1965 posts categorized "Science"

08/13/2017

Rain for Many in the Morning!

Following a terrific weekend, it's looking like those rain chances come back quickly to start the new workweek.

Satrad

A mid-level disturbance will combine with moisture returning from the south to produce a good shot at some shower activity during the morning hours tomorrow. 

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

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AT shows rain arriving around daybreak and exiting during the early afternoon hours.  

Best chance of rain rain will be along the Ohio and points to the south.  

Rain chances

Jude has a full update first thing on WDRB in the Morning.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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08/12/2017

ECLIPSE OUTLOOK: Targeting those Rain Chances for the Big Day!

It's early, but perhaps not too early to start talking about that forecast for the August 21st eclipse.  

While it is entirely too early to talk specifics, it's not too early to start talking about chances for rain. 

Eps_uv200_c_noram_39

Turning to the Euro's 50-member ensemble forecast model, we can start to get a picture of what to expect for the 21st.  Today's run showing an upper "trough" located over the Great Lakes with a strong upper "ridge" over the South Central US.

Timing and tracks of these upper features will be critical in determining how the weather will pan out for us that day, but the current ensemble data suggests only about a 10 or 20% chance for rain during the 24 hour period ending at 8 pm on the 21st.  

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That's pretty encouraging.  While the lower resolution, 16 member GFS ensemble is not quite as optimistic, it's only showing between a 20 and 30% for us during the same time frame.

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Keep fingers crossed that this holds!  I'll have a full update on the Eclipse Forecast tomorrow evening.  

Stay tuned!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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08/06/2017

It's a Rainy Night! How much more to expect...

It's been a good soaking rain so far averaging around a half inch for the metro area.  Locally as much as 1.5 inches south near the Kentucky Parkways.

Rainfall projection

And there's more to come.  

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

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So how much more can we expect?

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Latest data showing only a quarter of an inch north with up to an additional 2 inches across our Southern Counties.  

Fortunately this rain comes with no severe threat.  Showers diminish out the door tomorrow with sunshine and low humidity returning Tuesday.  

We'll all be mowing though by the end of the week!  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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08/01/2017

VIDEO: Why 2017 Solar Eclipse is such a BIG deal!

Video via Vox

There's a plethora of useful information in this video.  Hopefully you enjoyed it too.  

Now let's just hope that our weather will cooperate for the big show!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/31/2017

2017 August Outlook!

July goes into the book at midnight, but the numbers don't lie.  It was a hot one! 

Low temps averaged out to 72° and highs came in at 89.5° with several days in the mid to upper 90's.  SDF recorded highs of 98 and 97° respectively on the 21st and the 22nd day of the month.  In total temps averaged about 1.6 degrees above normal for the month that only delivered 2.79" of rain, leaving us nearly 1.5" below normal since July 1st.  

OK, now that July is behind us, what can we expected for the month of August??  

The Climate Prediction Center released their updated August Outlook earlier today and are advertising a cooler than normal month for much of the Plains and warmer than normal conditions along the West Coast as well as the Northeast and Southeastern US.  

Off15_temp

For precipitation, CPC shows above normal rainfall for the Southern Tier of the US and drier than normal conditions over the Pacific Northwest. 

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That leaves us in the the "Equal Chances" category which simply implies that they are expecting our area to see near normal temperatures and precipitation.  

Climatologically speaking, Louisville averages around 88 for a high with an average low of near 69° for the month of August with normal rainfall at about 3 1/3".  

What do the models say?

Looking a bit deeper into the data, it is worth noting the current upper pattern that is developing over East-Central North America.  With both the GFS and Euro (GFS shown below) just like we saw this past weekend, a sizeable ridge of high pressure will continue to impact the Western US through the end of the week.  At the same time, also like we saw this past weekend, a significant trough of low pressure is forecasted to develop again this weekend for the Central and Eastern US.  

Gfs_uv250_noram_19

Like we saw last weekend, underneath this trough a pocket of cool air is expected to send temps back below normal for this time of the year with highs perhaps only reaching the low 80's and overnight lows well into the 50's for many.  

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Further out, the GFS continues to indicate that this basic pattern of a ridging out West and troughing over the East looks to continue into the middle of the month.  

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This sentiment is echoed by the Euro with the latest run of the "Euro Weekly" long range forecast model showing temps averaging below normal not just over the Plains as CPC would suggest, but over almost the entire Central and Eastern US.  

Eps_t2m_768h_conus_129

In addition to the cooler than normal forecasted temps, the Euro is also showing a healthy amount of rain for the same region with locally 3 1/2 to 4 1/2" projected in our area. 

Eps_qpf_768_conus_129

So what do I think?  

I don't think you can argue with what the current model data is saying.  While there will certainly be a number of hot days this month, the overall trend is a cooler one going into the second half of summer.  Around here, that is a good thing!  In addition, the rains projected by the Euro would be very welcomed after falling into a two inch deficit since the beginning of the summer.  

However, as we have seen in the past, this forecast will be highly dependent on the rain being delivered.  As we are already a bit on the dry side, if we don't see significant rainfall over the next week or two, then this outlook could really take a turn.  In the meantime, fingers crossed for the rain and cool temps!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/30/2017

NASA Image of the Day: The Deepest Lake in the United States!

ISS052-E-8744Image Acquired June 26, 2017

Click Here for Full Resolution Image!

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station shot this photograph of Crater Lake, in the Cascade Mountains of southwest Oregon. Snow still blankets most of the slopes surrounding the crater in late June, and clouds cast dark shadows on the lake surface. Wizard Island, a cinder cone volcano, is almost hidden by the clouds over the western part of the lake. (Note that north is to the bottom of the photo.)

Crater Lake is the surface expression of a caldera that formed when Mount Mazama—a composite volcano whose peak once towered 3,600 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level—exploded and collapsed in a catastrophic eruption approximately 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. The lake now stands 1,883 meters (6,178 feet) above sea level.

Fed by rain and snow, and with no rivers flowing in or out, Crater Lake is the deepest in the United States and ninth deepest in the world. The depth of the lake (592 meters or 1,943 feet) was first calculated by geologist Clarence Dutton and his team using 168 measurements made with piano wire and lead weights. He was assisted by William Steel, who later campaigned to establish Crater Lake as a national park in the late 1800s. The original measurement of depth was only 53 feet off from modern sonar measurements.

In 1902, Crater Lake and the surrounding 740 square kilometers (280 square miles) were established as Crater Lake National Park. In 2016, more than 750,000 people visited the park. Part of the reason the lake has so many visitors is the fishing. In the late 1800s, Steel and colleagues introduced six species into the lake, though there are only rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon (the landlocked version of sockeye salmon) remaining today. Since none of them were native to the lake, fishermen are not required to obtain a permit.

Astronaut photograph ISS052-E-8744 was acquired on June 26, 2017, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 52 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Andi Hollier, Hx5, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.

Image and information courtesy NASA

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07/29/2017

NASA: 9 selected proposals to advance knowledge on the Sun & space environment

17-064Illustration of the heliophysics system. Credits: NASA

NASA has selected nine proposals under its Explorers Program that will return transformational science about the Sun and space environment and fill science gaps between the agency’s larger missions; eight for focused scientific investigations and one for technological development of instrumentation.

The broad scope of the investigations illustrates the many vital and specialized research areas that must be explored simultaneously in the area of heliophysics, which is the study of how the Sun affects space and the space environment of planets.

“The Explorers Program seeks innovative ideas for small and cost-constrained missions that can help unravel the mysteries of the Universe,” said Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division and the selection official. “These missions absolutely meet that standard with proposals to solve mysteries about the Sun’s corona, the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, and the solar wind.”

Under the selected proposals, five Heliophysics Small Explorer missions and two Explorer Missions of Opportunity Small Complete Missions (SCM), concept studies will be conducted that span a broad range of investigations focusing on terrestrial weather in the near-Earth space environment; magnetic energy; solar wind; and heating and energy released in the solar atmosphere. 

The proposals were selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans. Small Explorer mission costs are capped at $165 million each, and Mission of Opportunity costs are capped at $55 million each.

Each Heliophysics Small Explorer mission will receive $1.25 million to conduct an 11-month mission concept study. The selected proposals are:

Mechanisms of Energetic Mass Ejection – eXplorer (MEME-X)

  • MEME-X will map the universal physical processes of the lower geospace system that control the mass flux through the upper atmosphere to space potentially transforming our understanding of how ions leave Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Principal investigator: Thomas Moore at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI)

  • FOXSI is a solar-dedicated, direct-imaging, Hard X-Ray telescope that would detect hot plasma and energetic electrons in and near energy release sites in the solar corona.
  • Principal investigator: Steven Christe at Goddard

Multi-Slit Solar Explorer (MUSE)

  • MUSE will provide data to advance understanding of the difficult problems of mechanisms responsible for energy release in the corona and the dynamics of the solar atmosphere.
  • Principal investigator: Ted Tarbell at Lockheed Martin Inc. in Palo Alto, California

Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS)

  • TRACERS will fill a fundamental gap in our knowledge of the global variability in magnetopause reconnection by providing an abundant, well targeted set of new and unique in situ measurements.
  • Principal investigator: Craig Kletzing at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City

Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH)

  • PUNCH will advance our understanding of how coronal structures fuel the ambient solar wind with mass and energy, and the dynamic evolution of transient structures in the young solar wind (near the source surface).
  • Principal investigator: Craig DeForest at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado

Each Mission of Opportunity (SCM will receive $400,000 to conduct an 11-month mission concept study. The selected proposals are:

Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE)

  • SunRISE will consist of a constellation of cubesats operating as a synthetic aperture radio telescope to address the critical heliophysics problems of how solar energetic particles are accelerated and released into interplanetary space.
  • Principal investigator: Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE)

  • AWE will investigate how atmospheric gravity waves, including those generated by terrestrial weather, impact the transport of energy and momentum from the lower atmosphere into near-Earth space, a fundamental question in Heliophysics.
  • Principal investigator: Michael Taylor at Utah State University Research Foundation in Logan

A Partner Mission of Opportunity (PMO) proposal has been selected for components and scientific analysis for three in situ payload instruments aboard the Turbulence Heating ObserveR (THOR) mission – one of four proposed missions currently under consideration by ESA (European Space Agency). After ESA’s final selection, work will begin on implementation of the PMO only if THOR is selected.

The chosen PMO is:

U.S. Contributions to the THOR mission (THOR-US)

  • THOR-US will provide components and scientific analysis for an investigation into how plasma is heated and accelerated by the dissipation of turbulent fluctuations through kinetic processes. The concept study for THOR-US was conducted prior to its selection for NASA’s Explorer Program, so the team is positioned to move into the detailed design phase if its host mission is selected.
  • Principal investigator: Harald Kucharek at University of New Hampshire in Durham

One Mission of Opportunity SCM received highly favorable review for scientific and scientific implementation merit, but was deemed to require more technological development of the instrument’s innovative optical design before further consideration of an implementation concept. This proposal is offered funding for a continued technology development study. The SCM chosen for a technology development investigation is:

COronal Spectrographic Imager in the Extreme ultraviolet (COSIE)

  • COSIE would provide a missing link between the physics of the low corona and that of the heliosphere with a unique and innovative instrument based on the International Space Station.
  • Principal investigator: Leon Golub at the Smithsonian Institution/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Explorers Program is the oldest continuous NASA program designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the agency’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs. Since the Explorer 1 launch in 1958, which discovered Earth’s radiation belts, the Explorers Program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) missions that led to Nobel Prizes for their investigators.

The program is managed by Goddard for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system and universe.

For more information about NASA’s Science Mission Directorate activities, visit: https://science.nasa.gov

Information Courtesy NASA

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/26/2017

Approach of Cold Front to Spark Numerous Storms

Following a real scorcher today, the approach of a slow moving cold front looks to bring us rounds showers and storms on Thursday with the potential of some strong storms and locally very heavy rainfall.

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Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

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AT shows the potential of storms arriving during the predawn hours tomorrow and the possibility of rounds of storms through the midday.

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From there we get some heating during the afternoon with another round, perhaps a line of storms arriving during the evening.

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If enough heating is achieved, this line could be strong or possibly severe with damaging wind potential.

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Storms slowly diminish during the evening hours.  The chance for showers continues overnight and into early Friday.

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Update from Storm Prediction Center

Because of uncertainty regarding the amount of heating we will see, SPC has dropped the Slight Risk and placed much of the region in a VERY LARGE "marginal" risk (in green) covering up areas from the Southern Plains and into the Eastern Seaboard including the Ohio Valley .

Watch

How much rain?

Rainfall amounts will be very dependent on how individual storms develop and if "training" occurs.  Right now a large range can be expected with some areas potentially picking up more than an inch or two.  

Rainfall projection

Hopefully the heaviest precip will avoid our western Southern Indiana counties where so much rain fell over the weekend.  Otherwise, the rain will be welcomed.  

Marc and Rick will have a full update on the storm potential on WDRB News this Evening.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/25/2017

Turning Steamy and then Stormy Midweek!

Hopefully you enjoyed our brilliant weather today, because it was a one day deal.  

Gfx

The passage of a warm front sitting to our west will turn our winds back around to the south tomorrow ushering in much higher levels of both heat and humidity again for the middle of the week with heat indices again pushing near 100°. 

Following a scorcher on Wednesday, a cold front currently located over the Rockies, looks to swing through on Thursday bringing a good bet for storms to return to the area.

Could they be Severe?  

In short, yes.  The combination of abundant low level moisture, sufficient wind energy aloft and a good lifting mechanism should provide some strong storms in our area.  If these ingredients get coupled with good heating/instability, then I think severe weather will be likely with damaging winds and hail possible.  

Currently, the Storm Prediction Center our east-central counties under a Slight Risk for severe weather on Thursday. 

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Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

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Current model consensus agrees that multiple rounds of storms will be possible on Thursday and into Thursday night.  Any storms that develop during the afternoon or evening could be severe.  

In addition to the potential for strong storms, rainfall could be very generous once again and perhaps excessive if "training" of storms occurs like we saw over the weekend. 

How much rain?

I think the latest run of the GFS has a decent handle of the forecast showing anwhere between 0.75" and better thaqn 2.00" over our area.  

Rainfall projection

While we are still a bit dry, the rains will be welcomed.   

Marc and Rick will have the latest on Thursday's storm potential tonight on WDRB News.

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07/24/2017

NASA: Striking Image of Benign Extratropical Cyclone!

Northatlantic_tmo_2017197Satellite image acquired July 16, 2017

Click Here Full Resolution Image!

Cyclones that form over Earth’s mid-latitudes—like the storm that swirled over the United States in 2010—are often memorable for the wind, rain, and tornadoes they can spawn. But not every one of these low-pressure systems delivers severe weather.

On July 16, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of a mid-latitude (extratropical) cyclone off the coast of Portugal. It is possible that the clouds were not even producing rain, but they still make for a striking image. This image was composed with visible and infrared light (MODIS bands 7-2-1), a combination that highlights the contrast between clouds and land.

Extratropical cyclones occur where warm and cold air masses meet. They gain energy from this temperature contrast, and develop cyclonic circulation around a center of low pressure. In the vicinity of the Iberian Peninsula, these systems are relatively slow-moving and tend to be poorly developed in summer; they often form clouds without any precipitation. In contrast, fast-moving systems dominate in winter; they are more developed, and are often linked to heavy rain and stronger winds.

“A slow-moving cyclone over the Portuguese coast sucked in dry, cloud-free air from the Iberian Peninsula and moist, cloudy air from the Atlantic, forming a spiral,” said Peter Knippertz, a meteorologist at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He notes that the clouds wrapped up in the circulation appear to be marine stratocumulus.

Hot, dry continental areas typically see lower pressure (thermal lows) than the nearby ocean. Sometimes these thermal lows become mobile and move offshore. When the image was acquired, there was a particularly strong contrast between North Atlantic and continental Europe. According to Knippertz, the Iberian Peninsula was experiencing a heat wave at the time, with widespread temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (100° Fahrenheit).

Extratropical cyclones like this one usually occur during the summer months over Iberia, as well as Morocco. See the circulation off Morocco in July 2016 and more recently in June 2017.

Image and information courtesy NASA

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy KappellNAS

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