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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Cyclone Bomb, Grayson

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, January 3, 2018/Categories: natural history, video, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change


                                                   Bombogenesis Progression Map, 1-3 to 1-4, 2018 (credit: ECMWF)

A super-storm is developing in the Atlantic Ocean and predicted to become a 'cyclone bomb', a term reserved for some of the most destructive of weather events. It will be created by a process called bombogenesis where a cyclonic (hurricane) system intensifies rapidly by abruptly dropping its atmospheric pressure during a single day. Such massive storms typically occur during the summer when a low pressure system moves over warm ocean water, but rarely in the winter.

Currently the storm, now named winter storm Grayson, is building in the southeast Atlantic Ocean but it is being driven towards the entire Atlantic coast by a second cyclone northeast of Grayson. States from Florida to Maine could see its effects beginnig today and extend through the weekend. Maps of the storm's development have been created utilizing real-time temperature, precipitation, and wind speed data gathered by the new environmental monitor, GOES-16. The maps are updated every two hours by NOAA and NASA, the satellite's co-managers. Interactive data animations of the developing storm systems can be viewed here.

          GOES-16 Precipitation and Wind Direction Map Winter Storm Grayson, 3pm 1-3-2018 (credit: Ventusky)

News channels have been alerting coastal states, cities, and people to prepare for this super-storm slamming into their region. Part of the danger is that Grayson is developing in the winter while a ridge of frigid polar air is pushing down from the Arctic. Potentially, Grayson could have a wider impact than Hurricane's Sandy, which pummeled New York and New Jersey or Katrina which devastated New Orleans, and those super-storms were in warm weather months.

It is too early to begin attributing how much influence climate change may be contributing to winter cyclone Grayson. However, climate models, developed for nearly 50 years, have all predicted increases in the frequency and intensity of storms would be a key element in climate change amplifying extreme weather events everywhere.



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