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 FloridaHeat:


There's an app called "Ghost Radar" too...might want to get that one too
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FlaHeat- you can not go to work if you are emitting radiation.

You've GOT to tell your manager to let you bring in carts or something- you can't bag groceries if you are irradiating the produce.
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Cell phone radiation detection app comes to Android


Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20017815-266.htm l#ixzz1GsX64Hhj
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Quoting hydrus:
Did you see post# 171 Flood..?


Yeah, I did...
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233. auburn (Mod)
Save your Phone for talking... Radiation Network
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i just bought ocean front property in Arizona via the internet i got a killer deal on it
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Quoting Floodman:


Your optimism is encouraging...I hope you're right, but it doesn't look particularly good for the west coast about now


Yeah, given the choice of standing by my microwave for an hour vs. coping with what may be coming over a long period of time ... I go with the microwave.
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1269
post 226.  Don't worry,when you make your millions off publix stock you can buy a real geiger counter! lol
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Geiger counter app... that's awesome! "Tilt it very slightly left and right to control the amount of "radiation" your geiger counter reads. The amount of tilt required is unnoticeable to your friends."

What a great way to freak out people who don't know that the hardware for detecting ionizing radiation isn't really standard fare in a smart phone.

Rad counters are pretty interesting... the variation in radiation you get based on location (elevation, near rocky mtns, etc.), weather (rain concentrates radon), or place in the building (heavy radon sinks and is higher in basements) is really neat.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we had a quick chat about that yesterday
I wasn't here yesturday... Was sick...
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Quoting N3EG:
http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

Like personal weather stations, but geiger counters.

Cool. Thanks!
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we had a quick chat about that yesterday
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
BREAKING NEWS: Retired Storms for 2010: IGOR, TOMAS.
yesterdays news
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The WMO retired 2 names yesterday from 2010
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
BREAKING NEWS: Retired Storms for 2010: IGOR, TOMAS.
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Well, with no tropical systems to form anytime soon I won't be posting until mid April when the CSU predictions come out. Anyone know when they will declare the retired storms from last year's season? i imagine it will be very soon...
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RadNet - Tracking Environmental Radiation Nationwide

Guess who wants to Eliminate this EPA funded network?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting Floodman:


We're probably looking far too small a target; the images would have to Intelligence grade, at say, a 5 meter resolution to reveal anything of much use. The whole area of the plant would be pretty hot so anything greater than 5 meters would likely just show one big hot spot
Did you see post# 171 Flood..?
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Quoting FloridaHeat:
UPDATE: I have used my Geiger Counter phone app all around Lakewood Ranch and did measure radiation. In some locations the counter reacted. It also seemed to react differently depending on how I held the phone. I'm not sure how it works exactly. I just hope I am not radioactive. I got the highest readings when I held the phone directly against my chest.
its a cheap trick the phone cannot detect rad levels but you go ahead and believe what you want to believe
hold it next to your ear maybe you will hear voices too
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215. beell
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


I was interested at about the :22 second mark, on the right side it appears to be one of the spent pools, difficult to determine it's status. I think these spent pools are going to become more of a discussion item for those of us who live near nuclear power plants, since as I understand they are not within a containment structure. Afterall when these plants were designed the intention was to have a place to ship the used fuel to, but instead evolved into store on location.


The very same issue mentioned in the INESAP link. A definite weakness in plant design that has taken a back seat to "The China Syndrome".

...most reactors were built with an originally planned reprocessing program that made these reactors have much less pool storage capacity. Thus, in many cases, these pools are approaching or have exceeded their original design capacity. To compensate, in practice, many reactor operators in the world are "re-racking" the spent fuel in the pool so that the spent fuel is stored more densely. For example, at most operating reactors in the United States, the 're-rack' of spent fuel has been done. As discussed below, these densepacked pools would be more vulnerable to a pool fire and cause a large amount of radioactive release...
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that's awesome, amy- I needed a real smile

maru rocks
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211. N3EG
http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

Like personal weather stations, but geiger counters.
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Quoting bappit:
Interesting idea about the IR images Floodman. Anyone know where to find the MODIS (?) IR images that show wildfires?


We're probably looking far too small a target; the images would have to Intelligence grade, at say, a 5 meter resolution to reveal anything of much use. The whole area of the plant would be pretty hot so anything greater than 5 meters would likely just show one big hot spot
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The public health impact of the illicit dispersal of plutonium into the atmosphere would depend strongly on the circumstances and mechanisms of dispersal. People very near the dispersal site could experience serious acute health effects or significant increased cancer risks, but it is inconceivable that large numbers of people would suffer grave health effects, as implied by the news media. In particular, only someone quite near the source would have a significant risk of being exposed to an acutely lethal amount of plutonium, and that person would as likely be injured by the explosion or fire that dispersed the plutonium.

Link
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aqua.... I am 99.9% sure....

:)

I watched a ton of his/her videos last night on youtube.... days like these you gotta laugh....
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Quoting overwash12:
          Anyone remember who this is?


Yeah! Where the hell is Ultra-man when you need him?
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Quoting NRAamy:
on a happier note, Maru the box cat is still alive and well in Japan....


for sure, amy? cause that would kinda make me smile.
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Complaining about presidents often is just scapegoating. This quote from Wikipedia about scapegoats is entertaining in a morbid kind of way.

Unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously projected onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems. In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used defense mechanism in people with the following personality disorders:

... and they give a long list of ailments.
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More from the IAEA press conference in Vienna. Graham Andrew, a senior official of the IAEA, tells us that radiation dose rates measured 30km from the plant have risen "significantly" in some areas in the last 24 hours. In one area (unnamed) he said levels had gone up from 80 microsieverts per hour to 170 microsieverts per hour.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting cat5hurricane:

You'll most likely be exposed to more radiation in a year using your cell phone or standing near the microwave waiting for the timer to ring than folks here in the U.S. will be.


Your optimism is encouraging...I hope you're right, but it doesn't look particularly good for the west coast about now
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on a happier note, Maru the box cat is still alive and well in Japan....
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Complaining about presidents is like being mad because it's raining. You can complain all you want but regardless of which way the wind is blowing, it's still going to be raining...

which was exactly my point about people and suffering....
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Yeah, I have an idea. Because there is nothing to show.


Really...4 reactors in various stages of meltdown, spent fuel storage dry and the IR would show nothing? Here's your sign
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Quoting Floodman:


If the Zirconium casings in the spent fuel inventory at #4 light up, it is over, to all intents and purposes. If that happens, the waste will be scattered over a wide area and the trust me, the HYSPLIT models will become extremely important for everyone, even us in the eastern half of the US.

What causes me the most concern is the lack of IR satellite images of the plant and it's environs...we know the US has them; there can be only one real reason they aren't publishing them
is this what you want maybe not but it a northern hemisphere global sat enhanced ir anim

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Quoting beell:


Actually caught myself holding my breath at the :32 second mark when they flew in/just over a cloud of steam and/or smoke.


I was interested at about the :22 second mark, on the right side it appears to be one of the spent pools, difficult to determine it's status. I think these spent pools are going to become more of a discussion item for those of us who live near nuclear power plants, since as I understand they are not within a containment structure. Afterall when these plants were designed the intention was to have a place to ship the used fuel to, but instead evolved into store on location.
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:


Speaking of patience, Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years. And can be quite deadly if inhaled or ingested.


Only unit 4 uses plutonium for fuel and only a little at that...Cesium 137 is the greatest long-term threat here...30 year half life
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Video that appears to be from the helicopters that dropped water previously.

Link


We are going to need a bigger boat!
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The containment is lost for the most part,,and scattered parts of fuels rods are noted throughout the plant area and beyond.

The Faux Power Line is a ruse for time as well.

Nothing left of the recirculating pumps and piping to it.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Noticed that the UStream geiger counter was up to 14 cpm from 13. Doesn't seem significant, but what the heck am I looking at? So I looked "counts per minute" up on Wikipedia.

Counts per minute (cpm) is a measure of radioactivity. It is the number of atoms in a given quantity of radioactive material that are detected to have decayed in one minute. Disintegrations per minute (dpm) is also a measure of radioactivity. It is the number of atoms in a given quantity of radioactive material that decay in one minute. Dpm is similar to cpm, however the efficiency of the radiation detector (e.g. scintillation counter) must be accounted for when analysing data in cpm. Dpm is the number of atoms that have decayed, not the number of atoms that have been measured as decayed. Dpm is commonly used as a measure of radioactive contamination.

So cpm is an approximation of dpm, how good depends on how good the geiger counter is which is unknown for the ustream video--or even where it is (?). Anyway I was wondering what background radiation levels typically are. They are given in terms of milliSieverts. Dunno how they convert to dpm, but found some interesting history at least.

Frequent above-ground nuclear explosions between the 1940s and 1960s scattered a substantial amount of radioactive contamination. Some of this contamination is local, rendering the immediate surroundings highly radioactive, while some of it is carried longer distances as nuclear fallout; some of this material is dispersed worldwide. The increase in background radiation due to these tests peaked in 1963 at about 0.15 mSv per year worldwide, or about 7% of average background dose from all sources. The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 prohibited above-ground tests, thus by the year 2000 the worldwide dose from these historical tests has decreased to only 0.005 mSv per year.[4]

So we are still getting a small amount of background radiation from the nuclear tests decades ago. Found another factoid, about radon:

Radiation exposure from radon is indirect. Radon has a short half-life (4 days) and decays into other solid particulate radium-series radioactive nuclides. These radioactive particles are inhaled and remain lodged in the lungs, causing continued exposure. People in affected localities can receive up to 10 mSv per year background radiation.[4] Radon is thus the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and accounts for 15,000 to 22,000 cancer deaths per year in the US alone.

The troubling thing is that those cancer deaths occur even though the background radiation levels seem relatively low.
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The Spent fuel rod Pools are not intact to begin with..and the Helo drops are not the solution.


Images of the damaged Japanese nuclear reactor
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting bappit:

I agree, just wondering what it reads.

They could have geiger counter readings as part of the Wundermaps. It would be educational I think. Of course, the trolls would ruin it.


If the situation at the Daiichi plant goes any further south we may see radiation maps here...
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vontez Morrow preps U-2 pilot U.S. Air Force Capt. Beau Block for a humanitarian mission to Japan from Osan Air Base, South Korea, March 13, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Paul Holcomb

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093

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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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