Tag Archive: Great Lakes

Earth Watch Report Banner photo FSPEarthWatchReport900x228Blogger_zps53ef6af0.jpg



Published Nov 22 2015 09:45 PM EST

Snow totals from Winter Storm Bella.

Winter Storm Bella not only brought the first, not to mention locally heavy, accumulating snow of the season for some in the Great Lakes and Midwest, but also was one of the heaviest November snowstorms of record for some.

(MORE: Science Behind Naming Winter Storms)

Parts of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, metro area picked up over a foot of snow in an intense snowband Friday. A similar setup impacted parts of northern Illinois on Saturday, including some of Chicagoland. Saturday afternoon, a band of heavier snow enhanced by Lake Michigan impacted Chicago, resulting in very low visibility as it pivoted through the area.

Despite lacking strong surface low pressure, these systems are notorious heavy snow generators in the Midwest. Below is a recap of the snow totals from Winter Storm Bella.

Snowfall Totals

Numerous locations from southeastern South Dakota to southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and lower Michigan have reported a foot or more of snow from the storm.

Here is a sampling of official snowfall totals around the area, by state:

  • South Dakota: Tea (18 inches), Sioux Falls Regional Airport (7.2 inches)  
  • Iowa: George (17 inches), Waterloo (12.7 inches), Dubuque (11.7 inches), Des Moines (6.9 inches)
  • Nebraska: Near Bloomfield (16 inches), South Sioux City (6.5 inches), Valentine (4 inches)
  • Minnesota: Worthington (8 inches)
  • Illinois: Grayslake (16 inches), Chicago O’Hare (11.1 inches), Moline (9.9 inches), Rockford (8.6 inches),
  • Wisconsin: Near Footville (17 inches), Janesville (11.5 inches), Milwaukee (6.7 inches), Madison (4.1 inches)
  • Michigan: Howell (16.5 inches), Kalamazoo (9 inches), Flint (8 inches), Detroit (6 inches)
  • Indiana: Crown Point (5 inches), Lafayette (3.5 inches), near South Bend (3 inches), Tipton (2 inches)

Bella also produced the season’s first flakes as far south as northwest Arkansas Saturday morning, and left a dusting of snow in Springfield, Missouri, as well.


Read More Here


More snow is ahead for residents of northern New England a day after a fast-moving storm dumped about a foot on many communities, but rain and warmer temperatures could present problems in other states.

A worker is reflected in a building facade as he clears snow from the sidewalk in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. It was expected to drop 3 to 5 inches of snow on Boston, with 6 to 10 inches forecast for parts of Northern New England, before moving out late Tuesday and early Wednesday. (AP Photo | Michael Dwyer)

A worker is reflected in a building facade as he clears snow from the sidewalk in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. It was expected to drop 3 to 5 inches of snow on Boston, with 6 to 10 inches forecast for parts of Northern New England, before moving out late Tuesday and early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — More snow is ahead for residents of northern New England a day after a fast-moving storm brought about a foot to many communities, but rain and warmer temperatures could present new problems for other states.

A rain and snow mixture is possible Wednesday along the northern New England coast, but inland communities could see between 1 and 4 inches of snow, said Eric Schwibs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

That’s far less than the 12 inches of snow reported Tuesday night in New Boston, N.H., or the nearly 10 inches that fell in Kennebunk, Maine. There were no immediate reports of any major traffic messes caused by the weather.

MSN Weather: Check your local weather forecast

MSN Weather: Rock salt supply at critical low

Elsewhere in the country, as warmer temperatures bring rain and melt snow, concerns are being raised about the potential for flooding and collapsing roofs.

In Chicago, the weather service says people who live along rivers and in flood prone areas should prepare for possible flooding as the mounds of snow in yards and along streets melt.

Read More Here


NBC News

Flooding Woes are on Tap for Snow-Buried Midwest

Winter’s woes aren’t just about severe storms and bitter cold — there’s still freezing rain and melting snow to grapple with.

Nasty thunderstorms will target the Ohio Valley on Thursday and could bring an inch-and-a-half of rain and create extreme flooding conditions in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, according to forecasts. A flood watch has been issued across Illinois.

“The great melt has started,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Hirsch told NBC News.

Aside from the rain, warmer temperatures are moving in, which will speed the melt. Chicago, for instance, could hit a high of 50 degrees Thursday, forecasts say. The Windy City endured a 52-day stretch of below-freezing temperatures this winter, keeping the the accumulated snow firmly in place.

Read More Here


Enhanced by Zemanta


ice lighthouse.JPG
Ice on Lake Michigan is a major concern for those exploring wind turbines on the Great Lakes as this winter scene from Muskegon shows. (Chronicle file photo)

By Dave Alexander | dalexan1@mlive.com

on October 22, 2013 at 6:45 AM, updated October 22, 2013 at 7:27 AM

MUSKEGON, MI – Ice on Lake Michigan is apparently not a “show stopper” for those exploring wind turbine farms on the Great Lakes.

That is the initial conclusion of University of Michigan marine engineer Dale G. Karr based upon his work for the U.S. Department of Energy studying Great Lakes ice and its impact on wind turbine towers.

“I have not found ice to be a show stopper but our research will be useful in determining that question,” Karr told a lecture audience Monday, Oct. 21 at the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon.

That is not to say that lake ice isn’t an issue, far from it.

ProfessorKarrMAREC.JPGUniversity of Michigan Professor Dale G. Karr makes a point Monday, Oct. 21 at a lecture on Great Lakes ice and wind turbines at the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon.

“The Department of Energy is supporting this research to see if there is a show stopper,” Karr said. “Ice is a major issue if not the major issue for wind energy on the Great Lakes. The answer will start to emerge next spring when we will determine the designs and costs.”

Already offshore wind production is three times the cost of onshore wind farms such as the Consumers Energy Lake Winds Energy Park now producing electricity in Mason County south of Ludington, according to MAREC Director Arn Boezaart. Factoring in the cost of engineering wind tower protection against the ice is just one more reason that Great Lakes wind farms are likely more than a decade away, if the political will for such installations ever materializes, he said.

Karr said that the United States has taken an economic and technological back seat to Europe – especially Germany – and now both China and Japan in exploring, developing and deploying offshore wind. With the controversy of offshore wind in the United States for more than a decade, no offshore wind turbine has been installed although seven test projects are underway with federal funding.

“Europe is ahead of us probably a decade or so,” Karr said of offshore wind. “The German government is making offshore wind development the equivalent of our 1960s moon program. We are not the world leaders (in offshore wind) but now playing catch up.”

As the University of Michigan’s world-renowned department of marine engineering and naval architecture decided several years ago to delve into offshore wind technology questions, Karr began to study the effects of ice – an expertise he has obtained through studying oil and natural gas rigs in Arctic waters.

“We always get the question, why put wind turbines in the Great Lakes when there is ice?” Karr said of his research.


Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

Earth Watch Report  –  Extreme Weather



by Staff Writers
New York (AFP)

The US northeast was battered by heavy snow and strong winds Thursday as a mighty storm carved a violent arc across several states, killing more than a dozen people and snarling holiday travel.

More than 3,000 flights have been cancelled since Christmas Day including 746 on Thursday, as the storm wreaked havoc from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes before heading northeast, according to tracker FlightAware.

In New York City, high winds caused major air traffic delays: 186 flights were cancelled outright at the three major airports — Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark.

“Winter weather has arrived for many parts of the state, so as a precaution we have opened the emergency operation center to coordinate response efforts using all state and local resources,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents still without power two months after deadly superstorm Sandy slammed into the city in October to seek refuge in emergency shelters.

Although the storm was winding down late Thursday, a warning for heavy snow remained in effect overnight in New Hampshire and western Maine, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was departing the region, the government forecasters said, “but not before dumping another six to eight inches (15 to 20 centimeters) of snow over portions of Maine.”

So far, the heaviest snowfall has been recorded in northern New York, with 16 inches (40 centimeters) on the ground in the town of Edwards, near the border with Canada.

And a new storm was already looming, forecast to hit portions of New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the Ohio valley in the last weekend of 2012, according to forecasters at Accuweather.com.

The building storm was predicted to bring more snow, including to regions that only got rain in the first onslaught, the forecasters said.

In Canada, dozens of planes were grounded in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal due to the wintry weather, with 18 inches of snow expected in the southern part of Quebec province.

Earlier in the week, nearly three dozen tornadoes were reported in the southern US states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

More than 200,000 people lost power in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, and Entergy, the regional utility company, warned Wednesday that it could take crews up to a week to restore electricity in all areas.

The governors of both Mississippi and Alabama have declared states of emergency.

In Indiana, authorities dispatched nearly 600 trucks to clear highways and smaller state roads, and advised travelers to stay home if possible or else leave themselves extra time.


Read Full Article Here

Earth Watch Report –  Extreme Weather

Luke McHenry, left, his son, Sebastian Wells, dig out their snow-buried vehicle as residents in Madison, Wis. contend with a severe winter storm that moved through the upper Midwest Thursday, December 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

Luke McHenry, left, his son, Sebastian Wells, dig out their snow-buried vehicle as residents in Madison, Wis. contend with a severe winter storm that moved through the upper Midwest Thursday, December 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart) Photo: (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

21.12.2012 Snow Storm USA State of Iowa, [Iowa-wide] Damage level

Snow Storm in USA on Friday, 21 December, 2012 at 04:04 (04:04 AM) UTC.

The first widespread snowstorm of the season crawled across the Midwest on Thursday, with whiteout conditions stranding holiday travelers and sending drivers sliding over slick roads – including into a fatal 25-vehicle pileup in Iowa. The storm, which dumped a foot of snow in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin, was part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week before trekking into the Midwest. It was expected to move across the Great Lakes overnight before moving into Canada. The storm led airlines to cancel about 1,000 flights ahead of the Christmas holiday – relatively few compared to past big storms, though the number was climbing. In Iowa, drivers were blinded by blowing snow and didn’t see vehicles that had slowed or stopped on Interstate 35 about 60 miles north of Des Moines, state police said. A chain reaction of crashes involving semitrailers and passenger cars closed down a section of the highway. Officials said two people were killed and seven injured.



Antarctica faces major threats in the 21st century, says Texas A and M researcher

by Staff Writers
College Station TX (SPX)

Terra Daily / Ice World

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest location on Earth and is the only continent with no time zones.

The continent of Antarctica is at risk from human activities and other forces, and environmental management is needed to protect the planet’s last great wilderness area, says an international team of researchers, including a Texas A and M University oceanographer, in a paper published in the current issue of Science magazine.

Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt II, professor of oceanography who has conducted research in the area for more than 25 years, says Antarctica faces growing threats from global warming, loss of sea ice and landed ice, increased tourism, over-fishing in the region, pollution and invasive species creeping into the area.

One of the longer-term concerns that may present the greatest threat overall is the potential for oil, gas and mineral exploitation on the continent and in the surrounding ocean, the authors note.

Kennicutt says the Antarctic Treaty System that governs the continent has worked well since it was established in 1962 and that 50 countries currently adhere to the treaty, but it is under pressure today from global climate changes and the ever-present interest in the area’s natural resources, from fish to krill to oil to gas to minerals.

“Many people may not realize that Antarctica is a like a ‘canary in a coal mine’ when it comes to global warming, and Antarctica serves as a sort of thermostat for Earth,” he points out.

“The polar regions are the most sensitive regions on Earth to global warming, responding rapidly, so what happens in Antarctica in response to this warming affects the entire Earth system in many ways that we barely understand,” Kennicutt explains.

“Antarctica contains over 90 percent of the fresh water in the world, locked up as solid water in its massive ice sheets. Research that develops fundamental knowledge and understanding of these complex systems conducted in and from Antarctica is critical to understanding many of the challenges facing Earth today.”

In addition to conducting research in the area, Kennicutt is also president of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), formed in 1958 to coordinate international research in the region.

More than twice the size of the United States, Antarctica has no cities, no government and no permanent residents. All who go to Antarctica are short-time visitors, whether they are scientists, personnel that support scientists or tourists.

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest location on Earth and is the only continent with no time zones.

“The Antarctic Treaty has worked well for the past 50 years, but we need to rethink how best to protect the continent from a range of growing of threats,” Kennicutt adds.

“The treaty forbids oil or gas development, but it’s possible that could be challenged in the years to come. Until now, energy companies have shown little interest in exploring the southern reaches of our planet because of the harsh conditions, the distance to market and the lack of technologies make it a very expensive commercial proposition.

“In the 1960s, most believed that drilling on the North Slope of Alaska was not economical, and in less than 30 years, it became one of the world’s major sources of oil. Deep-water drilling today is practiced worldwide and subfloor completion technologies are rapidly advancing, so barriers in the past may soon be overcome increasing the threat to Antarctica in the not-so-distant future.”

Another problem – melting ice from several areas of Antarctica – is a very real concern today, Kennicutt adds.

“A report in the news last week shows that sea-level rise on the east coast of the U.S. is occurring much faster than predicted,” he notes.

“As the planet warms and the massive ice sheets break apart and melt, sea levels could continue to rise dramatically, not only in the U.S. but around the world. The ice sheets of Antarctica are known as the ‘sleeping giants’ in the ongoing debates about climate change and sea level rise. Scientists have only rudimentary understanding of how and when these ‘giants’ will contribute to sea level in the future.”

He adds that the first explorers to Antarctica more than 100 years ago would be surprised to see how things have changed in the region.

For instance, it has been proven there are more than 300 sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica, some of them as big as the Great Lakes, and the huge ice sheets in the area flow like rivers to the ocean. He adds that growing tourism in the area and numerous scientific expeditions suggest that the prospect of permanent human settlements is not out of the question.

“All of these concerns pose serious challenges to conservation and protection efforts in Antarctica,” Kennicutt notes.

“The bottom line is that we need to make sure that existing agreements and practices that address and respond to these threats are robust enough to last for the next 50 years, and that they truly provide the necessary protection of Antarctica that we all wish for and that we owe to future generations.”


Related Links
Texas A and M University
Beyond the Ice Age


GEOFON Southeast Of Ryukyu Islands Mar 16 03:39 AM 5.3 10.0 MAP

EMSC Vanuatu Mar 16 03:32 AM 5.0 63.0 MAP

USGS Vanuatu Mar 16 03:32 AM 4.9 10.0 MAP

USGS Kuril Islands Mar 16 00:38 AM 5.4 28.4 MAP

GEOFON Kuril Islands Mar 16 00:38 AM 5.8 10.0 MAP

EMSC Kuril Islands Mar 16 00:38 AM 5.5 2.0 MAP

Magnitude 4.9 earthquake, ROTA REGION, N. MARIANA ISLANDS

UTC Date / Time Mar 15 21:37 PM

Depth 105 km GEO: Longitude 145.300 GEO: Latitude 14.080


Two Powerful Aftershocks Highlight Ongoing Reassessment of Japan Quake Risks

On Wednesday, a 6.8 magnitude quake hit Japan’s northern Hokkaido Island. It was followed hours later by a 6.1 magnitude tremor in the Chiba Prefecture, which is directly south of Tokyo and some 600 miles from the location of the earlier quake. Both are described as aftershocks from the March 11, 2011 Tohoku quake.


Volcanic Activity

Cleveland Volcano Explodes For Third Time

Cleveland Volcano has exploded for the third time in just over a week. The latest eruption of the Aleutian volcano Tuesday afternoon was relatively small, according to a release from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Scientists at the Observatory weren’t able detect an ash cloud associated with this event or either of the other two. There’s no real-time monitoring equipment on Cleveland.

None of the recent eruptions have interrupted air travel in the region.

Cleveland’s last major eruption in 2001 sent ash clouds as high as 39,000 feet. The volcano is on uninhabited Island, about 160 miles west of Unalaska.


Lamongan volcano (East Java, Indonesia):

signs of unrest, alert raised to yellow due to increased seismic activity

A new volcano in Indonesia, Lamongan volcano in Eastern Java, is showing signs of unrest: weak steaming from its active crater and increasing earthquakes were reported by Indonesian scientists.


Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano unleashes 9 low-level emissions

by The Extinction Protocol

March 15, 2012 – MEXICO – The National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred) reported that in the last hours, the volcano Popocatepetl has expelled nine low-intensity exhalations accompanied by emissions of water vapor and gas, and sometimes small amounts of ash. The body of the Ministry of the Interior (Interior Ministry) reported that the monitoring parameters remain without important changes. He explained that at night, a glow was observed in the crater of the volcano and that for now; there has been a constant emission of steam and gas. He said the advisory code remains yellow in color phase 2 and the likelihood of prevailing moderate exhalations, some with ash emissions, and sporadic bursts of low to moderate probability of emission of incandescent fragments could be expected within walking distance of the crater. The Cenapred called for authorities to continue the safety radius of 12 kilometers around the volcano. Civil Protection has been urged to maintain preventive procedures in place, according to their operational plans and that people should keep advised to the latest news bulletins. –Cronica (translated)


Storms and Flooding

In the Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclone 17s (Lua) was located approximately 375 nm northwest of Port Hedland, Australia.


Severe Tropical Cyclone Lua to Hit Australia Coast tomorrow –

Lua has intensified to a powerful Category Three storm and is expected to lash the Pilbara coast with destructive winds in excess of 200km/h when it hits land tomorrow. Communities on the Pilbara and Kimberley coasts are on alert as the cyclone Lua, which currently has 185km/h gales at its centre, intensifies and moves towards land. Heavy rain and destructive winds are expected to hit the region and surrounding areas by late Friday or early Saturday. Lua was upgraded from a category 2 to a category 3 system early today. It is expected to cross the east Pilbara coast late Saturday morning or early afternoon. “Gales are currently being experienced in offshore Pilbara waters and are expected to develop in coastal areas between Whim Creek and Bidyadanga late Friday night. Very destructive winds with wind gusts in excess of 200km/h are likely to develop in coastal areas near the centre of the cyclone during Saturday…Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with damaging waves and very dangerous flooding.”
Remote Pardoo and Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park is in the path of the cyclone. There are fears the park will be damaged again, three years after it received a battering from Cyclone Laurence in 2009. “There’s all new trees, everything’s beautiful and green, and to see that destroyed again would be heartbreaking. We’ve prepared ourselves and we’ve got new buildings, which is the top rating you can get, but it’s all the work that’s gone into it to rebuild.” The iron-ore export port of Port Hedland is being evacuated and residents in the cyclone’s expected path have been urged to prepare their properties for dangerous weather and organise their emergency kits. Western Australia’s Fire and Emergency Services Authority has warned there may be significant flooding in the north Kimberley region and minor flooding in the east Kimberley area today. (map)



A tornado touched down in southern Michigan Thursday, and there were reports of significant property damage, with the tornado damaging or demolishing more than 100 homes, downing trees and power lines, sparking fires and flooding neighborhood roads. Local news station footage showed flattened homes but there were no immediate reports of injuries. There was a lot of damage reported just outside the village of Dexter. March and April typically produce the most tornados in the US but this season has already been especially active. Two massive weather systems beginning late last month have spawned a spate of tornados that have ripped through the South and Midwest, flattening towns and killing dozens of people.



More NSW residents told to evacuate as waters rise. The Murrumbidgee River is expected to flood yet another Riverina town over the weekend with about 1000 people preparing to flee the deluge.


Record Breaking Temperatures

U.S. RECORD-BREAKING WARM WEATHERadvances beginning of growing season

Recent ABNORMALLY WARM weather has resulted in a very early start to the growing season across the Great Lakes Region and much of the central and eastern USA. The prolonged warm spell is the result of a very persistent jet stream configuration across North America that generally prevented cold, arctic-origin air masses from moving out of their high-latitude source regions southward into the central and eastern USA. This left the area under the influence of relatively mild Pacific-origin air masses. The current jet stream pattern, with deep troughing across the western USA and ridging across the east has accentuated the pattern. The result is record-breaking warmth brought northward from the Gulf States on southerly winds.
Characterizing the current warm spell as HIGHLY UNUSUAL IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT, both due to the magnitude of the warmth and due to its length. Recent temperatures have been running in the range of 20 to 30°F or more above normal. The warm weather has caused an earlier peak time for cherry blossoms as Washington, D.C. hit a RECORD-BREAKING 82 degrees on a late winter’s day Thursday. (map depicting forecast conditions across North America early next week)



More RECORD-BREAKING WARMTH ahead for Denver. Colorado’s warm spell has a solid chance to leave its mark on the record book three times this week. The National Weather Service is predicting a high of 76 degrees today, which would eclipse the record high of 74 degrees for March.


Solar Activity

‘Deathstar’ like object spotted near sun

A NASA video of a dark, disc shaped object hovering near the sun has set off a wave of speculation online as amateur astronomers try to figure out what the object could be.

The video, taken from a NASA satellite and uploaded to Youtube by a man calling himself SunsFlare, shows a huge round object floating near the sun, with a large ‘twister tail’ extending from it.

The video shows the sun’s rays bursting out from the surface, but a large circular object remains black, with a dark ‘twister tail’ remaining connected to the sun.



Ice Age, Supervolcano Could Topple US Government


As more evidence mounts that the world is slipping faster into the next Ice Age, Washington insiders are scurrying to solidify their new power base for centralized government operations. Fears that the US…


White cliffs of Dover suffer large collapse

A large section of the white cliffs of Dover has collapsed into the English Channel between Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse.


Savanah Georgia region shaken by mystery ‘boom’ noise

“Earthquake “booms” have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most “booms” that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of “booms” that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these “booms” are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.



Rising Sea Levels Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S.

About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.