Thursday, 24 August 2017

Extremely dangerous flood threat for Texas and Louisiana

Tropical Depression Harvey an Extremely Dangerous Flood Threat for Texas, Louisiana; Hurricane, Storm Surge Watches Issued

Harvey is currently a tropical depression in the western Gulf of Mexico.
It will track toward the Texas Gulf Coast and make landfall late Friday.
Harvey is forecast to strengthen to a hurricane before landfall.
Harvey may then stall or meander for a few days, leading to a dangerous flood threat in parts of Texas and Louisiana.
Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge watches have been issued for parts of Texas.

23 August, 2017
Tropical Depression Harvey is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm and eventually a hurricane before bringing a dangerous combination of rainfall and storm-surge flooding to areas near the Texas and Louisiana coasts into the weekend or early next week.
A hurricane hunter aircraft investigating Harvey Wednesday evening found that it had not strengthened, with wind speeds remaining below tropical-storm strength.
The NHC says the center of Harvey is located about 445 miles southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas, and is sluggishly moving northwest.

Current Storm Information
Current Storm Information
    A hurricane watch has been issued for a portion of the Texas coast, from north of Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass, including Corpus Christi and Victoria. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. They are typically issued within 48 hours of the expected onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
    Tropical storm watches are in effect from Boca de Catan, Mexico, to Port Mansfield, Texas, and from north of San Luis Pass, Texas, to High Island, Texas. This means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

    Tropical Alerts
    Tropical Alerts
      The NHC has also issued its first ever public storm surge watch, which includes a swath of the Texas coast from Port Mansfield to High Island, including Corpus Christi and all of Galveston Bay. This new type of watch is issued when there is the "possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline" in the next 48 hours, the NHC says.
      Harvey is expected to gain strength and will draw near, if not make landfall, somewhere along the Texas coast Friday afternoon or Friday night.

      Projected Path
      Projected Path
      The projected path shows the expected track of the circulation center. Note that impacts such as heavy rain and storm surge can extend beyond this forecast path.
        With an otherwise favorable environment that includes deep, warm Gulf of Mexico water, Harvey is currently forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before its landfall, bringing the risk of storm-surge flooding, high surf with battering waves and strong winds.
        Various NOAA aircraft reconnaissance missions will provide data that will likely help numerical forecast models determine the exact future intensity and track of Harvey.
        Regardless of intensity or track, a major flooding rainfall threat looms, and it may last into next week.

        Rainfall Flood Danger

        Harvey is expected to be caught in a zone of light steering winds aloft this weekend that will slow or stall the circulation.
        Harvey will be wedged between two areas of high pressure aloft, one over the Desert Southwest and a weaker one over the central Gulf of Mexico. Meteorologists call this zone between two areas of high pressure aloft a col. 
        Potential upper-level steering pattern this weekend that may stall Harvey for some time near or over the western Gulf Coast.
        A tropical cyclone's rainfall potential is a function of its forward speed, not its intensity.
        Therefore, if Harvey stalls for a period of a few days, it has the potential for producing prolific rainfall, capable of major flash flooding.
        Rainfall amounts through next Wednesday could range from 10 to 15 inches, with locally up to 20 inches, over the Texas coast and southwest Louisiana, with heavy rainfall beginning Friday.
        Harvey is also expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3 to 9 inches in portions of south, central and eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley during the same time period.
        This forecast is subject to change depending on the exact path of Harvey, locations of rainbands and how long it stalls. Generally, areas along and east of Harvey's path are in the greatest threat of flooding rainfall.
        For now, areas near the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts are in the biggest threat for torrential rainfall and major flash flooding, potentially including Houston and Corpus Christi.
        Among the biggest uncertainties is the heavy rain potential in central Texas, including for the flood-prone cities of Austin andSan Antonio. That all depends on how far inland and to the west Harvey tracks.

        Rainfall Outlook Through Monday
        Rainfall Outlook Through Monday

        While it is too soon for specific rainfall forecasts, areas in red and purple are in the highest threat for flooding rainfall from Harvey through the weekend. Some of this rain may linger into Tuesday or beyond in some areas.
          Harvey may still linger over parts of the western Gulf Coast into early next week before it finally moves east. This could spread additional heavy rainfall into parts of the lower Mississippi Valley.
          There are even scenarios where Harvey either stalls just off the Gulf Coast or moves back over the Gulf of Mexico at some point after having made landfall, which could allow it to restrengthen for a brief time.
          The ground is already quite saturated in many of these areas from what has been one of the wettest starts to August on record. 

          Long-Lived Surge, Wind Threats

          Harvey's slow movement will also likely lead to additional long-lived impacts from wind.
          To the east of Harvey's center, a persistent fetch of south to southeast winds will build swells over the western Gulf of Mexico. As Harvey strengthens, coastal flooding could increase along parts of the Texas and Louisiana coasts as soon as late Thursday, then should peak Friday with Harvey's intensification and landfall.
          Given Harvey's expected slow crawl near the coast, this coastal flooding, along with battering waves, could persist in some form through Sunday, if not longer, to the east of the circulation.

          Coastal Flood, Waves, Wind Setup
          Coastal Flood, Waves, Wind Setup
            This water rise near the coast may not allow rain-swollen rivers and bayous to drain, compounding the inland flood threat.
            Locations in the storm surge watch on the Texas coast (Port Mansfield to High Island) could see a water rise of 4 to 6 feet above ground level along the immediate coast if the peak surge coincides with high tide. This includes all of Galveston Bay.

            Storm Surge Alerts
            Storm Surge Alerts
              Furthermore, persistent winds, even if not particularly high-end, could down more trees than they otherwise would given the rain-soaked or flooded ground.
              Now is a good time to make sure you have a plan in case of both a hurricane strike and flooding. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes can help you plan for a hurricane. NOAA also has excellent resources to plan for flooding.

              Massive emissions of methane in the Arctic become a significant source of greenhouse gases

              Russian scientists deny climate model of IPCC

              Massive emissions of methane in the Arctic become a significant source of greenhouse gases, a study reveals

              15 August, 2017

              The rate of vertical degradation of subsea permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is 18 cm a year over the past 30 years, which is greater than previously thought. Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University received this data after the comprehensive study of subsea permafrost not only in the Russian Arctic but also in the Arctic as a whole.

              TPU scientists and co-authors from Russia and Sweden have recently published findings of the study in Nature Communications.
              Earlier it was believed that the bulk of subsea permafrost in the ESAS is continuous that eliminates the destabilization of a giant pool of lower-laying methane hydrates. According to the model estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), until the end of the 21st century the degradation of permafrost in the ESAS cannot exceed several meters and the formation of through taliks will take hundreds or thousands of years that eliminates the opportunity of massive methane (CH4) emissions from the bottom sediments of the ESAS into water column - atmosphere system due to the destruction of hydrates. Thus the IPCC considers the potential contribution of the ESAS into the emissions of CH4 as insignificant. The paper shows that the model is not really correct.
              Basing on the repeated drilling of four wells performed by the Institute of Permafrost Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences in 1982-1983, scientists have proved that the rates of vertical degradation of subsea permafrost amount to18 cm a year over the last 30 years (the average is 14 cm a year) which is greater than it was assumed before.
              'New data obtained by complex biochemical, geophysical and geological studies conducted in 2011-2016 resulted in the conclusion that in some areas of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf the roof of the subsea permafrost had already reached the depth of hydrates' stability the destruction of which may cause massive releases of bubble methane. According to our findings published earlier in Nature Geoscience, Science and Philosophical Transactions, Royal Society, the size of CH4 bubble flaw from the bottom sediments into the ESAS water can vary from milligrams to tens or hundreds of grams per square meter a day depending on the state of subsea permafrost, which leads to the concentration increase of atmospheric CH4 in the surface layer to values 2-4 times exceeding background concentrations measured in our planet,' says the first author of the paper Professor Natalia Shakhova, the TPU Department of Geology and Minerals Prospecting.
              She notes that these findings were confirmed during the expedition to the East Siberian Arctic Self in 2016. The expedition was organized and conducted jointly with the scientists from the Pacific Oceanological Institute FEB RAS, with the participation of the Institute of Oceanology RAS and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics RAS. More data will be published in 2018.
              'The results of our study ensure fundamentally new insights of the mechanism of processes responsible for the state of subsea permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf which, according to various estimates, concentrates up to 80% and more of entire subsea permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere, under which there are huge hydrocarbon reserves in the forms of hydrates, oil and free gas.
              Besides, based on this data approaches to studying of subsea permafrost and its mathematical simulation will be revised and changed. This is critical for the reduction of geo-risks arising during the exploration and industrial drilling. However, there are still many unresolved issues which our research team will deal with,' says Associate Member of Russian Academy of Sciences Igor Semiletov, Head of Arctic Seas Carbon Research International Lab, TPU.

              Is this year's Arctic melt slowing down?

              Arctic sea ice report – 08/23/2017

              Image may contain: ocean, outdoor, water and nature
              This is how the Arctic looks today.

              No automatic alt text available.

              The latest figures based on models seem to show an uptick in ice extent. I am not that good at interpreting the figures below but comments in the Arctic sea ice blog mention that conditions are ripe for a cooling, therefore reaching the hopeful conclusion that we might have “dodged the bullet” again.

              I have no idea myself but it does seem that due to weather conditions in the Arctic (it is certainly calmer compared with, say, last week).

              The first thing I might observe is that the figure for ice extent are not totally reliable and there is comment on the blog to that effect.

              It is equally true that we may have “dodged a bullet” as far as a possible Blue Sea event (or not), but the die is cast. The ice is thin, has badly fractured and there is only a small amount of thick,multi-year ice left, pushed up against the Canadian part of the Arctic.

              That ice ain’t coming back – never.

              What the illustrations below show is that the water is still way warmer than “average” and, for God’s sake, it is RAINING in various places in the Arctic showing a much greater level of moisture-laden clouds than any time in the past.

              Like previous years we wil just have to wait and see what transpires. Maybe, like last year we will see major and unexpected changes in the winter?

              Here are the latest figures provided by Torstein Viddal:

              Daily volume: 4,326 km³ (3rd lowest for the date) Δ +658/day
              –2696/week, +306/month, +314/year, –115/5year (–2.6%)
              Daily extent: 5,003,285 km² (5th lowest for the date) Δ –45k/day
              –200k/week, –2046k/month, +140k/year, +992k/5year (+25%)
              2017 volume maximum 22,255 km³ on May 12th (*lowest*)
              2017 volume minimum¹ 3,006 km³ on July 20th
              2017 extent maximum 13,878,287 km² on March 6th (*lowest*)
              2017 extent minimum¹ 5,003,285 km² on August 22nd
              ¹Preliminary max/min
              Source: JAXA / Wipneus for August 22nd 2017.

              No automatic alt text available.

              Re: The 2017 melting season
              « Reply #3901 on: August 22, 2017, 12:36:36 AM »
              In terms of drift, hycom predicts some movement, until the 25th, when the forecast is shown below. 26th and 27th similar frigid quietness. The broad highs seem not to set much in motion.

              This is excellent to cool things down. If the highs bring clear skies, the better for cooling down ocean and ice.

              The following, which I have taken from various sources illustrates the state of play today.

              Firstly, precipitation in the Arctic.

              No automatic alt text available.

              Snow and ice in the Arctic
              No automatic alt text available.

              Sea temperatures anomalies

              No automatic alt text available.

              Temperatures in the Arctic

              No automatic alt text available.

              Wednesday, 23 August 2017

              Is the pope a globalist?

              Pope says migrants' rights should override national security concerns

              Image result for Pope says migrants' rights should override national security concerns
              22 August, 2017

              VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged political leaders on Monday to defend migrants, saying their safety should take precedence over national security concerns and that they should not be subjected to collective deportations.

              His challenge to politicians, made in a comprehensive position paper on migrants and refugees, again appeared to put him at odds with the restrictive policies of a number of governments dealing with growing popular anti-immigrant sentiment.

              "Solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return," he said in a message ahead of the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

              Calling for "broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally," he said the human rights and dignity of all migrants had to be respected regardless of their legal status.

              "The principle of the centrality of the human person ... obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security," he said.

              This appeared to be a reference to fears voiced in many European countries that refugees inflows could lead to security problems in their host countries. He said it was necessary "to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained."

              He called for "alternative solutions to detention" for illegal immigrants and said "collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions".

              Francis said migrants should be seen as "a true resource for the communities that welcome them" and be given freedom of movement, access to means of communication, access to justice and everyday rights such as opening a bank account.

              Francis, an Argentine who has made defence of migrants a major plank of his papacy, has criticised anti-immigrant stands by national leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump. Last year, Francis condemned then-candidate Trump's intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

              Migrant children deserved particular protection, the pope said. They "must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status," guaranteed access to primary and secondary education and have the right to remain when they come of age.

              Francis's message immediately drew the ire of the right-wing Northern League party in Italy because it implicitly supported a controversial law proposal that would grant citizenship to children who are born in Italy of immigrant parents.

              "The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth," the pope said.

              Northern League leader Matteo Salvini responded: "If he wants to apply it in his state, the Vatican, he can go right ahead."

              World leaders are due to commit their countries to two global compacts, one on refugees and the other on migrants, by the end of 2018 under the auspices of the United Nations.