Black Sea storm causes ecological disaster; powerful Bay of Bengal cyclone forming

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12. marraskuuta 2007 klo 15:25 (GMT)

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At least five ships sunk and five others ran aground yesterday during a fierce storm that swept through the Black Sea, by Russia and the Ukraine. Five sailors drowned and as many as 17 others are missing. The Volganeft-139, an oil tanker loaded with nearly 1.3 million gallons of fuel oil, sank in the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, dumping over 1/2 million gallons of fuel into the water. The oil spill is a major environmental disaster for the area, and will foul local shores for years to come. The spill is about 1/20 the size of the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.


Figure 1. Visible image from the NOAA-18 polar orbiting satellite from Saturday, November 10, 2007, at 11:21 GMT. An "L" marks the center of the developing storm that would move over the Black Sea and sink or ground ten ships. The storm formed at the tail end of a cold front to its north. Image credit: University of Bern, Switzerland.

The storm that sank these ships was an unusually powerful one for the Black Sea. The storm formed over the Mediterranean Sea along the tail end of a very strong cold front. This front was the same cold front that pushed through the North Sea on Friday, bringing winds near hurricane force, flooding in southeast England, and a storm surge over 10 feet high to the coast of the Netherlands. The new storm fed off the relatively warm waters of the Mediterranean and pushed eastward across Greece and Turkey, intensifying to 980 mb as it struck the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula late in the morning Sunday. Simperopol, Ukraine, on the tip of the Crimean Peninsula, measured sustained winds of 54 mph, gusting to 72 mph, on Sunday afternoon. The pressure bottomed out at 980 mb. Kerch, Ukraine, on the west side of Kerch Strait, recorded sustained winds of 45 mph and a minimum pressure of 988 mb as the storm blew through. On the other side of the strait, in Anapa, Russia, sustained winds of 47 mph, gusting to 65 mph were observed. Waves up to 18 feet high buffeted the waters in the Kerch Strait. This was too much for the Volganeft-139, which was designed for river travel.

The enclosed nature of the Black Sea can produce very steep waves. According to Holquist et al. (2002), steep, short-period waves can be particularly hazardous to large ships, especially when the waves exceed 5 meters (16 feet) in height. The height of waves depends on the wind speed and the fetch or distance over which the wind blows. Also important is the degree atmospheric stability near the surface. A warm ocean with very cold air aloft will produce an unstable atmosphere with very tall turbulent eddies that will mix down the stronger winds that occur aloft. This instability peaks in November, when the air-sea temperature difference is at its greatest.

References
Hultquist, T.R. M.R. Dutter, and D.J. Schwab, "Reexamination of the 9–10 November 1975 “Edmund Fitzgerald” Storm Using Today’s Technology", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, May 2006.

The NASA Natural Hazards team has posted a nice satellite image and description of the storm.

Tropical Update
None of the reliable computer forecast models are predicting tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic for the next seven days. I'll have a complete analysis of the outlook for the remaining 2 1/2 weeks of hurricane season later this week.


Figure 2. Tropical Cyclone Sidr at 5:30am EST 11/12/07. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Tropical Cyclone Sidr is headed northwards towards a landfall in Bangladesh or India late this week, and may intensify into a Category 2 or higher storm. The Bay of Bengal has seen the world's deadliest tropical cyclones, and November is one of the region's most dangerous months. On November 12-13, 1970, a Category 4 cyclone struck Bangladesh, causing the greatest tropical cyclone disaster in world history. An estimated 350,000-550,000 people died when a devastating 34-foot storm surge funneled northwards through the Bay of Bengal into Bangladesh. The path of Tropical Cyclone Sidr beyond Wednesday is highly uncertain, with the NOGAPS and ECMWF models taking the storm northwards over a region of high oceanic heat content and into Bangladesh. The GFS model turns Sidr westwards, over a region of low oceanic heat content, into the east coast of India. Wind shear is about 10 knots over the storm, and is expected to remain 10 knots or below for the next three days. Recent satellite observations suggest that Sidr is already of hurricane strength, and may be intensifying rapidly.

Jeff Masters

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520. guygee
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 15:42 (GMT)
WWIN40 DEMS 140300
IWB 14NOV.2007 MNG

THE VERY SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM SIDR OVER SE-BAY AND ADJ CENTRAL BAY MOVED FURTHER N-WARDS AND NOW LIES OVER E-C AND ADJ W-C AND SE-BAY CENTRED AT 0300 UTC OF TODAY THE 14 NOV 2007 WITHIN HALF A DEG OF LAT.14.5 DEG N/LONG. 89.5 DEG ABOUT 920 KMS SOUTH OF KOLKATA(.) SYSTEM IS LIKELY TO INTENSIFY FURTHER AND MOVE IN A N-LY DIRECTION AND CROSS WEST BENGAL-BANGLADESH COTS NEAR SAGAR ISLAND BY 16 NOV. MORNING(.)

The movement of TC Sidr north into the Bay of Bengal is a potential disaster of immense proportions unfoling before our eyes. So far the news media seems to have taken little notice; I did find these news links:
Cyclone Sidr Aims for the Worst Spot a Hurricane Could Hit
Cyclonic storm spares Orissa, likely to cross Sagar Island

The Bay of Bengal is a very low-lying and densely populated area, consisting of extensive mangrove swamps and many river deltas including those of the large Ganges, Meghna, and Brahmaputra rivers. Its funnel-shape and extensive shallow bathymetry help contribute to the potential for large storm surges. Since we are past new moon the tides at the time of landfall will be past their extremes, but as this tidal chart for Sagar Island shows, tidal variation is will still be close to 3 meters close to the currently predicted point of landfall, so the precise time of landfall and speed of the storm may be a critical issue. Besides being the home of at least 160,000 people, Sagar Island is also the site of one of the most revered temples in the Hindu religion, where "On the 14th of January every year pilgrims come from all over India, quarter million people on the average but sometimes one million or more" (Pilgrimage on the ocean - development of Sagar island, Bay of Bengal). Not unlike many areas in the Mississippi Delta, the Ganges Delta has been an area that has lost much of its natural defenses from storms due to human development and mismanagement. According to a recent study,

"Morphological changes on Sagar Island are occurring at an alarming rate due to both natural and anthropogenic activities. The eastern part of the island is rapidly eroding due to destabilization and growth of tidal flats in the Muriganga estuary and the gradual shifting of water current towards the island. Over the last four years (1996-1999), the rate of coastal erosion has been much higher (11.35 km 2 ) than accretion (2.65 km 2 ), compared with the conditions prior to 1996.[...}(Coastal geomorphological and land%u2010use and land%u2010cover study of Sagar Island, Bay of Bengal (India) using remotely sensed data).

According to the Weather Quality Reporter, the location of Sagar Island Station 42903 is imprecisely reported. A satellite map of Sagar Island and the surrounding region can be found on their site, here.

Hopefully Dr. M will be updating us on this potentially catastrophic situation in his next update.
(Edit -While I was working on this post and before it was even posted, Dr. M did indeed provide an update on this situation with a very informative entry into his blog).
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3059
519. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:58 (GMT)
NEW BLOG!!!!!
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
518. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:54 (GMT)
That cold front in the west is deepening. That's what I got my eye on, that sucker will dump the white stuff on me, Bone you say it'll be here by Fri? I thought Sat. because of the temp forecasts.
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
517. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:53 (GMT)
Talk about models having a tough call for Northeast

GETS VERY INTERESTING AFTER THIS. SOME MODELS...LED BY THE GFS...
SHOOT A QUICK MOVING CLIPPER TYPE SYSTEM OFF THE NJ COAST BY
SATURDAY NIGHT. THIS LOW THEN DEEPENS AFTER IT PUSHES E OF NEW
ENGLAND SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY WITH HIGH PRESSURE ANCHORED NORTH
OF THE ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY. THIS COULD GIVE NORTHERN MAINE A SHOT
AT SOME APPRECIABLE SNOW. OTHER MODELS...LED BY THE 00Z ECMWF AND
GGEM...BRING A COLD FRONT THROUGH WITH ANOTHER SHOT OF COLDER AIR
BEHIND IT FOR THE LATTER PART OF THE WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.
HOWEVER...THE HIGH ELONGATES FROM NE-SW ACROSS NORTHERN NEW
ENGLAND...WHICH PUTS COASTAL AREAS INTO A PERSISTENT NORTHEAST FLOW.
THIS MAY LEAD TO OCEAN EFFECT CLOUDS/SCATTERED PRECIP EARLY NEXT
WEEK...AND MAY SEE SOME MIXED RAIN/SNOW SHOWERS AT NIGHT IF TEMPS
ARE COOL ENOUGH. MAY START TO SEE SOME OF THIS AS LOW LEVEL MOISTURE
INCREASES...MAYBE LATE MONDAY OR TUESDAY.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
516. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:51 (GMT)
yea Sidr is nasty

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.8 / 904.4mb/134.8kt


Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
515. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:50 (GMT)
Ok kitty's on the move, sky's getting dark. Here comes the first warmer wetter round of this system.
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
514. Floodman
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:48 (GMT)
Lake, Calcutta has 14-16 million and an a mean elevation above sea level of 1.5 meters...much like New Orleans, there a re large areas of the city that will flood, not to mention that right next door is Bangladesh with a coutry-wide mean elevation of about 1 meter...it's going to be very wet very soon
Member Since: 2.08.2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
513. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:44 (GMT)
hey Flood. That storm image looks like the Turkish Evil Eye. India is so overpopulated...they are going to have a tough time with this one.
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
512. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:43 (GMT)
LOL Flood, yea I did LOL I was tired of the dry spell :)~

Actually I noticed the pattern earlier this year. Whats happening is 2 fold. There is now a thermal high over the southeast due to the drought which is keeping the Lows over the Lakes but alowing the cold fronts to extend down south. Second the NAO has been stayin neutral to negative thus allowing for blocking patterns to setup and dig the jetstream southbound. Going to be winter for sure up here. I did miss the mark on my early season forcast though because I didnt think the thermal high would build in the way it did. I figured at least on tropical system would effect that region and break the cycle.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
511. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:40 (GMT)
Westerly winds will give me some snow. SW is when the ribbon bands go right over my house. Some times the wind occillates from NW to SW...in those instances the snow keeps coming back. Thats when we get 1-2' of snow... not looking forward to that!
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
510. Floodman
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:39 (GMT)
Morning folks...so Sidr is a CAT4, Calcutta is about to get put through the spin cycle and there's another feature north of Australia.

Domestically, there's the beginnings of a storm for the NE...that's one every weekend...did you order this weather Bone? LOL

Latest Sidr pic:

Member Since: 2.08.2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
509. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:37 (GMT)
The thing is that we always get pummeled...Those feelings arose after about 90-100 inches that had already fallen on us that year. So we are and were always next in line.
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
508. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:36 (GMT)
Yea Lake NW then West. Looks like the southern shores off erie and ont thursday night into friday the the eastern shores of both on friday into friday night
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
507. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:35 (GMT)
LOL,shadow,one should never take glee in someone else getting pummeled,in weather you may be next in line.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
506. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:34 (GMT)
NW you say? So the lake shadow will protect me!
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
505. Ivansrvivr
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:34 (GMT)
I count it in my top 3 weather experiences. Getting to see the cold and warm sector. Surpasses several notable hurricanes on my list! Gotta go BBL!!!!!!
504. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:34 (GMT)
In weather,timing is everything,all the ingredients for that storm came together at the same time.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
503. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:33 (GMT)
LOL Lake :)

Well you could be seeing it in the next couple of days. NW winds across the Lakes.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
502. LakeShadow
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:32 (GMT)
hey folks! I remember that storm, too. We only got about 6" in B-lo but the whole eastern seaboard was unindated. It was refreshing for us to see someone else get pummeled...
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
501. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:32 (GMT)
yeh,storms like that are very rare.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
500. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:28 (GMT)
That storm is the only one I really think the moniker was a good one. For that storm to form again would be a rarity
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
499. Ivansrvivr
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:26 (GMT)
That storm was El Nino year, also volcano eruption my have contributed.
498. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:25 (GMT)
No NoName. Pat mentioned it and JFV asked for images.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
497. Ivansrvivr
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:25 (GMT)
I drove from Nashvile to S.Fl in the teeth of that storm. I saw thundrsnow, snow inFl and cought up to the squall line inthe warm sector. Been fascinated by winter storms ever since. Conditions were similar to hurricane in warm sector. March 15,1993 while on spring break at Middle Tenn ST university. Had my car not been 4 wheel drive, i wouldn't have made it.
496. sullivanweather
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:24 (GMT)
There doesn't really have to be a reason to talk about the 1993 storm...

Just a mention of that storm will make any weather nut put in their 2 cents...lol
Member Since: 8.03.2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
495. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:23 (GMT)
yea it was amazing. In the official report they list a 53 foot high snow drift!!!
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
494. sullivanweather
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:23 (GMT)


Superstorm visible satellite
Member Since: 8.03.2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
493. NoNamePub
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:22 (GMT)
Why is the 93 storm coming up.
Are conditions setting up for a repeat?
Member Since: 13.07.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 518
492. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:21 (GMT)
the 93 storm was amazing not only for the strength,but the area that was effected.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
491. sullivanweather
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:20 (GMT)
The wall that those snowdrifts cover in that picture are 9 feet high.
Member Since: 8.03.2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
490. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:13 (GMT)
8) Highest Recorded Wind Gusts

144mph Mount Washington, NH
109mph Dry Tortugas
101mph Flagtop Mountain, NC
98mph South Timbalier, LA
92mph South Marsh Island, LA
90mph Myrtle Beach
89mph Fire Island, NY
83mph Vero Beach, Fl
81mph Bostaon
71mph La Guardia Arpt, NY

Official NOAA Report
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
489. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:09 (GMT)
florida derecho
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
488. sullivanweather
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:09 (GMT)


Superstorm 1993
Member Since: 8.03.2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
487. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:08 (GMT)
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
486. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:07 (GMT)
1993 superstorm

Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
485. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 14:06 (GMT)
Yea NE. I noticed that. Thats why I included the low confidence forcats in my update. I am even having trouble finding the energy that would cause the system to form. Only thing I see right now is an ULL over Mexico.

JFV for the upcoming dry season south florida will be hard hit draught wise unfortunatly. I am seeing a trend in the Jet that leads me to belive a thermal high will set up over the south east and really be hard pressed to move out. You folks are now in a cycle, dry ground leads to dry atmosphere dry atmospher leads to dry ground. Same thing that keeps deserts dry. Ypu are going to need something to add moisture there. Right now it appears a 4" deluge would be needed to just replenish soil moisture. Thats even before making up the deficit of rain fall.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
480. NEwxguy
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:57 (GMT)
Bone,the models are really struggling with this weekend and next week
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15101
479. Patrap
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:57 (GMT)
93 storm brought Sleet here in NOLA..and lotsa wind.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125681
477. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:56 (GMT)
no problem JFV.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
476. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:55 (GMT)
Pat I remeber that storm quite well. I remeber and have sat images that show it covering from Florida to Maine. Was an awsome thing to go through, especially in the north east.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
474. Bonedog
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:53 (GMT)
JFV havent really looked at it for next season. I am currently busy with the winter storm season. I usually start looking come April or May
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
473. Patrap
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:52 (GMT)
Science Daily on the Earth Image from the Japanese Spacecraft

Link
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125681
472. Patrap
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:51 (GMT)
Big Winter Storms like in March 1993

One of the most intense nor'eaters to ever strike the Eastern United States did so in the second week of March, 1993. Record low pressures, wind speeds, low temperatures and snowfall amounts were more than enough for this storm to gain the status of "Storm of the Century" even during its existence. Indeed, this storm was monumental, killing over 250 people and cancelling 25% of the United States' flights for two days.



Link
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125681
471. Orcasystems
14. marraskuuta 2007 klo 13:50 (GMT)
464. Bonedog 1:48 PM GMT on November 14, 2007
Pat i caught those images yesterday. Simply amazing. Lets you see exactly how small we really are

Morning.. do you have a link for them?
Member Since: 1.10.2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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