January 4-5, 2010

Air Temperatures The following maximum temperatures were recorded across the state of Hawaii Monday afternoon:

Lihue, Kauai – 79
Honolulu, Oahu – 83
Kaneohe, Oahu – 82
Kaunakakai, Molokai – 80
Kahului, Maui – 83
Hilo, Hawaii – 83
Kailua-kona – 83

Air Temperatures ranged between these warmest and coolest spots near sea level around the state – and on the highest mountains…at 5pm Monday evening:

Honolulu, Oahu – 80F
Lihue, Kauai – 74

Haleakala Crater – 54 (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea summit – 41 (near 14,000 feet on the Big Island)

Precipitation Totals The following numbers represent the largest precipitation totals (inches) during the last 24 hours on each of the major islands, as of Monday afternoon:

0.78 Puu Opae, Kauai  
0.11 Hawaii Kai, Oahu
0.00 Molokai 
0.00 Lanai
0.00 Kahoolawe
0.02 Puu Kukui, Maui

0.00 Big Island

Marine WindsHere’s the latest (automatically updated) weather map showing a ridge of high pressure south of the Big Island, along with a dissipating cold front over Kauai. Our winds will be locally gusty from the southwest into Wednesday.

Satellite and Radar Images: To view the cloud conditions we have here in Hawaii, please use the following satellite links, starting off with this Infrared Satellite Image of the islands to see all the clouds around the state during the day and night. This next image is one that gives close images of the islands only during the daytime hours, and is referred to as a Close-up visible image. This next image shows a larger view of the Pacific…giving perspective to the wider ranging cloud patterns in the Pacific Ocean. Finally, here’s a Looping IR satellite image, making viewable the clouds around the islands 24 hours a day. To help you keep track of where any showers may be around the islands, here’s the latest animated radar image.

Hawaii’s MountainsHere’s a link to the live webcam on the summit of near 14,000 foot Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The tallest peak on the island of Maui is the Haleakala Crater, which is near 10,000 feet in elevation. These two webcams are available during the daylight hours here in the islands…and when there’s a big moon rising just after sunset for an hour or two! Plus, during the nights and early mornings you will be able to see stars, and the sunrise too…depending upon weather conditions.

Tropical Cyclone activity in the eastern and central Pacific – Here’s the latest weather information coming out of the
National Hurricane Center, covering the eastern north Pacific. You can find the latest tropical cyclone information for the central north Pacific (where Hawaii is located) by clicking on this link to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Here’s a tracking map covering both the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. A satellite image, which shows the entire ocean area between Hawaii and the Mexican coast…can be found here.


Aloha Paragraphs

Rising surf along the north & west shores

The cold fronts keep coming, although none of them have been very productive…in terms of precipitation yet. The most recent one is over Kauai early Monday evening…trying to make it across the Kauai Channel to Oahu. We’ve seen, I don’t know, I’m starting to lose count here, but there have been several over the last week…with several more up ahead. This satellite image shows the nature of the one near Kauai.  Here’s a larger satellite picture, showing more perspective. Since we’re gaining a larger view, here’s the largest one I have, showing the really big picture…with the islands outlined in blue.

Sometimes, when we have these cold fronts digging southward towards the tropics, we see a little cool air filtering in behind the frontal boundary.
Looking at that big picture above, I don’t see any evidence of chilly air at all. As a matter of fact, the computer models are suggesting that warm south to southwest Kona winds will continue, as the next cold front quickly approaches from the northwest. The big picture (above) again shows that next frontal band taking shape already far to the northwest. It looks like there might be quite a bit of cool air streaming in behind the next cold front, which is expected to arrive in
Hawaii by mid-week. This next one doesn’t look like it will be productive in terms of rainfall either…do we remember how to spell drought? Taking a look at this looping radar image today, it shows a few showers racing in towards Niihau and Kauai, riding in on the Kona winds.

The winds picked up volcanic haze as it left the Big Island vents, on the winds when they were coming from the southeast direction…last week. This brought vog right up to the islands of Maui County, where it stayed most of the time during the last week. The rest of it headed out over the ocean to the west of Oahu and Kauai, when the winds turned southerly. Then, as the southwest winds started up, as the ridge got down over, and to the south of the Big Island…it got blown into those islands locally. I didn’t hear about it, although I figure that some of the vog mixed with the fireworks smoke, in places New Year’s Eve. It looks like we won’t be completely done with the haze until this second cold front arrives Wednesday into Thursday, at which point the chilly north to northeast breezes arrive. This will be short lived though, as the ridge drops down over us again this coming weekend, likely bringing more vog around then…ahead of the next cold front, arriving early next week.

Perhaps bigger news than any of the vog or the Kona breezes, or the feeble cold fronts…will be the major west-northwest swells, which are also approaching. We have the first of two WNW swells in town now…I mean the north and west facing shores. This first one is what we might call medium in size, compared to the much larger one arriving on Tuesday. The one today is expected to be 10-15 feet (wave faces), while the one Tuesday is forecast to reach 20-35 feet. This would qualify as high surf warning level water, which is expected to last into Thursday. Here’s a wave model, which shows the current swell, the one for Tuesday, and then a third one later this weekend. The main point to be made here is that the general public should be aware of these larger than normal waves, and more than that…to stay away from the waters edge on those effected shores!

It’s Monday evening, as I begin writing the last section of today’s narrative.  If you had a chance to reac down through the paragraphs above, you have a good lay of the land ahead…so to speak. There appear to be back to back changes, although other than the very large surf conditions, nothing appears to be all that drastic, or should I say dramatic? The best we could hope for would be for no one to get hurt by the extra large waves, and that we end up receiving at least some precipitation from one of these cold fronts. It has been dry, very dry in many areas around the Aloha state now, and we could use some water, in no uncertain terms. Here on Maui, at least the volcanic haze is all gone now, which is a big relief, after almost a week worth of those

hazy skies. ~~~ I’m about ready to leave work here in Kihei, where it was a nice day, for the drive back upcountry to Kula. I’m hoping to get home in time for an early evening walk, So, I’d better get on the road right now. I’ll meet you here early Tuesday morning with your next new weather narrative from paradise, I hope you have a great Monday night until then! Aloha for now…Glenn.

Interesting: Now that Copenhagen is past history, what is the next step in the man-made global warming controversy? Without question, there should be an immediate and thorough investigation of the scientific debauchery revealed by “Climategate.” If you have not heard, hackers penetrated the computers of the Climate Research Unit, or CRU, of the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia, exposing thousands of e-mails and other documents.

CRU is one of the top climate research centers in the world. Many of the exchanges were between top mainstream climate scientists in Britain and the U.S. who are closely associated with the authoritative (albeit controversial) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among the more troubling revelations were data adjustments enhancing the perception that man is causing global warming through the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Particularly disturbing was the way the core IPCC scientists (the believers) marginalized the skeptics of the theory that man-made global warming is large and potentially catastrophic. The e-mails document that the attack on the skeptics was twofold. First, the believers gained control of the main climate-profession journals. This allowed them to block publication of papers written by the skeptics and prohibit unfriendly peer review of their own papers.

Second, the skeptics were demonized through false labeling and false accusations. Climate alarmists would like you to believe the science has been settled and all respectable atmospheric scientists support their position. The believers also would like you to believe the skeptics are involved only because of the support of Big Oil and that they are few in number with minimal qualifications. But who are the skeptics?

A few examples reveal that they are numerous and well-qualified. Several years ago two scientists at the University of Oregon became so concerned about the overemphasis on man-made global warming that they put a statement on their Web site and asked for people’s endorsement; 32,000 have signed the petition, including more than 9,000 Ph.Ds.

More than 700 scientists have endorsed a 231-page Senate minority report that questions man-made global warming. The Heartland Institute has recently sponsored three international meetings for skeptics. More than 800 scientists heard 80 presentations in March. They endorsed an 881-page document, created by 40 authors with outstanding academic credentials, that challenges the most recent publication by the IPCC.

The IPCC panel’s report strongly concludes that man is causing global warming through the release of carbon dioxide. Last year 60 German scientists sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to “strongly reconsider” her position supporting man-made global warming. Sixty scientists in Canada took similar action.

Recently, when the American Physical Society published its support for man-made global warming, 200 of its members objected and demanded that the membership be polled to determine the APS’ true position. What do the skeptics believe? First, they concur with the believers that the Earth has been warming since the end of a Little Ice Age around 1850.

The cause of this warming is the question. Believers think the warming is man-made, while the skeptics believe the warming is natural and contributions from man are minimal and certainly not potentially catastrophic. Ã la Al Gore. Second, skeptics argue that CO2 is not a pollutant but vital for plant life. Numerous field experiments have confirmed that higher levels of CO2 are positive for agricultural productivity.

Furthermore, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas. More than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor. If you are going to change the temperature of the globe, it must involve water vapor. Third, and most important, skeptics believe that climate models are grossly over-predicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide.

We are being told that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world. The revelation of Climate¬gate occurs at a time when the accuracy of the climate models is being seriously questioned.

Over the last decade Earth’s temperature has not warmed, yet every model (there are many) predicted a significant increase in global temperatures for that time period. If the climate models cannot get it right for the past 10 years, why should we trust them for the next century? Climategate reveals how predetermined political agendas shaped science rather than the other way around.

It is high time to question the true agenda of the scientists now on the hot seat and to bring skeptics back into the public debate. (Author:) Neil Frank, who holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University in meteorology, was director of the National Hurricane Center (1974–87) and chief meteorologist at KHOU (Channel 11) until his retirement in 2008.

Interesting2: The Arctic Ocean is generally considered a remarkably quiet ocean, with very little mixing, because a cover of sea ice prevents wind from driving the formation of internal waves. To study this effect and investigate how melting sea ice might affect ocean mixing in the Arctic, Rainville and Woodgate analyze data from moorings in the northern Chukchi Sea. They find that when the ocean was mostly covered with ice, even strong winds did not generate much response in it.

On the other hand, during the summers when less sea ice was present, wind generated large internal oscillations and increased turbulence. The extent of Arctic sea ice in the summer has been declining significantly in recent years, likely resulting in increased internal wave generation, the authors note. Because internal waves bring deeper waters closer to the surface, the results have important implications for Arctic Ocean ecosystems and ocean dynamics.

Interesting3: The Galeras volcano in southern Colombia erupted on Saturday, shooting rock and ash and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of about 8,000 people. No one was killed or injured in the eruption. But officials warned that the volcano could remain volatile. Galeras volcano is located in southern Colombia close to the border with Ecuador. The volcanic complex consists of several small calderas, cinder cones and a stratovolcano.

Two caldera forming events have occurred at the volcano. 560,000 years ago, and sometime between 40,000 and 150,000 years ago. The city of Pasto with 450,000 inhabitants is located on the eastern slope of Galeras. The regional Romeral-Buesaco fault system intersects the volcano along NE-SW axes, and the Pasto fault traverses the edifice on its southeastern flank.

Thousands of revelers celebrating the annual Black and White Carnival in the nearby city of Pasto were startled by Saturday’s eruption but the festivities carried on. A massive eruption of the Galeras volcano killed 10 people in 1993. Six volcanologists and three tourists were killed in the crater of Galeras on 14th January 1993.

Twenty people were in the crater when the volcano erupted. Twenty tornillo earthquakes occurred at the volcano in 16 days prior to the eruption. The previous eruption at Galeras on 16th July 1992 was preceded by 9 tornillo earthquakes in 5 days. Despite the pre-eruption earthquakes, the scientists still entered the crater.

Some of the people who entered the crater did not wear a helmet or take other safety gear. Outdone by an tower extending over 800 meters in Dubai, the world’s former tallest building, Taipei 101, wants to become the highest green structure by completing a checklist of clean energy standards, a spokesman said on Monday. Taipei 101 will spend T$60 million ($1.9 million) over the next year to meet 100 criteria for an environmental certificate that it would hold over Dubai, spokesman Michael Liu said.

Interesting4: No wonder antibiotic-resistant bugs are spreading in hospitals: if cleaners over-dilute their solutions, washing surfaces with disinfectant may make things worse. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium responsible for severe chest infections, can become tolerant to the commonly used mild disinfectant benzalkonium chloride. The bug develops mutations that enable it to expel the disinfectant.

Worse still, tolerant strains can also shrug off ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic widely used to treat gut and urinary tract infections. Tolerance only developed when the bacteria were exposed to dilute solutions of the disinfectant. "If you use them wrongly by diluting, you’re asking for trouble," says Gerard Fleming at the National University of Ireland in Galway, who led the research that revealed the problem.

"The message is that you must use them properly, to the concentration stated on the bottle." Fleming found that bugs pushed to develop resistance to ciprofloxacin were also automatically tolerant to the disinfectant too, so the danger spreads both ways. The best solution is to use bleach, to which no bacteria are known to be tolerant. Fleming plans to find out if bugs can be trained to tolerate even bleach if it’s diluted enough.

Interesting5: Most people can picture the first responders who come to the rescue in the wake of a natural disaster. But who provides emergency help for the dogs, cats and horses that people love? And who takes care of the cows, poultry and hogs that form the backbone of animal agriculture?

North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is helping to fill the need through a unique initiative that requires all of its students to receive disaster training, providing a new generation of leaders in veterinary medicine and disaster response.

"This training program is important because there is a real need to build our capacity to respond to disasters," says Dr. Dianne Dunning, co-author of a recent study on NC State’s landmark training requirement and director of the university’s Animal Welfare, Ethics and Public Policy Program.

"Emergency response is generally geared towards people, particularly at the local level. We need to protect the health of the people and the health of the animals — whether they are pets or livestock related to a region’s livelihood. We believe this training will help veterinarians respond to the needs of both people and animals.

"NC State has the only college of veterinary medicine that requires all of its students to take a formal disaster response training program, and we hope this is a model for others to follow," Dunning says. Students, who must take the program to graduate, earn advanced state and federal disaster training certifications.

The training program deals with a variety of disaster response issues associated with a staggering array of animals. Students are taught how to work with displaced people and their pets. For example, learning how to set up and operate mobile animal shelters that can be located near emergency shelters for displaced people.

Students are also taught how to respond to an epidemic in livestock in order to stop disease from spreading — a crucial step in preventing disruption of local and regional economies that depend on animal agriculture.

Preventive measures include quarantining animals, as well as ensuring that veterinarians, farmers and others don’t spread the disease on their clothes or shoes. But the disaster training is not limited to dealing with animals — it extends to overarching planning and response.

"The course gives our students the skills they need to become leaders in their communities when it comes to disaster response," Dunning says. "The training touches on a host of skills required in the wake of a disaster: fundamental psychology, effective communication, hazardous material handling, and the ability to anticipate, identify, and respond to new needs as they crop up."

Interesting6: The office-commercial tower that reigned for five years as the world’s highest building at 1,670 feet, expects the U.S-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design to give it the certificate in 2011. "We’re focused now on becoming a Taiwan landmark, that won’t change, and on going green. We’d be the tallest building to get a green certificate," Liu said by telephone. Taipei 101, he said, would work with its 85 office tenants to cut electricity and water use, while encouraging them to recycle more refuse.

Annual utility savings should total T$20 million. Restaurants would be asked to bring in supplies from as close as possible to reduce transportation. "We can reduce power, trash and water by more than 10 percent," he said. "We’re already pretty green. In principle there’s no major problem." The Taiwan skyscraper, complete with an observation deck popular with tourists, has already met 60 of the checklist items, including double-paned windows to retain cool air.