The worst is over for the ash clouds from Iceland's volcano

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:56 PM GMT on April 21, 2010

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The worst is now over for European air traffic disruptions from the ongoing eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The eruptions are currently only throwing ash up to 16,000 feet (4900 meters), according to the latest advisory from the UK Met Office. Lightning images from UK Met Office show no new lightning strikes from the volcano's plume since Sunday. The lower amounts of ash are due, in part, to the fact that the volcano has melted most of the ice and snow covering the crater. This ice had caused the hot magma erupting through it to fragment into fine ash capable of reaching much higher heights of 6 - 11 km (20,000 - 36,000') in the early stages of the eruption. Ash is also reduced because the volcano has entered a phase where it is producing more magma. Although it is possible that the volcano could enter a more explosive eruption phase that would throw ash high into the air once again, the winds are expected to shift over Iceland late this week. The northwest winds that have been "stuck" in place over Iceland over the past week due to a persistent trough of low pressure over northern Europe, will gradually shift to westerly by Friday and southwesterly by Saturday. This means that new eruptive material will blow over the northern British Islands and northern Scandanavia late this week, avoiding the main portion of Europe. Ash should be confined to northern Scandanavia and Greenland through most of next week, since the southwesterly winds are expected to continue through most of next week.


Figure 1. Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano began to ease out of the ash-producing phase of its eruption and started to emit magma on April 19, 2010, said the Icelandic Met Office. The cloud of ash coming from the volcano was lower than it had been in previous days, rising just 4 to 6 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) into the atmosphere. In this photo-like image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the ash extends south in a broad brown plume. Smaller plumes extend from the coast east of the primary plume. These are likely re-suspended ash, fine volcanic ash that had settled on the land, but is now being picked up by the wind. The plume blows south and then curves east over the ocean, blending with the outer bands of a low-pressure system. Image credit: NASA.

I'll have a new post Thursday (Earth Day!)
Jeff Masters

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Earth Day 2010 April 22
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Quoting winter123:


Is the Indian ocean just bathwater year round?? wow

Yes, it most certainly is a very warm body of water near the Equator northward into the Bay of Bengal, near India.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting winter123:


Is the Indian ocean just bathwater year round?? wow


Check out the loop current:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
The Caribbean and Gulf continue to warm up...



Is the Indian ocean just bathwater year round?? wow
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The warm Caribbean waters are making their way into the Gulf.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
Interesting article from the Airline Industry Review, about planes experiencing ash related damage and or problems. I know hundred of thousands have been stranded for 5 + days, but is it really safe to fly in volcanic ash, although it has been dispersed?

Link
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
278. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TROPICAL LOW 13U
9:00 AM WST April 22 2010
======================================

At 8:00 AM WST, Tropical Low (1004 hPa) located at 11.7S 116.0E or 1130 km east of Christmas Island and 1000 km north of Karratha has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving south-southwest at 3 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0/2.2/D0.5/24HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 12.7S 115.4E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
24 HRS: 13.5S 114.7E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 14.7S 112.8E - 60 knots (CAT 2)
72 HRS: 15.3S 111.0E - 50 knots (CAT 2)

Addition Information
=====================
Overnight convection has been focussed about the low level circulation centre although the areal extent and curved band/peripheral convective features remain weak.

Dvorak intensity based on overnight CCC pattern so devopment trend is continued; MET=2.5 PAT=2.0 and FT/CI=2.0. [supported by possible 0.3 curved band on 23UTC vis image].

The low remains in an area of low vertical wind shear, very high ocean heat content [SST>30C] and upper-level poleward outflow associated with a large amplitude strong mid-latitude trough to the southwest; all features conducive for further development. These environmental conditions are expected to continue in the next 36 hours so development is forecast although the rate remains somewhat uncertain. If convection can persist during the day [diurnal minimum] then seems likely that cyclone intensity will be reached within 12-24 hours.

During Saturday the shear should increase as the system moves southwestwards towards the near stationary upper trough. By Sunday the system will be under strong northwesterly shear and will be over lower SSTs and should be steadily weakening. By Monday the system should be weak and beginning to be steered by lower level winds out towards the west as deep convection is sheared away.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45293
The Caribbean and Gulf continue to warm up...

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


When do you think we'll officially reach neutral status?


They want a 3-month average, so it could be a while, but the state of the Pacific should reach a solid neutral point sometime in early June, and then dip below zero and head towards weak La Nina conditions in the following months.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Great analysis. Do you see anything tropical forming in the Caribbean in early May?


Conditions may be favorable, but there must be a tropical disturbance, and if the models continue to trend towards eastern Pacific development instead, especially if the ECMWF locks on, then chances are greatly lessened for the Caribbean. May mischief in the Caribbean generally has to come, at least in part, from the Pacific. They are generally systems that play around with Central America and advecting moisture out of the east Pacific, such as Arthur in 2008. The MJO upward-motion pulse is forecasted to be over Central America during the first week of May, so it could go either way, but if any potential development starts to consolidate most of the heat in the Pacific, then the Caribbean's chances drop dramatically.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647

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Quoting Levi32:


The Kelvin Wave's effects on the 3.4 region are long gone. It's too far east to affect anything except the Nino 1, 2, and 3 regions. I think one day of slight warming can be attributed to random variation. The overall trend for the last 10 days has been all down.


When do you think we'll officially reach neutral status?
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
Quoting Levi32:
The 18z GFS, although still playing around in the eastern Pacific, has backed off on significant development. However, of more interest to me is the overall pattern being consistently predicted by the model. Most of the models agree on a reversal in the current upper-level pattern over the Caribbean during the first week of May, with an upper-level high developing over the Caribbean. This could provide a favorable low-shear environment for possible tropical mischief to be watched for during the month of May in the western Caribbean. Even if it doesn't, the result of this pattern will mean very warm temperatures over the NW Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, which will warm SSTs at a dizzying rate in those areas which are still currently well-below normal.

384-hour 200mb winds/heights:

Great analysis. Do you see anything tropical forming in the Caribbean in early May?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Not a big deal, but the latest Kelvin wave has brought Nino 3.4 up to .6 or so. All other regions are warming as well. We should see significant cooling by the end of next week.



The Kelvin Wave's effects on the 3.4 region are long gone. It's too far east to affect anything except the Nino 1, 2, and 3 regions. I think one day of slight warming can be attributed to random variation. The overall trend for the last 10 days has been all down.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
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Good thing 91s is moving away from land at the moment.
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Not a big deal, but the latest Kelvin wave has brought Nino 3.4 up to .6 or so. All other regions are warming as well. We should see significant cooling by the end of next week.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
RGB a good tool at Night for sure
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Hey patrap im off for the night and will be posting cool rgb image i love severe weather on rgb one moment there is nothing and all of a sudden boom!
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Quoting ozprof:
Looks like a cyclone forming off the WA coast. At this time of the year it has the potential to recurve down the west coast, though it does look like there could be a high ridging underneath it which could push it out to sea.

http://www.bom.gov.au/gms/IDE00035.latest.shtml

Slow intensification
Synoptic Time Latitude Longitude Longitude Intensity
201004211800 -11.5 116.6 30
201004211200 -10.6 115.9 30
201004210600 -10.1 116.4 25
201004210000 -10 116.7 25
201004201800 -9.9 116.8 25
201004201200 -10.2 117 15
201004200600 -9.8 113.6 15
201004200000 -9.9 113.9 15
201004191200 -9.9 114.7 15
201004190000 -10.2 116.5 15



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91S



Rainbow

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Flint Hills Centered Rainbow Floater Still Image

Tornado Watch Area



RGB Channel

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Quoting homelesswanderer:


I think it was a very weak El Nino. Or I could be reading it wrong. Link


chucky7777 4:07 PM CDT on April 21, 2010 Hide this comment.
Question. During the 2004 hurricane season, did we have ENSO neutral conditions or was it a weak El Nino? I welcome your response.....


Correct, it was a weak El Nino which was building throughout the summer.

ONI Index: Weak is defined as between +0.5C and +1.0C

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Tropical cyclone forming 91S



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Quoting homelesswanderer:


I think it was a very weak El Nino. Or I could be reading it wrong. Link


chucky7777 4:07 PM CDT on April 21, 2010 Hide this comment.
Question. During the 2004 hurricane season, did we have ENSO neutral conditions or was it a weak El Nino? I welcome your response.....
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oops double post.
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Looks like a cyclone forming off the WA coast. At this time of the year it has the potential to recurve down the west coast, though it does look like there could be a high ridging underneath it which could push it out to sea.

http://www.bom.gov.au/gms/IDE00035.latest.shtml
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Is this an indication of El Nino dying or staying?


Dying. A positive SOI promotes a more normal Walker Circulation pattern in the equatorial Pacific, and since El Nino is the opposite of normal, this has a dissipating effect on the El Nino.

We haven't had a 30-day SOI this high in over a year. The last time it was this high was in February of 2009.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
The 18z GFS, although still playing around in the eastern Pacific, has backed off on significant development. However, of more interest to me is the overall pattern being consistently predicted by the model. Most of the models agree on a reversal in the current upper-level pattern over the Caribbean during the first week of May, with an upper-level high developing over the Caribbean. This could provide a favorable low-shear environment for possible tropical mischief to be watched for during the month of May in the western Caribbean. Even if it doesn't, the result of this pattern will mean very warm temperatures over the NW Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, which will warm SSTs at a dizzying rate in those areas which are still currently well-below normal.

384-hour 200mb winds/heights:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Levi32, the 30 day SOI index continues its upward motion,now at 12.0.

Link


Is this an indication of El Nino dying or staying?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24016
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


It means the trade winds in the WestCentral Pacific are more stronger right?


Yes, the trades have been getting stronger over the last couple weeks, which has cooled SSTs in the Nino 3.4 region.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting Levi32:


Yeah, amazing isn't it. It refuses to go back down.


It means the trade winds in the WestCentral Pacific are more stronger right?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14249
Search for 11 missing after explosion to continue through the night

The search for 11 missing workers from a Gulf of Mexico rig that exploded late Tuesday continued into Wednesday evening even as the Coast Guard Commander confirmed that they "have no idea where they are.”

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Dr. Masters, just an open question, what will you post for Earth Day?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
and here comes higher gas too follow

Hey Taz I have to say 1 oil rig out of over 2000 want make gas go higher but let 1 "Hurricane" come into the gulf then we have "Higher Gas"....

:0)
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Levi32,the 30 day SOI index continues its upward motion,now at +12.0.

Link


Yeah, amazing isn't it. It refuses to go back down.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647

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Levi32, the 30 day SOI index continues its upward motion,now at 12.0.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14249
and here comes higher gas too follow
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Quoting Levi32:


That's true too, since Florida is so far south. El Nino favors a more southerly jetstream which brings more of the severe weather your way instead of all off to the north.




Yeah, down here, cold dry air is never a good thing, when it comes to severe weather, Florida storm outbreaks are always worse as long as there's always more humidity and more warmth. Dynamic systems rarely play as much of a role down here as they do further north.

Generally what El Nino does is allow systems traveling further south, providing a low level jet, which provides a summer like feed for deep convection, its the key to spring time severe weather in Florida.


Thats why we normally do not get much of any hail, or long lived super cells. Severe weather in Florida is more tropical based. Breakouts of high precipitation pulse-severe thunderstorms that occur in massive squalls or large multi-cellular complexes. This type of severe weather often produces massive lightning shows, extremely heavy rain in blinding bursts, lots of wet micro burst damage, and numerous weak and and hard to predict tornados.

Generally large long lived lone super cells with huge hail and monster tornados do not occur in Florida weather
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7438
Good post Taz.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
eeeeeeek guys i this said it dos not have any thing too do with the weather


Oil rig explodes off Louisiana coast; 11 missing


Rescuers in helicopters and boats searched the Gulf of Mexico for 11 missing workers Wednesday after a thunderous explosion rocked a huge oil drilling platform and lit up the night sky with a pillar of flame. Seventeen people were injured, four critically.

The blast Tuesday night aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast could prove to be one of the nation's deadliest offshore drilling accidents of the past half-century.

The Coast Guard held out hope that the missing workers escaped in one of the platform's covered lifeboats.

Nearly 24 hours after the explosion, the roughly 400-by-250-foot rig continued to burn, and authorities could not say when the flames might die out. A column of boiling black smoke rose hundreds of feet over the Gulf of Mexico as fireboats shot streams of water at the blaze.

"We're hoping everyone's in a life raft," Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry said.

Adrian Rose, vice president of rig owner Transocean Ltd., said the explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong was under investigation.

Crews were doing routine work before the explosion and there were no signs of trouble, Rose said.

A total of 126 workers were aboard the rig when it blew up. The Coast Guard said 17 were taken by air or sea to hospitals. Four were reported in critical condition with severe burns. Others suffered burns, broken legs and smoke inhalation.

Nearly 100 other workers made it aboard a supply boat and were expected to reach the Louisiana shore by evening.

Kelly Eugene waited with nine family members for husband Kevin Eugene, 46, a cook on the Deepwater Horizon. A catering company operating on the rig notified her he was safe.

"He's on the boat. That's all we know. And that's all we need to know," she said.

The rig was tilting as much as 10 degrees after the blast, but earlier fears that it might topple over appeared unfounded. Coast Guard environmental teams were on standby, though officials said the damage to the environment appeared minimal so far.

The rig, which was under contract to the oil giant BP, was doing exploratory drilling but was not in production, Transocean spokesman Greg Panagos said. Seventy-nine Transocean workers, six BP employees and 41 contract workers were aboard.

Ted Bourgoyne, a retired professor of petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University, said the explosion was probably caused by natural gas or a mixture of oil and gas coming up through the well, combined with some kind of ignition source.

He said there are numerous defenses on a modern rig to prevent something like that from happening. For instance, fluids used in drilling are weighted with barium sulfite to prevent gas from traveling up the well, and there are alarms to alert workers to gas. Machinery is built to prevent sparking and is placed as far away as possible from places where gas might leak.

"In almost all of these things, there's not one thing that happens; it's a series of things," Bourgoyne said.

Rose said the crew had drilled the well to its final depth, more than 18,000 feet, and was cementing the steel casing at the time of the explosion.

"They did not have a lot of time to evacuate. This would have happened very rapidly," he said.

According to Transocean's website, the Deepwater Horizon is about twice the size of a football field. Built in 2001 in South Korea, it is designed to operate in water up to 8,000 feet deep, drill 5 1/2 miles down, and accommodate a crew of 130. It floats on pontoons and is moored to the sea floor by several large anchors.

The site of the accident is known as the Macondo prospect, in 5,000 feet of water.

Workers typically spend two weeks on the rig at a time, followed by two weeks off. Offshore oil workers are typically well paid, earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year _ more if they have special skills.

Last September, the Deepwater Horizon set a world deepwater record when it drilled down just over 35,000 feet at another BP site in the Gulf of Mexico, Panagos said.

"It's one of the more advanced rigs out there," he said. Panagos did not know how much the rig cost to build but said a similar one today would run $600 million to $700 million.

Kelly Eugene said her husband flew to work on the rig, and until Tuesday's explosion, that was the part of his job that scared her most. Kevin Eugene has worked in the offshore industry about 12 years and had been on the Deepwater Horizon about a month. Until now, she said, hurricane evacuations were the worst he had been through.

"My biggest fear is the helicopter ride," she said.

Working on offshore oil rigs is a dangerous job but has become safer in recent years thanks to improved training, safety systems and maintenance, said Joe Hurt, regional vice president for the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Since 2001, there have been 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires and explosions in the Gulf, according to the federal Minerals Management Service.

There are 42 rigs either drilling or doing upgrades and maintenance in depths of 1,000 feet or greater in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the agency. They employ an estimated 35,000 people. Transocean has 14 rigs in the Gulf and 140 worldwide.

In 1964, a catamaran-type drilling barge operated by Pan American Petroleum Corp. near Eugene Island, about 80 miles off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, suffered a blowout and explosion while drilling a well. Twenty-one crew members died.

The deadliest offshore drilling accident took place in 1988, when an Occidental Petroleum platform about 120 miles off Aberdeen, Scotland, was rocked by explosions and fire. A total of 167 men were killed.
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Quoting Levi32:


Yup, and La Nina sets up much more of a battle-ground between cold and warm airmasses over the country.

If La Nina does in fact develop, next Spring will be brutal concerning severe weather.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Jedkins01:



Thats true for the rest of the country.

But usually the opposite for Florida, weather in Florida is in a different league then the rest of the United States. What drives the weather here is different, and much harder to forecast in most cases, then the rest of the U.S. Normally EL Nino means lots of tornados and other severe weather in the spring for Florida. But we haven't had much of either this year yet, we have had plenty of heavy downpours as far as the dry season standards go, but not severe weather that usually comes with El Nino as well.


That's true too, since Florida is so far south. El Nino favors a more southerly jetstream which brings more of the severe weather your way instead of all off to the north.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting Bordonaro:

La Nina allows the Jet Stream to inject drier, colder air into the mid-upper levels, adding more shear/lift dynamics to the atmosphere.


Yup, and La Nina sets up much more of a battle-ground between cold and warm airmasses over the country.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Really hard to say, we have had the quietest Severe Weather Season on record so far.

The next several days, Th-Su will be very, very busy, we're looking at our first real "widespread severe weather" outbreak. Most of the Spring storms so far has been high winds/hail producers. The emphasis of this next outbreak will be leaning towards higher tornado production.

My understanding is that El Nino spring produce fewer tornadoes, La Nina spring produces more tornadoes.



Thats true for the rest of the country.

But usually the opposite for Florida, weather in Florida is in a different league then the rest of the United States. What drives the weather here is different, and much harder to forecast in most cases, then the rest of the U.S. Normally EL Nino means lots of tornados and other severe weather in the spring for Florida. But we haven't had much of either this year yet, we have had plenty of heavy downpours as far as the dry season standards go, but not severe weather that usually comes with El Nino as well.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7438

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