The NASA/NOAA weather satellite GOES-13 is capturing images of Hurricane Sandy, and the animation below shows the growth of this massive storm over the time period of October 26 to today, Sunday the 28th, ending just after 16:00 UTC (10:00 a.m. Eastern US time):
[You may need to refresh this page to see the video.]
Wow. You can see it forming a clear eye again toward the end. If you live in the northeast US, you’ve probably already been hearing the news and been given advice on what to do to prepare. My take on it? Heed it. This sucker is a big one, and the current forecast looks like it will come ashore in the Delaware/New Jersey region, but will affect the coast for hundreds of kilometers north and south of there, as well as pretty far inland.
Image credit: NASA GOES Project. Tip o’ the poncho hood to NASAGoddard on Twitter.
NASA just released an amazing video showing Hurricane Irene from August 21th through the 29th — essentially the entire lifespan of the storm:
Unfortunately the resolution isn’t great, but this really gives a sense of the incredible size and momentum of this incredible storm. The animation was created using images from the NASA/NOAA satellite GOES-13, an Earth-observer in geostationary orbit 36,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Atlantic Ocean. It takes images of clouds, which were combined with MODIS images of the land to get this realistic-looking view.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
I’m on travel with a dodgy internet connection, so I can’t update the blog with news as much as I’d like. But as most of you must know — and some are experiencing — hurricane Irene made landfall, and is now thrashing the U.S. east coast. NASA has GOES 13 satellite video of the event from space:
You can find out more about this video and what it means at NASA’s page on Irene.
I grew up in Virginia and spent a summer in Houston, so I’ve seen my share of hurricanes. This one looks pretty nasty, so I’m hoping everyone stays safe. If authorities tell you to get out, get out. If you guess wrong and stay, it’s not just your life at stake, it’s those who have to rescue you as well.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters
Over the past few days, hurricane Irene has grown as it approaches the United States. The NASA/NOAA Earth-observing GOES 13 satellite has been keeping an eye on the storm, and images it has taken have been put together into this dramatic video showing Irene from August 23 at 10:40 UTC to 48 hours later… just a few hours ago as I write this:
Pay attention about 20 seconds into the video (August 23 at about 20:00 according to the clock at the top of the video). You can see the eye wall region burst into existence, and a few seconds later the eye itself suddenly appears. Also, a surge of white clouds appears to the right of the eye and wraps around the hurricane. That’s where warm air has risen strongly, overshooting the cloud tops, and producing intense rainfall (5 cm/hour according to TRMM!). Overshooting tops, as they’re called, happen frequently in tropical storms as they intensify. For what it’s worth, something like that happens in stars as well as hot plasma rises rapidly from under the surface, though astronomers tend to call it "convective overshoot".
Irene is currently a strong Category 3 hurricane (with sustained winds at 200 kph (120 mph)), and is expected to start affecting the east coast today. If you live along the coast, take precautions, and please, stay safe.
Video credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
The first full-fledged hurricane of the 2011 season, Irene, is bearing down on the US east coast. NASA has been posting amazing images and video, including this full-frame picture of the Earth showing Irene from August 24 at 11:45 UTC:
[Click to enterrenate, or grab a huge 3000×3000 pixel version).]
This was taken by the NASA/NOAA GOES 13 satellite, and Irene’s presence in the Bahamas is pretty obvious. As I write this it has maximum sustained winds of 190 km/hr (120 mph) and has a decent chance of bringing lots of rain to the east coast.
The utility of satellite images like this is pretty obvious. Long before we had eyes in the sky, we had to rely on airplanes for information, and that was incomplete to say the least. Now we can see precisely where the storms are, and use that to feed computer models to make them more accurate.
This kind of stuff saves lives, not to mention a lot of money (if you know a storm will miss you, you don’t have to shut down your shop, for example… now multiply that by a few thousand or million). It’s one of the huge advantages in being a space-faring species.
Image credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project. Tip o’ the poncho to NASA_GoddardPix on Twitter.
[Note: at the bottom of this post is a gallery of volcano pictures taken from space.]
Just in case you forgot that the Earth is one of the most geologically active worlds in the solar system*, the Icelandic volcano Grimsvötn has sent a very loud reminder: after seven years of relative inactivity, the volcano woke up on Saturday, rocketing a plume 11 kilometers (7 miles) into the air. The ash column blasted through the cloud layer, and was seen by weather satellites in space! Check out this amazing animation:
That was the view from the Meteosat-9, a European satellite in geostationary orbit. The animation is composed of visible light images and covers just under a three hour time span on May 21. You can clearly see the plume breaching the cloud layer and spreading out, then a second plume blowing through shortly thereafter. The shadow of the plume on the clouds gives an excellent but eerie sense of the scale of this event.
Here’s a similar view from the US GOES 13 satellite showing 3.5 hours of the eruption:
Just in case you haven’t seen enough snow this week, NASA and NOAA have released an amazing video made from GOES 13 weather satellite images. I present to you Snowpocalypse 2011:
[Set the resolution to 480p to see it best.]
The animation goes from January 31 to February 2, and you can really see how the wet air from the ocean and Gulf of Mexico gets slammed by incredibly cold arctic air that had screamed south, creating this enormous storm front that swept across the nation. I was in Nebraska when this hit; the night before it had been unseasonably warm, but then temperatures dropped a lot — like 40°C (65°F) — by the next day. Nebraska looked like another planet. Boulder didn’t get much snow (you can see from the animation that snow was mostly east of Colorado) but the temperatures were so cold they had to cancel schools; the fuel mix used in school buses wasn’t rich enough to start the engines!
The GOES satellites (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, just so’s you know) orbit the Earth over the Equator at a height of about 40,000 km (24,000 miles) above the surface. This makes their orbital period 24 hours, so they orbit once for every time the Earth rotates once. Read More