Hurricane Aletta

June 7th, 2018 |

GOES-16

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

Tropical Storm Aletta was upgraded to Hurricane Aletta at 21 UTC on 07 June 2018. As was the case on 06 June, a GOES-16 Mesoscale Domain Sector centered over the tropical cyclone provided 1-minute data — and an eye eventually became apparent on  “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) imagery (above).

DMSP-15, DMSP-17 and GPM GMI Microwave (85 GHz) imagery from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed an increase in organization of the eye structure as the day progressed.

DMSP-15 SSMI Microwave image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-15 SSMI Microwave image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave image [click to enlarge]

GPM GMI Microwave image [click to enlarge]

GPM GMI Microwave image [click to enlarge]

===== 08 June Update =====

GOES-16

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

Aletta went through a period of rapid intensification (ADT | SATCON), reaching Category 4 status by 15 UTC on 08 June. 1-minute GOES-16 Infrared (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the eye becoming more well-defined during the pre-dawn hours.

After sunrise, GOES-16 Visible images (below) initially hinted at the presence of mesovortices within the eye of Aletta.

GOES-16

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

Aletta had been moving over relatively warm water and within an environment characterized by low values of deep-layer wind shear (below) — both  of which were favorable factors for intensification. An animation of the deep-layer wind shear over the East Pacific Ocean during 06-07 June is available here.

Sea Surface Temperature and Deep-Layer Wind Shear products [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature and Deep-Layer Wind Shear products [click to enlarge]

Aletta peaked in intensity later in the day on 08 June (ADT | SATCON) — as pointed out by NHC “This is also consistent with GOES-16 measurements of increased inner-core lightning observed to be occurring to the east of the eastern eyewall, which some research suggests corresponds to a halting of the intensification process”. GOES-16 Infrared (10.3 µm) imagery with GLM Group Density counts are shown below.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) with GLM Group Density counts [click to play MP4 animation]

Tropical Invest 90E in the East Pacific

May 8th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of ship reports [click to play MP4 animation]

An organized area of low pressure (Invest 90E) developed in the East Pacific Ocean on 08 May 2018 — the NHC gave it a 50% chance of becoming a tropical depression within 48 hours. GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the formation of a large convective burst in the northwest quadrant of the circulation after 00 UTC on 09 April.

Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed velocities in the 20.0 to 29.9 knot range (dark blue barbs).

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

The Invest was located in a region of low deep-layer wind shear, with relatively warm Sea Surface Temperatures and modest values of Ocean Heat Content (below).

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) image, with contours of deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) image, with contours of deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature analysis [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature analysis [click to enlarge]

Ocean Heat Content analysis [click to enlarge]

Ocean Heat Content analysis [click to enlarge]

The hourly MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed that Invest 90E was embedded within the ribbon of high moisture associated with the ITCZ.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Heavy rainfall over the Hawaiian island of Kauai

April 15th, 2018 |

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

A series of back-building thunderstorms produced very heavy rainfall and flash flooding (Public Information Statement | Local Storm Reports | CoCoRaHS) over the northern and eastern portion of Kauai on 14-15 April 2018. GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed these deep convective storms, which exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures in the -60 to -70 ºC range (red to black enhancement). 25 April Update: a possible US record for 24-hour precipitation (49.69 inches) is being investigated.

Even though the JMA Himawari-8 AHI instrument provides more frequent Water Vapor and Infrared Window images (every 10 minutes, compared to every 15-30 minutes with GOES-15) at a higher spatial resolution (2-km at satellite sub-point, vs 4-km with GOES-15),  Hawai’i is located near the limb of the Himawari-8 view — so parallax was playing a major role in the apparent location of the important convective features. Note how the primary thunderstorms were displayed to the east of Kauai on the Himawari-8 images, in contrast to directly over the island on GOES-15 images.

Himawari-8 Water Vapor (6.9 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Water Vapor (6.9 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (above) showed that high amounts of tropical moisture were drawn northward across Hawai’i by the circulation of an upper-level trough — depicted by mid/upper-level atmospheric motion vectors — that was situated west/northwest of the islands (below).

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images with mid/upper level atmospheric motion vectors [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images with mid/upper-level atmospheric motion vectors [click to play animation]

Gravity waves near Guadalupe Island

March 15th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Low-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Low-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (above) revealed an interesting packet of gravity waves in the vicinity of Guadalupe Island (west of Baja California) on 15 March 2018. The mechanism forcing these waves was not entirely clear, making it a suitable candidate for the “What the heck is this?” blog category.

A similar animation of GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) and Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images (below) did show some smaller-scale waves on Visible imagery within the marine boundary layer stratocumulus cloud field, but they did not appear to exhibit a direct correlation with the higher-altitude waves seen in the Water Vapor imagery. Surface winds were from the northwest at 10-15 knots, as a dissipating cold front was stalled over the region.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

A larger-scale view of Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below) showed that these waves were located to the north of a jet streak axis — denoted by the sharp dry-to-moist gradient (yellow to blue enhancement) stretching from southwest to northeast as it moved over Baja California.

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images with overlays of upper-tropospheric atmospheric motion vectors and contours of upper-tropospheric divergence (below) indicated that Guadalupe Island was located within the “dry delta” signature often associated with a jet stream break — the inflection point between 2 strong jet streaks within a sharply-curved jet stream. Upper-tropospheric winds were from the west/northwest, with upper-tropospheric convergence seen over the region of the gravity waves.

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with water vapor wind vectors [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with atmospheric motion vectors [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with contours of upper-tropospheric convergence [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with contours of upper-tropospheric convergence [click to enlarge]

An early morning Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) image with NAM80 contours of 250 hPa wind speed (below) showed the two 90-knot jet streaks on either side of the jet stream break — it could be that speed convergence due to rapidly decelerating air within the exit region of the western jet streak was a possible forcing mechanism of the gravity waves seen on the GOES-16 Water Vapor imagery.

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) image, with NAM80 contours of 250 hPa wind speed [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) image, with NAM80 contours of 250 hPa wind speed [click to enlarge]