Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

North Atlantic storm patterns throw light on England's 1987 gale

Date:
May 10, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
The cyclone that brought about the devastating winds that battered the UK in the great storm of October 1987 was exceptional in both its strength and path across the south of the country. This is the finding of a new study which has analyzed the places where sting jets – an area that develops in some cyclones and causes strong surface winds – appear in the North Atlantic and how often they do so.

The cyclone that brought about the devastating winds that battered the UK in the great storm of October 1987 was exceptional in both its strength and path across the south of the country. This is the finding of a new study which has analysed the places where sting jets -- an area that develops in some cyclones and causes strong surface winds -- appear in the North Atlantic and how often they do so.

Presenting their results on 11 May, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers from the University of Reading and Monash University, Australia, studied the hundred most intense storms to have occurred across the North Atlantic in the past twenty years.

Of the 100 storms studied, they found that around 30 per cent of the storms had the potential to produce sting jets but these seemed to originate in relatively warmer, more southerly latitudes, out at sea.

A sting jet originates in a cyclone at an altitude of five kilometres within layers of moist ascending air. As the jet of air descends, it passes through clouds of ice crystals that cool it down, increasing its density and causing it to accelerate to speeds of up to 100 mph.

These strong winds appear in regions of a cyclone where they would not usually occur according to previous models.

"This descending jet is called a sting jet due to its location at the tip of the cloud head that wraps around the storm centre. This cloud resembles a scorpion's tail because of its hooked shape and is therefore described as the sting at the end of the scorpion's tail," said lead author of the study Dr Oscar Martνnez-Alvarado.

The research shows that sting jets are a common feature of the most intense North Atlantic storms and that the potential impact of these storms crossing heavily populated areas should be considered by the insurance industry, policy makers and engineers who rely on these types of scientific advances to assess risk.

The time period analysed in this study was between 1989 and 2009; however, the researchers have highlighted two recent storms that struck Scotland in December last year and January this year, which both showed signs of a characteristic sting jet and produced winds of over 100 mph, leaving thousands of people without power.

"There is no evidence to suggest that sting jet storms are becoming more frequent. It really remains a question of chance.

"Using a technique similar to the one we used here, it would be possible to see signs of the potential for sting jets some six hours in advance. However, their time and length scales are so small that forecasting their actual occurrence remains a very difficult task," continued Dr Martνnez-Alvarado.

Great storm of October 1987

· Occurred on the night of 15-16 October 1987

· Worst storm to hit England since great storm of 1703

· Storm was responsible for the death of at least 22 people in England and France

· Around 15 million trees were blown down during the storm

· The strongest winds recorded on UK land were 115 mph (100 knots) at Shoreham on the Sussex coast


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "North Atlantic storm patterns throw light on England's 1987 gale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510224646.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2012, May 10). North Atlantic storm patterns throw light on England's 1987 gale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510224646.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "North Atlantic storm patterns throw light on England's 1987 gale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510224646.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins