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 Floodman:


Yes, I remember when the plants were being built thinking that this may not be a good idea...but then, we had or were in the middle of building plants adjacent to the LA basin and up the west coast along the most famous fault line and fracture system in the world; we worry about now, typically and not about tomorrow
As always, MONEY takes precedence over everything else. Including the lives of men, women, children, animals ect....
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Quoting NRAamy:
It is just a shame that a lot of people who had nothing to do with this colossal mess will suffer terribly.

That's called Life on Planet Earth....

No, that's called Life Under Corporate Rule.

There are an estimated 125 tons of uranium fuel pellets in the Unit #4 spent fuel pool alone. That's a quarter of a million pounds of death just ticking away...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
Quoting Chicklit:
There are reportedly 700,000 spent fuel rods at the Fukushima plant. Giving up is not an option.
Stop gap measures until better solutions are found are better than doing nothing at all.


The Longest Day has turned into The Longest Week.
and the BP oil disaster - the longest nightmare..............CONTINUES as well
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Quoting hydrus:
Good morning Floodman. It is always a pleasure to read your educated and fitting posts..:)


Ummm, sorry...my coffee hasn't had a chance to really kick in and I tend to get nasty. That was a pretty crappy post huh?
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Quoting NRAamy:
It is just a shame that a lot of people who had nothing to do with this colossal mess will suffer terribly.

That's called Life on Planet Earth....


Your empathy is inspiring...
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Quoting PTXer:


I wonder how much he paid for that app..... :) .... soon everyone will want one.


I think he was making a subtle reference to a post from yesterday. Said subtle reference betrays a wit that, to me, suggests we're dealing with option 2 from post 72.

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Quoting hydrus:
To me, the the most interesting plan was building all those nuclear power plants on top of one of the most geologically active regions in the world, and then expecting nothing disastrous to happen.


Yes, I remember when the plants were being built thinking that this may not be a good idea...but then, we had or were in the middle of building plants adjacent to the LA basin and up the west coast along the most famous fault line and fracture system in the world; we worry about now, typically and not about tomorrow
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It is just a shame that a lot of people who had nothing to do with this colossal mess will suffer terribly.

That's called Life on Planet Earth....
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Quoting hydrus:
It is just a shame that a lot of people who had nothing to do with this colossal mess will suffer terribly.


But TEPCO will meet their profit quota...that's the important thing. HEAVY SARCASM ALERT.
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Note where the Spent Fuel Pools are located and remember the Hydrogen Explosions and the damage incurred from them.



Damaged Units Image
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
Quoting FloridaHeat:
I am going to go see if I can measure any radiation levels in my area with the Geiger counter app I just downloaded on my cell phone.


I wonder how much he paid for that app..... :) .... soon everyone will want one.
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Its is normal as the Minute counter shows.

Normal Background that is
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
Quoting hydrus:
Maybe because he feels his daily business is relevant to the blog.....which it isnt...


Bingo...
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Quoting overwash12:

          What were they thinking? That the earthquake and tsunamis were a thing of the past. Hopefully learned a valuable lesson here! So,I totally agree,this was a recipe for disaster from the get go.
It is just a shame that a lot of people who had nothing to do with this colossal mess will suffer terribly.
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Quoting Patrap:
Tokyo Live Geiger counter


Video clips at Ustream


Depending on the volume and sensitivity of the GM Tube in that instrument 13 counts per minute is normal background.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Ok, fair enough. I think the talk of your career path and such may be annoying to some as it is probably not of much interest to them (or me either, sorry).
Just a hint...
Maybe because he feels his daily business is relevant to the blog.....which it isnt...
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Quoting Orcasystems:


You have to admit.. its fun to watch.. this one makes JFV look like a rocket scientist.


I think that this one is either

1. 6 years old
2. Purposely acting the fool
3. A lobotomy gone horribly wrong

Leaning hard on 3 about now
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Quoting hydrus:
To me, the the most interesting plan was building all those nuclear power plants on top of one of the most geologically active regions in the world, and then expecting nothing disastrous to happen.
          What were they thinking? That the earthquake and tsunamis were a thing of the past. Hopefully learned a valuable lesson here! So,I totally agree,this was a recipe for disaster from the get go.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Being a native Floridian I do agree Publix has and likely will continue to be the main Florida grocery store but I find Sweetbay to have better prices and selection, at least here in Fort Myers.


Publix is the best. It's the best store around.
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Publix canollies ( sp??? ) are the best....
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Tokyo Live Geiger counter


Video clips at Ustream
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
Quoting Floodman:


That just shows what you know...it's very tasty...you should drink a great deal of it, while it's avavilable
Good morning Floodman. It is always a pleasure to read your educated and fitting posts..:)
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NHK World TV Japan Coverage Live Feed
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Quoting Floodman:


That's umm, a very interesting plan...
To me, the the most interesting plan was building all those nuclear power plants on top of one of the most geologically active regions in the world, and then expecting nothing disastrous to happen.
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Quoting Surfcropper:


Publix rules. Quality in every department


Being a native Floridian I do agree Publix has and likely will continue to be the main Florida grocery store but I find Sweetbay to have better prices and selection, at least here in Fort Myers.
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Quoting FloridaHeat:


I am sorry if my posting is bothersome to you. I do mean well but I will admit that I am ignorant. I am here because I want to learn. :(


Ok, fair enough. I think the talk of your career path and such may be annoying to some as it is probably not of much interest to them (or me either, sorry).
Just a hint...
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Quoting FloridaHeat:


Radioactive Coffee is not tasty.


That just shows what you know...it's very tasty...you should drink a great deal of it, while it's avavilable
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Only way to solve this issue is literally sinking the land the plants are sitting on into the ocean. But how would you do it? you couldn't...all the water in the world right next to the plants and can't even tap it, so close...but yet so far.


That's umm, a very interesting plan...
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm curious.. your very good at the armchair quarterback position... so what are the answers.

Deep water drilling on the GOM?
Nuclear Reactors?
Climate Change?

You have told us everything we are doing wrong... and you have had quite pointed opinions on each. So what is the answer?

How do we power it Green?

In addition to what HurricaneJunky wrote:

The first step toward change is in realizing it's needed. And Big Energy--and the politicians they've bought--have convinced the general public that such change isn't needed, that things are fine the way they are, that maintaining the status quo is best for everybody. Nuclear is oh-so-safe, oil is limitless, coal can be made clean, the planet isn't warming up rapidly, and so on, and so forth. Until and unless that naive mindset changes--and, with the gullibility of most and the tremendous amount of money those polluters are putting into their campaign of disinformation, I don't see much chance of that happening anytime soon--it's just about pointless to discuss the many other options available.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
WTI Crude Oil
$100.20 ▲2.22
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm curious.. your very good at the armchair quarterback position... so what are the answers.

Deep water drilling on the GOM?
Nuclear Reactors?
Climate Change?

You have told us everything we are doing wrong... and you have had quite pointed opinions on each. So what is the answer?

How do we power it Green?


By removing the lobbyists from everything. If we had the monetary and political will we could implement a diverse energy portfolio that includes solar, wind, tidal and geothermal just to name a few. And as much as anyone wants to deny it, we would create whole new industries along with millions of jobs. It's undeniable. It's really not that hard, it just seems that way because of all the unnecessary obstacles. I'm sure Jim will go far beyond my brief synopsis but I felt like putting in my 2 cents.
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The MOX fuel is esp dangerous to the Populous.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
The danger involves a simple Fratricide scenario now,,as one reactor goes up in A Zirconium Fire,,and the Rads go off scale,,no one will be able to approach the facility and the fall back order will come.

Then the situ will spiral outta the "perceived control"..which is null to zero at present
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259

Quoting Patrap:


They gonna need a Huge Shaker I'd say.

Maybe review yer method,,as who or what is going to deliver it to the Units,,especially the critical 2?
           They didn't account for the Uranium mixed with the Zirconium,i'd suppose.
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"mikuroshieberuto"

heh I always wondered what that word was when I saw it on NHK news stream.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45295
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Are you really this dense or are you just vying for blog attention? You may mean well but at this point in time you fall somewhere between "jasonisatoolman" and "Janiel F. Vargas". It's an honest observation. If you're insulted it is not my intention, just an amusing by-product.


I am sorry if my posting is bothersome to you. I do mean well but I will admit that I am ignorant. I am here because I want to learn. :(
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Quoting FloridaHeat:
I hope the people working at the plant know not to drink any of the water that is coming out of there because it is quite possibly radioactive after being poured over those spent fuel rods. The water is now radioactive right? Is there a way to purify radioactive water?


Are you really this dense or are you just vying for blog attention? You may mean well but at this point in time you fall somewhere between "jasonisatoolman" and "Janiel F. Vargas". It's an honest observation. If you're insulted it is not my intention, just an amusing by-product.
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Quoting overwash12:

Safety Data sheet for Extinguishing : use dry table salt


They gonna need a Huge Shaker I'd say.

Maybe review yer method,,as who or what is going to deliver it to the Units,,especially the critical 2?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259

Quoting Patrap:
Today is the day to Google "Zirconium Fire",,as its the Zirconium that encases the Uranium Fuel rods that will burn,,exposing the fuel inside and creating the most dangerous types of Radiation Plumes.


             Safety Data sheet for Extinguishing : use dry table salt
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This has me very tense.
I just lost my cool with somebody.
Going to take a break for a while.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11322
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter transports humanitarian assistance supplies from the USNS Matthew Perry to the USS Essex in the Philippine Sea, March 15, 2011. The Essex is under way to provide humanitarian assistance as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi in Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Casey H. Kyhl


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Stone removes fishing line from a tree during cleanup at the fishing port in Misawa, Japan, March 15, 2011. More than 120 U.S. Navy sailors and airmen assigned to Naval Air Facility Misawa and Misawa Air Base assisted Misawa city workers and residents in relief efforts following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Devon Dow

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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.