About these ads

Study: Offshore coastal barrier systems remain intact after Hurricane Sandy

Sea level rise still a long-term concern


Hurricane Sandy winds up for its ravaging run up the East Coast.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A post-Sandy study of the seafloor off the shore of New York and New Jersey showed that the protective barrier system that protects the coast from erosion stayed mostly intact, providing some re-assurance to property owners trying to rebuild.

But long-term concerns related to rising sea level remain, a group of researchers said last week, outlining their findings at the American Geophysical Union conference.

“The shape of the bedforms that make up the barrier system did not change a whole lot,” said lead researchers John Goff of the Institute for Geophysics. “Where we might have expected to see significant erosion based on long-term history, not a lot happened — nothing that ate into the shoreface.” Continue reading

About these ads

Hurricane Sandy’s force gaged by seismometers


Hurricane Sandy hitting the Northeast Coast. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Powerful storm shook the Earth’s crust in a wave of vibrations felt by sensitive land-based instruments

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Scientists using an array of portable land-based seismometers to study how the atmosphere, oceans and solid Earth interact say they were able to detect small seismic waves — microseisms — generated by superstorm Sandy late last year.

When Sandy turned and took aim at New York City and Long Island last October, ocean waves hitting each other and crashing ashore rattled the seafloor and much of the United States, according to University of Utah researchers, who presented their findings last week during the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting.

The seismometers that detected the storm’s vibrations are part the Earthscope research project that started in California in 2004 and has been leap-frogging eastward to help gain a greater understanding of the Earth’s crust and mantle, similar to how X-rays are used to make CT scans of the human body. To do it accurately, scientists must understand all sources of seismic waves. Continue reading

Global warming could fuel European hurricanes


Tropical storms are more likely to affect Europe as Atlantic sea surface temperatures rise.

Severe winds to increase in the North Sea and the Gulf of Biscay, especially during autumn

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — European climate scientists say global warming will drive a northeastward expansion of the tropical Atlantic hurricane breeding ground, with four times as many storms of tropical origins affecting parts of Western Europe in coming decades.

In the Bay of Biscay, the number of storms with tropical-storm-force winds could increase from 2 to 13 by the end of the century, said researcher Reindert Haarsma.

The initial results suggest that the impacts may not be as great in the low-lying Netherlands as in some other areas because the strong winds associated with the events will generally be from the southwest, Haarsma said.

With hurricanes forming farther north and warmer sea surface temperatures in the region, tropical storms are more likely to reach the mid-latitudes, where they will merge with the prevailing westerlies. Even if they lose hurricane status, they are likely to remain stronger, and sometimes re-intensify before landfall, potentially with serious impacts in parts of Europe.

“Our model simulations clearly show that future tropical cyclones are more prone to hit Western Europe and do so earlier in the season,” said the researchers with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Continue reading

Travel: Statue of Liberty to reopen for July 4th holiday


Down, but not out. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to be repaired in time for the busy summer season

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with inundating residential areas in the Northeast, Hurricane Sandy also caused extensive damage to the Statue of Liberty, destroying  docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system.

But Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today said this week that the National Park Service expects to reopen the Statue of Liberty to visitors in time for Independence Day.


“[W]e are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it’s safe for visitors and not a second later,”  Salazar said. “Based on the tremendous progress we have made, Lady Liberty will be open to the public in time for the July 4th celebration.” Continue reading

Science team studies Sandy’s impacts to barrier islands

Superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the coast. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Calculating impacts to sediment transport critical to restoration efforts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with the devastation and human suffering it caused, Hurricane Sandy may have raised awareness about the importance of natural coastal defenses to a whole new level. With climate models predicting significant sea level rise and increased precipitation, those natural barriers may become the first — and most important — line of protection against growing storm surges and coastal inundation.

In the wake of Sandy, a rapid response science team from the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics will help map the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the beach and barrier systems off the south shore of Long Island.

The team will collaborate this month with researchers from Stony Brook University, Adelphi University, the City University of New York and other institutions from the New York metro area to assess the health of the offshore barrier system that protects the New York Harbor and southwestern Long Island region against damage from future storms. Continue reading

NOAA calculates cost of 2012 extreme weather episodes


Hurricane Sandy develops over the southwestern Atlantic. Satellite photo courtesy NOAA.

Heat wave and drought, tropical storms and tornadoes top the list

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Extreme weather events that may be linked with global warming caused at least 239 deaths in 2012, with the biggest loss of life resulting from Hurricane Sandy, which raked the Caribbean before spinning up the East Coast and then coming ashore over New Jersey.

A summer-long heat wave and associated drought that spanned a big portion of North America caused more than 120 direct deaths and possibly more due to heat stress, according to NOAA, which released preliminary data on the year’s billion-dollar extreme weather events. Continue reading

Climate: Discussions raging on possible links between global warming and superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Record-breaking storm spurs more public awareness about the potential for more frequent extreme weather events

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With several all-time weather records shattered and early estimates that Hurricane Sandy may cost the U.S. economy some $20 to $25 billion, it’s clear that the storm lived up to its billing. Along with the cleanup, there’s also a raging debate about whether global warming was a factor in the storm’s development and path.

On the one side, environmental activists seeking to limit heat-trapping greenhouse gases have jumped on the so-called super storm as an opportunity to tout their cause. On the other side, global warming deniers and others have pulled out timeworn statistics about past hurricanes that supposedly were equally as strong.

The arguments at the extreme sides of the spectrum don’t ring true. Of course, there is no way to scientifically prove that increases in air and ocean temps directly contributed to this storm. There’s still so much natural variability in nature that you just can’t establish a causal link. Continue reading

Activists claim Hurricane Sandy is product of global warming

Storm expected to have widespread impacts on East Coast

A satellite view of Sandy spinning near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A summer that started with a powerful and destructive Derecho across large parts of the eastern U.S. could end with a monster hybrid storm slamming the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, putting a punctuation mark on six months of extraordinary record-breaking weather, including heat waves and drought.

Hurricane Sandy, generating winds of 75 mph, is heading northward from the Caribbean and could make landfall early next week, bringing devastating winds and flooding to wide swath of the Eastern Seaboard, according to the National Weather Service.

Many forecasters are calling the storm and unprecedented event, while others are comparing it to the so-called perfect storm of 1991, when another tropical weather system merged with an early winter system from the north, sinking the Andrea Gail, a long-line swordfish boat. Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy about to sweep across Jamaica

Powerful late season storm could affect U.S. East Coast

Hurricane Sandy will engulf Jamaica in the next few hours.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Jamaica is about to take a direct hit from what is now Hurricane Sandy, which is generating sustained winds of 80 mph just off the island nation’s southern coast. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the entire island, where six to 12 inches of rain is expected, leading to dangerous flooding.

Sandy’s storm surge will raise water levels by as much as one to three feet above normal along Jamaica’s southern and eastern coast, along with large and dangerous waves. Hurricane-force winds extend outward about 25 miles from the center of the storm, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 140 miles.

A hurricane warning is also in effect for most of eastern Cuba, where the storm surge could reach three to five feet along the southeastern coast. An even more intense storm surge of five to eight feet is expected in the Bahamas, where a hurricane watch is in effect.

A tropical storm watch has also been issued for parts of Florida’s southeastern coast.

Sandy will pass over Jamaica Wednesday afternoon and evening and reach Cuba Wednesday night and approach the Bahamas Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are possible along the southeast Florida coast Friday.

Beyond that, each subsequent forecast model has been pushing the storm closer to the East Coast, where emergency preparations have started. Some tracks show the storm interacting with an approaching cold front and hitting the North East as a powerful non-tropical storm, but the exact path is still uncertain.



Tropical Storm Sandy forms, likely to hit Jamaica

Slow-moving storm headed for Cuba, Bahamas

Tropical Storm Sandy is quickly gathering strength in the southwestern Caribbean and could rake much of Jamaica with 70 mph winds.

Tropical Storm Sandy gathers strength over the Caribbean.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Tropical Storm Sandy, the 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is generating winds of 40 mph and gaining strength over the warm waters of the Caribbean, south of Cuba. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Jamaica and Haiti, where five to 10, and up to 16 inches of rain may fall, leading to dangerous flash flooding.

The storm is expected to be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the south coast of Jamaica Wednesday, with sustained winds of 80 mph. For now, Tropical storm-force winds extend out about 70 miles from the center of the storm.

Once the storm tracks across Jamaica and Cuba the forecast models diverge, with some forecasts turning the storm out to sea, while others bring the system closer to the U.S. East Coast.

The storm is expected to intensify the next couple of days, then weaken as it interacts with the mountainous terrain of the islands, and starts to encounter southwest wind shear, but could still be packing winds of 65 mph as it nears the Bahamas later in the week.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,244 other followers