01 September, and no named tropical cyclones!

September 1st, 2014
Global composite of IR images, with tropical cyclone center points (click to play Animated GIF)

Global composite of IR images, with tropical cyclone center points (click to play Animated GIF)

It is rather rare to have no named tropical cyclones anywhere on the globe on the first day of September, but that was the case on 01 September 2014. A sequence of hourly global composite IR images from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (Animated GIF | MP4 movie file | YouTube video) showed the void of tropical activity — until Tropical Depression 5 formed late in the day in the Gulf of Mexico. This feature later became Tropical Storm Dolly early on 02 September.

Hurricane Cristobal and the Saharan Air Layer

August 28th, 2014
Meteosat-10 Saharan Air Layer product (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 Saharan Air Layer product (click to play animation)

The CIMSS Saharan Air Layer (SAL) product (above; click image to play animation) showed a large pocket of SAL (yellow to red color enhancement) drifting westward over the far western Atlantic Ocean and toward the Gulf of Mexico on 28 August 2014.

On GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (below; click image to play animation), the hazy signature of the SAL dust could be seen surging westward, not far to the south of Category 1 intensity Hurricane Cristobal.

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The SAL also exhibited a warm/dry signature (yellow to orange color enhancement) on the corresponding GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (below; click image to play animation).

GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

At 17:16 UTC, a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below) showed that Hurricane Cristobal had developed an eye formation.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

A comparison of AWIPS-2 images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel data (below) revealed that the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperatures (-77º C, lighter gray color enhancement) were located within convection just southwest and southeast of the eye.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible image and 11.45 µm IR channel image

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible image and 11.45 µm IR channel image

The effect of wind shear on Tropical Storm Karina

August 24th, 2014
GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel  images (click to play Animated GIF)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play Animated GIF)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (Animated GIF | MP4 movie | YouTube video | QuickTime movie) showed the decoupling of the upper-level and lower-level circulations of Tropical Storm Karina in the East Pacific Ocean on 24 August 2014. This decoupling was caused by strong wind shear along the western periphery of Category 5 Hurricane Marie, which was located to the east-southeast of Karina (large-scale view). Kudos to Dennis Chesters (NASA/Goddard) for bringing this interesting case to our attention (and providing the QuickTime movie linked to above).

The corresponding GOES-15 10.7 µm IR channel images (Animated GIF | MP4 movie | YouTube video) showed the cold clouds (red to black to white to purple color enhancement) associated with the upper-level circulation moving northward and quickly dissipating; the signature of the warmer clouds (darker cyan color enhancement) associated with the lower-level circulation can also be seen emerging from beneath the cold cloud shield and moving eastward.

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR channel images (click to play Animated GIF)

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR channel images (click to play Animated GIF)

A closer view provided by a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below) showed the separation of the upper-level and lower-level circulations around 21:53 UTC.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image

A sequence of 4 images (15, 18, 21, and 00 UTC) from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) shows GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel images with overlays of deep-layer wind shear (derived from satellite winds). To the east of Karina (which was located in the center of the images), the large anticylcone aloft associated with Category 5 Hurricane Marie can be seen, with increasing vales of southeasterly wind shear moving over Karina.

GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor images with overlays of deep layer wind shear

15 UTC GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor images with overlays of deep layer wind shear

The 3 image comparisons below show the separation of the centers of upper-level divergence (yellow) and lower-level convergence (cyan) as the decoupling process was occurring at 18 UTC, 21 UTC, and 00 UTC.

18 UTC GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

18 UTC: GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

21 UTC: GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

21 UTC: GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

00 UTC: GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

00 UTC: GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor image with upper-level divergence (yellow) and GOES-15 10.7 µm IR image with lower-level convergence (cyan)

===== 25 August Update =====

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images, with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images, with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

Even though the southeastward-moving low-level circulation of Karina had been downgraded to a Tropical Depression with 30 knot winds, there was still an impressive burst of convection just west of the center as it began to move back over warmer water on 25 August. Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds (above) showed a small pocket of winds in the 30.0-39.9 knot range (green wind barbs) at 18:29 UTC.

There were also some Tropical Overshooting Top (TOT) targets detected within the convective burst (below); TOT symbols: Red = 0-1 hour previous, Green = 1-2 hours previous, Blue = 2-3 hours previous.

GOES-15 Infrared - Water Vapor difference product, and Tropical Overshooting Tops product (TOT symbols: Red = 0-1 hour previous, Green = 1-2 hours previous, Blue = 2-3 hours previous)

GOES-15 Infrared – Water Vapor difference product, and Tropical Overshooting Tops product (TOT symbols: Red = 0-1 hour previous, Green = 1-2 hours previous, Blue = 2-3 hours previous)

Mesovortices within the eye of Hurricane Lowell

August 21st, 2014
GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (above; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) revealed the presence of mesovortices within the eye of Category 1 Hurricane Lowell in the East Pacific Ocean on 21 August 2014.

The mesovortices were also evident at 21:07 UTC in a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

In addition to having a rather large eye, Hurricane Lowell also had a large radius of strong winds, as seen on a comparison of a GOES-15 0.63 µm visible image and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below).

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds