Atmospheric river events bring heavy precipitation to California

January 13th, 2017 |

MIMIC Total Precipatable Water product [click to play MP4 animation]

MIMIC Total Precipatable Water product [click to play MP4 animation]

A series of 3 atmospheric river events brought heavy rainfall and heavy snowfall to much of California during the first 10 days of January 2017 (NWS San Francisco/Monterey | WeatherMatrix blog). Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (above; also available as a 33 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the second and third of these atmospheric river events during the 06 January11 January 2017 period, which were responsible for the bulk of the heavy precipitation; these 2 events appear to have drawn moisture northeastward from the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)..

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (2.1 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A relatively cloud-free day on 13 January provided a good view of the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay regions. A comparison of Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared  “Snow/Ice” (2.1 µm) images (above) showed that snow cover in the higher terrain of the Coastal Ranges and the Sierra Nevada appeared darker in the Snow/Ice band image (since snow and ice are strong absorbers of radiation at the 2.1 µm wavelength) — but water is an even stronger absorber, and therefore appeared even darker (which allowed the areas of flooding along the Sacramento River and its tributaries to be easily identified). A similar type of 1.6 µm Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” Band imagery will be available from the ABI instrument on the GOES-R series, beginning with GOES-16.

Better detail of the flooded areas of the Sacramento River and its tributaries was seen in 250-meter resolution false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) imagery from the MODIS Today site — water appears as darker shades of blue, while snow appears as shades of cyan (in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds, which appear as shades of white). In the corresponding MODIS true-color image, rivers and bays with high amounts of turbidity (tan shades) were evident; the offshore flow of sediment from a few rivers could also be seen.

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

 

Late-season Tropical Storm Otto in the southwest Caribbean Sea

November 21st, 2016 |
ascatwinds_1433utc_21nov2016

Metop-A Scatterometer winds at 1430 UTC and GOES-13 10.7 µm Brightness Temperature (Click to enlarge)

A late-season tropical depression has formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. The morning Metop-A pass on 21 November 2016 allowed ASCAT scatterometer winds to be sampled over the system: rain-flagged values near tropical storm force were present as shown above. A similar image (from this site) is available here, and also here (from this site).

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) Brightness Temperatures (Click to animate)

Infrared (10.7 µm) imagery from GOES-13, above, from 1315 through 1715 UTC on 21 November, shows periodic deep convection over the Depression; the grey regions in the deepest convection over the system correspond to brightness temperatures colder than -75 C. The environment surrounding this system, shown below, is marginally favorable for strengthening; sea-surface temperatures are warm, although the oceanic heat content suggests the warmth does not extend through a deep column of water. Wind shear over the storm is modest (but far stronger north of the storm). (Imagery below is from this site). The system is forecast to become a tropical storm within the next 24 hours.

Sea-surface temperatures, Oceanic Heat Content and Wind Shear (Click to enlarge)

Update: Otto was named a tropical storm at 2100 UTC 21 November; GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) Imagery is shown below. Numerous tropical overshooting tops can be seen during the course of the day.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) Imagery on 21 November 2016 (Click to animate)

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water fields, below, show that Otto emerged from a region of persistent deep moisture over the southwestern Caribbean Sea that has been contracting as the storm formed. This region of moisture was focused along the intersection of a stalled and decaying Atlantic frontal zone and the Pacific monsoon trough (hourly animation).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water fields at 2100 UTC on 17,18,19,20 and 21 November (Click to enlarge)

DMSP-16 Microwave (85 GHz) imagery, below, showed evidence of a closed eye associated with Otto at 2132 UTC.

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

“Medicane” in the Mediterranean Sea

October 31st, 2016 |

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 um) images [click to play MP4 animation]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 um) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A compact tropical-like cyclone (often referred to as a “medicane“) moved across the Mediterranean Sea during the 28-31 October 2016 period. EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 um) images (above; also available as a 71 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the system as it developed over the Ionian Sea between Italy and Greece, initially moved southwestward, and then turned to the east where it eventually passed near the Greek island of Crete on 31 October (producing a wind gust to 52 knots at Chania’s Souda Airport LGSA and causing some wind and water damage: media story 1 | media story 2). In addition, a wind gust to 50 knots was seen on a ship report at 12 UTC on 28 October, just to the west of the storm center.

The corresponding EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Visible (0.64 um) images (below; also available as a 17 Mbyte animated GIF) provided a more detailed look at the structure of the storm during the daylight hours of those 4 days.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Visible (0.64um) images [click to play MP4 animation]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 Visible (0.64um) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Daily snapshots of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images viewed using RealEarth are shown below. The hazy signature of blowing dust/sand from northern Africa could be seen within the broad southeast quadrant of the storm circulation.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

There was ample moisture available to fuel convection around the storm, as seen in the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

The surface wind circulation of the medicane was well-sampled on a variety of Metop-A and Metop-B overpasses, using ASCAT plots (below) from this site.

Metop-A and Metop-B ASCAT surface scatterometer winds, 28-31 October [click to play animation]

Metop-A and Metop-B ASCAT surface scatterometer winds, 28-31 October [click to play animation]

Suomi NPP ATMS images (below; courtesy of Derrick Herndon, CIMSS) revealed the areal coverage of the small “warm core” on Channel 8 (54.94 GHz) and Channel 7 (53.596 GHz); a north-to-south oriented vertical cross section showed the depth of the thermal anomaly associated with the medicane.

Suomi NPP ATMS Channel 8 (54.94 GHz) image, 31 October at 0037 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP ATMS Channel 8 (54.94 GHz) image, 31 October at 0037 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP ATMS Channel 7 (53.596 GHz) image, 31 October at 0037 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP ATMS Channel 7 (53.596 GHz) image, 31 October at 0037 UTC [click to enlarge]

 

North-to-south vertical cross section of Suomi NPP ATMS brightness temperature anomaly [click to enlarge]

North-to-south vertical cross section of Suomi NPP ATMS brightness temperature anomaly [click to enlarge]

For additional information, see this blog post from the Capital Weather Gang.

 

Hurricane Nicole

October 13th, 2016 |

Track of Nicole, from 12 UTC on 04 October to 12 UTC on 13 October [click to enlarge]

Track of Nicole, from 12 UTC on 04 October to 12 UTC on 13 October [click to enlarge]

From its inception as a highly-sheared Tropical Storm on 04 October, Nicole moved in an erratic path with small intensity fluctuations for 8 days (above); then a period of intensification began on 12 October, with the storm reaching Category 4 intensity southwest of Bermuda at 03 UTC on 13 October. With ample illumination from the Moon (which was in the Waxing Gibbous phase, at 90% of full) Nicole exhibited a well-defined eye on Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) imagery at 0615 UTC, with cold cloud-top temperatures surrounding the eye on the corresponding VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image (below).

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

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

As Nicole approached Bermuda, increasing deep-layer wind shear began to impact the storm and weaken it to a Category 3 — and DMSP-17 Microwave (85 GHz) data showed that the eye had become open to the south (below).

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The passage of Nicole over Bermuda is shown on GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images spanning the period 1037-1555 UTC (below).

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

As the eye of Nicole passed over Bermuda around 13 UTC, the staff at the Bermuda Weather Service were able to successfully launch a rawinsonde balloon, which reported data as high as the 202 hPa pressure level or 12.2 km altitude — much higher than their previous launch attempts at 06 and 12 UTC (below). The Total Precipitable Water (TPW) value derived from that 15 UTC sounding was 72.5 mm or 2.85 inches, which was in general agreement with that displayed by the MIMIC TPW product. Note that the eye of Nicole did not appear to be directly over Bermuda on the 1300 UTC GOES-13 images — this is due to a combination of parallax and the fact that the eye had a significant southwest-to-northeast tilt with height.

Bermuda rawinsonde reports from 00, 06, 12 and 15 UTC on 13 October [click to enlarge]

Bermuda rawinsonde reports from 00, 06, 12 and 15 UTC on 13 October [click to enlarge]

A sequence of Infrared images from POES and Metop AVHRR (12.0 µm) and Terra MODIS (11.0 µm) during the period 1016 to 1513 UTC is shown below.

POES and Metop AVHRR, and Terra MODIS infrared images [click to enlarge]

POES and Metop AVHRR, and Terra MODIS infrared images [click to enlarge]