Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Wilma" 2005 & "Monica" 2006


Here's Monica. Current info (4/23/06) describes the monster offshore Australia's north coast as "strong category 5"; "much stronger than 1974's Tracy, the benchmark storm for the area," with gusts near the center at 350 km/h.

Storm intensity depends on central pressure, quantified in hectoPascals (hP) in the metric world, and in millibar (mb) in quaint overseas colonies. Nasty weathers are low pressure systems. Really nasty weather has really low pressure. The lowest ever recorded was 882 mb of Wilma in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Until today, that is. Monica measures at 879 mb.

The Monika-Puzzle:

In 2005 all meteorological records came crashing down.

The Atlantic hurricane season started weeks earlier and ended a month later than normal; a record 28 storms formed; a record 15 hurricanes formed; 2 hurricanes spun all the way from Florida over to Portugal and the Canary Islands; the US weather service ran out of alphabet names and switched over to Greek letters.

And I don't even mention the 2005 weather madness in China, Japan, and Taiwan.

Natural dynamics plays out in waves, and any crest is followed by a trough. So you'd think that 2006 should be a breather since 2005 was a peak, and that a higher crest would follow 2007. So why Monica's 879 mb now? Does it have anything to do with the fact that the 2005 extremes unfolded in the northern hemisphere, and that it is now the turn of the points south of the equator?

The Wilma-Puzzle:

Kepler discovered the law of light radiation (photometric measurement), Newton applied it to gravitation, and Kant generalized it to free field radiation.

The idea is well known: As distance from a power point increases, the force expanding into inflating activity-bubbles weakens.

Since the surface area of a bubble increases as the square of its radius, force falls off as the inverse square of distance in three dimensions. Which means it falls off sharply. And that means one shouldn't sense the field beyond rather short limits.

Wilma broke the 2005 power-record with 882 mb offshore Yucatan before noon October 19. Yucatan is quite a ways from Tampa. At noon, I was bicycling to campus. It was hot and muggy but nothing out of the ordinary. But when leaving the classroom at 3:15 EST, I felt like being struck by a hammer. The pressure was the weirdest thing. I ran into Kwasi Wiredu; neither of us could make sense of this. Later that afternoon there was mock-hurricane weather over campus -- blue sky and sunshine alternating every 20 minutes with dark clouds and gusts. But Wilma was far away!

How can one feel weird pressure in Florida when the pressure is weird in Mexico?


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