In recent days, two powerful storms packing hurricane-force winds have spun up in the North Atlantic. You can watch them in the animation above of GOES-16 satellite imagery. It was posted to the awesome GOES-16 Loop of the Day website.
The storm closer to North America was so strong that it churned the waters up into stupendous waves higher than 60 feet tall:
re: #hurricane force low over the Central Atlantic — earlier swath of data from the altimeter instrument (AltiKa) flying aboard SARAL satellite returned significant wave heights to 61 feet / 18.6 meters in the southwest quadrant of low #SatWave pic.twitter.com/TT5T1DtMYb
— NWS OPC (@NWSOPC) February 20, 2018
That would be almost high enough to inundate the White House.
Here’s what went into the animation: The GOES-16 satellite collected data in different portions of the infrared spectrum. Processing was then applied to bring out different characteristics of the scene, including moisture, cloud cover, and large features associated with air masses.
The result is “RGB Airmass” imagery. In the false-color scheme, shades of red and deep pink are an indication of strong winds aloft that are mixing down toward the surface in the hurricane-force storms. Greens show warm air masses, blues are cold, and white shows high-level clouds.
The image above shows what the closest storm looked like in natural color. It was acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite on Feb. 19.