NBCNews has an article on the recent tornado disasters, in the wake of yesterday’s Oklahoma touchdowns, and includes some interesting discussion with weather researchers and HPC simulations experts. In addition, they have a few nice visualizations of historical storm data.
“Tornado Alley” generally refers to the region centered in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and points north, where tornadoes are most frequent — but multiple studies indicate that the deadliest twisters occur to the east, in a region that’s come to be known as “Dixie Alley.” The reasons for that have to do with geography and demographics as well as meteorology in the southeastern United States: Storms tend to move faster, and they’re more likely to strike at night. There are more trees and other obstructions to raise havoc. Population densities are generally higher, and the region has many manufactured homes that lack basements in which to take shelter.
As part of a new planetarium show called “Dynamic Earth”, the NCSA working with NCAR to visualize terabytes of data related to the devastating Katrina hurricane. The result is this beautiful, if not a bit scary, visualization of one of the worst hurricanes to land on US shores.
A hurricane research team at the Earth System Laboratory, led by Wei Wang, computed the evolution of the storm using a complex numerical weather prediction model. Running this mathematical model on the Bluefire supercomputer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research yielded terabytes of data, which AVL then transformed into a striking animation of the 36-hour period when the storm is gaining energy over the warm ocean. Volume-rendered clouds show abundant moisture. Trajectories follow moist air rising into intense “hot tower” thunderstorms and trace strong winds around the eye wall; rapidly rising air is yellow, while sinking air is blue. The sun, moon, and stars show the passing of time.
Tableau has an interesting visualization of the many natural disasters in the last 2 decades and lets you look at death tools, financial damage, and other figures across the US.
I used the visualization and zoomed in to see what’s been happening since 2004. The cost of Hurricane Katrina was $145 billion and caused 1,833 deaths. As you’ll notice in the image above, Katrina is the dot way up at the top along 2005. By comparison, Irene cost $7 billion and caused 21 deaths.
Nate Silver, brain behind the statistical magic of FiveThirtyEight, points his sights at Hurricane Irene and tries to come up with a reasonable analysis of news coverage as compared to economic impact and measurable damage of severe weather.
We’ll accomplish this by creating a statistic which I’ll call the News Unit or NU. This is defined by taking the total number of stories that mentioned the storm by name for instance, “Hurricane Hugo” or “Tropical Storm Hugo”; either one is considered acceptable and dividing by the average number of stories per day that were available in the NewsLibrary.com database during that period. I then multiply the result by 10 just to make things a little bit more legible — so essentially, a News Unit consists of one-tenth of all the stories published on a given day.
He does lots of analysis and finds some interesting things out. It’s a lengthy article to read, but a worthwhile example of data-driven analysis from a wide variety of sources.
Hurricane season is underway, so all those folks in Florida & The Gulf States are anxiously awaiting to see if we’re gonna get another Katrina this year. The forecast doesn’t look good:
According to the Colorado State University’s June update there is a 48% chance for a major hurricane making landfall along the US East Coast and a similar 47% chance somewhere along the US Gulf Coast. Of all the states, Florida will have the highest risk for a land-falling hurricane (71%) and major hurricane (34%). Texas is next with a 50% hurricane risk and a 20% major hurricane risk followed closely by Louisiana at 47% and 20% respectively.
gCaptain has rounded up some of the best website for tracking potential and existing hurricanes on his site. He has the usuals (NHC, Weather Underground) as well as a few you may not know like IBISEYE and CIMSS.
The New York Times has a nice interactive viewer of the tornadoes that have ripped across the southeast United States.
The death toll was high in several Southern states after devastating storms ripped through the region, spawning deadly tornadoes. The map shows the locations of reported tornadoes each hour (Central time) across the eastern United States since April 21.
Unfortunately they don’t have the April 12th weather that nearly blew my house away.
The NOAA Center for Tsunami Research has released a video of the tsunami propagation in the Pacific Ocean.
Propagation of the March 11, 2011 Honshu tsunami was computed with the NOAA forecast method using MOST model with the tsunami source inferred from DART® data. From the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, located at NOAA PMEL in Seattle, WA
The NOAA Center for Tsunami Research has released their initial visualizations of this morning’s Honshu Tsunami event.
The graphics display forecast results, showing qualitative and quantitative information about the tsunami, including tsunami wave interaction with ocean floor bathymetric features, and neighboring coastlines. Tsunami model amplitude information is shown color-coded according the scale bar.
While the earthquake and tsunami were devastating, the plots show an interesting beauty to the event.
Hurricane Earl is now the second major hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season with winds of 125 mph. While the consensus track keeps it away from landfall on the United States, one must remember that hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable. The Weather Channel has posted a 3-D image of the eye of Hurricane Earl as of early Monday afternoon from the Puerto Rico radar site. If you click on the link, you can see time lapse radar imagery of Hurricane Earl passing near Puerto Rico.
NASA turned the eye of it’s Moderate Resolution Imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at Pakistan over the weekend, capturing some breathtaking “during” and “after” images of the summer monsoon season’s impact on the Indus River in northern Pakistan.
Monsoon rains fall in Pakistan every summer, but the rains beginning in late July 2010 were unusually heavy. By August 1, 2010, entire villages had washed away, more than 1,100 people had died, and an estimated 2.5 million people were affected, according to news reports. A shortage of safe drinking water and a possible outbreak of cholera were among the most pressing dangers.
Hit their site to download larger-resolution versions of both images.
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