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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Surging Storms

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, September 8, 2017/Categories: natural history, photography, video, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change


          Hurricane Irma Multi-sensor Weather Measurement Maps, 9-7-2017 (credit: NOAA GEOS-16 satellite)

Two and perhaps three hurricanes are moving in the Atlantic Ocean towards Caribbean islands, Mexico, and the USA. The new "workhorse" of weather forecasting, the GEOS-16 weather satellite only became operational in Fall 2016. GEOS-16 has already produced remarkable imagery and copious scientific measurements of the storms applying its 16-channel environmental sensors that can detect wind speeds, moisture content, temperatures, etc.

The monster storms that have already destroyed entire islands including Saint Martin and Barbuda as well as heavily damaging the US Virgin Islands. The American Geophysical Union has closely followed Irma and provided background information for people living in the path of super-storm as it approaches the Florida panhandle. According to the AGU:

if you're not in Hurricane Irma's eyewall, you're not in the real hurricane; winds will be noticeably less a few miles inland due to friction; highest winds will be directly in the eyewall; where Irma makes landfall, eyewall winds will go well above hurricane force; storm surges will be highest if the eye is just inland from the coast and high tide zone; high tide will be 3 feet higher above sea level in Miami on Sunday adding more water on top of storm surges and the waves; rainfalls will be lower than Hurricane Harvey as Irma will keep moving.

A NOAA animation by National Weather Service illustrates how much destruction storm surges can produce and why:

As evermore super-storm data and information is gathered by satellite monitors like GEOS-16 and ocean-based temperature bouys, climate models will become even more accurate. So far, all models continue predicting that amplitude, intensity, and frequency of extreme weather events will increase due to atmospheric alterations from climate change and the atmosphere drives the world's climate system.



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