WEEKLY OCEAN NEWS
7-11 August 2017
DataStreme Ocean will return for Fall 2017 with new Investigations files starting during Preview Week, Monday, 21 August 2017. All the current online website products will continue to be available throughout the summer break period.
Items of Interest:
- National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day is celebrated -- Monday, 7 August 2017, is designated National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Act of Congress on 7 August 1789 when the Federal Government assumed responsibility for building and operating the nation's lighthouses. [American Lighthouse Foundation]
- Get Into Your (marine) Sanctuary!" -- NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will be hosting its third National "Get into Your Sanctuary" celebration this Saturday (12 August 2017) at all 14 sanctuaries in its jurisdiction. The public is invited to enjoy their experiences in a nearby sanctuary and submit their photographs to a photo contest. A listing of events at the 14 national marine sanctuaries (plus Hawaii's Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument) is provided.
[NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries]
- A Nighttime Show --The annual Perseid meteor shower should peak during the daytime hours of Saturday (12 August 2017), but the meteor shower should be able to be seen tonight and tomorrow night. The Perseids, which are associated with the some bits of Comet Swift-Tuttle, are noted for being fast and bright, and often leave persistent trains. Typically, the Perseids are usually very active for several days before and after the peaks, often producing 30 to 60 meteors per hour.
This year, approximately 150 meteors per hour are anticipated. However, with a waning gibbous moon (last quarter on Monday, 14 August) rising before midnight local time, illumination from the moon should interfere with viewing the Perseids. If the skies are clear in your area, go to a region that has few lights and look up and to the northeast during the early morning hours. [NASA]
- Monitoring weather changes during a total solar eclipse across Southeast in 1900 -- With the "Great North American Eclipse" set to occur in the next two weeks (21 August 2017), NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information has posted an interesting feature that describes the efforts made by teams of scientists and volunteers to document a variety of atmospheric conditions during a total solar eclipse on 28 May 1900 that produced a shadow track across the Southeastern States, running from New Orleans, LA to Norfolk, VA. Scientists from the US Weather Bureau (USWB), the predecessor to today's National Weather Service, traveled to Newberry, SC to conduct an in-depth meteorological study of the event. In addition, 62 USWB stations across the region made 25 sets of observations before, during and after the eclipse. A report made after the event indicated that the passage of the lunar shadow caused a temperature drop of as much as 3.5 Fahrenheit degrees in the total shadow, a slight drop in near-surface wind speed and only slight changes in barometric pressure. "Shadow bands" or alternating light and dark lines of shadows surrounding the eclipse were also studied. [NOAA NCEI News]
Editor's notes: NASA and the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) Program are encouraging the public to make observations of the atmosphere on the day of the total solar eclipse as the eclipse path passes from west to east across the nation. The public is invited to make observations of the clouds (type and amount of cover) and air temperature and then post their results using a special GLOBE Observer app. [Globe Observer]
The National Weather Service has an informative webpage entitled "2017 Total Solar Eclipse" http://www.weather.gov/source/crh/eclipse.html that contains an interactive map allowing the user to obtain up to seven-day weather forecasts along the eclipse path (beginning on 15 August).
One final note: Follow the recommended eclipse viewing safety rules provided on the NOAA and NASA websites to protect your eyes from potential damage. EJH
- Historical clues about past climates can be found in "world weather libraries" -- A recent article describes how daily weather observations archived at three major data centers around the world serve as "world weather libraries" that can provide interested users with much information about past climates. These three World Data Centers for Climate are found in Asheville, NC; Hamburg, Germany; and Obninsk, Russia. The article also has an interview with Deke Arndt, the chief of climate monitoring at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, NC. [Newsworks]
Ocean in the News:
- Eye on the tropics --- During the last week tropical cyclones were reported in the North Atlantic basin, along with both the eastern and western sections of the North Pacific Ocean:
- In the North Atlantic Basin, a tropical depression formed over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico approximately 65 miles off the west-central coast of Florida early last Monday morning. Within two hours this depression had strengthened to become Tropical Storm Emily, the fifth named Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2017. By late Monday morning Emily had made landfall on Florida's Anna Maria Island, just west of Bradenton. Weakening to a tropical depression, Emily traveled to the east-northeast across the central Florida Peninsula during Monday evening and into the late night hours, passing to the north of Lake Okeechobee. Early Tuesday morning, Tropical Depression Emily exited out over the western Atlantic approximately 50 miles to the north of Vero Beach, FL. Emily continued to weaken as it traveled to the northeast, away from Florida's Atlantic Coast. As of late Tuesday night, Emily became a post-tropical remnant low approximately 235 miles to the northeast of Cape Canaveral, FL before dissipating. Consult the NASA Hurricane Page for satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Emily.
- In the eastern North Pacific basin, former Hurricane Hilary (a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) became a remnant low at the beginning of last week approximately 1185 miles to the west of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. Satellite imagery and additional information on former Hurricane Hilary are available on the NASA Hurricane Page.
Tropical Storm Irwin, which had been a category 1 hurricane the previous week continued to weaken as it traveled toward the north-northwest off the western coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. at the start of this past week. By Tuesday afternoon Irwin had weakened to a tropical depression and then to a remnant low by Tuesday evening. At that time, the remnants of Irwin were located approximately 1265 miles to the west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information and satellite images for former Hurricane Irwin.
A tropical depression, identified as Tropical Depression 11E (TD-11E) formed approximately 335 miles to the west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico last Friday morning. Over the next day, this tropical depression traveled toward the northwest without strengthening to a tropical storm. By Saturday afternoon TD-11E had become a post-tropical cyclone or remnant low approximately 115 miles to the north-northwest of Mexico's Socorro Island.
- In the western North Pacific basin, Typhoon Noru strengthened to a super typhoon that had maximum sustained surface winds in excess of 160 mph, which is equivalent to a category 5 typhoon on the Safir-Simpson Scale, at the start of this past week as it traveled
to the west and then northwest past Japan's Iwo To atoll.
During the remainder of last week, Super Typhoon Noru continued heading to the northwest toward the southern islands of Japan. By this past weekend, Noru began to curve toward the northeast. As many as two deaths were reported as a weakening Typhoon Noru approached Kyushu, accompanied by torrential rains that created flooding and strong winds. [Channel News Asia] As of Monday (local time), Typhoon Noru was located approximately 140 miles to the south-southeast of Iwakuni, Japan. Current forecasts indicate that Noru should brush past the island of Shikoku and make landfall on Honshu early Tuesday and then curve toward the east-northeast and move back over the waters of the North Pacific by midweek. The NASA Hurricane Page has satellite images and additional information on Typhoon Noru.
Tropical Storm Haitang crossed the Taiwan Strait and made landfall at the start of last week along the southeastern coast of mainland China. Additional information and satellite images for Tropical Storm Haitang appear on the
NASA Hurricane Page.
At midweek, a tropical depression formed approximately 460 miles to the north-northwest of Wake Island. This depression strengthened to become Tropical Storm
Nalgae as it took a circuitous path toward the east, then to the north and northwest before heading toward the north-northwest during the latter part of last week. As of late Sunday (local time), Tropical Storm Nalgae was located approximately 925 miles to the north-northeast of Minami Tori Shima (Marcus Island). Nalgae was expected to dissipate on Monday. The NASA Hurricane Page has additional information on Tropical Storm Nalgae.
- Atlantic hurricane season outlook is updated -- As the month of August started at the beginning of last week, the team of hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University led by Dr. Philip Klotzbach issued its updated August forecast for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Their "Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2017" continues to call for above-average Atlantic hurricane activity through the remainder of the season. In addition, the forecasters indicate that the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean would be above-average, a consequence of their forecast for an above-average season. The forecasters foresee that ENSO-neutral conditions should persist, while most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic would remain anomalously warm.
The forecasters anticipate eleven additional named tropical cyclones (maximum sustained surface winds of 39 mph or higher) could form after the end of July. Five named tropical cyclones (Tropical Storms Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don and Emily) formed across the basin between April and July. Consequently, a total of 16 named tropical cyclones are now forecast for the entire 2017 season. Eight of these systems could become hurricanes (maximum sustained surface winds greater than 73 mph) in the Atlantic basin. The forecasters also anticipated three major hurricanes (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with winds of at least 111 mph). Furthermore, they also anticipate a 62 percent probability of at least one major hurricane making a landfall along the coast of the continental United States. [The Tropical Meteorology Project]
- "Dead zone" in Gulf of Mexico expands to record size -- A team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium collected data from the northern Gulf of Mexico during the last week of July, finding that the area of low oxygen capable of killing marine life known as the "dead zone" in the Gulf has become the largest measured since mapping began in these waters in 1985. This dead zone has an area that is approximately the same size as that of the state of New Jersey. This discovery follows the annual forecast generated from a suite of NOAA-sponsored models that is based on nutrient runoff data from the U.S. Geological Survey. The size of zone is determined in large part by the nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River watershed due to agriculture and developed land runoff. [NOAA News]
- Atlantic Croaker decline in Gulf of Mexico associated with hypoxia -- A team of scientists from Louisiana State University and other research institutions recently reported that the 25 percent decline in the population of the fish species called Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulates) in the Gulf of Mexico over a 140-year span appears to be due to the large zones of low levels of dissolved oxygen in the northern Gulf during the last several years. [NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science News]
- Infographics containing socioeconomic information produced for coral reefs in Northern Marians and US Virgin Islands -- Socioeconomic monitoring surveys were conducted by NOAA social scientists and their partners in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) in support of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP). After compiling these data on each jurisdiction's population, social and economic structure, the impacts of society on coral reefs, and the impacts of coral management on communities, a set of infographics for each coral jurisdiction was prepared. (An infographic is a visual image such as a graph of table used to convey information.) Five other infographics have been published that are related to the socioeconomic component of NCRMP. [NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science News]
- Seafloor off Alaska could experience a high tsunami threat -- Scientists from the US, France and Canada who mapped the geologic structure of the seafloor off the western Alaska Peninsula and eastern Aleutian Islands warn that this subduction zone could experience a major tsunami since the structure of the seafloor resembles the one where a magnitude 9.1 earthquake was responsible for generating the 2011 Tohoku tsunami off Japan that killed nearly 20,000 people. [Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory News]
- An All-Hazards Monitor -- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA's National Weather Service, FAA and FEMA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
floods. [NOAA/NWS Daily Briefing]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
- 7 August 1679...The brigantine Le Griffon, commissioned by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was towed to the southern end of the Niagara River, to become the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes. The ship disappeared on the return leg of its maiden voyage from Lake Michigan. (Wikipedia)
- 7 August 1980...The central pressure of Hurricane Allen bottomed out at 899 millibars (26.55 inches of mercury) while moving through the Yucatan Channel in the southeastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. This was the second lowest pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere up to that time. Allen's winds at the time were sustained at 190 mph. (National Weather Service files)
- 8 August 1585...The British navigator and polar explorer, John Davis, entered Cumberland Sound in quest for the North-West Passage. (Wikipedia)
- 8 August 2000...The Confederate submarine CSS H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor. This submarine sank in the Charleston (SC) Harbor after sinking the USS Housatonic on 17 February 1864. (Wikipedia)
- 9 August 1988...Tropical Storm Beryl deluged Biloxi with 6.32 inches of rain in 24 hours, and in three days drenched Pascagoula, MS with 15.85 inches of rain. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
- 10 August 1519...Five ships under the command of the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, set sail from the Spanish seaport Seville to Sanclucar be Barrameda, staying there until 21 September, when they departed to circumnavigate the globe. This expedition traveled westward and ultimately returned to Europe in September 1522. (Wikipedia)
- 10 August 1675...King Charles II laid the foundation stone of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. (Today in Science History)
- 10-11 August 1831...A violent hurricane devastated Barbados. Death toll was estimated to be from 1500 to 2500 people. (The Weather Doctor)
- 10 August 1856...The Isle Derniere (Last Island) disaster occurred off the coast of Louisiana. A storm tide drowned 140 vacationers as a five-foot wave swept over Low Island during a hurricane. (The Weather Channel) The hurricane completely devastated the fashionable hotel and pleasure resort on Last Island, 150 miles east of Cameron. Storm surge swept an estimated 400 people to their death. Today the island is just a haven for pelicans and other sea birds. (Intellicast)
- 10 August 1954...A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Massena, NY for the St. Lawrence Seaway. (Wikipedia)
- 10 August 1971...President Nixon signed the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 considered to be most significant legislation in the long history of federal action in this field. The new act, which repealed most of the Federal Boating Act of 1958 and amended the Motorboat Act of 1940, shifted responsibility from boat operator to manufacturer. (USCG Historian's Office)
- 10 August 1980...Hurricane Allen came ashore north of Brownsville, TX dropping fifteen inches of rain near San Antonio, and up to 20 inches in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, ending a summer long drought. Winds at Port Mansfield gusted to 140 mph with a storm surge of 12 feet. Tidal flooding occurred along the South Texas coast. Hurricane Allen packed winds to 150 mph, and also spawned twenty-nine tornadoes. Total damage from the storm was estimated at 750 million dollars. (David Ludlum) (Intellicast)
- 10 August 1993...Three ships -- the barge Bouchard B155, the freighter Balsa 37, and the barge Ocean 255 -- collided in Florida's Tampa Bay. The Bouchard spilled an estimated 336,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil into Tampa Bay. (InfoPlease)
- 11 August 1909...The liner S.S. Arapahoe was the first ship to use the S.O.S. radio distress call. Its wireless operator, T. D. Haubner, radioed for help after a propeller shaft snapped while off the coast at Cape Hatteras, NC. The call was heard by the United Wireless station "HA" at Hatteras. A few months later, Haubner on the S.S. Arapahoe received an SOS from the SS Iroquois, the second use of SOS in America. Previously, the distress code CQD had been in use as a maritime distress call, standardized by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. in 1904. The second International Radio Telegraphic Convention (1906) proposed the alternative SOS for its distinctive sound, which was ratified as an international standard in 1908. (Today in Science History)
- 11 August 1940...A major hurricane struck Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC causing the worst inland flooding since 1607. A 13-foot storm tide was measured along the South Carolina coast, while over 15 inches of rain fell across northern North Carolina. Significant flooding and landslides struck Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia during the system's slow trek as a weakening tropical storm, and then as an extratropical cyclone, through the Southeast. (David Ludlum) (National Weather Service files)
- 11 August 1988...Moisture from what remained of Tropical Storm Beryl resulted in torrential rains across eastern Texas. Twelve and a half inches of rain deluged Enterprise, TX, which was more than the amount received there during the previous eight months. (The National Weather Summary)
- 12 August 1778...A Rhode Island hurricane prevented an impending British-French sea battle, and caused extensive damage over southeast New England. (David Ludlum)
- 12 August 1955...During the second week of August, hurricanes Connie and Diane produced as much as 19 inches of rain in the northeastern U.S. forcing rivers from Virginia to Massachusetts into a high flood. Westfield, MA was deluged with 18.15 inches of rain in 24 hours, and at Woonsocket, RI the Blackstone River swelled from seventy feet in width to a mile and a half. Connecticut and the Delaware Valley were hardest hit. Total damage in New England was 800 million dollars, and flooding claimed 187 lives. (David Ludlum)
- 12 August 1958...USS Nautilus (SSN-571) arrived Portland, England after completing the first submerged under ice cruise from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. (Naval Historical Center)
- 13 August 1950...Hurricane Able was the first Atlantic hurricane to be given a "phonetic" name. The first storm was named with an "A", the second with a "B", and so on. It was not until 1953 that actual names were given to tropical storms. (National Weather Service files)
- 13 August 1979...Fifteen yachtsmen died and 23 boats sank or were abandoned as storm-force winds, along with high seas, raked a fleet of yachts participating in an annual race between southwestern England and Fastnet Rock off southwestern Ireland. (Accord's Weather Guide Calendar)
- 13 August 1987...Thunderstorms deluged the Central Gulf Coast States with torrential rains. Thunderstorms in Mississippi drenched Marion County with up to 15 inches of rain during the morning hours, with 12.2 inches reported at Columbia. Floodwaters swept cars away in the Lakeview subdivision of Columbia when the Lakeview Dam broke. Flash flooding caused more than three million dollars damage in Marion County. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
- 13 August 2004...Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 tropical low-pressure system on the Saffir-Simpson scale, struck the Gulf Coast of southwest Florida, making landfall north of Captiva, FL. At landfall, sustained winds of 145 mph, along with an unofficial gust of 173 mph on a medical building tower in Punta Gorda near Fort Myers. The greatest destruction occurring at Punta Gorda. Fifteen fatalities were directly attributed to the hurricane, with another 20 indirect deaths. Damage estimates were approximately $14 billion. A gust of 104 mph hit Arcadia, where a storm shelter with 1200 people inside lost a wall and part of a roof. (Wikipedia) (Accord's Weather Guide Calendar)
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Prepared by DS Ocean Central Staff and Edward J. Hopkins,
© Copyright, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.