New floods in Pakistan kill 226; Maria heads towards brush with Bermuda

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:53 PM GMT on September 14, 2011

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A year after enduring the most devastating flooding in its history, Pakistan is again experiencing historic floods. An unusually heavy and late-lasting monsoon has brought torrential rains to Pakistan's southeast Sindh Province, which borders India to the east and the Arabian Sea to the south, and includes Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. The heavy rains began in the 2nd week of August, and have continued into the 2nd week of September, accumulating to 2 1/2 times more than average. According to Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Pakistan's Federal Advisor on Climate Affairs, this is the highest 4-week monsoon rainfall total ever recorded in Sindh province, amounting to more than 37 million acre feet of water, "which is unimaginable." The "unimaginable" rains occurred after a 12-month period where the province received no rain and was under severe drought conditions. At least 226 people have been killed in the new flooding, 1.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed, and 280,000 people made homeless. There were already 1 million people needing food aid and 800,000 families without permanent shelter due to last year's floods, making this year's renewed flooding particularly disruptive. According to the India Meteorological Department, by September 1, the monsoon usually begins to retreat from northwest India and southeastern Pakistan. That hasn't happened this year, and the monsoon rains are forecast to continue at least for the remainder of this week--well into the 3rd week of September. This very unusual monsoon season also started a week earlier than normal.


Figure 1. Rainfall during the 2011 monsoon season has accumulated to 8 to 12 inches above average over portions of Pakistan's Sindh Province. Image credit: Pakistan Meteorological Department. Before and after satellite images of the flood are available at NASA Earth Observatory.

Is there a climate change connection?
Last year, heavy monsoon rains were enhanced by a very unusual jet stream configuration that brought cool air and rain-bearing low pressure systems to northern Pakistan. The great floods of 2011--rightfully called Pakistan's Katrina--submerged one fifth of the country, killing 1985 people, leaving 11 million homeless, and doing a record $9.5 billion in damage. This year, the monsoon weather patterns were much different, but also highly unusual, resulting in yet another great flood in Pakistan. In an interview with dawn.com, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Pakistan's Federal Advisor on Climate Affairs, stated: "...climate change has become a reality for Pakistan. Clearly, Pakistan is heading for an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events which included frequent floods and droughts, and the need of the hour is to plan for the future changes." These events are in line with international climate change projections, he said.


Figure 2. Evacuations in Pakistan's Sindh Province during the summer 2011 floods. Image credit: Pakistan Meteorological Department.

A skeptic of Dr. Qamar's arguments might point to the fact that monsoon rainfall in neighboring India was not all that unusual in either 2010 or 2011, and that major monsoon flooding disasters in back-to-back years in Pakistan were probably just bad luck. However, the monsoon in India and Pakistan has undeniably changed in recent decades. In a study published in Science in 2006, Goswami et al. found that the level of heavy rainfall activity in the monsoon over India had more than doubled in the 50 years since the 1950s, leading to an increased disaster potential from heavy flooding. Moderate and weak rain events decreased over the past 50 years, leaving the total amount of rain deposited by the monsoon roughly constant. The authors commented, "These findings are in tune with model projections and some observations that indicate an increase in heavy rain events and a decrease in weak events under global warming scenarios." A warming climate loads the dice in favor of heavier extreme precipitation events. This occurs because more water vapor can evaporate into a warmer atmosphere, increasing the chances of record heavy downpours. In addition, heavy downpours preferentially occur during thunderstorms, and a warmer climate produces a longer period of time during the year when thunderstorms can occur, giving more opportunities for heavy rainfall events. During August 2011, ocean temperatures in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan, in the region between 15°N - 25°N, 60°E - 70°E, were 0.8°C (1.4°F) above average, according to an analysis I did of the HADSST2 dataset. This was the 5th highest such value in over 100 years of record keeping. During the July 2010 monsoon, this region of ocean was 1.1°C (2.0°F) above average, the warmest July ocean temperatures on record. The extra heat in the ocean the past two summers have undoubtedly contributed to the high rainfall totals in Pakistan by allowing more water vapor to evaporate into the air. Thus, we should expect to see an increased number of disastrous monsoon floods in coming decades as the climate continues to warm and the oceans off the coasts of India and Pakistan heat up. Since the population continues to increase at a rapid rate in the region, death tolls from monsoon flooding disasters are likely to climb dramatically in coming decades. Another concern is that climate change might lead to more failures of the monsoon--years when the rains are far below normal, leading to widespread drought and crop failures. This is a more dangerous scenario, since historically, droughts have been much more deadly than floods in Asia. Failure of the monsoon rains typically occur during El Niño years, so if climate change increases the frequency of El Niño, we might see an increase in the failure of the monsoon rains. So far, climate models are unclear on how climate change might affect El Niño, so we don't know how great a concern future failures of the monsoon might be.

References
Goswami, et al., 2006, " Increasing Trend of Extreme Rain Events Over India in a Warming Environment", Science, 1 December 2006:Vol. 314. no. 5804, pp. 1442 - 1445 DOI: 10.1126/science.1132027

Tropical Storm Maria headed towards a brush with Bermuda
Tropical Storm Maria is finally pulling away from Puerto Rico, and is headed north-northwest towards a brush with Bermuda, which will occur Thursday morning. Wind shear has fallen about 5 knots since yesterday, and is now a moderate 10 - 15 knots. This reduction in shear has allowed Maria a strengthen some, and satellite loops show the storm has more heavy thunderstorms that are better organized. The storm's surface circulation is still exposed on the storm's west side, though, and Maria does not have anything close to a complete eyewall built. Maria passed near NOAA buoy 41046 this morning, which reported a 1-hour period of sustained winds of 38 mph, gusting to 45 mph. An outer spiral band of Maria is just beginning to appear on Bermuda radar.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Maria.

Forecast for Maria
A trough of low pressure moving off the U.S. East Coast a predicted to turn Maria to the north-northeast by early Thursday, and accelerate the storm past Bermuda. The trough will also bring high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots beginning late tonight, which gives Maria just a short window of opportunity to intensify today. NHC gave Maria a 32% chance of reaching hurricane strength by Thursday in their 5 am EDT wind probability forecast. Intensification will be hampered by the fact that Maria will be passing over the cold water wake left by Hurricane Katia today. On Thursday morning, Maria will be making its closest approach to Bermuda. Bermuda will see an 8-hour period of sustained winds in the 25 - 35 mph range, accompanied by heavy rain squalls, beginning near 4 am local time on Thursday. Bermuda may experience a few hours where the wind rises above tropical storm force, 39 mph, near 8 am local time Thursday. Occasional rain squalls are expected to bring 1 - 3 inches of rain to the islands. Most of the models show that Maria will brush or strike Newfoundland, Canada on Friday afternoon. Most of the storm's high winds will be on the right side, and Maria will be weakening rapidly then, so I'm not expecting the storm will do much wind damage. Heavy rains could bring minor to moderate flooding to the eastern portion of the island.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Even the busiest of hurricane seasons have lulls, and we're hitting one this week during what is traditionally the busiest week of hurricane season. The models are backing off this morning on the development of a tropical depression or strong tropical disturbance late this week off the coast of Africa. The NOGAPS model continues to predict the Western Caribbean could see the development of a tropical depression 6 -7 days from now, but the other models are showing little support for this idea.

The Climate Reality Project
Those of you who like Al Gore's efforts to promote climate change awareness and solutions may be interested in checking out his latest effort tonight at 7 pm local time, in all 24 of the world's time zones, via climaterealityproject.org. It's a live streaming multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour by 24 different presenters for 24 hours, representing every time zone around the globe.

Jeff Masters

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1086. beell
Well, thats it for me folks.
Goodbye, WU.
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BLOG HOLE......




only one little funktop green dot...
Got a ways to go for sure.

NHC IS forecasting Maria to become a Hurricane... stay tuned.
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1084. JLPR2
Oceanscat caught most of our two disturbances.



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The solution.
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1082. DFWjc
Quoting TexasHurricane:


Getting any rains up there? I say up there because I am closer to the coast...



we had some in the early morning, but tapered off around 11 am
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1081. JLPR2
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1080. Grothar
Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Colonized by people? Hawaii was discovered by the Polynesians. They watched and followed a migrating bird, I believe, a plover. Apparently, they watched and followed this bird for 400 years. (Yikes) I saw this on TV.


I didn't know plovers lived that long.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
1079. bappit
Grothar is probably a big fan of Roald Amundsen.

"In 1903, Amundsen led the first expedition to successfully traverse Canada's Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (something explorers had been attempting since the days of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, and Henry Hudson), with six others in a 47-ton steel seal-hunting vessel, Gjøa."

He reached some obscure town with a telegraph in 1906 and learned that Norway had won independence from Sweden.

Amundsen received news that Norway had formally become independent of Sweden and had a new king. Amundsen sent the new King Haakon VII news that it 'was a great achievement for Norway'. He said he hoped to do more and signed it 'Your loyal subject, Roald Amundsen.'"

Of course, Amundsen could have made the trip in a single summer the way things are now.
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1077. jpsb
Quoting FrankZapper:
Like a Honda generator?
Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
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only one little funktop green dot...
Got a ways to go for sure.

NHC IS forecasting Maria to become a Hurricane... stay tuned.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

And we have a winner.


Yay!
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1074. NoLa86
ive typed enough. i am using to much of my carbon credits. lol . bac to da lurking for da next fo years.
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1073. Grothar
Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Colonized by people? Hawaii was discovered by the Polynesians. They watched and followed a migrating bird, I believe, a plover. Apparently, they watched and followed this bird for 400 years. (Yikes) I saw this on TV.


I didn't know plovers lived that long.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
1072. DFWjc
Quoting TexasHurricane:


Getting any rains up there? I say up there because I am closer to the coast...


i did this early this morning... it wrapped up around 11ish AM
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Quoting DFWjc:


but after maria leaves and the low-high-low across north america its going to leave a nice void in the Caribbean. It's going to be nice and toasty for even the littlest storm to brew into something nice...


Getting any rains up there? I say up there because I am closer to the coast...
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1070. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Or how bout Hydroelectric Energy, Geothermal Energy, or Solar Energy? All renewable, no carbon emissions from using them, none can run out, we would have an over abundance, and as far as Solar energy goes we are already using solar wind panels.


if we use wind - the bird people complain
if we use solar panels - heads of subdivision complain*
if we use hyrdro - then areas who need water dry up

*- a neighborhood committee near where i live voted down the use of solar panels and mini-wind turbines because they look "tacky"..i kid you not!
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Quoting JLPR2:


Nice little vort in the CATL.


yea,she doing pretty well all things considered
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Quoting VoodooRue:


Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

And we have a winner.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
But how are we going to drive to work or school? No seriously though we need more cost efficient electric cars.


what are we going to do with all of that waste of battery acid? Plastics that make the batteries?? So do we increase the amount of coal production to create energy to charge those batteries?

Im just trying to say with new solutions come new problems and I hope the new problems that are going to be created they are easier and less impact-full then the problems we currently have..... According to Wiki "Overall, there were an estimated 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States according to a 2007 DOT study" times about 20 per car and larger than current car batteries. That is a lot of acid and waste products..
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Quoting jpsb:
Japan makes a nuke plant that you can bury in your back yard that supplies 100,000 kw (something like that) it requires no maintenance and will run for 50 or 100 years. I want one!
Like a Honda generator?
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1064. beell
Quoting shoreacres:


You haven't seen Frank, have you?


No. I did see Bud Miller.
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1063. Grothar
Quoting bappit:
Wikipedia! About Easter Island (singular).

"The island was most probably populated by Polynesians who navigated in canoes or catamarans from the Marquesas Islands, 3,200 km (2,000 mi) away, or the Gambier Islands (Mangareva, 2,600 km (1,600 mi) away). When James Cook visited the island, one of his crew members, a Polynesian from Bora Bora, was able to communicate with the Rapa Nui. The language most similar to Rapa Nui is Mangarevan with an 80% similarity in vocabulary. A 1999 voyage with reconstructed Polynesian boats was able to reach Easter Island from Mangareva in 19 days."

If it only took 19 days one can imagine shorter trips gradually becoming longer trips. The question I have is how long it would have taken to go the opposite way assuming that they were not on a suicide mission. They could have worked that out though. The idea of shorter trips leading to longer ones of course is not unusual. Just think of Alan Shephard's suborbital flight and how it helped lead to the moon landing.



I only have one thing to say about this Aku-Aku!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
1062. NoLa86
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Yeah, but electric cars are supposed to provide better gas miles, and reduce idle emissions which is what we want, we really can't have it both ways at this point if you know what I mean, unless someone comes up with a better idea on how we can totally get rid of Carbon Dioxide from cars.
IMO nuclear is key for power for now, turned into a hydrogen power conveyor for auto use to emit only water. the only thing is nuclear waste. many say bury it, some say launch it.
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Quoting jpsb:
Nuclear Energy anyone?
Or how bout Hydroelectric Energy, Geothermal Energy, or Solar Energy? All renewable, no carbon emissions from using them, none can run out, we would have an over abundance, and as far as Solar energy goes we are already using solar wind panels.
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Quoting twincomanche:
srada,
Pat already has me on ignore cause I make too much sense so feel good.


darn,i had you on ignore but you are still showing up,gotta go fix that
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1059. j2008
Quoting LostTomorrows:


I think once they become the norm, they would invariably be brought down in price because that's what would keep it the norm. The strategy is to make it a luxury you can barely afford until just enough people tip the scale.

And hey, Maria actually looks quite good now! She deserves to be a hurricane, she's been smacked around like a housewife being beaten by her incredibly drunk husband. And her husband was Wind Shear who's drink of choice was Dry Air. What an abusive relationship they had: and now she's finally had enough and is in the process of trying to get an annulment and, should she get her settlement, she may be able to become vengeful Hurricane Maria. Although, regardless, it seems her ex is forecast to come back even angrier and try his hand at tearing her apart this time.

Good luck Maria!

LOL!!! I have to agree, Maria is looking quite impressive tonight, definatly the best she has ever looked.
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1058. bappit
Wikipedia! About Easter Island (singular).

"The island was most probably populated by Polynesians who navigated in canoes or catamarans from the Marquesas Islands, 3,200 km (2,000 mi) away, or the Gambier Islands (Mangareva, 2,600 km (1,600 mi) away). When James Cook visited the island, one of his crew members, a Polynesian from Bora Bora, was able to communicate with the Rapa Nui. The language most similar to Rapa Nui is Mangarevan with an 80% similarity in vocabulary. A 1999 voyage with reconstructed Polynesian boats was able to reach Easter Island from Mangareva in 19 days."

If it only took 19 days one can imagine shorter trips gradually becoming longer trips. The question I have is how long it would have taken to go the opposite way assuming that they were not on a suicide mission. They could have worked that out though. The idea of shorter trips leading to longer ones of course is not unusual. Just think of Alan Shephard's suborbital flight and how it helped lead to the moon landing.
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Quoting shoreacres:


You haven't seen Frank, have you?
Here I AM! :)
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1056. jpsb
Quoting FrankZapper:
Ain't it a shame. Cause modern SAFE Nuke plants are the answer.
Japan makes a nuke plant that you can bury in your back yard that supplies 100,000 kw (something like that) it requires no maintenance and will run for 50 or 100 years. I want one!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1055. DFWjc
Quoting FrankZapper:
Models that far out are not worth much


but after maria leaves and the low-high-low across north america its going to leave a nice void in the Caribbean. It's going to be nice and toasty for even the littlest storm to brew into something nice...
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Quoting beell:
"There is no "i" in happyness"
~ Ernest


You haven't seen Frank, have you?
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
But how are we going to drive to work or school? No seriously though we need more cost efficient electric cars.


I think once they become the norm, they would invariably be brought down in price because that's what would keep it the norm. The strategy is to make it a luxury you can barely afford until just enough people tip the scale.

And hey, Maria actually looks quite good now! She deserves to be a hurricane, she's been smacked around like a housewife being beaten by her incredibly drunk husband. And her husband was Wind Shear who's drink of choice was Dry Air. What an abusive relationship they had: and now she's finally had enough and is in the process of trying to get an annulment and, should she get her settlement, she may be able to become vengeful Hurricane Maria. Although, regardless, it seems her ex is forecast to come back even angrier and try his hand at tearing her apart this time.

Good luck Maria!
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Coconuts


Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
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Quoting Grothar:



That is an excellent explanation. However, I shall not comment on the last paragraph, since I do not want to be banned.


Ha ha, wasn't meant to be of a questionable nature. Simply weights that shift with change of elevation and direction. If I'm banned, I'll live with it :)

I think it's always about resources- he who has the most marbles wins the game. Humans are always on the lookout for the next source of food or fuel, even today.
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1050. jpsb
Quoting NoLa86:
the AGW crowd will not stand for nuclear, for the most part. why???
Well if you are not going to burn carbon and you are not going to use nuclear energy, eating might become a problem. Just saying
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Quoting Grothar:
Does anyone have a theory about how the Pacific Islands were colonized over so many thousands of miles of ocean between them? Without looking it up on Wiki. It would be interesting to see what theories you may have.


Colonized by people? Hawaii was discovered by the Polynesians. They watched and followed a migrating bird, I believe, a plover. Apparently, they watched and followed this bird for 400 years. (Yikes) I saw this on TV.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


You ever been married?
Definitely needs to be copied and pasted to another blog.
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1046. DDR
Looks like Trinidad and Tobago will see rain everyday from now on according to the gfs
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Quoting DFWjc:


okay what do you think about the models showing a tropic system in the Caribbean in the next 12-15 days?
Models that far out are not worth much
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1044. Grothar
Quoting Orcasystems:


You ever been married?


Ouch!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
Quoting NoLa86:
ELECTRIC = FOSSIL FUELS It does not solve the problem.
Yeah, but electric cars are supposed to provide better gas miles, and reduce idle emissions which is what we want, we really can't have it both ways at this point if you know what I mean, unless someone comes up with a better idea on how we can totally get rid of Carbon Dioxide from cars.
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1042. NoLa86
Quoting Dakster:


Ask Japan how that is working out for them...

All for alternative to burning coal/fuel for power and vehicles... Just can't flip the switch overnight.
how many people did that kill. 0 37 injured bp deepwater killed many instantly. that is not a vaild arguement
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Quoting NoLa86:
the AGW crowd will not stand for nuclear, for the most part. why???
Ain't it a shame. Cause modern SAFE Nuke plants are the answer.
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Quoting FrankZapper:
They were looking for the land of milk and honey
No that was in a sea of sand.
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1039. Grothar
Quoting goosegirl1:


Australia was colonized by land bridge from Asia, and I think New Guinea next from Australia. But the scattered islands were colonized by humans in canoes, who knew the patterns of clouds, waves, and wildlife that showed where the islands where hiding in the Pacific. The larger populations in Polynesia centered around the larger land masses and island groups, offering a greater variety of resources and fresh water streams and springs. The more people, the more explorations due to the need for more resources.

I have read somewhere that the used their testes as navigation instruments to help detect the current and wave directions. I don't own a pair of thise, so I can't say.men

I promise I didn't use wiki, but I have read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond twice. Excellant book.




That is an excellent explanation. However, I shall not comment on the last paragraph, since I do not want to be banned.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
1038. jpsb
Quoting Grothar:
Many of you were very close and probably correct in some. However, there are new theories that they would venture out many times into the ocean and look for cloud patterns in the distance. They knew that clouds formed over land masses at certain times of the day. They would then follow the clouds. Instead of non-stop voyages. There were theoretically many short voyages first. I read it some time ago and found it very interesting. It was not dissimilar to my ancestors long ocean voyages. We live in a remarkable world of adventurers and curious creatures. Always wanting to know what is on the other side of everything.
It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that rafts like the Kon-Tiki could not really navigate. They had to go where the currents took them. So hitting land was mostly luck.
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1037. DFWjc
Quoting FrankZapper:
Great, now back to the AGW debate and name calling. :)


okay what do you think about the models showing a tropic system in the Caribbean in the next 12-15 days?
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Quoting Grothar:
Many of you were very close and probably correct in some. However, there are new theories that they would venture out many times into the ocean and look for cloud patterns in the distance. They knew that clouds formed over land masses at certain times of the day. They would then follow the clouds. Instead of non-stop voyages. There were theoretically many short voyages first. I read it some time ago and found it very interesting. It was not dissimilar to my ancestors long ocean voyages. We live in a remarkable world of adventurers and curious creatures. Always wanting to know what is on the other side of everything.
Great, now back to the AGW debate and name calling. :)
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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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