Arctic ice may tell paths of hurricane, scientists say
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A hurricane hunter aircraft sent to the Arctic to study ice formations returned this month with critical data that might explain why an increasing number of tropical storms seem to be taking irregular paths.
Scientists are trying to determine how much heat is released into the atmosphere when Arctic ice builds in autumn. That heat release is believed to shift the jet stream — a fast-moving, high-altitude river of air — farther to the south.
That shift, in turn, might be slowing or even stalling tropical systems before they can re-curve east and head out to sea, scientists say.
Kevin Wood, a University of Washington research scientist aboard the plane, said the Arctic heat release might trigger other extreme weather events, such as flooding or severe snowstorms.
“That's far from proven,” he said. “But it's one of things we're interested in understanding better.”
Primarily, however, scientists hope the battery of sensors onboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's WP-3 Orion might help them understand why Superstorm Sandy plowed into the East Coast last year and why eight systems aimed at Canada or the Northeast in the past three years.
“The very unusual path that Sandy took last year was definitely due to disruptions in the global circulation, and maybe that was related to changes in the Arctic,” said Nick Bond, a University of Washington scientist who rode on the plane during its inaugural Arctic mission.
In October 2012, Sandy emerged in the Caribbean as a tropical storm, grew into a hurricane and initially began to curve northeast on a path that would have taken it toward the North Atlantic.
Instead, Sandy curved northwest toward the New Jersey coastline, collided with a winter system and swamped much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with a powerful storm surge.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Georgia prosecutor Yates tapped for No. 2 post in Justice Department
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for natural gas riches with fracking ban
- Coal mines near record low in worker deaths
- IBM’s Watson supercomputing system to be applied to PTSD
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- Police: NYC cop killer invited people to watch shooting
- Florida officer slain; 1 charged
- WikiLeaks releases purported CIA documents on operatives’ travel
- Veteran NBC newsman Brokaw says his cancer is in remission
- New York City subways slowly upgrading from 1930s-era technology
- NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by to watch