Monday, June 16, 2008

Space Weather: Interfering With The Global Positioning System

Space Weather: Interfering With The Global Positioning System

ScienceDaily (Jun. 11, 2008)
— You can't always trust your GPS gadget. As scientists have long known, perplexing electrical activity in the upper atmospheric zone called the ionosphere can tamper with signals from GPS satellites.

Now, new research and monitoring systems are clarifying what happens to disruptive clouds of electrons and other electrically charged particles, known as ions, in the ionosphere. The work may lead to regional predictions of reduced GPS reliability and accuracy.

One team of researchers has recently observed Earth's aurora, which is a prominent manifestation of ionospheric electrical activity, in the act of disrupting GPS equipment. Other scientists have successfully tested a way to forecast GPS disturbances for marine users, with likely extension to users on land.

Some research groups are turning the tables and employing GPS receivers as tools with which to conduct basic research on the electrical-current structures of the ionosphere.

The scientific reports on these and other recent developments are available in a special section of Space Weather: The International Journal of Research and Applications, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, or AGU.

Space Weather is an online journal devoted to studies of the electrical interactions between the Earth and various emissions from the Sun, including electrically charged particles (the solar wind), solar radio noise and solar X-rays. The journal, which has a quarterly print digest called Space Weather Quarterly, is cosponsored by the National Science Foundation and the International Space Environment Service


Car Caught In Tornado

By Jamie Burch

Published: June 12 2008 - 1:23 pm Last Updated: June 12 2008 - 1:28 pm

The tornado that hit a Boy Scout camp in Iowa, killing four Scouts, caught two storm chasers by surprise.

They were in their car Wednesday when the twister came right over them. "We're in the tornado! We're in the tornado right now! The tornado is right over us. Holy Smokes."

The entire terrifying ordeal is caught on camera.

Ninety-three boys and 25 staff members were attending a weeklong leadership training in Blencoe, Iowa when the storm ripped through their isolated campsite. A 14-year-old from Eagle Grove, Iowa, and two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska were killed by the tornado.

At least 42 people are hospitalized with with everything from cuts and bruises to major head trauma. Four people were taken to a medical center in Sioux City, Iowa, where they're listed in serious condition.

Surviving scouts are being praised as heroes for helping to administer first aid and search for victims following the storm

Storm Chasers Inside A Tornado

For ten years, Kenny Allen and Kory Hartman have been chasing storms. And in all that time, they've never been inside a tornado, until last night.

Storm chasing is a potentially dangerous profession, but Kenny Allen and Kory Hartman say they do it to keep the public safe.

Kory Hartman said, "We want to give the National Weather Service the info and tell people what's going on and give them the ground truth of what's actually going on with the storm."

They got the ground truth last night. They were right in the middle a tornado that went through western iowa last night. You can actually see their car turn from the strong winds of the tornado. Their video quickly hit all the major news networks, and soon viewers from around the country got to see what it was like to be inside a tornado.

Kenny Allen said, "We've never been hit by a tornado...the tornado took us out. A lot of times people say you're chasing the storm, the storm chased us."

Hartman and Allen say their adrenaline was pumping while the tornado was over them, but they also felt a little nervous about being in the storm.

Hartman said, "We were just hoping that the car wasn't going to roll in the ditch or something like that we were just hoping it was going to stay on the ground."

Allen added, "It wasn't until my ears popped that I got a little scared I knew something very large was going over the top of us and that we got twisted around in the road from the wind, then we got a little bit concerned."

Risking their lives, to keep the public informed.

Allen and Hartman also say that storm chasing is dangerous and it should be left up to the professionals. The best thing you can do during a storm is get a weather radio and stay tuned to local TV for updates on the weather.


Delray Beach waterspout caught on camera
Reported by: WPTV staff
Last Update: 6/12 4:35 pm

(Matthew D. Thompson )
(Matthew D. Thompson )
DELRAY BEACH, FL--These photos were taken by Matthew D. Thompson this morning in Delray Beach.

As showers and thunderstorms developed this morning off shore, waterspouts could be seen over homes and buildings.

Waterspouts were also reported off-shore near Fort Pierce. Waterspouts are funnels that develop over water, and if they move on shore become tornadoes.

Water spout reported over Lake Catherine
by The Times-Picayune
Thursday June 12, 2008, 10:26 AM

A water spout formed around 9:15 a.m. this morning over the Lake Catherine/Lake Borgne areas, according to a National Weather Service spokesman.

Water spouts are fairly common this time of year, said meteorologist Phil Grigsby.

"It's just that most people don't see them because (the spouts) are over open water or in a marshy area," Grigsby said.

A spout forms when clouds start to rise up and grow in size, he said.

"Sometimes the air rises so quickly that you develop a weak area of low pressure underneath and that gets stretched into a vertical column. And since low pressure spins, it basically turns into a funnel cloud over water, he said. "It usually becomes visible whenever the water gets sucked up into the column."

In a special weather statement this moring, the Weather Service said a deep tropical airmass containing abundant moisture is spreading over southeast Louisiana, making conditions favorable for more waterspouts to form under developing thunderstorms over water.

In addition, some funnel clouds might be spotted over marshy land areas, the statement warned. While not as violent as tornadoes, these combinations of wind and water do pose a safety risk to mariners and those near water areas.

Forecasters warned mariners to navigate away from waterspouts at a right angle to the direction they are moving.

Near shore, people should leave docks, piers and beaches if a waterspout approaches. They usually collapse when moving onto the shore line, but can still cause damage or injuries from flying debris.

Gold Coast police are investigating the activation of an emergency beacon which led to an overnight air and sea search.

The Australian Marine Safety Authority picked up the signal from an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) about 10:00pm AEST and the water police and a rescue helicopter were called to search the broadwater.

Acting Superintendent Chris Emzin says the beacon activation was a hoax.

"They isolated to an area around the Labrador Channel area and using our direction finding equipment, water police were able to locate the beacon in Bigger Creek, Runaway Bay," he said.

"When they had a look at the beacon all of the identifying marks had been removed and it appeared it had been deliberately activated as a hoax."

UK – SAR website

The UK Department for Transport established the United Kingdom Search and Rescue website. The site provides information about the structure and coordination of search and rescue in the UK. (6/12/08).