Author Topic: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes  (Read 356 times)

Offline Pitlamp

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Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« on: May 22, 2020, 05:33:23 pm »

Global Moderator Comment Split from the 'Is it OK to go Caving topic in Caving Chat


You would not mind if all scientists agreed.


 - her group and Imperial looked at the same set of evidence and came to different conclusions


This sounds just like weather forecasts . . . . and we know how wrong they can be. (Remember Michael Fish and his promise that there was no tornado on the way?)

Given the disagreement among the experts, surely our best bet is to err on the safe side.

Even so, there is still the issue of public relations to factor in (which is often not based on any logic at all).
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 09:01:03 am by paul »

Online andrewmc

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 05:53:10 pm »
In defense of Michael Fish, he said there wasn't going to be a hurricane on the way, and there wasn't, he had just been talking about a hurricane in the US (I think), and went on to forecast strong winds...

In defense of I guess science despite inaccuracy generally:
https://thecritic.co.uk/in-defence-of-neil-ferguson/

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 06:02:34 pm »

Offline Andy Farrant

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 06:31:10 pm »
Michael Fish was perfectly correct when he said there wasn't a hurricane on the way - there wasn't. We don't get hurricanes in this country. But strong winds were forecast. What wasn't appreciated at the time was the formation of a 'sting jet' which exacerbated the winds across SE England. The forecasts were also not very reliable due to the lack of oceanic observing stations. Sting jets were not known at the time, and were discovered in part due to a detailed analysis of the 1987 storm. This is actually a good example of how science works - new data comes to light and predictive models are refined. Scientists don't always agree - indeed science thrives on disagreements and being sceptical, but the crucial difference is that a good scientist will change their mind on the basis of new evidence (unlike many keyboard warriors). It is a shame that much of the media don't understand this. This is particularly important in the current situation, when new data is coming to light about how the virus affects individuals and how can be treated. Experts will disagree, but they will strive get the data to solve the issue.  They don't deserve to be castigated by the media, who in my experience often take things out of context anyway.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 07:38:06 pm »
I agree with much of what you say above Andy - especially the bit about changing one's mind in light of emerging evidence.

But . . no hurricanes? We get the tail end of them from time to time. I remember a certain one which destroyed over half the tents in the GG camp on the August bank holiday weekend in 1986. This was referred to as "Hurricane Charley" as it was passing through. (I think the west coast of Ireland had it even worse.)

Offline Fjell

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 08:27:16 pm »
We get the tail end of tropical depressions, the remains of a hurricane when it expands enormously in area much further south and west. The sea around the UK is simply not hot enough to sustain a real hurricane (about 26 degC). Which is a Very Good Thing.
We are also on the eastern side, so the real thing heading NW in the Caribbean has to do a massive curve to head back towards us and dies thousands of miles away. They are created in the North Equatorial Current heading west from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, getting hotter as it goes. It's a monstrous piece of water. Resistance is futile.


Offline JAA

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 08:37:30 pm »
Indeed Pitlamp, Hurricane Charley caused extreme fairly localised flooding over Arkengarthdale of a similar type to the summer storm of last year. Bridges swept away and homes flooded over night.
Much of the tsunami type effect was caused supposedly by some very substantial lead mine dams collapsing on the moors.
Strangely I have an intact drystone wall and mine entrance on some of our pasture which was buried by flood debris and boulders in 87, and now uncovered in 2019.
My grandad obviously did a fairly good job of putting it up to survive those!

Online mikem

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 09:29:45 pm »
Hurricane Charley had been downgraded to an extratropical cyclone by the time it reached Ireland...

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 09:54:41 pm »
Well folks, call it what you want. I can assure you it was hell on earth at Gaping Gill that night.

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 10:40:16 pm »
It did last 2 weeks & dump 200mm of rain on us!

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2020, 09:12:55 am »
Just to amplify on my last post above, my tent (a Force 10 Vango, with a proper ridge and solid A poles) actually stayed up during Hurricane Charley. I'd secured it with extra criss-cross guy lines, like you do with ridge tents. The problem was these guy ropes oscillated so much they shredded the flysheet and I was left with a number of triangular pieces of useless cloth. Few tents got away without serious damage and many were wrecked.

At Gaping Gill we had a large communal tent; it had to be flattened to prevent it sailing off into Ribbledale somewhere, so morale was low that evening. One very experienced mountain man (who sadly passed away in more recent years) only survived the night with the aid of a large bottle of rum. Next morning the whole camp looked like a scene from some apocalyptic disaster movie.

I remember wondering at the time what it would have been like living in that iron age settlement on the top of Ingleborough 2000 years ago, if they'd had to endure such events.

Online mikem

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2020, 12:06:02 pm »
Doubt it was used for more than emergency shelter, as getting water up there could be a mission.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 12:26:28 pm »
I can imagine if they didn't do some weaseling into the gritstone joints, the limestone pavement would also be a pretty good site to ride out a severe wind-storm, though maybe a bit draughty up the trousers occasionally. As long as it did't rain heavily at the same time ;)

Offline 2xw

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2020, 04:10:43 pm »
They probably just went into their houses, there are twenty of the foundations for 8m wide roundhouses still up there. The reconstructions at Castell Henllys have survived weather!

Offline pwhole

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2020, 04:42:01 pm »
There's also lee wave winds, which Sheffield is particularly susceptible in the wrong conditions, and which resulted in the famous 'Sheffield Gale' of 1962 that trashed hundreds of properties on west-facing hills and escarpments:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7UwvBQAAQBAJ&pg=PP16&lpg=PP16&dq=sheffield+lee+wave+wind&source=bl&ots=EP0vsM2e1b&sig=ACfU3U3KFnU7tSA536KQej1kTiPBwHp9oQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjC_sPgp8rpAhUBuHEKHYwlCMsQ6AEwBHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=sheffield%20lee%20wave%20wind&f=false

Rising moving air gets trapped under a resistant layer of air above, bouncing back down to the ground and bouncing back up again, setting up an oscillating wave and much higher velocity. Downslope of the range of hills doing the trapping, the air can hit scary velocities, in localised areas, and that's what happened here. The WW2 pre-fabs on Skye Edge were reduced to matchwood in seconds:

https://www.picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?&searchterms=Sky+Edge+Sheffield+Gale&action=search&keywords=all%3BCONTAINS%3B%25Sky%25%3BAND%3Ball%3BCONTAINS%3B%25Edge%25%3BAND%3Ball%3BCONTAINS%3B%25Sheffield%25%3BAND%3Ball%3BCONTAINS%3B%25Gale%25%3B#rowNumber3

Online andrewmc

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2020, 08:32:04 pm »
I suspect that if anyone had been 400m up on an exposed hill when an _actual_ hurricane with sustained 100mph winds hit, they wouldn't have been worried about whether their tents survived.

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Science and Weather Forecasting and Hurricanes
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2020, 11:17:41 pm »
A few Easters ago I was camping in Lyme Regis.  Big storm. My tent is an earlier version of the following: https://www.robens.de/en-gb/shop/outdoor-tents/fairbanks  Pretty much the same but for the external vent design. Anyway I added a couple of extra guy lines as storms were forecast. There wasn't a problem except no sleep as you could hear the banshee wind circling around before a buffeting gust. Quite surreal. Following day there was a fair bit of unfortunate damage to caravan awnings etc. etc.
A few years previously we thought was a good idea to go power boating in the tail end of one of those storm things that hit the UK as it seemed to have all quietened down. In the event, after a while, the sea became very easy to spot as it was quite often above head height.  A Mercury V8 with a few hundred horses is a wonderful thing to have.

 

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