Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NOAA does measure storm surge

One of the reasons people reject our evidence that Conner didn't wash ashore is the myth that the April 12 storm surge raised the water levels to unknown heights, and therefore it can't be proven that he didn't wash ashore.

The truth is, the 6-minute water level data collected by the NOAA does capture storm surges.  I've been making this point for years, and Sandy provides another opportunity to hammer it home.  Here are just two examples from NOAA stations in New York.  The red line is the observed water level, and the blue line is the predicted water level.  The green line is the difference between the predicted and the observed.

I had previously commented on the effects of the March 2011 Japan tsunami on the water levels in the San Francisco Bay.  Click here to read the full article.

To review, this is the chart for the Richmond station for April 11-13, 2003, showing the storm surge for the storm that hit the Bay area on April 12.  You can see just when the surge began and how large it was during the high tide on April 13, the day Conner was found.

It is well and good to hypothesize what might have happened on April 13, 2003; but it is necessary to be sure the objective data validates the hypothesis.  And the objective data does not validate the hypothesis that the April 12 storm surge produced unknown water levels.


RoseMontague said...

The pictures convince me that the water could have carried Conner to the point he was found, just based on your pictures and your marking of the spot.

Jane said...

Anyone who thinks Conner washed ashore should do some more reading:


From the appellate brief:

In the end, even Dr. Cheng admitted that, because he was forced to make assumptions
regarding timing (assumptions he did not have the expertise to make), his conclusions
featured “large uncertainties.” (101 RT 18931.)
Faced with similar uncertainties and uncontrolled variables underlying scientific
testimony, courts have not hesitated to rule such testimony inadmissible under People v.
In precisely the same way, Dr. Cheng’s analysis was fraught with uncertainty from
the large number of uncontrolled variables. For this reason alone, the prosecution failed
to carry its burden of proving that Dr. Cheng’s testimony followed any generally accepted
scientific procedure. Dr. Cheng made unfounded assumptions about when the body
started moving. He made unfounded assumptions about when the body stopped moving
by arriving on shore. As a result, Dr. Cheng did not take into account what other wind
and current variables would have come into play if his timing assumptions were wrong.
That is, if he was wrong about how long the body was in the water, he could not
accurately predict how far the body would travel or the direction it would come from,
since the winds and currents (which are important under Cheng’s thesis for determiningdirection) change the more time the body is in the water. Further, because Dr. Cheng
admitted that he was not an expert at all in the movement of bodies in water (101 RT
18925-18926), he could not factor into his analysis how the shape and size of a body
would impact his conclusions. The failure of Dr. Cheng’s model to account for the
variable of the shape and size of the body moving through the water is fatal to any
conclusion he might reach as to the movement of the bodies in the bay.

Marlene Newell said...

Rose, what in the photos convinces you the water could have washed Conner to where he was found? If you are basing that conclusion on the water puddles on the path and elsewhere, you need to be sure you are looking at photos taken when the site was at a 5.88 or equivalent water level. I've taken many photos of the site at various water levels, some to show how the site fills with water at very high tides. The tide on April 13, 2003, was NOT a very high tide, it was a mediocre high tide, did not even reach the level of an average higher high tide.

I'll post the relevant photos you should look at, and if you study these photos, I believe you will change your mind.

RoseMontague said...

I see debris lines in most of the photos including yours. The defense exhibit (Richmond Jetty) scan 0135 shows a line of debris exactly where Conner's body was found.

Marlene Newell said...

Rose, are you talking about defense exhibits WW? If so, the flag in those photos is deceptive. The top of the flag looks very close to the debris line, but it's the base of the flag that is where the body was. You have to follow the very dim white line down to get to the base of the flag. WW-4 shows it best -- that black circle is where the body was. If you notice also the piece of blue cardboard.

The baby's body is clearly separate from the debris line, not part of it. That didn't happen in any of my experiments, that an object that size separated from the debris line. Light, air-born objects did locate elsewhere, but that's because they were air-born.

As for the puddles of water on the mud, that's because the grass impedes the movement of the debris. In other words, the water reaches further than the debris line on the grass. I've shown this in a couple of videos, how the water just moves through the grass, under the debris. Then a stronger wave hits, and the debris line will move -- it moves by first being lifted up by the water and then being pushed back.

But if a wave isn't strong enough to move all of the debris line, it will not move a baby.

That grass is about 6-8 inches tall.

RoseMontague said...

I am still seeing debris in the same area and beyond where Conner's body was found, the blue thing looks like a mat of some type, I don't think it is cardboard and it appears to me to be further from the water than the location the body was found. The slope of the land does not appear to be rising much after the debris line either and possibly even dips back down in a few areas.

Marlene Newell said...

Rose, the responders that testified agreed that the blue object you refer to was wind-blown. Remember, there was a storm on the 12th. Not all the debris on the site had to wash ashore on the 13th. But the bigger issue is understanding a debris line is quite different from debris. A debris line obviously stays together, or it wouldn't form a line. A debris line is pushed by the waves. When a debris line on that site reaches the grass, the grass impedes its movements. I've observed many waves go through the grass, under the debris, and the debris, none of it, moved.

Conner would have been much to heavy to be wind-blown. He might have been dragged there by a bird. I have documented a stingray in a well-defined debris line, and later when I went back, that stingray was moved. But the evidence was right there -- the debris line was disturbed and there was bird feeding on the stingray.

I've also documented 2 different, very distinct debris lines, not from any debris I left, but the conditions of the site when I first got there. The debris line furthest north was from the last higher high tide, and the one closest to the rocks was from the next high tide, which was a lower high tide.

So it's "possible" that Conner could have washed ashore during a previous high tide and thus been beyond the debris line of the high tide on the morning of April 13.

However, the objective data removes that as a possibility. The previous high tide was even lower water level than the high tide on the morning of the 13th.

So let's go back one more high tide, to the higher high tide of April 12. It, too, was a lower water-level than on the 13th.

In addition, you have the problem of no bird or bug activity on the baby -- it's hard enough to believe the baby escaped the attention of the birds laying there from approximately 10 a.m. that morning to 4:45 or so that afternoon, but add another 12 hours to that, and then another 12 hours on top, it really stretches the imagination.

I wish I could accompany you to the site at an equivalent high tide, and I think you would be quite astounded at how the dynamics of the site prove over and over again that Conner didn't wash ashore.