Hurricane Bill and SRSO Scanning

August 20th, 2009 |


Super Rapid Scan Operations are called on GOES-East or GOES-West when meteorologists want to investigate phenomena that occur over very short timescales. Typically, SRSO imagery is taken every minute. However, gaps exist because of responsibilities to other regions. For example, when the National Hurricane Center requested SRSO observations of Hurricane Bill, satellite imagery was still required to observe tornadic thunderstorms over the upper midwest, and to fulfill international treaty obligations to provide full disk imagery every three hours. GOES-R, scheduled for launch in 2015, will have enhanced observational capabilities, enabling SRSO and full-disk scanning simultaneously. Indeed, ABI on GOES-R will scan a full disk image every 15 minutes, a CONUS image every 5 minutes, and a 1000×1000 km area every 30 seconds, simultaneously.

In the case of Hurricane Bill, the SRSO helped define the small cloud vortices within the hurricane eye, as seen in the image above. These vortices have been observed in previous hurricanes as well — mostly notably in Hurricane Isable in 2003. The SRSO visible loop is here (Warning: 25 M animated gif) and the SRSO color enhanced infrared loop is here. IR Brightness temperatures within the eye are in the 290-300 K range, somewhat cooler than the sea surface temperature in this region. The small vortices within the eye are low clouds.

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