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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Quoting Patrap:
well Im no pysichits,Physichican,,..er, atom Guy.

LOL


Nice!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Floodman:


Well done, one smart a@# to another


Sorry, I ain't taking that rap. Have a nice day.
:)
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Quoting SQUAWK:


Using Admin like color for your post is not a good ideal. Are you trying to impersonate someone from Admin?
Even though your message is on point, your use of color is not.

If I was trying to "impersonate someone from Admin", I would have. No, I was merely trying to call attention to my post, as I felt its substance was important. I'm sure you would agree. ;-) Besides, the rules don't specify no use of color; if you know otherwise, please direct me and I will henceforth conduct myself accordingly.
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well Im no pysichits,Physichican,,..er, atom Guy.

LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
Quoting Barefootontherocks:


I did not see any corrections posted in the blog-except at Pat's post. Glad somebody's on the ball. LOL back at you.


Well done, one smart a@# to another
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922









Webcam chat at Ustream

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Quoting RayT:
I have a question.

With respect to the quake in Japan, I have been reading that the whole continent moved about 10 feet or so (give or take)

what are the chances that this could change the path of some of the ocean currents and eventually some of our weather patterns?

Just a thought.


Ray, the quake moved the ISLAND 10 feet (more ike 8, but who's counting?)...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Floodman:


Thank you; I've been corrected a number of times now, both in the open blog and via WU-Mail...LOL


I did not see any corrections posted in the blog-except at Pat's post. Glad somebody's on the ball.
LOL back at you.
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Quoting bappit:

It lasts from June 1 to November 30.


Wow, and I thought I was cynical...LOL

So how goes the campaign to be Bastardi's sock puppet?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Neapolitan:

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posted the bigoted and inhumanely idiotic comment #300 is representative of only a very small fraction of this online community. So is the third-rate comedian masquerading as a teenage simpleton with a supermarket job so he can clutter the blog with his "humor". The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and helpful; we ask that you please ignore those who aren't. Also, please don't judge all of us based on the ignorant words and actions of those few.

Thank you.


Using Admin like color for your post is not a good ideal. Are you trying to impersonate someone from Admin?
Even though your message is on point, your use of color is not.
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Quoting Floodman:


All that having been said, it looks like we will have a neutral ENSO meaning an active season...but don't quote me
    Someones gonna get hit,with a hurricane that is.
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Your comment on that photo misidentifies the reactor numbers. 1 is on the right. 4, the far left.



Fukushima Dai'ichi power plant graphic.


Thank you; I've been corrected a number of times now, both in the open blog and via WU-Mail...LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
375. RayT
I have a question.

With respect to the quake in Japan, I have been reading that the whole continent moved about 10 feet or so (give or take)

what are the chances that this could change the path of some of the ocean currents and eventually some of our weather patterns?

Just a thought.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



Stern warning about radiation from the US has prompted exodus of foreign officials.
Justin McCurryMarch 17, 2011 13:34

Japan: nuclear fears fray nerves

OSAKA, Japan — Japan's nuclear crisis deepened on Thursday after fresh attempts to cool a stricken reactor met with mixed results, raising anxiety levels among millions of people in the region, and as far away as Tokyo.

The day began with dramatic live footage of Japanese military helicopters, manned by crews in protective suits, dropping seawater by the tons over the plant's No. 3 reactor.

The efforts marked a new, and more desperate, tactic in Japan's fight to save the plant from a potentially catastrophic meltdown.

All six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant have developed serious cooling problems since vast stretches of Japan's northeast coast were devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami last Friday.

In the evening, five trucks equipped with high-pressure water cannons normally used to quell rioters sprayed tons of water at the reactor building in an attempt to cool a storage pool for spent fuel rods that has lost water and appears to be overheating.

If the worst happens, overheating fuel rods could begin to melt, releasing high levels of radiation.

The threat of a serious nuclear meltdown is fraying nerves in Tokyo, more than 150 miles south of the disabled power plant.

There is no exodus from the capital — yet — but fuel is being rationed and supermarket shelves are quickly emptied of rice, milk, noodles and other foods. Stores report a surge in demand for survival staples such as torches, batteries and sleeping bags.

Train services have been disrupted by voluntary power cuts and many employees have been told to sit out the crisis at home. A rush of transactions led to the sudden closure of thousands of ATMs at Mizuho Bank.

For all their stoicism, Tokyoites are preparing for the worse. Long lines formed outside the city's passport office, while bullet trains are filling up with a steady stream of expatriates, women and children. Television footage showed hundreds of people leaving the city on buses.

Authorities warned that Tokyo could experience a blackout on Thursday evening, but it was granted a reprieve after the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), said demand had been lower than expected, thanks to energy-saving efforts by businesses and households.

The company claimed a victory of sorts, saying the 30 tons of water aimed at the No. 3 reactor had succeeded in cooling the storage pool. But it added that it had observed little change in radioactivity levels at the facility.

The helicopters and water cannons will resume water-bombing the plant on Friday, the firm said.

The team of technicians, firefighters and soldiers face myriad problems, but the aim is clear: to cool the No. 3 reactor and replenish the pool containing spent fuel rods.

TEPCO is unable to get close enough to take accurate readings, but it is working on the chilling assumption that the pool is almost empty, raising the risk that the fuel rods will overheat and melt.

The firm is also attempting to open a temporary power line to the plant that would allow it to pump water directly into the storage pools and reactor cores.

Japanese authorities' inability to contain the damage almost a week after the tsunami coincided with a grim prognosis from nuclear experts in the United States.

Gregory Jackzo, chairman of the U.S. nuclear regulatory commission, told a congressional hearing in Washington that the storage pool at another reactor had lost all of its water and was in danger of releasing more radioactive material.

As a result, a growing number of foreign governments are taking steps to remove their citizens from danger. The United States imposed an evacuation zone within a 80-kilometer radius of the plant and said it would send chartered aircraft to take Americans out of the country.

"We are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 80 kilometers of the Fukushima nuclear power plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical,'' the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
Quoting mossyhead:
Can I ask a tropical weather question since this is a tropical weather blog? What is everyone's thoughts on the upcoming hurricane season?

It lasts from June 1 to November 30.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6031
Quoting mossyhead:
Can I ask a tropical weather question since this is a tropical weather blog? What is everyone's thoughts on the upcoming hurricane season?


All that having been said, it looks like we will have a neutral ENSO meaning an active season...but don't quote me
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Floodman:


Given the level of destruction at units 1 & 2 it stands to reason:



Though 3 & 4 may not be damaged, based on the image


Your comment on that photo misidentifies the reactor numbers. 1 is on the right. 4, the far left.



Fukushima Dai'ichi power plant graphic.

Add: See also Patrap's addition at comment 355.
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Quoting bappit:
When I grow up I want to be Joe Bastardi's sock puppet.


That sounds about right...
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We're saved!

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-msu-prototype -video.html
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Quoting mossyhead:
Can I ask a tropical weather question since this is a tropical weather blog? What is everyone's thoughts on the upcoming hurricane season?

Well we've already seen an invest and we have some nice waves off Africa, temperatures seem to be warmer in the central Atlantic rather than Carribean and Gulf. Based on what we've had so far I'd say we'll have a lot of fish storms, but USA usually doesn't go so long without a major hurricane, so I think there will be an oddity. but none of this is in any way a valid prediction
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Quoting mossyhead:
Can I ask a tropical weather question since this is a tropical weather blog? What is everyone's thoughts on the upcoming hurricane season?


Predictions are relatively useless; conditions change too rapidly and incrementally for any long range forecast to be entirely accurate for anything other than a ballpark prediction of formation.

To make a precdiction of general landfall areas is useless as even now, with all of our technology, we can't say with any certainty that a storm will hit within 300 or 400 miles of a particular city or area more than 72-96 hours from landfall...hurricane season is at best a roller coaster ride.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
362. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #11
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE CHERONO (07-20102011)
22:00 PM RET March 17 2011
==========================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Cherono (995 hPa) located at 15.9S 74.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 11 knots.



Gale Force Winds
===============
20 NM from the center

Near Gale Force Winds
=======================
30 NM from the center extending up to 50 NM in the southern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5/2.5/S0.0/6 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 16.9S 72.6E - 40 knots (Temp%uFFFDte Tropicale Modere%uFFFD)
24 HRS: 17.6S 70.1E - 45 knots (Temp%uFFFDte Tropicale Modere%uFFFD)
48 HRS: 19.5S 64.5E - 55 knots (Forte Temp%uFFFDte Tropicale)
72 HRS: 21.6S 59.2E - 50 knots (Forte Temp%uFFFDte Tropicale)

Additional Information
=====================

Convection suffered from the weak equatorward inflow during the past 6 hours. Upper levels environmental conditions remain favorable with a weak vertical wind shear and a good poleward outflow.

Monsoon inflow is expected to improve progressively within the next 24 hours. System should intensify during the next 2 days. Beyond, it should undergo a strengthening vertical wind shear ahead of a deep mid latitude trough. Most of the available Numerical Weather Prediction models are in good agreement for a southwest to west southwestward track on the northern edge of the low to mid levels subtropical ridge.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Mauritius Meteorological Services will be issued at 0:30 AM UTC..
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361. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks like the overall trend of the ENSO models is once again warmer than before.

Looking at T-depth anomaly~ neutral or warmer for season. Still wouldn't be surprised to see this get to El Nino conditions during the summer.
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Be Prepared.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
Can I ask a tropical weather question since this is a tropical weather blog? What is everyone's thoughts on the upcoming hurricane season?
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This is nothing but BS

WTI Crude Oil
$101.13 ▲$3.15
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DigitalGlobe has released new satellite images of Japan's tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The image - taken at taken at 09.35 AM local time on Wednesday - shows extensive damage to units 1, 3, and 4 reactor buildings. Smoke can be seen coming from the unit 2 reactor building, as well as from the unit 3 reactor building. Additional damage can be seen to several other buildings approximately 350 metres north of the unit 2 reactor building.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
I AM A CONSERVATIVE AND I CONDEMN MESSAGE NUMBER 300. I BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION AND ANY, AND I MEAN ANY, ACTIONS TO BYPASS AND GET AROUND IT SHOULD BE STOPPED. I do not approve of the way we bypass the constitution because of crime, terrorism, or political correction.
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IAEA Japanese Earthquake Update (17 March 17:55 UTC)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
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NHK still in recorded mode as dawn is a few hours away
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
349. Skyepony (Mod)
#
1847: Engineers plan to reconnect power to unit 2 once the spraying of water on the unit 3 reactor building is completed, the statement says. "The spraying of water on the unit 3 reactor building was temporarily stopped at 1109 GMT (2009 local time) on 17 March. The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves," the statement adds.
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345. Tropicsweatherpr

I've been thinking we would be ENSO neutral during the heart of the season, and that along with declining SST anomalies in the Atlantic may result in more of a normal season number wise. Still only takes one at any specific location to make it a "bad season".
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When "Romper Room" time is over on the blog, could someone drop me a note.
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Article on spent fuel.
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In a different topic,the March ENSO models forecast is out and shows the majority of models at Neutral by August,September and October.nrtiwlnvragn,what is your take on this update by the models?

Link

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Quote from Jack Swigert, Apollo 13

..its like driving a Toaster thru a Car wash,..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128318
Quoting Neapolitan:

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posted the bigoted and inhumanely idiotic comment #300 is representative of only a very small fraction of this online community. So is the third-rate comedian masquerading as a teenage simpleton with a supermarket job so he can clutter the blog with his "humor". The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and helpful; we ask that you please ignore those who aren't. Also, please don't judge all of us based on the ignorant words and actions of those few.

Thank you.


Awesome post, deserves quoting. Just wanted to jump in and second it...back to lurking.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 87
IF there is any here who have knowledge of the wiring and distribution system in a reactor building:

Is the electrical wiring in the plant designed with redundant systems that can be connected at more then one point? Think multiple breaker boxes in your house for example.

Can each pump be isolated from all the other wiring for lights and such? Given the level of damage the building has sustained a lot of the wiring is going to be shorted.

The same idea would apply to the pipes for the water to flow through. Do they have redundant pipes so that at least one of them might not have leaks in it?

My background is engineering (electrical, some mech) and I know nothing about reactor building design. That said, I am not optimistic that any systems will work.
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Quoting Patrap:
Nothing goes boom save for the remaining units if the fuel rod pools go dry and the Water separates under temp to H2 And O2 and then the units go Boom as we saw with 2 of them.

When the Zirconium Clads around the dry rods burn they will slump,,and the Uranium ones will sizzle a Deadly Plume somewhere vertically then downwind.The Cesium 137 dosent do a body good neither

Thus the problemo Jesus.


The O2 will bond to the zirconium, releasing the H2
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting RecordSeason:
313:

Oh hell yeah...

I hadn't seen this photo...

The third reactor building is practically obliterated. The entire upper floor is destroyed. There isn't even a spent fuel pond to speak of. Some of the spent rods are probably scattered over the complex or even vaporized...

Anyone want to take bets on whether the cooling pipes and pumps are in tact at all?

Cosmetic damage.

A fuel rod apart from its companions will cool off quickly. It will still contain radioactive material. Vaporized in a hydrogen explosion. I don't think so.

One advantage to cleaning up radioactive material is that it is easy to find unlike some chemical pollutants.
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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.

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