der to remain eligible for cumulative prizes. There Meteorological Aspects of the were 450 forecasters who reached this threshold of Atomic "Bas e Surge" eligibility. This is a new NCWFC record for participation. The contest was composed of four divisions for With the underwater detona- individuals and two categories for institution teams. tion of an atomic bomb (Baker These were Division 1: faculty, staff; Division 2: Test) in July 1946, there was vig- graduate students; Division 3: juniors and seniors; and orously ejected from the lagoon Division 4: freshman and sophomores. The cumula- a ball of hot gases with attendant tive team consisted of the mean of all qualifying par- liquid water, steam, vapor, and ticipants of a school, and the top-five team consisted bottom debris. Immediately a of a mean of the top five individuals from a school for "Wilson cloud" was formed dur- that period. ing the rarefaction phase of the blast wave. As the The following individuals ranked as number one "Wilson cloud" quickly dissolved, there was ob- forecasters for the four divisions: Michael Voss from served a huge cylindrical column of water and San Jose State University for Division 1; Jeremy Ross spray . . . topped by a condensed water-vapor from The Pennsylvania State University for Division cloud [...] 2; Matt Haugland from the University of Oklahoma As the column of water and spray began to fall for Division 3; and Jeremy Grahams from Iowa State back into the lagoon, a gigantic wave or cloud, University for Division 4. approximately 1000 ft in height, completely sur- The results of the top-five scores were as follows: rounding like a collar the neck of ejected water In the top ten ranked schools, University of Oklahoma and spray, developed on the surface of the lagoon at Norman came in number one. Below that in de- at the base of the water column. This wave trav- scending order were The Pennsylvania State Univer- eled speedily outward, maintaining an ever-ex- sity; the University of Louisiana at Monroe; Saint panding doughnut-shaped form.. . This wave has Louis University; the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- been frequently called the "base surge" associ- nology; the University of Miami; the University of ated with an underwater atomic explosion. Wisconsin—Madison; Ohio State University; the To an observer ten miles away, the "base State University of New York, The University at Al- surge" was indeed a frightening and almost cata- bany; and Lyndon State College. clysmic spectacle... many of the ships in the tar- get array became radioactively contaminated. As Microbes and the Dust They Ride in on May a result, any number of speculations have arisen Pos e Health Risk as to what an underwater atomic explosion might Potentially hazardous bacteria and fungi catch a free do, say, in the harbor of New York City. By anal- ride across the Atlantic, courtesy of North African dust ogy to the Baker Text, it is presumed that a "base plumes. NASA-funded researchers who made the dis- surge" could inundate the city and leave in its covery believe the stowaway microbes might pose a wake very appreciable radioactive contamination. health risk to people in the western Atlantic region. These speculations are unfounded from a me- Dale Griffin, Virginia Garrison, and Eugene Shinn teorological standpoint. The Baker Day "base of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Jay surge" occurred because of the unique combina- Herman of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, tion of conditions under which the bomb was Greenbelt, Maryland, outline their findings in a paper fired. Whether or not a "surge" will occur will titled "African Desert Dust in the Caribbean Atmo- depend upon the depth of water in which the sphere: Microbiology and Public Health," which ap- bomb is fired, the topography of the water bot- peared in the 14 June issue of the journal Aerobiologia. tom, and—most important—upon the thermody- "The National Institute of Health's National Insti- namic character of the air mass prevailing at the tute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases identifies air- explosion time. borne dust as the primary source of allergic stress worldwide," stated Shinn. "The identification of mi- crobes in transported dust is important as they may be Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 32, 251. a source of respiratory stress and disease above and beyond that caused by exposure to particulate matter." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 205 3
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 1, 2001
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