Monday, June 28, 2010

Miami AMS Conference

First off, AMS stands for American Meteorological Society and they hold two conferences a year, one for broadcasters and another for scientists in general, which is usually in January. Scientists and meteorologists gathered to present information on topics such as the current oil spill, global warming, and other new discoveries in the world of weather. Aside from the meetings, we had a chance to tour the National Hurricane Center, and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (where they do extensive research on the interaction of the atmosphere with the oceans, and it's quite complex when you get right down to it). You're already familiar with the job of the hurricane center, and it turns out Tropical Storm Alex just happen to form during our time in Miami. The pictures (from left to right) include:

1) A forecaster that is looking at sea swells and weather conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and in the Atlantic. They have another meteorologist that is working on the Pacific forecasts, but he's on the other side of the room. 2) During hurricane events, you will see the national media do interviews with Bill Read (Director of the hurricane center) from this desk, located just off to the side of the actual forecast center. 3) The gentleman in the blue shirt is one of the meteorologists that coordinates with the hurricane hunters as they prepare to fly through Alex. While we were visiting with him about his job, data started flowing in as the reconnaissance aircraft was just entering the storm 4) This is a briefing room where research meteorologists coordinate with the hurricane center and hurricane hunters before flying into tropical storms and hurricanes. Once inside the storm, weather instruments are dropped from 10-15,000 feet to get measurements of temperature, pressure, and winds 5) Dr. Richard Wanninkhof explains to us how the ocean gives off and takes in Carbon Dioxide, depending on which part of the ocean you are looking at, and how it changes depending on El Nino and La Nina conditions.

This was such a great learning experience, and helped broaden my knowledge of tropical weather (which you don't get to use much when you are landlocked here in Kansas). Have a great week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

AMS Conference 2010

I'll be attending the American Meteorological Society Broadcast Conference in Miami later in the week. There will be several meetings covering everything from global warming to how we cover severe weather on television. Several scientists and meteorologists from across the country will gather in Miami to present research they've conducted on various topics. The National Hurricane Center is located in Miami, and we'll spend one day touring the facility and meeting the staff that is gearing up for what is expected to be a big season. Hurricane season officially started on June 1st and continues through October. The initial forecast is calling for 3-5 major hurricanes.

I'll be blogging about my Miami trip, so look for updates late in the week. It will be an educational trip for me, and a chance to meet broadcasters from all around the country. I'm sure there will be a few thunderstorms while I'm there, so I won't feel too disconnected from Kansas. And Millie will be well taken care of while I'm gone. Have a great week and stay cool.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thinking Arbys (seriously)

I had a chance to watch the Wichita Wingnuts play Thursday evening down at Lawrence Dumont and although they didn't win, the weather was about as good as it could be for baseball. I was a little surprised when one of the employees of the Wingnuts stopped by to invite me to participate in the Arby's Wingnut shuffle. Basically, Spinner (the mascot) hides behind 3 roast beef sandwiches, and then they mix them all up and I had to guess which one he was behind. With the help of Denise Hnytka and some others close by, I was able to guess correctly and everyone in that section was given a coupon to Arby's. The craziest part was the hat, or Arby's crown they made me wear during the contest. Denise is responsible for the picture.

Jeff posted a question on the last blog entry asking if the oil will move around to the east coast and cause any kind of change in the weather patterns. There is some concern the oil will get caught in the Gulf Stream and works it's way around to the Florida Keys, and then up the east coast, but that is probably weeks, or maybe even months away. It's very unlikely that the oil will influence the overall weather pattern, but stranger things have happened. Weather patterns are influenced by temperatures in ocean, but the oil would have to be in the eastern Pacific to have much of a chance of influencing things around here, or the western half of the United States. I just hope they get it under control before a hurricane threatens that area. Time is ticking for sure.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hurricane Forecast 2010

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season and if they don't get the mess in the Gulf of Mexico cleaned up, can you imagine how messy that's going to be. And I wonder, with a powerful storm surge, how far inland the oil will be carried. I find myself checking about 2 times a day to see what the latest is on the gushing oil situation, just hoping to one day read that they have it contained and nearly stopped, but it still sounds like it's going to be several days or weeks before we get the good news. There is so much of the Gulf of Mexico that is closed to fishing because the oil continues to spread, but according to NOAA, 68% is still fishable. What a mess and they can't get it cleaned up fast enough.

Speaking of hurricanes, the outlook for the upcoming season has been released, and it calls for 14-23 named storms (which means the storm would acquire winds of 39 mph or higher), 8-14 hurricanes (winds of at least 74 mph), and 3-7 major hurricanes (reaching Category 3, 4, or 5). I am always a little skeptical of these forecasts, because so many variables this far in advance are unknown, but based on the warmer than normal water, and light winds aloft (due to El Nino influence), it sounds like there will be plenty of tropical weather to look at this summer and early fall.

Have a great week.

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