California fires and global warming; 90L lashes Puerto Rico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on October 26, 2007

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A surface low pressure system (90L) moved over Puerto Rico this morning, and is now centered just west of the island. The surface low is entangled with an upper-level low pressure system that is bringing about 30 knots of wind shear, so no development is likely today. Long range radar of of Puerto Rico shows isolated bands of heavy rain that are not well-organized. Satellite loops show most of the heavy thunderstorm activity is to the east of the low's center of circulation, and the high wind shear is keeping this thunderstorm activity disorganized. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed a large, vigorous circulation. Top winds were about 30 mph to the north of the center, and 90L is close to tropical depression status.


Figure 1. Latest satellite rainfall estimate of 90L.

The surface low is separating from the upper level low today, and will move west-southwest at about 10 mph. This will bring heavy rains and the threat of flash flooding and mudslides to Puerto Rico. Heavy rains of 2-4 inches in just two hours hit the Virgin Islands this morning (Figure 1), prompting flash flood warnings there. Heavy rains also hit many of the islands of the northern Lesser Antilles. Rain amounts as high as 3-5 inches are expected today over eastern Puerto Rico. Several mudslides have already been reported on the island.

The action shifts to the Dominican Republic on Saturday and Haiti on Sunday, as 90L tracks just south of the island of Hispaniola. These nations can expect rains of 3-6 inches, which could trigger life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. It is possible 90L could intensify into a tropical depression on Sunday, as wind shear will slowly fall to 20 knots. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to fly Sunday afternoon, if necessary. On Sunday, 90L will be approaching Jamaica, and the ECMWF and NOGAPS models predict that wind shear will drop to 10-20 knots. These models develop 90L into at least a strong tropical storm as it moves slowly into the Western Caribbean. The GFS model keeps wind shear 20-30 knots through the period, and does not develop 90L. The HWRF model also does not develop 90L. The GFDL is not keen on developing the system either, but does suggest that a weak tropical storm may form a week from now. I believe the most reasonable solution is the NOGAPS and ECMWF solution, and 90L will intensify into hurricane in the Western Caribbean late next week. The long-term path of such a storm is very uncertain, with the NOGAPS and ECMWF suggesting a track north into the Gulf of Mexico to threaten the U.S., and the GFDL predicting 90L will get trapped in the Western Caribbean and perform a counter-clockwise loop. If you have travel plans that take you to Jamaica or the Cayman Islands Sunday through Tuesday, or Cancun/Cozumel/Western Cuba Tuesday through Saturday next week, be prepared for the possibility of disruptions.

California's smoke
The worst of the air pollution hazard from California's fires has now passed. The smoke has thinned some, as seen on satellite images (Figure 2). The smoke made it yesterday to Fresno, in California's Central Valley, and is moving northward into Nevada and northwest Arizona today. Most of this smoke is aloft at altitudes of about 15,000 feet, but some mixing down to the surface has occurred, thanks to an upper-level low pressure system. Increases in particulate matter pollution due to smoke are expected to affect Las Vegas this weekend (Figure 1). However, the smoke will be dilute enough to keep pollution levels in the Moderate range--below the federal air quality standard.


Figure 2. Visible satellite image at 11:15 am PDT Thursday October 25, showing thinning smoke over the Pacific Ocean and much of California. Low stratus clouds are visible over the ocean, and these clouds have moved ashore into Los Angeles and San Diego this morning, triggering Dense Fog Advisories. Image credit: NASA and EPA.

Were the California fires worsened by global warming?
Dr. Ricky Rood points out in his latest wunderblog that the California fires were mostly a land-use and land-management issue. In a previous blog, he had this to say about the link between climate change and Western U.S. fires:

We do know that drought and floods, heat waves and cold snaps are all part of nature. Like the problem of urban heat waves, we have an event that already exists, and there should be a change associated with global warming. I have already mentioned that some studies have attributed the pinyon pine die off in the U.S. Southwest to the fact that the temperature in the recent drought years is higher than in previous droughts. Therefore, ground water is reduced; there is more stress on the plants. (And perhaps it is really the warmer nighttime temperatures that matter?)

There have also been papers which make a compelling argument that wild fires in the western U.S. are increasing in intensity and duration. In the paper of Westerling et al. (Science, 2006), the conclusion is drawn that this is directly related to snow melt occurring earlier in the year, a hotter and drier forest, and hence, a longer burning season. Plus they isolate the impact to be at mid-elevations in the Rockies, and hence, relatively free of land-use changes. While many newspapers reported that this work showed an increase of wild fires due to climate change, I quote directly from their paper: "Whether the changes observed in western hydroclimate and wildfire are the result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming or only an unusual natural fluctuation is beyond the scope of this work".


Jeff Masters

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946. guygee
6:31 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
909. UYA 3:39 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
"While I do trust the QS for outlining a circulation....I'm not a big believer in the ability of a microwave measurement of foam on the ocean's surface for an accurate wind measurement.
Just a personal problem I have.
"

From:
Recent Successes in the EOS Program: Needed Research on Unanswered Questions About These Spacecraft and What They Can Do"

Willard Pierson — Professor, New York City College
March 13, 2002

Abstract
The EOS (or the Earth Observing System) program has had a number of very import successes during the past few years. Some are (1) the ability to predict the tides for the deep ocean to within 2 cm rms, (2) the measurement of the winds by means of QuickSCAT within undoubtedly an error of less than 2 m/s rms for the range of wind speeds from 3 to 20 m/s or 10% rms for winds from 20 m/s to 30 m/s...
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945. UYA
6:02 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Here's the infamous anticyclone yacked about on here all afternoon.
It is now associated with the semi-permanent low pressure area in the SW Carib.
I gotta see this area develop....oh...I really want to see that!


IT IS NOT EASY ATTRIBUTE ANY SPECIFIC
AMOUNT OF CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION TO THIS WAVE ALONE. STRONG
SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM 9N TO 10N BETWEEN 76W AND 78W JUST
NORTH OF THE GULF OF URABA OF COLOMBIA IS IN AN AREA OF BROAD
LOW TO MIDDLE LEVEL CYCLONIC FLOW WITH AN UPPER LEVEL
ANTICYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER ON TOP OF IT...AIDING
IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRECIPITATION.
944. UYA
5:46 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Well CARCAH can task anything they want.....and then cancel it tomorrow morning if they want.
We'll see what gets flown and when.
943. JLPR
5:44 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
umm that wave is looking active with nice convection
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942. stormybil
5:38 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
looks like they going out on sunday

TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 27/1100Z TO 28/1100Z OCTOBER 2007
TCPOD NUMBER.....07-154

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW LEVEL
INVEST NEAR 16.5N 75.0W AT 28/1800Z.
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941. UYA
5:38 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
AN ATLANTIC OCEAN TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 37W SOUTH OF 14N MOVING
WEST 10 TO 15 KT. THIS WAVE IS MOVING THROUGH THE AREA OF AN
UPPER LEVEL RIDGE. SCATTERED STRONG SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM
9.5N TO 10.5N BETWEEN 36W AND 38W. ISOLATED MODERATE SHOWERS
WITHIN A 30 NM RADIUS OF 8N38.5W.
940. JLPR
5:34 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
so whats that near 10n 38w?
looking interesting
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939. UYA
5:29 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
205 AM EDT SAT OCT 27 2007

THE CARIBBEAN SEA...
ONE MIDDLE TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER IS IN THE
NORTHWESTERN CORNER OF THE AREA. STRONG SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS
FROM 17N TO 19N BETWEEN 83W AND 85W. A SECOND MIDDLE TO UPPER
LEVEL CYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER WITH A TROUGH IS IN THE
SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF THE AREA. ISOLATED MODERATE SHOWERS/
FEW STRONG THUNDERSTORMS FROM PANAMA TO 15N BETWEEN 80W AND 82W.
THE TROUGH EXTENDS ACROSS PANAMA TO THE EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN
TO A LOCATION ABOUT 90 NM WEST OF THE COLOMBIA COAST AND 120 NM
SOUTH OF PANAMA. A THIRD MIDDLE TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC
CIRCULATION CENTER IS IN THE NORTHEASTERN CORNER OF THE AREA
ABOUT 60 NM SOUTH OF PUERTO RICO. A SURFACE TROUGH RUNS FROM
20N63W TO A 1005 MB LOW PRESSURE CENTER NEAR 16N69W TO 13N75W.
STRONG SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM 13N TO 14N BETWEEN 61W AND
63W APPEARING TO REACH FROM SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
TO SAINT LUCIA. OTHER STRONG SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS ARE OVER
THE CARIBBEAN WATERS FROM 14N TO 16N BETWEEN 64W AND 66W...
FROM 16N TO 17.5N BETWEEN 64W AND 66W POSSIBLY/PROBABLY REACHING
SAINT CROIX...AND IN THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA FROM 14N TO 15N
BETWEEN 70W AND 72W. A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 79W SOUTH OF 16N
MOVING WEST 10 TO 15 KT. IT IS NOT EASY ATTRIBUTE ANY SPECIFIC
AMOUNT OF CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION TO THIS WAVE ALONE. STRONG
SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM 9N TO 10N BETWEEN 76W AND 78W JUST
NORTH OF THE GULF OF URABA OF COLOMBIA IS IN AN AREA OF BROAD
LOW TO MIDDLE LEVEL CYCLONIC FLOW WITH AN UPPER LEVEL
ANTICYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER ON TOP OF IT...AIDING
IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRECIPITATION.
938. stormybil
5:28 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
KEEPEROFTHEGATE 5:27 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
by tus 1200 utc a 1003 mb low will be south of cuba rj


yes keeper i saw that one if it heads north there is only 5k or less of shear could it go there ? . these things always piop up late in the night .
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937. UYA
5:29 AM GMT on October 27, 2007

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936. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:24 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
by tus 1200 utc a 1003 mb low will be south of cuba rj
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935. JRRP
5:17 AM GMT on Octubre 27, 2007
here in santo domingo the wind is calm and not rain yet
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
934. UYA
5:16 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
RJinBoyntonBeachFL...Good questions. Maybe on Monday or Tuesday there will be something solid to say.
If you want it now.......good luck.
933. RJinBoyntonBeachFL
5:10 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
what timeframe are we looking at a potential Florida landfall and what category?
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932. UYA
4:45 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
I don't usually observe systems after visible is gone.
I don't see anything on WV that has me panting tonight...so...no.
I don't see anything happening for the next 36hrs or so.
931. UYA
4:39 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
There's a list longer than I am tall regarding how many times RECON found totally contradictory information after investigating a system that QS showed as something it was not.
As I have said QuickScat is a valuable tool for locating a possible surface circulation....after that it is mostly not much good.

930. stormybil
4:40 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
its late night and dmax time for 90l and it looks like lots of convection is forming around the center this hour could this make it to a td staus by 8 am what you think ?
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929. franck
4:37 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
UYA...you know it.
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928. UYA
4:28 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
If it wasn't that great a tool there wouldn't be all the congressional debate about spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a replacement

LMAO! This is a US funded toy man.....it only works when the Feds make money for their friends!
927. rareaire
4:26 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
night KMAN
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926. kmanislander
4:23 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Well I am turning in for tonight

Chat with you all tomorrow
good night
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925. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:21 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Japan Meteorological Agency

SEVERE TROPICAL STORM FAXAI (T0720)
30.8ºN 137.5ºE - 55 kts 985 hPa

Tropical Cyclone Advisory #12
=============================
At 12:00 pm JST, Severe Tropical Storm Faxai (T0720) intensified further to 10 min sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts up to 80 knots moving northeast at 35 knots.

expected sustained winds 0300z 28Oct is 55 knots

Storm Warning Area
==================
30 NM from the center of the cyclone

Gale Warning Area
=================
100 NM west from the center of the cyclone
200 NM east from the center of the cyclone
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923. kmanislander
4:11 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Baja

The QS Sat is an excellent tool for gathering data from remote areas of the ocean, such as the far E and C Atl.

It is not that important close to land where a HH aircraft can easily fly into a system.

However, when a weak system is in its formative stages it is much more economical to download data from QS to determine wind speed and whether there is a closed low etc than fly a HH at a cost of thousands of dollars only to find out that a system is not strong enough to be classified a TD or does not have a closed low.

If it wasn't that great a tool there wouldn't be all the congressional debate about spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a replacement
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922. UYA
4:14 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
We've spent millions on the STEPPED FREQUENCY MICROWAVE RADIOMETER ....but is it really working for us?
The SFMR readings are usually tossed still over Dropsonde readings.
921. BajaALemt
4:12 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
QS >> Link
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920. BajaALemt
4:09 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
night? *not...lol..it's getting late :))
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919. BajaALemt
4:02 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
QS is interesting because it does pick up on things we might night notice in the loops.

I noticed this...little WEAK area of circulation @ about 25/88. It's BARELY perceptible on the funtops loop. *Link Just another one of those interesting things to try to look for what QS "sees"...NOTHING MORE. *shrugs
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918. kmanislander
3:55 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
UYA

Sorry I had to step away from the computer for a few minutes. If that is your opinion of the QS Sat then so be it.

No point in me trying to convince you otherwise
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917. BajaALemt
4:00 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
000
NOUS42 KNHC 261415
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1015 AM EDT FRI 26 OCTOBER 2007
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 27/1100Z TO 28/1100Z OCTOBER 2007
TCPOD NUMBER.....07-154

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW LEVEL
INVEST NEAR 16.5N 75.0W AT 28/1800Z.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
916. UYA
3:57 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Scheduled RECON flight for Sunday at 18Z is located here.
915. UYA
3:49 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
The QS gets us close to knowing....but then we really know by real-time OBS/RECON.
914. stormybil
3:47 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
just checked the text for one of the models takes 90l up to 62k when reaching 24north 78 west does anyone see it going higher /
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913. UYA
3:45 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
As I stated....it is just my thought that accurate windage can not be accomplished by a satellite measuring the amount of sea froth.
The QS is a very valuable tool in regards to outlining a surface circulation.
910. kmanislander
3:40 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Well then on what do you base your observation that there are no 30 knot winds ?
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909. UYA
3:36 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
While I do trust the QS for outlining a circulation....I'm not a big believer in the ability of a microwave measurement of foam on the ocean's surface for an accurate wind measurement.
Just a personal problem I have.
908. Weather456
11:33 PM AST on October 26, 2007
When 90L's initial circulation reaches of the Central-Western Caribbean there it will have its biggest chance of development. Shear is very low in the West Caribbean and expected to remain so up till Monday, when 90L suppose to be somewhere near there.

Right now, still disorganize

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907. BajaALemt
3:37 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Radar (oops)
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905. BajaALemt
3:32 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Buoy S of the LLC
Link

If you look at the radar, what LITTLE convection there is around the LLC, dissipates
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904. kmanislander
3:36 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Did you look at the Hi Res QS I posted ?
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903. UYA
3:34 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
No 30kt winds anywhere near the circulation....maybe back near the ULL.
902. ryang
11:33 PM AST on October 26, 2007
My tropical update, can be viewed here.
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901. kmanislander
3:34 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
If you want to see the winds take a look at this, the Hi Res QS

Link
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900. UYA
3:33 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
And, XTRP is not a model

LMAO!!
899. kmanislander
3:32 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
The Hi Res QS shows several 30 knot wind barbs so 90L is not as weak as might appear from the IR images
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898. UYA
3:31 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
I see the contammination...but I don't see the winds. If there were any real winds you would see that.
897. kmanislander
3:30 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
good evening all

90L's circulation is strong enough to survive another night of shear IMO. It is almost out of the traditionally hostile area of the Caribbean and if it hangs on until 75W it will likely develop into a TD at least.
And, XTRP is not a model
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