Archive for the ‘Satellite images’ Category

Photo Of Irene From Space – 8-28-2011

The photo below is actually from a scan of the “full disk” of earth from the GOES-13 satellite.  I have cropped the original in order to concentrate upon Tropical Storm Irene.  Tropical Storm Jose also shows up in the image; it is very small.  To find it look for a small blob of clouds, bright white (about half the width of the state of Florida and located off the Carolinas  and next to Bermuda).  More information follows after the image.

TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS WILL ENLARGE TO THE FULLEST.

– THANKS TO NOAA FOR THIS IMAGE –

TIME OF PHOTO – 2:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time

DATE – Sunday, August 28, 2011

ALTITUDE OF SATELLITE – about 22,300 miles

TIME NEEDED TO SCAN FULL DISK OF EARTH – about 26 minute

LINK TO MORE INFORMATION ON  SATELLITE IMAGE –  http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/imager.html

Atlantic Hurricane Season – Please Be Alert – 8-19-2010

We are entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.  If you have not been influence by tropical activity thus far this year you might be under the impression that it’s an inactive season.  That would not be true.  Statistically, it has been about average to date. Though we cannot “plan the future” I feel strongly that we should plan “FOR” certain eventualities in the future.  I urge you to be prepared and alert in the event that a tropical system comes your way.

The following statement in “blue” was taken Verbatim Thursday morning (8-19-2010) from the Dr. Jeff Masters web-log found at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/.

“The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models continue to predict that a tropical storm will form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands sometime in the period 3 – 6 days from now. There is an area of disturbed weather south of the Cape Verdes Islands, but there is no obvious organization to the cloud pattern. Wind shear is a hefty 20 – 30 knots in the region, and the disturbance is a 1 – 2 day journey away from reaching a lower shear area where development can occur. Preliminary indications are that if a storm did develop in this region, it would track west-northwest and pass well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands 7 – 8 days from now. However, 7-day forecasts of a storm that hasn’t even formed yet are not to be trusted.”

I have taken the liberty of trimming the latest full disc color satellite image down to a manageable size where you can still easily find Florida and thus look across the Atlantic to see the area of disturbed weather off Africa to which Dr. Masters refers. Two independent left clicks on this image will enlarge it fully. This image was taken from a distance over three earth diameters away from the surface yet there is considerable detail.  I hope you enjoy it.


The Hurricane Season of 2009 Has Begun!

6-1-09 HurricaneBegin

MOST IMAGES ON THIS WEBLOG ENLARGE WITH LEFT CLICKS

This image shows no tropical activity 15 minutes into our 2009 season (not surprisingly) but you can clearly see the clouds development with a stationary front cutting diagonally across the image.

The Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean hurricane season “officially” begins on June 1.  The fact that Tropical Depression 1 formed about 4 days before the official season’s beginning is not an indication of an active hurricane season this year.  There seems to be no relationship between early activity and the “busyness” of that season.  In fact, there is a real possibility that an El Niño event will be strong during what we consider the peak activity period of our season (the approximate middle of the 6 month long period).  Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures have been rising steadily for the last several months pointing to the El Niño possibility.  That means is that our 2009 season might be less active than usual if the ENSO comes to fruition.  ENSO = El Niño Southern Oscillation.  BUT, even if a strong El Niño develops it is no time to let down one’s guard if living in “hurricane country.”  1992 was an El Niño year and that was when Andrew occurred.  My house in Homestead was a total loss.

I was extremely well prepared back then (August 24, 1992) but hurricane Andrew slammed in as a category 5.  However, we did have a plan and it worked to the degree that no one in my family was physically hurt.  Only one window had a small crack but – the roof failed and the damage was almost beyond belief for us.  Since Andrew was a relatively dry storm our windows holding firm did make it so that we were able to salvage some valuable items afterwards because the wind did not gut the house.

We stayed in the community and helped rebuild.  We had great insurance and our house was reconstructed in one year to a higher standard.  During that time we four lived in a 25’ travel trailer that I purchased for that purpose but kept for several years afterwards to use for recreational and educational travel.

If you live in “hurricane country” then you have choices.  Some of us have more choices than others but you should at least have a plan that is clearly articulated to and understood by each member of your household.  Shall you be well prepared or do you choose to become a potential victim who is dependent upon others almost immediately after a storm?

I urge you to follow to the best of your ability those preparation suggestions made by your local and federal agencies.  Some of us are more fortunate than others in what we are able to do to protect our dwellings – that is, those of us who are lucky enough to have a place we call home.

In my new post-retirement community and in neighboring communities (Citrus and neighboring counties)  I see what I consider to be real paradoxes or, at the very least, some irony.  I’m reminded (but to a somewhat lesser degree) of one of my Homestead neighbors who drove a Mercedes while his wife drove a BMW; they owned a very large boat moored at a dock in nearby Biscayne Bay, an ultra-light aircraft and a twin Cessna – yet they had no window protection of any sort for their home.  I speculate that it was not a matter of the cost of such protection but more a matter of priorities and life style with perhaps a little measure of denial thrown in.

Some people in my part of Florida feel that by being inland they have some sort of immunity to the ravages of hurricanes.  Yes – it is an advantage being inland, especially if on high ground but it does not offer any guarantees.  Most deaths in hurricanes (on the average) are due to high water and being away from the storm surge zones and areas prone to flooding from the storm’s downpours makes for a safer situation – generally speaking.  But, high winds can play havoc particularly when items become projectiles in the wind.  It is a fact that if the wind velocity doubles, the force it exerts upon a surface it is striking at right angles quadruples!  People in my part of Florida experienced a lot of activity if they were here in 2004 but the wind velocities were luckily relatively low.  Only modestly higher wind velocities would have produced exponentially greater force and far greater damage.  Furthermore, tornadoes and microbursts occur within hurricane bands and neither have a preference for locations near the coast.

Come early August we will have been in our new home for four years.  Our first major purchase when moving in was window and door storm protection.  We had tended to that “need” before we were even set up with a cable connection for our televisions and computers.  For the first two years that we were here I participated in a number of hurricane expos as the “hurricane resource person” on site.  There were expo participants who were in the business of selling, fabricating, and installing storm protection to homes and businesses.  Most visitors were there to learn about hurricane safety and hurricane protection.  But one particular type of visitor seemed to come to these expos in order to exercise their debate skills on the pros and cons of storm protection for windows and doors.  I was amazed at times by the level of denial and warped rationalization that I witnessed.  Some argued that they refused to concern themselves with such matters and would just let their insurance take care of it for them.  There was little if any consideration for how they would deal with losses of personal items, safety issues if they were not to evacuate, safety issues if they were to evacuate, where they would go if they did evacuate in time, and how they would handle matters when they returned if things were torn all to hell!  I am convinced that some of the men I talked to felt that it was a manly thing to face a storm raw without preparation – even though in some case it meant leaving their house mates far more vulnerable than necessary.  To my mind, they had it backwards  – a real man takes care of his own and is available to help others as well.

I can testify, by experience, that the trauma of a storm itself often does not compare to the trauma of the immediate aftermath and rebuilding.  Looting, for example and other forms of predatory behavior can occur.  In heavily damaged areas the majority of those who come to help are good people with good intentions but there is one whole class of “helpers” who are there to take victims for a ride they will never forget.  In South Dade County, where Andrew first struck the U.S.A. the divorce rate just about doubled for the next few years.  Stress and anxiety were on a very high level.

So – please think in terms of the big picture when a hurricane visits – not simply the weather event itself.  Think in terms of what you’ll do if you lose electricity for several days and how you will fare food-wise if you need to go for a week or more without provisions and how you’ll communicate.  Cell phones go out of commission when the transmission and relay towers are damaged.  Then there are the special needs people who absolutely must make arrangements for care in the event of a serious storm.

Please be prepared to the best of your ability.  If you later consider all of that planning and work to be for naught because no hurricane occurs in your region – there will be more seasons to follow for which you will again be ready and if, near the end of the season, you have a box full of “emergency food” there are surely some places near where you live to donate it to the needy.  After all, the end of the official hurricane season (November 30) and Thanksgiving (November 26) are pretty darned close to each other.

Here is this season’s list of names; tropical cyclonic systems will receive names in order from this list once they reach tropical storm intensity; tropical storm sustained winds fall in the range of 39 mph to 73 mph; of course they retain their names if they become hurricanes (74 mph or more):

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

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YET MORE COLDNESS FOR FLORIDA!

Two independent left clicks will enlarge
Two independent left clicks will enlarge

This seems almost like an instant replay!  We Floridians are again playing host to a couple of surges of cold air.  Florida is once again cloudless and the cold air is relatively dry –  therefore the state can’t count on much of a greenhouse effect to slow the loss of heat from the surface.

My neighborhood in northeast Citrus County, Florida can expect freezing temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday morning – and perhaps Friday morning.  As is so often the case, the fickle microclimatology of a neighborhood can be manifested by a wider-than-expected range of low (and high) temperatures.  For example, during a luncheon today a neighbor reminded me that by virtue of his property being on about the highest ground in the neighborhood, his low temperatures end up being not quite as low as those in other parts of the neighborhood.  This is not always the case but it happens the majority of times because on those cold, marginal mornings when the synoptic pressure gradient is weak, the coldest (and therefore densest) air tends to spill downward into the lower vicinities.

My wife and I have given up on covering our ornamentals – deciding a while ago to allow “survival of the fittest” to kick in.  But – many of my neighbors have already covered some of their plants.

This is not a mean-spirited criticism but it is a huge paradox to me that so many will go out of their way to protect a plant that isn’t meant to grow here yet some think nothing of killing a native species of harmless snake that dares to stray on to their property.  I understand the fear – but not the lethal reaction.

If you are “up north” reading this, I imagine that you’d love to be enjoying our temperatures down here.  Everything is relative, is it not?  For example.  I took my daily 3-mile walk earlier today wearing a light-weight sweater over a T-shirt and at the half-way mark the sweater came off!  It has been a delightful day for early February – that’s for sure.

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Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies! GOES 12 Image.

Never in my wildest dreams during my 41 years of teaching college/university meteorology did I ever think that I would be able to sit in my recliner at home (or anywhere else for that matter) with a personal computer on my lap allowing me to gaze at color images of our beautiful earth from near space in nearly real time!  Nor did I ever imagine being able to electronically transfer that image to a web-log for hundreds of interested (and interesting) people who visit the site.

The only thing about all of this that disappoints me is my not having been able to do similar things in the classroom for the nearly 25,000 students who took my courses.  I feel very fortunate, however, to have a wonderful following of Senior Institute participants at Central Florida Community College in Ocala.  In the classroom where I meet with them I am able to project on-line images on a large screen.  That they seem to enjoy my use of the technology in the classroom is icing on the cake.  I know how lucky I am to be able to continue after retirement, teaching and learning more and more about subjects I love.

Please take a look at this beautiful image.  Enlarge it as much as you are able.  I suggest right-clicking on the image and saving it so that you can study it using an image viewer of your choice; do that, ONLY after getting the image as large as you are able following the instructions immediately below.

TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU

A VERY LARGE IMAGE WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO SEE

DETAIL MUCH BETTER SO LONG AS YOU SCROLL

UP AND DOWN, RIGHT AND LEFT.

PLEASE BE PATIENT.

DEPENDING UPON YOUR CONNECTION SPEED,

LOADING MAY TAKE A WHILE.

11-10-2008-345p-est

This image was completed at 3:45 PM EST, November 10, 2008; the time stamp is at the upper left corner but is easy to read only when you enlarge.  The satellite that did this, GOES 12, is in geosynchronous orbit.  This simply means that it completes one orbit (revolution) in the same period of time the earth makes one rotation; that period of time is one day.  Also, it orbits within the equatorial plane.  Therefore, as the satellite travels rapidly though space it stays over the same point above earth (about 22,300 miles from the earth’s surface).  The distance between the satellite and earth’s surface is almost three earth diameters – so “high” that full disk images of earth can be captured.

With adequate enlargement you can see the aqua-blue of the shallow Bahama Platform.  You can also see ice and snow in the Southern Andes, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic peninsula.  You can see the remnant of what was once hurricane Paloma centered slightly north of Cuba.  You can see the bright tops of high clouds and the grey tones of the lower clouds.  If you know weather circulation patterns as marked by clouds you will see cyclonic circulation in both hemispheres.  In the North Pacific there is a very large cyclonic system approaching B.C. Washington, and Oregon.  There is a huge front stretching across the South Pacific.  The Intertropical Convergence Zone is very well marked by clouds in the Pacific.  There is a large extratropical cyclone over the Middle United States. The list goes on and on.

Being able to see all of this, to my mind, is a miracle.

Yours Truly,

Tonie Ansel Toney

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AS A STORM, PALOMA IS A “GONER” – THANK GOODNESS!

11-10-08-floater

I have placed a red dot at the approximate center of the remnant low, all that remains of Paloma.  Two independent left clicks should give ample enlargement.

Here is the 7 AM EST report

from the National Hurricane Center:

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL

TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

700 AM EST MON NOV 10 2008

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…

1. A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE…THE REMNANT OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION PALOMA…IS CENTERED ALONG THE NORTH COAST OF CUBA ABOUT 60 MILES NORTH OF CAMAGUEY.  RE-DEVELOPENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT EXPECTED DUE TO STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS.

ELSEWHERE…TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$

FORECASTER FRANKLIN

Paloma Approaches Cuba As a Category 4 Hurricane

11-8-08-5-day
TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS TO ENLARGE IMAGE

As of 1:00 PM EST Paloma remained a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds up to 140 mph.  The storm is not likely to get stronger due to an increase in the wind shear aloft.  It expected to begin dying down soon (if not already) as it works it’s way over Cuba and into the Bahamas.  The combination of shear and movement over Cuba should cause it to weaken relatively quickly.

This advisory is interesting in that we do not see “cones of uncertainty” but rather, circles.  You won’t see this often.

Paloma is very strong for a November storm.  I can only recall one that was stronger, “Wrong Way” Lenny in 1999.

According to Dr. Jeff Masters (and I quote) “This year is now the only hurricane season on record in the Atlantic that has featured major hurricanes in five separate months. The only year to feature major hurricanes in four separate months was 2005, and many years have had major hurricanes in three separate months. This year’s record-setting fivesome were Hurricane Bertha in July, Hurricane Gustav in August, Hurricane Ike in September, Hurricane Omar in October, and Hurricane Paloma in November.”

The image below is using the visible spectrum and was completed at 1:45 PM EST. TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU CONSIDERABLE ENLARGEMENT.

11-8-08-paloma-145-p-est

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HURRICANE PALOMA IS HEADING FOR CUBA

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

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Paloma is now a “high-end” category 1 hurricane and continues to strengthen.  The greatest concerns throughout the Caymans are high winds – storm surge concerns are not as pressing.  Jamaica is expected to get only fringe winds.  Paloma is expected to continue toward the northeast, travel across Cuba and into the Bahamas.

Those of you who have studied the circulation of air with tropical cyclonic systems can probably “see” in the satellite image above both inflow and outflow cloud patterns.  For those who are not familiar with the difference between the two I am including an image below of hurricane Ike on September 9, 2008.  He is centered just offshore of northwest Cuba.  I have drawn air flow arrows to show the cyclonic inflow (red) and the flow that occurs aloft, anticyclonic outflow (blue).

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THE IMAGE

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THE IMAGE

Inflow consists of the harder-edged clouds with sharp contrast – Outflow consists of the more diffuse cirrus and cirrostratus of the upper layer.

Paloma – the Tropical Storm Has Developed

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APPLY TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS WITH YOUR MOUSE.

11-6-08-paloma1

Tropical Storm Paloma formed last night from Tropical Depression # 17.  Currently its maximum sustained winds are estimated at 45 mph.  It is beginning to form an eyewall.  There has been no exceptional changes in the forecast path since my last posting.

A hurricane hunter mission is in the air now and information should be available around 1:00 PM EST.

Above is a high-resolution image from the visible spectrum – completed 11:45 AM EST (about an hour ago if you are reading this at post time).

I enjoy these great images provided by the Naval Research Lab in Monterey, California.  For someone like myself, so very interested in clouds, they are so much more revealing than some of the fuzzy images we often see from other sources.

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NEW TROPICAL DISTURBANCE IN SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN

11-3-08-93l

A tropical disturbance is in the Southern Caribbean.  The National Hurricane Center has it labeled 93L.  My arrow is not intended to pinpoint a spot but rather to point out the impressive assemblage of clouds which already seems to show some organization.  The system takes up the entire top/middle third of the image.  Presently the NHC gives it a medium potential for further development.  I recommend that interests in Jamaica and Cuba take notice.  Also, South Florida and Bahamian residents should be mindful of its existence.

The image above is not sharp and crisp because it is an unenhanced infrared image completed late in the day after the sunlight had slipped to the west.  Left click to enlarge.

The image  below is from Florida State University.  It shows the forecast location 120 hours beyond 7 AM EST today (11-3-2008).  Projecting forward 5 days would make it 7 AM EST Saturday (11-8-2008).

THIS IS NOT A SURFACE ANALYSIS.  PLEASE, IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH VORTICITY OR 500 MILLIBAR ANALYSES, DON’T WORRY – I’M SHOWING YOU THIS GRAPHIC MERELY TO ILLUSTRATE FORECAST POSITIONING FROM A MODEL I ENJOY CONSULTING.

AS IN MOST IMAGES IN THIS WEB-LOG,

LEFT CLICKS SHOULD RESULT IN ENLARGEMENT.

IN THIS CASE, AS IN MANY OTHERS

TWO LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU MAXIMUM ENLARGEMENT.

11-3-08-93l-plus-120hr