Two Pacific-sized disasters: the Samoan tsunami and Typhoon Ketsana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:29 PM GMT on September 30, 2009

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The Pacific spawned another huge natural disaster yesterday, when a magnitude 8.0 - 8.3 earthquake near Samoa generated a tsunami that devastated portions of American Samoa and neighboring islands. While the ocean surface was only displaced about three inches by the force of the earthquake near its epicenter, the rupture occurred near the 10,000 meter-deep Tonga-Kermadec Trench, along a swath 200 - 300 km long. A column of water miles deep and 200 - 300 km long accelerated downward by the force of gravity (or lifted upward by crustal motion) by three inches represents an massive amount of energy released into the ocean. The quake was able to generate a 1.5-foot tsunami on the Hawaiian island of Oahu 2,700 miles away, and a 0.6-foot tsunami on the Oregon coast, over 5,000 miles away.

Portlight.org is considering adopting an American Samoa family to help out in the wake of this huge disaster. They would like some feedback from their contributors on whether to go ahead with this idea, so stop by the Portlight.org blog to join the discussion.

Typhoon Ketsana
Typhoon Ketsana has finally dissipated, but not before bringing record flooding to Vietnam, two days after creating recording flooding and chaos in the capital of the Philippines, Manila. Ketsana made landfall Tuesday morning in Vietnam between Hue and Da Nang as a Category 2 typhoon with 105 mph winds. The storm dumped up to 20 inches of rain on Vietnam, according to satellite estimates. Some rivers in central Vietnam rose above the record flood heights recorded in an epic 1964 flood. In all, Ketsana has been responsible for 41 deaths in Vietnam and 11 in neighboring Cambodia, with many more missing. At least 350,000 people are homeless in Vietnam, joining the 380,000 left homeless in the Philippines from the storm.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS satellite image of Ketsana approaching Vietnam on Tuesday, September 28, 2009. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

The death toll in the Philippines from Ketsana has stabilized at 246, with another 38 missing. Residents of the islands need to keep a wary eye on Typhoon Parma, which is expected to intensify into a major typhoon and brush the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday and Sunday.

Quietest September in the Atlantic since 1997
Well, it's the end of September, and what is traditionally the busiest month in the Atlantic was unusually quiet. We had only two named storms this September, the first time since 1997 we've had less than three September named storms. There were only 6.75 days in September with a named storm, which ranks as the 4th fewest September named storm days since 1950 (only 1962, 1970, and 1994 had fewer). The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for September ranked as the 6th lowest since 1950. The quiet period is likely to continue for at least another week, as there are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, and none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation over the next seven days. I'll post my first-half-of-October outlook for the Atlantic tomorrow.

Jeff Masters

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That guy better stay away from open flames; with all that wax - he's a human candle!
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Just reading and found it kind of interesting since it referenced tsunami's / earthquakes and other items that have happened recently.

Since there are about 10 posts every 1/2 hour and no real hearty topic going on, I didn't think it would hurt much, sorry I'll delete it.

No need to delete it... I was just asking since I wasn't sure if it was in response to something or not. (I even chimed in with my $.02 in #298)
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Quoting Dakster:


So you only go up and down once every 30 years?


Yeah, but man is it worth it!
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Quoting mikatnight:
TheCaneWhisperer (281)
What you’re referring to is a nuclear war (the second one, the first was of course, in 1945) and why the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is so important. Weakened under the Bush Administration, the NPT is one of the oldest and most successful treaties ever signed. An incredible book on the subject, written by the very qualified Joseph Cirincione is, “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons”. Cirincione is currently an advisor to the Obama Administration.

As an addendum to that... with today's technology, if just 2 or 3 modern, fully-developed nuclear weapons were set off in large, metropolitan cities... you would easily surpass the damage and death estimates once collateral damage is factored in.
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Quoting Floodman:


You have "up" and "Down" cycles, lasting 15-30 years each; during an "Up" cycle, you see increased activity and more landfalls, during the "Down" cycle, the obverse...


So you only go up and down once every 30 years?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
Dak...the boat might make it...the crew probably won't...
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Press - Do you think a 19-Foot open fisherman make it to American Samoa from South Florida?

IKE - I guess you ran out of popcorn and decided to join the discussion...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
I teach a class every Wed nite at my parish...tonight's topic is the Book of Revelations......and Scott Hahn's contention that it is a metaphor for the Catholic mass...just for fun, I'm gonna steal some of that post Whisperer....and hand it out ...
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Quoting mikatnight:
Floodman - I believe he was the winner...


One would have to assume, huh? As a bearded man myself, I see this and wonder, WTF?
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Floodman - I believe he was the winner...
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Quoting Dakster:


How long is the cycle you are talking about? I've seen discussion of a 10 year, 100-year, and 1,000 year cycle. (Not even going into the longer period cycles too!)



You have "up" and "Down" cycles, lasting 15-30 years each; during an "Up" cycle, you see increased activity and more landfalls, during the "Down" cycle, the obverse...
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Quoting jeffs713:
281.

I seem to be missing why that post is on here. I haven't seen any doomsday scenarios posted as of late.


Just reading and found it kind of interesting since it referenced tsunami's / earthquakes and other items that have happened recently.

Since there are about 10 posts every 1/2 hour and no real hearty topic going on, I didn't think it would hurt much, sorry I'll delete it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TheCaneWhisperer (281)
What you’re referring to is a nuclear war (the second one, the first was of course, in 1945) and why the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is so important. Weakened under the Bush Administration, the NPT is one of the oldest and most successful treaties ever signed. An incredible book on the subject, written by the very qualified Joseph Cirincione is, “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons”. Cirincione is currently an advisor to the Obama Administration.
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288. IKE
Quoting Dakster:


We can't have that type of talk in a family blog...


LOL.

12Z ECMWF..shows nothing through October 10th.

Clock is running out on 2009...do I sound like tacoman?
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Dak...I just can't tell you how tempted I've been to say that...
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Quoting Floodman:


Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't frequency and intensity always increased as you get to the last third or so of of the "Up" cycle in tropical weather? Are we not in the last third of the this cycle?


How long is the cycle you are talking about? I've seen discussion of a 10 year, 100-year, and 1,000 year cycle. (Not even going into the longer period cycles too!)

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
And now for something completely different; did anyone know that there was such a thing as the International Beard and Mustache Championships? Here is a contestant:



They're kidding, right?
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Quoting Weather456:
Why was Ketsana so wet?


We can't have that type of talk in a family blog...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
281.

I seem to be missing why that post is on here. I haven't seen any doomsday scenarios posted as of late.
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Quoting Weather456:
BBL,

Behind the Samoa Tsunami


nicely done
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.
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#257
The way I see it, the climate change advocates put out a preponderance of evidence that (1) the earth is warming, and to make matters worse, started warming at a faster rate when humans industrialized. The graph shows a steady climb, and then an abrupt climb (the “hockey stick”). This leads one to conclude that (2) humans are responsible, and that (3) we can do something to slow, stop, or even reverse the warming trend. The opponents to 1, 2, 3, or all of the above are trying to play catch-up. Caught in the middle are the scientists who are trying to arrive at the truth (the one’s without political agendas).
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Quoting tkeith:
What??...there's no Dragos in Dallas?

Gustave and Ike they say, had an impact on the oyster production for this year. But from my personal research I conclude those storms did not have a negative impact on TASTE...


No cher and no Monster, no Big Boys...oh, there are shops they say they have Poboys, but brother, when I eat a raost beef Poboy I expect the gravy to drip off my elbows
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Quoting Magicchaos:
ZCZC MIATWOEP ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT WED SEP 30 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF BAJA CALIFORNIA CONTINUE TO SHOW SOME SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION.
ALTHOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME LESS
CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT IN A DAY OR SO...ONLY A SLIGHT INCREASE
IN ORGANIZATION COULD RESULT IN THE FORMATION OF A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE....GREATER THAN 50 PERCENT...OF
THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN/BROWN
NNNN

--------------------------------

Looks like a TD by 5PM in Eastern Pacific


What, exactly, do you suppose they mean by "less conducive"? it's under a ridge, over warm sst's, an abundance of moisture, and, from what i've seen, expected to remain that way for 2-3 days at least
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Quoting Weather456:


yes but the increase in frequencies I'm talking about is larger than decadal cycles.

2009 maybe the end of the active period but isnt that rather short to the 15-30 years cycle average.


Oh no, I'm not saying we're at the end of the cyle; I figure we're at about the last third with maybe 8-10 more years of "heightened" activity but even in the low activity decadal periods there are years with unusually large numbers of storms, just as this year is an unusally low activity year for the "up" period
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BBL,

Behind the Samoa Tsunami
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Quoting Floodman:


Pat, that's cruel...a man can't get a decent poboy here in DFW and we won't talk about fried oysters
What??...there's no Dragos in Dallas?

Gustave and Ike they say, had an impact on the oyster production for this year. But from my personal research I conclude those storms did not have a negative impact on TASTE...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ZCZC MIATWOEP ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT WED SEP 30 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF BAJA CALIFORNIA CONTINUE TO SHOW SOME SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION.
ALTHOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME LESS
CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT IN A DAY OR SO...ONLY A SLIGHT INCREASE
IN ORGANIZATION COULD RESULT IN THE FORMATION OF A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE....GREATER THAN 50 PERCENT...OF
THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN/BROWN
NNNN

--------------------------------

Looks like a TD by 5PM in Eastern Pacific

Visible Loop

Water Vapor Loop

Shortwave Loop
Member Since: April 3, 2009 Posts: 107 Comments: 382
Quoting Floodman:


Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't frequency and intensity always increased as you get to the last third or so of of the "Up" cycle in tropical weather? Are we not in the last third of the this cycle?


yes but the increase in frequencies I'm talking about is larger than decadal cycles. E.g. 1900-2000.
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Emergency Preparedness
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Quoting Weather456:
Hurricane frequencies have risen but it isn't due to climate change, it it becuz we have stuff like QS, cyclone phase diagrams and sat images that could detect even the smallest and remote disturbances.


Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't frequency and intensity always increased as you get to the last third or so of of the "Up" cycle in tropical weather? Are we not in the last third of the this cycle?
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Quoting Patrap:


Next time here..I'll buy us Po-boys from a even better place.


I have always counted you among my dearest friends...LOL

You're on!
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Quoting Weather456:
So, let me get this straight: the world is all jacked up because of global climate change because an area received their worst rains in 40 years??? FORTY YEARS??? it's not even an all-time freaking record.

Amen!

Not to mention that a similar regime in many of the natural long-term cycles may have been setup about the same...guess when...40 years ago.

Not saying it is so, but could very well have been. A lot of the record highs, record lows, average monthly temps, etc. have a common comparable from 30 to 40 years ago. The cool temps in the NE USA, the warm temps in NW USA, the rains in the Philippines, you name it, it has likely happened before and possibly 30 to 40 years ago or 70 to 80 years ago.

It is not alone, but the phase switch in the PDO had a lot to do with it.

How many of the activists remember what the previous PDO phase switch was like? Few, if any, so we keep seeing events that are "astoundingly different".

Is any of it that special? No. Cyclical behavior.
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Global Warming May Dent El Niño’s Protective Shield from Atlantic Hurricanes
Posted September 25, 2009


Content created by National Science Foundation

El Niño, the periodic eastern Pacific phenomenon credited with shielding the United States and Caribbean from severe hurricane seasons, may be overshadowed by its brother in the central Pacific due to global warming, according to an article in the September 24 issue of the journal Nature.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


So there being less rainfall would have been the change lol


Is it really surprising that rain falls when a cyclone hits land? That isn't change, that is consistency

Like you said, want climate change, how about some dry cyclones or wet high pressure ridges LOL


perfect...
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Quoting Weather456:
In addition, Ketsana rains were the result of a combinations of the monsoon and the cyclone itself. Both a climatological features of the WPAC basin so climate change would imply the absent of both since after all the climate has change.


So there being less rainfall would have been the change lol


Is it really surprising that rain falls when a cyclone hits land? That isn't change, that is consistency

Like you said, want climate change, how about some dry cyclones or wet high pressure ridges LOL
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In addition, Ketsana rains were the result of a combination of the monsoon winds and the cyclone itself. Both are climatological features of the WPAC basin so "climate change" would imply the absent of both since after all the climate has change.

Our climate and weather is always changing so this whole theory of climate change to explain such behaviors, I mean, c'mon.
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ABNT20 KNHC 301820
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED SEP 30 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN

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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:



I'll take fell asleep for $500 Alex.


you are correct lol
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Hurricane frequencies have risen but it isn't due to climate change, it it becuz we have stuff like QS, cyclone phase diagrams and sat images that could detect even the smallest and remote disturbances.
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261. IKE
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
NHC is late on the TWO

Either we have a yellow circle somewhere or they fell asleep lol


Fell asleep or playing a poker tourney or darts...

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED SEP 30 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
NHC is late on the TWO

Either we have a yellow circle somewhere or they fell asleep lol



I'll take fell asleep for $500 Alex.
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So, let me get this straight: the world is all jacked up because of global climate change because an area received their worst rains in 40 years??? FORTY YEARS??? it's not even an all-time freaking record.

Amen!
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Quoting Floodman:


Pat, that's cruel...a man can't get a decent poboy here in DFW and we won't talk about fried oysters


Next time here..I'll buy us Po-boys from a even better place.
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Quoting mikatnight:


Children of the 60's...
And Floodman (speak of the devil) #242, you got that right.


Hey, to be honest, I come down on the CC side of things, if only through an abundance of caution, but like in here, if you have something definitive to say then provide the data, please...and as for the news outlets, they're only on it because it's sensational and not through some altruistic need to get the word out...sorry to sound so pessimistic, but it is what it is
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Quoting atmoaggie:

From that climate change link:
1. "The massive floods that inundated Metro Manila were a chilling reminder of the need to seriously address climate change, experts said..."
2. "Civil defense chief Anthony Golez and chief weather forecaster Prisco Nilo said they were puzzled by strange changes in the behavior of the typhoons over the past two years."
3. "“When you try to scientifically observe the data … we will find this year and last year as very strange years, and we can only presuppose that this is due to climate change,” Golez said."
4. "“We can’t just blame this on the rain. We know this is the worst deluge in 40 years. We know there is climate change happening, there is no debate about that,” Greenpeace campaigner Mark Dia said on local television."
5. "Jose Bersales, humanitarian and emergency affairs director at charity World Vision, warned that the Philippine storm was likely a taste of more doom for the world’s poorest, who often are the least prepared for storms.

“This has to be a wake-up call for the world as it prepares for the climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year,” Bersales said."

Where are the experts the first paragraph spoke of? The civil defense chief? The Greenpeace campaigner? Only the lead weather forecast comes close to having scientific bone in his body...
Really, who is the expert?
All but the forecaster are a lot closer to politicians than experts of any kind. I sincerely hope no one gets their science from that publication...looks to be slightly worse than CNN, if you can believe that.


You know, I stopped reading the article after that Katrina comment. But, I like this one:

“We can’t just blame this on the rain. We know this is the worst deluge in 40 years


So, let me get this straight: the world is all jacked up because of global climate change because an area received their worst rains in 40 years??? FORTY YEARS??? it's not even an all-time freaking record.

Here's something for all of you who proclaimed the same during the 2004/2005 hurricane seasons:

Link (pdf)

While I question some things published in this study, I will research on my own and use what I find to make up my mind. Better than some garbage that was posted by Aussie.
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Patrap! You got mail!
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Quoting Patrap:
Pass the Tabasco Please...

Man these Oyster's are Good !!!



Pat, that's cruel...a man can't get a decent poboy here in DFW and we won't talk about fried oysters
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Quoting timtrice:


Katrina dropped 16 inches in Homestead, FL per the NHC's prelim report as a minimal hurricane. Why did the article not mention that tid-bit? Because if you want to shock the hell out of people who don't know better you use the worst possible example - Katrina in New Orleans.

f***ing pathetic...

I always try to stay out of these global warming/climate change conversations because I don't have a sufficient opinion one way or another. But to use bad information to claim a point? I cannot stand by for that

Most of Katrina's rain in S Fla:
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AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


Check out the comments section for the Comedy
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Why was Ketsana so wet?
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.