Favorable winds over Japan continue; all-time record heat in Mumbai, India

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:23 PM GMT on March 17, 2011

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Favorable winds blowing at 10 - 20 mph out of the northwest continue over Tokyo, Japan today, and these winds will take radiation particles emitted by the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant immediately out to sea, without lingering over Japan. The northwesterly winds are blowing in response to the clockwise flow of air around a high pressure system approaching Japan from the southwest. Since high pressure systems are regions of sinking air, the radiation will stay close to the ocean surface over the next day or two as the air spirals clockwise over the Pacific.


Figure 1. Surface weather map for 8am EDT today, taken from the 6-hour forecast from this morning's 6 UTC run of the GFS model. A high pressure system to the southwest of Japan, in combination with a low pressure system to the northeast are driving strong northwesterly surface winds over the country. Image is from our wundermap with the "Model" layer turned on. The lines are sea-level pressure (blue contours, 4 mb interval) and 1000 to 500 mb thickness (yellow contours, 60 m interval). Thickness is a measure of the temperature of the lower atmosphere, and a thickness of 5400 meters is usually close to where the dividing line between rain and snow occurs.

As the high pressure system moves northeastwards and passes just east of Japan on Saturday, winds will gradually shift to the west and then southwest, keeping the radiation from the Fukushima plant blowing out to sea. As the winds shift to southwesterly, the sinking air over Japan will be replaced by rising air, and radioactive emissions will begin being lifted high in the atmosphere. Since there is less friction aloft, and the high speed winds of jet stream increase as the air moves higher in the atmosphere, this radiation will undergo long-range transport. Latest trajectory runs using NOAA's HYSPLIT model (Figures 2 - 4) show that radioactivity emitted today and Friday could wind up over Alaska and eastern Siberia after five days, and radioactive particles emitted on Saturday could make it to Hawaii and California by late next week. I've made trajectory plots for the next three days assuming two possible release altitudes--a surface-based release near 10 meters, which should be the predominant altitude in the current situation, and a higher release altitude of 300 meters, which might occur if there is an explosion and major fire. However, the 5-day trek to Hawaii and California is 4000 - 5000 miles, and a tremendous amount of dispersion and dilution of the radioactive plume will occur. Given the current levels of radiation being emitted, any radioactivity reaching Hawaii or the U.S. may be difficult to detect, and will not be a threat to human health. Keep in mind also that the most dangerous radionuclide to human health in the radioactive plume--Iodine-131--has a half life of eight days, so will be reduced by at least 30% after 5 days of travel time.

The next period of onshore winds that will blow radioactivity inland over Japan will occur beginning on Saturday night (U.S. time), continuing through Sunday morning, according to the latest run of the GFS model. The latest HYSPLIT trajectories show that regions of Japan north of the disaster site would be most at risk of receiving radioactive fallout on Saturday night. On Sunday and Monday, an approaching low pressure system is expected to bring considerable rain to Japan, and it is uncertain at this time what direction the wind might blow during this rain storm.


Figure 2. Five-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 300 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Thursday, March 17, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plumes initially spiral clockwise around the high pressure system to the southwest of Japan and stay near the surface. By Saturday, though, the plumes get caught in a southwesterly flow of air in advance of an approaching low pressure system. Ascending air lifts the plumes to high altitudes, where winds are stronger and rapid long-range transport occurs. Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 3. Five-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 300 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Friday, March 18, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plumes get caught in a southwesterly flow of air in advance of an approaching low pressure system. The plume emitted near the surface (red line) stays trapped near the surface for 4 days then lifted to 2 km, but the plume emitted at 300 meters is lifted to 5 km altitude after 2 1/2 days by the rising air associated with the approaching low pressure system. Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 4. Five-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 300 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Saturday, March 18, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plumes get caught in a southwesterly flow of air in advance of an approaching low pressure system and lifted to 4 - 5 km altitude. The plume emitted at 10 meters (red line) ends up getting caught in the clockwise circulation of air around a high pressure system situated north of Hawaii, and spirals down towards the surface in the high's sinking air. The plume emitted at higher altitudes (blue line) ends up escaping this high and making it over California at high altitude, getting caught in the southwesterly flow around a low pressure system predicted to affect California next week. Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.

Resources
Seven-day weather forecast for Sendai near the Fukushima nuclear plant

The Austrian Weather Service is running trajectory models for Japan.

Current radar loops from the Japan Meteorological Agency

Mumbai hits its hottest temperature of all-time
The temperature in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India skyrocketed to an all-time high of 107°F (41.6°C) yesterday, March 16, at the downtown Colaba observatory. Records at the observatory go back to 1847, which may be the longest time series of temperature observations at any location in Asia. Mumbai's previous all-time record temperature was 105°F (40.6°C) recorded on April 19, 1955. Mumbai's Santacruz Airport, located in the suburbs several miles inland, did not set an all-time high yesterday, hitting 41.3°C (all-time record: 42.2°C on April 14, 1952.) The record heat yesterday was due to an unusually hot and dry northeasterly flow of air from the center of India that kept the usual cooling sea breeze from establishing itself along the coast. Hot weather continued in Mumbai today, with the mercury hitting 102°F (39°C.) Thanks go to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera for supplying these statistics for me.

Jeff Masters

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489. sunlinepr
9:07 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Lower right watch

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
488. Jedkins01
9:07 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


That's OK. It is obvious we cannot instill those feelings into some people either as is sometimes evident.



LOL

:) very true!
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7553
487. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:06 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting sunlinepr:


No data to support it; But I have the feeling that we will experience a Strong CV season

yeah before ya know it
it will be august
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
486. islander101010
9:06 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
usually the long period swells travels to the east in that part of the world that could help the toxins move east slowly hopefully the president and his advisors are right and this mess does not get near north america
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4722
485. Patrap
9:06 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
The 2 Fire Cannon trucks rotated after 10 Minutes each and poured 3 Tonnes of water as per NHK,recap from yesterday there.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128619
484. Grothar
9:05 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:



+10^10



Math majorcaster! LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
482. Grothar
9:03 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Jedkins01:





Even the day artificial intelligence really can come to reality, it will be exactly that, artificial. We may be able to build increasingly smarter machines, but we can't build them to feel passion and emotion.


That's OK. It is obvious we cannot instill those feelings into some people either as is sometimes evident.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
481. TomTaylor
9:03 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting PrivateIdaho:

That's unfortunate to hear "we're gonna be using nuclear energy for a very long time."

The potential bad heavily outweighs the good. Yea, yea the accidents are extremely rare and, even in an accident, the worst usually will not happen.

BUT that doesn't mean they can't and won't happen.

Therefore, filling up our planet with more of these is just not smart if you ask me.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
480. belizeit
9:02 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:
What makes me wonder of this disturbance its not associated with the itz
Member Since: January 10, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
479. Some1Has2BtheRookie
9:02 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


I think we have all had enough action for this year already.



+10^10
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
478. hurricanejunky
9:00 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


Yes and there is agriculture to worry about. Can you imagine any of those anywhere near a food crop? In beef or pork? The implications are staggering.


I wonder what the implications would be if this type of scenario occurred in any of the west coast US nuclear power plants? We'd be talking about San Diego and surrounding area...crops and livestock have to be destroyed...nuclear is great in theory but then cutting corners for profit enters into the equation and the expense and danger of waste disposal and on and on...so what's the cost difference again between nuclear and truly "clean" forms of energy? When you factor in waste disposal and disaster cleanup there has to be a compelling argument for the clean stuff!

Even if it costs more wouldn't you rather pay a little more knowing that if anything happens the worst you'd have is broken equipment, not some of the most dangerous substances on the planet having their way with the environment and people?

Sorry for the rant...it's a sensitive topic....
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
477. Grothar
9:00 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting P451:


Another 10 or 15 degrees north and that'd be quite the image!

Nature sure seems ready to open the Tropical season doesn't it?

Usually activity like this, including the invests, raises eyebrows in MAY. Yet, it's mid-March!

Harbinger of things to come? Hope not.


I think we have all had enough action for this year already.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
476. sunlinepr
8:58 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting P451:


Another 10 or 15 degrees north and that'd be quite the image!

Nature sure seems ready to open the Tropical season doesn't it?

Usually activity like this, including the invests, raises eyebrows in MAY. Yet, it's mid-March!

Harbinger of things to come? Hope not.


No data to support it; But I have the feeling that we will experience a Strong CV season
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
475. PrivateIdaho
8:57 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
474. TomTaylor
8:57 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
473. Jedkins01
8:54 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


You are not alone. Most students dislike word problems. The best thing to do is to outline each sentence as you would prepare a paper. Then analyze each breakdown each component being asked. When you approch the problems that way, the intent becomes clearer. They won't tell you that in class. I always hated math. I don't like when things are too logical, which is why I enjoy this blog so much.(smile)


Yeah, writing comes pretty easy to me, an A on a college paper is usually fun and easy to me. However, when it comes to math word problems, I get what you are saying, my biggest problem is interpreting it the right way. I guess I just struggle with interpretation.

I agree, I enjoy balance, most people who get as good or better grades in math than me usually struggle with writing, while people who like to write as much as I do usually don't do well past pre-algebra.

That being said, I like my share of logic when it comes to solving scientific mysteries, something I always enjoy trying to do. However at the same time I don't like when things get too logical, which to me is out of balance, and robotic. What makes us humans human is that we are creative and have emotions and feelings. And I am very much in that side of life too, I have always been an adrenaline junky, I like the most extreme adventures and sports that most would turn away from without a doubt.


Even the day artificial intelligence really can come to reality, it will be exactly that, artificial. We may be able to build increasingly smarter machines, but we can't build them to feel passion and emotion.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7553
472. kwgirl
8:51 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Well good night all. I am going home. Play nice together:)
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
469. kwgirl
8:48 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Not quite. LOL
Grothar, look in your pockets. I lose mine there all the time.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
468. Grothar
8:46 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
467. Grothar
8:44 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am doing just fine, sir. How are you doing?

Lost your keys? As usual, they always be in the last place you look since it pointless to keep searching for them after you have found them.

Did your keys they look like these?

Link


Not quite. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
465. WatchingThisOne
8:43 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting guygee:
Everyone discussing enhanced background radiation effects in the USA is missing the point. It is true we do not expect large increases in radiation this far away from the accident. The real danger will be from certain dangerous radioactive isotopes, particularly Pu-239. Reactor #3 was being fueled by mixed oxide (MOX) fuel that contains plutonium, and every reactor had stored above it all of the "spent" atomic fuel from 40 years of use, that also includes plutonium. Plutonium-239 is a powerful alpha emitter that produces 0.06 microcuries/microgram, or roughly 2200 alpha particles per second. The half-life is 24200 years. Anyone that inhales even a small particle of plutonium is at great risk for developing cancer sooner or later. If you are older, you may die of other causes first, but if you are younger and inhale a small particle of Pu-239, your fate is sealed.

Oh yeah try to stay away from the Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 as well. Good Luck!


Yes and there is agriculture to worry about. Can you imagine any of those anywhere near a food crop? In beef or pork? The implications are staggering.
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1269
464. Grothar
8:42 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah I'm definitely all good on slopes, its just the analytical physics problems that are really getting at me. My grades are actually better now in Calculus overall then they were in Algebra, but I've always struggled with word problems.

I'm not saying that calculus word problems don't have a good purpose. Without them the modern world wouldn't exist. I just personally struggle with them a lot.

Maybe its cause Ive always feared an avoided the word problem all my life so I'm having trouble with them.

Ive always loved science and been a logic mind, yet ironically Ive always hated math, I get math very well but I don't like it.

Funny eh?


You are not alone. Most students dislike word problems. The best thing to do is to outline each sentence as you would prepare a paper. Then analyze each breakdown each component being asked. When you approch the problems that way, the intent becomes clearer. They won't tell you that in class. I always hated math. I don't like when things are too logical, which is why I enjoy this blog so much.(smile)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
463. Some1Has2BtheRookie
8:40 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Yes, but now somebody moved my keyes, which is strange because I alone at the moment. How you doing Rookie?


I am doing just fine, sir. How are you doing?

Lost your keys? As usual, they always be in the last place you look since it pointless to keep searching for them after you have found them.

Did your keys they look like these?

Link
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
462. Grothar
8:35 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Good afternoon, Grothar.

The most important thing to remember about the slopes is that they can become slippery and change your results.

Do you still have your remote in sight?


Yes, but now somebody moved my keyes, which is strange because I alone at the moment. How you doing Rookie?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
461. Patrap
8:32 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Current Conditions

Tokyo, JP (Airport)
Updated: 31 min 48 sec ago
Clear
34 F
Clear
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128619
460. Jedkins01
8:32 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Just remember that the slope of the tangent line and the slope of the curve are the same thing. The rest is just visualizing the problem, rather just the application of the math. Don't you think solving Calculus word problems is helping those trying to figure out the solution to the current problem in Japan.



Yeah I'm definitely all good on slopes, its just the analytical physics problems that are really getting at me. My grades are actually better now in Calculus overall then they were in Algebra, but I've always struggled with word problems.

I'm not saying that calculus word problems don't have a good purpose. Without them the modern world wouldn't exist. I just personally struggle with them a lot.

Maybe its cause Ive always feared an avoided the word problem all my life so I'm having trouble with them.

Ive always loved science and been a logic mind, yet ironically Ive always hated math, I get math very well but I don't like it.

Funny eh?
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7553
459. Some1Has2BtheRookie
8:32 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Just remember that the slope of the tangent line and the slope of the curve are the same thing. The rest is just visualizing the problem, rather just the application of the math. Don't you think solving Calculus word problems is helping those trying to figure out the solution to the current problem in Japan.



Good afternoon, Grothar.

The most important thing to remember about the slopes is that they can become slippery and change your results.

Do you still have your remote in sight?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
458. Grothar
8:31 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting bappit:

Did you get that from EHow, Grothar?

When solving calculus word problems, it's important to know that the slope of the tangent line and the slope of the curve are the same thing.





I don't know what Ehow is. I am fast, but not that fast. I just remember that was the first thing our professor told us the first day of class. I believe it is still taught that way. (And yes, Calculus was already invented when I went to school. LOL) I have helped a few bloggers on here off-line. A few may be on here today.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26414
457. RitaEvac
8:31 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Fools trying to hook up the damn power line and think everything is gonna be fine, not talking about the people in there trying to cool it, read what I write.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
456. Patrap
8:28 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
"Darkness,Darkness,be my Blanket"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128619
454. bappit
8:25 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Just remember that the slope of the tangent line and the slope of the curve are the same thing. The rest is just visualizing the problem, rather just the application of the math. Don't you think solving Calculus word problems is helping those trying to figure out the solution to the current problem in Japan.


Did you get that from EHow, Grothar?

When solving calculus word problems, it's important to know that the slope of the tangent line and the slope of the curve are the same thing.



Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6061
453. hurricanejunky
8:25 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting P451:


Is that reactor #3 or #4? Maybe that giant bee will vomit up honey and entomb the reactor and we can all rejoice under a fresh west wind!



okay...I'm done. Just kinda had enough of this. It would be nice of them to just come out and admit there are 3 nuclear meltdowns in progress and 6 spent fuel rod ponds also in meltdown. Enough with the helicopters, water cannons, west wind, years worth of radiation in 1 hour is like getting a CT scan, and the strings of christmas tree lights they've pulled from the rubble and strung together to restart the complete destroyed pumps.

:/



oh the smell of honey in the morning...
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
452. Jedkins01
8:24 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:
These fools actually going to go in there and hook shit up, they're fool of crap. Where the hell are all the rods at?! and why hasn't this thing just gone BOOOM yet either?


Are you serious, you're not exactly an expert on nuclear physics, so I suggest you stop making posts with profanity and talking about the Japanese being fools...

Listen to what actual scientists say. I have heard from several nuclear physicists that the Japanese are doing the best they can. I believe they are as well.

Why do you insist on believing the worst about people?

Lets see you go into the containment building and find a better way to cool the reactors...
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7553
451. Some1Has2BtheRookie
8:24 PM GMT on March 17, 2011
Quoting hurricanejunky:


LOL!!! I got a good chuckle out of that one...glad to hear you're squared away now...I could go for some ice coffee as long as it's Baby's Coffee!


Here is the coffee you asked for. I am not sure what happened to the ice. It seems it all melted a few minutes ago, for some unknown reason.

Link
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
That's why we don't let Jed have his own reactor )
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Also think of the effect in the entire Pacific food chain. Even if this all blows out to sea and stays there, it is horrific to contemplate the consequences.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
One for Japan,,before the Sun comes

Does anyone care?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128619
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Iodine 131 was the greatest villain (for children) from Chernobyl. It is more an issue with fresh fuel.

Contamination issues of seafood is looking like a given here too.


Right! Fortunately the half-life of Iodine-131 is 8 days, so it is virtually gone in a few weeks. Hopefully not much left after the trip over the Pacific, but the Japanese people are in terrible danger. Tokyo may end up being uninhabitable. This is event exceeds our worst nightmares.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
O5:14 JST in Tokyo

What will Sunrise tell us and show us?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128619

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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.