Friday, March 28, 2014

The Double Bomb Nor'easter- 03/26/2014

img credit Earthnullschool.net
In a winter ripe with Atlantic storms, Nor'easter's and blizzards, the latest rendition was historic. A wind gust of 129 mph was measured on Wednesday at the Bay of Fundy

img credit NASA
Storm systems are generally measured in two ways; wind speed and barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is commonly measured in millibars(mbar): with sea level being 1013.25 mbar and 1 bar= 14.5 psi. Numbers above 1013 mbar are considered High Pressure, whereas below 1013 mbar are termed Low Pressure. The lower the pressure= the stronger the storm. If 0 millibars= perfect vacuum, think BLACK HOLE. The most historic (of recent times) Nor'easter is definitely, the Halloween "1991 Perfect Storm", for which a Hollywood film was made, depicting the final voyage of Andrea Gail; a fishing boat lost in the storm. The Perfect Storm had a registered pressure of 972 mbar, Wednesday's 'Double Bomb Nor'easter' was registered at 955 mbar.
I went to marinetraffic.com during the height of the storm, to see if any ships were bearing the storm. As I scanned the map for any ships close to the Double Bomb storm center, I see only ONE single vessel in the entire North Atlantic maritime region. I figured it was probably a 1000 ft container ship, plowing the (~75ft) seas on a transatlantic voyage, nope.
As I zoomed into the map, I notice the 'ship' is close to this small landmass out in middle of the ocean, east of Nova Scotia, called Sable Island. I click on the small vessel icon to see the track.
Now it all makes sense, the 81 meter (261 foot) Panuke; a heavy duty, North Atlantic supply vessel, was taking refuge in the protection of the crescent shaped, Sable Island, nearby it's destination, the Thebaud natural gas platform. Mind you, the above screen capture was taken yesterday, 24 hrs later, and the Panuke, remains their today, jogging in little circles, two days later.
As I talked with a friend who works in the maritime industry last night, I told him about the offshore supply 'boat', jogging behind this tiny island 150 km east of Nova Scotia (in the heart of the stormand asked if he'd ever heard of Sable Island, to which he responded, "That's the Island the Andrea Gail was trying to get to during The Perfect Storm"....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

War in Syria.

After 3 years of civil war in Syria- with destruction reminiscent of the 1990's Yugoslav Wars; I'm amazed at how well built Syria's steel reinforced concrete buildings are. All sides of the war have been shelling the shit outta the infrastructure, which has held up quite well, given the sheer quantity of shells some buildings have taken.
What's even more intriguing to me is the and how many buildings were under construction during the beginning of the war. Signs of prewar construction are evident throughout Syria : geometric grids of unfinished concrete columns replete with exposed rebar sprouting out the tops, akin to giant cement carrots.