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Default Pakistan's flood weather eased Atlantic hurricanes - 09-04-2010, 04:14 AM

The stalled weather pattern blamed for disastrous floods in Pakistan and a record heatwave in Russia may have averted disasters elsewhere by putting the North Atlantic hurricane season on hold.
Forecasters had predicted that warm sea-surface temperatures and the onset of the weather pattern known as La Niña would make a busy Atlantic hurricane season this year. In June, Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University predicted 18 tropical storms, with 10 reaching hurricane force and five becoming deadly major hurricanes. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast similar numbers.
Yet this year's hurricane season got off to a very slow start, with only three storms by 20 August, and only one of them, Alex, reaching hurricane strength even briefly. That seemed a fizzle compared with the last busy storm season in 2008, when six of the year's 16 named storms, including major hurricane Bertha, had formed by 20 August. Nine of the record 28 storms in 2005 formed before 20 August, including two major hurricanes, Dennis and Emily – the first category 5 hurricane ever recorded in July.
La Niña arrived on schedule this year, and sea-surface temperatures were at record highs in July and August in the main area where Atlantic storms develop, says Klotzbach. Yet little happened there, and the Pacific was eerily quiet, with no July cyclones in its eastern half for the first time since 1966. Klotzbach attributes the calm conditions to dry air subsiding over the oceans, denying tropical storms the moisture that powers their growth.

Stalled wind
The dry air came from the blocking pattern that stalled the jet stream over Russia and Pakistan, says Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Air rose over Europe and Asia, then descended over the oceans depleted of the atmospheric moisture that fuels hurricanes.
"When the heatwave broke in Russia, that's when hurricanes started forming," says James Done of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Four tropical storms formed in the tropical mid-Atlantic from 21 August to 1 September. The first two, Danielle and Earl, both became powerful major hurricanes, with Earl now affecting the US east coast.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...urricanes.html


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Default 09-04-2010, 05:00 AM

Ancient Civilizations grew up around flooded-fertile plains and the decline in these ancient settlements is often put down to changes in water supply - rivers drying up and fertile land turning barren.

Some paleo-geologists are saying there is a cycle of flooding and a period of dry that affects the Indus region. The Mohenjo-Daro Indus Valley Civilization is said to have gone the same way, and for once it makes some sense.

http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/oct252004/1141.pdf



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