This is the Fallout Forecast for the next 48 hours for the USA. The previous forecast and subsequent monitoring of rad levels showed correlation to high risk areas, especially along the east coast. A number of sites in the south unexpectedly showed rises over the past 24-36 hours, and we will look at the possible causes of this also.
About the map: the fallout risk map is a screenshot of the continental US water vapor analysis at the time of posting. Areas in red indicate a high potential for fallout, areas in pink indicate a medium risk, areas in yellow are cautionary, but low. The areas not covered by a color indicator will essentially be precipitation-free. This map should only be a guide and does not in any way guarantee that your outdoor area is ‘safe’ or ‘not safe’. It simply shows the risk potential, based on a number of weather indicators and atmospheric transport studies.
In the past 48 hours, a number of monitors indicated rising rad levels in direct relation to the extreme low pressure system as it moved up the East Coast. Also, in the past 24 hours, we have observed fluctuating highs in the south, that do not seem to correspond to precipitation from San Diego thru Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and even Florida.
When trying to identify the source of high readings, we start local, and then expand to a global perspective. A good wind flow map and tropopause simulation can be quite helpful, although different wind maps show different layers of information. We start at the location in question, and then work our way back through the wind masses, to see where or what they may have ‘picked up’ along the way. The reason for this is to see what may be happening from nuke plants, Superfund sites, waste dumps, nuclear repositories, weapons labs, nuclear tests, forest fires, the incoming tsunami debris field, rad plumes in the ocean, large meteor events, and volcanic activity, the last 2 being the lesser-known contributors to possible radiation in the atmosphere. Radon outgassing prior to earthquakes is another known factor. And, we also must consider coronal mass ejections and sun activity as a possible source.
Meteors: Incoming meteors, like the rare Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia a year ago, have the potential to expose populations in the vicinity of a meteor strike to high levels of radiation. This was documented during the Chelyabinsk event, where some people suffered from a sunburn-like skin changes after observing the meteor close to impact. The ‘cloud’ of gasses that the meteor leaves in its wake may also contain radioactive particles, like Plutonium. Sometimes the recovered bolide contains these substances as well. As there hasn’t been any of these recently, it is not of a concern.
Volcanoes: Volcanoes can release large amounts of radioactive gasses when they erupt. Volcanic aerosols can also block incoming radiation from space. We have had several large volcanic events worldwide, over the past week.
Sun activity: Our sun can also bombard the earth with gamma radiation, most of which is deflected by our magnetosphere. However, in the past few years scientists have determined this shield effect seems to be losing some of its resistance, and have written about it extensively since 2008.
NETC map as of 3:30 pm this afternoon still shows a number of questionable areas.
NWS Doppler shows the following areas of precipitation (which directly corresponds to high numbers in the Midwest):
MIMIC Global-2 Total Precipitable Water shows the following (500% increase in clip speed):
Univ of Utah clearly shows demarcation of the air mass hitting SoCal and eastward:
In reviewing the last 2 gif-maps it appears the air masses contributing to the high readings along the southern tier are originating from the equatorial region. In viewing all 3 maps together, one can clearly determine the higher numbers are NOT coming from precipitation. Now in the past 2 weeks, there have been 2 events at the Nuclear Repository in New Mexico, first a fire underground, then elevated rad levels which caused a lock-down at the facility, which is continuing today. I have not seen a direct correlation with this fire event, as concerning as it is, with the rad monitors downwind. Press releases from the facility indicated all emissions from the facility to outside air have been turned off. Which means, although we need to take the ongoing situation seriously, and we also need to think and look globally and cosmically for our radiation source, assuming the plant has been honest about control over their current situation.
Which brings us to volcanoes. Volcano Discovery lists 23 volcanoes that are currently in some state of pre, current , or recent eruption, around the Pacific rim.
The list includes Popocatepetl in Mexico, San Miguel in El Salvador, Pacaya in Guatemala, Kelut in East Java, Indonesia, and Sinabung, also in Indonesia.
The massive Kelut eruption which occurred on the morning of Feb 13th is posted with the following plume observations on Volcano Discovery: The ash plume from last night’s major eruption (possibly sub-plinian or even plinian in size) of Kelut is drifting rapidly to the west above the Indian Ocean. It is estimated to be as high as 55,000 ft (16 km) and extends several hundred kilometers in both N-S and W-E directions. An important warning for aircraft using routes in this part of SE Asia was issued by VAAC Darwin. The eruption plume is well visible on satellite data.
Although the plume is impressive, it is travelling in the opposite direction of where it could possibly contribute to our rad levels, and then up through southeast Asia. Eventually those air masses will reach North America, but not for at least 2-3 more days, and then most likely will travel along the Northern Tier of the USA. However, volcanic events occurring just south of our border may be working themselves into our air at the present time. It is possible, that these volcanic emissions are contributing to our higher numbers. Review the 2 gifs to see the air flow coming from the south (Coriolis effect) and then swinging back towards SoCal.
And last but not least, sun activity. The “Endless Spiral” shows 2 coronal mass ejections which have grazed or missed our planet within the past few days. Currently, space weather is quiet and proton charts are behaving normally. Electron counts did appear to have some recent anomalies, which would theoretically tend to lower cosmic radiation overall, not raise it. So it does not appear that the rise in rad levels are sun related.
In conclusion, with the scant data we have, the recent rise in rad monitors along the southern tier is more likely to be related to recent ongoing volcanic activity in Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and less likely to be fallout from Fukushima, as shown by the recent rad readings, lack of corresponding precipitation, volcanic activity, and current air flow analysis. However, we would need much more sophisticated and expensive equipment to analyse these events down to isotope, with multiple monitors in each affected state, like the EPA has. From there, a more scientific analysis could be extrapolated and the origin more precisely identified. The effects of the ongoing New Mexico waste facility fire/radiation alert needs to also be watched closely, and may be providing a component of the increased rad levels, although less likely at the current time, since we have not seen rad levels increase on the monitors closest to the facility. In the following days, it will be interesting to see if any earthquakes also occur along the Southern Tier states and Gulf of Mexico region, as increased rad levels are also a known indicator of radon outgassing prior to earthquake events.