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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 11:55 AM   #21
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Re: Hurricanes

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Originally Posted by Nords
I wonder how much of the last 20 years' rise in storms is due to an improvement in satellite surveillance.

The Pacific & Atlantic are big places with plenty of deserted areas (no ship traffic).* Today if a storm whips up it's picked up within 12 hours (or at least discussed), but 25 years ago the technology was a lot more primitive and the Hurricane Hunters were frequently sent out to FIND the storms, let alone obtain data.* So maybe a generation ago we were blissfully ignorant.
Nords,

The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) have been in continuous operation for more than 25 years.* My first job at NASA in 1984 was on the project developing the second generation of these satellites. The first generation of these were "spin stabilized".* That meant that their cameras and other instruments were only pointed at the earth for a portion of the time it took the satellite to rotate on its axis. In geostationary orbit the satellite remains in the same position above the equator and can "see" nearly the whole hemisphere at once. NOAA maintained a constellation of at least 3 of these satellites at all times giving full coverage of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.* *While the frequency of picrtures from these early satellites was much lower than with the current generation, by no means were we blind to hurricanes over the oceans back then. Hurricane Hunter planes may have* needed to "find" where the storm had moved to since the last satellite image.* The current GOES satellites are "3-axis stabilized", meaning they point their instruments and cameras at the earth continuously and can send images in near real-time.

* *Grumpy
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 02:52 PM   #22
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Re: Hurricanes

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Originally Posted by grumpy
Nords,

The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) have been in continuous operation for more than 25 years.* My first job at NASA in 1984 was on the project developing the second generation of these satellites. The first generation of these were "spin stabilized".* That meant that their cameras and other instruments were only pointed at the earth for a portion of the time it took the satellite to rotate on its axis. In geostationary orbit the satellite remains in the same position above the equator and can "see" nearly the whole hemisphere at once. NOAA maintained a constellation of at least 3 of these satellites at all times giving full coverage of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.* *While the frequency of picrtures from these early satellites was much lower than with the current generation, by no means were we blind to hurricanes over the oceans back then. Hurricane Hunter planes may have* needed to "find" where the storm had moved to since the last satellite image.* The current GOES satellites are "3-axis stabilized", meaning they point their instruments and cameras at the earth continuously and can send images in near real-time.* *Grumpy
I remember when a satellite (GOES 8? 9?) died about 7-8 years ago.* For some reason the techs weren't able to tune their seven-meter dish electronically to the signal.* So they scrambled out into the parking lot and were actually using weighted strings & protractors to get the dish pointed toward the right spot in the sky.* Satellite images sucked for the time it took to move another GOES into position.

Spouse's answers:* NWS was hauled before Congress a few years back to testify about global warming.* During the hearing they said that hurricane frequency appears to oscillate with a period of about 60-70 years.* The last peak occurred in the 1940s, the last trough was in the 1970s, and they're expecting to see another peak in the next few years.* Of course the El Nino effect on hurricanes wasn't even discovered until the 1980s and the data doesn't go back much further than the cycle, so who knows how valid this may be.* NWS firmly stated that hurricane frequency is not linked to global warming, but that position is the subject of some debate.* (Gee, does anyone else get the feeling that meteorology is like predicting stock market returns?)

We're still trying to figure out the nuclear weapons question.* Despite the magnitudes of scale, if a butterfly's chaotic wing-flapping can supposedly lead to a hurricane then a nuclear explosion should be able to do something to it as well.* Of course anything's possible with chaos theory if you can wait long enough or try enough times.* I no longer hold the security clearances or the need to know whether or not the govt thinks it might actually work, which could complicate our research.

Google found about 63,000 hits for the words "nuclear meteorology hurricane" but most of them dismissed nuclear weapons out of hand like this NOAA article.* The logic is that a decent hurricane is much stronger than any nuclear weapon and the effects (if any) would be complicated by the spread of radioactive debris.* I also found an interesting article about Operation STORMFURY in the 1960s and another article on modern proposals.
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 03:41 PM   #23
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Re: Hurricanes

Nords,

A bit more history on meteorological satellites - there are stationary satellites and orbiters - the old Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) was a polar orbiter that had a visual image sensor and then as the program developed other types of energy sensors used for weather prediction. There was a recorder on the satellite which when it flew over the dedicated as well as shared ground system resources, would be downloaded and then made into film and/or ingested digitally into weather prediction computers. This was considered part of the strategic mission - the tactical mission was that while the satellite was downloading it was also filming, so tactical terminals (on Navy ships and in the field at Army/Marine or Air Force bases) could receive the 'live' data of what their local weather looked like as well.

The Air Force had a Global Weather Central in Omaha which did the strategic processing and product generation. This function was done for the Navy at Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center in Monterey.

DMSP has now become a "civilianized" program under the NPOES moniker - basically the satellites and systems are developed for both civilian and miltary uses under the same agency now. When I worked for DMSP, NOAA used a similar platform for their polar orbiter which wasn't quite as deluxe as the military version.

Holler if you want some more info on the actual launching of these puppies and/or some of the original ground system configurations.

I went and visited a weather office at and Air Force base a few years ago and was amazed at how PC technology had revolutionized the access to the type of quality data that could only be had by the strategic guys when I was working for the program (late '80s) - phenomenal - the stuff you see flying around on drudgreport is better than what we had back then. Now for info on some of the other sensors and what is being measured and what the significance is ...... interesting stuff and probably even more interesting that I know now.

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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 04:22 PM   #24
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Re: Hurricanes

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Originally Posted by deserat
I went and visited a weather office at and Air Force base a few years ago and was amazed at how PC technology had revolutionized the access to the type of quality data that could only be had by the strategic guys when I was working for the program (late '80s) - phenomenal - the stuff you see flying around on drudgreport is better than what we had back then.
I had access to a commercial pilot satellite weather terminal by WSI a while back...they offer similar data at intellicast.com . What you get from the internet site is only 15-30 minutes behind that of the 'live' system, if that much. (NWS and news sites are just as up-to-date, too.) Amazing. The pilot station did have plenty of extra functions I didn't see on the website, though.

When thunderstorms are in the area I just look at the map myself, turn on the animation and determine whether I should start unplugging my electronics.

For those with HDTV, several stations run all-weather subchannels so you can have live radar, too. Oh and cable often has a live weather radar channel, but I haven't had cable in years. It's an amazing time when we get several days' warning of a hurricane and a minute or more warning of a tornado.
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 04:30 PM   #25
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Re: Hurricanes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
We're still trying to figure out the nuclear weapons question.* Despite the magnitudes of scale, if a butterfly's chaotic wing-flapping can supposedly lead to a hurricane then a nuclear explosion should be able to do something to it as well.* Of course anything's possible with chaos theory if you can wait long enough or try enough times.* I no longer hold the security clearances or the need to know whether or not the govt thinks it might actually work, which could complicate our research.
I honestly would be astonished if a 57MT bomb like Tsar Bomba couldn't "take out" a hurricane through pure brute force.... i'm not advocating their use (or even construction) mind you, but am simply curious as to the effects of such a blast.



Quote:
The effects were spectacular. Despite the very substantial burst height of 4,000 m (13,000 ft) the vast fireball reached down to the Earth and engulfed the ground below it, and swelled upward to nearly the height of the release plane. The blast pressure below the burst point was 300 PSI, six times the peak pressure experienced at Hiroshima. The flash of light was so bright that it was visible at a distance of 1,000 kilometers, despite cloudy skies. One participant in the test saw a bright flash through dark goggles and felt the effects of a thermal pulse even at a distance of 270 km. One cameraman recalled:

The clouds beneath the aircraft and in the distance were lit up by the powerful flash. The sea of light spread under the hatch and even clouds began to glow and became transparent. At that moment, our aircraft emerged from between two cloud layers and down below in the gap a huge bright orange ball was emerging. The ball was powerful and arrogant like Jupiter. Slowly and silently it crept upwards.... Having broken through the thick layer of clouds it kept growing. It seemed to suck the whole earth into it.

The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural.
Another observer, farther away, described what he witnessed as:
... a powerful white flash over the horizon and after a long period of time he heard a remote, indistinct and heavy blow, as if the earth has been killed!

In districts hundreds of kilometers from ground zero, wooden houses were destroyed, and stone ones lost their roofs, windows and doors; and radio communications were interrupted for almost one hour. The atmospheric disturbance generated by the explosion orbited the earth three times. A gigantic mushroom cloud rose as high as 64 kilometers (210,000 ft).

Some time after the explosion, photographs were taken of ground zero. "The ground surface of the island has been levelled, swept and licked so that it looks like a skating rink," a witness reported. "The same goes for rocks. The snow has melted and their sides and edges are shiny. There is not a trace of unevenness in the ground.... Everything in this area has been swept clean, scoured, melted and blown away."

Just for kicks, I used google maps to eyeball the scale of the weather underground hurricane maps, and drew a circle with a radius of approx 200km ("hundreds of km") just to show the size.... it's pretty crazy... as were the Russians who built such a bomb.
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 06:35 PM   #26
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Re: Hurricanes

I guess the trick is to disperse the hurricane without killing everyone for miles and poisoning the environment for years.

Sounds like flea-spraying the cat with a flamethrower...
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 07:24 PM   #27
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Re: Hurricanes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
I honestly would be astonished if a 57MT bomb like Tsar Bomba couldn't "take out" a hurricane through pure brute force.... i'm not advocating their use (or even construction) mind you, but am simply curious as to the effects of such a blast.




Just for kicks, I used google maps to eyeball the scale of the weather underground hurricane maps, and drew a circle with a radius of approx 200km ("hundreds of km") just to show the size.... it's pretty crazy... as were the Russians who built such a bomb.
Please, Marshac, go rent Dr. Strangelove and then take a cold shower.

Ha
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 08:10 PM   #28
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Re: Hurricanes

Here's an article about blasting the hurricane away:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9440978/
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-22-2005, 09:12 PM   #29
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Re: Hurricanes

Dr. Strangelove is one of my all time favourite movies.
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Re: Hurricanes
Old 09-23-2005, 04:24 PM   #30
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Re: Hurricanes

Saw Bill Nye on Larry King last night; was only paying "some" attention, but he mentioned the force of a large rain storm being enormous, as in millions of pounds of water falling...

But if all else failed, we could break out the "nucular" weapons!! :P
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