DISCUSSION: Over the last two centuries, there is little to no doubt that atmospheric science observational and forecasting capabilities have come quite a long way. One of the premiere technologies which is associated with how far atmospheric science over the past 200 + years is the invention of the world-famous Doppler Radar technology which is based upon the fundamental principle known as the Doppler Effect. The so-called “Doppler Effect” which is what the modern Doppler Radar observational platform is based upon was invented by Christian Doppler. This was a historic discovery during the earlier part of the 19th century since this was a discovery which would go on to forever change the course of history.
Attached below is an excerpt which is from a corresponding Physics Today article: “Born on 29 November 1803 in Salzburg, Austria, physicist Christian Doppler proposed the phenomenon that enables astronomers to determine the velocity of distant objects. He studied mathematics at the Vienna Polytechnic Institute and math, mechanics, and astronomy at the University of Vienna. Doppler had shaky health throughout his life, and he had trouble securing a stable professorship. Nonetheless he produced several important papers, none more influential than “On the colored light of the double stars and certain other stars of the heavens” in 1842. He theorized that the colors of two stars orbiting each other would appear to change slightly, due to one star moving away from the observer and the other moving closer. More generally, Doppler proposed that the apparent frequency of light or sound waves emanating from an object changes depending on the object’s motion toward or away from the observer. Scientists in many fields, particularly astronomy, depend on the Doppler effect. Stars and galaxies moving away from Earth shift toward the red part of the color spectrum (red-shifted), while astronomical objects moving toward Earth are blue-shifted. Scientists analyzing the distance to and motion of stars and galaxies have determined that the universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate.”
Upon discovering the Doppler Effect concept which is described in the excerpt attached above, this transformed the way in which mankind was able to interpret how sound and velocity works in the context of time and space in order to anticipate the movement of hydrometeors. Therefore, this is the concept which instigated the development of the modernized Doppler Radar which uses the Doppler Effect to produce velocity data to project and predict the speed and directional movement of different types of objects from a given distance.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
On this day in 2013, an unordinary late season tornado outbreak occurred across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio. This particular tornado outbreak was the deadliest and costliest in Illinois to occur in the month of November and the fourth largest in recorded Illinois state history. This event resulted in 73 tornadoes, with reports of over 100 injuries and 11 fatalities.
Forecasts for the development of this event had been well anticipated, with initial forecasts led by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center five days in advanced. These storms were associated with a strong trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere, as well as having forecasts of a potent mid-level jet moving across the Mississippi River valley. The pressure gradient force, or in other words the force which results when there is a difference in pressure across a surface, tends to bring stronger winds in November compared to the summer or spring months. This leads to greater wind shear. The morning of the outbreak showed there was a particularly strong vertical wind shear, providing the perfect setup for long-tracked tornadoes to occur.
Two of the tornadoes, both in Illinois, were rated EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. These were the strongest documented tornadoes during the outbreak resulting in five deaths. In addition to tornadoes the system also produced baseball sized hail peaking at 4.00 in (10.2 cm) in diameter in Bloomington, Illinois, as well as damaging winds estimated as strong as 100 mph (160 km/h) in three separate locations. There were also seven tornadoes rated EF3, 23 tornadoes rated EF2, 28 tornadoes rated EF1 and 13 tornadoes rated EF0.
Tornadic events, especially of this magnitude, are an uncommon occurrence in the month of November. Normally in late autumn and into winter there is not sufficient warmth and moisture for thunderstorm development. However, in this case, a low pressure system across the plains had pushed tropical warmth and moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico for nearly two days. This moisture was akin to that typically observed during summertime, given dew point temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s. Combine this with air temperatures of around 70° F (21° C) and these combined factors aided in the generation of instability to get thunderstorms to form. The warmth combined with the high wind shear was the perfect setup for these supercell storms to develop. This is just a reminder that people should stay vigilant throughout the entire year because tornadoes can happen at pretty much any time especially throughout the midwestern portion of the United States.
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© 2018 Weather Forecaster Michael Ames
DISCUSSION: It goes without saying that 5 years ago today there was history made over in parts of the eastern and central and eastern Philippines. To be more precise, 5 years ago today, the eastern and central Philippines bore witness to the full force of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Super Typhoon Haiyan was an intense tropical cyclone which formed in early November of 2013. This powerful tropical cyclone was particularly intimidating since this storm had nearly a perfectly symmetric structure associated with it right up to the point of landfall over in the eastern Philippines. To be more precise, this tropical cyclone had developed sufficiently clear characteristics to allow it to be referred to as an annular tropical cyclone. An annular tropical cyclone is a tropical cyclone which has a near-perfect to perfect energy distribution across the entire span of the system from north to south and from east to west.
Moreover, Super Typhoon Haiyan was also an incredibly large tropical cyclone which also increased the overall flooding as well as flash flooding threat (i.e., from both heavy rainfall and record-breaking storm surge levels). Having said that, the storm was ultimately quite destructive and unfortunately quite deadly as well in the wake of well over 6,000 people losing their lives during the impacts and aftermath of this powerful tropical cyclone. Thus, it in looking back to Super Typhoon Haiyan, there is absolutely no question whatsoever that this was a storm which will go down in history as one of the worst tropical cyclones of all-time.
To learn about just some of the many intimidating details associated with this storm, here is a quote from the article attached below which reflects just a portion of what Super Typhoon Haiyan did. “Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) made its first landfall at 4:40 a.m. local time (20:40 Universal Time) on November 7. Preliminary reports suggested the storm roared ashore near Guinan (Samar Province), where ground stations recorded sustained winds of 235 kilometers (145 miles) per hour and gusts to 275 kilometers (170 miles) per hour. According to remote sensing data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, sustained winds approached 315 kph (195 mph) just three hours before landfall, with gusts to 380 kph (235 mph).”
Attached above is also a first-person perspective on this event from Award-Winning Storyteller and Cameraman Jim Edds from Pensacola, Florida.
To learn more about this historic tropical cyclone event, feel free to learn more about it from the NASA Earth Observatory link, which can be found right here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
The Deadliest Hurricane in U.S. History (credit: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The History Channel)
The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history struck the coast of the Gulf of Mexico devastating Galveston, Texas, an island located off the coast of Texas. On September 8, 1900, a category four hurricane reached land from the Gulf of Mexico. The people in the affected area were not aware of the hurricane in time to evacuate. This is due to the lack of weather knowledge during the early 1900’s according to the History Channel.