Category: tropical storms and hurricanes

Twitter analysis tells volumes about climate politics

Many senators stuck in a social media echo chamber

Staff Report

University researchers took a deep dive into the world of social media to reach some interesting conclusions about climate change and political beliefs. After analyzing the Twitter streams of U.S. senators, the scientists said Democrats were three times more likely than Republicans to follow research-oriented science organizations, including those covering global warming.

The paper, published in the journal Climate Change Responses, reinforces that fact that climate science has inexplicably become a partisan issue, but with a ray of hope. On the GOP side of the aisle, 15 senators displayed a draw to science and thus a way to bring scientific information to those not receiving it on their own.

“Increasingly, people are using Facebook and Twitter as a means of getting news, which determines what information they are exposed to,” said Brian Helmuth, a marine biologist and an ecologist at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Continue reading “Twitter analysis tells volumes about climate politics”

Climate: Record-warm oceans generate yet another record-breaking tropical storm in the Indian Ocean

El Niño, climate change brewing up trouble

Cyclone Fantala
Cyclone Fantala is the strongest tropical storm on record in the Indian Ocean. Photo courtesy NASA.

Staff Report

A tropical storm spinning near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean is yet another sign that global warming is driving the world’s climate into untested realms.

Cyclone Fantala is generating 170-mph winds, making it the strongest tropical storm on record for the region, according to NASA. Just a couple of months ago, Cyclone Winston hit Fiji as the strongest storm in the Southwest Pacific, and last October, Patricia became the most potent hurricane on record in the northeast Pacific, with winds up to 215 mph. Patricia also became the strongest-ever Pacific hurricane to make landfall. Continue reading “Climate: Record-warm oceans generate yet another record-breaking tropical storm in the Indian Ocean”

Tree-rings and shipwrecks offer clues on link between climate change and regional hurricane patterns

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.
A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.

Study shows lull in tropical storms during cool era

Staff Report

Climate scientists and meteorologists have long been trying to determine how global warming will affect hurricanes, but with so many variables in play, it hasn’t been easy to make definitive conclusions.

A new analysis of tree rings and shipwreck records has now helped created a more detailed look at historic hurricane activity in the time before scientists were able to accurately count the tropical systems. The findings show there was a big drop in hurricanes between 1645 and 1715, during an era of reduced sunspot activity and generally cool temperatures in the northern hemisphere.

Learning that a lull in Caribbean hurricanes corresponded to a time when Earth received less solar energy will help researchers better understand the influence of large changes in radiation, including that from greenhouse gas emissions, on hurricane activity. Continue reading “Tree-rings and shipwrecks offer clues on link between climate change and regional hurricane patterns”

Study says big storms could swamp New York every 25 years

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Tropical Storm Joaquin is a potential threat to the Eastern Seaboard, although there is still a lot of uncertainty about the storm’s exact track, according to the National Hurricane Center.

‘A storm that occurred once in seven generations is now occurring twice in a generation …’

Staff Report

As Hurricane Joaquin winds up, potentially taking aim at the Eastern Seaboard, researchers are warning that the flood risk in New York City and New Jersey has grown considerably in the last 1,000 years.

When the climate researchers compared both sea-level rise rates and storm surge heights in prehistoric and modern eras, they found that the combined increases of each have raised the likelihood of a devastating 500-year flood occurring as often as every 25 years. Continue reading “Study says big storms could swamp New York every 25 years”

Hurricane Carlos raking the Mexican Riviera

Strengthening El Niño fueling tropical storms in eastern Pacific

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A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Carlos strengthening off southern Mexico.
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Hurricane Carlos is moving slowly northwestward along the southern Coast of Mexico. Via National Hurricane Center.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Taking a track parallel to the southern coast of Mexico, Hurricane Carlos has spurred warnings and watches along a long section of shoreline. Parts of southern Mexico could get pummeled by high winds, rain and surf the next few days, although the National Hurricane Center says the the storm’s path is still uncertain.

For now, a hurricane warming is in effect from Punta San Telmo to Tecpan de Galeana, with a hurricane watch extending west from Punta san Telmo to Manzanillo. Carlos is generating winds of about 80 mph and could strengthen in the next couple of days, with winds of up to 90 mph as it nears the coast. Continue reading “Hurricane Carlos raking the Mexican Riviera”

Will Pacific hurricanes dampen the Southwest?

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NASA’s Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Andres on May 31, clearly showing the storm’s eye. Credit NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response.

Early tropical systems churning off the coast of Mexico

Staff Report

FRISCO — The eastern Pacific has already brewed up two tropical systems, with Hurricane Andres churning well off the coast and headed out to sea, and Tropical Storm Blanca, expected to reach hurricane force June 2.

Neither storm is a threat to Mexico, though the National Hurricane Center says some of Blanca’s outer rain bands could brush the coast. Continue reading “Will Pacific hurricanes dampen the Southwest?”

Climate: Studying thunderstorms in Africa may lead to better hurricane forecasts for the U.S.

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.
A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast in 1999. Hurricane Floyd formed from a tropical wave moving off the coast of Africa to become one of the largest and strongest Atlantic Hurricanes on record.

Spatial cloud coverage offers clues to tropical storm formation

Staff Report

FRISCO — Closely monitoring thunderstorms over Africa may help meteorologists develop better forecasts for Atlantic hurricane development.

“Eighty-five percent of the most intense hurricanes affecting the U.S. and Canada start off as disturbances in the atmosphere over Western Africa,” said Tel Aviv University Prof. Colin Price, who recently published a new study on hurricane formation in Geophysical Research Letters. “We found that the larger the area covered by the disturbances, the higher the chance they would develop into hurricanes only one to two weeks later.”

Working with graduate student Naama Reicher of the Department of Geosciences at TAU’s Faculty of Exact Science, Price analyzed satellite images of cloud cover to track the variability in cloud cover blocking the earth’s surface in West Africa during hurricane season.Using infrared cloud-top temperature data gathered from satellites, Prof. Price assessed the temperatures of the cloud tops, which grow colder the higher they rise. He then compared his cloud data with hurricane statistics — intensity, date of generation, location, and maximum winds — from the same period using the National Hurricane Center data base. Continue reading “Climate: Studying thunderstorms in Africa may lead to better hurricane forecasts for the U.S.”