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 aspectre:
Grothar "See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys."
aspectre "They're in the fridge. Unless ya opened the freezer: keys like to hide out in the spots that make their owner feel the stupidest when they're found."
Grothar "Been there, have ya?????"

Like I'd be dumb enough to answer that. It's bad enough having my keys snickering at me without having the whole world joining in.


We'll all be there someday.
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Gnite All...
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Quoting WeatherWx:


atmo is one of the brightest smartest(degreed in atmospheric sciences, correct me if Im wrong) bloggers here. A number of AGW proponents here are incredibly rude and childish towards him. Ive observed this for some time now.


Well, I wouldn't say the smartest, but he is up there. LOL (He knows I'm kidding)
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Grothar "See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys."
aspectre "They're in the fridge. Unless ya opened the freezer: keys like to hide out in the spots that make their owner feel the stupidest when they're found."
Grothar "Been there, have ya?????"

Like I'd be dumb enough to answer that. It's bad enough having my keys snickering at me without having the whole world joining in.
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Quoting aspectre:
Jedkins01, I seldom minus any comment. But I nixed 818. May I suggest you do the same.
If it was disgusting to post it the first time, it's disgusting to post it as a quotation.
Please use your ModifyComment button to delete his remarks.


Alright I will.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
He could just let it be, rather than use the opportunity to light a fire or be a hole.

I told no one what to say; I told no one what to read. I just want casual visitors to know that I had distanced myself--and the blog's other thoughtful members--from the hateful comment. You're free to stand with me. Or not.

Good night, all. :-\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13799
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yeah, so is this one, Mr blog police, sir-bud.


atmo, you are usually so nice and conciliatory. What pushed your buttons tonight? You always have such kind words and have posted some of the most informative technical information on here (not saying I agree with it all), but good info nonetheless
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
I would start to wonder about the company I was keeping by who agreed with me.

Atmo your post is not only free of any climate or weather relevance its also incorrect. For the record I also don't challenge the scientific consensus with the quotes of weather presenters.

Now as I came in here to check up on the reactor situation ill ignore the clutter, look at the relevant posts (thank you) and do it myself.

jed the post was deleted so you may want to not repost it because it was so ridiculous.


I am just replying to it, I do have the freedom to do so, you know?
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828. Skyepony (Mod)
ASCAT of the blob off Africa
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Jedkins01, I seldom minus any comment. But I nixed 818. May I suggest you do the same.
If it was disgusting to post it the first time, it's disgusting to post it as a quotation.
Please use your ModifyComment button to delete his remarks.
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:



Sorry, Nea. Playing the tape back. Kudos! My bad...


Be careful who you quote PSL. You may be keeping the wrong company. LOL (How you doing) Are we still allowed to ask that?
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Quoting atmoaggie:
He could just let it be, rather than use the opportunity to light a fire or be a hole.


Agreed.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posted the bigoted, hateful, and inhumane comment #788 is in no way representative of this online community. The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and helpful; we ask that you ignore those who aren't, and please don't judge all of us based on their ignorant words and actions.

Thank you.



Sorry, Nea. Playing the tape back. Kudos! My bad...
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Quoting atmoaggie:

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posts these cutesy comments is in no way representative of the larger community of WU bloggers. The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, tolerant, and helpful, and will not tell you what to say, nor that subjective matters of which you hold an opinion is wrong; we ask that you ignore those who say otherwise, and please don't judge all of us based on their ignorant words and actions.

Thank you.



Nice, Atmo. Agreed. Kudos!
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
790

Bringing that up out of context was a new low. Just to cause problems too.


Who said my intent was to cause a problem, when it's usually you that causes the problem?
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NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posts these cutesy comments is in no way representative of the larger community of WU bloggers. The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, tolerant, and helpful, and will not tell you what to say, nor that subjective matters of which you hold an opinion is wrong; we ask that you ignore those who say otherwise, and please don't judge all of us based on their ignorant words and actions.

Thank you.
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815. flsky
Me too! 1988 alum!

Quoting twincomanche:

I'm on the right side of that.
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Grothar...you got mail
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Quoting caneswatch:


Exactly, JF. Go ahead and attack everyone because no one does what you like on this blog. If you don't like it, then I say leave.
No,no,no. There's JFVs way and there's the wrong way. Everyone else is wrong except JFV. It's a consensus.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I posted the inital statement. Leave Canes out of it.


Exactly, JF. Go ahead and attack everyone because no one does what you like on this blog. If you don't like it, then I say leave.
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The cold and snow of the last few days have only added insult to injury for Japan, but at least it is March, and not December. And the wind is still blowing out to sea....



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On Twitter, user Daiichi_Crisis is linking to pdfs of readings at "the Monitoring Post out of 20 Km Zone of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP".

Latest tweet was about 15 minutes ago. Posts are in both Japanese and English, so if you hit Japanese first, try the next link. Some links are labeled "MOE - English".

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Quoting Neapolitan:

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posted the bigoted, hateful, and inhumane comment #788 is in no way representative of this online community. The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and helpful; we ask that you ignore those who aren't, and please don't judge all of us based on the ignorant words and actions of them.

Thank you.





Thank you, Nea.

Out for the night.

Everyone take care and stay safe.
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post 804- I liked the yellow background better.... :)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 177 Comments: 26641
Quoting sunlinepr:
Early Questions After Japan
Published: March 17, 2011

As Japan’s nuclear crisis unfolds, nations around the world are looking at the safety of their nuclear reactors — as they should. But most are also waiting until all the facts are in before deciding whether or how to change their nuclear plans.

So far, the all-important lesson would seem to be: have sufficient emergency power at hand to keep cooling water circulating in the reactors to prevent a meltdown.

The Japanese reactors seem to have survived one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded without major structural damage. The crisis developed because the plant lost electrical power from the grid and the tsunami knocked out its backup diesel generators. American regulators must ensure that all nuclear plants have enough mobile generators or other backup power in place if their first two lines of defense are disabled.
Link


Or use reactor designs that don't require power to ensure they don't meltdown in cases of emergency.
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NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The person who posted the bigoted, hateful, and inhumane comment #788 is in no way representative of this online community. The majority of the people you will meet here are intelligent, open-minded, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and helpful; we ask that you ignore those who aren't, and please don't judge all of us based on their ignorant words and actions.

Thank you.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13799
Quoting JFLORIDA:
790

To joke around when people are coming here for information in a disaster is repugnant.

During a crisis it is not appropriate to joke and post videos.

And basically if you are, then I wouldn't broadcast it. This is not a video blog and adults do come here,

I dont come here to be misinformed or "amused" by chatty cliques.


I posted the inital statement. Leave Canes out of it.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
788...
Boy the way Glenn Miller played...



LOL How fitting.
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Food fer thought and a Great Movie as you mentioned.

Josey Wales: Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is.

G'night here as well.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
765 TampaSpin "I was just going what the other blogger said, that the Japan Gov. told us we was not allowed to be on site to assist and hook the equipment up."

The sentence was ambiguous as to who was blocking UStroops from hooking up the equipment. If I hadn't gotten torqued off at earlier Japanese requests to unnecessarily risk US helicopter crews in dumping water onto the reactors... when not a single JDF crew as of then had been engaged in such an operation...

"If it was our Gov. choice I have no problem with that choice.....but not from the Gov. of Japan"

meh... In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the Feds threw out pallets upon pallets of the British equivalent of MREs as toxic waste, literally treated as if they were toxic waste.
Admittedly British cooking has a bad reputation... but I'm sure some British charity would have liked having those Meals-Ready-to-Eat shipped back to them for distribution elsewhere in the world.

Similarly it took 3days before the Japanese government requested Search&Rescue teams from other countries to fly in to help... even though those foreign teams had all made themselves available within a few short hours after the 9.0 quake.
National pride is ___ing weird, nearly beyond belief.
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Early Questions After Japan
Published: March 17, 2011

As Japan’s nuclear crisis unfolds, nations around the world are looking at the safety of their nuclear reactors — as they should. But most are also waiting until all the facts are in before deciding whether or how to change their nuclear plans.

So far, the all-important lesson would seem to be: have sufficient emergency power at hand to keep cooling water circulating in the reactors to prevent a meltdown.

The Japanese reactors seem to have survived one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded without major structural damage. The crisis developed because the plant lost electrical power from the grid and the tsunami knocked out its backup diesel generators. American regulators must ensure that all nuclear plants have enough mobile generators or other backup power in place if their first two lines of defense are disabled.
Link
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Nite Twin
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Quoting Patrap:
Clint is a Class act, Im sure he was in on that decision.


My favorite Clint Eastwood movie is that liberal hippy western that he directed, The Outlaw Jose Wales. His last western, Unforgiven, is a close second.
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Kirk: What does God need with a starship?
McCoy: Jim, what are you doing?
Kirk: I'm asking a question.
"God": Who is this creature?
Kirk: Who am I? Don't you know? Aren't you God?
Sybok: He has his doubts.
"God": You doubt me?
Kirk: I seek proof.
McCoy: Jim! You don't ask the Almighty for his ID!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting Terradad:
listening to the NHK english translation, and i just heard that "they can not work on reactors 3 and 4 at the same time". I wonder why this is? Also, they are most worried about reactor 3 (the MOX reactor).

I also heard " the situation is stabilized, which is why we are not making progress".

History in the making, either way it goes....







I am not certain but, I am sure it is a simple problem of logistics. Not enough people and equipment to concentrate on more than one at a time.
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788...
Boy the way Glenn Miller played...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Feel like posting a certain campfire scene from Blazing Saddles. He did come up with a new term for those of us who post videos.....Vidiots.


He has officially hit a new low for that.
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Quoting P451:


Too far south. Coriolis effect! What is that at about 3N?



i know and realize the location, but still a nice mid level spin coming off Africa!
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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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