Atmospheric Dynamics And Shapes (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)
ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35973.65765
This image from Eumetsat shows in a nicely way how two masses of air of different density interact giving the shape of a mushroom. Sure you have seen this shape in many other places, when you serve a drop or milk into coffee, when you breath out some steam into cold air in winter… it also happens when barriers like tissues exudate aqueous substances through pores, like your skin or in pollen grains. In this case, North America is blowing air into the ear of Europe.
Eumetsat calls the technique used in this image Natural Colour. The Natural Colour RGB (Red, Green, Blue) makes use of three solar channels: NIR1.6, VIS0.8 and VIS0.6. In this colour scheme vegetation appears greenish because of its large reflectance in the VIS0.8 channel (the green beam) compared to the NIR1.6 (red beam) and VIS0.6 (blue beam) channels. Water clouds with small droplets have large reflectance at all three channels and hence appear whitish, while snow and ice clouds appears cyan because ice strongly absorbs in NIR1.6 (no red). Bare ground appears brown because of the larger reflectance in the NIR1.6 than at VIS0.6, and the ocean appears black because of the low reflectance in all three channels.
Even though the shape resembles somehow the mushroom shape coming from an atomic explosion, in atmospheric circulation this shape has different interpretations from what it happens in an atomic blast. We have to keep in mind that even though this image shows a 2D pattern, there is a three dimensional interaction in altitude between masses of air with different densities. Rayleigh-Taylor Instabilities play a key role in this image, altogether with rotation and kinetic energy as the main factors. A subject which can be studied with complex maths but also intuitively understanding some basic concepts.
But what really does it means for weather? See the following video from the Met Office.
Now we can look at the temperature for those masses of air moving in the satellite image. The Airmass product is an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) composite based upon data from infrared and water vapour channels from the SEVIRI instrument. It is designed and tuned to monitor the distribution of different air masses and evolution of cyclones, in particular rapid cyclogenesis, jet streaks and PV (potential vorticity) anomalies. Due to the incorporation of the water vapour and ozone channels, its usage at highest satellite viewing angles is limited. The Airmass RGB is composed from data from a combination of the SEVIRI WV6.2, WV7.3, IR9.7 and IR10.8 channels.
Northwestern Spain faces flooding rain this weekend
By Courtney Spamer, Meteorologist. January 9, 2016; 6:10 AM ET
The combination of a wet start to 2016 and more rain to follow this weekend has those in northwestern Spain on alert for flooding problems this weekend.
A pair of cold fronts will bring persistent rain to Galicia, Castile y Leon, Asturias and Cantabria this weekend. The rain will pour down heavily at times.
“This weekend, rainfall amounts of 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) will be widespread across northwestern Spain,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said. “But locally higher amounts up to 130 mm (about 5 inches) are also possible.” The highest rainfall totals and greatest risk for flooding will be in Galicia.
Accordingly with what it was expected severe flooding was predicted and indeed occurred in the NorthWestern part of the Iberian peninsula. In particular, Galicia is the region above Portugal in the Northwest of Spain where actually I am located. Not only I have seen rain in high quantities, and strong winds. It also surprised me to see lightings in January.
It has been reported amounts of 60L/m2 and wind gusts above 140 Km/h. The following video shows images from National TV news report in spanish published the 9th Jan 2016. Also many problems have raised in northern parts of Portugal due to this intrusion, and it comes to add more flooding issues to those suffered in December in UK.
Very often we get trapped under the latest developments and there is a tendency to replace old information with new, more exuberant news. This constant replacement of “old” information with “new” alters the perception of linearity since it cuts any continuous momentum by generating a sense of seeing the new, the most recent as the more important and the focus of all attention.
I want to add some perspective here, with this article, over the significance of the events generating floods over Western Europe between December and January 2015/16. In order to asses the implications of such phenomena it is important to consider the inertial momentum that we are living in the developments of our atmospheric weather events, from considering each one independently to a continuous whole. (see more)
Issues related with severe flooding over western Europe, such as those we have seen already in the winter 2015/16, have been seen and discussed about the winter 2013/14.
See the following news report from euronews Published the 10th feb. 2014 claiming that 2014 was turning out to be the wettest English Winter in 250 years.
Similarly for California, EEUU March 2014
Past and Present
If we consider the recent weather events as an occurrence independent from inertial momentum in our global changing environment we might just have enough justification by looking at the SST recorded at the Equatorial Pacific. In that way we can justify this anomaly in sea surface temperatures as the major factor shaping atmospheric events.
However, if we consider the present atmospheric phenomenons as part of a continuous movement and we compare them with those seen since at least winter 2013/14 and winter 2014/15, I believe that there is a high probability of that there is not a new shape in the pattern followed due to Pacific SST but a common pattern throughout the last 3 years which only changes in frequency and intensity.
This approach releases ENSO from being a dominant feature driving atmospheric circulation and gives to it a subsidiary role. From my research since 2013 over climatic developments, I strongly believe that the main driver in atmospheric circulation are the properties defining the thermal contrast between mid-latitudes and polar circulation. Hence, the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream dictates the behaviour of the circulation in our atmosphere. And localized perturbations, like the sign of the ENSO, would only contribute to the frequency and intensity of the weather events generated due to the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream. Behaviour which is ultimately defined by the composition of the atmosphere and the subsequent GHGs involved.
As I said in a different post, I believe that the behaviour of the atmosphere leads and the rest of the mediums follow. An increase in SST at the Pacific would induce more water vapour in the atmosphere, but its distribution and release will be defined by the conditions and behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream, which it has been behaving erratically with and without positive ENSO.
Since October 2013 I have been studying the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream and the weather events associated as well as the implications derived into atmospheric dynamics and environmental synergies.
Many of the atmospheric configurations and weather and climate events we see these days are very similar with the progression followed since 2013. Please take a look at publications addressing those events from previous publications in this blog or look at the categories in the top menu. Feedback is always welcomed.
- New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on October 21, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-k3
- Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on November 14, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-mt
- Gathering data to make visible the invisible (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on December 22, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-pN
- State of the Polar Vortex. Broken? From 29 Nov 2014 to 5th Jan 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla). Posted on November 29, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-o7
- Probability in the atmospheric circulation dictating the Weather (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on January 15, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-rm
- Meteorological Outlook Feb 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on February 7, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-sU
- Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. Posted on February 10, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-to
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Drops of Weather. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 7, 2015
- Steering climate´s course (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 27, 2015
- Climate. Looking at the forest for the trees (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 9, 2015
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Domesticating Nature. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 7, 2015
- A roller-coaster of temperatures in South Europe. Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 14, 2015
- Talking about climate (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 12, 2015
- News from an Ecosystem (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 20, 2015
- In climate it is becoming Less probable to not have a High probability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 29, 2015
- Drinking from the source (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 5, 2015
- Communication takes more than just publishing thoughts. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 9, 2015
- Extreme climatic events, implications for projections of species distributions and ecosystem structure (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 18, 2015
- The scope of Environmental Science and scientific thought. From Thought-driven to Data-driven, from Critical Thinking to Data Management. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 26, 2015
- Atmospheric Circulation and Climate Drift. Are we there yet? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 2, 2015
- Lateral thinking. From Micro to Macro (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 4, 2015
- Something for the curious minds. Climate and Streamlines (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 17, 2015
- Solar Activity and Human Activity, Settling Their Environmental Liability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 24, 2015
- Atmospheric composition and thermal conductivity? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 6, 2015
- Latitudinal barriers and typhoons (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 13, 2015
- The Earth is Ticking (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 20, 2015
- What if, the relevant bit lies hidden on identifying the pattern behind similarities instead of trying to match anomalies? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 3, 2015
- A Climate “Between Waters” (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla).September 8, 2015
- Sensing Atmospheric Dynamics (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 22, 2015
- InFormAtion. The “Act” of “Giving Form” to “Knowledge” (by Diego fdez-Sevilla)September 30, 2015
- Arctic Intake of Water Vapour (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 7, 2015
- SST Anomalies and Heat Waves. Are They Not All Just Heat Displacements? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 16, 2015
- Discussing Climatic Teleconnections. Follow Up On My Previous Research (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 21, 2015
- Follow-up on Arctic circulation 30 Oct 2015 ( by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) October 30, 2015
- There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 5, 2015
- Starts Raining Drops of Winter at Mid-Latitudes. The new Autumn? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 10, 2015
- Press release. Ask NASA (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 12, 2015
- Following the Behaviour of the Jet Stream (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 19, 2015
- What Is Wrong With The Concept “Bio”? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 26, 2015
- Energy. Looking For Sources of Something We Waste. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 3, 2015
- SOILS. The Skeleton Holding The Muscle On Our Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 9, 2015
- Could It Be El Niño The New “Wolf” Coming? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 11, 2015
- Climate and weather December 2015. Another Polar Vortex another Heat Wave? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 18, 2015
- New insides on old concepts (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 23, 2015