Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tropical Depression 4 and Volcano Special: August 23, Update A

A big day today! The much anticipated new season of Dr. Who begins with a new Doctor! :-) How exciting! Oh yeah, and that rather big volcano in Iceland erupted today.

I suppose it's time to dust off the ash from my last Volcano Special a few years ago but first there's a little Blob that's been crossing the Atlantic, now in the vicinity of the Turks and Caicos. He's a dinky little thing with winds officially at 35mph (central pressure 1005mb).

I agree with the NHC that he is just a Tropical Depression at the moment. The vorticity fields for the Atlantic show that he has some circulation in the lower half of the troposphere, but it is not very well defined yet. (I know, it's been weeks since we talked about vorticity! If you need a refresher on how to read these, check out the Science Alert in this very intelligently written blog: ;-)). Also, in looking at the satellite images, he doesn't have much structure or much convection. Pretty wishy washy... for now.

He is currently centered at 22.0N, 72.4W, heading NW at 11mph. The forecast track and intensity calls for him to become a Tropical Storm as he goes over the Bahamas tomorrow and on Monday, and then a Hurricane on Tuesday as he curves to the N and NE and remains in the Atlantic. Although the forecast track keeps him away from Florida and the US coast, I am not so sure of this yet. I think there is a possibility that his track will shift to the west. Once he reaches 39mph wind speed, we will meet TS Cristobal (which, in case you were confused, is actually a male name... the internet tells me it is 8 times more common to be a boys name than a girls). More tomorrow on this Blob!

Volcano Special
And now for something completely different! Iceland has decided it wanted some attention so it has gone and set off another volcano. ;-) Alas, this one is much larger than Eyjafjallajokull that brought air traffic to a halt in Europe for some time in 2010. But don't worry, there is a bright silver lining to this volcanic eruption... it is much easier to pronounce. Bardarbunga (minus some accents and whatnots over a few letters here and there) is pronounced BAUR-DAR-BUNG-KA, as demonstrated in this little video by some nice Icelandic chap:

Now, just in case you are silly enough to be contemplating air travel that involves Europe or the Atlantic anytime soon, I thought you'd like to know where to look for potential forecasts and find out Bardarbunga's latest shenanigans. (Bardarbunga really does sound like a muppet name, doesn't it? :-)).

To read about what the volcano is doing, I go directly to the Icelandic Met Office: This is a pretty good site and scientists who have been monitoring the volcano will update it with a report a couple of times a day.

<Forecasting Alert!> For volcanic ash forecasting the world is divided into regions with a Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (or Center ;-); VAAC) per region:
Each VAAC is responsible for providing the official global forecast for ash from any misbehaving volcano in it's region (see website below) so that all aircraft are using the same information and there is no confusion (a good thing to avoid, especially if you are in a plane!). The London VAAC covers Iceland and is based in the UK Met Office: Should there be a need for advisories, this is the place to look. I'll write another update to let you know what's what if we need to use that page. <End Forecasting Alert!>

Now it's time for Dr. Who!! Woohoo! I have my cuppa tea and Double Decker ready for the viewing. :-)

More tomorrow!

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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