Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Professor Quibb's Picks-2011

My personal prediction for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season (written May 15, 2011):

20 cyclones attaining tropical depression status
19 cyclones attaining tropical storm status
10 cyclones attaining hurricane status
6 cyclones attaining major hurricane status

These predictions are far above the average activity in the Atlantic basin. Several factors contribute to why I have made such a choice. First, the decade of 2000-2009 had shown far above average activity, including the record of most tropical cyclones in a single year (2005, 28 cyclones attaining tropical storm status). This general trend shows no sign of stopping as we enter the 2010's. Second, an ongoing La Nina event that contributed to the 20 tropical storms of the 2010 season is still active, reducing the amount of wind shear present over the Atlantic basin.

Also, I have made the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes quite high in relation to the overall number of cyclones. Last year, a large trough over the Gulf of Mexico prevented storms from tracking all the way through the Caribbean Sea and into the Gulf of Mexico, instead steering them into Central America. This inhibited their strengthening potential, and most landfalling systems were relatively weak. The only major hurricanes of the season meandered out in the open Atlantic. So far this year, there have been a fairly persistent US east coast high pressure systems, and these may serve to steer cyclones on more southward tracks, into the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is home to some of the Atlantic Basin's highest ocean temperatures, and in it is the potential for rapid intensification.

Finally, the tendency this year may be toward slower moving and longer lived systems, as the preliminary climatological signs point to weaker upper level steering systems, and the above argument appears to favor longer tracks over water. There is a great deal of uncertainty in slow moving cyclones, and, accordingly, there are many variables to be accounted for in the coming season. The 2011 seasons has the potential to be very active and damaging, but only time will tell whether this is actually the case.

The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season will officially begin on June 1, 2011.


Anonymous said...

Dear P.Q.

I enjoyed your July post regarding Spacecraft Update, i.e. Kepler, Horizon, etc., but my question is now that Shuttle program has concluded, do you feel that resources should be strictly for deep space exploration or should we re-visit the moon, the space station, etc? Thank you A.J.

Louis said...

Thank you very much for your comment. Several factors influence the portion of resources which is devoted to manned missions into orbit and beyond. First, it is very costly to send men into space in comparison to unmanned probes, and second, it is of course a very risky endeavor. The ISS (International Space Station) will continue to be manned over the coming years, but nations other than the U.S. will be responsible. Russia, in particular, will launch most of the ISS missions in the next few years.

Aspirations exist for further manned exploration of the Moon and other targets (notably Mars), but most of these plans are in their infancy, and will not likely take place for a few decades.

Furthermore, the market for manned and unmanned orbital spacecraft outside of government space programs has increased considerably over recent years. Several organizations sell manned orbital flights, and others launch unmanned probes. On these unmanned rockets, space can be booked (per cubic meter) by the private investor or group to send instruments (or whatever one may want) into space for only a few thousand dollars.

Moreover, a competition is being sponsored by Google for an organization to send and land an unmanned lunar probe onto the moon's surface and conduct scientific experiments. The contenders may send probes to the moon in the not-to-distant future (perhaps even 2013) and these could be eventually followed by manned missions.

Finally, I believe that any manned mission would require extensive scientific research, and that unmanned probes should continue to be the priority, perhaps as the forerunners to future landings. In fact, a lander and rover mission called Mars Science Laboratory, being launched later this year, will devote much energy into analyzing the habitability of Mars.

Como saber si estoy en ASNEF said...

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