Buresh Blog: Out of season tropical storm... NOAA hurricane season forecast & “Talking & Tracking the Tropics”... climate change & hurricanes... astronauts to space

Jacksonville, Fl. — Our first Atlantic named storm has come & gone. “Arthur” formed over the weekend of May 16/17th moving northeast then east just skirting the NC coast. No significant damage occurred with most of the wind & heaviest rain north & east of the center keeping the worst of the storm offshore with the last advisory issued Tue., the 19th (next name on the ’20 list is “Bertha”). Arthur did enhance rip currents are area beaches resulting in the unfortunate death of a swimmer in Crescent Beach (St. Johns Co.). This marks the 6th straight year with an “preseason” storm though such an occurrence is not necessarily rare in May. There have been 52 Atlantic May named storms going back to 1851. Though not always true, early season storms recently have been followed by active hurricane seasons.

NOAA has issued their 2020 hurricane seasonal forecast. Like most other tropical forecasters, the expectation is for an above average season sighting above avg. ocean water temps. & at least neutral - if not La Nina - conditions over the equatorial Pacific. Watch “Talking & Tracking the Tropics” * here * - a “deep dive” on the tropics presented by the First Alert Weather Team.

An article appearing in a recent NYT & Washington Post spread like wildfire across media outlets: “Climate Change is Making Hurricanes Stronger”. Very little actual data was given while certain quotes seemed to be chosen to support the “click & bait” headline. Upon some deeper digging into the work sighted by Dr. Kossin (Nat. Center for Environmental Information), one can find that the evidence is still not necessarily “cut & dry” in this particular instance.

First & foremost, it’s without doubt that the globe is warming & has been for at least several decades - that’s measurable (see 3rd image below). But so much of “crazy” Mother Nature is just assumed or declared to be caused by climate change when, in fact, that’s what the atmosphere & weather is all about: wild swings & great fluctuations. It’s natural chaos at its best. While the last few years have certainly been active seasons that included powerful hurricanes, the longer term trend this century - so far - has been relatively flat - about 3 per season - when it comes to the number of Cat. 3/4/5 storms to form in the Atlantic Basin (2nd image below). Keep in mind that Florida went from 2006 through 2015 without a single hurricane hit - the longest such stretch on record.

The graph below from the University of Alabama, Huntsville global temp. report, clearly shows a recent trend - since the 1990s - of above avg. temps.

Exciting times when it comes to space exploration as NASA & SpaceX combine forces to take astronauts into space - the first time astronauts have been taken into space since the end of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011. (I can remember! the first walk of the moon - watching on a black & white t.v. with my aunt) :)

Weather is, of course, an important factor for rocket launches & the launch will be scrubbed if:

* lightning within 10 nautical miles of the launch pad up to 30 minutes prior to launch

* any rain or low clouds (4,500 feet in thickness)

* winds greater than 34 mph

* too much wind shear (changing height with altitude)

* inclement weather/rough seas at the rocket recovery site (usually positioned at least several hundred miles east or northeast of the launch)