Monday, 11 June 2018

Bomb Cyclone winter storm explained

One of the more major meteorological occurrences reported in recent times is the bomb cyclone. People all over the East Coast were given ample warning regarding this development but what they experienced was something no one saw coming as entire cities froze. 

Image source: motherjones.com

Bomb cyclones refer to bombogenesis, a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when a storm’s minimum central pressure goes down by at least 24 millibars within 24 hours. Although bomb cyclones are supposed to be common in the fall and winter in the East Coast, they have greatly exceeded the intensification rate, almost doubling it. 

These hurricanes become stronger due to the lower air pressure. The rapid pressure drop draws air into the storm’s circulation. As the air spirals inward toward the center, rises, and exits to the top, the further the storm grows. Drops in air pressure also cause extreme wind conditions. 

Bomb cyclones bring heavy, wet snow and powerful winds. This combination can easily cause power outages. What makes bomb cyclones more worrisome is the fact that they can turn small clouds into massive storms within 24 hours. They are supposedly rare, but they are becoming a common occurrence these days due to global warming. 

Image source: pymnts.com

Weatherman Jim Byrne currently works as the meteorological consultant for the Weather Channel program "So you think you’d survive." He took up meteorology and journalism at San Jose State University and served as the chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS 12 and was a freelance weekend weather reporter for NBC Bay Area. For more insightful reads on the weather, visit this page.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Meteorology 101: Hurricanes, Typhoons, And Cyclones

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all names given to the same type of extreme weather disturbances, intense lower-pressure systems that bring in powerful winds and rain and can potentially cause millions of dollars in damage once they hit land. But just what are their differences, and why give them different names?

Image source: earthsky.org


The term used by meteorologists for these developing weather disturbances is tropical cyclone. A tropical cyclone is born when moisture, warm tropical waters, and light winds combine with a weather disturbance. As the winds of the tropical cyclone get stronger, the closer it gets to either being a cyclone, hurricane, or typhoon. The target wind speed is 75 miles per hour. Once it hits that, the name changes, into one of the three.

And once the newly-formed hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone sustains its conditions over a given period, it brings on new and more devastating conditions such as torrential rains, and huge oceanic waves.

So, why the need for three different names? The names were coined to distinguish the location of the weather disturbance.

Hurricanes happen over the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific. Typhoons, on the other hand, form over the Northwest Pacific. Cyclones occur in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Image source: rappler.com

Weatherman Jim Byrne serves as a consultant for the program “So You Think You’d Survive,” now under the Weather Channel. An alumnus of San Jose State University, he has also served as the chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS-12. More on Jim’s work here.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

What Exactly Is The La Niña Phenomenon?

La Niña is a climate pattern phenomenon that pertains to the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America. La Niña is the counterpart to El Niño wherein the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean are marked by unusually warm ocean temperatures.

Image source: independent.co.uk



In some areas of the world, La Niña causes increased rainfall. Conversely, it generates extremely dry conditions in other regions. The conditions that cause La Niña recur every few years and can last for as long as two years. El Niño occurs every two to seven years, and La Niña sometimes follows El Niño. In the past, La Niña has been called the anti-El Niño and El Viejo, which means “old man” in Spanish.

The phenomenon happens when the easterly trade winds get stronger and blow more warm water west allowing cold water below the sea’s surface. It thus pushes toward the top near the South American coast, replacing the warm water. This means that the easterly trade winds are to be blamed for partly causing La Niña.

Image source: nydailynews.com


When La Niña occurs, the sea surface temperatures across the eastern and central Pacific Ocean tend to be lower than the typical 3 to 5 degrees Celsius. The main effects of La Niña include increased rainfall, catastrophic flooding, and drier than normal conditions.

Jim Byrne is a weatherman and former chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12. For more on his work and interests, visit this blog.

Monday, 12 March 2018

NASA’s Role In Weather Forecasting

Image source: NASA.gov
Earth science is one area of focus of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which includes studying Earth’s weather system such as the dynamics of the atmosphere and its interaction with the land and oceans. Through its expertise and technology, weather, ranging from local to microphysical processes, can be predicted with a fair degree of success at about a maximum of two weeks prior.

NASA deems improved knowledge of weather processes and phenomena a crucial ingredient of understanding Earth further. In addition, there is an infrastructure in the United States for operational meteorology at NOAA, the FAA, the DoD, and other agencies requiring the introduction of new technologies and knowledge that only NASA can develop.

NASA contributes to national weather forecasting goals primarily through developing and using data from space-based sensors. For over two decades, satellite-based profiles of temperature and moisture have been regularly used in forecasting, while new NASA sensors promise to upgrade accuracy and spatial resolution.

Image source: ClimateCentral.org
Other technologies supporting weather, as developed by NASA’s earth science division, include the In-Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies (InVEST) program (RainCube and CIRis) and the EV class missions such as CYGNSS and TROPICS.

As a recent development, NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) comprises four weather satellites that will provide advanced forecasting on not only hurricanes but also dangerous weather events that threaten communities across the country.

Weatherman Jim Byrne is a consulting meteorologist at the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” An alumnus of San Jose State University, he had also been the chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12 and a freelance weekend meteorologist at NBC Bay Area. Read more on this page.




Saturday, 10 February 2018

Can You Predict The Weather By Yourself?

Image source: tematicaresearch.com
Some people might wonder if they can predict the weather without having to rely on forecasts. If you are one of those who do, the simple answer is yes. Here are some ways to do it:

Observe the direction of the wind: How the wind blows can be indicative of approaching weather. If the wind moves in from the west to the east, that could be an indicator that the weather would be good, while wind going in the opposite direction suggests that bad weather is coming. Another thing to watch out for is the behavior of smoke from a fire. If it does not rise steadily and spirals back down, it means that there is low pressure and that it will rain soon.

Watch out for the “calm before the storm”: There is a reason that expression came to be. Looming bad weather means there is low pressure, and this pushes out normal wind patterns, leading to lack of wind on the ground and calm or still water. The brightness of the moon may also be an indicator, as low pressure clears out dust that would have covered the moon a little bit.

Image source: almanac.com
Check out animal behaviors: Animals are capable of determining if bad weather is on the horizon. For example, ants build up their hills so that the sides would be steep to divert rainwater. Birds fly lower than usual or perch at branches nearer the ground because low-pressure air irritates them. Insects, particularly bees and butterflies, become less visible as they have already returned to their home for safety.

Jim Byrne is a weatherman who currently serves as a consulting meteorologist for the Weather Channel program and is the former chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS-12. To see more discussions about the weather, check out this Facebook page.



Friday, 15 December 2017

The Lighter Side: Amusing Conspiracy Theories About The Weather

While the weather as a whole is a serious matter, it helps that once in a while people take a break and find some humor and entertainment in it. There are countless pop culture references pertaining to the weather. Entire disaster movies have been built around its theories and concepts. Let’s take a look at one of the more amusing aspects of weather – the conspiracy theories.

Image Source: guardian.ng

The European Rain Thieves

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was known to be a conspiracy freak. Many have also considered him to be deranged. But that didn’t stop Iran from making him president. One of the most famous conspiracy theories Ahmadinejad came out with during his regime was that of European nations actually stealing rain.

Ahmadinejad theorized that the countries of Europe had come up with a device that drained rain clouds over Iran and took them westward to Europe.

Fair Radiation Servings

Solar radiation management, otherwise known as SRM, refers to a set of methods and techniques that help lower radiation from the sun. The primary means of SRM is to spray chemicals that reflect radiation back into space. While governments all around the world have applauded this effort to reduce radiation, global warming, and climate change in general, conspiracy theorists are quick to suspect that there are sinister intentions behind this, and that countries are using SRM to control weather and use it as a weapon.

Image Source: watchers.news

Jim Byrne is a consulting meteorologist for the Weather Channel show “So You Think You’d Survive” and an active member and past president of the Rancho Maria Men’s Golf Club. He is the former chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12 and freelance weekend meteorologist at NBC Bay Area. For more updates from Jim Byrne, click here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Kicking In The Rain: Tips For Playing Soccer In Bad Weather

For dedicated athletes, playing in the rain brings excitement and a whole other level of performance. Yet, doing so might result in accidents that could hinder them from playing for a long time. Slips and other risks should be avoided if one decides to play in bad weather.


Image source: unsplash.com

While there are many indoor courts soccer players can play in, the quality of turf isn’t the same as the one outdoors. The pleasant experience of playing in real grass while the sun is out is what soccer players are after. Rains may strike in the middle of the game, and if there are no lightning strikes and heavy winds, a game may continue. The following tips may guide players how to their game safe even in bad weather:

  • Put more pace on the ball - During heavy rains, the grass becomes sloppy, and a ball might get stuck during a pass. Pass harder to get the ball to target player.
  • Play the ball in the air - The ball moves slower on the ground and playing more direct can give a team fewer chances of being intercepted by the opposing team.
  • Slide tackle - When the grass is wet, a player’s risk of being scraped by the surface is lessened. During the rain, it’s much easier to do this defensive skill.
  • Be mindful of the skip - A ball may skip because of the layer of water in the grass. Know where to place the ball and how to run with it.



Weatherman Jim Byrne is a consultant for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive” and a former chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS-12. For more weather discussions, visit this blog.