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
Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles
23.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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