Debating the "Brown Ocean Effect" in relation to Harvey (credit: The Weather Gamut)
DISCUSSION: In light of the recent land-based progress of Tropical Storm Harvey after its first official United States (U.S.) landfall in southeast Texas, it is worthwhile to try to diagnose a possible reason for why this tropical cyclone remained at tropical storm intensity since its initial point of landfall. More than 72 hours after its first U.S. landfall, this tropical cyclone has remained at tropical storm intensity which has beat out several previous all-time records along with the most tropical cyclone event rainfall total in Texas state as well as United States weather history. More details on the theory behind the "Brown Ocean Effect" and how this effect may have influenced the longevity of Tropical Storm Harvey is attached below.
"Tropical cyclones are fueled by warm ocean water and typically peter out over land. Sometimes, however, their lives are extended by something called the “brown ocean effect”.
This is a phenomenon where a storm derives energy from the evaporation of abundant soil moisture deposited by previous rainfall. Essentially, the saturated soil mimics the role of the ocean allowing a tropical cyclone to maintain its strength or even intensify after making landfall.
For the brown ocean effect to occur, according to a NASA funded study by Theresa Andersen and Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia, three criteria need to be met:
Storms that are impacted by the brown ocean effect maintain a warm-core and are known as Inland Tropical Cyclone Maintenance and Intensification events (TCMIs). While rare, they are most common in the US, China, and Australia."
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: During the course of the day on August 21st, 2017, a good portion of North America experienced space-oriented history by way of the most recent total solar eclipse. As the path of totality (which average at around 70 miles wide) traveled across the path of the eclipse at between roughly 1,500 and 1,700 mph on average during the course of the total solar eclipse's path. The most remarkable part to many people which were positioned somewhere along the path of totality was the brief but impressive corona on display around the periphery of the Moon during the height of the eclipse in any given location within the 70-mile diameter range from the focal point of the eclipse. There is no doubt that this was exciting for many people in the path of this total solar eclipse since many people are usually only ever able to experience a few of these type of solar events in their lifetime(s). Most importantly during any solar eclipse is to always be cognizant of the fact that staring at a given solar event can inflict severe damage to one's ocular abilities in both the short- and the longer-term. Therefore, it is always imperative to have protective eye-wear on hand at all times when preparing to view any type of solar-based phenomenon.
To learn more about other neat education topics in applied meteorological science, be sure to click on the following link: www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/education!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Impacts of Advection Fog and Marine Layer on Aircraft Movement (Credit: Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: Fog, a relative to the cloud, only in that the base of fog is located at the earth’s surface, is something that can be both pleasant by breaking through to such a beautiful sky, or leave a day to seem dull in certain locations. It’s a question I have to mentally prepare myself to answer to the general public nearly every few weeks as advection fog or a large marine layer coupled with stratus and fog approach the coast of Monterey Bay. Why does fog impact aircraft?
Monterey Bay is home to unique weather patterns that many residents enjoy as a coolness to the air lingers, due to the effects of fog and the marine layer. Monterey often experiences a marine layer, an air mass that develops over the Pacific in the presence of a temperature inversion. Fog is likely to form within a marine layer, where humidity is high enough and there is cooling sufficient enough to support the production of condensation.
Visibility is the most common impact in aviation, however not in the typical way most would predict. Fog has the ability to cause operational delays which can impact arrival to a destination. The result of fog can restrict both ground and airborne movement at an airport. Often most aircraft are able to land and take off in low surface visibility by utilizing LVP (Low Visibility Procedures), a set of standards to ensure safe operations during specific approaches and take-offs. Limitations become challenging as the operational goal is most difficult to maintain the safety of aircraft during ground movement. Aircraft will often need additional space when landing and when taxiing on the ground, meaning the distance between an aircraft that will have landed will be well clear of the runway before the next lands, thus utilizing LVP to reduce the chance for a runway incursion and costly aircraft damage.
Advection fog is most prone in Monterey Bay as the air surrounding the airport can be impacted by this quick moving event. This fog is formed when warm, moist and stable air moves across a cooler surface, where the air temperature decreases to dew point and condensation can occur. Advection fog and other fog types have the potential to rapidly reduce visibility from visual flight rules (VFR) to instrument flight rules (IFR) within a span of minutes, often in coastal cities like that of Monterey or most known San Francisco. It is conceivable that diversions can occur and pilots are likely to plan for alternative runways, and increased fuel consumption as the weather at the destination deteriorates rapidly.
For more information on aviation meteorology and weather impacting your area visit the Global Weather and Climate Center.
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
"Low Visibility Procedures (LVP)." Low Visibility Procedures (LVP) - SKYbrary Aviation Safety. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.
Scientists have created the “Science on a Sphere” to view the Earth and other planets on a physical sphere. The sphere is six feet in diameter and uses a combination of computers and video projectors to cast an image onto the sphere. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has provided the satellite data for the sphere and it is used as an educational tool for science centers, museums, and universities. The datasets include not only satellite imagery, but also air movement, geological features, space and more! For a reference, various GPS overlays can be added. If you can’t make it to a museum or an institution that has a Science on a Sphere, you can download a free version called SOSx Lite. Once downloaded onto a computer, various datasets will be shown to choose from. The satellite imagery of Hurricane Sandy’s entire lifespan can be seen in a loop. The globe can be rotated to view the satellite imagery loop for the same time frame around the Earth. Other datasets include earthquakes that are projected in real time along with their magnitude. Sea Surface Currents and Temperatures is also one of the datasets and is also the image above. It’s projected in different colors according to the temperature (the scale in the top-left). The warm and cold currents as well as eddies in the currents can be visible because of the corresponding colors. Just from the image above, analysts can see that it’s June 2007 (top-right corner) and the Gulf of Mexico is warming. The warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico flow north along the East Coast. Once the current flows along the New England states, the waters start to cool and continue north-eastward towards Europe. Not just images and loops come from SOSx Lite, but also educational videos and tutorials can be viewed to explain the dataset being viewed. Find out how you can download SOSx Lite for free here!
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell