Radiation from Japan not likely to harm North America

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:53 PM GMT on March 14, 2011

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Radiation from Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been detected 100 miles to the northeast, over the Pacific Ocean, by the U.S. military. Westerly to southwesterly winds have predominated over Japan the past few days, carrying most of the radiation eastwards out to sea. The latest forecast for Sendai, Japan, located about 40 miles north of the Fukushima nuclear plant, calls for winds with a westerly component to dominate for the remainder of the week, with the exception of a 6-hour period on Tuesday. Thus, any radiation released by the nuclear plant will primarily affect Japan or blow out to sea. A good tool to predict the radiation cloud's path is NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model. The model uses the GFS model's winds to track the movement of a hypothetical release of a substance into the atmosphere. One can specify the altitude of the release as well as the location, and follow the trajectory for up to two weeks. However, given the highly chaotic nature of the atmosphere's winds, trajectories beyond about 3 days have huge uncertainties.One can get only a general idea of where a plume is headed beyond 3 days. I've been performing a number of runs of HYSPLIT over past few days, and so far great majority of these runs have taken plumes of radioactivity emitted from Japan's east coast eastwards over the Pacific, with the plumes staying over water for at least 5 days. Some of the plumes move over eastern Siberia, Alaska, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 5 - 7 days. Such a long time spent over water will mean that the vast majority of the radioactive particles will settle out of the atmosphere or get caught up in precipitation and rained out. It is highly unlikely that any radiation capable of causing harm to people will be left in atmosphere after seven days and 2000+ miles of travel distance. Even the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which had a far more serious release of radioactivity, was unable to spread significant contamination more than about 1000 miles.


Figure 1. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Saturday, March 12, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 2. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Sunday, March 13, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 3. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Monday, March 14, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Well, they were descendants of birds.


What is this, Abott & Costello? I work alone. LOL (That was a good one) The are supposed to have another special (not surprising) on CNN tonight. Their coverage has been good so far. They are using a lot of foreign correspondents, which is good. I hope the news is a little more encouraging tonight. They really need help fast.
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Quoting aquak9:
Nea my swoonster, you have wu-mail

Got it, just replied...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13278
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
The events in Japan are reminding me of what happened after 9/11 when the EPA came in and said there were no dangerous particulates in the air and there was nothing to worry about.


That is when I start worrying, when they don't say anything. I hope they are keeping quiet because they do not want people to misunderstand the information and avoid panic. I don't want to think of the alternative.
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Quoting Grothar:


And a little known fact, their middle claw was extended. LOL


Well, they were descendants of birds.
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Nea my swoonster, you have wu-mail
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Quoting atmoaggie:
The Geriatricasaurus.


Lol...Very good!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
The Geriatricasaurus.


And a little known fact, their middle claw was extended. LOL
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Not a big deal in the overall scheme of things, but still:

2232: Meanwhile, Ecuador's government has sent food and water to the Galapagos Islands after they were affected by the tsunami generated by the earthquake off Japan. Water from the tsunami penetrated up to 0.5km (0.3 miles) inland, causing minor damage to homes and docks, merging a lagoon with the Pacific Ocean and destroying some endangered tortoise nests, the Associated Press reports
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13278
Quoting Xyrus2000:


There is nothing unusual going on. It's quite normal for powerful quakes to have a lot of aftershocks.

This happened in a subduction zone, where the upper crustal plate had been buckling for a while under all the stress. Now it's stretching out again. It's going to take some time for things to settle back into place.


Thanks for that, just seemed a bit odd and the link is very interesting to the Quake update site.

Also interesting about the apparent censorship of reports without 'prior' approval.

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90Q SOUTH ATLANTIC Invest Imagery Links




NOAA SSD Page


NRL Monterey Page


CIMSS Page
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Grothar has Jaguar blood.


That's too bad. It's all about tiger blood
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Quoting Grothar:


The Gigantasaurus.
The Geriatricasaurus.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

I forget, what dinosaur did you cut them off?


The Gigantasaurus.
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Grothar has Jaguar blood.
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Quoting PlazaRed:


Quoting in the area of Approximately.

Ive been watching this with avid interest ever since you first posted the link a few days ago.

It seems that the area is getting a quake at about 5 or more every hour for days now and they don't list the little ones, the Japan main island has moved a few feet to the north west and all this seems to be like a bit of constant pushing.
Normally these types of events would raise a lot of questions but the other issues are shadowing things, possibly something strange is afoot here.
I'm only an engineer but these are repeated 'hammer blows and most in a very small area.


There is nothing unusual going on. It's quite normal for powerful quakes to have a lot of aftershocks.

This happened in a subduction zone, where the upper crustal plate had been buckling for a while under all the stress. Now it's stretching out again. It's going to take some time for things to settle back into place.
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Quoting Grothar:


No, same ones I've had for years.
I forget, what dinosaur did you cut them off?
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The events in Japan are reminding me of what happened after 9/11 when the EPA came in and said there were no dangerous particulates in the air and there was nothing to worry about.
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Quoting srada:


They are not letting the press in the extreme northern parts of Japan either..why are they censoring? RemeMber no power, no water, no food, roads destroyed, no fuel for vehicles & transportation minimal. Maybe these are some of the possible reasons.
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aqua... you have mail...
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"It's been two days, and all I've been given so far is a piece of bread and a rice
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52271
322. alfabob 9:58 PM GMT on March 14, 2011
"Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, states that after a high-level government meeting, 'Japanese agencies are no longer releasing independent reports without prior approval from the top,' and that censorship of what is really occurring at the plant is being overseen under the Article 15 Emergency Law


Wow alfabob, some crazy post on that site.
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In 1995 Japan put down sensors that would allow scientists to calculate vibrations down to an inch. This is overwhelmingly the best recorded Earthquake ever.
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Gro- I think the Good Doc understands our weak attempts at humor...esp when he is lurking, and even adding some of his own posts.

Amy if you're lurking? why dont ya please just move to florida, we're in the very middle of a plate here. Ya won't fall into the ocean here- unless you're a really bad driver.
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335. srada
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Tide of 1,000 bodies overwhelms quake-hit Japan
Crematoriums were overwhelmed
part of a Associated Press report
TAKAJO, Japan (AP) -- A tide of bodies washed up along Japan's coastline, crematoriums were overwhelmed and rescue workers ran out of body bags as the nation faced the grim reality of a mounting humanitarian, economic and nuclear crisis Monday after a calamitous tsunami.


Millions of people were facing a fourth night without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures in the northeast devastated by an earthquake and the wave it spawned. Meanwhile, a third reactor at a nuclear power plant lost its cooling capacity and the fuel rods at another were at least briefly fully exposed, raising fears of a meltdown. The stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.

A Japanese police official said 1,000 washed up bodies were found scattered Monday across the coastline of Miyagi prefecture. The official declined to be named, citing department policy.

The discovery raised the official death toll to about 2,800, but the Miyagi police chief has said that more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in his province alone, which has a population of 2.3 million.

In one town in a neighboring prefecture, the crematorium was unable to handle the crush of bodies being brought in for funerals.

"We have already begun cremations, but we can only handle 18 bodies a day. We are overwhelmed and are asking other cites to help us deal with bodies. We only have one crematorium in town," Katsuhiko Abe, an official in Soma, told The Associated Press.

In Japan, most people opt to cremate their dead, a process that, like burial, requires permission first from local authorities. But the government took the rare step Monday of waiving that requirement to speed up funerals, said Health Ministry official Yukio Okuda.

"The current situation is so extraordinary, and it is very likely that crematoriums are running beyond capacity," said Okuda. "This is an emergency measure. We want to help quake-hit people as much as we can."

Friday's double tragedy has caused unimaginable deprivation for people of this industrialized country - Asia's richest - which hasn't seen such hardship since World War II. In many areas there is no running water, no power and four- to five-hour waits for gasoline. People are suppressing hunger with instant noodles or rice balls while dealing with the loss of loved ones and homes.

"People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming," said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the three hardest hit.

He said authorities were receiving just 10 percent of the food and other supplies they need. Body bags and coffins were running so short that the government may turn to foreign funeral homes for help, he said.

"We have requested funeral homes across the nation to send us many body bags and coffins. But we simply don't have enough," he told the AP. "We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It's just overwhelming."

The pulverized coast has been hit by hundreds of aftershocks since Friday, the latest one a 6.2 magnitude quake that was followed by a new tsunami scare Monday. As sirens wailed, soldiers abandoned their search operations and told residents of the devastated shoreline in Soma, the worst hit town in Fukushima prefecture, to run to higher ground.

They barked out orders: "Find high ground! Get out of here!" Several soldiers were seen leading an old woman up a muddy hillside. The warning turned out to be a false alarm.

Search parties arrived in Soma for the first time since Friday to dig out bodies. Ambulances stood by and body bags were laid out in an area cleared of debris, as firefighters used hand picks and chain saws to clear an indescribable jumble of broken timber, plastic sheets, roofs, sludge, twisted cars, tangled powerlines and household goods.

Helicopters buzzed overhead, surveying the destruction that spanned the horizon. Ships were flipped over near roads, a half-mile (a kilometer) inland. Officials said one-third of the city of 38,000 people was flooded and thousands were missing.

In addition to the more than 2,800 people who have been confirmed dead, more than 1,400 were missing. Another 1,900 were injured.

Japanese officials have refused to speculate on how high the death toll could rise, but experts who dealt with the 2004 Asian tsunami offered a dire outlook.

"It's a miracle really, if it turns out to be less than 10,000 (dead)," said Hery Harjono, a senior geologist with the Indonesian Science Institute, who was closely involved with the aftermath of the earlier disaster that killed 230,000 people - of which only 184,000 bodies were found.


terrible..
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 772
It takes a long time perhaps as much as a year for the ground to settle down after such a significant quake. A huge amount of stress has been released but it does affect the structure below the surface. All the surrounding, overlying and underlying structures have to settle into their new relaxed positions. Kind of a very basis simplistic description.
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Tide of 1,000 bodies overwhelms quake-hit Japan
Crematoriums were overwhelmed
part of a Associated Press report
TAKAJO, Japan (AP) -- A tide of bodies washed up along Japan's coastline, crematoriums were overwhelmed and rescue workers ran out of body bags as the nation faced the grim reality of a mounting humanitarian, economic and nuclear crisis Monday after a calamitous tsunami.


Millions of people were facing a fourth night without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures in the northeast devastated by an earthquake and the wave it spawned. Meanwhile, a third reactor at a nuclear power plant lost its cooling capacity and the fuel rods at another were at least briefly fully exposed, raising fears of a meltdown. The stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.

A Japanese police official said 1,000 washed up bodies were found scattered Monday across the coastline of Miyagi prefecture. The official declined to be named, citing department policy.

The discovery raised the official death toll to about 2,800, but the Miyagi police chief has said that more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in his province alone, which has a population of 2.3 million.

In one town in a neighboring prefecture, the crematorium was unable to handle the crush of bodies being brought in for funerals.

"We have already begun cremations, but we can only handle 18 bodies a day. We are overwhelmed and are asking other cites to help us deal with bodies. We only have one crematorium in town," Katsuhiko Abe, an official in Soma, told The Associated Press.

In Japan, most people opt to cremate their dead, a process that, like burial, requires permission first from local authorities. But the government took the rare step Monday of waiving that requirement to speed up funerals, said Health Ministry official Yukio Okuda.

"The current situation is so extraordinary, and it is very likely that crematoriums are running beyond capacity," said Okuda. "This is an emergency measure. We want to help quake-hit people as much as we can."

Friday's double tragedy has caused unimaginable deprivation for people of this industrialized country - Asia's richest - which hasn't seen such hardship since World War II. In many areas there is no running water, no power and four- to five-hour waits for gasoline. People are suppressing hunger with instant noodles or rice balls while dealing with the loss of loved ones and homes.

"People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming," said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the three hardest hit.

He said authorities were receiving just 10 percent of the food and other supplies they need. Body bags and coffins were running so short that the government may turn to foreign funeral homes for help, he said.

"We have requested funeral homes across the nation to send us many body bags and coffins. But we simply don't have enough," he told the AP. "We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It's just overwhelming."

The pulverized coast has been hit by hundreds of aftershocks since Friday, the latest one a 6.2 magnitude quake that was followed by a new tsunami scare Monday. As sirens wailed, soldiers abandoned their search operations and told residents of the devastated shoreline in Soma, the worst hit town in Fukushima prefecture, to run to higher ground.

They barked out orders: "Find high ground! Get out of here!" Several soldiers were seen leading an old woman up a muddy hillside. The warning turned out to be a false alarm.

Search parties arrived in Soma for the first time since Friday to dig out bodies. Ambulances stood by and body bags were laid out in an area cleared of debris, as firefighters used hand picks and chain saws to clear an indescribable jumble of broken timber, plastic sheets, roofs, sludge, twisted cars, tangled powerlines and household goods.

Helicopters buzzed overhead, surveying the destruction that spanned the horizon. Ships were flipped over near roads, a half-mile (a kilometer) inland. Officials said one-third of the city of 38,000 people was flooded and thousands were missing.

In addition to the more than 2,800 people who have been confirmed dead, more than 1,400 were missing. Another 1,900 were injured.

Japanese officials have refused to speculate on how high the death toll could rise, but experts who dealt with the 2004 Asian tsunami offered a dire outlook.

"It's a miracle really, if it turns out to be less than 10,000 (dead)," said Hery Harjono, a senior geologist with the Indonesian Science Institute, who was closely involved with the aftermath of the earlier disaster that killed 230,000 people - of which only 184,000 bodies were found.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52271
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Can things get any worse?

Aflac fires Gilbert Gottfried after tsunami jokes via Twitter

Aw, c'mon; Gottfried's great. Besides, AFLAC knew who they were getting; I'm sure they heard, for instance, his black comedy made just a few weeks after 9/11. He was pilloried at the time, but later people realized it helped in the healing process. But, well, whatever; it's not like he won't be able to find work...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13278
Quoting srada:


They are not letting the press in the extreme northern parts of Japan eithier..why are they censoring?

because there is no one there
alive anyway
i have seen reports of death thats really bad i will see if i can get it for ya



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52271
Quoting aquak9:


it's not what's being said, but what's NOT being said....if worst case scenario came to fruition, really...

what could they do about it? what could anyone do about it?


You're right. Do you think I do stand-up on here because I have nothing else to do? LOL I figure we need a little smile now and then, so we don't concentrate on the "unthinkable".
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328. srada
Quoting alfabob:
"Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, states that after a high-level government meeting, 'Japanese agencies are no longer releasing independent reports without prior approval from the top,' and that censorship of what is really occurring at the plant is being overseen under the Article 15 Emergency Law."

Link


They are not letting the press in the extreme northern parts of Japan eithier..why are they censoring?
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 772
I think me and alphabob just said the same thing
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Partial defect found in No. 2 reactor's container
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13278
Quoting Ossqss:
Same thing different day :(

Scary!

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_big.php

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_all.php


Quoting in the area of Approximately.

Ive been watching this with avid interest ever since you first posted the link a few days ago.

It seems that the area is getting a quake at about 5 or more every hour for days now and they don't list the little ones, the Japan main island has moved a few feet to the north west and all this seems to be like a bit of constant pushing.
Normally these types of events would raise a lot of questions but the other issues are shadowing things, possibly something strange is afoot here.
I'm only an engineer but these are repeated 'hammer blows and most in a very small area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:
"Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, states that after a high-level government meeting, 'Japanese agencies are no longer releasing independent reports without prior approval from the top,' and that censorship of what is really occurring at the plant is being overseen under the Article 15 Emergency Law."

Link


care and control

move along nothing to see here
it was only fireworks
really big fireworks ya got it
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52271
The USGS just officially upgraded the quake to a 9.0:

Magnitude 9.0
Date-Time Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 02:46:23 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 38.322N, 142.369E
Depth 32 km (19.9 miles) set by location program
Region NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances 130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

Location Uncertainty horizontal /- 13.5 km (8.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=350, Nph=351, Dmin=416.3 km, Rmss=1.46 sec, Gp= 29,
M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

Event ID usc0001xgp
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13278
Quoting Grothar:
They are really not saying much about the reactor situation on either the local or International news. Just seem to be repeating the same story. I would imagine they are not releasing any information until they are sure about the situation. Makes it all the more concerning.


it's not what's being said, but what's NOT being said....if worst case scenario came to fruition, really...

what could they do about it? what could anyone do about it?
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This twitter touched my heart among all the other tragic stories-"#
2146: Katie Hinman of ABC News tweets: "Driving through the wreckage of Sendai, and saw the saddest sight: a bewildered horse standing alone among it all."
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Deja vu, there is something all too familar about this radar image.


You all can't a break from those things this year. Forget deja vu. We've see this before.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
I make it a point to do something spectacularly fun every single day...

Why wait? And wait for what, exactly? We're all slowly dying anyway, except for Grothar, that is. He found a pause button. Found it late, of course, but found it nonetheless.


I guess that is why I get such a laugh out of your posts. Thanks atmo.
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I come here looking for weather info and find Groth in the middle of a stand-up act(and a good one), plus a good discussion on the events of the day. Glad to see all. Keep..that image in #301 is interesting. I'd be interested in seeing the difference between that synoptic pattern and the typical summer-fall pattern.
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It's worse than you think... he makes a living off of words and doesn't know the difference between "there'll" and "they'll"


Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Can things get any worse?

Aflac fires Gilbert Gottfried after tsunami jokes via Twitter
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Deja vu, there is something all too familar about this radar image.
And some new reports of trees down near Meridian (east of Jackson, MS).

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/reports/today.html
Including one from 6 miles south of Chunky, MS. (must be a native American name...)
;-)
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We need a concert to help the people of Japan.... Tsunami Aid....
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new quake area
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52271
Deja vu, there is something all too familiar about this radar image.
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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.