Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Iselle, the first tropical storm to hit Hawaii in 22 years clamored ashore overnight Friday as a weakened tropical storm. A second system behind it also weakened and was on track to pass well north of the islands early Sunday.

Tropical Storm Iselle knocked out power, caused flooding and downed trees when it crossed onto the Big Island in a rural and sparsely populated region. Heavy rains and wind from the storm’s outer bands hit Maui and Oahu on Friday morning but eased later in the day as Iselle swirled farther out to sea.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Julio, about 750 miles east of the Big Island, was a Category 2 storm and packed maximum sustained winds of about 105 mph. National Weather Service officials predict it will continue to weaken on a path that should take it about 200 miles north of the island chain starting sometime Sunday morning.

Typhoon Halong was lashing Japan on Saturday as the country headed into a holiday week, causing authorities to order the evacuation of half a million people living near swollen rivers and canceling hundreds of flights.

Typhoon Halong also disrupted land traffic and injured at least six people as Japan began its annual “Obon” Buddhist holiday week.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a warning for heavy rain in Mie prefecture in central Japan, prompting two towns to order about 500,000 residents to evacuate due to a fear of flooding from swollen rivers. The agency said heavy rain in the area would continue overnight.

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Global Warming

Strongest Trade Winds on Record Linked to Warming Pause

Trade winds blowing across the equatorial Pacific are at their strongest since records began in the 1860s, and scientists say a warmer Atlantic is the cause.

Those winds have also become about 50 percent more powerful since the late 1990s.

Earlier research pointed to the turbocharged Pacific winds as the source of the seeming pause in global warming.

The stronger trades are thought to be churning the heat from atmospheric warming into the deep Pacific waters, masking the actual magnitude of climate change.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of New South Wales say that a thermal lift from a warmer Atlantic is sending parcels of air high in the atmosphere, where they are carried by upper-air winds to the eastern Pacific.

There, the parcels give the trade winds an extra boost as they cool while descending.

Lead author Shayne McGregor says this process is not permanent.

He warns that once the winds ease, the stored heat could rise from the ocean, resulting in a surge of surface warmth.


Red tide bloom moves in on Florida

A monstrous red tide bloom, the largest seen in Florida since 2006 is advancing on the state’s beaches. It has already killed thousands of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and officials are now concerned about health risks if it washes ashore.

The patchy bloom has spread from the Panhandle to the central Tampa Bay region. It measures about 80 miles long by 50 miles wide. Right now, it is 40 to 90 miles offshore, but is expected to hit Florida beaches over the next two weeks.

Red tides in the Gulf of Mexico were the single leading cause of death for 276 manatees in 2013, with most of the deaths occurring off Ft.Myers, Florida. The toxic algae settle on sea grasses that manatees eat, and the toxins affect the nervous systems, stopping respiration and causing them to drown.

The red tide can be harmful to humans too. Eating contaminated oysters and other kinds of shellfish can cause serious medical problems. The blooms can cause eye irritations as well as respiratory problems, and people with chronic respiratory diseases should be extra careful.

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Ebola virus disease update – West Africa

Between 5 and 6 August 2014, a total of 68 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 29 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The lava effusion continues at decreasing, but still considerable rate. When seen yesterday evening, only one channel, 5-10 m wide was still entering the sea at 10 m wide front, while there had been up to 7 branches reaching the shore in the area west of or partially covering the 2007 lava delta. Small explosions were occurring at the sea entry.

Several lava branches were still weakly active on the upper Sciara, causing many incandescent rockfalls.

It appears that a part of the NE flank of the NE crater has collapsed and that the new effusive vent is located at its northern base, at approx. 700 m elevation. Thus, being lower than the summit vents, it is able to effectively drain the upper part of the volcano’s plumbing system, which explains why no explosions were observed at the summit craters.