Why Mesoscale Sectors matter: Tropical Storm Aletta

June 6th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery, 1422-1741 UTC on 6 June 2018 (Click to animate)

The first Tropical Storm, Aletta, of the eastern Pacific Ocean basin has been named. One-minute imagery from a moveable Mesoscale Sector, above as an animated gif (or here as an mp4), shows a distinct low-or mid-level circulation center moving out from under higher clouds in the northeast quadrant of the storm at about 1621 UTC, being even more obvious at 1636 UTC.

The GOES-16 CONUS Sector scans at 5-minute intervals. The southern boundary of the CONUS sector (15º N Latitude), however, bisects this tropical storm, as shown at this link, and is therefore unhelpful for center diagnostics. Full Disk imagery captures the storm evolution at a 15-minute time step that is too coarse to provide a smooth animation. (Just two years ago, the time resolution for this storm formation would have been every 3 hours, as that was the time cadence for a Full Disk from GOES-13! GOES-16 really is life-changing for those who view satellite animations.)

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