Posted at 7:11 AM on November 13, 2007
by Paul Huttner
Indonesia is a seismically active place. Earthquakes are a part of life, devastating tsunamis can follow, and volcanoes dot the landscape.
You may remember the stories of Krakatau's massive eruption in 1883. It's one of the largest eruptions in recorded history. Now, Anak Krakatau or "Child of Krakatau" is dazzling viewers with relatively small eruptions nearly every day.
Meteorologists watch volcanic eruptions closely because big eruptions can change weather and climate over large parts of the planet. Mt. Pinatubo's eruption in June of 1991 caused measureable cooling.
Mt. Tambora's gigantic eruption in 1815 caused the infamous "Year without a summer" in 1816 in New England and parts of Europe, wiping out crops with frost and snow, and causing migrations to warmer parts of the U.S.
So far geologists seem to think Child of Krakatau is behaving, and will not produce a huge eruption with climatic scale effects. But meteorologists and climatologists will keep a wary eye cast toward Krakatau these days.
Posted at 2:09 PM on November 13, 2007
by Craig Edwards
Early in my forecasting career, my assignment was to observe and report the weather. Each hour I would parade outdoors to gage the sky and the visibility. Remote equipment recorded other reportable information, such as temperature, dew point, wind and pressure. In the 1990s the National Weather Service deployed Automated Surface Observing Systems at local airports. Thus there is a host of surface weather reports plotted hourly from across the state and the nation.
Minnesota current conditions
One of my employees would often wisely suggest that automation carries secrets. A couple of days ago one of the automated thermometers in Minnesota was reporting a reading of 111 degrees. Technicians quickly remedied the erroneous data. In the weather business, no data is better than having bad data.
More importantly, part of the drama of forecasting the weather is intuitive. While working in the yard I sensed a change blowing in the wind. It was as if the wind was foretelling a story about an approaching cold front. With winds gusting to 35 mph in western Minnesota, readings in the lower 60s and low relative humidity, forecasters were concerned about a risk of grassland fires.
The chapter of much above normal temperatures written the last few days will end soon. We’ll turn the page to find the mercury tumbling to readings more typical of mid November. Normal is not a bad thing.
Paul Huttner and the MPR weather team will be keeping a watchful eye on the changing weather and the computer models long range forecast for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Intuitively, I’m thinking Mother Nature might have some interesting weather cooked up soon.