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 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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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....

Member Since: December 21, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
Quoting caneswatch:


Careful, JF might yell at you for posting that ;)


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.
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Quoting aspectre:
Grothar "See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys."

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.


Been there, have ya?????
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Heading to Madagascar...

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Dr. Jeff Masters in 1988 Flying the NOAA Mission into Hurricane Gilbert that set a New Low Pressure in the Atlantic,,it was a Documentary.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125503
Quoting Neapolitan:

That was Hereafter, directed by Eastwood and starring Matt Damon. The (pretty boring) movie featured the 2004 tsunami, so it's been pulled from theaters in Japan. FYI...


Thanks, Nea.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Wow!!!! UCLA is blowing out Mich St......OUCH


Careful, JF might yell at you for posting that ;)
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I bet Mothra and Godzilla vs Radon isnt getting much play neither.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125503
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet. (The part of the theme song no one can understand)


I know you understand it.
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Quoting Grothar:


That is a scary image. Some of these scenes really brings one back to reality that it is not a movie we are watching. I heard the new movie about a tsunami is not being released in Japan. I think it is a Clint Eastwood movie, but not sure. That was some compassionate thinking there.

That was Hereafter, directed by Eastwood and starring Matt Damon. The (pretty boring) movie featured the 2004 tsunami, so it's been pulled from theaters in Japan. FYI...
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Clint is a Class act,,Im sure he was in on that decision.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125503
Quoting emcf30:
CNNNews is stating the radiation level has jumped to 20 milliseverts per hour( 7 times higher than previous ) The highest so far. This was in the area they are trying to hook up the new power connection.






I have heard the same thing. Should these levels keep rising before they can get the pumps running then it's game over,IMO. They will never be able to get in close enough to get the pumps going and most assuredly if there is any other problems associated with doing so.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
Wow!!!! UCLA is blowing out Mich St......OUCH
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Quoting Patrap:
Bad Mojo rising FAST




That is a scary image. Some of these scenes really brings one back to reality that it is not a movie we are watching. I heard the new movie about a tsunami is not being released in Japan. I think it is a Clint Eastwood movie, but not sure. That was some compassionate thinking there.
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Quoting TomTaylor:

Where exactly are you looking? And what is vorticity? Why is it good that its low?

Sorry for all the questions, I don't know much about all those cimss graphics and what they mean for development of storms, but I would like to know how to read them and what they mean for the upcoming season.



You got mail!
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It was our commanders who would not allow our troups to go in to the reactor site to assist in the hook up. Trying to find the interview now and I will link it.
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Grothar "See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys."

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.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


The Flintmobile? I heard Fred gave him a great deal on it.


Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet. (The part of the theme song no one can understand)
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Quoting aspectre:
I suspect that it was a US policy decision, TampaSpin, to not send their troops in where JapaneseDefenseForces should take the extra risk.

Japan's PrimeMinister and TEPCO's CEO have been publicly beggin' the US to send folks into the hot zone cuz they don't want the political fallout from risking the JDF.


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. If it was our Gov. choice i have no problem with that choice.....but not from the Gov. of Japan
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


His first one is in the Smithsonian.


The Flintmobile? I heard Fred gave him a great deal on it.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
CNNNews is stating the radiation level has jumped to 20 milliseverts per hour( 7 times higher than previous ) The highest so far. This was in the area they are trying to hook up the new power connection.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Here is the 850mb voriticity......NOT REALLY MUCH THERE!

Where exactly are you looking? And what is vorticity? Why is it good that its low?

Sorry for all the questions, I don't know much about all those cimss graphics and what they mean for development of storms, but I would like to know how to read them and what they mean for the upcoming season.

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Quoting Grothar:


As in Hurley-Davidson?


As in Hurley, the clothing/surf company.
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Quoting Grothar:


Uh-oh! Be back in a minute.


Told you about eating cabbage at your age.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Not knowing where your car keys are is not as bad as some mornings I have awakened not knowing where my car is. .... Where is your car, Grothar?


His first one is in the Smithsonian.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Not knowing where your car keys are is not as bad as some mornings I have awakened not knowing where my car is. .... Where is your car, Grothar?


Uh-oh! Be back in a minute.
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Ding-dong, light on!!...I remember now . Thats where FH works.
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Quoting Ossqss:
Well lets hope the Lion Sleeps Tonight for those impacted in Japan. They have experienced more 5 quakes than I have ever viewed prior over the last week. Look for yourselves!

Out.>>>>>

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_big.php

Hummmm, some folks with multiple handles are MIA, why?



Banned on the Run?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125503
753. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #12
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE CHERONO (07-20102011)
4:00 AM RET March 18 2011
==========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Cherono (992 hPa) located at 15.9S 74.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west southwest at 8 knots.

Gale Force Winds
===============
30 NM from the center extending up to 50 NM in the southeastern quadrant

Near Gale Force Winds
=======================
40 NM from the center extending up to 90 NM in the southeastern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0/3.0/D0.5/12 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 16.7S 71.2E - 45 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modereé)
24 HRS: 17.4S 68.9E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
48 HRS: 19.8S 63.0E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 21.7S 57.8E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION Tropicale)

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

Convection improved close to the center during the past 6 hours. Upper level 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 and weaken beyond. Conditions aloft should remain favorable up to 36 hours. Beyond, system should undergo a strengthening vertical wind shear ahead of a deep mid latitudes trough. Last Numerical Weather Prediction model outcomes are in rather good agreement for a west southwest track on the northern edge of the low to mid levels subtropical ridge for the next three days. Beyond, some of the models forecast a recurve southeastward and other models continue to track the system west southwestward. Forecast is a consensus of the last available Numerical Weather Prediction models.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Mauritius Meteorological Services will be issued at 6:30 AM UTC..
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Quoting Grothar:


Did you figure out how to post photos yet on the blog? See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys. Everyone have their corned-beef and cabbage today? Heard Publix was giving out recipes for it and also advising on how to avoid radiation. Good place to shop.


Not knowing where your car keys are is not as bad as some mornings I have awakened not knowing where my car is. .... Where is your car, Grothar?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
Quoting Grothar:


Did you figure out how to post photos yet on the blog? See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys. Everyone have their corned-beef and cabbage today?


Hads hm in me oven and over cooked it afta drinkn to much me gren ber.
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I suspect that it was a US policy decision, TampaSpin, to not send their troops in where JapaneseDefenseForces should take the extra risk.

Japan's PrimeMinister and TEPCO's CEO have been publicly beggin' the US to send folks into the hot zone cuz they don't want the political fallout from risking the JDF.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bad Mojo rising FAST


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125503
Well lets hope the Lion Sleeps Tonight for those impacted in Japan. They have experienced more 5+ quakes than I have ever viewed prior over the last week. Look for yourselves!

Out.>>>>>

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_big.php

Hummmm, some folks with multiple handles are MIA, why?
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Quoting RukusBoondocks:
I heard that all of the radiation from the quake will put a huge damper on the hurricane season


I'm just going to assume that this was a tongue-in-cheek comment and not meant to be taken seriously.

If you are being serious, then may I recommend you find new information resources, as the ones you currently have seem to be...inaccurate, to put it kindly.
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Quoting Grothar:


Did you figure out how to post photos yet on the blog? See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys. Everyone have their corned-beef and cabbage today? Heard Publix was giving out recipes for it and also advising on how to avoid radiation. Good place to shop.


Yeah, I surely did.....TY :)
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Quoting caneswatch:


Nope, I just wore my green Hurley shirt LOL


As in Hurley-Davidson?
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Quoting Grothar:


Did you figure out how to post photos yet on the blog? See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys. Everyone have their corned-beef and cabbage today?


Nope, I just wore my green Hurley shirt LOL
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


I just gotta ask.....what the devil is the Publix?


Did you figure out how to post photos yet on the blog? See I remember everything, except where I left my cars keys. Everyone have their corned-beef and cabbage today? Heard Publix was giving out recipes for it and also advising on how to avoid radiation. Good place to shop.
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Quoting RukusBoondocks:
I heard that all of the radiation from the quake will put a huge damper on the hurricane season


Are you related to Rufus Baker from Hurricane Season?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


You must shop at Publix.


You read my mind. LMAO
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Quoting Patrap:
We have a Tutorial back on the first page of this entry I believe on da Publix


I'm just gonna take ya word for it...lol....a grocery store....we don't have Publix here...sounds more like a public restroom area.:P
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.