A very warm & humid weekend & -- while not as wet -- still some widely scattered showers & isolated t'storms will occur but there will be many dry hours Sat.-Sun. Highs will jump to near 90 degrees inland, mid 80s at the beaches. So plan to sweat it out while you're wildly cheering on the Jags Sunday along with possibly a few showers!
Still looking at a wet & stormy pattern for the early part of the new work week. There will be heavy rain potential & maybe some severe weather Mon.-Tue. For the Northern U.S. it'll be the first real taste of autumn with a widespread freeze & even some snow showers in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan. And that's right on cue for the calendar as the 22nd (Sat.) is the autumnal equinox. Speaking of autumn, check out the beautiful fall photos from Mike McCormick in Colorado. While we're still sweatin' it out, Colorado is awash in color with thoughts of hitting the slopes soon(!).
I wrote earlier in the week about "Global Hawk", an unmanned aircraft that's studying Atlantic tropical cyclones this month. You can track the aircraft ** here *.... the daily flight schedule is ** here **. Global Hawk has been & will continue to investigate "Nadine" in the Central Atlantic (became the 8th hurricane of the Atlantic season Fri. night).
Speaking of "Nadine", NASA's TRMM took the 3D shot below of some of the storm's cloud towers. See others ** here **.
And in the W. Pacific, once super typhoon Sanba has put Okinawa on alert. The now weakening storm is expected to hit S. Korea Mon. Images below are from the TMMM satellite (credit to:SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce) ....click ** here ** for more. From NASA:
The center of Super Typhoon Sanba is current forecast to come very close to Okinawa on Sept. 15. Today, Sept. 14 at 12 p.m. EDT, Kadena Air Base was on TCCOR 2 alert, which means sustained winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 24 hours.
NASA's TRMM satellite examined super soaking Super Typhoon Sanba and powerful hot towering thunderstorms around its center and rain falling at a rate as high as three inches per hour.
TRMM PR data was used to create a 3-D view from the west of Super Typhoon Sanba. The inner eye wall and older eye both extended to heights above 9 miles), that included hot towers.
A "hot tower" is a tall cumulonimbus (rain) cloud. These towers are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid.
On Sept. 14 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) Super Typhoon Sanba's maximum sustained winds were near 135 knots (155 mph/250 kmh). It was located approximately 380 nautical miles (437 miles/704 km) south-southeast of Kadena Airbase, Okinawa, Japan near 20.7 north latitude and 129.6 east longitude. Sanba was moving to the north at 11 knots (12.6 mph/20.3 kmh), and generating extremely rough seas with wave heights up to 53 feet (16.1 kmh).
Satellite imagery on Sept. 14 showed Sanba was tightly wrapped and still has an eye about 13 nautical miles wide. Both TRMM and infrared data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows that most of the showers and thunderstorms associated with Sanba are over the southern semi-circle, and has weakened.
The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that wind shear is expected to continue strengthening as Sanba travels into the higher latitudes, which will help weaken the storm. Forecasters expect Sanba to make landfall on the south coast of South Korea on Sept. 17, Monday.
Earth Gauge: Fall Monitoring
Looking for a new project? Fall is a great time to join a citizen science program, where you can share your own observations about nature with scientists. Citizen science volunteers can collect far more data than science researchers can alone, playing an important role in scientific discovery!
Tip: Make discoveries where you live. Here are just a few projects you can participate in as a citizen scientist:
· Monitor Weather: Every drop counts! Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) volunteers learn how to measure precipitation using a rain gauge and hail pad, record their data and report their measurements online. Data collected by volunteers complements observations made by the National Weather Service and is used by local meteorologists, researchers, emergency managers, farmers, outdoor enthusiasts, teachers and others. Sign up to become a volunteer observer with CoCoRaHS ** here **.
· Monitor Water Quality: How healthy is your local stream or lake? World Water Monitoring Challenge volunteers measure key water quality indicators by using a simple test kit to measure water temperature, acidity (pH), clarity and dissolved oxygen levels. All of these indicators can impact aquatic wildlife – high water temperatures or extremely acidic water can make it hard form some fish, insects and plants to survive. Clear water with ample dissolved oxygen will support a wide variety of plants and animals. The official World Water Monitoring Day is observed on September 18 each year, but you can monitor and report your findings throughout the year. Learn more, register a site and get a test kit ** here **.
· Monitor Monarch Butterflies: Drought conditions along the migration trail of monarch butterflies means less available nectar – could this impact the monarchs’ fall flight to Mexico? Recent reports from Journey North are showing that monarch roosts (clusters of butterflies spending the night in trees) are smaller in size and forming later compared to other years. Contribute your observations to help scientists track the butterflies and learn how weather and environmental conditions impact migration **here**.
Learn more about citizen science and its impacts in this infographic.
(Sources: CoCoRaHS Program; World Water Monitoring Challenge; Journey North)
Climate Trivia: Mosquitoes, West Nile Virus and the Weather
Mosquitoes have existed in the same basic form for at least 76 million years and have spread to every continent except Antarctica. What’s the secret to their success? Mosquitoes are one of the few insects that routinely lay eggs and mature in small, transient bodies of water, such as tree cavities and even hoof prints. Several types of mosquitoes from the genus Culex, such as the Southern House Mosquito, are known to spread West Nile Virus. First detected 13 years ago in New York City, a particularly prevalent outbreak centered in the South Central United States is occurring this year, 2012. Outbreaks generally achieve peak numbers in the late summer/early fall.
Trivia Question: Which weather related factors likely influence the prevalence of West Nile Virus in any given warm season?
a) The previous winter’s temperature
b) The current (outbreak season) temperature
c) Rainfall levels
d) All of the above
The correct answer is d. The mild winter temperatures during the 2011-2012 winter allowed many adult mosquitoes from the 2011 season to survive into 2012, boosting the total number of Culex mosquitoes. During the warm, outbreak season itself, warmer temperatures allow mosquitoes to develop faster and the viruses they carry replicate faster: West Nile begins to develop inside its hosts once the temperature reaches about 58 degrees Fahrenheit and the rate of development then doubles for each incremental 12 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature. Lastly, and somewhat counter intuitively, drought boosts numbers of Culex mosquitoes. These mosquitoes like to breed in small pools of water rich in plant and other organic materials. Underground storm drains are generally a great breeding habitat for the mosquitoes, except when it rains and water flushes away mosquito larvae, inhibiting reproduction. The lack of rain and the particularly stagnant storm drains this year have led to a big boost in mosquito numbers. Also, the lack of rain has compelled local birds, which also carry the virus, to move from rural areas into populated city centers in search of water, leading to more transmissions of the virus to humans.
(Sources: Budiansky, Stephen. “Creatures of Our Own Making.” Science 298 (2002): 80- 86 and Kaiser, Jocelyn. “Drought Portends Mosquito Misery.” Science 301 (2003): 04 and “Outbreak Pattern Stymies Vaccine Work.” Science 337 (2012): 1030 and Reisen, WK et al. “Effects on the Transmission of West Nile Virus by Culex tarsalis (Diptera: Culicidae).” Journal of Medical Entomology 43 (2006): 309-317.)
Climate in the News: “Mysterious Changes in Ocean Salt Spur NASA Expedition” – Live Science, September 9, 2012.
A new NASA led study is investigating recent changes in ocean salinity and the possible links to climate change.
Have a great & safe weekend!