By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:33 PM GMT on July 24, 2007

The July 2007 issue of Scientific American has an article called "Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes" (referred to as "Warmer Water, SUPER HURRICANES" on the cover). The article is written by Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a lead author on the landmark 2007 climate report issued by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The article makes the case that "evidence is mounting that global warming enhances a cyclone's damaging winds and flooding rains." The article presents some solid evidence to substantiate that point of view, which I will share below. However, I was disappointed in the general tone of the piece, which was over-hyped and did not paint an objective view of the current scientific thinking on the global warming/hurricane issue.

The hype
First off, the reader is hit with a dramatic full-page artist's depiction of the global super-hurricane of the future--a massive 5000-mile diameter Caribbean storm the size of North America. The storm's 200-mile eye is wider than the Florida Peninsula! Whoa, I said when looking at the whopper "SciAmicane". No doubt many readers perusing the magazine, trying to decide whether to buy it, had the same reaction and plunked down their $5 to read about this grim threat. OK, lets talk reality here. The largest tropical cyclone on record, Supertyphoon Tip of 1979, had a diameter of 1380 miles--less than one third the size of the SciAmicane. A storm like the SciAmicane cannot physically exist on Earth unless the oceans were to super-heat to about 122°F (50°C). Only an asteroid impact or similar calamity could create such a hypercane. Even the most extreme global warming scenarios do not heat the oceans to 122°, so the SciAmicane is there to sell magazines, not to illustrate what global warming might do to hurricanes.

Figure 1. Comparison of sizes: the Earth, the largest tropical cyclone on record (Supertyphoon Tip of 1979, 1380 miles in diameter), and the recently discovered hurricane-like vortex on Saturn (the Saturnicane). The "SciAmicane" is about the same size as the Saturnicane--5000 miles across.

The article also calls attention to 2004, when "an unprecedented four hurricanes hit Florida, and 10 typhoons made landfall in Japan". I've erroneously made this statement, too, but the truth is that Japan was hit by only four typhoons in 2004. Ten tropical cyclones that were of typhoon strength at some point during their life did hit, yes, but six of these had decayed to tropical storm or tropical depression strength by the time they hit Japan. The article then refers to a "consensus explanation" emerging to explain recent hurricane activity patterns, and "that explanation forebodes meteorological trouble over the long term." I'd say that the issue is still very much under dispute. In fact, the consensus statement on hurricanes and climate change adopted by the World Meteorological Organization in December 2006, in response to the recommendations of a panel of 125 hurricane researchers was thus: "Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point." Trenberth's article gives a list of four publications to read in the "more to explore" section, but none of these include the recent articles that call into question the strength of the global warming/stronger hurricane connection. (I apologize for not reviewing the many excellent articles that have appeared on this subject of late!)

The good science
There's quite a bit of good science in the article, which is worth reading if one keeps in mind its biases. In particular, I like the discussion of how global warming has affected precipitation and atmospheric water vapor. The 0.6°C (1.0°F) rise in Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) globally since 1970 has increased water vapor in the atmosphere by 4%, thanks to increased evaporation. This in turn has led to an 8% increase in global precipitation. Trenberth makes the point that no given hurricane can be blamed on global warming, but one can say 8% of a given storm's rainfall is due to global warming. There's also a nice discussion about how weaker than normal trade winds over the tropical Atlantic in 2005 caused less evaporational cooling than normal, allowing the ocean to heat to record temperatures. Finally, the conclusion of the article is one I certainly agree with:

We would all be wise to plan for more extreme hurricane threats.

Both theory and computer models predict a 3-5% increase in hurricane winds per degree C increase in tropical SSTs, and there is concern that the actual increase may be much more than this.

Jeff Masters

For a technical treatment of hypercanes, see Dr. Kerry Emanuel's paper, Hypercanes: a possible link in global extinction scenarios.

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840. stormybil
7:17 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
thanks louastu but if this area does form the front will push it neast from what im seeing its doing well for only 3 hours so far . Link

ill check it in the am nite :)
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839. bluehaze27
7:18 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Good night all.
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838. louastu
3:09 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
Basically, from what I can tell, it means that the NAM in this particular case is not accurate to start with and therefore it's forecast is not reliable. The GLBL is not a reliable tool for tropical weather. Therefore, they suggest that you use the average of the GFS, UKMET, and 12Z ECMWF runs.
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837. stormybil
7:06 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
ok thanks hip but what does all that you posted means ?
if that the wave at 20n and 90 west i was watching for the last 3 hours now it seems to be forming ?


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836. dewfree
6:57 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
ooh me im out of here you 'all have a good note im too tired anyway to hang out and as long as there isnt a storm in the atlantic im certainly bored and not interested in the tropical sence of the blg so i must go and sleep . maybe i will shorten what i wrote and post it later and maybe i will forget about it totally. just dont believe the entire content you read.there is truth in almost anything you read but it can be obscured by misleading words and someone opinion .all i know is if you investigate what you read you will know the truth of the matter .have a good bnite all of you and sorry again for such long paragraphs lol see ya
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835. cjnew
2:03 AM CDT on July 25, 2007
thanks hipdeep!!! I wonder what the combo of those solutions are?
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833. bluehaze27
6:30 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
One can run a car on air if the industry chose to develop it. Compressed air can drive a vehicle and then be generated by the vehicle moving and thus you have a self-sufficient engine. No need to use up our valuable water resource for hydrogen. No need for way to heavy batteries.

Is the sky falling? Global Warming is REAL. To deny it is wilfull ignorance. The questions are: Is man contributing (yes), are we the only cause? Doubtful. Can we actually affect climate change for the better when we can't even stop a hurricane from being so destructive? One wonders. Will we be using patroleum to power our vehicles 100-150 years from now? NO. Even aircraft will have alternate fuels like rubber and laughing gas a la spaceship one.

In the past we had very dirty fuels (ie coal). Wmoved away from coal and into a cleaner burning fuel. Oil. We will eventually do the same with oil. We will never stop using it for things like plastic, but it won't be the primary fuel source anymore. Also, for those that think oil is running out any time soon, pure hog wash. I'd be more concerned with clean water and drought conditions than oil.

This whole oil price gouging is Enron all over again. Why isn't California still in crisis mode? I'll tell you. ENRON is gone. There never was a crisis, only a manipulation. Before 2000, we never before heard all these excuses as to why gas prices are so volatile. Oh, it's winter. It's cold. Raise gas prices. Oh, it's spring. Change over to different fuel. Raise gas prices. Oh, it's summer. Double wammy. Let's stick it to them twice and cry doing it. Driving season AND hurricanes. Raise those prices some more. Now that we are acclimated to high prices, a 10 cent drop seems like pennies from heavan.

One last thing, don't ever buy that crap about gas prices in Europe being so high and the thought that 'don't you feel good you don't have it so bad.' What that is is propoganda that plays on the fact that you are not aware of the devaluation of our dollar by over 60% to the Euro since 2000 when one could buy the Euro on credit card purchases for 83 cents at it's low. The Euro costs $1.38 now and most likely over $1.40 on exchanges via atm's over there. Add 60 % back and then factor in high fuel efficiency and an excellent transportation system, and we are being fed a bunch of bull. Health Industry anyone. Same lies and distortions. Sorry for being so long winded and all over the place.
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831. dewfree
6:49 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
What do you all think about NOAA being put over the National Weather Service in the 70s?
Do any of you think that it serves you or i for NOAA to be over the National Weather Service.Now and sence then money was diverted from important research in the area of weather to other programs controlled by NOAA. as you think of that think of the beginnings of NOAA and what was thier man mission before they came to be over the NAtional Weather Service.Look also into thier history and you might understand why DR.Masters mentioned it in and earlier blog as well. I read his Blog and he has brought a fe w things to my attention that needed to be .polotics hides money to do other deads.wonder where they got the money to build the space shuttle. I mean all the over run money that the space shuttle program costed. where does the cia get money to operate area 51. humm they dont apropriate it from congress!They dont get it from the industry.they get it from other programs that are sacraficed to do what they want with it .
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830. louastu
2:53 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
In 1998 the earth and mars came the closest to the sun it has been in 40,000 years .What does mans; sientist expect ? So of course we had an extreame El'nino that accured.They say it killed 10,000 people around the world.ooh me I wonder how many people die on average in retrospect to what they the world [meaning the United Nation Sientist] say on average without cause from the weather .

I personally don't believe in human induced global warming, but I do see a major problem with this particular point. The '97 - '98 El Nino actually dissipated in 1998. The first part of the year had a major El Nino, but the last half had La Nina conditions.

SST Anomalies 1/3/98

SST Anomalies 7/4/98

SST Anomalies 12/1/98
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829. stormybil
6:47 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
hmmmmit also got the nhc eyes at the 205 update but it looke like its moving ne any thoughts on this one

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828. dewfree
6:44 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
the story was way to long . should have been proofed but anyway got carried away when i wasnt interupted here he he lol . i hope ya understand that all i was getting at is the whole thing is politics and simply put a means of further control for you and me and that is it in a nutshell .if anyone actually thinks that any good will come fromt he globle stand point then they have a chilling surprise comming . .he he what a surpise it will be too!
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827. dewfree
6:41 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
sorry not much practice but understand what you are saying and will try to better the way i tell a story . oh yea it took awhile to write it cause i was interupted i got lost myself lol he he oh well sorry it wasnt as intended . thanks ofr the tips thow
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826. dewfree
6:33 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
gust is 15 to 20 %of the consistant but a general of 15%
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825. louastu
2:35 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
It actually is divided into 5 paragraphs. The problem is that it needs to be divided into 6 or 7. LOL
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824. moonlightcowboy
6:34 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Dew, just a helpful hint...it's easier reading if you use more and better paragraphs. I got lost about a third of the way down...but then again, I need my eyes checked, too! Maybe, I've been out in the sun too long! lol
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823. dewfree
6:30 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
sorry about that i got carried away in repounding to the blg . but hey if you can listen to a Globlist then you an listen to the rablings of me .he he he see ya have a good nite you all . Dew
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822. louastu
2:28 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
Unfortunately I can't find anything that says 200 mph gusts. It is definitely possible that it had gusts up to 200 mph, but it is just as likey (and maybe more so) that the top gusts were around 190 mph and someone decided to just round it up. I believe the typical gusts for a storm with 175 mph sustained winds is in the 185 - 190 mph range.
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821. dewfree
4:14 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
what gets me about the Globle Warming issue that is at hand is the fact that the Sun is never mentioned as a reason or even a possible cause . it is all about man and what man is doing .The thing is i see that their are so many extremist involved in the inviroment and very litle real sience is goin on . just extreme sience. if you have a extremist view then your sience will lean toward the extreme,

Now we know that the Sun causes the warming and cooling trends on the Earth ,This is a certain fact proven time and time again .In 1998 the earth and mars came the closest to the sun it has been in 40,000 years .What does mans; sientist expect ? So of course we had an extreame El'nino that accured.They say it killed 10,000 people around the world.ooh me I wonder how many people die on average in retrospect to what they the world [meaning the United Nation Sientist] say on average without cause from the weather .
What abot sun spots . Sience ;{before the current extremist ideas] had already said that the cause for the little ice age in the mid 1300s was caused by a reduction in the Suns' Spot's and thuse a reduction in solar dadiation hitting the earth .Of course that transends to the Globle temp change .these things were givine tribute in the last few years as the the disappearance of the mian civilization,vikings and the beginning of the great pleague in europe.the sun is the center piece here and no idea of globle warming can be propagated correctely without giving the Sun its due repect concerning the issue.

Also it is my understanding that at the time Sun spots had risen to a higher number ;but ya don't here that in the Globle warmest view.i just want everyone to understand that even if man is causing it to be alittle more then it would have been it truely isnt enough to make the difference that the globle warmest says.
no doubt .The great number of carbomonoxide that is in our atmosphere is released from the oceans and the artic naturally . It is released by the thaw in the artic and of course under water volcanoes and other natural sources.The thing i see is what if ????the great number of carbonmanoxide is in our near future seen as a god send .What if ??? the Sun reduced its number of spots and in return the amount of radiation that actually warms the earth .Would we then be glad that we have high amounts of carbonmonoxide in our atmosphere insulating us keeping the Suns warmth in .What if a great ice age came apoun us ??? would we be very glad that we use fosil fuels to warm us .all these things that the Globle Warmest now are against we may just be so glad to have . I am not iether way on the issue !! I agree that we need to develope tech that has been here sence the 50s ;but im not an alarmest in the way i do not think that man has as much control over the matter as he thinks he does . of course it is ussually highly educated people that take those kinds of stands .I believe that the so called addiction on fosil fuels is hype as well . Fact is the industrialist and the oil companies does not want us to use alternative means untill they can control it completely. they ahve already made a car that would travel 100 miles @70MPH and would be suffiecient for most families .the average person travels 24 miles a day. The car manufactures only leased them and would not sale them cause they are in the bed witht he oil companies .the elecvtric car proved itself to the people that leased them /the car manufactures came along and took the leased cars back all at ounce and demolished them so becasue they didnt want the cars to prove themselves to the rest of us.this took place in the early 90s/the oil companies droped a the price of oil to prevent further intrest in the car.the fact is the car when equaled out to the price of gasoline the electricity and the eqivelant miles traveld came to 62 cents per gallon of gas . the oil companies fuel the invormentalist view to only get laws past that protect the inviroment and at same time protect them . .years ago it wasnt that way .the oil companies would fight the inviromentalist .but today instead of fighting them they are using the laws to further protect thier intrest.another words the globel warmest is a political adversary of you and I. he is a dangerous means of dictatership .he isnt concerned with our invoroment . he is concerned only with political gain by means of inviromental control.It is the new age of thinking amoung the worlds great men of power.they are only trying to inact laws that will control you and I better and more efficiently when the world does start coolingand revelution is on the tips of the peoples lips. ooh yea that is what has happened in the llast great cool down anyway . the french revelution the american revelution . ooh me all politics . globle warming or globle conspiracy???!! they could stop what man does if they really wanted to so what truley is behind it all i wonder.why would they try thier darndest to industrialize the largest contenientental country in the world{China] if they truely was worried about globle warming or globle cooling.why does the air force heat the atmosphere by exciting protons in the high latitudes and the lowest in the southern hemisphere in alstralia if i spelled it right . oh me . so many questions and so many answers .what the heck.I dont know about you but im sick of hearing about it all . i will say this and this is it ;It all is politics and that is it.final!!!!!
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820. bluehaze27
6:19 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Please don't take my comments to mean I want a storm. Cleaning up and no power is a pain in the arse. Nothing personal taken. I, for one, have a morbid curiosity with powerful phenomena like hurricanes and tornados. I imagine everyone on this website does to some extent. It goes with my career as a weather observer. Curiosity killed the cat as they say.

Also, here's the top sustaind winds for David. With 175 sustained, I have no doubt it had 200 mph wind gusts.
This is from this site:
18 GMT 08/30/79 16.6N 66.2W 175 924 Category 5 Hurricane
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819. stormybil
6:16 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
stormybil may i have the link to hat area?
here you go im just watching the last couple of hours it may not be anything . Link
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818. moonlightcowboy
6:17 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Bluehaze, disagree. MS doesn't want a Cat 1 or 2 even this season. Not that we ever do; but certainly not now.

This discussion is how my day started...lol; but, not gonna go there again tonight(this morning...lol). Plz, don't take that disagreement, personally. Maybe, I can explain my thoughts later. Enjoyed your posts tonight!


MLC<--------------DEF gone for some shut-eye!
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817. louastu
2:13 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
Nevermind... Just looked at it again and the winds on pages 8 and 9 of that report are given in mph. On all the other pages wind speed is given in kts so I assumed that it would be the same for those pages.
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815. bluehaze27
6:04 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
I stand erected;) Ok, at Fort Pierce you had a Minimal cat 2. A "nothing" storm. Frankly, anything less than a high cat 3 is very bearable. Yeah there will be damage but major structural damage aside from trailers won't really exist. In otherwords, trees, screens, lights and a few weak roofs
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814. louastu
1:59 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
Posted By: bluehaze27 at 1:51 AM EDT on July 25, 2007.

Maybe it was 200 mph wind gusts but I do remember seeing 200 mph before he hit Hispanola.

Well, I found the 200 mph gust. It was in New Hampshire at Mt. Washington (174 kt wind gust which comes out to 200.24 mph).

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813. cjnew
1:02 AM CDT on July 25, 2007
According to WU and Wiki...David reached cat 2 before florida landfall. link
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812. stormybil
5:56 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
watching 21n 90w tonight its catching my attention
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811. bluehaze27
5:55 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Where's the Cat 3 in these winds?

David: A hit and a miss

By Eliot Kleinberg
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

May 27, 2004

It's been 25 years since a hurricane made official landfall in this area.

And Hurricane David in 1979 isn't even considered a direct hit.

Its winds were just below hurricane strength as it stayed mostly off shore from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. All it did was knock down a radio tower, collapse the Palm Beach Jai Alai fronton, and ruin Labor Day weekend.

But before the storm reached us, the Caribbean felt the brunt of David's strength.

David struck the tiny, impoverished island of Dominica, and left it effectively leveled; 56 died and 60,000 of the population of 80,000 were left homeless.

Browse a gallery of David photos

David passed 80 miles south of Puerto Rico on Aug. 30, but left 19 inches of rain, killing seven and leaving $70 million in damages. Wind speeds were up to 150 just 5 mph short of Category 5. Devastation in islands

David made landfall on the island of Hispaniola, hitting the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo with sustained winds of up to 125 mph. Floods and mudslides, combined with the heavy wind, leveled buildings and washed out roads, killing 1,200 to 2,000. But the 10,000-foot mountains knocked David's wind speed in half, to just below the minimum hurricane force of 75.

As it moved through the Bahamas, winds grew back to 90 mph. Forecasters predicted landfall somewhere between Key West and Palm Beach and issued a hurricane watch.

It was Saturday, Sept. 1 the heart of Labor Day weekend.

Plans for picnics, softball games and the beach were quickly shelved in the area. In all, about 300,000 would flee, with 78,000 of them going to shelters. Some people went to friends' homes inland. Others headed north, jamming expressways.

But some time in the early hours of Labor Day, Sept. 3, the storm took a little jog to the north. Throughout the day, David inched up the coast, with official landfall estimated at about 6 p.m., near Sebastian.

Palm Beach International Airport recorded top sustained winds of 58. Other recorded top gusts were 92 in Jupiter, 69 in Stuart, and 95 in Fort Pierce.

David came ashore at Savannah, Ga., spawned tornadoes from Virginia to New Jersey, and knocked out power to 2.5 million in the New York City metro area before dying out on Sept. 7 off Newfoundland.

The storm caused about $95 million in damage. Palm Beach County alone reported losses of $30 million, mostly in crops.

Store windows blew out and boats sank. Docks and piers fell into the water. The frame of the Palm Beach Jai Alai fronton, under repair after a December 1978 fire, blew down.

On downtown West Palm Beach's Flagler Drive, the 186-foot WJNO AM radio tower was tossed into the Intracoastal Waterway.

On the Treasure Coast, David flooded coastal roads and tore off some roofs. The one at Stuart City Hall was pulled up 6 inches and inside offices flooded. A 450-foot crane at the St. Lucie nuclear power plant broke in two.

David is blamed for at least 16 deaths nationwide, five in Florida. But for South Florida, David had been a fizzle.

The power to call for evacuations would later shift from the governor's office to local emergency managers. Two local psychiatrists warned a "cry wolf" effect would make residents less willing to react the next time.

Then-National Hurricane Center Director Neil Frank was accused of overly panicking people. But, he said, "If we hadn't and our predictions had been more accurate, the consequences would have been disastrous."
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809. moonlightcowboy
5:53 AM GMT on July 25, 2007

Enjoyed it and "thanks" for putting up with me tonight!
Have a good sleep and a good "hump day" everyone!

MLC<-----------------out for some shut-eye!

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808. LittletonCo
5:51 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
How does a rise in water vapor "lead" to a rise in precipition? If anything, it should be the opposite -- increased water vapor is by definition caused by increased net evaporation. I'm assuming conservation of global water, of course.

Now, since the water cycle is much "quicker" than the ~35 year time scale of this study, I wouldn't expect a direct relationship between precipitation and water vapor levels at all. A correlation perhaps, but one can't say that increased water vapor "leads" to increased precipitation.

Unless you claim that increased water vapor causes increased precipition and MUCH INCREASED evaporation.

Good science? I doubt it.
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807. bluehaze27
5:51 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
David never got back past a cat 1
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806. bluehaze27
5:49 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Maybe it was 200 mph wind gusts but I do remember seeing 200 mph before he hit Hispanola.
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804. moonlightcowboy
5:42 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
For CV and SAL info and current links you can go here.

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803. louastu
1:40 AM EDT on July 25, 2007
Hurricane David's maximum winds were 175 mph. No storm has ever officially had 200 mph winds (though a hurricane hunter report from Camille indicated winds of 205 mph). Super Typhoon Nancy of 1961 was reported to have winds of 215 mph, but wind estimates were often too high back then, so it is likely that the winds weren't that strong. However, if there ever was a storm that had 200 mph winds, it was probably Nancy.
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802. bluehaze27
5:38 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
There certainly isn't a lack of waves coming off of Africa. In About 2 to 3 weeks the noise is going to get real loud. I wonder if I'll feel as frazzled after this year as in 2005?
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801. bluehaze27
5:35 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
South Florida needs to thank Hispaniola for disrupting David and Miami needs to thank the steering currents that turn him slightly North at the last second. He was once a 200 mph monster but when he came ashore he was only at about 85 mph.
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800. moonlightcowboy
5:37 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Statement as of 10:30 PM EDT on July 24, 2007

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico...

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 48 hours.

Forecaster Blake
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798. moonlightcowboy
5:31 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
ROFLMFAO, bluehaze!
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797. bluehaze27
5:30 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Gee Hip deep, Then Tropical storm Dennis must have been 1980 or 81
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796. bluehaze27
5:27 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
This was a joke on the Dade County 9/11 call center blackboard at my moms job: Hurricane David was gay......He passed the Virgin Islands and didn't even touch them.
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795. moonlightcowboy
5:27 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
The image http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/wavetrak/winds/m8wvupper.jpg cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Earlier, I posted mid level water vapor. This is upper level vapor. If things get right at the sfc, and I think they are, we'll have an invest before the end of July here, imho.

Look at that bad boy over Africa, course it can dissipate before then! lol
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792. moonlightcowboy
5:24 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
Well, that didn't work. I'll try another. Sorry.
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791. moonlightcowboy
5:19 AM GMT on July 25, 2007
...last couple of waves into the Caribbean have looked like they also had potential. Camille was a storm for the books, too!
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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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