Meteorology, Tides, And Big Ship Stuck In The Suez Canal

Meteorology, Tides, And Big Ship Stuck In The Suez Canal

Like the rest of the world, I am paying attention to the large container ship stuck in the Suez Canal. It is a fascinating story at the intersection of our engineered society and nature. However, it is also more than that. Headley White, a professor at Bethune-Cookman University, told me, “The Suez Canal situation shows how fragile the world supply chain is…” A significant portion of the global oil, natural gas, grain, and consumer products moves through the Canal and now there is a backlog with estimated costs of $9.6 billion dollars per day. As a scientist with an eye on Earth system science, it is interesting to see the varying roles that atmospheric and marine sciences are playing in the ordeal.

According to published reports, a strong sandstorm caused by winds in excess of 40 mph is a primary culprit in how the massive 400 meter Ever Given got turned sideways and wedged into one of the most vital passageways on the planet. The sandstorm occurred around March 23rd, 2021. I decided to see if I could find it so pulled up one of my favorite resources, NASA’s Worldview. I tinkered with a few parameters and made some adjustments to produce the image above for March 24th. Dust is clearly evident in the Red Sea – Suez Canal region from the satellite imagery.

According to NASA’s Visible Earth website, “Dust storms are common in this region due to the proximity of a number of deserts.” According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, they are particularly common in the Spring, “when southerly winds associated with low pressure systems moving across the Mediterranean Sea stir up large amounts of dust and sand.”

Interestingly, dust storms and winds are not the only geoscience element of the “stuck ship” saga. In recent days, engineers hoped tidal activity would raise the water enough to help dislodge the ship. NOAA’s National Ocean Service website points that, “Tides are caused by gravitational forces exerted on the earth by the moon, and to a lesser extent, the sun.” The highest point in the “ebb and flow” wave process is high tide. However, initial reports are that efforts this weekend to leverage the tides were unsuccessful. The Suez Canal tidal charts can be found here.

This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.forbes.com

Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings