Friday, April 25, 2008

Better Understanding Of Hurricane Trajectories Learned From Patterns On Soap Bubbles

Better Understanding Of Hurricane Trajectories Learned From Patterns On Soap Bubbles

ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2008) Researchers at the Centre de Physique Moléculaire Optique et Hertzienne (CPMOH) (CNRS/Université Bordeaux (1) and the Université de la Réunion(1) have discovered that vortices created in soap bubbles behave like real cyclones and hurricanes in the atmosphere. Soap bubbles have enabled the researchers to characterize for the first time the random factor that governs the movement and paths of vortices. These results, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, could lead to a better understanding of such increasingly common and often devastating atmospheric phenomena.

A soap bubble is an ideal model for studying the atmosphere because it has analogous physical properties and, like the atmosphere, it is composed of a very thin film in relation to its diameter(2). In this experiment, the researchers created a half soap bubble that they heated at the “equator” and then cooled at the “poles”, thereby creating a single large vortex, similar to a hurricane, in the wall of the bubble. The researchers studied the movement of this vortex, which fluctuates in a random manner. This is characterized by a law known as a superdiffusive law(3), well known to physicists, but which had not until then been observed in the case of single vortices in a turbulent environment.

The disconcerting resemblance between vortices on soap bubbles and cyclones led the researchers to study their similarities. By analyzing in detail the trajectories of certain recent hurricanes such as Ivan, Jane, Nicholas, etc., the researchers measured the random factor that is always present in the movement of hurricanes. They then demonstrated the remarkable similarity of these fluctuations with those that characterize the disordered movement of the vortices that they created on soap bubbles.(4)

Taking this random factor into account in predicting the trajectory of hurricanes will be useful in anticipating the probability of impact on a given site or locality. Although the mean trajectory of hurricanes (without any fluctuations) is beginning to be well simulated by meteorologists, this random factor has, until now, been poorly understood. This discovery highlights a universality in the statistics of trajectory fluctuations and should make it possible in the future to better predict the behavior of hurricanes and anticipate the risks.


Keeping Your Family Safe During Severe Weather

Keeping Your Family Safe During Severe Weather

From thunderstorms to drought to extreme cold, severe weather affects the northland.

Meteorologist Shannon Murphy begins our special weather report with a look at how you can keep your family safe during severe weather events.

April is always a busy time for meteorologists.

Drastic changes in temperature during the spring season fuel the formation of thunderstorms.

This week has been proclaimed Severe Weather Awareness Week for both Minnesota and Wisconsin to encourage citizens to be prepared when bad weather strikes.

"Last year we had baseball size hail in the Duluth area. Strong downburst winds hit the Northland every year, and these winds can be as strong or stronger than a tornado. And yes they do cause damage. And yes if you don't take precaution you could get injured or even killed."

In 2007, straight line winds hit speeds of eight-five miles per hour, the same strength of a Category one hurricane.

This year, Mother Nature continued to stir up problems during a rare January outbreak of tornadoes in Kenosha County in Southeastern Wisconsin and a rare spring blizzard in April.

Although many people think that twisters are the most deadly thunderstorm phenomenon, it is actually lightning that's kills and injures the most people, which is why even a severe thunderstorm warning cannot be taken lightly.

"Go inside, go into a sturdy building, a basement if you have one, under your basement stairs or get under some heavy type of furniture like a work bench or a pool table to protect yourself from debris."

If you don't have a basement experts say try to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. In Duluth, Meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

Part of Severe weather Week includes a mock tornado drill, in which sirens will sound shortly before two pm on Thursday.



Messing About In Ships Episode 20
April 25, 2008, 4:05 am
Filed under: podcast, shownotes

Episode 20 of Messing About In Ships has launched.

(46 minutes)


Have a really great weekend!