Author: Ken Mckinley

Atmospheric computer modeling

The computer models that are used today are incredibly complex, as they try to reduce the complicated physics that govern atmospheric processes to a set of equations that can be worked forward in time to generate a prediction. In order…

Uncertainty in tropical cyclone forecasts

In the last newsletter, I wrote about the possibility of the Atlantic hurricane season having below-normal activity due to El Nino. Now that we are approaching the end of the season, we can look back and see that while the season will likely end up below normal by several measures, it has been a bit more active than was anticipated a couple of months ago.

A historic Atlantic hurricane season?

In the last newsletter, I wrote about the upcoming hurricane season and the potential effects of a developing El Nino pattern in the Pacific. Now we are further along in the hurricane season here in the first half of August, and strengthening El Nino conditions are present across most of the equatorial Pacific.

Freezing spray

For those who live in the northeastern U.S. or southeastern Canada, an unusually active stretch of severe winter weather began in late January 2015 and is ongoing in the middle of February at this writing.

Wrapping up hurricane season

Hurricane season officially ended for the Atlantic and the eastern and central Pacific at the end of November. The season was a study in contrasts across these three regions, which are under the purview of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla.

Changing seasons

Columbus Day weekend has now passed in the U.S. at the time of this writing, and there are certainly signs on the weather maps of the North Atlantic and North Pacific of the more active weather patterns characteristic of the colder season beginning to show up.

El Nino on the way

There have been many stories in the news recently concerning the El Nino phenomenon. This is mainly because it appears quite likely that a significant El Nino event will take shape in the coming months and persist for up to a year. With this in mind, it is worth taking a look at what this might mean for those planning ocean voyages during this period of time.

The danger of “bomb” storms

For many folks in the eastern and southern U.S. as well as eastern Canada it has been one of the more rugged winters in recent memory. There were many storms that produced significant amounts of winter precipitation (snow, sleet, freezing rain) along with strong winds, and the temperatures were well below normal in many locations. And a storm in late March provided a case study on the dangers of rapidly developing storms, sometimes known as “bombs.”

Winds against the grain

Ocean voyagers are interested in the winds along their routes for obvious reasons, whether voyaging under sail or under power. Gathering information about expected wind speeds and direction for a voyage is a key component of the decision making process that will determine the exact route of the voyage, the timing of the departure, and whether intermediate stops are made and how long their duration may be.

Rallies and weather

I recently become aware of a blog post by John Harries on his Attainable Adventure Cruising website, and thought I should contribute to what has been an excellent and spirited discussion about sailing rallies in the fall.