As attention focuses on Hurricane Gonzalo, now expected to batter Bermuda on Friday, a truly gargantuan storm that roiled the North Atlantic with hurricane strength winds earlier this week has, well, slipped through the cracks.
You can see it in the image above, acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite on Wednesday.
Although its fierce winds spanned a significant portion of the North Atlantic Ocean, churning the waters so violently that waves towered as high as 50 feet, it had no name. That’s because it was not a true hurricane.
Passengers on commercial flights that had to divert around the worst of the storm to avoid turbulence might have been vaguely aware of it. But for the most part, it has escaped attention. Which is why I thought I’d feature some imagery of this monster here at ImaGeo. Read More
The storms just keep on coming.
Earlier this week, Typhoon Vongfong whacked Japan and Tropical Cyclone Hudhud slammed into India. With maximum sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, Hudhud left at least 22 dead and caused much mayhem.
Oh, and did I mention Tropical Storm Fay, which knocked out power to much of Bermuda last weekend?
Ana is currently forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Friday. The storm’s predicted track would take it just south and west of the Big Island of Hawaii, but depending on how things develop it could veer closer or farther away. (See Ana’s forecast track here.)
Click on the screenshot above to see a looping animation showing how Ana evolved. The animation, which rocks and back and forth, shows Ana emerging from the interaction of two tropical waves, one coming from the east and the other from the west. (Kudos to the Satellite Blog of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies for this awesome animation. Head over there for more spectacular imagery.) Read More
This just in: The global average temperature in September was the warmest in a record dating back to 1880, according to an update from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. That makes it two months in a row: August was also the hottest on record by NASA’s reckoning.
Later this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its own, independent calculation of how September 2014 stacked up. Sometimes NOAA’s calculation differs. (But this month, I wouldn’t bet on it.)
Unless something really weird happens, 2014 is on track to be the warmest in the instrumental record.
The map above shows how temperatures around the globe varied from the long-term average in September. Two things catch my eye: Read More
This is no Rorschach test — the Sun really does look like a Jack-O-Lantern in this image captured on October 8th by NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.
To be sure, we’re looking at the Sun in two particular wavelengths (171 and 193 Angstroms) that have been colorized in Halloween-appropriate gold and yellow. Whether the folks at NASA decided to render this image of the Sun in those two particular wavelengths because they knew it would produce a Halloween-like appearance is your guess as good as mine. Suffice it to say that I’m glad they did it.
One thing they had no control over is the location of those bright, active regions — and there’s no denying that they take on the appearance of a scary visage. These are regions where the Sun is emitting more light and energy, “markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona,” according to NASA. Read More
As I’m writing this, Typhoon Vongfong is slamming Okinawa and will soon pass directly over it. Vongfong has been lashing the Japanese island with winds exceeding 50 miles per hour for most of the past 12 hours.
The typhoon’s forecast track takes it on a projected course along the length of Japan this weekend, posing significant risks of flooding and mudslides, especially in areas hard hit by Typhone Phanfone, which left at least seven dead in Japan earlier this week.
As a followup to a series of images of Vongfong that I posted yesterday, I thought I’d share the two close ups of the cyclone’s eye in the animation at the top of this post. They were both acquired by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite — one in natural color and the other in false-color infrared. Read More
U.S. astronaut Reid Weiseman sure is having fun up on the International Space Station.
Two days ago, he spent six hours and 13 minutes on a spacewalk And when he hasn’t been outside the ISS with the Earth rushing by more than 200 miles below him he’s been busy taking pictures and shooting little Vine video clips (not to mention working out on a treadmill, having fun with physics, and doing the myriad science experiments that have to get done).
He has also been posting really cool looping videos to Vine of the aurora borealis, many of which he captured during the first week of October (#auroraweek). So I thought I’d share some of them here, along with a longer timelapse video on Youtube, and of my own photos of the aurora. Read More
As I was picking up Moe, my Labradoodle, from doggie daycare a couple of days ago, I noticed bright, rainbow-like features on either side of the setting sun. So I grabbed my camera, zoomed in, and took some shots.
In the photo above, you’re looking at a classic “sun dog,” part of a halo around the sun caused by plate-like crystals in clouds. There was another sun dog on the other side of the sun when I shot this photo. (And btw, for a pic of Moe, an actual dog, go here.)
If you’re interested in a detailed explanation of what causes sun dogs, check out this excellent post, complete with diagrams.
As for the photo, it’s obviously not a naturalistic rendering of the scene. I’ve taken some liberties…
When I raised the camera to my eye I realized that the very bright, multihued spot in the sky and the shadowed pastureland in the foreground would be problematic. That’s because digital camera sensors (or film, for that matter) are not as good at dealing with scenes in which the highlights are very bright and the darker areas very dark. While the eyes and brain can handle scenes with such high dynamic range, cameras struggle. Read More
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center has just come out with it’s monthly update on the evolution of a long-anticipated El Niño in the Pacific Ocean. And the envelope please:
From the CPC Diagnostic Discussion report issued this morning:
The consensus of forecasters indicates a 2-in-3 chance of El Niño during the November 2014 – January 2015 season. This El Niño will likely remain weak . . . throughout its duration.
Those odds are essentially unchanged from last month. Read More
After intensifying explosively and becoming the strongest storm of the year earlier this week, Super Typhoon Vongfong is churning toward U.S. military bases on Okinawa and is expected to make landfall in Japan on Saturday.
The powerful storm comes on the heels of Typhoon Phanfone, which left at least seven dead in Japan earlier this week, including three U.S. Air Force personnel who were swept away by waves on Okinawa. (Click on the thumbnail above for the forecast track of Vongfong from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.)
Vongfong peaked on Tuesday with winds approaching 180 miles per hour, making it about as strong as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in The Philippines in 2013. It probably ranks as among the strongest 30 storms on Earth since 1970, according to the Washington Post. Read More
Even as climate change continues to be felt around the world, its impact in the Arctic and Antarctic are, in part, a tale of two poles.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center is out today with its annual review of sea ice conditions, and in the Arctic the news is in keeping with what has happened in previous years: the geographic extent of this floating veneer of frozen sea water remains low.
That extent typically reaches its lowest point in September, after a summer of sun and relatively warm temperatures in the far north. As I reported previously, this year, the low point was hit on September 17th. It was the sixth lowest in the satellite record, which stretches back to 1978.
This continues a long-term trend: The monthly September ice extent from 1979 to 2014 has declined 13.3 percent per decade compared to the 1981 to 2010 average. (Click on the thumbnail image at right for a graph showing that trend.)
One very legitimate question to pose is what Arctic sea ice concentrations were like going farther back in time. That’s difficult to pin down precisely, because of the lack of accurate and geographically extensive records. But scientists have made some estimates using indirect records. Here’s how NSIDC explains it: Read More