Blog in motion …

The address and hosting of the blog is changing … unfortunately that means if you subscribe, you’ll have to re-subscribe on the new site (I tried to make it seemless but that isn’t working out …).  Hopefully it will be much faster, secure, integrated, blah, blah.  Anyway, the new address is https://blog.enkiops.org.  This site will stay active for a while until I’m sure stuff is switched over, but in theory all new posts go to the new site.  Note this isn’t about Patreon – only the public blog!

Hello, and a note about Patreon billing …

Hi guys – I wasn’t planning on starting this thing until the first, but storms have their own timetable.  Please be patient as I ramp this thing up.  On thing to note is that Patreon bills monthly with the first charge the day you sign up.  Unfortunately in this case I think that means that you will get hit twice if you sign up this week – for July, then again in August.  I’m going to try to do something extra for all who signed in “early” before the first and got the double hit.  Again, Thanks!

AL092020 and Chaos … (5pm Tue 28 July 2020)

So … I wasn’t planing on doing this quite so soon, but with Potential Tropical Cyclone #9 threatening the viral encrusted southeast, I’m doing a mega-juggleing act and trying to fire up the Patreon site, as well as do some much needed computer infrastructure rearranging.  So please be patient with the chaos … and the brevity of this post.  As for PTC9, nothing too much changed since NHC started advisories.  Here’s the latest “core” track models that NHC is having to work with.  I didn’t put GFS in here because the 12z run was way off and the 18z run isn’t up yet:

As for impacts, the current thinking is that this thing will remain a tropical storm until Florida landfall – but there is a yuge amount of uncertainty in that until it spins up better, so it may not even go to Florida.  Way too early to freak out if you are on the mainland US.  PR does need to prepare for a tropical storm, as do the USVI and northern Caribbean.  More in the morning …

Enki has started a Patreon account to help fund this work – please think about supporting us if you find this valuable.

The Cost Of Doom

It probably looks simple,  a map showing the projected impacts of a storm in plain English, a discussion of the chances that a given coastal town will face a windy day, or a life changing catastrophe:

 

But behind this graphic is a huge amount of infrastructure.  Yes, government agencies provided the forecast track, but in order to reliably calculate the impacts in easy to understand terms like “Minor Damage, Power Out” takes a bank of computers.   The analytical tools take time and money to develop. Just to keep the lights on and run the satellite, network, and computer systems costs almost $5000 a month.  Unfortunately, government funding for this kind of work has become increasingly limited, and it’s not in the interest of most news outlets to say you’re not doomed – they need your eyes on their screen, or clicks on their web site.  Or, better yet, download their app so they can collect data to support advertising.

Enki Research has been posting information on a blog and social media in various forms since 1990.  There is a huge amount of raw data out there, and a lot of “noise” and agenda-driven reporting.  We help cut through that noise and get you solid actionable information. Covering hurricanes (tropical cyclones), earthquakes, pandemics, wars, and other disasters world-wide, Enki is planning on expanding its public outreach and the information available to you directly as well as support for responsible news outlets.  Here’s your chance to  help support an independent, unbiased, science based source of hazard information, as well as get customized information and insider, Patreon only content.  Please consider contributing.

Tropical Storm Cristobal, Saturday 6 June 2020

Before discussing Cristobal … I’ve re-established the link to Facebook because so many get their information that way.  While it is a problematic platform in many ways, the simple fact is many people use it.  I would again caution that for real time hazards and news, Facebook can even be dangerous because it does not show you things chronologically.  It also does not show you every post, because it aggressively wants corporate and even non-profit users to pay them to “boost” posts.  So if you really want live data from Enki, bookmark the blog directly.  Another thing I dislike is people profiting from disasters.  As I get time I’m considering options like creating an app,  but I may have to set up a Patreon type thing to sponsor that.  Either way, I really appreciate everyone who has contacted me with well wishes and ideas for how to sort through this.  Note going forward I am not reading or responding to comments on FB.  This is purely an echo of what goes on to the site as a convenience for FB users.

Cristobal has re-emerged into the Gulf of Mexico, and tropical storm force winds should make landfall on the Louisiana coast tomorrow morning – but the impacts will be felt starting later today/tonight.  NHC’s key messages are pretty straightforward, and there are tropical storm warnings up for the Louisiana/Florida Coast, including New Orleans.  Here is the forecast damage swath …

Two things about Cristibal:  first, it isn’t likely to get very strong.  It has a very broad structure, and is dragging in dry air, limiting how intense it can get.  Here is a water vapor image from this morning, you can see the dry air in orange … as always, click any graphic to embiggen.

The second (related) thing is how large the system is.  Normally tropical cyclones get smaller as they get more intense.  It’s a lot like an ice skater who spins faster as she draws her arms in, and slows down when they are extended.  The circulation of Cristobal is quite large.  That means the area of winds and somewhat elevated water is also large – but it also means the storm won’t intensify as fast, even given warm water.  There is also some shear (winds moving in different directions in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere).  Here’s the 850mb (about 5000 feet up) wind speeds … so even the Florida coast might see gusty (but not dangerous) winds.  Water elevations will run a bit above normal across the Northern Gulf Coast – but only structures right on the coast are at risk.  However, soil moistures are high, and there will likely be a lot of rain, meaning there will be river/creek flooding, so if you live near one along the Gulf Coast beware.  Aside from the odd tree down and scattered power outages, that should be about it for Cristibal.

 

 

Tropical Depression #3

Some bits of the system that was Amanda in the East Pacific is now Tropical Depression #3 (AL032020) as NHC has started advisories.  It is expected to become a Tropical Storm tomorrow, and meander near the Mexican coast for a couple of days, dumping a *lot* of rain on Southern Mexico and Central America, with a significant risk of flooding and mudslides.  Here’s what it looks like at about 5pm ET today, see if you can find the center …

Most likely it will end up going inland over Mexico/Central America and dissipating.  But, depending on the Virus and the Riots, you may see scary graphics like this one …

showing a monster storm bearing down on the Gulf Coast (and note this graphic is lying, since it’s just a tropical storm here).  It’s certainly not time to worry about that, it’s not the most likely scenario at this point.  But, the interesting thing is, while *this* circulation may well die out, another may well form in the same place later in the week and drift north, so the whole situation is worth watching anyway.  It will be especially interesting to see if NHC maintains continuity, or creates yet a third storm of of essentially the same chunk of hot air …

Administrative note: As previously posted, I’ve discontinued the Enki Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Facebook in particular was problematic and their policies are rather toxic and ultimately became unacceptable, so I needed to stop feeding the beast.  However, I understand that many people are on it with family and friends and it is a pretty ubiquitous communications tool.  Feel free to share links there if you like.

As for the blog, I’m not sure what direction it is going to go, or how it will be supported.  We’ll see how it goes.

Brief update and correction

First, a correction.  On the previous graphs and notes the “Y” (vertical) axis was mislabeled as deaths per 1000 population; it should have been per 10,000.  Just a typo on the labels (and using copypasta too much), the data itself and plots were OK.  Here is the chart for this morning (29 March) with the correct label, and the points a bit larger and hopefully clearer:

I again want to caution everyone about getting too worked up over daily wobbles in the numbers.  First of all, the systems that compile this data are really overworked.  Italy, for example, has some known delays in accounting so that when a death is registered may be some time after it actually occurred.  As previously discussed “cases” are a terrible metric because they depend on the availability of testing as well as the “case” being severe enough for someone to bother to test it. And it takes on average at least three weeks for the impact of measures like “social distancing” to show up in mortality data; this chart is a look back at what was going three, even four weeks ago (because of the time it takes for someone exposed to get sick and pass away).  So while like everyone I’m nervous about Italy and Spain not starting to trend lower, I’m not worried about it (yet).  If they go above 2.5 and still trending rapidly up, that’s not a good sign.  But as you can see, there’s a long way to go before that happens.

I’m not showing a total US plot for several reasons.  First, countries like Italy and Spain (as wells as Hubei province, China) are in population about the size and area of our states.  Second, areas larger than states have multiple “start times” and and the curves are so messy it’s hard to see what is going on.  Will check back in a few days to see where things are going …

Possible storm in Gulf – will it impact the #Delain #Amorphis Concert in Tampa Saturday?

Have been working on some complex computer issues the last few days, sorry didn’t get to comment more on the severe impacts of Hagibis on Japan, which were a bit worse than expected.  Not to minimize the impacts, but unlike the Bahamas (which still needs extensive help from Dorian) Japan is well equipped to deal with this.

As for current events, there is a system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico that has some potential to impact the Gulf Coast this weekend.  NHC gives it a 50% chance of spinning up in the next few days.  The big question is of course how it will impact the upcoming Anneke Van Giersbergen/Amorphis/Delain Concert this weekend in Tampa.   The storm by then should be inland over Georgia, but being a weak tropical system with an extensive displaced rain inflow it is possible that it could be stormy across Florida for those trekking across that nightmarish landscape of alligators, tourists, huge dancing rats, and screeching auto-tuned princesses to get to The Orpheum for the show.  Here is the GFS forecast for late Saturday afternoon …

If this holds up the worst should be past, but it will be a nerve wracking wait to see how strong this thing gets, and how fast it moves.  Other models have it moving slower

Here is a current (2pm Wednesday Afternoon) GOES East image … the white blob on the Pacific side is what is left of Potential Tropical Cyclone 17E, the spiral shape in the center is the potential (as yet no ID) storm.  The line of clouds to the north is the cold front that is passing through the Southeastern US today.

#Russia, #Ukraine, and #Impeachment: some missing context

Administrative note: I had some problems with drafts being posted straight to the site/FB/Twitter, causing some confusion, broken links and partial posts.  Hopefully that is fixed! Update on storms will be coming this afternoon.

Sorry this article-length post isn’t about the weather, but it is on a topic I know quite a bit about, and like hurricanes it is an area that the US media and political establishment exploit for drama and manipulation.  And, like hurricanes, it is a complex and nuanced thing.  As the US House of Representatives gets serious about Impeachment over the Trump, Biden, Ukraine and Russia connections, I hope everyone will take some time to understand how and why we got here and realize it’s not really about Russian or Ukrainian attempts to interfere in our politics, it is blow-back as a result of over two decades of the US  manipulating and exploiting financially those countries after the fall of the Soviet Union, and how US domestic politics got entangled with them.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read it through, and not jump to a conclusion based on which political team you cheer for.  As in so many things, both parties have utterly failed you, and are blaming the “other” for the ensuing mess.  Although this post is long, it’s still overly simplified, but at least it’s a start.

It’s hard to know where to begin this story, but to avoid writing a book we’ll start it with the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and why the shadows of that event are now cast in the heart of US Politics.  The Soviet economy was in shambles, and numerous deals were made to facilitate a peaceful transition between the Former Soviet Union (FSR) and the independent nation-states that resulted from the breakup.  There are two key elements of that breakup that are of interest to us here: the disposition of the nuclear arsenal, and  reforms of the “communist” economies (they weren’t really communist, and barely deserve the term “socialist,” but that’s the label that stuck).  First let’s look at the post-Soviet borders and military situation …

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