First of all, welcome to the brand new “Satellite Liaison Blog”! After some consideration, the other satellite liaisons and I decided to revamp this blog to fit the Proving Ground activities at all of the National Weather Service National Centers and Field Offices. We hope to keep you informed and spur excitement about new satellite products as we move closer to the launch of GOES-R and JPSS-1. Please bookmark the site (satelliteliaisonblog.wordpress.com) for future reference, although you will be forwarded here from the old site name for a year.
Now on to this week’s storm of interest …
Tropical Cyclone Hellen formed in the northwest Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar on 03/28/14. Hellen rapidly intensified from a 60 kt (70 mph) tropical storm to a 130 kt (150 mph) Category-4 tropical cyclone in 18 hours (satellite-based)! Since the Atlantic hasn’t shown us a strong hurricane (Category 3+, but safely out at sea) in a few years, we haven’t had many opportunities to look at hurricanes with some of the new Red Green Blue (RGB) products that NASA SPoRT and CIRA have been providing the Proving Grounds. Therefore, we will use Hellen for this first look.
The first RGB animation above is the Air Mass product which has received much attention on this blog, especially related to extratropical cyclones. The main feature of interest with Hellen is the very pronounced anti-cyclone surrounding the storm as evidenced by the cirrus clouds being pulled away from the cyclone. This is excellent outflow and allowed for maximum evacuation of air from the center, helping to induce the rapid intensification cycle. The other aspect of the imagery that stands out is the warm, moist air mass in the green coloring. Any drier air is located well away from the storm to the east and southwest. This product’s strongest attribute is identifying the air masses and potential upper-level systems (red coloring) that could affect tropical cyclones.
The RGB Day Convection product above can be used to differentiate new, building convection from dying convection or cirrus clouds. The yellow colors indicate areas of new convection with mixed phase hydrometeors (convective bands or in the eyewall), while the red to purple coloring (areas away form the cyclone’s center) indicates weakening convection and cirrus, which contain more ice. I included the night-time images to show a significant limitation to using this product. . .it’s only available during the day.
The final RGB product that will be introduced here is the RGB Day Microphysics. This is somewhat similar to the Day Convection product, but the different shades of color indicate different hydrometeor phase and size.
These new RGBs were introduced to the National Hurricane Center near the end of last season as a way of monitoring the stages of convection during genesis, then maintenance of tropical cyclones. These will be evaluated more during the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
If you would like more information on these products, please visit http://www.eumetrain.org or http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/training/
Remember, the East Pacific hurricane season starts on 05/15/14 and the Atlantic hurricane season starts on 06/01/14.
Thank you for reading!