Tropical Storm Iba off the coast of Brazil

March 24th, 2019 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with GLM Groups plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the formation of Tropical Storm Iba off the east coast of Brazil at 16 UTC on 24 March 2019 (surface analyses). Plots of GLM Groups revealed some intermittent lightning activity. Tropical cyclones in the South Atlantic basin are rare — the last was in 2010, and only one example (Catarina in March 2004) is known to have reached hurricane intensity.

GOES-16 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A toggle between NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) from RealEarth (below) showed Iba at 1610 UTC.

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1610 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1610 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Infrared images with an overlay of deep-layer wind shear valid at 18 UTC from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) revealed a very tight gradient of shear over Iba. However, the shear gradient began to relax somewhat by 21 UTC.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with an overlay of 18 UTC deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

In a sequence of GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and Infrared-Water Vapor (10.3-6.9µm) brightness temperature difference (BTD) images (below), the clusters of deep convection propagating southward — east of Iba’s center of circulation, denoted by “I” — exhibited large negative BTD values (darker shades of red) suggestive of significant cloud-top penetration into the lower stratosphere (reference).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and Infrared-Water Vapor (10.3-6.9µm) BTD images [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Visible images with an overlay of 1138 UTC ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from the Metop-A satellite (below) showed speeds in the 40-49 knot range (yellow barbs).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with Metop-A ASCAT winds at 1137 UTC [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed that Iba was embedded within a plume of moisture that extended southeastward off the coast of Brazil.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

Sea Surface Temperature values (below) were around 30ºC in the waters where Iba intensified.

Sea Surface Temperature analysis at 2230 UTC on 23 March [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature analysis at 2230 UTC on 23 March [click to enlarge]

===== 25 March Update =====

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) with GLM Groups (left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A comparison of GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images (above) showed that increasing deep-layer wind shear had exposed the low-level circulation center of Iba. However, GLM Groups plotted on the Visible images revealed an increasing amount of lightning activity associated with a convective burst that began to wrap around the southern edge of the storm center after 15 UTC — and a brief cloud-top infrared brightness temperature of -90ºC (yellow pixel embedded with darker purple shades) was seen at 1635 UTC.

A timely overpass of the Suomi NPP satellite at 1639 UTC provided 375-meter resolution VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below), which showed a large overshooting top that exhibited infrared brightness temperatures of -90ºC and colder (yellow), with a warmer ring of compensating subsidence immediately surrounding it. The coldest pixel had a brightness temperature of -103.7ºC — which is almost 1ºC colder than the -102.96ºC value noted over Australia in 2008.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The explosive growth of that convective burst was very apparent in a toggle between VIIRS Infrared images from NOAA-20 at 1549 UTC and Suomi NPP at 1639 UTC (below, courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS). Note that the images use a slightly different variant of the color enhancement. A comparison of VIIRS True Color and Infrared images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP viewed using RealEarth is available here.

VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 at 1549 UTC and Suomi NPP at 1639 UTC [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 at 1549 UTC and Suomi NPP at 1639 UTC [click to enlarge]

Tropical Cyclone Veronica north of Australia

March 21st, 2019 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (1145 µm) images at 1716 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1716 UTC [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (above) showed Category 4 Cyclone Veronica off the northern coast of Western Australia at 1716 UTC on 21 March 2019. Ample illumination from a Full Moon maximized the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band.

In a comparison of Microwave images from Suomi NPP ATMS at 1716 UTC and from GCOM-W1 AMSR2 at 1732 UTC (below), an eyewall that was nearly completely closed was apparent. Suomi NPP and GCOM-W1 images courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS.

Microwave images from Suomi NPP ATMS at 1716 UTC and from GCOM-W1 AMSR2 at 1732 UTC [click to enlarge]

Microwave images from Suomi NPP ATMS at 1716 UTC and from GCOM-W1 AMSR2 at 1732 UTC [click to enlarge]

A DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2246 UTC from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site is shown below. The deep-layer Wind Shear at 21 UTC was low (green contours), and Sea Surface Temperature values were quite high — both factors favorable for continued intensification as Veronica moved slowly toward the coast.

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2246 UTC, with an overlay of 21 UTC deep-layer Wind Shear, and Sea Surface Temperature [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2246 UTC, with an overlay of 21 UTC deep-layer Wind Shear, and Sea Surface Temperature [click to enlarge]

2.5-minute interval rapid scan Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (below) showed increasing organization to the eyewall structure. At times the cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were -90ºC and colder (yellow pixels embedded within darker purple). Note: the rapid scan sector was re-poositioned eastward at 0100 UTC (to monitor Cyclone Trevor), so 10-minute imaging resumed after that time.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

After sunrise, rapid scan Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) revealed that the large eye was completely cloud-filled.

Himawari-8 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Cyclone Idai makes landfall in Mozambique

March 14th, 2019 |

Meteosat-8 Infrared (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images of Cyclone Idai at 1630 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images of Cyclone Idai at 1630 UTC [click to enlarge]

Cyclone Idai — which had been slowly intensifying over warm water within the Mozambique Channel since 09 March — made landfall as a Category 2 storm along the coast of Mozambique on 14 March 2019 (storm track). A toggle between Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (above) revealed a large and well-defined eye and eyewall structure at 1630 UTC. Idai had been rated at Category 3 intensity during 3 periods of time during its life cycle, most recently at 12 UTC on the day of landfall.

At 1911 UTC, Metop-A ASCAT winds in excess of 60  knots were sampled just west of the eyewall region (below).

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) image, with plots of Metop-A ASCAT winds at 1911 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) image, with plots of Metop-A ASCAT winds at 1911 UTC [click to enlarge]

A comparison of VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, visualized using RealEarth, is shown below.

NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Idai had been moving through an environment of very low deep-layer wind shear — a favorable factor for maintaining its intensity — as shown in an animation of Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images (below).

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images with contours of satellite-derived Deep-Layer Wind Shear valid at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images with contours of satellite-derived Deep-Layer Wind Shear valid at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC TC product (below) suggested that Idai might have been in the early stage of an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) just prior to making landfall. This, after completing a separate ERC during the preceding 48 hours.

MIMIC TC morphed microwave imagery [click to enlarge]

MIMIC TC morphed microwave image product [click to enlarge]

The eye of Idal was becoming cloud-filled as it approached the Mozambique coast, as seen on EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images (below).

Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images [click to play animation]

A time series of surface data from the port city of Beira FQBR (below) showed deteriorating conditions before observations ceased at 15 UTC.

Surface observation data from Beira, Mozambique [click to enlarge]

Surface observation data from Beira, Mozambique [click to enlarge]


Incidentally, an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite on 11 March provided a 30-meter resolution view of the eye (below), soon after Idai’s first period of rapid intensification to Category 3 strength (SATCON). Surface mesovortices were apparent within the eye.

Landsat-8 False Color image of the eye of Idai on 11 March [click to play a zooming animation]

Landsat-8 False Color image of the eye of Idai on 11 March [click to play a zooming animation]

Flooding from Idai led to hundreds of fatalities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Unusual early ice loss in the Bering Sea

March 9th, 2019 |

GCOM-W2 AMSR2 Sea Ice Concentration, 01 February - 09 March 2019 [click to play animation | MP4]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Sea Ice Concentration, 01 February – 09 March 2019 [click to play animation | MP4]

A persistent northward transport of anomalously-warm air across the Bering Sea during the month of February 2019 led to an unusual loss of sea ice there — daily images of GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Sea Ice Concentration (source) from 01 February to 09 March (above) showed the northward retreat of ice from the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea. The ice reached its maximum northward extent on 04 March; northward ice motion was very pronounced during the 25-26 February and 27-28 February periods. In early March a synoptic pattern change then allowed cold arctic air to flow back toward the south, helping the ice concentration to begin increasing again in the northern portion of the Bering Sea.

Minimal cloudiness on 28 February allowed the northward flow of ice through the Bering Strait to be seen on GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]