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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cyclone Rusty: Case Study

Cyclone Rusty is hitting the North west Coast of Australia today.

You can follow the storm's progress live here.

It started out as a tropical storm in the pacific last weekend (video) and has become more organised into a tropical cyclone, potentially category 4.

It was upgraded to a category four storm early on Wednesday, one notch short of the top category.
At its centre, it had intensified to a strength of 230km/h (143mph), with satellite data indicating the eye of the storm was 20 nautical miles wide, Australian media reported.

600mm of rain is being forecast in a 24 hour period. Given that the UK averages somewhere around the 900mm mark per year, that is a significant amount.

Some of Rusty's other terrifying statistics

  • Winds of at least 230km/h
  • Cloud temperatures colder than -52C surrounding the eye of the storm
  • Recorded rainfall of over 138 millimetres per hour near Rusty's western side
  • Thunderstorms in Rusty's eye reported to have reaching heights of over 12km (7 miles)

Early video as the storm approached:

BBC Video of the storm's predicted path

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has predicted the storm's likely path and has issued warnings for the various hazards that it may bring. See them HERE

 You can See BBC Video of residents preparing as storm makes its initial landfall HERE

The Pilbara region, close to where Rusty has hit, is the world's largest source of Iron Ore. Residents in the area have also prepared to be locked indoors for a few days as they prepare for the storm to pass over. Video

The slow movement of the storm is a concern as it may amplify the flooding and storm surge hazards it will bring. Web Article The residents should be fairly well prepared since the area has experienced gale-force winds from 49 cyclones, seven of which caused destructive gusts in excess of 170 km/h [106 mph]. Cyclone Joan produced the strongest gusts ever recorded at Port Hedland -208 km/h [130 mph] in 1975.

The most destructive tropical cyclone to strike the area since Joan in 1975 was George, which delivered wind gusts estimated to have reached around 200 km/h [125 mph] in March 2007. In the Port Hedland area most residential and commercial structures performed well, and structural damage was sustained by fewer than 2 percent of buildings, most of which proved to have weaknesses due to poor maintenance.

The reports:

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned there was a possible threat to lives and homes in Marble Bar, Nullagine and De Grey Station because of rising rivers and streams.

Residents near the Yule and Turner river catchments near Port Hedland were also preparing for flooding.
The bureau’s Neil Bennett said a 3.5m to 4m storm surge was predicted, which could increase to 10m if Rusty crossed at high tide at midday.
“But it’s likely to cross later in the day, so it’s going to be bad but not the worst it could be,” he said.
“This is a nasty system.
“It’s going to lead to issues with flooding, roads being cut, structural damage, power lines are likely to be down and add that to the water everywhere and that’s going to be a dangerous environment for people to be moving around in.”
Mr Daccache said a 4m surge would inundate the town’s west end. “We’ve got pumps ready to flush the water out as quickly as we can,” he said.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

UK Floods - an avoidable hazard?

Have a scan through the Wallwisher discussion below. Matching planning and investment to the potential costs of flood events is a tricky business. What is your opinion, were the floods avoidable?
If nothing else, the video links are worth a follow up:

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

UK Cold Weather - Causes and Effects

Year 13 pupils did an overnight investigation into why we have had such cold weather in January. A summary by T.Walker of the causes and some useful effects are included below. (Click the image to enlarge)


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Santa Cruz Aftershocks

Large earthquakes will often be followed by many aftershocks. The one near the Solomon Islands yesterday has had a number. The map below illustrates it excellently:

A number of the aftershocks have been greater than 5 on the richter scale.

A couple of questions that might guide your thinking:
Why might aftershocks still cause much damage though they are smaller than the original earthquake? Can people prepare for aftershocks?

Click on the map above to go to its live site hosted by the USGS, or click below to see another aftershock map of the area from HERE.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Santa Cruz 8.0 Earthquake: Timeline of Events

Monday, 4 February 2013

Durban Climate Summit - Discuss...

C.Krueger has collated some statements about the Durban climate summit below. What do you think? Are these effective in helping to alter climate change? Should we be worried about climate change at all?

Respond with opinions below this post or tweet @bsgeography

The Durban Climate Summit

"Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our times, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," – Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general and president of the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF)

“The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought.” –Janos Pasztor, UN climate adviser

The annual ritual of discussions to restrict global warming to within 2 degrees was performed at Durban from November 28 to December 9 2011. Thousands of experts, government negotiators, campaigners, and businessmen gathered and talked, talked, talked… There was considerable skepticism if ever the “dirty boys” of the planet would learn to behave responsibly.

What is the basic issue?
The temperature on the Earth is rising due to global warming, and it is rising at a speed which scientists attribute to human actions leading to excessive emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat. This has changed, and is changing the weather patterns everywhere. The prediction is that a global temperature rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius can lead to catastrophic climatic disasters beyond control.

Evidence of Global Warming?
The statistics from the International Disaster Database found out that in the last 5 years of the 21st century, there were more global disasters recorded than in during the last 200 years. In the period of time between 1900 and 1910 for example, there were just 28 disasters recorded. Everyone is realizing that the weather is changing more often and is becoming harder to predict year by year.

The question is whether summits like the Durban one can change something in human behaviour in order to change the climate…