Our extreme weather: Arctic changes to blame?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:50 PM GMT on December 16, 2011

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"The question is not whether sea ice loss is affecting the large-scale atmospheric circulation...it's how can it not?" That was the take-home message from Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, in her talk "Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes?", presented at last week's American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Francis presented new research in review for publication, which shows that Arctic sea ice loss may significantly affect the upper-level atmospheric circulation, slowing its winds and increasing its tendency to make contorted high-amplitude loops. High-amplitude loops in the upper level wind pattern (and associated jet stream) increases the probability of persistent weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, potentially leading to extreme weather due to longer-duration cold spells, snow events, heat waves, flooding events, and drought conditions.


Figure 1. Arctic sea ice in September 2007 reached its lowest extent on record, approximately 40% lower than when satellite records began in 1979. Sea ice loss in 2011 was virtually tied with the ice loss in 2007, despite weather conditions that were not as unusual in the Arctic. Image credit: University of Illinois Cryosphere Today.

Summertime Arctic sea ice loss: 40% since 1980
The Arctic has seen a stunning amount of sea ice loss in recent years, due to melting and unfavorable winds that have pushed large amounts of ice out of the region. Forty percent of the sea ice was missing in September 2007, compared to September of 1980. This is an area equivalent to about 44% of the contiguous U.S., or 71% of the non-Russian portion of Europe. Such a large area of open water is bound to cause significant impacts on weather patterns, due to the huge amount of heat and moisture that escapes from the exposed ocean into the atmosphere over a multi-month period following the summer melt.


Figure 2. The extent of Arctic sea ice loss in the summer July - August - September period in 2007 was about 1.4 million square miles (3.6 million square kilometers) greater than in 1980, according to the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today. For comparison, the lost ice coverage (orange colors) was equal to an area about 44% of the size of the contiguous U.S., or 71% of the non-Russian portion of Europe.

Arctic sea ice loss can slow down jet stream winds
Dr. Francis looked at surface and upper level data from 1948 - 2010, and discovered that the extra heat in the Arctic in fall and winter over the past decade had caused the Arctic atmosphere between the surface and 500 mb (about 18,000 feet or 5,600 meters) to expand. As a result, the difference in temperature between the Arctic (60 - 80°N) and the mid-latitudes (30 - 50°N) fell significantly. It is this difference in temperature that drives the powerful jet stream winds that control much of our weather. The speed of fall and winter west-to-east upper-level winds at 500 mb circling the North Pole decreased by 20% over the past decade, compared to the period 1948 - 2000, in response to the extra warmth in the Arctic. This slow-down of the upper-level winds circling the pole has been linked to a Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern that brought cold, snowy winters to the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe during 2009 - 2010 and 2010 - 2011.


Figure 3. West-to-east jet stream wind speeds at 500 mb (approximately 18,000 feet or 5,600 meters) in the mid-latitudes (40 - 60°N) over North America between 1948 and 2010. During fall (October - November - December) and winter (January - February - March), jet stream winds weakened by about 20%, from 13 - 14 m/s to 10.5 - 11 m/s. Spring (AMJ) and summer (JAS) winds changed little during this time period.

Arctic sea ice loss may increase the amplitude of jet stream troughs and ridges
The jet stream generally blows from west to east over the northern mid-latitudes, with an average position over the central U.S. in winter and southern Canada in summer. The jet stream marks the boundary between cold polar air to the north and warm subtropical air to the south, and is the path along which rain and snow-bearing low pressure systems ride. Instead of blowing straight west-to-east, the jet stream often contorts itself into a wave-like pattern. Where the jet stream bulges northwards into a ridge of high pressure, warm air flows far to the north. Where the jet loops to the south into a trough of low pressure, cold air spills southwards. The more extreme these loops to the north and south are--the amplitude of the jet stream--the slower the waves move eastward, and consequently, the more persistent the weather conditions tend to be. A high-amplitude jet stream pattern (more than 1000 miles or 1610 km in distance between the bottom of a trough and the peak of a ridge) is likely to bring abnormally high temperatures to the region under its ridge, and very cold temperatures and heavy precipitation underneath its trough. The mathematics governing atmospheric motions requires that higher-amplitude flow patterns move more slowly. Thus, any change to the atmosphere that increases the amplitude of the wave pattern will make it move more slowly, increasing the length of time extreme weather conditions persist. Dr. Francis discovered that during the early 1960s, a natural pattern in the atmosphere called the Arctic Oscillation increased the amplitude of the winter jet stream pattern over North America and the North Atlantic by more than 100 miles, increasing the potential for long-lasting weather conditions. The amplitude of the winter jet fell over 100 miles (161 km) during the late 1960s, remained roughly constant during the 1970s - 1990s, then increased by over 100 miles again during the 2000s. This latest increase in wave amplitude did not appear to be connected to the Arctic Oscillation, but did appear to be connected to the heating up of the Arctic due to sea ice loss. A warmer Arctic allows ridges of high pressure to build farther to the north. Since temperatures farther to the south near the bases of the troughs are not changing much by comparison, the result is that the amplitude of the jet stream grows as the ridges of high pressure push farther to the north. Thus it is possible that Arctic sea ice loss and the associated increases in jet stream amplitude could be partially responsible for some of the recent unusual extreme weather patterns observed in the Northern Hemisphere. This is preliminary research that has yet to be published, and much more work needs to be done before we can confidently link Arctic sea ice loss with an increase in extreme weather, though.


Figure 4. A high-amplitude jet stream pattern observed over the U.S. on December 13, 2011. Instead of blowing straight west-to-east, the jet was contorted into a southward-bulging trough of low pressure that brought cold temperatures and a snow storm to Southern California, and a northwards-bulging ridge of high pressure that brought record warm temperatures to portions of the eastern 2/3 of the country. The axis of the jet stream is marked by the strongest winds (green and light blue colors) at the top of the lower atmosphere (200 - 300 mb pressure level.)

Earlier snow cover melt on Arctic land also increases the amplitude of jet stream troughs and ridges
As Earth's climate has warmed over the past 30 years, the Northern Hemisphere has seen a dramatic drop in the amount of snow cover in spring (April, May, and June.) Spring is coming earlier by an average of three days per decade, and the earlier arrival of spring has significantly reduced the amount of snow on the ground in May. Less snow on the ground means the land surface can heat up more readily, and May temperatures in Arctic have increased significantly over the past 30 years. Dr. Francis found that the upper-level wave amplitude has increased by over 100 miles (161 km) in summer over the past decade, and this change appears to be connected to the decline in May snow cover. Thus, reduced May snow cover due to global warming may be causing higher-amplitude jet stream patterns, potentially leading to slower-moving weather patterns that favor extreme weather in summer, such as heat waves, drought, and flooding. Note that significant changes to the upper-level atmospheric circulation in spring were not observed, so springtime extreme weather events like the 2011 flooding and tornadoes in the U.S. cannot be connected to changes in the Arctic sea ice or high-latitude snow cover using this research.

Related posts
Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back
Jet stream moved northwards 270 miles in 22 years; climate change to blame?

Jeff Masters

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250. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Storm "SENDONG" has moved out of The Philippine Area of Responsibility

At 10:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Sendong located at 10.3°N 114.3°E or 480 km west northwest of Puerto Princesa City has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 12 knots.

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

Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of Luzon and Eastern Visayas due to big waves generated by monsoon surge enhanced by TS SENDONG and extra caution must be observed over the seaboard of Western Visayas.

With this development, this is the final bulletin on this weather disturbance.
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Great storm photos by Lunada from Santander Spain.

Link
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Quoting Ameister12:
What a terrible storm.
and is still giving rain to the phillipines at least they retire his name sendong
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Finally. something to watch, SOMETHING to watch!


Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting Neapolitan:

This is true. But even with Antarctic sea ice thrown in, 2011 was a record low year for total ice area, as indicated by the thick black line in this graph:

uh-oh

Anyway you slice it, total sea ice is progressively disappearing.

Interesting that 2011 is very closely mirroring 2007.
Can't help thinking that once the ice is taken out of the sea then it will have lost its natural coolant so maybe like an iced drink in the summer, once the ice dissolves the drink heats up. If ice is constantly added the the drink stays at about the same temperature but of course gets diluted by the melting ice. This is a probability with the polar waters,first a bit of dilution then, no more ice so warming generally.
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What a terrible storm.
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Quoting misanthrope:

Averaging together antarctic and arctic sea ice hides an important truth



This is true. But even with Antarctic sea ice thrown in, 2011 was a record low year for total ice area, as indicated by the thick black line in this graph:

uh-oh

Anyway you slice it, total sea ice is progressively disappearing.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13304
Quoting StormTracker2K:
More rain for Texas!



Hey 2K when is the next big rain event for c fl? Sure has been awhile. Nice and cool today here in Zephrhills.
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More rain for Texas!


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National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

EFFECTS OF TROPICAL STORM “SENDONG” (WASHI)
PRESIDENTIAL GUIDANCE RE-EFFECTS OF TS SENDONG, 17 DEC 2011
As of 18 December 2011, 8:00 PM
1. The number of casualties is alarming. If USEC Ramos had a 3-day lead time to
disseminate warning advisories to Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur re-landfall of TS
“Sendong”, there is a need to advance more than 3-day warning to mitigate the
impact of incoming typhoons or natural calamities. DILG in tandem with DOST
should look into the mitigation aspect of areas with high exposure to disaster
risks, and employ prioritization as to their potential impact for disasters.
2. Consideration should include long-term mitigation measures to address
siltation of rivers, mining and deforestation.
3. These high risk areas should be identified for human settlements and
development be relocated into safe habitation.
4. Assets to include military response capabilities can be transferred before
the 3-day warning whenever a typhoon will affect communities at risks. A
review of the protocols to include maintenance and transporting costs of
these air, land, and maritime assets should be undertaken.
5. Schedule a Presidential inspection and visit to affected communities in
Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City on Tuesday, 20 December 2011
6. Mandatory meeting or formal conference will be conducted by the Council and
the Office of the President with LGUs for threatened areas due to incoming
typhoons and avoid water-related disasters. This is to prevent the people react
and will include calibration of warning. For DILG to look into the identification or
designation of focal point/person among LGUs likely to be affected by natural
calamities as OPR decision-maker.
7. There is a need to come up with a Crisis Manual for Natural Disasters. The
thirteen (13) barangays reported in Cagayan de Oro City to be situated along the
two (2) swollen river systems which river beds already silted are like “disaster
waiting to happen”, if the 93 bodies recovered by the AFP are officially confirmed
already as casualties.


COST OF ASSISTANCE
as of 18 December 2011, 8:00 PM

PHP 2,102,752.00 (US$48008.03)

Here is the full report.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Quoting Chicklit:
(How many "unprecedented" floods will we have to see before US gets serious about global warming effects?
As Dr. Masters said in a recent blog, NYC 'dodged a bullet' this year but other northeastern communities were not as lucky.)

The good news is "Possibly None." Though unlikely, it is possible that a very large mass of ice will come off Greenland or Western Antarctica and raise sea level perceptibly. This one phenomenon may cause a tipping point change in the number of wealthy Americans who recognize the value of their oceanfront real estate is already trending towards zero. This will galvanize them and their governmental representatives to all kinds of activities, some of which may actually be helpful in reducing climate change.
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Those images are heart breaking.I didn't know it'll be that bad.It looked like a Tsunami hit rather than a Tropical Storm.Grrr damn you Washi and all your worth!!!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15738
Quoting percylives:
The answer for the earlier question regarding whether Antarctic sea ice gain is balancing Arctic sea ice loss can be seen below.



One thing that a lot of "deniers" do not (or don't want to) understand is that there really is no such thing as "balancing out". The arctic and antarctic are very different entities, with very different impacts when changes occur.
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Quoting PlazaRed:

Thank you for this chart.
A simple solution to the sea ice argument would be to introduce a basic chart of:-
Total Sea Ice Cover At Any Moment In Time, {TSICAAMIT}
From this chart at say 1st of March, 1st of October, etc,etc the total amount of global sea ice would be approximately known. This would show if the global sea ice covering is greater or less than any previous year on the same date.Then an accurate graph of TOTAL sea ice loss or gain over time would be indisputably clear. Taking into account all global sea ice to an accuracy of just slightly less than 100%.
I'm not in any way adverse to disputes but on this subject the possibility of dispute would be removed. Unless of course ice thickness became a factor for dispute?

Averaging together antarctic and arctic sea ice hides an important truth


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Quoting percylives:
The answer for the earlier question regarding whether Antarctic sea ice gain is balancing Arctic sea ice loss can be seen below.


Thank you for this chart.
A simple solution to the sea ice argument would be to introduce a basic chart of:-
Total Sea Ice Cover At Any Moment In Time, {TSICAAMIT}
From this chart at say 1st of March, 1st of October, etc,etc the total amount of global sea ice would be approximately known. This would show if the global sea ice covering is greater or less than any previous year on the same date.Then an accurate graph of TOTAL sea ice loss or gain over time would be indisputably clear. Taking into account all global sea ice to an accuracy of just slightly less than 100%.
I'm not in any way adverse to disputes but on this subject the possibility of dispute would be removed. Unless of course ice thickness became a factor for dispute?
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The boat that sank has nothing to do with Washi, the migrants were heading for Christmas Island (this is not the first incident like this in the last few years).

Link

So far only 33 people have been rescued from a total of over 250.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Washi stands at 652 with at least 808 missing. The previous 15 deadly storms of the 2011 season have killed a combined total of 532. Judging by the devastation, Washi\Sendong will have no trouble making it into the top 10 deadliest and top 10 costliest typhoons to hit the country. You can see a list over at Wikipedia:

Typhoons in the Philippines
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her condolences Saturday on behalf of the U.S. government and said the United States "stands ready to assist Philippine authorities as they respond to this tragedy."

(Sure, after the fact; what about signing on to the Kyoto Agreement and developing REAL policies to deal with global warming?)

Some Philippine residents called the disaster unprecedented.

(How many "unprecedented" floods will we have to see before US gets serious about global warming effects?
As Dr. Masters said in a recent blog, NYC 'dodged a bullet' this year but other northeastern communities were not as lucky.)

Benito Ramos, chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said he thinks the event was influenced by climate change and deforestation.

Ramos said the storm moved in a westward path to areas rarely hit by major storms or flooding.

In addition, the most devastated cities -- Cagayan de Oro and Iligan -- became catch basins for water flowing from highlands with denuded forests. Floodwater from Bukidnon province poured down into Cagayan de Oro -- the city with the highest death toll -- while water from Lanao del Sur province gushed into Iligan.

Linkto Complete CNN article posted at ~10 a.m. Sunday EST)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

That part of the Philippines doesn't normally get tropical systems. And if the do they are normally just starting or outflow rains. The reason why this system went west-southwesterly is due to a very strong cold front coming down from China. Normally Tropical systems move in a WNW or NW or NNW direction due to upper level wind currents. But due to the aforementioned cold front, this system was forced west and even south westerly.
Hello Aussie. Horrible disaster..Heart-breaking footage..
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The answer for the earlier question regarding whether Antarctic sea ice gain is balancing Arctic sea ice loss can be seen below.

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Thanks Aussie for posting all this info. Reading through what people have posted recently it would seem more and more that possibly the major threat to a lot of people not only in coastal areas but in river valleys like we saw in Pakistan last year is and will come from flooding. A few blogs ago there was the posts on the threats to New York and we have seen the problems also in Thailand. All this is without increased sea levels yet being a significant factor.
One of the major future problems may come with the projected melting o the Arctic sea ice which will not in itself raise the sea levels but will almost certainly drastically alter the weather patterns and possibly the climate in the upper latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Within the foreseeable future these alterations will as far as people are concerned become "permanent" alterations and it seems inevitable that radical knock on effects will also be felt in the lower latitudes.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Very sad and tragic. Thanks for the images, news, and links, Aussie. From what I'm reading, the timing of the storm--coming in December--is what caught many off-guard; they just aren't used to seeing such things this time of year. Anyway, the Associated Press says the death toll is now at 650 and rising, with 800 still missing.

That part of the Philippines doesn't normally get tropical systems. And if the do they are normally just starting or outflow rains. The reason why this system went west-southwesterly is due to a very strong cold front coming down from China. Normally Tropical systems move in a WNW or NW or NNW direction due to upper level wind currents. But due to the aforementioned cold front, this system was forced west and even south westerly.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Very sad and tragic. Thanks for the images, news, and links, Aussie. From what I'm reading, the timing of the storm--coming in December--is what caught many off-guard; they just aren't used to seeing such things this time of year. Anyway, the Associated Press says the death toll is now at 650 and rising, with 800 still missing.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13304
Battle for Philippine flood rescuers as bodies rot



PHILIPPINE rescuers struggled against mud, fatigue and the stench of death today to help dazed survivors of devastating flash floods that have killed more than 500 people.

Entire villages were washed away when tropical storm Washi whipped the south as people slept in the early hours of Saturday, leaving a trail of flattened homes, broken bridges and upended vehicles in the poverty-stricken country.

The government and the Philippine National Red Cross appealed for help to feed, clothe and house more than 35,000 people huddled in evacuation centres as soldiers battled to recover bodies from the cloying mud.

A 20,000-strong military force has been mobilised in a huge rescue and relief operation across the stricken north coast of the island of Mindanao, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit.

Local freelance reporter Leonardo Vicente Corrales told AFP that rotting corpses were piling up unclaimed at mortuaries in Cagayan de Oro as overworked staff ran out of embalming fluid, coffins, and water to clean them.

"The bodies are decomposing too quickly because they are drowning victims - because there is muddy water in their bodies," he said.

The Red Cross said 532 people had been confirmed dead in the south. The number of missing had risen to 458, it said, while cautioning that some of them might be among the bodies retrieved but not yet identified.

The mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Vicente Emano, said he expected the death toll to reach 500 just in his city, which has a population of half a million.

One establishment, Somo Funeral Homes, refused to accept the bodies of two drowned children because it already had too many corpses to handle.

"We can't accept the drowned children. We are already swamped. We only have four embalmers," said Ryan Somo, whose family owns the establishment.

Given a dire lack of drinking water, the city government in Cagayan de Oro opened up fire hydrants and long lines soon formed as residents queued for fresh water.

Authorities likened tropical storm Washi to Ketsana, one of the country's most devastating storms which dumped huge amounts of rain on Manila and other parts of the country in 2009, killing more than 460 people.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent condolences to the Philippines and said in a statement: "The US government stands ready to assist Philippine authorities as they respond to this tragedy."

Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross, warned that many more bodies could still be found as rescuers struggle to reach devastated areas.

"We are only counting the actual dead bodies that were sent to funeral parlours," she said.

"The affected area is so wide and huge and I believe they have not really gone to all areas to do a search."

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ordered a review of the country's disaster defences amid a flurry of accounts that residents were unprepared for such a deadly storm.

He is also planning a visit to the affected areas this week, a presidential spokeswoman said.

Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the government faced a formidable task in rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The national government has begun airlifting mats, blankets and clothes to the affected populations of the south, who are being fed by local governments, he added.

Apart from those at evacuation centres - schools, government buildings and local gymnasiums - he said the disaster affected more than 100,000 people in one way or another who would need immediate help in rebuilding their lives.

Debris has to be cleared, electricity and drinking water have to be restored and damaged roads and bridges must be repaired, officials said.

Two army divisions - about 20,000 soldiers - based in Mindanao are leading the rescue and relief work. The island is the scene of a long-running insurgency led by Muslim separatists in the mainly Roman Catholic nation.

Pang at the Red Cross said rescuers were heartened by the survivors' mental toughness.

"They are trying to rebuild. They are so resilient. Instead of all evacuating, they have gone back to their homes," she said.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Quoting PlazaRed:
Aussie, I saw a report that maybe 200 people thought to be heading for Australia may have drowned when their boat capsized.
Have you heard anything about this to confirm it?
These stills from the Philippines are difficult to comprehend from outside the area, this has got be almost a carbon copy of the Japan tsunami but caused by a different natural force.
Thanks for putting those stills up.


I can confirm that report.

Asylum seeker boat sinks off Indonesian coast


Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says the sinking of an asylum seeker boat of Indonesia is a tragedy and now is not the time to talk about the politics of it.

Mr Clare said local fishermen had rescued 87 of the more than 200 people on the ship, which was apparently on its way to Australia.

The passengers on the boat were reportedly from a variety of countries in the Middle East, he said.

"This is a terrible tragedy. People have died. There are still people still missing at sea,'' he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

"Our focus today is on the search and rescue effort and our thoughts today are with the people who died and with the families of those still lost at sea.''

Australian authorities in Jakarta had been advised about the boat and its capsizing late on Saturday night, and the information had been transferred to Canberra early on Sunday morning, he said.

Australian authorities had been working with Indonesian authorities since then.

Mr Clare declined to say whether Australian officials had known anything about the ship before it sank, saying he would not comment on intelligence matters.

Asked if the incident was a consequence of the government's policy of processing asylum seekers onshore, Mr Clare said: "Today's not the day for politics.''

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the coalition supported all Australian government efforts to support the Indonesian rescue and recovery operation.

Indonesia's national search and rescue team said the boat sank south of Prigi beach in eastern Java carrying around 250 people.

State-run Indonesian news agency Antara quoted search team member Brian Gauthier as saying: "It is somewhat difficult to go on with the search because extreme weather has caused reduced visibility."

Those rescued are receiving assistance in the town of Prigi, around 30 kms from where the boat sank, Gauthier said.

"They must be evacuated as soon as possible. They can't stay for long in the middle of the sea," he said of those that had not been recovered.

The boat is believed to be a traditional fishing vessel with a capacity of around 100.

A survivor from Afghanistan, 24-year-old Esmat Adine, gave rescuers an estimate for how many passengers were on the boat.

"He did not know exactly how many passengers there were, but he said that four buses with around 60 or more adult passengers each had turned up to the port where they set off," Adine said.

As many as 40 children were on board.

Esmat Adine said the boat was so overcrowded, the panic made the situation worse.

"That made the boat even more unstable and eventually it sank," he told Associated Press.

Already almost 800 people have made it to Australia in the first half of December, eclipsing government predictions 600 would arrive after the collapse of the Malaysia people swap and the announcement asylum seekers would be released into the community on bridging visas.

December is one of the most dangerous months to attempt a sea crossing.

The dangerous monsoon season begins December 1 and this tragedy has come just over a year since the Christmas Island boat crash which killed dozens.

People smugglers are promising asylum seekers visas, housing and internet access to lure them onto boats during the dangerous monsoon period.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Heartbreaking stories and images from the Philippines.  :(
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 459
Aussie, I saw a report that maybe 200 people thought to be heading for Australia may have drowned when their boat capsized.
Have you heard anything about this to confirm it?
These stills from the Philippines are difficult to comprehend from outside the area, this has got be almost a carbon copy of the Japan tsunami but caused by a different natural force.
Thanks for putting those stills up.
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It happened when they were sleeping

Office of Civil Defense Administrator Benito Ramos described it as Can extraordinary situation.

In my 60 years, this is the first time such a strong storm hit those places, he said on Saturday in a briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, referring to Tropical Storm Sendong, which dumped unprecedented rain on the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.

Storms coming from the Pacific usually go to the northeastern regions, such as the typhoon-hardened Bicol and Cagayan Valley, or a little southward to the provinces of Cebu or Leyte, Ramos said.

Almost never are weather disturbances known to move westward, almost in a horizontal fashion, going to the direction of Palawan province, he said.

As a result, Ramos said, many residents dismissed the Storm Signal No. 2 warnings issued three days in advance of Sendong's arrival by the weather bureau and the local disaster agencies.

It happened at 2:30 a.m. when they were all sleeping, he said.

At Saturdays interagency conference presided over by President Aquino, the newly appointed Armed Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa announced a death toll that differed from the official figure of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), of which Ramos is also executive director.

The disparity is because we cannot count bodies that have not been identified, Ramos said.

181 mm

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration senior weather specialist Robert Quinto said the rainfall in Cagayan de Oro peaked at 181 millimeters over a 24 hour-period. Ramos said the typical rainfall in the city reached only 15-20 mm per hour.

This reminds me of [Tropical Storm] Ondoy, Ramos said, referring to the severest storm that hit eastern Metro Manila and adjacent Rizal province in September 2009 that left more than 400 dead and dumped more than 600 mm of rain.

He noted that there had not been as strong a storm as Ondoy in Marikina City in 40 years, similar to what happened in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Sendong made landfall on Friday at about 4 p.m., and rain poured steadily throughout the day. Floodwaters from Bukidnon spilled over to Cagayan de Oro while those from Lanao del Sur flowed to Iligan, Ramos said.

He said many factors led to the tragic outcome, not least of which was the complacency of the residents who did not anticipate the severity of the storm, as well as the manmade destruction of natural forest covers.

Mining, logging and farming activities in the area are to blame, he said, as denuded forests left scant protection against the flow of floodwaters.

Pineapples planted in the fields, instead of trees cannot provide cover, he said.

Global warming

Ramos said another anomaly was the timing of Sendong.

In December, we don't usually see storms like this, he said. Every year, 20 storms visit the Philippines.

Ramos attributed the changing weather patterns to global warming. He said there might be a need to revisit the storm warning system in order to account for the phenomenon.









Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Swept away to rooftops, running out of coffins in Cagayan De Oro

Cely Asinero and her family had to climb to the roof of the two-story house owned by her brother because the floodwaters had reached about 30 feet deep in their area.

“It is the tallest house in the community, and we thought the flood would not reach it,” Asinero said. But when the floodwaters climbed to the second floor, she said, she and her family tore down part of the roof so they could get on top of it.

“We would have drowned if we did not do so. The sound of the floodwater was so loud we did not have time to react,” she said.

When they reached the roof, Asinero and her family tied themselves together with bed sheets so they would not be swept away.

In Barangay Tambo by the banks of the Cagayan de Oro River, 29-year-old Roman Pino became deeply worried when the floodwaters continued to rise midnight of Friday.

“By 1 a.m., the water was so deep, 15 feet, that we had to climb to the roof of our house,” Pino said.

By then the lights had gone out. “It was pitch black all around us,” he said.

It made their climb to the roof doubly difficult, with his wife, their two children and himself trying to make do with a small flashlight.

They are the lucky ones.

The sheer number of the dead was so overwhelming that funeral parlors could not immediately cope.

Funeral homes packed

At Somo Memorial Homes, 50 bodies arrived in a matter of hours, but embalming could not begin as of late Saturday due to lack of running water, according to the manager, Ryan Somo. The power outage since late Friday had crippled Cayagan de Oro’s water distribution system.

Somo said he was worried that the untreated corpses would start decomposing and pose more health problems.

At another funeral parlor, one of the workers said they would likely run out of coffins. “We might just settle for coffins made of softwoods and plywood. It will be up to the relatives of the dead,” a worker named Brando said.

Pino said his family’s determination and faith in God had helped them stay alive.

“We prayed hard that we will be spared,” he said. “We were only able to come down from the roof at about 6 a.m. on Saturday, when the floodwaters started receding.”

Still chilled from the cold, Pino said he was thankful their lives were spared. But he was grim-faced as he recalled the sight of dead bodies scattered all over the community,

He said it was the worst flood to hit the barangay since the January 2009 deluge.

A woman, who asked not to be named, told a radio station on Saturday that she and a number of other people desperately clung to the interior of a tire on Friday night in an effort to save themselves.

But the current was so strong they were swept 32 kilometers away, to a beach in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, she said.

“It was my worst nightmare,” she said.

Senior Insp. Elmer Decena of the Regional Public Safety Battalion recalled seeing people being swept away as he and his team of 12 plucked out others from the floodwaters, one after another, using only two rubber boats.

Decena’s team was among the 15 rescue teams—each with rubber boats—deployed by the Northern Mindanao police.

City Councilor President Elipe said the floods were worsened by the loss of forest cover due to illegal logging in upland barangays.

“The worst is yet to come if this will not stop,” he warned.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Link

A little article on climate change and selective hearing.

Very sad to hear about the Philippines. They usually get hit by 20 storms a year,this one seems to have caught them on the hop a bit. Mindanao is also a bit different to the rest of the country.

After being relatively cool here lately (though not as bad as the last two years), temps supposed to increase to 10C or so (50F) which is very mild for this time of year.

So far it's been a fairly average (a bit above average in storminess) winter, which is nice.
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More Photo's from the Philippines.

















we can't do much now about the tragic event in Cagayan de Oro that storm Sendong brought to them... its very devastating and heart breaking, what we can possibly all share for now is a moment of prayers to all who perish, and pray that those souls may rest in peace and be at the arms of the Almighty Lord to relieve their souls with all the pain and sufferings, and to those missing people to find their way back home to their love ones safe and to all survivors for immediate recovery for the losses they suffered and pray for government immediate action to help these people through delivery of basic needs and other sort of relief assistance to ease their sufferings. If it not much to ask, regardless of our individual religious affiliation, we need to whisper some prayers for them May God bless us all
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
SPLbeater signing off for the night, everyone git good sleep have a good night:)
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting SPLbeater:


well if you ever go, tell me and i will mail you the 45 Phillipine cents i have lol

The metal is worth more than they are monetary wise. I might be going for another vacation late next year or 2013.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
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A beautiful night out :)

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Quoting AussieStorm:

Not really, it depends on how f'ed up this country becomes with this carbon tax that's coming in at the start of July and on my health.


well if you ever go, tell me and i will mail you the 45 Phillipine cents i have lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
TS Washi gathering itself once more, another attempt atleast
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
I have found 2 helpful app's in the chrome web store. one is Rain Alarm which has all the earths real-time rain radar's and will notify you if there is rain within 25km of you. The other is Full Screen Weather which is linked to WU.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
211. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
2011 systems that approached the Philippines

http://www.webcitation.org/5yU2MKZsB - Bebeng
http://www.webcitation.org/5yxLJrZPJ - Chedeng
http://www.webcitation.org/5zVcbjpEy - Egay
http://www.webcitation.org/60TA1Zddx - Juaning
http://www.webcitation.org/61CbuK6PI - Mina
http://www.webcitation.org/61yq3vGDB - Pedring
http://www.webcitation.org/62N2jg7gm - Ramon
http://www.webcitation.org/63xThJ1Jn - Sedong
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Quoting Grothar:


If I remember a while back, you said you might move there. Plans changed?

Not really, it depends on how f'ed up this country becomes with this carbon tax that's coming in at the start of July and on my health.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Quoting AussieStorm:

Yeah, as that has been said before, the death toll will likely rise.

To think, they got brushed by Typhoon Songda (Chedeng), impacted by Severe Tropical Storm Nock-ten (Juaning), Typhoon Nanmadol (Mina), Typhoon Nesat (Pedring), Typhoon Nalgae (Quiel), Tropical Storm Banyan (Ramon), Tropical Depression 23 and now Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong). Before Washi 48 people had been killed directly from tropical systems this year which included 2 super typhoons(Cat4) and a brush by 1 Cat 5 Superdooper Typhoon.

In 2009, the Philippines were affected by at least 15 tropical cyclones.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Yeah, as that has been said before, the death toll will likely rise.

To think, they got brushed by Typhoon Songda (Chedeng), impacted by Severe Tropical Storm Nock-ten (Juaning), Typhoon Nanmadol (Mina), Typhoon Nesat (Pedring), Typhoon Nalgae (Quiel), Tropical Storm Banyan (Ramon), Tropical Depression 23 and now Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong). Before Washi 48 people had been killed directly from tropical systems this year which included 2 super typhoons(Cat4) and a brush by 1 Cat 5 Superdooper Typhoon.


If I remember a while back, you said you might move there. Plans changed?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
Quoting Grothar:


The pictures are terrible, Aussie. I didn't think it would be this bad.

Yeah, as that has been said before, the death toll will likely rise.

To think, they got brushed by Typhoon Songda (Chedeng), impacted by Severe Tropical Storm Nock-ten (Juaning), Typhoon Nanmadol (Mina), Typhoon Nesat (Pedring), Typhoon Nalgae (Quiel), Tropical Storm Banyan (Ramon), Tropical Depression 23 and now Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong). Before Washi 48 people had been killed directly from tropical systems this year which included 2 super typhoons(Cat4) and a brush by 1 Cat 5 Superdooper Typhoon.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15750
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I agree...For a Tropical Storm...People passed away as they slept. Our local met said that this is the 19th storm to hit the Philippines this year.


Glad you are feeling better after the surgery. I just saw the news on the Philippines. They had a brief review of the storms the past year, but didn't give a number. That had to be some intense rain.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
205. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippine Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #13
TROPICAL STORM SENDONG (WASHI)
11:00 AM PhST December 18 2011
=================================

Tropical Storm "SENDONG" continues to move westward in the West Philippine Sea and is expected to exit PAR tonight

At 10:00 AM PhST, Tropical Storm Sendong located at 10.4°N 116.8°E or 230 km west northwest of Puerto Princesa City has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 12 knots.

Signal Warnings
===============

Signal Warning #1
----------------

Luzon region
============
1.Palawan

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

Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere are now lowered.

Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under Public Storm Warning Signals are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical cyclone.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-15 mm per hour (heavy) within the 300 km diameter of the Tropical Storm.

Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the sea.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 PM today and the hourly updates.
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Quoting Grothar:


The pictures are terrible, Aussie. I didn't think it would be this bad.


I agree...For a Tropical Storm...People passed away as they slept. Our local met said that this is the 19th storm to hit the Philippines this year.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
Quoting Grothar:


Up late, Geoff?


Took McKenzie for a walk around the whole block. My longest journey since surgery. It was nice seeing all the decorated houses....and McKenzie had a good time also!
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
Quoting AussieStorm:

Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) actually hit Manila as a TS then strengthened once it entered the South China Sea. Manila has a population of 11-15 million, It is one of the most heavily populated city on earth, hence the high death toll, also Manila it only a few feet above sea level, which allowed the flooding to accumulate. The reason why Megi didn't cause enough damage or deaths to warrant retirement cause it hit a relatively lowly populated area of the country and also that part of the Philippines is very much used to being hit by typhoons.


The pictures are terrible, Aussie. I didn't think it would be this bad.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
200. Grothar
3:23 AM GMT on December 18, 2011
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Up late, Geoff?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749

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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.