Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tropical Storm Ignacio Gets Stronger.

"Ignacio continues to gather strength in a favorable environment for intensification about half way between Los Cabos, Mexico and Hilo, Hawaii.

The airmass that the storm is moving through has relatively low wind shear, or the change in wind speed with height. When wind shear is too significant, it can effectively rip apart the structure of a tropical cyclone. With limited wind shear in the storm's path, Ignacio should continue to get better organized over the next few days as it eventually turns west-northwest."


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Trouble In The Edens- Ivanna

Tropical Storm Erika Approaching the Leeward Islands; Potential Threat to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Hispanola, Bahamas

Tropical Storm Erika is currently centered just under 500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is moving quickly westward at 18 mph. 
For the next couple of days, Erika will be moving into an environment with some vertical wind shear, some dry air, both general inhibitors for tropical cyclone intensification.
Erika may face a lower magnitude of wind shear and dry than did the former Hurricane Danny, but these negative factors, plus a potential future track over land in the Caribbean complicate both the intensity and track forecasts.
The tropical storm was clearly struggling Tuesday night as Air Force hurricane hunter data suggested that the low-level center of Erika remained exposed to the north of limited convection. Also, the central pressure rose to 1006mb at 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday, a sign that the storm is having difficulty better organizing.

Western Wildfires

Currently in Washington state, there is a wildfire that has spread to about three times the size of Seattle. As of this evening, only ten percent of the fire has been contained. The fire is still spreading and is anticipated to burn for several more months. So far, three firefighters have lost their lives fighting this wildfire and four have been injured.

Most states in the west experiencing these wildfires are recruiting volunteers, former firefighters, and construction workers. This year alone, 7.5 million acres have burned as a result of wildfires; which is about 2 million acres more than the average for this decade. Most of the wildfires are occurring in Idaho, with 17 wildfires currently burning. In Oregon, a wildfire has destroyed more than 36 homes, burned about 114 square miles, and it has only been 30 percent contained.

I am wondering what impact these wildfires have on our environment, considering the smoke and fumes that they release and the vast number of environmental resources they consume?

Embedded image permalink
 (this is a photo of a wildfire that broke out on August 24, 2015, photo courtesy of Andrius Baskys)
Western Wildfire Article

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lightning Strike Launches Fracking Storage Tank in the Air, Sets off Chain Reaction Fire

A lightning strike set off an explosive chain-reaction fire at an oil and gas wastewater injection site in Greeley, Colorado, on Friday. 
The Associated Press reports that the fire started afterlightning struck a water storage tank, launching it into the air. Hydrocarbons contained in the tank caught fire and spread to other flammable materials at the site. 
In fear of an explosion, local firefighters waited for the blaze to settle down before entering the site with fire suppression foam. Later that night, firefighters were able to fully extinguish the fire. 
NGL Energy Partners, the company that owns the site, deals in crude oil and liquids used in hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. 
Greeley Fire Department spokesman Dale Lyman said that homes near the site were evacuated, but that no injuries were reported from the fire.

If you live in the South and feel like there's been a lot of rain lately,  you're not imagining things. In fact, 2015's April showers have been so tenacious that parts of the South have set record rainy streaks for the month, and some have seen a record number of rainy days so far this year.
You can blame a stagnant weather pattern. A low-pressure system in the upper atmosphere was slow to move out of the Rockies, while at the same time, the southern branch of the jet stream allowed for plenty of moisture to be drawn northward into the South. Even the overall pattern for much of this year has opened the door to wet conditions.

Late April Snow Blankets Appalachians, Great Lakes

A band of late April snow moved into the Great Lakes and Appalachians Wednesday, dropping up to 8.5 inches in some areas. 
"After a warmer stretch in April, blocking high pressure near Greenland has forced another prolonged, deep plunge of chilly air into the Great Lakes," meteorologist Jon Erdman said. "That deep, cold air pivoting into the Appalachians with surface temperatures just cold enough allowed snow to accumulate in parts of southwest Pennsylvania and far western Maryland. In the Great Lakes, up to 8.5 inches of snow was measured in parts of the western U.P. of Michigan and far northern Wisconsin."
Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin all saw snowfall by noon local time Wednesday. 
Here are a handful of snowfall reports from the affected areas:
  • Champion, Pennsylvania - 3 inches 
  • Oakland, Maryland - 2 inches
  • Bessemer, Michigan - 8.5 inches
  • Gile, Wisconsin - 8.5 inches
  • Davis, West Virginia - 2 inches
  • Isabella, Minnesota - 3 inches

Chile's Calbuco Volcano Could Erupt for Months, Experts Warn

Tension and fear is high in towns surrounding Chile's Calbuco volcano, after the sleeping giant awoke this week, sending spectacular plumes of ash into the sky.
This week was the volcano's first eruption in 42 years. The blasts that began Wednesday, creating a remarkable scene of smoke plumes and ash shooting more than 6 miles into the sky. Calbuco had another spectacular outburst early Thursday with lightning crackling through a dark sky turned reddish orange by the explosion. More smoke was seen coming from the volcano Friday, and experts warn it could erupt again. 
NASA's Earth Observatory satellites captured images of the smoking volcano from space Friday.