Earth Day

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:34 PM GMT on April 21, 2006

This week marks the 1-year anniversary of my first blog, and what a year it's been! I had no idea when this blogging project started last year on Earth Day that it would grow to the levels it has. A big Thanks goes to everybody who reads the blog, and for those who post comments and wunderphotos and write your own blogs--thanks for your participation in this awesome experiment to explore the immense potential of this strange and wonderful new communication medium we've invented, the Internet. While at times the comments section of my blog may lapse into irrelevant anarchy, these comments helps me understand what subjects people find important to talk about . Many of the links and comments you've posted I've used to help formulate my blogs. This blog is a collaborative effort! I particulary want to thank the great people at the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, Storm Prediction Center, and Climate Prediction Center, whom I rely on very heavily for my blog material.

I tend to focus a lot on the violence and destruction our weather brings, as well as the dangers posed human-caused climate change and pollution. While these issues are critical to our survival, we also need to focus on just what an amazing and beautiful creation the atmosphere is. The air we breathe and the water it gives us, sustain all life. We all share the atmosphere, and are all touched by it, for we all breathe the same air. The best thing you can do tomorrow to honor Earth Day is to go outside, take a few deep breaths and feel how the air in your lungs sustains you, look at the beauty of the atmosphere surrounding you, and appreciate this great gift we have.

I'll post a few of the many awesome wunderphotos you've submitted over the past year, that I've used as my screensavers. Thank you all for sharing these!

Jeff Masters

Charlotte County, Florida tornado (Sunburnt)
Another image of the tornado, as it touched down in Punta Gorda, Florida
Charlotte County, Florida tornado
Double Rainbow (Contrails)
Dusk in the San Joaquin Valley after a rainy day.
Double Rainbow
Aurora Rising from the Trees (joebloe)
This is from the spectacular aurora last night. One of my favorite views is the sight of an aurora shining through the trees as it "rises up" to the sky. Bright waves like these are thrilling and uncommon. The reddish glow is from lighting to the south.
Aurora Rising from the Trees

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102. snowski
3:13 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicts the following track for Monica:

and in case you're interested, here's a highway map showing how to get out of the area:

101. ProgressivePulse
3:11 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Man I feel sorry for the people those Islands. Life is about to get very tough for them.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6337
100. atmosweather
3:11 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
99. atmosweather
3:09 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Nope, there is no outer eye wall forming, and the eye is clearing out and hasn't shrunk at all. This is quite amazing. She could take a run at 880 mb and 190 mph.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
98. ProgressivePulse
3:07 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Not easy to see in the cimms you posted but, possible EWRC soon?
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6337
97. jeffB
2:53 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Okay, I tried filling out the survey as an Inuit -- no electric or autos, but meat every meal -- and it said we'd need 1.3 planets if everyone lived as I do. Heh.

I tried filling it out as a Kenyan, no meat, no electric, no gas, not even a motorbike, and it said we'd need 1.0 planets for everyone to live as I do. It looks like they won't ever admit to a situation where we could afford to support more people. :-)
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 49
96. atmosweather
2:53 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
The record is held by Cyclone Zoe of 2002 at 879 mb. Monica could break that. According to the JTWC track, she will make landfall at 145 mph. However, I believe she will turn earlier than they say, which will give her less time to weaken due to less land interaction. if she turns 150-200 miles earlier she could be a Category 5 easily at landfall.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
95. Trouper415
2:51 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Oh man. 885 MB!!! What is the record low pressure for that Basin? And whats the intensity forcast until landfall?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 720
94. atmosweather
2:47 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
OH MY GOD!!! T 7.6!!! 885 mb!!! AND STILL INTENSIFYING!!!

And, look at this doomsday track!!! So close to Darwin!!!

Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
93. jeffB
2:46 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Zaphod wrote:

Hmm...I'm a 23 acre guy. Here I was feeling pretty good about eating meat only once per day, and beef only once or twice a week...

Yeah, I got a good chuckle from the first question. As I was brought up, eating "animal based products" "often" meant every single meal, and that was normal. I was probably in my 30s before I had my first "meatless day", unless you count being unable to eat at all because of a stomach virus. :-)
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 49
92. louastu
2:32 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
I really hope this is not a glimpse of what our hurricane season is going to be like.
91. ForecasterColby
2:27 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
I doubt anyone there will survive, if anyone was foolish enough to stay. She's gotta be packing a just tremendous surge.
90. kerneld
2:26 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Wikipedia entry for Darwin. The Japanese raid on darwin was by the same fleet that bombed Perl Harbor but they dropped more bombs on Darwin.
89. ProgressivePulse
2:24 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Wonder if anyone stayed on that small island chain, sheesh thier about to get swallowed up.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6337
88. ForecasterColby
2:23 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Oh my god...140kt 10-minute ~ 155kt 1-minute...that's 180mph!!!
87. ProgressivePulse
2:22 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
I hope this isn't what Dr. Grey were talking about when he said less Huricanes but more Intense Hurricanes this year. Seem to be getting alot of Cat 5's down under.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6337
86. ForecasterColby
2:20 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Remember, 125kt is a ten-minute average, and we use 1-minute averages, so it's stronger than that would suggest.

That's just incredible, totally textbook storm.
85. kerneld
2:18 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Hopefully people are battening down the hatches in Darwin. First they were bombed by the Japanese in WWII, then Tracey wreaked havok. I think building codes were revised after Tracey, but even so, this one sounds pretty big!
84. atmosweather
2:09 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
The latest thinking is that it will turn towards the west and parallel the Northern Territory coast. After about 18 hours it should turn southwestward into the coast. Where the turns occur is of huge importance. If it turns early, then Monica will be stronger at landfall than she is now! If she parallels the coast all the way to that peninsula and then turns, she might weaken slightly due to the increased land interaction, but she will be more likely to hit Darwin with incredible winds. Right now she is hinting at that westward turn. I will keep you guys updated when the new JTWC track comes out.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
83. ProgressivePulse
2:03 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Is it supposed to hit any land masses Atmos? Looks pretty close, last I heard it was going to avoid land.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6337
82. atmosweather
1:52 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
She is now Category 5. Look at that pressure!!!

Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
81. snowski
1:36 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Monica is now a 125-kt, category 4 cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson scale. This visible image from the 0030Z satellite overpass shows a clearly defined eye:

while the water vapor image shows an even better-defined eye:

80. SBKaren
1:20 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Good Evening on Earth Day Dr. Jeff -

I must thank my brother profusely for introducing me to this site over a year ago. He has his weather station attached to your site as he reports our local weather to the local paper and can do so from any computer (darn! - he used to ask me to do it when he went out of town).

I ventured here in the beginning for the weather information, quickly found the photos - which are JUST amazing, and then not long ago discovered the blogs.

You have truly created a community here - a community of learners. I appreciate all the hard work you and your crew put into this site, and want you to know how much I personally appreciate it.

So - thanks Wundergound crew - each and everyone of you!

Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 201 Comments: 15136
79. SBKaren
1:16 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Here are my results:

FOOD 3.2



Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 201 Comments: 15136
78. NOLAinNC
1:00 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Congratulations Dr. Masters. I have been inspired and educated by your blog. I have sometimes been infuriated by the comments, but they make me think, too.
Thanks for taking the time to create this - I know it must take some serious time and effort. You are much appreciated!
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 900
77. ForecasterColby
8:52 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
916mb, per NRL.

On the footprint calculator, I think the 1/8 of the earth being farm-viable is pretty close to correct. 5/8 of it is water, and probably 10-15% of the land is antarctica, with another 5-10% contained in Siberia and Canada. That leaves roughly 80% of 3/8, or 3/10 of the world. Factor in deserts for another few percent, then add areas covered in rain forests or too hilly to farm, and I'd say 1/8 (12.5%) is rather reasonable.
76. Skyepony (Mod)
8:24 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
What's Monica's pressure? As far as winds & time of year she's like our Wilma...
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43355
75. ForecasterColby
8:17 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Monica is just tremendous now - JTWC says 125kt 10-min sustained, or roughly 140kt on our scale. That's 160mph, a Cat 5. And it's like their early November now, I think :O
74. Skyepony (Mod)
8:12 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Today's launch~ scrubbed til tommarrow. The CALIPSO and CloudSat satellites are now set to launch at 6:02 a.m. EDT.

Here is a more precise footprint calculator, it's the one the other is modeled on in an area specifice kind of way. Here's more info on the latter & how it's calculated.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43355
73. Zaphod
7:52 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Hmm...I'm a 23 acre guy. Here I was feeling pretty good about eating meat only once per day, and beef only once or twice a week......

Perhaps instead of colonizing planets, we should:

1) Check the math. The surface area of a sphere is 4*pi*r*r. For a 5000mi radius earth, that yields about 300 million square miles of surface area, which is about 200 billion acres. That means that only 1/8 of the earth's surface is "biologically active"? Surely at least some of the cold or desert areas have at least fractional value?

2) Colonize the oceans. They occupy a lot of the total area of the earth, including a preponderance of the warm area. And as for global warming, who cares about rising ocean levels if you live on a floating island?

3) Inflate the earth. All you need is a big pump to inflate the earth to make better use of the iron core material. Make the earth 3 times as big and it'll support 9 times the people! Instead of a "big blue ball" we'd have a "big metal ball".
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
72. TornadoAlleyMO
7:40 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
new to posting on the blogs been reading them for about 3 weeks now. but GRATS on 1 year! and the photos of the Auroa are beautiful i want to see that 1 day.
71. Fshhead
7:28 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Congragulations Dr. Masters on your 1 year anniversary!!!!
Also Happy Earth day everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
70. sayhuh
4:42 PM GMT on April 22, 2006

FOOD 4.7






Yikes! Looks like we need to be looking outside our solar system!
69. Pieman2
4:23 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Dear Jeff

I'd like to add my thanks for providing this fascinating blog which has hugely enlarged my insight into storms, how they develop, causes etc. I cannot imagine how you make the time to put all this information together considering you have a day job and your social life too. Please keep it going.

On the subject of anarchy, I have no problem with off the wall predictions, differing analysis (professional and amateur and so on). I seem to recall a number of respondents insisting that a storm that had "disappeared" and been professionally written off was likely to revive. Was that what reappeared as Katrina?

However those who treat the sight as a childish chat roonm and post frequently things about dropping their toast, getting ready to go home, and generally filling the site with garbage really infuriate me. As a result I rarely view the comments nowadays as about 80% is pointless and unreadable. A shame because the more interesting comments are worth reading. Could you not warn boring people that they will be cut off and, if they don't comply, then block their incoming email so we don't have to put up with it?

Itw oudl eb good if your technical hosts could add a spellchecker. I'm not the only one with malfunctioning fingers!

Thanks again and let us hope that this hurricane season is less harmful than last, despite current predictions.
Member Since: August 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
68. lightning10
4:05 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Happy anniversary JeffMasters. I would just like to say how happy I am.

Also its great to wake up and read a new blog. I have learned so much from the blogs. Its just great to see how popular it is and to see an active community.

There are other weather web sites that you have to pay to post your own blog.

I hope to be here for many years to come

Congradulations again JeffMasters
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
67. Dr. Jeff Masters , Director of Meteorology (Admin)
3:25 PM GMT on April 22, 2006

Posted By: BlowHard ( at 6:33 PM GMT on April 21, 2006.
Thank Doc, this blog has been a closet weather geek's dream. I'm a fellow ulty player and came across your blog while mesmerized by last years hurricanes. I was wondering about a NY Times article I read. Are you guys planning on utilizing thes readings? Will these sattelites improve forcasting of strength during hurricane season?

I am pretty excited about the potential of the new CloudSat satellite, but it will probably take several years before the project moves out of the exerimental research realm and becomes useful in real-time for making hurricane forecasts.

Happy Earth Day, everyone, and thanks for all the great comments!

Some Earth Day links sent to me by Margie Kieper:

Jeff Masters
66. Levi32
3:03 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Check out Monica this morning! Australia puts it at cat 5 even on our scale! They say she has gusts of 200 MPH! Click for larger image:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26780
65. HeavySnow
2:58 PM GMT on April 22, 2006

FOOD 2.7






Great work Dr. Masters. Thanks.
Member Since: July 7, 2004 Posts: 18 Comments: 3002
64. seflagamma
2:45 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Good morning everyone,

It is EARTH DAY!!! Let's all do what we can to help out our Mother Earth.

I have been recycling since before we had recycle pick up...back then I had to gather my recycle stuff and take it to a receipical area; now it is even easier to do.

We all also need to watch out for excessive chemicals we put into the ground and our water supplies.

I want the fish I catch to be eatable!

If we all do our part, we can make it a better world!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 313 Comments: 41174
63. michalp
2:24 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
that earthday quiz has a bit of a bias. Change your country but answer every question the same to see what I mean. you may need conversions.

As an american I use 11 acres. As an Indian I would only use 1.6. Living the same exact lifestyle.
62. palmettobug53
1:30 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
A whole year now, huh? Well, it's been great and hope there are many more! Your blogs have been an educational experience for the weather-challenged. I've learned enough to realize that I have so much more TO learn. I guess if I just keep hanging out here and reading, I'll get better at it. Though, I don't want to get so "educated" that I lose the ability look up and just think, "Neat clouds", once in a while.
Keep 'em coming!
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 250 Comments: 26750
61. FloridaBorn
12:47 PM GMT on April 22, 2006
Your Blog doesn't just give more insight into what is going on with the weather. Through it, we see the human side that allows us to know more about the thought, feeling, and face that helped to calculate the numbers, charts and graphs. During hurricane season, your easier-to-understand explanations helped more than you may be aware.
Member Since: June 8, 2002 Posts: 4 Comments: 11
60. kerneld
6:23 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
FOOD 5.4

Not too bad from what I see here.

Congratualations Dr. Masters on the 1 year blogaversary, I had no idea it was so new, I thought it was something I missed.

I discovered WU from the local cable news channel TXCN which for a while had your radar images on their site. I thought: Wow! That is MUCH better than the which I use fir my weather applet on my gnome panel on my Linux desktops, so I plugged it in to my gweather. With the insane hurrican season last year, I discovered exporing the site the Tropical Weather section which had a much more consistent and informative presentation than I got from etc which really seemed to focus on the human interest, and every thing was overhyped.

I can't remember exactly when I took the dive for the paid membership (Not too hard a decision, it is a very reasonable price, just I had never paid for access to a website before, except for just recently which is a great resource for buying a car, and getting an efficient laundry that actually works etc...), later I found the blogs in an idle moment at work ;)

An echo of someone elses post. I tried to follow some of the winter weather blogs, but they were hardly at all relevant to where I am down at the bottom of Texas inland from Brownsville along the Rio Grande about 50 miles. If there was a south west weather blog, that might have been different, but I guess winter weather down here is really pretty tame, so there is quite a bit less to discuss.
59. jitterymoose
6:18 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
Wow--off the grid, we're a 7!
Member Since: January 20, 2006 Posts: 481 Comments: 683
58. jitterymoose
6:15 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
Hmmm, my footprint came out to 15. There's no public transportation anywhere around us, we have running water (a rarity in the valley), but it's a shallow well and we haul drinking water, and we're "on the grid" only 7 months out of the year, but that wasn't an option to pick. We go off the grid, into the bush, to a cabin with no running water or electricity, relocating chickens and some garden starts on May 15th. Needless to say, my own blog will get pretty sparse around that time. :-)
Member Since: January 20, 2006 Posts: 481 Comments: 683
56. ForecasterColby
5:14 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
I only have an 11 acre footprint...booya.
5:00 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
goog night evere one
53. louastu
4:58 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
When I go with just 1 person, and everything else is the same, it says 7.7 planets would be needed.
52. Flakeman
4:51 AM GMT on April 22, 2006
Got 15 and 3.5. Even so, how come the message is always that we have to do with less? Why can't it be to continue to increase efficiency and bring everyone else up?
Member Since: March 3, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 375

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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