Hot Ocean Hurls Nangka’s 1 Meter Rains At Japan; Storm Chases Arctic Heat Delivery Later This Week

This week, a screaming hot Pacific basin hurled six tropical cyclones northward. These cyclones spawned off the back of a building monster El Nino which is predicted to reach strong-to-record intensity by later this year. They also contributed to setting a record for number of cyclones formed in the Northern Hemisphere so early in the year. In the Western Pacific, one of these Cyclones — Typhoon Chan Hom — slammed into Shanghai on July 10th and 11th, delivering high waters, high winds and floods.

Now, another cyclone — Typhoon Nangka — is venting its fury on Japan.

Nangka bears down on Japan

(Nangka takes aim on Japan in this MODIS satellite shot. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

A few hours ago, Nangka made landfall near Muroto City. Over the past 24 hours, Nangka had weakened from a category 3 storm packing 115 mile per hour intensity, blustering ashore as a minimal Typhoon with 75 mile per hour maximum sustained winds. Nangka is interacting with a frontal boundary, which interfered with the storm’s circulation even as it injected massive amounts of moisture into Nangka’s encircling thunderstorms. This increased moisture loading — likely also enhanced by global temperatures that are now in the range of 1 C hotter than 1880s averages together with moisture bleeding off an anomalously warm Pacific — is resulting in forecasts for up to 1 meter of rainfall as Nangka continues to churn over Japan.

Nangka’s eyewall and strong south to north winds are running smack into Japan’s ocean facing mountains. The combined high moisture loading and the lifting action of winds running up the mountains are pumping up Nangka’s thunderstorms to extraordinary intensity. Weather radar from earlier today showed hourly rainfall rates peaking at an extreme 3.15 inches per hour near Shikoku. There, after hours of this intense pounding, rainfall totals have hit as high as 23 inches (UPDATE: Kamikitayama village had reported 27 inches of total rainfall as of 5:20 AM local time.)

These heavy rains are expected to continue for the next 24-48 hours with very severe additional totals predicted for a number of regions. Expected new rainfall amounts include:

  • Kinki and Tōkai: 600 millimeters (~24 inches)
  • Shikoku island: 600 millimeters (31 inches)
  • Kantō region: 400 to 500 millimeters (16 to 20 inches)
  • Chūgoku region: 300 to 450 millimeters (12 to 16 inches)
  • Tōhoku region: 250 to 350 millimeters (10 to 14 inches)

Extraordinary additional rains that will bring with them the risk of severe flash flooding and landslides to the mountainous slopes of Japan.

Nangka At Tail End of Warm, Wet Wind Invasion of Arctic Later This Week

As Nangka continues northward, it will become wrapped up in a trough, helping to feed a larger synoptic pattern of moisture and air flow from south to north. The trough, in turn, is projected to rush northward into the Bering Sea. By Monday, a dipole pattern set up between the trough running through the Bering and the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge to the east will pull warm air up from the tropical Pacific and catapult it toward the already weakened ice of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

image

(Long wave north to south synoptic pattern projected to draw warm air and water into the Pacific side of the Arctic over the next 3-6 days. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

In the above image from Earth Nullschool and based on GFS models, we can see the strong south to north synoptic wind pattern predicted to set up. Flowing from a region near Hawaii, these winds are predicted to pull tropical airs over thousands of miles, run them up through the Bering and into the High Arctic.

In conjunction with this warm air invasion, a head of hot water now at a +5 C positive anomaly in the Chukchi will be driven northward running directly into highly fractured and disassociated ice floes. It’s a weather pattern that is a continuation of consistent warmth hitting the sea ice on the Pacific side of the Arctic. One that is driven both by El Nino and by a human greenhouse gas based amplification of heat in the polar zones. This combination has generated a kind of Achilles heel for Arctic sea ice on the Pacific side for 2015. With another hit coming to this area and with sea ice already in a somewhat tenuous state due to the continued impacts of warm air near Greenland, a Greenland high and a related dipole continuing to nudge the ice toward the Fram Strait, risks rise that current sea ice measures ranging at 4th lowest in area and 7-9th lowest in extent could take a further tumble.

Links:

LANCE-MODIS

Earth Nullschool

Over 20 Inches of Rain as Nangka Makes Landfall

NASA Sees Nangka Knocking on Japan’s Door

Hat tip to Greg

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53 Comments

  1. Jeremy

     /  July 16, 2015

    Not content with destroying paltry green energy efforts in the UK, the British gov. has now reneged on promises not to destroy the country with fracking.

    New announcement today.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/16/government-makes-outrageous-u-turn-over-fracking-in-precious-wildlife-sites

    Reply
  2. labmonkery2

     /  July 16, 2015

    Reading about the rains in Japan reminds me of an old Ray Bradbury Theater episode from the early 90’s. Spaceship crash lands on a planet where the rain never stops, and comes down so heavily that it is hard to even breathe. I devoured his books as a kid. Great mind.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0683222/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_29

    Certainly hope this is not our fate. But I can see that if we do not change our evil ways, we will be more like Venus than Mars.

    Reply
    • Actually, the planet in the sci fi tale you mention was Venus. Bradbury wrote the book before we discovered how hellish the surface really was. Satellites at the time were treated to impenetrable clouds and popular speculative imagination drummed up tales of endless rainstorms. Reality, as it tends to be, was much more stark. The human imagination, such that it is, is a comfortable place. Which is one of the reasons climate change denial, or any kind of crisis denial finds easy rooting there.

      Reply
  3. Greg

     /  July 17, 2015

    Thanks Robert! I have been through a typhoon on Kyushu near Fukuoka city and it was no fun in an old apartment with old glass patio doors. I held blankets up to walls in case of flying glass that I remember vividly bowing inward but never breaking. I was a teacher in one of the poorest regions of Japan. Look up Tagawa-gun. The reason for its poverty? Coal. Slag heaps everywhere. Great recruiting ground for the Yakuza of which I lost a few students. Regarding that trough–beginning on the 28th I will note anything I find on the Kenai peninsula and north where I’ll be traversing on land and boat with family. Expecting heavy smoke but maybe lots of rain?

    Reply
    • Coal is absolutely a poverty multiplier even as it is wealth concentrator. Wreck a person’s environment and what does she have left? Poverty and crime.

      Will be great to have eyes on the ground in AK. The tendency has been for storms fueled by the ocean influx. Though it would odd if this particular trough lasted until the 28th.

      Am noting that cap and trade is actually working the U.S. Northeast. Will keep monitoring, but good early signs. Still doesn’t change my preference for a carbon tax. But any well developed carbon reduction policy is better than no policy.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  July 17, 2015

        Saw that new cap and trade article too. Skeptical outside of this narrow context. Don’t think it can be trusted outside a high law and order, successfully regulated, and enforcing political region. Its a set up for corruption and failure when scaled into anything otherwise. People respond to real numbers that impact them daily. Everyone can wrap themselves around a price on carbon and individual control over their own choices and behavior. I think any bad actors can abuse cap and trade but better than nothing for sure. Could be a layer in addition to carbon pricing for the big players that have to depreciate huge assets quickly by sharing the cost of the write offs and there will be trillions of stranded ff assets to write off. Still the simpler the better.

        Reply
  4. climatehawk1

     /  July 17, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  5. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 17, 2015

    Holy cow, check out the storm surge.

    http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/PDC_TC_Nangka_-_Storm_Surge%2C_14JUL15_2100UTC.pdf

    Anyone have thoughts on this typhoon’s storm surge / ocean waves / displacement running through the Bering Strait into the ice pack causing more break up?

    Reply
    • The developing trough is 995 mb in the forecast, so not the kind of thing that would develop huge waves as forecast. The big issue is the heat transport set up. The storm itself kind of lurches in the Chukchi on day 7. But, again it’s not predicted to be too intense as yet. More a warm air and water delivery vehicle in its current forecast incarnation.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  July 17, 2015

        As Bruce Steele just noted at neven’s site:

        8 degrees C SST in the Chukchi and 16 C ( 60 F ) in Norton sound.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  July 17, 2015

        And the latest UBremen map shows rapid disintegration of that entire area even before any of that storm has come close. It does look as though the Pacific side is going to see some fairly dramatic changes…think ‘flash melting’…within a very few days.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  July 17, 2015

        I just repeat interesting stuff when I see it. Speaking of which, here’s the latest from LordMVader at neven’s place:

        If one is to believe the DMI volume graph, 2015 is now somewhat ahead of 2011… Only 2012 was “worse”. A comparision between June 15 and July 15 reveals that some places in the Pacific sector have lost more than 2 m sea ice. See: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icethickness/thk.uk.php

        GFS 00z run is bad news with a continuos hammering by a HUGE high pressure in the Pacific sector, especially later in the forecast period in 5-7 days.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  July 17, 2015

        Of course, maybe you meant I remind you of the male lead singer in Die Antwoord who goes by ninja?? ‘-)

        https://www.google.com/search?q=i+fink+u+freeky&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

        Reply
  6. Greg

     /  July 17, 2015

    As of 520 a.m.ST you can update the 23 to 27 inches (690 mm) for the suffering winner of most rain so far– kamikitayama (“wind north mountain”) village.

    Reply
  7. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 17, 2015

    Cantareira System is dropping at a rate of 0.4 million cubic meters of water per day. The drop rate equates to 0.1% per 48 hours. The current reported volume is 19.3% including dead pool (sludge).

    100% of the water available from the 190 million cubic meters total which is reported can only be accessed by pumping it up to the intake. It would require roughly 50 million cubic meters of water added to the reserve in order to get water up to the intake.

    Although 190 million cubic meters are reported in the reserve, it is highly unlikely that all of that can be accessed as the pumps are having to be moved further into the reserve to find water. Also eventually the topology at the bottom will begin to turn the remaining volume into stand alone ponds.

    It is tough to guess how many days of reserve actually exist in Cantareira. However, when you peel away the top layer and look at the distribution between the sections of the system, the bulk of the remaining water is in atibainha reservoir (110m cubic meters reported). The other sections are basically tapped out. Flow rates are at 54.1% of normal in the water system (33.26 cubic m/sec).

    Sistema Alto Tiete is at 19.7%, dropping at 0.2 to 0.3% per 48 hours. At this rate, Alto Tiete will be at 0.0% within 90 days.

    The total Sabesp system (all reserves / all reservoirs) currently is reporting 560.7 million cubic meters, depleting at a rate of ~1.8 million cubic meters per day. I can’t find how much of the 560.7m cubic meters is actually recoverable.

    “google translate is my friend”
    http://site.sabesp.com.br/site/uploads/file/boletim/boletim_mananciais_16jul15.pdf

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  July 17, 2015

      This pic is from February, it is probably worse by now. You can see the pumps (blue boxes in the water). You can see the intake to the water system to the left of the picture. Notice the color of the water, it looks like it has passed through a cow.

      Reply
      • That’s a frightening picture! The water looks, well, like you said Andy. Next to the pumps (up and to the right in the image) it looks as if there’s piles of material (mud, sand, fill) that’s running into what little water there is. Do you have any idea what that could be? This photo looks like an industrial mining operation, not a reservoir that millions depend on for water. Great analysis, Andy.

        Reply
    • Holy cow, Andy. This is an excellent analysis. Chilling, but excellent. About 90 days to the rainy season. At 54 percent utilization and basically looking at 165 million cu meter loss at current rates looks like they are going to hurt and hope. Hurt til they get to the rainy season and hope it is not delayed.

      Reply
  8. Syd Bridges

     /  July 17, 2015

    In September 2013, I was living near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, where I am at present. I was amazed by the “atmospheric river” that gave us about 14 inches of rain in four days. I returned to England that November and watched the storms bring 18 inches in three months and severe flooding to many areas. Now I’m seeing up to a metre of rain in Japan in just a few days! What next? I ask. Will that be just another figure by the end of this El Nino, passed by e
    ven more extreme events elsewhere?

    By the way, where is Senator Snowball? Has he single-handedly put out the wildfires in Alaska, by pelting them with snowballs? Or is he trying to spell those nasty big words that Sheldon Whitehous uses so he can instruct one of his minions to look them up and find out what they mean?

    Reply
  9. JAXA Drop by 150k+ How the melt potential in coming week?

    Reply
    • Dipole remains, Greenland High remains. Both stay in place for at least the next 4 days. All this with hot air coming up through the Bering and Chukchi from the Pacific. Lots of really thin ice if you believe what more than half the monitors are saying and what the satellite confirms. I’d say it looks like rapid melt to a massacre next week.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  July 17, 2015

        Jim Pettit, master tracker and grapher of all things Arctic sea ice, just noted at neven’s place:
        “July extent loss has now exceeded that for the entire month of June. “

        Reply
  10. ‘Another test of methane hydrates on the North Slope, a potential huge new gas resource, is being planned.

    State officials are in discussions with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., or JOGMC on possible joint-sponsorship, and talks are planned with North Slope producers about potential sites for a test within one of the operating units on the Slope, Commissioner of Natural Resources Mark Myers said.

    Meanwhile, people ask why the government should provide funding for research like this and why industry isn’t leading.

    “Most people see any commercialization of hydrate production as several decades out,” Myers said.

    But there can be surprises. The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Geological Survey did a lot of the initial research into coal-bed methane, or gas from coal seams, as well as producing gas, and oil, from shales.

    Once the basic science was understood industry moved quickly to commercialize the potential, Myers said. Hydrate methane production could happen faster than people now believe, he said.’

    http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/July-Issue-3-2015/Another-round-of-Slope-methane-hydrate-research-planned/

    Reply
    • We really seem committed to carrying out collective suicide. We already have enough fossil fuels to kill ourselves, yet we are determined to find and burn more. And as always, the government is quick to support such self destructive ventures, while ignoring renewables that could preserve a livable climate and criticizing them as unrealistic. I like to stay positive, but I really think we face a very dark future.

      Reply
    • This is bad money going after bad outcomes. The ridiculous notion that we can keep burning this stuff and not commit global civilization suicide is like a smoker stating that more cigarettes, though of the filtered variety, are needed for improved health after being diagnosed with lung cancer. There are 20,000 billion tons of hydrate in the world. Extracting and burning it has climate change game over written across it in quadruplicate.

      Look, we’ve already warmed the world enough to have a small fraction of this stuff come out and cause trouble. But these companies want to create an industrial process that actively extracts them and then links them to an economic system that will demand more and more and more? Fossil fuels Doctor Strangelove indeed.

      Reply
  11. Yesterday’s Guardian: Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists

    The warming of the oceans due to climate change is now unstoppable after record temperatures last year, bringing additional sea-level rise, and raising the risks of severe storms, US government climate scientists said on Thursday.

    The annual State of the Climate in 2014 report, based on research from 413 scientists from 58 countries, found record warming on the surface and upper levels of the oceans, especially in the North Pacific, in line with earlier findings of 2014 as the hottest year on record.

    “Even if we were to freeze greenhouse gases at current levels, the sea would actually continue to warm for centuries and millennia, and as they continue to warm and expand the sea levels will continue to rise,” Johnson said.

    Reply
    • The Nation’s right on that count. Puerto Rico is now rationing water — 2 days off, one day on in some areas. Drought in FL setting off wildfires there. And that’s not to mention the terrible trouble that continues out west. Warming the atmosphere is a guaranteed way of setting off hydrological disasters. Increase the rate of evaporation on one end and precipitation on the other and you end up with trouble. 7-8% amplification of the hydrological cycle for each degree C. So we’re already at that range of difference when compared to the 1880s.

      Reply
  12. The Department of Energy is an Executive branch agency, subject to even whimsical though binding policy and mission directives from the President, is it not?

    Reply
  13. 0915 PDT
    C-SPAN is now on http://www.c-span.org/video/?327180-1/house-democrats-discuss-climate-change&live
    July 17, 2015
    Climate Change

    House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats, environmental experts and local officials held a forum to examine climate change at the local level.

    Reply
    • It’s good — Q’s and witnesses Navy & civilian.

      Reply
      • Great to see this, DT!

        Reply
      • This is pretty decent. The talk of low emissions has me a bit concerned. We should be trying for zero or near zero emissions. Net negative emissions with land use change. That’s the safest path. There’s already enough carbon in that if we keep adding to it, it’s really catastrophic — slow burn or fast burn, but either way you still get there with any net positive emissions on an industrial scale.

        Reply
      • These guys are too nice. Our current economy basically is held hostage by the energy equivalent of cigarrettes for the environment. That’s not a rational way to run an economy. It needs to be changed. There’s no future in it. There’s a point where shifting a little money here and there doesn’t help. It’s just not enough. You need to stop feeding into the problem.

        Reply
    • Thanks for this, DT. Good reference!

      Reply
      • – Note: US Navy related (2011) water temps in Strait of Hormuz at 100 F — above usual 90 F. Harsh and negative impacts on warships.

        Reply
  14. I think this was discussed when Japan’s numbers came out, or on Wed when NASA released their numbers…

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/17/3681260/june-2015-hottest-year-record/

    This year is all but certain to crush last year’s record for warmest year. Things really seem to be tipping into completely uncharted territory.

    Reply
    • We are now topping last year’s record by 0.05 C or more. And that’s without the full effect of El Nino coming to bear on us.

      Reply
  15. james cole

     /  July 17, 2015

    ” Athens residents fled their homes on Friday amid wildfires fanned by strong winds and high temperatures burned through woodland around the Greek capital, sending clouds of smoke billowing over the city”
    These may be arson fires, but they take advantage of Greece’s changing climate zone, becoming more like North Africa every year. Greece’s Islands are turning into little deserts, life has an increasingly hard time clinging to any of the islands. Spain as well is having issues with desert taking over orchards and grass lands. Southern France is also in the zone of climate shift. Their once paradise like climate is headed for hotter drier and desertification.

    Reply
  16. -Hot river water in PNW Cascadia — sturgeon added to list. The Columbia Ice Field (BC) can’t be doing well either..

    By Kelly House | The Oregonian/OregonLive

    Drought-related sturgeon deaths prompt Columbia River fishing ban

    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has banned sturgeon fishing on a long stretch of the Columbia River in response to a spate of deaths among the ancient fish population.

    Fish and wildlife officials announced Thursday afternoon that the temporary ban will take effect on Saturday. The ban applies to a 151-mile stretch of the Columbia River and its tributaries from Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam.

    The closure is the latest in a series of actions ODFW has taken to protect fish as severe drought warms water well beyond their tolerance level, killing salmon, steelhead and other protected species in rivers across the state.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/07/drought-related_sturgeon_death.html

    Reply

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