Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ex-Tropical Depression Rina and a new satellite: October 29, Update A

As I expected, Tropical Storm Rina fell apart yesterday (Friday) morning so she was downgraded to a Tropical Depression, and by yesterday evening the NHC had stopped issuing advisories on her. She was too weak after her interaction with land and the wind shear was too strong for her. This is also my last update on Rina.  Hurray! J I’ll keep an eye on that Atlantic blob, but will only write if it looks like it’s thinking about being more than a blob.

In response to the comment by the ‘Queen’ yesterday, Bryan from Florida said: “The Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos are Major League Baseball teams outside of the US, and thus "World Series" is appropriate. ;)”  I agree, that should have said ‘North America’, not just ‘America’. I’ll have to have a word with her writers. ;-)

<Interesting science news alert> There was a piece of very cool news this week (other than the two historic changes to the constitution regarding the British throne succession, which is also quite groovy).  The next generation of climate/weather satellite was launched from California yesterday! It is called NPP and is a joint NASA/NOAA satellite (with some icing on the cake from the DoD). Here is the NPP mission badge:

You want to know why it’s called NPP? Here goes… it stands for NPOESS Preparatory Project. And what is NPOESS? That is the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System. So er, yeah, NPP for short works for me. Anyone want to try their hand at another acronym? (that’ll keep you busy for 2 minutes) ;-)

It is what is known as a polar-orbiting satellite because, as you can imagine, it orbits the earth in more of a north/south direction than an east/west direction and therefore flies close to the poles (not necessarily over them). I found this diagram on the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) website which shows an example of how each orbit covers a different part of the earth:

The NPP has five fabulous instruments that will collect data on various things, such as the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere, the sea surface temperature, algal blooms in the ocean, the amount of sunlight being reflected by clouds, dust storms, changes in ice sheets and land cover. To find out more about these, check out NASA’s collection of posters…

<end of interesting science news alert>

That’s it for now!


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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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