The team will be installing five new complete weather stations in the communities of Calabash, Ash, Leeland (which will get two), and Boiling Springs Lakes, supplementing the detailed data already being provided by nine existing coastal weather-monitoring sites in the 855-square-mile county. The new stations are being funded by a faculty research grant from UNC Charlotte.
The aim of the researchers is to get an uniquely detailed, landscape-wide record of severe weather as it occurs – especially in the event that a hurricane passes nearby.
“Our goal is to try to improve the forecast of severe weather – as opposed to the daily forecast of weather that might disrupt a softball game but it’s not really going to tear your house down,” he said.
In particular, Eastin hopes to find further proof for a new theory that he and other researchers have developed that challenges the conventional view of tornado formation during hurricanes.
With a more detailed analysis, the researchers hope to develop monitoring and forecasting methods that might lead to earlier warning for the tornados that commonly occur in a hurricane’s outer rain bands. Hard to forecast accurately, hurricane-spawned tornados develop rapidly across broad areas and generally cause about 10% of a hurricane’s total damage.
Eastin points out that hurricane-generated tornados can be a big problem especially because they are so unpredictable.
“You are watching the hurricane move towards the coast and you think, ‘Oh, it’s making landfall down by Savannah, Georgia, and I live in Myrtle Beach, so I’m clear,’ and then, bam!, you get hit by a tornado,” he said.
“They happen a lot, and people are caught unaware. Across the Carolinas in 2004 and 2005 alone there were over 130 tornadoes in association with just seven tropical cyclones – none of which actually made landfall on the North Carolina coast – it was just the remnants moving through. It’s a fairly important forecast issue for our area.”
According to Eastin, part of the problem in forecasting hurricane associated tornados has been that meteorologists have always assumed that the parent storms that spawn the tornadoes do not develop until the hurricane rain bands move onshore.
“The traditional conceptual model is that the individual storms that comprise the hurricane rain bands are ‘ordinary’ over the ocean, and the increase in surface friction over land creates the miniature supercells,” Eastin said. “Supercells frequently produce tornados.
“What we have been finding is that you can actually have these miniature supercells form out over the ocean, and then produce tornados on or very near the beach,” he said.
The observations that Eastin is interested in collecting will come from his stations, five others maintained by the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) in Chapel Hill and from four RENCI flood sensors. Eastin hopes to collect data detecting sudden wind shifts and abrupt temperature shifts that are tell-tale signs of strong down-drafts and gust fronts, often the pre-cursors to tornado-formation. The information will, in turn, allow him to more accurately identify the specific over-water storms that preceded the dangerous land storms.
“We are trying to provide proof-of-concept through high-density observations,” Eastin said. “Ultimately, if we can understand what causes the supercell out over the open ocean, then we can help forecasters to detect them earlier with radar and give everyone a little more forewarning.”
James Hathaway | Newswise Science News
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy