Strong jet stream over the Lower 48 states

February 17th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play animation | MP4]

An unusually strong jet stream was located over the Lower 48 states on 17 February 2019. GOES-16 (GOES-East) Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images with plots of Derived Motion Winds (above) showed numerous tracked targets along and south of the jet stream axis — within the jet streak exit region over the Mid-Atlantic states, some velocity values were as high as 181 knots (below).

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) image, with plots of Derived Motion Winds at 0002 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) image, with plots of Derived Motion Winds at 0002 UTC [click to enlarge]

A plot of rawinsonde data from Lincoln, Illinois at 00 UTC (below) showed wind speeds as high as 190 knots at a pressure of 231 hPa.

Plot of 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Lincoln, Illinois [click to enlarge]

Plot of 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Lincoln, Illinois [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Air Mass RGB images from the AOS site (below) provided a classic portrayal of the green hues of warm/moist tropical air south of and the orange/red hues of cold/dry polar air north of this strong jet stream.

GOES-16 Air Mass RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Air Mass RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 18 February Update =====

GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

The large southward dip of the polar jet stream — evident in the GOES-16 Air Mass RGB images from the previous day — brought cold air into the Desert Southwest, resulting in snowfall at lower-elevation locations such as Las Vegas, Nevada. GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) images (above) revealed snow on the ground in the Las Vegas area — much of which quickly melted with increased surface heating after sunrise. Snow cover is a good absorber of radiation at the 1.61 µm wavelength, so it appeared as darker shades of gray on the Snow/Ice images. Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to the Nevada/California border was closed for several hours due to icy conditions and multiple traffic accidents.

The snow cover was apparent in Visible imagery from 4 GOES (below) — GOES-17 (GOES-West), GOES-15 (the backup GOES-West), GOES-16 (GOES-East) and GOES-13 (the backup GOES-East, which had been brought out of storage for annual maintenance activities).

Visible images from GOES-17, GOES-15, GOES-15 and GOES-13 [click to play animation | MP4]

Visible images from GOES-17, GOES-15, GOES-15 and GOES-13 [click to play animation | MP4]



Strong midlatitude cyclone north of Hawai’i

February 10th, 2019 |
GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images from the AOS site (above) showed the distinct circulation of a strong midlatitude cyclone (surface analyses) that was centered just north of Hawai’i on 10 February 2019. The pressure gradient associated with this storm produced strong winds across the island chain. Wave heights to 38.4 feet were recorded at Buoy 51208 near Kaua’i, with wind gusts to 57 knots at Buoy 51001 northwest of Kauwa’i.



GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (below) revealed the presence of numerous lee waves which extended hundreds of miles downwind of the islands — most notable were those emanating from Kauwa’i.

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation | MP4]

Derived Motion Winds calculated using GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) imagery from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed targets with velocites of 150-160 knots just north of Hawai’i at 09 UTC and 12 UTC.

Derived Motion Winds calculated using GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) imagery [click to enlarge]

Derived Motion Winds calculated using GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) imagery [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images (below) showed the orange to red hues signifying a lowered tropopause and increased stratospheric ozone within the atmospheric column as the storm evolved during the 09-10 February time period.

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 23 UTC as viewed using RealEarth are shown below.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 23 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 23 UTC [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Force low in the West Pacific

January 10th, 2019 |
GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed the low-level circulation of an occluded Hurricane Force low (surface analyses) over the West Pacific Ocean on 09 January – 10 January 2019. This storm was forecast to produce wave heights up to 40-60 feet.

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (below) showed the circulation of the storm at higher altitudes.

GOES-17 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 | MP4]

GOES-17 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 | MP4]

Metop-A ASCAT surface scatterometer wind speeds were as high as 67 knots southwest of the storm center and 63 knots to the northeast (below).

GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) image with Metop-A ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) image with Metop-A ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

A toggle between VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 — as viewed using RealEarth — is shown below.

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Strong jet stream over the North Pacific Ocean

January 2nd, 2019 |
GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 250 hPa wind isotachs [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 250 hPa wind isotachs [click to play animation | MP4]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images with an overlay of 250 hPa wind isotachs from the GFS90 model (above) showed a string of disturbances (surface analysis) along the axis of a 180-knot “Japan Jet” across the North Pacific Ocean on 02 January 2019.

GOES-17 Split Ozone (9.6 µm10.3 µm) Brightness Temperature Difference images (below) include an overlay of PV1.5 pressure (an indicator of the height of the “dynamic tropopause”) — they showed the difference between cold polar air having a low tropopause (shades of cyan to blue) north of the jet stream and warm tropical air having a much higher tropopause (shades of yellow). The Split Ozone BTD is the Green component of the Air Mass Red-Green-Blue (RGB) product.

GOES-17 Split Ozone (9.6 - 10.3 µm) images, with contours of PV1.5 pressure [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Split Ozone (9.6 – 10.3 µm) images, with contours of PV1.5 pressure [click to play animation | MP4]

Rawinsonde data also showed the significant difference in tropopause height between St. Paul Island, Alaska (pressure=314 hPa, height=8.1 km) in the polar air of the Bering Sea and Lihue, Hawai’i (pressure=82 hPa, height=17.9 km) in the tropical air of the central Pacific (below).

Plots of rawinsonde data from St. Paul Island, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from St. Paul Island, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Lihue, Hawai'i [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Lihue, Hawai’i [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images from the UW-AOS site (below) further illustrated the sharp contrast between the cold/dry polar air to the north and warm/moist tropical air to the south of the strong jet stream. The purple hues along the northwestern edge of the scan are a result of the “limb cooling” effect, as the satellite’s infrared detectors sense radiation from colder upper levels of the atmosphere at large viewing angles.

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

In addition to the series of larger disturbances along the jet stream axis, there were also some smaller-scale storms apparent in the Bering Sea (surface analyses). Better detail of these high-latitude features could be seen using Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images separated by 10 hours (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1427 UTC and 0022 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1427 UTC and 0022 UTC [click to enlarge]

Regarding the strong Japan Jet, GOES-15 (GOES-West) Derived Motion Winds (source) tracked targets having velocities as high as 200 knots at 03 UTC (below).

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) Derived Motion Winds [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) Derived Motion Winds [click to enlarge]