Hurricane Dora

June 26th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

** GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing **

Dora became the first hurricane of the Eastern Pacific 2017 season on 26 June, and was also the first hurricane to be sampled by GOES-16. On Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above), Dora displayed an improving appearance as the day progressed — mesovortices were seen within the eye on Visible imagery, while the overall eye/eyewall structure improved as the eye diameter increased on Infrared Window imagery.

Early in the morning, a comparison between DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed  that a well-defined eye was more apparent on microwave imagery. Dora was moving over fairly warm Sea Surface Temperatures, and was also in an environment characterized by low values of deep-layer wind shear.

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Tropical Storm Bret

June 19th, 2017 |

GOES-16 “Veggie” Band (0.86 µm) animation of Tropical Storm Bret, 1545-2030 UTC on 19 June 2017 (Click to animate)

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing.

The fast-moving tropical system in the southern Caribbean Sea has developed a closed circulation and has been named Bret.  Tropical Storm Bret, shown above in an animation of GOES-16 Near-Infrared (0.86 µm) imagery that highlights land/water contrasts (the Orinoco River in Venezuela and Caribbean Islands — some with cloud streamers in their lee — north of Venezuela stand out clearly), is forecast to remain very close to the South American coastline.  Such proximity to land will likely hinder development. Further, wind shear in the atmosphere over the storm is predicted to increase.

Bret is embedded within a ribbon of very moist air (associated with the ITCZ) that stretches from Africa to the northwest Caribbean, as shown in the animation below (taken from this site) that shows morphed microwave observations of total precipitable water.

Microwave estimates of Total Precipitable Water for the 24 hours ending 1900 UTC on 19 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)

For more information on Bret, refer to the National Hurricane Center and the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones sites (where you can also follow the future of the system emerging into the Gulf of Mexico).

Shear vortices over the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley

June 7th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.2 µm, top; 6.9 µm, middle; 7.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.2 µm, top; 6.9 µm, middle; 7.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

A well-defined train of wind shear vortices was revealed on GOES-16 Water Vapor images — Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Lower-level (7.3 µm) — propagating westward over the Great Lakes on 07 June 2017 (above).

A larger-scale view using Mid-level 6.9 µm images (below) showed additional (and larger) vortices which were moving eastward over the Ohio River Valley. Pilot reports of turbulence are plotted on the water vapor images, and many of those reports appeared to be in the general vicinity of the vortices.

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

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

A 3-hour-interval Mid-Level Wind Shear product derived from GOES-13 (GOES-East) atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) is shown below. An elongated cyclonic shear axis was present from the Northeast US to the Ohio River Valley, and the location of the water vapor vortices appeared to correspond to the wind shear gradients along the northern and southern edges of this axis.

GOES-13 Mid-Level Wind Shear product [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Mid-Level Wind Shear product [click to enlarge]

Middle/upper-level deformation zone over the East Pacific Ocean?

May 23rd, 2017 |

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

An interesting linear feature appeared over the East Pacific Ocean on GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (above) on 23 May 2017, which at first glance immediately nominated it for the “What the heck is this?” blog category. A contrail was ruled out, since it was not oriented along a common or busy flight route — so potential large-scale dynamic processes were briefly investigated. Since the linear feature was perpendicular to the busy California/Hawaii flight route, pilot reports of turbulence are plotted on the water vapor images; two reports of light turbulence at altitudes of 33,000-34,000 feet (at 0918 and 1109 UTC) appeared to be close enough to have possibly been related to the linear feature.

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with contours of satellite wind derived upper-level divergence [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with contours of satellite wind derived Upper-Level Divergence [click to enlarge]

Satellite atmospheric motion vector (AMV) derived products such as Upper-Level Divergence (above) calculated at 3-hour intervals (source) revealed an area of divergence focused near the area of the linear satellite image feature — around 30º N, 140º W, at the center of the images — which reached its peak intensity at 12 UTC; this suggested that the feature may have formed along the axis of the sharp deformation zone between two upper-level lows over the East Pacific Ocean (mid/upper level winds | 200 hPa Vorticity product).

GOES-15 sounder Water Vapor (6.5 µm, top; 7.0 µm, middle; 7.5 µm, bottom) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 sounder Water Vapor (6.5 µm, top; 7.0 µm, middle; 7.5 µm, bottom) images [click to enlarge]

Unfortunately, this region was not within the view of Himawari-8 or GOES-16 (each of which provide 2-km resolution water vapor imagery at 3 atmospheric levels). However, the GOES-15 sounder instrument has 3 similar water vapor bands (above) — albeit at a more coarse 10-km spatial resolution at satellite sub-point — which showed the linear “deformation axis cloud signature” at all 3 levels of the atmosphere. The GOES-15 sounder water vapor weighting functions for a “typical” US Standard Atmosphere are shown below.

GOES-15 sounder Water Vapor band weighting functions [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 sounder Water Vapor band weighting functions [click to enlarge]