185 MPH was recorded on November 25 at 18:00 hours GMT (Zulu time). This windspeed made Nida the strongest storm of the 2009 season in the Pacific Ocean, just slightly stronger than Hurricane Rick. wave height near the eye of the typhoon was estimated (measured?) at 44 feet.

Nida remained a Super typhoon for a total of 5 days finally dropping below 140 MPH windspeed on Monday, November 30. Since then she has steadily declined in strength and will soon dissipate over water.

Nida did not make landfall although the effect of her wrath was felt on the shores of quite a few islands in the Northern Marianas and Yap. No deaths have been attributed to Nida.

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