September 22, 2006

Hurricaine watch

I was talking with a meteorologist/geophysicist and brought up the two hurricanes that are out in the Atlantic, heading for Europe. He said we didn't have to worry since there was some cold air and a high pressure system that was going to prevent their entry into Fortress Europe. He complained that a lot of times on the TV news the weather forecasters say that the cold high pressure air blocks the low pressure system. He said that you could equally well claim that the low pressure system, the hurricaine in this case, creates or feeds the high pressure system. It sounds like Yin and Yang I said. Exactly, he agreed, although he did have some fancy technical name for the phenomenon involving the terms pseudogeostrophic and mass. We agreed that it was strange that sea surface temperatures are high enough to feed hurricaines, yet there have been relatively few so far this season.
(Update-- one of the hurricaines was scheduled to hit Portugal today but it ran into some cold heavy air around the Azores yesterday and extinguished itself. The second one, Helene, is still out there, headed for Ireland.)


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