Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beach Tips to live by!

Science has not been able to get a handle of it, so when it comes to freaque waves, you are on your own in deep ocean or near-shore.  So here are something worthwhile to read: "Tips for Spotting A Sneaker Wave - in Oregon or Any Other Beach."  It's great information, make sure read them especially before visiting the beaches!

Watching the full-moon moonrise in New Zealand

Go to this PopSci site to take a look at this truly incredible moonrise video:




Fabulous, fantastic, or spectacular or whatever adjective that's appropriate, it is an incredible video of moonrise.  The video was taken two days ago over Mount Victoria Lookoutin Wellington, New Zealand. And
 It was filmed by Australian Astrophotographer Mark Gee, who was sweet enough to share it with NASA, who was awesome enough to post it as their Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).
It is a real treat in life to be able to watch a full moon moonrise like this one.  This is the same moon, the last one of the year of Dragon this year which I took a shot with my personal point-and-click camera two days ago, but please do go there and enjoy this rare video of moonrise!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A sad tragic story happened in Kauai Island


The above picture shows the rocky coast of Kauai Island, One of the Hawaii's islands.  A week ago the New York Daily News posted this tragic sad story along with this picture (by DEA / G.SIOEN/De Agostini/Getty Images):

LIHUE, Hawaii — Two California men who drowned off Kauai were best friends who shared a love of music, were attracted to the water and often took trips together, according to loved ones remembering Brian Baker and Adam Griffiths. 
 The two men from the San Francisco area were exploring the rocky coast of Hawaii's Kauai island on Friday with several friends when a rogue wave knocked down Baker, 47, and dragged him out to sea. He was swept into the water off South Kalihiwai Point. 
 Griffiths, 46, jumped into the choppy waters to save his friend but also drowned. Griffiths' body was found Saturday. 
 On Monday, the Kauai Fire Department conducted aerial searches for Baker's body. Fire personnel also were positioned along the coastline, but the search was unsuccessful. 
 Officials said Tuesday that after three days of looking they were suspending the search because of extremely hazardous ocean conditions. Kauai remained under a high surf warning for north- and west-facing shores until 6 p.m.
Please click to read the further details of the tragic lost of these two close, inseparable comrades who even go into eternity together.  Pray for their souls.

Gigantic waves off Portugal coast

Here's the picture of a giant surfing wave off Portugal shown in this hypervocal.com site:



I am not certain how do surfers estimate the height of surf waves, their final size usually determined by Guinness World Records, and I have no idea how does Guinness determine the accurate either.  Anyway this is an impressive gigantic monster wave all right!  Go visit the site there are videos also. Enjoy!

Another pulled out to sea tragedy by a freaque wave.

Tragedy, with depressingly familiar script plot, happened in California again, as this Sky News reports: A 32-year-old woman is struck by a freak wave and pulled out to sea in a tragic scene witnessed by her boyfriend:

A woman has drowned after a freak wave swept her out to sea as she walked on a northern California beach with her boyfriend and dog. 
 Susan Archer, 32, of Shelter Cove, was on the rocky shore near her home when she was pulled into the ocean. 
 Her body was found after a 45-minute search by rescue boats and a helicopter. 
 Ms Archer's boyfriend was injured when the wave threw him against rocks. The dog was pulled into the water but was able to swim to safety. 
 Officials in the area have been warning beach-goers to keep their distance from the water's edge and watch out for so-called sneaker waves that suddenly rush ashore. 
 It is the third such tragedy in California in recent months after a man was killed near Point Reyes, north of San Francisco, on New Year's Day while he and his wife were trying to rescue his dog.
An all too familiar occurrence that happens again and again all around the world oceans.  We don't know where, when, how or why. But it just repeatedly happening all over, again and again.  When can we prevent it from happening and save lives???

Monday, January 28, 2013

Flood of 1953.

East Anglian Daily Times just published this 60 years old story: "Flood of 1953: Freak of nature unleashed a night of horror on Felixstowe." It's not a pleasant story to read for a Monday morning. But it's the story of the "freak of nature" that did happened in real life. It's been 60 long years but "it is still difficult to grasp the enormity and the suddenness of the disaster" as the opening paragraph of the article states.

Being far away from the other side of the globe at the time, I have never heard of this case.  EADT tells this historical case with today's perspective:

Modern flood warning systems did not exist and there was no way the emergency alert could be sounded.
Today there would be phone calls, TV and radio warnings, phone messages, internet warnings, social networking. The Environment Agency has direct contact with thousands of people living in flood zones.
On January 31, 1953, it was in most places a policeman on a bike – cycling round communities to knock on doors or shout a warning.
 
Those officers did reach some people in the nick of time, but many were sleeping in their beds when the floodwaters swept into their homes and streets. 
The depression spotted off Iceland had started deepening at an alarming rate on January 30. 
It was still hundreds of miles north-west of the Hebrides but Scotland was already feeling its gale force winds. 
As the hours wore on, the met men watched the depression move east and then swing south into the North Sea. 
With winds gusting up to 140mph, 15 billion cubic feet of water was sucked from the Atlantic into the North Sea to be driven south as a “sea surge”, a ten feet wall of water ahead of the incoming tide – and set for a head-on collision with the tide from the other direction. 
With nowhere else to go in the narrow funnel of the North Sea, the enormous wall of water came thundering ashore. 
It was unseen, unheard and unexpected – millions of gallons of water pouring inland in just a few hours.

We read this case also with some mixed feelings.  Were it happens today would the results be better than 60 years ago?  Hopefully we should be better prepared than before.  Mostly, however, hope it will never happen again. "The flood of 1953" let it be the unseen, unheard and unexpected happening stayed an historical term ever and always!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last full moon of the year of dragon.

Here are two full-moon pictures from last night in SE Michigan:


Yesterday was the 15th day of the 12th month this year, the year of the dragon.  It's been a snowy cloudy day all day, luckily in the early evening I managed to capture this two images from the eastern sky during the moon-rise in between clouds with my Canon aim and shot camera.  This one was the last full-moon of the year of the dragon.  In 15 days we'll start the new year of the serpent!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Respect the Sea!


This picture is from an article in this is Cornwall entitled "Respect the Sea"
THIS is the dramatic moment a walker was almost swept off rocks by a 40 ft column of water as he tried to get a closer look at the waves from a Newquay headland.
The alarming image was captured by Paul Terry, of nearby Curlew Close, who was on his way to Fistral beach to take photos of surfers riding the monster waves.
It has prompted coastguards to issue fresh warnings to thrill seekers as large swell and impressive spray continue to draw crowds during the winter months.
Matt Pavitt, sector manager for North Cornwall, said people failed to realise that a single cubic metre of water weighs a tonne.
He told the Cornish Guardian: "In that context I doubt anyone would like a one-tonne bag of water swung at them – it's incredibly dangerous. We don't want to be the fun police, we just want to instil a bit of common sense. It's incredibly impressive to watch the power of the ocean but you have to treat it with respect. Less than a foot of water will knock you off your feet, so at the height we're talking about here you've got no chance of trying to stand up against it if it breaks over you.
"Our advice is to watch the waves from a safe distance otherwise you're putting yourself in danger – and those who come out to rescue you."
Coastguards regularly risk their lives rescuing fishermen or walkers who get caught out by unpredictable waves, he said.
Mr Terry, who owns a web design company, backed the coastguards' warning saying he had seen the emergency services called out on numerous occasions to help stranded people.
The 35-year-old hoped his photograph might encourage people to think twice about venturing too close to waves crashing against rocks.
"There were two people sat up by the headland, quite a way back, watching the spray. Then the guy in the green jacket decided to try and get as close as he could. All of a sudden a huge wave came in and he had to duck out of the way behind the rocks. It's pretty dangerous and a lot of people seem to do it. If people get swept off then it can be a huge drain on resources, the coastguards and the RNLI.
"People need to be careful. It's a buzz watching it; it's exciting, but you can still do it from a safe distance. There's a lot of power in that spray when it comes down."
That's pretty scary but some very good advices have been given.  I guess when your out there, you can not help but respect the sea power! There's not much science can help there.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Understanding freaque waves !?

I found this following paragraph from this Redorbit article by John P. Millis where he talked with Kelly Holley-Bockelmann about Blackholes:
But to even begin to understand them – what they are and what they are capable of – we first must understand how they form. What physical processes are responsible for creating these cosmic monsters? And, more to the point, how can they even exist at all given what we know about the laws of physics?
Now if the word "cosmic" in the third line, bold-faced, can be changed to the word "sea", this paragraph could very well be a description about understanding freaque waves, is it not?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A San Diego surf wave picture


I really like this picture, it seems forcing you to look at this 2D picture but thinking 3D reality. It was published 2 month ago here in Swrnn big waves huge surf San Diego written by Stephanie D. Schulte, on November 27, 2012, at 9:12 am.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Frozen water fountain in South Oregon.

Here's the picture of a frozen water fountain published yesterday in the Mail Tribune of South Oregon:


It is hard to imagine that a moving water fountain can frozen while water was still moving. This picture seems to show just that! The picture is from the article by Bill Kettler in the Mail Tribune of South Oregon.  The title of the interesting article with this picture is "Cold enough for ya?" Note that in the Sothern Oregon where they consider temperature in the 20's as cold! (In the south east Michigan here the temperature was in single digits! this morning.)  Anyway, the caption of this picture is "Water from a fountain stands frozen in time outside a home on Twin Creeks Crossing last week in Central Point." Somehow I don't seem to have seen a picture like this elsewhere!  May be I am just being less informed!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The great survival journey

Outside Online Magazine carried an interesting article today entitled "The great survival journey" which is a conversation with Tim Jarvis who is preparing "to set out with a crew of five men to repeat Earnest Shackleton's 800-mile open boat crossing of the South Atlantic." Here's the introduction:
Ernest Shackleton's 800-mile open-boat crossing of the South Atlantic from Elephant Island to South Georgia, and then over the crevassed mountains of that island to the Stromness whaling station in 1916, is among the most daunting survival journeys ever made. Nearly a century later, British explorer Tim Jarvis, 46, and his crew of five men are setting out to repeat the adventure in a replica boat and hundred-year-old clothing. While Shackleton braved the sea to save his men, trapped on Elephant Island after their ship Endurance broke up in the Antarctic ice, Jarvis—also an environmental scientist—hopes to meet the challenge in part to document the effects of climate change in the Antarctic. It's a drastic bid for adventure with potential for grim results. As the crew make their way to Elephant Island this weekend, we asked Jarvis about the journey, the old gear, and the challenges he'll confront on water and land.
This is is itself already something exciting. I am particularly interested in this exchange:
How do you prepare for the unpredictable aspects of the journey—rogue waves, a questionable and rocky landing on the island? How much skill is involved and how much is luck?
There is a lot of luck, of course. When it comes to things like the rogue waves, there's not a tremendous amount you can do about that. All you can do is make the boat as seaworthy as possible and practice the kind of drill we would follow in the event of a capsize. We've done that. We also have a kind of primitive sea anchor like Shackleton had—a fabric bag on the end of a rope which opens up like a sort of parachute. He chucked that overboard, and that slowed him down.
Now in Mr. Jarvis' words: When it comes to things like rogue waves, there is not a tremendous amount you can do about that. I don't think any one could argue with him on that answer.  It really summarized the state of the arts of knowledge field of freaque wave quite accurately and succinctly. One can not prepare and do much about freaque wave simply because we really do not know about freaque wave in the first place, regardless the volumetric nonlinear physics research outputs the main stream media sources have optimistically publicized from time to time over recent years.  When it comes to face the reality of real ocean conditions, we still know hardly anything about where, when, how, and why that might be expected to happen out there. Rightfully Jarvis did not wasting his time and effort to bother to consult any "experts" with their preparation.  All the luck and power to him. Sir Shackleton did encounter freaque waves a century ago, we can only wish Mr. Jarvis all the best on smooth sailing and God speed!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A picture of huge waves at Tobago Store Bay

This picture published in yesterday"s NewsDay of Trinidad and Tobago shows some ire looking monstrous nearshore waves:


Here's what they have to say:
Swamped Store Bay: Huge waves pound the beach at Store Bay, Tobago which was closed to the public yesterday.  (Author: ROGER JACOB)
All kinds of wave conditions we can't explain.  I guess there's not much else that one can say here!

Monday, January 14, 2013

WHAT IS A ROGUE WAVE?

The following is copied from an article by Tom Macsweeney in Ireland's boating and sailing magazine's blog Afloat :
WHAT IS A ROGUE WAVE?
When news reports quote "rogue waves" what does that mean? What exactly is a "rogue wave?"
They are not as prevalent as media reports would indicate. A "rogue wave" can be twice as high as the highest waves normally seen in an ocean area under a given set of weather and sea conditions. "Rogue waves" have been part of maritime folklore for centuries, but their existence in reality is less proven.
The first "proof" was in 1996 when a 25 metre wave (about 75/80 feet) was recorded in the North Sea.
The question the article posted is still an un-answered one or it's a question that's still without a satisfactorily answer.  I am rather pleased to see that someone still pops up to ask this question.  The first line of this brief paragraph elaborates the question into two more:  When news reports quote "rogue waves" what does that mean? and What exactly is a "rogue wave?"  These are two good questions that have been my own that I would like to ask from time to time! But there will be no easy answer to them!

The seemingly answer the article provided is not at all satisfactory.  The first statement "They are not as prevalent as media reports would indicate." is debatable!  As a matter of fact, it could be very prevalent out there in the open ocean, just no one encounters it so no one knows. not "prevalent"? hardly! We just do NOT know!  A tree falls in the forest with no one around, did it make a sound?  A freaque wave occurs in the open ocean with no one around, did it happen?

The article proceeds next to give the standard, ad-hoc definition of freaque waves the academic community used widely, but with that definition we still don't know what is a freaque wave or whether or not it has happened.  When a news report reports about a freaque wave we still don't know what exactly has happened!!!

All in all it's a very good question to ask, still no one can answer it yet, but it does not precludes us from asking them from time to time!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A swept out to sea in the NE coast of Taiwan


Here's a picture of the coastal area of the northeast corner of Taiwan, near the Stone Fish Harbor of the town of Ying-ge (鶯歌).  


local news just reported that a group of 6 people were fishing there this morning.  With growing wind  and waves in time along with raising tides locally, the fishermen were stranded out there and one 60 year old man was swept into the ocean by a large wave and disappeared.  Local police managed to rescue the stranded with speed boats and helicopters, along with Navy Coast Guards, but the one that was swept out to sea remained missing.

Hazards and tragedies have no discriminations on locations!


Friday, January 11, 2013

A VIDEO of Port Isaac lifeboat's successive rescue in rough sea

In this four days ago News, the UK Falmouth Packet carried this following video of a brilliant brave rescue effort by the Port Issac RNLI team :


http://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/video/2078492202001/?ref=vidshare

The video was shot by Matt Main using an RNLI helmet camera and finishes abruptly because it was damaged during the recovery of the man into the D class inshore lifeboat.

The Port Isaac lifeboat were hard at work on New Year's Eve rescuing an angler who had fallen off rocks near Tintagel Head.
Volunteers raced through rough seas to find the fisherman, who was washed off the rocks by a freak wave in the late afternoon.
It is believed the man had been in the water for up to an hour before he was found.
Here's what the Harbor master wrote to the Port Issac RNLI lifeboat station:
"I have no doubt that the decision to enter Boscastle Harbour with the light fading and nearly gone was extremely difficult and in my opinion the courage and ability demonstrated by the crew, not only in the initial rescue but also in safely navigating the entrance to Boscastle Harbour through heavy surf with rocks littered all around, was of the highest calibre.
"I know that the crew selflessly put their own lives at very great risk last night. On behalf of my [Boscastle Harbour] association we appreciate their outstanding conduct."
No one can said it better! Let's salute those hard working heroic and courageous volunteers all around the world quietly risking their own safety every day to save other lives. May God bless them and their family!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

An article on "Deadly 'sneaker waves' . . ."

This is the title of a new news article yesterday: "Deadly 'sneaker waves' are wintertime peril on California beaches" which is not from the sensational news outlets like New York Times or National Enquirer, it's from the local news paper in Long Beach, CA, the Press Telegram, where they know what they are talking about! This article written by Bruce Newman and Janis Mara of the Bay Area News Group is a well written article with a wealth of useful informations and warnings.

The opening paragraph is rather dramatic:
They are sudden, they are remorseless and they can suck their victims into the sea to an almost certain death. Summoned by wind and tide, these "sneaker waves" hurl themselves far beyond the foam line on the beach then forcefully go in reverse. In the past week alone, they are blamed for the drowning deaths of three people on Bay Area beaches.
While called the waves "sudden" is certainly no exaggeration, the term "sneaker waves" is frequently used for the west coast of U.S. from California to Washington coastal areas. But I find it's interesting they used the adjective word "remorseless" which is new, I have yet to see others use in the news or academic discussions. "Remorseless" is in fact a good word to use since the kind of freaque wave that describes are truly have no concern about the consequences of where, when, why or how they might cause worse damage, they just happen!  The article went on to tell some of the recent happenings:
Charles Quaid of Richmond was strolling with his wife and dog at North Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore on New Year's Day when what apparently was a sneaker wave claimed his life. Quaid, 59, was a sailor and familiar with the ocean but still disappeared into a churning sea. Quaid's dog emerged from the water unharmed.
A similar tragedy occurred Dec. 28, when 37-year-old Juan Escamillo-Rojas of San Francisco died trying to save his 9-year-old son Juan Carlos Escamillo-Monroy, after a wave swept the boy into San Francisco Bay as they fished off the Marin Headlands. The boy also died. 
In the aftermath of those tragedies, Bay Area families that once frolicked in the foam at places like Monastery Beach near Carmel and Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, retreated from the threat of killer waves with the malevolent recoil of a bullwhip. Yet as unusual as the deaths were, sneaker waves are not uncommon at this time of year. "Everyone is talking about these waves that run up on the beach and snatch dogs and families and drowns everyone," said Mark Massara, who has surfed Northern California waters for more than 40 years. "And the dog always survives."
These are recent tragedies some we have blogged here. Now the article went on with the facts and nature of the waves:
Pattern waves
Massara, who is general counsel for the wetsuit manufacturer O'Neill, thinks the term "sneaker waves" was concocted to make people feel better about their own ill-advised daring. "If it helps the public be more sensitive to the inherent dangers of the ocean in Northern California in the winter, I suppose it's OK," he said. "But if you're trying to describe what goes on in the ocean, it's entirely misleading. There aren't sneaker waves. There's regular, routine, predictable giant surf in January in Northern California."
The cold-weather phenomenon claimed most of a family in November. They were playing fetch with their dog on Big Lagoon Beach in Humboldt County, when they were swept into the ocean by a sneaker wave while their teen daughter helplessly watched from the shore. Howard Kuljian ran into the churning surf to save the family dog, Fran, and he was followed by his wife and their son, Gregory. All three drowned; the dog survived.
Despite popular mythology that has sprung up about the predictability of waves -- it's not true that every seventh wave will be a big one -- they do often arrive in sets that follow a pattern. Generally, sneaker waves occur when two large peaks converge and suddenly create a monster, such as the one that swept ashore during the Mavericks surf competition three years ago, injuring 16 spectators.
"On a steep beach, that wave will run up and rush back pretty quickly," said Gary Griggs, director at UC Santa Cruz's Institute of Marine Sciences. "If the tide's coming in, that's going to act in concert with those converging waves."
Sneaker waves sometimes claim victims standing in relatively calm water, which is what happened to environmental activist Rebecca Tarbotton, 39, of Oakland. She died Dec. 26 after being tossed around by a big wave not far from a beach north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. And as Tarbotton's death demonstrated, knowing the tremendous power that nature can release in an instant offers little protection. One of Northern California's most popular diving spots is Monastery Beach near Carmel, which the expert divers who flock there refer to as Mortuary Beach because it has taken so many lives.
These happenings seemed to be routine for the local people but really frightening for an outsider like me. But the best part of the article is really this last part even with some academic flavor:
Surprising ocean
While oceanographers tend to dispute the notion that killer waves are consistently rising out of the sea and dragging innocent strollers to a watery grave, even they are sometimes caught off guard by the unanticipated arrival of an extremely large wave. "I think it's a pretty good description," said Oregon State University oceanographer Robert Holman, referring to the phenomenon's unusual name. "They lie well out of the statistical expectation of what the next wave should be."
He ought to know. A few years ago, Holman and his wife were standing on a rocky point by the sea in Italy when they were suddenly consumed by a wall of water that he never saw coming. "I got totally drenched," he recalled. "That was a surprising moment."
It can happen to anybody.
"In general, some people are not very good observers," Griggs said, "or they're not really thinking carefully about what they're being exposed to. If you're walking on the wet sand, you're probably walking where the water has been a few minutes before. If the sand is dry, it's unlikely you're going to be swept out to sea. But we've all seen people who put their towels down on the beach, and as the tide comes in, all of a sudden their towel is underwater."
Griggs once went to the home of an elderly woman in Santa Cruz, hoping to reassure her that the waves pounding just off her rear deck wouldn't wash her home away. "Just as I turned around, this wave came up and just covered me," he said. "As I walked into her house, soaking wet, she said, 'Never turn your back on the ocean.'''
I am surprised to read that Professor Rob Holman himself and his wife had first hand experience of an encounter with a freaque wave in Italy and that was only a "surprising moment" for him.  I am sure he realizes that he and his wife were very very lucky, because much much worse can and had happen in those circumstances as we have reported over and over in this blog. That comment "It can happen to anybody" is absolutely true!

The article closes with these Coast Guard advices:
  • Never turn your back on the water.
  • Be mindful of upcoming weather conditions.
  • Be aware of potentially dangerous waves in areas of strong currents that are near shore or shallow banks.
  • Remember that sneaker waves are hard to predict.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not play on the rocks.
  • Do not overestimate your swimming abilities.
  • Do not underestimate the power of the sea.
Anyone and everyone who plans to go to the beaches, in winter or summer, should all read this list over and over, memorize it, and follow the advices closely by heart! Your life may be  depending on it!  Mega thanks to Newman and Mara for this wonderful article!

Update:

The website of the article cited in this blog at the beginning is no longer available, fortunately other news sites also carried the article . Try this one here!


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happened in Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco.



Here is a beautiful morning beach picture with unresting waves published in today's Fox News site with this line shown below it: 
Jan. 1: A couple walk along the North Beach as a helicopter searches for a man lost in the high surf at the Point Reyes National Seashore.
That's by no means a new or unexpected happening but it is sad to find it happened on a new years day.  Here's how Fox News reported:

A California man died New Year's Day after he attempted to save his dog after it was swept out to sea by a rogue wave while they took a walk on the Point Reyes Beach, north of San Francisco.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the victim was with his wife and dog near the shore. The ocean was rough. A person at a nearby beach said waves were reaching 20 feet in height.
One report said the three were knocked down by the same wave. A person nearby managed to retrieve the woman while her husband made an attempt to save the dog. He was knocked over, pulled out to sea and carried down the beach by the current.
"This is an example of the longstanding adage, 'Never turn your back on the ocean,'" Mike Giannini, Marin County Fire Department chief, told The Marin Independent Journal.
The Coast Guard located the victim's body after a three-hour search. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity was not immediately released. KTVU.com reported that he was 59 years old. The dog and woman were both saved by people on the beach.
The Independent noted that four days ago, a 9-year-old boy was swept into the bay while fishing with his father. The father died trying to save his son.

Again the case of a man sets out to save his dog and lost his life while his dog was saved. Life is full of tragic happenings, this is just one of them happened at the beginning of 2013.  God help the soul RIP.