Saturday, May 31, 2014

Massive volcano eruption of Mt Sangeang Api, Indonesia to neutralise El Nino and spin the globe into global cooling cycle. Halt flights

(TheAustralian) The volcano Mount Sangeang Api in the Lesser Sunda Islands has just erupted, sending a huge ash cloud 12 miles into the air. Sangeang Api is a volcano complex with 2 active cones, Doro Api 1,949 metres (6,394 ft) and Doro Mantoi. 1,795 m (5,889 ft).

Three separate plumes are billowing from Sangeang Api, which is now erupting continuously after an initial blast yesterday afternoon. The cloud is now sweeping southeast over the west side of the Northern Territory as far south as Alice Springs, according to Tim Birch, a meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin.
“The plume that is affecting Darwin will be around for the next 18 hours,” he said. “We will see the plume here start to move east will start to move out of the Northern Territory and move steadily east in the location of Mount Isa (in Queensland) and it will start to dissipate.”
He said a second plume was hovering north of Darwin between 9.5km and 16km in the air, and could cause problems for flights between Australia and Malaysia and Singapore.

A third, lower-level plume is drifting west from the volcano, which lies off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, and is within 100km of Bali.
“The volcano is still erupting as it has done for most of the day, not as violently as initially, but there is a steady plume,” said Mr Birch.
Virgin Australia spokeswoman Jacqui Abbott confirmed two Saturday afternoon flights to Denpasar — one from Adelaide and on from Melbourne — have now been cancelled.

Qantas Group spokeswoman Kira Reed said Jetstar had cancelled an Adelaide-Denpasar flight that travelled via Darwin, and all its services to and from Darwin remain grounded. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss earlier warned that flights around Australia could be affected for days.
“Depending on wind and other weather conditions, the ash has the potential to affect flights to and from other airports, including Brisbane, during coming days,” said Mr Truss. “This is currently being fully assessed”.
Airservices Australia has begun diverting international flights around the ash cloud.
Virgin, Jetstar, Qantas, Emirates and Airnorth have all cancelled domestic and international flights. Stranded traveller Michael Law wrote on Twitter:
“Flight from darwin to Singapore delayed due to volcanic eruption in Bali. Hope everyone is ok and hope we get home to the uk safe.”
The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre’s projections of the ash plume’s path from Sangeang. Source: Supplied
Social media was flooded with pictures taken of the eruption in Indonesia, with dive group Dunia Baru capturing a dramatic photo of the mushrooming cloud while out on their boat around 16 kilometres away.

Muhammad Hendrasto, head of Indonesia’s National Volcanology Agency, told Xinhua news agency that scores of farmers cultivating the land on the island, seven kilometres from the crater, were told to leave the area after the eruption yesterday. They were warned not to re-enter the island during the eruption period, he added.

Sangeang is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”.

Tim Birch, a spokesman for the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, said the cloud over the city was likely to stay put for some time, adding that the eruptions may well continue.Emile Jansons, manager of the centre, said the situation could still change at any time, with the cloud moving south fast. He added:
“It is continuing to disperse but it is moving very rapidly — at 70 to 80 knots (130 to 150km/h) — towards Alice Springs. There is a very strong jet stream so the boundary (of the cloud) may come further south.”
“It is spreading east and it may dissipate, so it is not clear how far east it will get,” he said.
Mr Jansons said volcanic ash can be hazardous to aircraft but the decision whether or not to fly is a safety and economic decision that rests with individual airlines. Virgin Australia said in a statement:
 “Our team of meteorologists are continuing to monitor the situation, in consultation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, and we will recommence normal operations as soon as the volcanic ash cloud safely allows it.”
The airlines affected made efforts to contact passengers to tell them of the cancellations, and advised traveller to check flight statuses on their websites or call their customer services centres for more information.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority says volcanic ash can affect all aircraft with piston or jet engines at all flight levels. Fine particles of pulverised rock consisting mainly of silica contained in volcanic ash clouds can be highly abrasive and damage aircraft engines, structures and windows.
“Commercial air operators and private pilots planning to fly in this area should conduct a safety risk assessment before any flights,” a spokesman said.

“CASA recommends flights are not conducted into areas with visible volcanic ash clouds.

“Flights into areas with low levels of ash contamination should only be conducted after a safety risk assessment has been carried out.”

North India to face extreme heatwave all through June as monsoon delayed across India

Northern India is unlikely to get a respite from the scorching heat searing the region until late June 

(Nikita Mehta in LiveMint) Northern India is unlikely to get a respite from the scorching heat searing the region until late June amid expectations that the monsoon would be delayed, scientists at the Indian Institute of Meteorology said on Friday.

According to the institute, after the monsoon arrives in Kerala, its strength and progression will slacken by 15 June, and it will reach central India only by 20 June as a feeble current. Last year, the monsoon had covered the entire country by 16 June.

A heatwave, with maximum temperature hovering around 45 degrees Celsius, has tightened its hold over Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. In late April, a heatwave had swept through Odisha and Bihar.

Meteorological organisations have also been warning about the possibility of the El Nino weather phenomenon developing off the Pacific coast of South America. El Nino is usually accompanied by deficient rainfall in India. That has raised concerns on the food production front as well.

According to the India Meterological Department (IMD), there is a 60% chance of El Nino forming this year. A 1998 study by R.K. Mukhopadhyay of IMD and others found that a heatwave in 1998 was linked to the El Nino in 1997, and that the number of casualties from severe heatwaves was more during the years succeeding an El Nino occurrence.

States like Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat are known to be vulnerable to heatwaves. At least 24 people have died of sunstroke in Odisha since April, according to the Odisha relief commissioner, while 32 have died in Andhra Pradesh till 30 May, according to the state’s relief commissioner.

Last year, 927 deaths were reported from Andhra Pradesh alone; records show that 1,247 people died of heat stroke in 2012 across India.

This year, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has yet to receive information on casualties from the home ministry, which gets the data from the state governments every year.
“None of the states have sent any data this year,” an NDMA spokesperson said.
Though they can be forecast five to 10 days earlier,
“heatwaves are not considered important in India and emergency systems are weak”,
 said an official from the ministry of earth sciences who didn’t want to be named.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Monsoon will set in anytime after June 5 piggbacking on a favourable MJO,

Read our forecast: Monsoon 2014:  ‘Super’ El Niño is unlikely but rainfall deficiency can cross 16%!

According to international models, the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) looks extremely positive May 1 -10 and for the next 10 days the country should witness a dry spell except in the North-Western region. From May 20-30, prospects of rains looks very bleak for almost the entire country. It looks as for June, monsoon rains will end up in significantly deficient. And if this is the start to the season even when the El Nino has not yet developed, shudder the thought what July-September could be!!!

(VinsonKurian in HinduBusinessLine) The US Climate Prediction Centre sees a spurt in rainfall activity over the Kerala coast and adjoining peninsular India after June 4.

This should culminate in the onset of the monsoon over the south-west coast anytime after June 5, possibly the following day itself, as per a survey of various models.

The week beginning June 8 is likely to see heavy to very heavy rainfall along the Kerala and Karnataka coasts.

MJO Support

The US forecaster has also said that the monsoon will piggyback a Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) wave transiting the east African coast concurrently.

The MJO wave travels periodically across the Indian Ocean in the higher levels of the atmosphere but sets off clouds and rain-bearing systems such as low-pressure areas and monsoon depressions.

Its movement has also been associated with the onset of monsoon in the past though delayed by a few days this year. 

The US Climate Prediction Centre along with the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction is looking for signs of cyclone genesis in the Arabian Sea along with the onset of monsoon.

Low confidence

Confidence in the eventuality is currently low, the US agency said, but the likelihood of churn developing in the south-east Arabian Sea (off Kerala coast) around June 6 was not being ruled out.

Wind profile projections by the India Met Department too indicated the possibility of cyclonic circulation developing over the Lakshadweep Islands around this time.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology too hinted at a weak MJO event in the western tropical Indian Ocean over the next few days and moving slowly eastwards towards India. 

If this were to happen, it could enhance cloudiness over the tropical Indian Ocean and enhance monsoonal activity in the Bay of Bengal. 

Weaker system

This would increase the likelihood of tropical cyclone development in the northern Indian Ocean (comprises the Arabian Sea and the Bay).

A Taiwanese cyclone tracker agreed, but doubted if the weather system would reach cyclone strength anytime during its stay over waters for the next few days.

A cyclone is something an orderly onset of the monsoon could dispense with. This is because a cyclone early in the season causes entire moisture carry wasted even before the monsoon current can move north.

The Taiwanese tracker sees a low-pressure area at best looking to move north along the west coast right up till southwest Gujarat from where it will be steered off to the Karachi. 

Ideal monsoon

This would make for ideal conditions for the monsoon to progress along the west coast and take the Arabian Sea arm of the monsoon to where it should reach by that time – central India. 

But monsoon watchers say these are early days yet and a lot can happen from now and the actual onset and onward track of the monsoon over the landmass.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts says that the monsoon would be firmly established by June 7 with the likely formation of a matching ‘low’ in the Bay of Bengal too.

Monsoon watchers cannot possibly ask for a better scenario since an in ideally configured ‘low’ in the Bay so early into the season can do wonders with the progress of the monsoon into north and north-west India.