Bad weather is on its way to the Southern Ocean where aircraft are looking for the missing Malaysian plane, according to ocean weather expert.
Meteorologist Roger Badham says the next 24 to 36 hours are going to be the best weather conditions but after that there’s a strong front rolling in.
“From late tomorrow there’s a strong front coming in,” he said.
Poor weather and visibility hampered Thursday’s search for debris spotted in the southern zone.
Predicting weather patterns is meteorologist Badham’s game. He’s done weather forecasting for 29 round-the-world yacht races and is a trusted adviser to some of the world’s top sailors.
Badham said a front which has been lingering over the southern search zone off the coast of Western Australia should clear today with a high pressure cell moving in over the area this afternoon and tonight.
“There’s a nice little window later today and tomorrow morning where the weather looks calm,” he said.
“Conditions over the next 24 to 36 hours will be the best they’ll have for the next week.”
Badham said on Sunday the front will bring strong winds, rain and waves to the search area which is about 2,500 kilometres off Perth.
“It’ll be windier, there’ll be more rain and waves in the area, and with low visibility it’ll be much more hazardous for the aircraft,” he said.
“We don’t see in the next week any conditions like the ones we have today and tomorrow.”
Badham said weather in the area is comparable to conditions off Hobart in Tasmania.
“When you get rain in those latitudes you get low cloud and low visibility which would severely hamper the search efforts,” he said.
Badham told Business Insider Australia that the debris, which has been spotted on similar latitude as Hobart just a lot further west, is typically moved by wind, waves and ocean current.
“Rubbish and debris does move with the body of water,” he said.
“There’s several ways debris can move, one is wave action, two is wind – if there’s any debris above the water it will act as a sail, and three it’s the water body or the current.”
Badham said the location where the debris has been spotted is susceptible to strong westerly winds.
“The westerly winds run 90 days out of a 100 down there,” he said.
“It’s not really in the area that gets the roaring forties or furious fifties.
“There’s often and there has been for the past week substantial high pressure in the area, so the winds haven’t been that bad.”
Badham said there isn’t a lot of ship traffic that far south.
“There’s just not a lot of activity south of there, which means there’s less rubbish generally in the ocean compared to busier lanes in the northern Pacific and north Atlantic,” he said.
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