23 October 2015

Immense El Niño is "too big to fail"

The image and the report in the Los Angeles Times was posted several weeks ago.  I'm putting it up now because of the reports of the biggest hurricane in the history of the Western Hemisphere now boiling in the ocean off the western coast of Mexico.

Hurricane Patricia is expected to arrive on the coast with 200-mph winds and a foot of rain, which will effectively scrub the arrival site to the ground as a tornado does.  It is then expected to attentuate over land, heading toward Texas, where many legislators continue to deny the existence of climate change.

Addendum:  A hat tip to reader Danack, who found this graph showing the degree to which Hurricane Patricia is an outlier compared to all other recorded storms in the Eastern Pacific:


  1. Here is a chart that shows how much of an outlier this storm is compared to the other storms in the eastern pacific: http://i.imgur.com/StaqTgU.jpg

    1. Cool graph. Thank you Danack - I've appended it to the body of the post.

  2. CO2 retains heat longer in the atmosphere, this additional heat leads to more water evaporating (mostly above large bodies of water). Water vapor in turn is also a greenhouse gas that traps even more heat. This is one of those cascading/runaway effects that are hard to predict in their severity, but it leads to unusually high wind-speeds and rain amounts.
    I'm no meteorologist, but it's clear that additional energy in the atmosphere is bound to cause trouble when hot air is suddenly cooled down over land. Land cools down much faster in fall than the sea.

    Meteorologist can speak better to why a whirl is formed, and why circular wind-speeds increase. Maybe it works like a figure skating pirouette.


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