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]

Severe Cyclone Emeraude in the Indian Ocean

March 17th, 2016

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

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

A plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique intensity estimate for Cyclone Emeraude in the Indian Ocean (above) shows that the storm rapidly intensified to Category 4 intensity on 17 March 2016.

Himawari-8 AHI Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (below; also available as a large 31-Mbyte animated GIF) revealed the formation of a well-defined eye during the day.

Himawari-8 Visible (0..64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Visible (0..64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Nighttime images of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) data at 1859 UTC (below, courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the ragged appearance of the eye at that time, with an isolated convective burst that had developed well west of the eye.

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]

Severe Cyclone Winston in the South Pacific Ocean

February 20th, 2016

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

JMA Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed the presence of mesovortices within the large and well-defined eye of Category 5 Severe Cyclone Winston as the storm approached the largest Fiji islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu during the 19-20 February 2016 period.

A longer animation of Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (below) showed a degradation of the eye as it moved over the slightly rugged terrain of Viti Levu, suggesting a slight decrease of intensity (ADT plot | SATCON wind | SATCON pressure). However, when Winston initially made landfall on that island with sustained winds of 185 mph it tied as the second strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record — and Winston could also be the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere (Capital Weather Gang blog). The images include plots of surface observations from Nadi (NNFN) and Nausori (NNFA) on the island of Viti Levu.

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

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

Nighttime comparisons of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images showed Cyclone Winston as the storm was well east of Fiji on 18 February, and just west of Fiji on 20 February (below). With abundant illumination from the Moon in the Waxing Gibbous phase (from 82 to 95% of full), the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band was effectively demonstrated.

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]

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 Winston began to decrease in intensity from a Category 4 to a Category 2 storm after 12 UTC on 21 February, a large eye was still present in DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) imagery from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below).

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Alex

January 13th, 2016

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

Subtropical Storm Alex (NHC advisory archive) formed in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean on 13 January 2016. Animations of GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm Visible (above) and 10.7 µm Infrared images (below) showed the initial evolution and northeastward motion of the storm. Alex is only the 4th known January tropical or subtropical storm to have formed in the Atlantic since the historical record began in 1851.

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

===== 14 January Update =====

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 0320 UTC (below) showed the well-defined eye of Alex. With the Moon in the Waxing Crescent phase (at 30% of Full) there was enough illumination to demonstrate the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band. A magnified version of the Infrared image showing the eye can be seen here.

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

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

As of 15 UTC on 14 January, Alex had made the transition from subtropical storm to Category 1 hurricane (eastern Atlantic Ocean surface analyses). GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images (below) showed the well-defined eye that had formed. Alex became the first known hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean since 1938, and only the second hurricane on record to from north of 30ºN latitude and east of 30ºW longitude.

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

A DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image (below) revealed the eye structure at 1653 UTC.

DMSP-16 SSMIS 85Ghz microwave brightness temperature image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS 85Ghz microwave brightness temperature image [click to enlarge]

===== 15 January Update =====

While still classified as a hurricane, Alex was undergoing a weakening trend as it approached the Azores Islands during the early morning hours on 15 January. GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images (below) showed a strong convective band that produced a brief period of heavy rain at Ponta Delgata and Lajes Acores several hours prior to the passage of the eye of Alex (which occurred in the 11-14 UTC time frame — and Alex was downgraded at that point to a Tropical Storm). At Ponta Delgata a peak wind gust of 50 knots was recorded at 1130 UTC.

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

ISS-Rapidscat surface scatterometer winds (below) showed the center of circulation of Alex just south of the Azores Islands at 1118 UTC.

Rapidscat surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

Rapidscat surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

===== 16 January Update =====

Using a long animation of GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images covering the 06-16 January period (below; also available as a large 165-Mbyte animated gif), the origination of Hurricane Alex could be traced back to a strong baroclinic mid-latitude cyclone that rapidly intensified off the southeast coast of the US on 07 January.

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The origin and motion of Alex could also be identified using the satellite-derived atmospheric motion vector 850 hPa Relative Vorticity product (below). A region of lower-tropospheric vorticity over Cuba on 06 January began moving northeastward across the Bahamas, then eastward across the Atlantic Ocean on 07 January.

850 hPa Relative Vorticity product [click to play animation]

850 hPa Relative Vorticity product [click to play animation]

For another perspective on the history of the development of Alex, see this article from The Weather Channel.