323 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway

August 26th, 2016

GFS model fields of surface pressure, 6-hour precipitation, 850 hPa temperature, and 10-m wind [click to play animation]

GFS model fields of surface pressure, 6-hour precipitation, 850 hPa temperature, and 10-m wind [click to play animation]

GFS model fields from this site (above) showed a relatively compact storm that was deepening as it moved northeastward across southern and central Norway on 26 August 2016.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images (below; also available as an MP4 animation) revealed the development of thunderstorms over southern Norway during the 0900-1300 UTC period. Cloud-to-ground lightning from one of these storms is believed to have killed 323 reindeer near the southeastern corner of the Hardangervidda National Park (which is located in the center of the visible and infrared satellite images).

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm, bottom) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation]

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm, bottom) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation]

The coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of the thunderstorms on the 1100 UTC image was -51º C, which corresponded to an altitude of around 10.5 km on the 1200 UTC Ørland rawinsonde report (below) — looking at the individual sounding profiles, Ørland to the north of Hardangervidda was still in the moist convective environment near the center of the storm system, while Stavanger to the south began to show the drier air aloft in the wake of the northeastward-moving storm.

Rawinsonde data from Stavanger and Orland, Norway [click to enlarge]

Rawinsonde data from Stavanger and Orland, Norway [click to enlarge]

A composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image swaths as viewed using RealEarth (below) showed the widespread thunderstorms across southern Norway on the earlier (eastern) 1103 UTC overpass, while the later (western) 1243 UTC overpass showed the effects of the mid-level drier air that was beginning to overspread the region as the center of the parent storm system moved northeast.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image swaths [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image swaths [click to enlarge]

Cyclone Fantala in the Indian Ocean

April 16th, 2016

Advanced Dvorak Technique intensity plot for Cyclone Fantala [click to enlarge]

Advanced Dvorak Technique intensity plot for Cyclone Fantala [click to enlarge]

A plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) hurricane intensity estimate (above) revealed that Indian Ocean Cyclone Fantala (19S) exhibited a period of rapid intensification on 15 April 2016, reaching Category 4 intensity with maximum sustained winds of 135 knots at 14 UTC.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-7 Infrared Window (11.5 µm) images (below) showed the formation of a well-defined eye after about 03 UTC.

Meteosat-7 Infrared (11.5 µm) images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-7 Infrared (11.5 µm) images [click to play animation]

A comparison of Meteosat-7 Infrared (11.5 µm) and DMSP-18 SSMI Microwave (85 GHz) images from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed the eye structure around 15 UTC.

Meteosat-7 Infrared (11.5 µm) and DMSP-18 SSMI Microwave (85 GHz) images [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-7 Infrared (11.5 µm) and DMSP-18 SSMI Microwave (85 GHz) images [click to enlarge]

===== 18 April Update =====

Meteosat-7 Infrared Window (11.5 µm) images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-7 Infrared Window (11.5 µm) images [click to play animation]

During the 17-18 April period Cyclone Fantala reached Category 5 intensity (ADT plot), with maximum sustained winds of 150 knots (making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the South Indian Ocean); Fantala also became the longest-lived hurricane-strength tropical cyclone on record for that ocean basin. Meteosat-7 Infrared Window (11.5 µm) images (above) showed the storm reaching peak intensity as it moved just north of the island of Madagascar.

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) offered a detailed nighttime view of the eye of Fantala at 2249 UTC on 17 April. Side lighting from the Moon (in the Waxing Gibbous phase, at 81% of full) helped to cast a distinct shadow within the eye, and also provided a good demonstration of the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band.

 

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm images [click to enlarge]

Storm Frank over the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

December 30th, 2015

Northeast Atlantic surface analysis maps [click to enlarge]

Northeast Atlantic surface analysis maps [click to enlarge]

Surface analysis maps over the Northeast Atlantic Ocean (above) showed the rapid intensification of an area low pressure — named Storm Frank by the UK Met Office and Met Éireann — during the 29-30 December 2015 time period. As the storm moved northward toward Iceland, the central pressure of Frank explosively deepened from 966 hPa at 06 UTC on 29 December to 928 hPa at 06 UTC on 30 December, with the tight pressure gradient producing hurricane-force winds over a large area.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm, 1-km resolution) images (below; also available as a 10-Mbyte animated GIF) depicted the well-defined center of circulation of Storm Frank during the daylight hours on 29 December, as it was intensifying south of Iceland and west of Ireland.

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.75 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Infrared (10.8 µm, 3-km resolution) and Water Vapor (6.25 µm, 3-km resolution) images (below; also available as animated GIFs: 33 Mbtye Infrared and 21 Mbyte Water Vapor) showed Storm Frank as the center eventually moved over Iceland early in the day on 30 December.

Meteosat-10 Infrared (10.8 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Infrared (10.8 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

As the 928 hPa low pressure moved over Iceland (below), time series plots of data from various surface stations revealed winds gusting to over 50 knots at Egilsstaðir BIEG and Akureyri BIAR; farther to the east over the British Isles, wind gusts exceeded 50 knots at Cork EICK and Stornoway EGPL, with gusts over 60 knots at Sørvágur/Vágar EKVG and Benbecula EGPL. In the North Sea off the coast of Norway, strong winds and high waves were responsible for a barge breaking free of its moorings and drifting near oil fields (media report); there was also one fatality and 2 injuries on an oil rig (media report).

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) image at 0630 UTC on 30 December, with surface station IDs [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) image at 0630 UTC on 30 December, with surface station IDs [click to enlarge]

The NWS Ocean Prediction Center created longer satellite image animations covering the entire life cycle of the storm (below).

 

Cyclone Chapala approaches Yemen

November 2nd, 2015
METOP-B Imagery (0.63 µm Visible and 10.8 µm Infrared) over Chapala, ~0615 UTC on 2 November 2015

METOP-B Imagery (0.63 µm Visible and 10.8 µm Infrared) over Chapala, ~0615 UTC on 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Cyclone Chapala continued its unusual approach towards Yemen on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. Early on 2 November, the storm has passed just north of the Island of Socotra and entered the Gulf of Aden. METOP-B overflew the storm at ~0615 UTC on 2 November; Visible and Infrared data, above, show a still-compact storm with an obvious eye ringed by cold cloud tops (the coldest brightness temperatures are near -75º C) tucked into the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. Wind shear in the region is very low and sea-surface temperatures are warm. The morphed microwave imagery, below (taken from this site), indicates that the eyewall brushed the island of Socotra as it passed (a comparison of Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS microwave images around 15 UTC on 01 November can be seen here).

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1645 UTC 01 November 2015

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1645 UTC 01 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Subsequent microwave imagery, below, for the 24 hours ending 1200 UTC on 2 November (the image below overlaps the one above) show a decrease in the eyewall structure and intensity.

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1200 UTC 02 November 2015

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1200 UTC 02 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Satellite-based intensity estimates at around 0000 UTC on 2 November (link) suggest a central mean sea-level pressure around 940 mb with sustained winds near 120 knots. The 0000 UTC Meteosat-7 image is shown below.

Meteosat-7 Window Channel Infrared (11.5 µm) 0000 UTC, 2 November 2015

Meteosat-7 Window Channel Infrared (11.5 µm) 0000 UTC, 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP overflew the region shortly after 2100 UTC on 1 November, and the Day/Night Band imagery from VIIRS is shown below, toggled with the 11.45 µm Infrared imagery. The storm is centered just northwest of Socotra; mesovortices are evident within the eye, as are overshooting tops in the eyewall convection; the bright streak seen on the Day/Night Band image is a region of the western eyewall illuminated by intense lightning activity. Zoomed-out versions of the imagery are available here for Day/Night Band and here for 11.45 µm Infrared. (VIIRS Imagery courtesy William Straka, SSEC/CIMSS).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band Visible Image and 11.45 µm Infrared Image 2149 UTC, 2 November 2015

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band Visible Image and 11.45 µm Infrared Image 2149 UTC, 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

A comparison of Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images around 1530 UTC on 2 November, below, showed the northern edge of the eyewall very near to the coast of Yemen.

Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images {click to enlarge)

Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images (click to enlarge)

At landfall, below, as viewed by Suomi NPP’s VIIRS instrument and a timely overpass, the eye of the storm had filled. The change in storm structure prior to landfall was very apparent in this toggle of two METOP Infrared images, at 0558 and 1644 UTC on 2 November. However, Meteosat-7 Infrared images showed that there was a large convective burst that developed as Chapala made landfall. Chapala was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Yemen while still at hurricane intensity.

Suomi NPP VIIRS I05 (11.45 µm) Infrared Image, 2127 UTC on 2 November [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS I05 (11.45) Infrared Image, 2127 UTC on 2 November (click to enlarge)

A 6-day animation of the storm using VIIRS true-color imagery from RealEarth can be seen here. Cyclone Chapala is also discussed in this blog post.

===== 05 November Update =====

A 14-day animation of UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature, below, reveals the cold wake of upwelling water (yellow color enhancement) following the passage of Hurricane Chapala.

UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature analyses [click to enlarge]

UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature analyses [click to enlarge]