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Bahamas disturbance 95L not organizing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 6:51 PM GMT on October 23, 2009

An area of disturbed weather over the central Bahama Islands associated with a surface trough of low pressure was designated Invest 95L by NHC this morning, and has the potential for some slow development over the next two days, as it heads west-northwest towards Southeast Florida. An ASCAT pass at 10:21am EDT this morning showed a center of circulation between Cuba and the central Bahamas, with top winds of 25 mph in the heaviest thunderstorms, to the north of the Bahamas. Recent satellite loops show a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that is not increasing in intensity or areal coverage. The large amount of dry air to the west of 95L is interfering with development. Wind shear over the system was a prohibitively high 30 knots last night, but fell dramatically to just 10 knots this morning, and is expected to remain in the moderate range, 10 - 15 knots, through Sunday. The system should be near Miami on Saturday night, and should then get absorbed by a cold front and turn north towards South Carolina. It is unlikely that 95L has enough time to grow into a tropical depression, given the short amount of time it has over water, and the presence of so much dry air to the west. However, an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is on call to investigate the system Saturday afternoon, if necessary.

In the Southwest Caribbean, intermittent heavy thunderstorm activity continues off the coast of Nicaragua, in association with a 1007 mb low. This low does have some spin to it, but the associated heavy thunderstorm activity is very limited at present, due to a large amount of dry air to the north. None of the computer models is forecasting tropical cyclone development over the coming seven days.

Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Invest 95L.

The road to Copenhagen
By some accounts, the future of the world will be at stake this December, when the crucial U.N. Climate Change Conference will be held December 7 - 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. At that meeting, the leaders of the world will gather to negotiate an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The new agreement will be the world's road map for dealing with climate change, and the stakes are huge. In the coming weeks, major efforts will be made by both sides of the debate to sway public opinion on climate change. Opponents of CO2 emission regulations made their case last weekend, with the release of the video, Not Evil, Just Wrong. Billed as the largest simultaneous film premiere party in U.S. history, the movie aired on 7,000 screens in 50 states. The movie was originally intended to be released at major theaters throughout the U.S., but Hollywood showed insufficient interest in the film. The producers were forced to release the movie on video and hold private "movie parties" for its opening. The movie fiercely attacks Al Gore, and decrys "the true cost of global warming hysteria" on jobs and the economy.

This Sunday, the green lobby is fighting back. The newly-formed climate advocacy group 350.org is sponsoring 4,517 actions in 173 countries. The group is seeking to promote the views of leading climate scientists, including NASA's Dr. James Hansen, that the highest "safe" level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 ppm--lower than the current 388 ppm, and far below the target value of 450 ppm typically cited as the "danger" level for atmospheric CO2. The plan is to have thousands of citizens making giant human 3s in some cities, 5s in others, and 0s in others--a sort of planet-scale Scrabble game that they hope CNN and BBC will try to solve for them on the evening news. There will be underwater rallies on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and in the Middle East off the coast of Oman. Over 300 land-based rallies will be held in China, and 1,000 in the U.S.

With tropical season winding down, I plan to make regular posts over the next six weeks analyzing the scientific claims of efforts by the green lobby and the opponents of CO2 emission regulations to win your hearts and minds in the run-up to the December 7 conference in Copenhagen. My first post in this series will look at 350.org's claim that 350 ppm of CO2 represents the danger level for CO2 in the atmosphere. I'll also look at an audacious TV ad that boldly asserts that more CO2 in the atmosphere is better for Earth's ecosystems.

Figure 2. Competing for your hearts and minds: Cover of the DVD Not Evil, Just Wrong (left), and a promotional image from the http://www.350.org web site (right), showing children in India spelling out the number "350" to promote a 350 ppm target for CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Saturday.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.