Tropical Weather Discussion - Thursday, August 11, 2011

By: Randy Bynon , 17:10 GMT le 11 août 2011

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Hi folks!!!

After a busy couple of months, I'm going to try to get back in the blog here. I'm married now and settling down with my new wife, Ronda. I start my two week Air Force Reserve Annual Tour this Saturday and it looks like we'll head straight to St. Croix to start flying Atlantic systems. Of course, I'll have my camera with me!

Yesterday's POD (Plan of the Day) from NHC had a possible invest for Saturday. Today's POD pushed that off to Sunday. So we'll see what 92L looks like tomorrow.

Let's get to the discussion!

In the Gulf of Mexico ......


For the most part, the Gulf of Mexico is clear and very dry on water vapor loops. A large, broad area of high pressure is centered just about the middle of the Gulf providing hot, dry air over the region.

In the Western Atlantic and Caribbean .....



In the Caribbean, several upper level features are evident on water vapor loops. An upper level low is seen over the Yucatan Peninsula drifting slowly west. A weak high pressure area exists east of the Yucatan over the western Caribbean. A weak upper trough can be seen extending from the Atlantic across Hispaniola into the central Caribbean. A weak low level tropical wave is moving through the eastern Caribbean but isn't really producing much in the way of weather.

In the west Atlantic, low level convergence associated with a weak frontal boundary is producing widespread showers and thunderstorms along the east coast of the US all the way down into the northern Bahamas. On water vapor, a mid-upper level high pressure circulation can be seen centered near 25N 60W. This circulation is dominating most of the western open Atlantic. A large area of very dry air exists along the south and southeast periphery of this high pressure circulation.


In the Central and Eastern Atlantic .........


That area of dry air I talked about in the Atlantic is making for mostly clear skies over the open water from the Windward Islands all the way to about 40W. Then we come to the news of the day which is Invests 92L and 93L.

There is some evidence of some low level circulation with 92L near 16N 36W but the system overall is poorly organized. There has been some sporadic weak convection with the system over the last 24 hours but that has declined somewhat this morning. NHC gives 92L a 30% chance of developing by Saturday but the dry air ahead of the wave and minimally warm ocean temps combined with some moderate shear will make it a tough environment to develop in. We'll have to keep an eye on this one.

93L lies just east of 92L near 10N 23W. It looks more impressive than 92L does but systems right off the African coast always look great initially until they have been over water for a day or so. In any case, there is more moisture available for this system and water temps, as with 92L, are minimally adequate for development. Outflow over the system looks pretty impressive and symmetrical as well and there is some decent convection with this system. We'll have to watch this system as it sits oer water for another day or two. Interaction with 92L could impeded development as well.

I may be headed to St. Croix to fly starting this weekend. I'll keep everyone posted.

Have a great day!

Randy

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29. ScarlettOHara
18:42 GMT le 20 août 2011
Thinking of you! Appreciate your posts ...
Member Since: 25 octobre 2006 Posts: 185 Comments: 5804
28. gulfshoresAL
15:20 GMT le 20 août 2011
HH....Will you be flying into 97L this weekend?
Thanks
Member Since: 20 juin 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 32
27. cyclonebuster
23:52 GMT le 19 août 2011
51.5N 15N NOW!

Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
26. cyclonebuster
19:01 GMT le 19 août 2011




Also Harvey is now at 84W 16N....
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
25. cyclonebuster
17:51 GMT le 19 août 2011
49W 15N now. Fire up those engines!

Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
24. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
03:05 GMT le 19 août 2011
NHC has upgraded 93L to TD#8 this evening. I'm on the crew tasked to fly it early tomorrow morning but its close proximity to land may result in cancellation of the flight. I'll let ya know.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
23. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
03:02 GMT le 19 août 2011
Quoting Skyepony:
What happen out there today? Looks like they turned around & went back to ST. Croix.


The plane did turn around due to a problem with the aircraft.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
22. Skyepony (Mod)
00:38 GMT le 19 août 2011
What happen out there today? Looks like they turned around & went back to ST. Croix.
Member Since: 10 août 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36179
21. cyclonebuster
15:12 GMT le 18 août 2011
CDO Forming?



Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
20. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
05:39 GMT le 18 août 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


That's going to be one bad storm by then Randy! Looks like a Wilma type storm. I'll pray for you guys!


LOL i assume you're joking!! It's not amounting to much. My next flight will be Saturday for a possible invest at 56W
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
19. cyclonebuster
01:15 GMT le 18 août 2011
76.5W 15.6N now.
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
18. cyclonebuster
20:19 GMT le 17 août 2011
75.0W 15.5N now.
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
17. cyclonebuster
16:13 GMT le 17 août 2011
Looks like it is moving more WNW now. I have the center pinned at 74W 15.5N now. OUCH!
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
16. cyclonebuster
16:08 GMT le 17 août 2011
Quoting LRandyB:


Yup.. we already have a plane starting engines. It is looking a lot better organized. Waiting for the plan of the day to come out for today but I'll probably be flying 93L tomorrow.


That's going to be one bad storm by then Randy! Looks like a Wilma type storm. I'll pray for you guys!
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
15. CaicosRetiredSailor
14:36 GMT le 17 août 2011
Good to just now see you back on the blog Randy, just in time for the peak of the season. I will keep an eye on this space, and thanks again for blogging here.
Member Since: 12 juillet 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
14. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
14:34 GMT le 17 août 2011
Quoting code1:
Some change is for good, some other constant? Not so much. :-) As always be safe in air and on land.


Thanks Code!!!
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
13. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
14:34 GMT le 17 août 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:
Start those engines Randy! Your going to 73W 15N!



Yup.. we already have a plane starting engines. It is looking a lot better organized. Waiting for the plan of the day to come out for today but I'll probably be flying 93L tomorrow.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
12. cyclonebuster
13:00 GMT le 17 août 2011
Start those engines Randy! Your going to 73W 15N!

Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
11. code1
23:30 GMT le 15 août 2011
Some change is for good, some other constant? Not so much. :-) As always be safe in air and on land.
Member Since: 18 septembre 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
10. cyclonebuster
20:57 GMT le 15 août 2011
Quoting LRandyB:


LOL You're persistent... I'll give you that!

I didn't think there was ever an argument over whether or not the idea would work. If you can cool the ocean surface, you'll weaken a storm. That's a known. And the method you suggest could certainly do that. But the problem is (and the gist of the information you posted says it) that it is not cost effective. The literally billions of dollars it would cost to deploy and millions if not billions of dollars it would take to maintain such an array is better spent in some other method such as better hurricane proof construction.


Ah! But there is a HUGE and GIGANTIC power factor associated with them also! That will pay the bills and make them profitable also! You with me? I am going to need quite a few electricians about 4000 of them. LOL!
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
9. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
20:48 GMT le 15 août 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:
The very very smart professor told me it works Randy Via phone last week! YAHOO! I did it!

quote:
Yes, I have spoken with Patrick, and, yes, a scheme somewhat like the one he describes could weaken hurricanes threatening places like Miami that have strong western-margin currents just offshore. There are, however, numerous qualifications.

The scheme that we discussed involved an array of several rows devices across the Gulfstream. Each device would be a rectangular duct 140 m long and 10 by 14 m in cross section. Normally the devices would be moored horizontally at a depth of 100m with their long axes aligned with the current flow. They would be nearly neutrally buoyant. When a hurricane approached, ballast at the downstream end of the channel would be released, allowing the device to float up to a 45 deg angle. Cold water entering the upstream end would flow up to the surface and mix with the warmer water there. Since the mixture would be negatively buoyant, it would sink. But mixing due to several (3-10) lines of these devices could cool the surface waters of the Gulfstream by 1-2C, enough to weaken an Andrew-like hurricane from category 5 to category 3. A rough calculation indicates that a device every 100 m on each line of moorings (~1000 devices per ~100 km line) and 3-10 lines of moorings would be required. My guess is that it would cost $250K to fabricate and deploy a single device, but there might be economies of scale. One might also be able to optimize the size and spacing of the devices.

Let's say that careful calculation told us that 4 lines of 1000 devices each would do the trick. At $0.25M per device, the cost works out to 4*1000*($0.25M) = $1000M. The actual cost might range from a few hundred million to a small multiple of a (US = 1000M) billion. One would want to do a detailed simulation before defining the scope of the project, but the basic notion is conversion of some of the kinetic energy of the Gulfstream into gravitational potential energy of the mixed water column. Again, I've not done that detailed simulation, only back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Activation of the array would require accurate forecasting since it would take several days for the effect to make its way from south of the Dry Tortugas (optimum location for protecting the maximum amount of shoreline) to the landfall point.

South Florida gets hit by a category 4 or 5 hurricane at every few years, but the really damaging ones like Andrew tend to be once-a-generation events, or less frequent. The array would need to be deployed and maintained for a long time between activations that actually safeguard property, although false alarms would not be particularly costly. Annual maintenance could easily exceed 10% of initial deployment cost. Bear in mind that Key West to Jacksonville is the only stretch of US coastline where this strategy would work. The other vulnerable sites, Houston-Galveston and New Orleans, lack the necessary strong offshore currents. While Georgia and the Carolinas also experience many hurricane landfalls and have the Gulfstream offshore, most of these cyclones are already weakening because of vertical shear of the horizontal wind so that a second installation north of Jacksonville would be much less useful.

There has been a lot of talk about using wave and current energy to cool the ocean ahead of hurricanes. My general conclusion is that while these ideas might be made to work, the proponents underestimate the scope of the required effort, as well as the political will and recurring cost necessary to keep the project going in the long intervals between really damaging hurricanes. Skeptic that I am, I think that wiser land-use policy and more rigorous building standards are much more cost-effective and more politically feasible. A proof-of-concept that might entail deploying a half dozen devices has some appeal, but I think that there are more promising ways to spend disaster-prevention money.

Best regards,

Hugh Willoughby

Link

Link


LOL You're persistent... I'll give you that!

I didn't think there was ever an argument over whether or not the idea would work. If you can cool the ocean surface, you'll weaken a storm. That's a known. And the method you suggest could certainly do that. But the problem is (and the gist of the information you posted says it) that it is not cost effective. The literally billions of dollars it would cost to deploy and millions if not billions of dollars it would take to maintain such an array is better spent in some other method such as better hurricane proof construction.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
8. cyclonebuster
20:17 GMT le 15 août 2011
The very very smart professor told me it works Randy Via phone last week! YAHOO! I did it!

quote:
Yes, I have spoken with Patrick, and, yes, a scheme somewhat like the one he describes could weaken hurricanes threatening places like Miami that have strong western-margin currents just offshore. There are, however, numerous qualifications.

The scheme that we discussed involved an array of several rows devices across the Gulfstream. Each device would be a rectangular duct 140 m long and 10 by 14 m in cross section. Normally the devices would be moored horizontally at a depth of 100m with their long axes aligned with the current flow. They would be nearly neutrally buoyant. When a hurricane approached, ballast at the downstream end of the channel would be released, allowing the device to float up to a 45 deg angle. Cold water entering the upstream end would flow up to the surface and mix with the warmer water there. Since the mixture would be negatively buoyant, it would sink. But mixing due to several (3-10) lines of these devices could cool the surface waters of the Gulfstream by 1-2C, enough to weaken an Andrew-like hurricane from category 5 to category 3. A rough calculation indicates that a device every 100 m on each line of moorings (~1000 devices per ~100 km line) and 3-10 lines of moorings would be required. My guess is that it would cost $250K to fabricate and deploy a single device, but there might be economies of scale. One might also be able to optimize the size and spacing of the devices.

Let's say that careful calculation told us that 4 lines of 1000 devices each would do the trick. At $0.25M per device, the cost works out to 4*1000*($0.25M) = $1000M. The actual cost might range from a few hundred million to a small multiple of a (US = 1000M) billion. One would want to do a detailed simulation before defining the scope of the project, but the basic notion is conversion of some of the kinetic energy of the Gulfstream into gravitational potential energy of the mixed water column. Again, I've not done that detailed simulation, only back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Activation of the array would require accurate forecasting since it would take several days for the effect to make its way from south of the Dry Tortugas (optimum location for protecting the maximum amount of shoreline) to the landfall point.

South Florida gets hit by a category 4 or 5 hurricane at every few years, but the really damaging ones like Andrew tend to be once-a-generation events, or less frequent. The array would need to be deployed and maintained for a long time between activations that actually safeguard property, although false alarms would not be particularly costly. Annual maintenance could easily exceed 10% of initial deployment cost. Bear in mind that Key West to Jacksonville is the only stretch of US coastline where this strategy would work. The other vulnerable sites, Houston-Galveston and New Orleans, lack the necessary strong offshore currents. While Georgia and the Carolinas also experience many hurricane landfalls and have the Gulfstream offshore, most of these cyclones are already weakening because of vertical shear of the horizontal wind so that a second installation north of Jacksonville would be much less useful.

There has been a lot of talk about using wave and current energy to cool the ocean ahead of hurricanes. My general conclusion is that while these ideas might be made to work, the proponents underestimate the scope of the required effort, as well as the political will and recurring cost necessary to keep the project going in the long intervals between really damaging hurricanes. Skeptic that I am, I think that wiser land-use policy and more rigorous building standards are much more cost-effective and more politically feasible. A proof-of-concept that might entail deploying a half dozen devices has some appeal, but I think that there are more promising ways to spend disaster-prevention money.

Best regards,

Hugh Willoughby

Link

Link
Member Since: 2 janvier 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
7. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
19:28 GMT le 15 août 2011
I was scheduled to fly tonight into the system just south of Gert but the interaction with Gert tore it apart. Instead, the POD has us starting to fly Invest 93 tomorrow. My crew should fly Wednesday.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
6. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
12:00 GMT le 14 août 2011
Quoting Skyepony:
Excellent! I assume..you have your camera?


Well that's just a silly question!!! :-) yes, I have my camera!
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
5. Skyepony (Mod)
04:34 GMT le 14 août 2011
Excellent! I assume..you have your camera?
Member Since: 10 août 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36179
4. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
03:52 GMT le 14 août 2011
In St.Croix awaiting tasking!
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
3. SPLbeater
03:17 GMT le 13 août 2011
Good blog Randy, I like hearing directly from the HH themselves. Paying no mind to Invest 94L, as it seems to be absolutely no land threat. 93L i think will become franklin putting together the model intensity forecasts and conditions ahead of it. Stay safe while flyin or drivin!
Member Since: 4 août 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
2. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
13:29 GMT le 12 août 2011
Thanks! I'm scheduled to fly to St.Croix tomorrow.
Member Since: 17 juillet 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
1. Raysfan70
19:17 GMT le 11 août 2011
Thanks Randy!!

Safe travels.
Member Since: 28 juillet 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354

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About LRandyB

I was an AF aviation weather forecaster for 12 years, then 15 years as a dropsonde systems operator with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters.

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