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  • richardmitnick 10:09 am on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ocean warming has fisheries on the move helping some but hurting more", , , NOAA, , ,   

    From The Conversation: “Ocean warming has fisheries on the move, helping some but hurting more” 

    Conversation
    From The Conversation

    August 19, 2019
    Chris Free, UCSB

    1
    Atlantic Cod on Ice. Alamy. Cod fisheries in the North Sea and Irish Sea are declining due to overfishing and climate change.

    Climate change has been steadily warming the ocean, which absorbs most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for 100 years. This warming is altering marine ecosystems and having a direct impact on fish populations. About half of the world’s population relies on fish as a vital source of protein, and the fishing industry employs more the 56 million people worldwide.

    My recent study [Science] with colleagues from Rutgers University and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that ocean warming has already impacted global fish populations. We found that some populations benefited from warming, but more of them suffered.


    3

    Overall, ocean warming reduced catch potential – the greatest amount of fish that can be caught year after year – by a net 4% over the past 80 years. In some regions, the effects of warming have been much larger. The North Sea, which has large commercial fisheries, and the seas of East Asia, which support some of the fastest-growing human populations, experienced losses of 15% to 35%.

    4
    The reddish and brown circles represent fish populations whose maximum sustainable yields have dropped as the ocean has warmed. The darkest tones represent extremes of 35 percent. Blueish colors represent fish yields that increased in warmer waters. Chris Free, CC BY-ND

    Although ocean warming has already challenged the ability of ocean fisheries to provide food and income, swift reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reforms to fisheries management could lessen many of the negative impacts of continued warming.

    How and why does ocean warming affect fish?

    My collaborators and I like to say that fish are like Goldilocks: They don’t want their water too hot or too cold, but just right.

    Put another way, most fish species have evolved narrow temperature tolerances. Supporting the cellular machinery necessary to tolerate wider temperatures demands a lot of energy. This evolutionary strategy saves energy when temperatures are “just right,” but it becomes a problem when fish find themselves in warming water. As their bodies begin to fail, they must divert energy from searching for food or avoiding predators to maintaining basic bodily functions and searching for cooler waters.

    Thus, as the oceans warm, fish move to track their preferred temperatures. Most fish are moving poleward or into deeper waters. For some species, warming expands their ranges. In other cases it contracts their ranges by reducing the amount of ocean they can thermally tolerate. These shifts change where fish go, their abundance and their catch potential.

    Warming can also modify the availability of key prey species. For example, if warming causes zooplankton – small invertebrates at the bottom of the ocean food web – to bloom early, they may not be available when juvenile fish need them most. Alternatively, warming can sometimes enhance the strength of zooplankton blooms, thereby increasing the productivity of juvenile fish.

    Understanding how the complex impacts of warming on fish populations balance out is crucial for projecting how climate change could affect the ocean’s potential to provide food and income for people.

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    Impacts of historical warming on marine fisheries

    Sustainable fisheries are like healthy bank accounts. If people live off the interest and don’t overly deplete the principal, both people and the bank thrive. If a fish population is overfished, the population’s “principal” shrinks too much to generate high long-term yields.

    Similarly, stresses on fish populations from environmental change can reduce population growth rates, much as an interest rate reduction reduces the growth rate of savings in a bank account.

    In our study we combined maps of historical ocean temperatures with estimates of historical fish abundance and exploitation. This allowed us to assess how warming has affected those interest rates and returns from the global fisheries bank account.

    Losers outweigh winners

    We found that warming has damaged some fisheries and benefited others. The losers outweighed the winners, resulting in a net 4% decline in sustainable catch potential over the last 80 years. This represents a cumulative loss of 1.4 million metric tons previously available for food and income.

    Some regions have been hit especially hard. The North Sea, with large commercial fisheries for species like Atlantic cod, haddock and herring, has experienced a 35% loss in sustainable catch potential since 1930. The waters of East Asia, neighbored by some of the fastest-growing human populations in the world, saw losses of 8% to 35% across three seas.

    Other species and regions benefited from warming. Black sea bass, a popular species among recreational anglers on the U.S. East Coast, expanded its range and catch potential as waters previously too cool for it warmed. In the Baltic Sea, juvenile herring and sprat – another small herring-like fish – have more food available to them in warm years than in cool years, and have also benefited from warming. However, these climate winners can tolerate only so much warming, and may see declines as temperatures continue to rise.

    5
    Shucking scallops in Maine, where fishery management has kept scallop numbers sustainable. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

    Management boosts fishes’ resilience

    Our work suggests three encouraging pieces of news for fish populations.

    First, well-managed fisheries, such as Atlantic scallops on the U.S. East Coast, were among the most resilient to warming. Others with a history of overfishing, such as Atlantic cod in the Irish and North seas, were among the most vulnerable. These findings suggest that preventing overfishing and rebuilding overfished populations will enhance resilience and maximize long-term food and income potential.

    Second, new research suggests that swift climate-adaptive management reforms can make it possible for fish to feed humans and generate income into the future. This will require scientific agencies to work with the fishing industry on new methods for assessing fish populations’ health, set catch limits that account for the effects of climate change and establish new international institutions to ensure that management remains strong as fish migrate poleward from one nation’s waters into another’s. These agencies would be similar to multinational organizations that manage tuna, swordfish and marlin today.

    Finally, nations will have to aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions. Even the best fishery management reforms will be unable to compensate for the 4 degree Celsius ocean temperature increase that scientists project will occur by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

    See the full article here .

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    The Conversation launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on November 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit, , NOAA, Observations of atmospheric temperature and moisture clouds sea-surface temperature ocean color sea ice cover volcanic ash and fire detection, The data will improve weather forecasting such as predicting a hurricane’s track   

    From NASA: “NASA Launches NOAA Weather Satellite Aboard United Launch Alliance Rocket to Improve Forecasts” 


    NASA

    Nov. 18, 2017

    Steve Cole
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0918
    stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

    John Leslie
    NOAA, Silver Spring, Md.
    202-527-3504
    john.leslie@noaa.gov

    NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

    NASA has successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of four highly advanced polar-orbiting satellites, equipped with next-generation technology and designed to improve the accuracy of U.S. weather forecasts out to seven days.

    The Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) lifted off on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 1:47 a.m. PST Saturday.

    Approximately 63 minutes after launch the solar arrays on JPSS-1 deployed and the spacecraft was operating on its own power. JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit. Following a three-month checkout and validation of its five advanced instruments, the satellite will become operational.

    “Launching JPSS-1 underscores NOAA’s commitment to putting the best possible satellites into orbit, giving our forecasters — and the public — greater confidence in weather forecasts up to seven days in advance, including the potential for severe, or impactful weather,” said Stephen Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

    JPSS-1 will join the joint NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite in the same orbit and provide meteorologists with observations of atmospheric temperature and moisture, clouds, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash, and fire detection. The data will improve weather forecasting, such as predicting a hurricane’s track, and will help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages.

    “Emergency managers increasingly rely on our forecasts to make critical decisions and take appropriate action before a storm hits,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Polar satellite observations not only help us monitor and collect information about current weather systems, but they provide data to feed into our weather forecast models.”

    JPSS-1 has five instruments, each of which is significantly upgraded from the instruments on NOAA’s previous polar-orbiting satellites. The more-detailed observations from JPSS will allow forecasters to make more accurate predictions. JPSS-1 data will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.

    The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA through which they will oversee the development, launch, testing and operation all the satellites in the series. NOAA funds and manages the program, operations and data products. NASA develops and builds the instruments, spacecraft and ground system and launches the satellites for NOAA. JPSS-1 launch management was provided by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    “Today’s launch is the latest example of the strong relationship between NASA and NOAA, contributing to the advancement of scientific discovery and the improvement of the U.S. weather forecasting capability by leveraging the unique vantage point of space to benefit and protect humankind,” said Sandra Smalley, director of NASA’s Joint Agency Satellite Division.

    Ball Aerospace designed and built the JPSS-1 satellite bus and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, integrated all five of the spacecraft’s instruments and performed satellite-level testing and launch support. Raytheon Corporation built the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and the Common Ground System. Harris Corporation built the Cross-track Infrared Sounder. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System instrument.

    To learn more about the JPSS-1 mission, visit:

    http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/

    and

    https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jpss-1

    See the full article here .

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    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:20 am on August 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , NASA's Global Hawk autonomous aircraft, NASA-led Mission Studies Storm Intensification, NOAA   

    From JPL: “NASA-led Mission Studies Storm Intensification” 

    NASA JPL Banner

    JPL-Caltech

    August 16, 2017
    Alan Buis
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
    818-354-0474
    alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

    Kate Squires
    NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
    661-276-2020
    Kate.k.squires@nasa.gov

    Written by Kate Squires
    NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

    1
    NASA’s Global Hawk being prepared at Armstrong to monitor and take scientific measurements of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Credits: NASA Photo/Lauren Hughes.

    A group of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists, including scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are teaming up this month for an airborne mission focused on studying severe storm processes and intensification. The Hands-On Project Experience (HOPE) Eastern Pacific Origins and Characteristics of Hurricanes (EPOCH) field campaign will use NASA’s Global Hawk autonomous aircraft to study storms in the Northern Hemisphere to learn more about how storms intensify as they brew out over the ocean.

    The scope of the mission initially focused only on the East Pacific region, but was expanded to both the Gulf and Atlantic regions to give the science team broader opportunities for data collection.

    “Our key point of interest is still the Eastern Pacific, but if the team saw something developing off the East Coast that may have high impact to coastal communities, we would definitely recalibrate to send the aircraft to that area,” said Amber Emory, NASA’s principal investigator.

    Having a better understanding of storm intensification is an important goal of HOPE EPOCH. The data will help improve models that predict storm impact to coastal regions, where property damage and threat to human life can be high.

    NASA has led the campaign through integration of the HOPE EPOCH science payload onto the Global Hawk platform and maintained operational oversight for the six planned mission flights. NOAA’s role will be to incorporate data from dropsondes — devices dropped from aircraft to measure storm conditions — into NOAA National Weather Service operational models to improve storm track and intensity forecasts that will be provided to the public. NOAA first used the Global Hawk to study Hurricane Gaston in 2016.

    With the Global Hawk flying at altitudes of 60,000 feet (18,300 meters), the team will conduct six 24-hour-long flights, three of which are being supported and funded through a partnership with NOAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program.

    NASA’s autonomous Global Hawk is operated from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California and was developed for the U.S. Air Force by Northrop Grumman. It is ideally suited for high-altitude, long-duration Earth science flights.

    The ability of the Global Hawk to autonomously fly long distances, remain aloft for extended periods of time and carry large payloads brings a new capability to the science community for measuring, monitoring and observing remote locations of Earth not feasible or practical with piloted aircraft or space satellites.

    The science payload consists of a variety of instruments that will measure different aspects of storm systems, including wind velocity, pressure, temperature, humidity, cloud moisture content and the overall structure of the storm system.

    Many of the science instruments have flown previously on the Global Hawk, including the High-Altitude MMIC Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR), a microwave sounder instrument that takes vertical profiles of temperature and humidity; and the Airborne Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS) dropsondes, which are released from the aircraft to profile temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction.

    New to the science payload is the ER-2 X-band Doppler Radar (EXRAD) instrument that observes vertical velocity of a storm system. EXRAD has one conically scanning beam as well as one nadir beam, which looks down directly underneath the aircraft. EXRAD now allows researchers to get direct retrievals of vertical velocities directly underneath the plane.

    The EXRAD instrument is managed and operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and the HAMSR instrument is managed by JPL. The National Center for Atmospheric Research developed the AVAPS dropsonde system, and the NOAA team will manage and operate the system for the HOPE EPOCH mission.

    Besides the scientific value that the HOPE EPOCH mission brings, the campaign also provides a unique opportunity for early-career scientists and project managers to gain professional development.

    HOPE is a cooperative workforce development program sponsored by the Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL) program and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The HOPE Training Program provides an opportunity for a team of early-entry NASA employees to propose, design, develop, build and launch a suborbital flight project over the course of 18 months. This opportunity enables participants to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to manage NASA’s future flight projects.

    Emory started as a NASA Pathways Intern in 2009. The HOPE EPOCH mission is particularly exciting for her, as some of her first science projects at NASA began with the Global Hawk program.

    The NASA Global Hawk had its first flights during the 2010 Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) campaign. Incidentally, the first EPOCH science flight targeted Tropical Storm Franklin as it emerged from the Yucatan peninsula into the Gulf of Campeche along a track almost identical to that of Hurricane Karl in 2010, which was targeted during GRIP and where Emory played an important role.

    “It’s exciting to work with people who are so committed to making the mission successful,” Emory said. “Every mission has its own set of challenges, but when people come to the table with new ideas on how to solve those challenges, it makes for a very rewarding experience and we end up learning a lot from one another.”

    See the full article here .

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    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge [1], on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

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  • richardmitnick 7:38 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NOAA,   

    From U Washington: “Tackling resilience: Finding order in chaos to help buffer against climate change” 

    U Washington

    University of Washington

    March 29, 2017
    Michelle Ma

    1
    Lotus flowers on a delta island on the outer reaches of the Mississippi delta, which is in danger of drastically shrinking or disappearing. The islands are actually quite resilient, as seen in part by the vegetation growth. Britta Timpane-Padgham/NWFSC

    “Resilience” is a buzzword often used in scientific literature to describe how animals, plants and landscapes can persist under climate change. It’s typically considered a good quality, suggesting that those with resilience can withstand or adapt as the climate continues to change.

    But when it comes to actually figuring out what makes a species or an entire ecosystem resilient ― and how to promote that through restoration or management ― there is a lack of consensus in the scientific community.

    A new paper by the University of Washington and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center aims to provide clarity among scientists, resource managers and planners on what ecological resilience means and how it can be achieved. The study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, is the first to examine the topic in the context of ecological restoration and identify ways that resilience can be measured and achieved at different scales.

    “I was really interested in translating a broad concept like resilience into management or restoration actions,” said lead author Britta Timpane-Padgham, a fisheries biologist at Northwest Fisheries Science Center who completed the study as part of her graduate degree in marine and environmental affairs at the UW.

    “I wanted to do something that addressed impacts of climate change and connected the science with management and restoration efforts.”

    Timpane-Padgham scoured the scientific literature for all mentions of ecological resilience, then pared down the list of relevant articles to 170 examined for this study. She then identified in each paper the common attributes, or metrics, that contribute to resilience among species, populations or ecosystems. For example, genetic diversity and population density were commonly mentioned in the literature as attributes that help populations either recover from or resist disturbance.

    Timpane-Padgham along with co-authors Terrie Klinger, professor and director of the UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Tim Beechie, research biologist at Northwest Fisheries Science Center, grouped the various resilience attributes into five large categories, based on whether they affected individual plants or animals; whole populations; entire communities of plants and animals; ecosystems; or ecological processes. They then listed how many times each attribute was cited, which is one indicator of how well-suited a particular attribute is for measuring resilience.

    2
    The Kissimmee River in central Florida. This ecosystem-scale restoration project began two decades ago and is used as an example in the study. South Florida Water Management District

    “It’s a very nice way of organizing what was sort of a confused body of literature,” Beechie said. “It will at least allow people to get their heads around resilience and understand what it really is and what things you can actually measure.”

    The researchers say this work could be useful for people who manage ecosystem restoration projects and want to improve the chances of success under climate change. They could pick from the ordered list of attributes that relate specifically to their project and begin incorporating tactics that promote resilience from the start.

    “Specifying resilience attributes that are appropriate for the system and that can be measured repeatably will help move resilience from concept to practice,” Klinger said.

    or example, with Puget Sound salmon recovery, managers are asking how climate change will alter various rivers’ temperatures, flow levels and nutrient content. Because salmon recovery includes individual species, entire populations and the surrounding ecosystem, many resilience attributes are being used to monitor the status of the fish and recovery of the river ecosystems that support them.

    The list of attributes that track resilience can be downloaded and sorted by managers to find the most relevant measures for the type of restoration project they are tackling. It is increasingly common to account for climate change in project plans, the researchers said, but more foresight and planning at the start of a project is crucial.

    “The threat of climate change and its impacts is a considerable issue that should be looked at from the beginning of a restoration project. It needs to be its own planning objective,” Timpane-Padgham said. “With this paper, I don’t want to have something that will be published and collect dust. It’s about providing something that will be useful for people.”

    No external funding was used for this study.

    Download the spreadsheet to find the best resilience measures for your project (click on the second file in the carousal titled Interactive decision support table)

    See the full article here .

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    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us — the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:16 pm on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GOES-16 SUVI instrument, , NOAA, NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite,   

    From NOAA and Goddard: “First Solar Images from NOAA’s GOES-16 Satellite” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    1

    NOAA

    Feb. 27, 2017

    Michelle Smith
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Md.
    michelle.smith@nasa.gov

    Rob Gutro
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    Robert.j.gutro@nasa.gov

    The first images from the Solar Ultraviolet Imager or SUVI instrument aboard NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite have been successful, capturing a large coronal hole on Jan. 29, 2017.

    NOAA GOES-16
    NOAA GOES-16

    The sun’s 11-year activity cycle is currently approaching solar minimum, and during this time powerful solar flares become scarce and coronal holes become the primary space weather phenomena – this one in particular initiated aurora throughout the polar regions. Coronal holes are areas where the sun’s corona appears darker because the plasma has high-speed streams open to interplanetary space, resulting in a cooler and lower-density area as compared to its surroundings.


    Access mp4 video here .
    This animation from January 29, 2017, shows a large coronal hole in the sun’s southern hemisphere from the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) on board NOAA’s new GOES-16 satellite. SUVI observations of solar flares and solar eruptions will provide an early warning of possible impacts to Earth’s space environment and enable better forecasting of potentially disruptive events on the ground. This animation captures the sun in the 304 Å wavelength, which observes plasma in the sun’s atmosphere up to a temperature of about 50,000 degrees. When combined with the five other wavelengths from SUVI, observations such as these give solar physicists and space weather forecasters a complete picture of the conditions on the sun that drive space weather. Credits: NOAA/NASA

    SUVI is a telescope that monitors the sun in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength range. SUVI will capture full-disk solar images around-the-clock and will be able to see more of the environment around the sun than earlier NOAA geostationary satellites.

    The sun’s upper atmosphere, or solar corona, consists of extremely hot plasma, an ionized gas. This plasma interacts with the sun’s powerful magnetic field, generating bright loops of material that can be heated to millions of degrees. Outside hot coronal loops, there are cool, dark regions called filaments, which can erupt and become a key source of space weather when the sun is active. Other dark regions are called coronal holes, which occur where the sun’s magnetic field allows plasma to stream away from the sun at high speed. The effects linked to coronal holes are generally milder than those of coronal mass ejections, but when the outflow of solar particles is intense – can pose risks to satellites in Earth orbit.

    The solar corona is so hot that it is best observed with X-ray and extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) cameras. Various elements emit light at specific EUV and X-ray wavelengths depending on their temperature, so by observing in several different wavelengths, a picture of the complete temperature structure of the corona can be made. The GOES-16 SUVI observes the sun in six EUV channels.

    Data from SUVI will provide an estimation of coronal plasma temperatures and emission measurements which are important to space weather forecasting. SUVI is essential to understanding active areas on the sun, solar flares and eruptions that may lead to coronal mass ejections which may impact Earth. Depending on the magnitude of a particular eruption, a geomagnetic storm can result that is powerful enough to disturb Earth’s magnetic field. Such an event may impact power grids by tripping circuit breakers, disrupt communication and satellite data collection by causing short-wave radio interference and damage orbiting satellites and their electronics. SUVI will allow the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center to provide early space weather warnings to electric power companies, telecommunication providers and satellite operators.

    3
    These images of the sun were captured at the same time on January 29, 2017 by the six channels on the SUVI instrument on board GOES-16 and show a large coronal hole in the sun’s southern hemisphere. Each channel observes the sun at a different wavelength, allowing scientists to detect a wide range of solar phenomena important for space weather forecasting.
    Credits: NOAA

    SUVI replaces the GOES Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument in previous GOES satellites and represents a change in both spectral coverage and spatial resolution over SXI.

    NASA successfully launched GOES-R at 6:42 p.m. EST on Nov. 19, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and it was renamed GOES-16 when it achieved orbit. GOES-16 is now observing the planet from an equatorial view approximately 22,300 miles above the surface of Earth.

    NOAA’s satellites are the backbone of its life-saving weather forecasts. GOES-16 will build upon and extend the more than 40-year legacy of satellite observations from NOAA that the American public has come to rely upon.

    For more information about GOES-16, visit: http://www.goes-r.gov/ or http://www.nasa.gov/goes

    To learn more about the GOES-16 SUVI instrument, visit:

    http://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/suvi.html

    See the full article here.

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    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

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  • richardmitnick 9:40 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , GOES-16, New Earth images from GOES-16, NOAA   

    From EarthSky: “New Earth images from GOES-16” 

    1

    EarthSky

    January 23, 2017
    Deborah Byrd

    NOAA GOES-16
    NOAA GOES-16

    1
    GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15, 2017. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. Image via NOAA/NASA.

    NOAA sounded thrilled on January 23, 2017 about the release of the first images from orbit by the GOES-16 satellite. This new satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral on November 19, 2016, and, according to NOAA:

    … scientists, meteorologists and ordinary weather enthusiasts have anxiously waited for the first photos from NOAA’s newest weather satellite, GOES-16, formerly GOES-R.

    The release of the first images today is the latest step in a new age of weather satellites. It will be like high-definition from the heavens.

    Stephen Volz Ph.D. director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service said:

    This is such an exciting day for NOAA! One of our GOES-16 scientists compared this to seeing a newborn baby’s first pictures — it’s that exciting for us. These images come from the most sophisticated technology ever flown in space to predict severe weather on Earth. The fantastically rich images provide us with our first glimpse of the impact GOES-16 will have on developing life-saving forecasts.

    2
    This GOES image shows the significant storm system that crossed North America that caused freezing and ice that resulted in dangerous conditions across the United States on January 15, 2017, resulting in loss of life. GOES-16 scientists say the satellite will offer 3x more spectral channels with 4x greater resolution, 5x faster than ever before, leading to more accurate weather forecasting. Image via GOES Image Gallery.

    3
    This 16-panel image shows the continental United States in the 2 visible, 4 near-infrared and 10 infrared channels on GOES-16’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). These channels help forecasters distinguish between differences in the atmosphere, for example, between clouds, water vapor, smoke, ice and volcanic ash. Image via NOAA/NASA.

    3
    The GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager also acquired the images to make this composite color image of Earth. It’s from 1:07 p.m. EDT on January 15, 2017 and was created using several of the instrument’s 16 spectral channels . The image shows North and South America and the surrounding oceans. GOES-16 observes Earth from an equatorial view approximately 22,300 miles high (35,888 km high), which is why, NOAA said, it’s able to create “full disk images like these, extending from the coast of West Africa, to Guam, and everything in between.” Image via GOES Image Gallery.

    Bottom line: On January 23, 2017 NOAA released the first images from its GOES-16 weather forecasting satellite.

    Via NOAA

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  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NOAA, Wind studies   

    From ALCF: “Supercomputer simulations helping to improve wind predictions” 

    Argonne Lab
    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    ANL Cray Aurora supercomputer
    Cray Aurora supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

    MIRA IBM Blue Gene Q supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility
    MIRA IBM Blue Gene Q supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

    ALCF

    January 3, 2017
    Katie Jones

    1
    Station locations and lists of instruments deployed within the Columbia River Gorge, Columbia River Basin, and surrounding region. Credit:
    James Wilczak, NOAA

    A research team led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is performing simulations at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, to develop numerical weather prediction models that can provide more accurate wind forecasts in regions with complex terrain. The team, funded by DOE in support of its Wind Forecast Improvement Project II (WFIP 2), is testing and validating the computational models with data being collected from a network of environmental sensors in the Columbia River Gorge region.

    Wind turbines dotting the Columbia River Gorge in Washington and Oregon can collectively generate about 4,500 megawatts (MW) of power, or more than that of five, 800-MW nuclear power plants. However, the gorge region and its dramatic topography create highly variable wind conditions, posing a challenge for utility operators who use weather forecast models to predict when wind power will be available on the grid.

    If predictions are unreliable, operators must depend on steady power sources like coal and nuclear plants to meet demand. Because they take a long time to fuel and heat, conventional power plants operate on less flexible timetables and can generate power that is then wasted if wind energy unexpectedly floods the grid.

    To produce accurate wind predictions over complex terrain, researchers are using Mira, the ALCF’s 10-petaflops IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, to increase resolution and improve physical representations to better simulate wind features in national forecast models. In a unique intersection of field observation and computer simulation, the research team has installed and is collecting data from a network of environmental instruments in the Columbia River Gorge region that is being used to test and validate model improvements.

    This research is part of the Wind Forecast Improvement Project II (WFIP 2), an effort sponsored by DOE in collaboration with NOAA, Vaisala—a manufacturer of environmental and meteorological equipment—and a number of national laboratories and universities. DOE aims to increase U.S. wind energy from five to 20 percent of total energy use by 2020, which means optimizing how wind is used on the grid.

    “Our goal is to give utility operators better forecasts, which could ultimately help make the cost of wind energy a little cheaper,” said lead model developer Joe Olson of NOAA. “For example, if the forecast calls for a windy day but operators don’t trust the forecast, they won’t be able to turn off coal plants, which are releasing carbon dioxide when maybe there was renewable wind energy available.”

    The complicated physics of wind

    For computational efficiency, existing forecast models assume the Earth’s surface is relatively flat—which works well at predicting wind on the flat terrain of the Midwestern United States where states like Texas and Iowa generate many thousands of megawatts of wind power. Yet, as the Columbia River Gorge region demonstrates, some of the ripest locations for harnessing wind energy could be along mountains and coastlines where conditions are difficult to predict.

    “There are a lot of complications predicting wind conditions for terrain with a high degree of complexity at a variety of spatial scales,” Olson said.

    Two major challenges include overcoming a model resolution that is too low for resolving wind features in sharp valleys and mountain gaps and a lack of observational data.

    At the NOAA National Center for Environmental Prediction, two atmospheric models run around the clock to provide national weather forecasts: the 13-km Rapid Refresh (RAP) and the 3-km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR). Only a couple of years old, the HRRR model has improved storm and winter weather predictions by resolving atmospheric features at 9 km2—or about 2.5 times the size of Central Park in New York City.

    At a resolution of a few kilometers, HRRR can capture processes at the mesoscale—about the size of storms—but cannot resolve features at the microscale, which is a few hundred feet. Some phenomena important to wind prediction that cannot be modeled in RAP or HRRR include mountain wakes (the splitting of airflow obstructed by the side of a mountain); mountain waves (the oscillation of air flow on the side of the mountain that affects cloud formation and turbulence); and gap flow (small-scale winds that can blow strongly through gaps in mountains and gorge ridges).

    The 750-meter leap

    To make wind predictions that are sufficiently accurate for utility operators, Olson said they need to model physical parameters at a 750-m resolution—about one-sixth the size of Central Park, or an average wind farm. This 16-times increase in resolution will require a lot of real-world data for model testing and validation, which is why the WFIP 2 team outfitted the Columbia River Gorge region with more than 20 environmental sensor stations.

    “We haven’t been able to identify all the strengths and weaknesses for wind predictions in the model because we haven’t had a complete, detailed dataset,” Olson said. “Now we have an expansive network of wind profilers and other weather instruments. Some are sampling wind in mountain gaps and valleys, others are on ridges. It’s a multiscale network that can capture the high-resolution aspects of the flow, as well as the broader mesoscale flows.”

    Many of the sensors send data every 10 minutes. Considering data will be collected for an 18-month period that began in October 2015 and ends March 2017, this steady stream will ultimately amount to about half a petabyte. The observational data is initially sent to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where it is stored until it is used to test model parameters on Mira at Argonne.

    The WFIP 2 research team needed Mira’s highly parallel architecture to simulate an ensemble of about 20 models with varied parameterizations. ALCF researchers Ray Loy and Ramesh Balakrishnan worked with the team to optimize the HRRR architectural configuration and craft a strategy that allowed them to run the necessary ensemble jobs.

    “We wanted to run on Mira because ALCF has experience using HRRR for climate simulations and running ensembles jobs that would allow us to compare the models’ physical parameters,” said Rao Kotamarthi, chief scientist and department head of Argonne’s Climate and Atmospheric Science Department. “The ALCF team helped to scale the model to Mira and instructed us on how to bundle jobs so they avoid interrupting workflow, which is important for a project that often has new data coming in.”

    The ensemble approach allowed the team to create case studies that are used to evaluate how each simulation compared to observational data.

    “We pick certain case studies where the model performs very poorly, and we go back and change the physics in the model until it improves, and we keep doing that for each case study so that we have significant improvement across many scenarios,” Olson said.

    At the end of the field data collection, the team will simulate an entire year of weather conditions with an emphasis on wind in the Columbia River Gorge region using the control model—the 3-km HRRR model before any modifications were made—and a modified model with the improved physical parameterizations.

    “That way, we’ll be able to get a good measure of how much has improved overall,” Olson said.

    Computing time on Mira was awarded through the ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC). Collaborating institutions include DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, NOAA, Argonne, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Colorado, Notre Dame University, Texas Tech University, and Vaisala.

    See the full article here .

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    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more visit http://www.anl.gov.

    About ALCF

    The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility’s (ALCF) mission is to accelerate major scientific discoveries and engineering breakthroughs for humanity by designing and providing world-leading computing facilities in partnership with the computational science community.

    We help researchers solve some of the world’s largest and most complex problems with our unique combination of supercomputing resources and expertise.

    ALCF projects cover many scientific disciplines, ranging from chemistry and biology to physics and materials science. Examples include modeling and simulation efforts to:

    Discover new materials for batteries
    Predict the impacts of global climate change
    Unravel the origins of the universe
    Develop renewable energy technologies

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    Argonne Lab Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 3:05 pm on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NOAA, , Weather modelling   

    From Science Node: “NOAA shops for new weather modeling system” 

    Science Node bloc
    Science Node

    09 Aug, 2016
    Lance Farrell

    Looking to improve elements of their forecasting framework, NOAA has announced the winning system to power their weather forecasts.

    In 2012 Hurricane Sandy came ashore in New England. Most American weather models predicted it would turn away from the mainland and spend its energy over the sea. European models, however, correctly identified the threat and predicted a westward track for the storm.


    Forecasting champ. The FV3 dynamical core won out over six competitors. FV3 improves representation of small-scale weather features such as hurricanes while maintaining the quality of large-scale global circulation. Courtesy NOAA

    So what’s the big deal? Forecasts are frequently wrong, right?

    “If a high impact event is being forecast, emergency management personnel need to issue alerts in a timely fashion and begin mobilizing resources to deal with the aftermath,” says Rusty Benson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    In the case of Hurricane Sandy, the aftermath amounted to 233 lives lost, and $75 billion worth of property damage.

    Stung by the missed forecast, NOAA looked to upgrade many elements of their modeling framework, and convened a dynamical core testing group (DTG). This panel of experts evaluated the suitability and readiness of competing dynamical cores, a key component of the forecast system.

    “With our current operational dynamical core, it is difficult to represent the movement of clouds, snow, hail and wind at fine scales in an efficient or accurate manner, nor can it be easily upgraded to support the resolutions necessary to capture these aspects of weather systems,” says Benson.

    Testing the limits

    Testing and developing competing cores calls for strong computational power, so candidates allocated time on Edison at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Stampede at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), and Pleiades at NASA.

    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer
    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer

    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF
    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

    NASA SGI Advanced Supercomputing Center Pleiades Supercomputer
    NASA SGI Advanced Supercomputing Center Pleiades Supercomputer

    Candidates submitted their completed models, and in spring of 2015, NOAA began tests on Edison comparing performance and scalability of the dynamical cores.

    The performance benchmark measured the number of computer processors required to simulate two hours of weather in 21.25 seconds. The scalability metric considered a model’s efficiency as complexity was added to input data.

    Of the six original entrants, the choice was narrowed to two: The Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), from NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL).

    In April 2016, NOAA looked to the Cori system at NERSC to break the tie. The second evaluation undertaken by the DTG looked at ten different criteria. Perhaps most important was isolating and gauging the impact of each dynamical core by using identical physics, Global Forecasting System (GFS) physics, and initial conditions.

    “FV3 was the clear winner over MPAS in real-data forecast tests, computational performance, and in the presence of data assimilation,” says Benson. “In many cases FV3 equaled or bested our current operational GFS.”

    4

    FV3 will enable American forecasters to model several weather events at different scales simultaneously, with scales projected as fine as one km. The new model should allow meteorologists to predict weather more accurately beyond eight days.

    5

    NOAA expects FV3 to run at fine enough resolutions that it can represent individual clouds and yet still be efficient enough for global weather simulations.

    NOAA also expects a significant improvement in forecasting hurricane track and intensity and expects to predict extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy up to a month in advance.

    “We are poised to develop and run a more accurate and reliable global model that is used as a basis for all weather forecasts in the US,” concludes NOAA director Louis W. Uccellini. “We are collaborating with the best model developers around the world to ensure the GFS has the most recent advances in weather prediction modeling.”

    See the full article here .

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    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DSCOVR, , NOAA   

    From INVERSE: “Here’s what you should know about DSCOVR, this little-known but totally essential tool” 

    INVERSE

    INVERSE

    July 27, 2016
    Neel V. Patel

    1

    2
    https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/d/dscovr

    3
    NISTAR on DSCOVR
    http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/noaas-dscovr-nistar-instrument-watches-earths-budget/#.V5oKGILCvRs

    4
    Credit: NOAA artist’s concept

    “Space weather impacts all those kinds of things,” says Douglas A. Biesecker, the chief program scientist for DSCOVR, based at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. “These are systems you and I don’t necessarily use on a day-to-day basis,” he tells Inverse, but they are critical for keeping our world spinning (figuratively speaking).

    DSCOVR resides in the very distant Lissajous orbit (about 930,000 miles away). It’s not the most well-known spacecraft orbiting the Earth, but it plays a critical role in helping scientists on Earth monitor space weather.

    As stated, the biggest concern about solar winds relates to power grids. Space weather could damage critical transformers that move power across large distances at very, very high voltages, and scale that power down to something suitable for our home. If an aberrant space weather event were to knock out those transformers, “it could take years to replace them all,” Biesecker says.

    “We consider it critical to provide customers with the best quality forecasts in the mornings.” DSCOVR can see an event from the sun — which produces energetic phenomena traveling at about one to four million miles per hour — and warns us humans to make preparations to protect essential tools, instruments, and infrastructure.

    The biggest advantage to DSCOVR over ACE is “the continuity of observations,” he says. “The quality of [ACE’s] data suffers frequently, explains Biesecker. NOAA issues space weather forecast alerts on a scale of 1 to 5. The “noise generated by the ACE data will, by default, add 1 to the scale. An alert under ACE turns out to be nothing as observed by DSCOVR. Its really been remarkable to see how much of a difference that makes to our models,” he says. “The data is unprecedented.”

    DSCOVR’s role as the world’s space weather meteorologist is all thanks to its Plasma-Magnetometer (PlasMag) instrument. “PlasMag provides us with data on the solar winds,” says Biesecker. “The magnetic field and its direction, and the solar winds’ speed, density, and temperature.” This is the information that helps inform NOAA what kind of warnings to send out to the public, as well as drive the models that illustrate how the planet is responding to these constant winds.

    In addition, Biesecker and other researchers are hoping to use DSCOVR for more ambitious forms of solar wind research. We’re delving so fast into new “atomic- scale physics”, like sampling shockwaves caused by coronal mass ejections “in very high detail,” he says.

    Besides that, however, DSCOVR has a couple other tricks up its sleeves. Two of its instruments, operated by NASA, have to do with observing Earth from such a far distance and providing a broader view of the planet and its activity. The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) takes photos of the full hemisphere of the sunlit side of Earth. “It’s why Al Gore was so interested in the mission,” says Biesecker. EPIC takes 12 “blue marble” images of the Earth every day. Blue Marble refers to an iconic photo taken during Apollo 17. It’s not just an inspiring view of the little rock we call home, but scientists can use these images to track weather patterns without having to stitch individual images together. A dozen different filters allow researchers to observe trends and movement in dust particles or pollution across the globe.

    The last instrument is the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR), which measures the energy being reflected by the sunlit side of the sun at any given moment. Scientists use this data to track how much radiation enters and exits the Earth’s climate system — an increasingly important data point in the face of climate change.

    Overall, DSCOVR is perhaps the most underrated essential space instrument used by NASA and NOAA. It’s a multitasking boss that gives us a heads up when the sun is getting a little violent, and provides us with no shortage of lunar photobombs. It’s precisely the type of thing experts and space-newbies alike can get behind.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 9:56 am on January 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hurricane Alex, , NOAA   

    From Goddard: “NASA Provides in-Depth Analysis of Unusual Tropical Storm Alex” Incredible Imagery 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    Goddard Space Flight Center

    Jan. 15, 2016
    Rob Gutro/Steve Lang/Hal Pierce
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    Alex (was 90L/Atlantic Low #1 – Atlantic Ocean)

    NASA has provided forecasters with a variety of data on the out-of-season tropical cyclone Alex. The AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite provided valuable temperature data, the RapidScat instrument identified the strongest winds, the GPM core satellite provided rainfall rates and cloud heights, and NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of the storm.

    Alex is a Rare Storm

    Alex officially became a hurricane on Jan. 14, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time (AST) with maximum sustained winds estimated at 85 mph by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), making it the earliest hurricane to form in the Atlantic since 1938, when the first storm of the season became a hurricane on January 4. As with Alex, that storm too originated from an extra-tropical low pressure center.

    The last hurricane to occur in January was Hurricane Alice in 1955, but Alice had already become a hurricane in the year before at the end of December and survived into January. NHC declared Alex to be a subtropical storm on Wednesday afternoon, January 13 when it was about 785 miles south- southwest of the Azores.

    Alex began from an area of low pressure that formed about a week ago along an old frontal boundary that was draped across Cuba. This low gradually moved out into the central Atlantic heading generally westward and began to produce thunderstorm activity as it started to curve northward toward the Azores. Often times, when extra-tropical storms acquire enhanced convection the instability is due to being over warm waters, but in Alex’s case it appears that the instability was due mainly to cold air aloft. At any rate, the heat release from these thunderstorms, which is known as latent heating, is what allowed Alex to eventually transform into a hurricane.

    AIRS Measures Cloud Top Temperatures

    The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite measured temperatures in Hurricane Alex’s cloud tops on Jan. 14 at 1429 UTC (9:29 a.m. EST). AIRS provides valuable temperature data for tropical cyclones such as cloud top and sea surface temperatures.

    Temp 1
    The AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite saw cloud top temperatures colder than -72.6F (-58.1C) (in purple) in thunderstorms around Alex’s eye on Jan. 14 at 1429 UTC (9:29 a.m. EST).
    Credits: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen

    NASA Aqua satellite
    AQUA

    AIRS saw strongest storms with cloud top temperatures colder than minus 72.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 58.1 degrees Celsius) around the eye. NASA research has shown that storms with cloud tops that cold are powerful enough to generate heavy rain.

    RapidScat Locates Strongest Winds

    On Jan. 15 at 6 a.m. EST, RapidScat saw Hurricane Alex’s strongest winds affecting some islands in the Azores. Strongest winds were (red) north and northwest of the center at 30 meters per second (67.1 mph/ 108 kph). Maximum sustained winds are not always equally distributed in low pressure areas and the RapidScat instrument helps forecasters find the strongest quadrants of a storm. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 460 miles (740 km) from the center.

    NASA JPL Caltech Rapidscat
    Rapidscat

    Temp 2
    On Jan. 15 at 6 a.m. EST, RapidScat saw Hurricane Alex’s strongest winds affecting some islands in the Azores. Strongest winds were (red) north and northwest of the center at 30 meters per second (67.1 mph/ 108 kph). Credits: NASA JPL, Doug Tyler

    RapidScat is a NASA instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station.

    GPM Satellite Measures Hurricane Alex’s Rainfall

    The Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM core observatory satellite flew directly above hurricane Alex on January 15, 2016 at 1151 UTC (6:51 a.m. EST) collecting data in a rainfall analysis. Alex was moving into the Azores as a category one hurricane with maximum sustained winds estimated at 70 knots (80.5 mph). GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) found that rainfall intensity had decreased significantly since Alex was declared a hurricane on January 14, 2016.

    NASA GPM satellite
    GPM

    Temp 3
    Most of the rainfall measured by GPM on Jan.15 was measured at less than 20 mm (.8 inches) per hour. GPM found that maximum storm top heights northwest of Alex’s cloudy eye were found to reach altitudes of 9.9 km (6.1 miles).
    Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI/Hal Pierce

    Most of the rainfall measured by GPM’s DPR was measured at less than 20 mm (.8 inches) per hour. Also GPM’s radar (DPR Ku band) found that storm top heights were fairly low. The maximum storm top heights northwest of Alex’s cloudy eye were found to reach altitudes of 9.9 km (6.1 miles).


    Watch/download mp4 video here .
    Most of the rainfall measured by GPM on Jan.15 was measured at less than 20 mm (.8 inches) per hour. GPM found that maximum storm top heights northwest of Alex’s cloudy eye were found to reach altitudes of 9.9 km (6.1 miles).
    Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI/Hal Pierce

    Alex’s Strength, Location and a Landfall

    At 7 a.m. EST (1200 UTC) on Friday, January 15, 2016, Alex was still a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph). It was located near 28.0 north latitude and 26.9 west longitude, just 50 miles (80 km) south-southeast of Terceira Island in the Central Azores, and about 105 miles (170 km) east-southeast of Faial Island in the Central Azores. Alex was moving to the north at 24 mph (39 kph) and had a minimum central pressure of 986 millibars.

    The National Hurricane Center stated that satellite and surface data indicate that Alex made landfall on the island of Terceira around 915 AM AST (1315 UTC) as a tropical storm with an intensity of 70 mph (110 kph).

    At 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Alex was located near latitude 39.3 North and longitude 27.0 West. Alex was moving toward the north near 28 mph (44 kph) and a turn toward the north-northwest and northwest is expected over the next day or so. The estimated minimum central pressure is 986 millibars. Maximum sustained winds dropped to near 70 mph (110 kph) making Alex a tropical storm. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. The National Hurricane Center said that “Alex is expected to lose tropical characteristics later today (Jan. 15).”

    NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP Pictures Alex

    The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible light image of Hurricane Alex at 14:20 UTC (9:20 a.m. EST) on Jan. 15 while it was moving through the Azores.

    NASA Goddard Suomi NPP satellite
    NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite

    The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible light image of Hurricane Alex at 14:20 UTC (9:20 a.m. EST) on Jan. 15 while it was moving through the Azores.

    Temp 4
    NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided this visible look at Hurricane Alex at 14:20 UTC (9:20 a.m. EST) on Jan. 15 while it was moving over the Azores.Credits: NASA/NOAA/Jeff Schmaltz

    The image showed that the eye had become cloud-filled and bands of thunderstorms continued to circle the center of the storm, mostly in the western, northern and eastern quadrants. VIIRS collects visible and infrared imagery and global observations of land, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans.

    Alex’s Future

    Alex continues to accelerate and a gradual turn to the northwest is expected. On Jan. 15 Forecaster Pasch of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center said that the post-tropical cyclone is forecast to merge with or become absorbed by another extra-tropical low within two days.

    For updates on System 90L, visit the NHC website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov and Meteo France: http://www.meteofrance.com/accueil.

    See the full article here .

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    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

    NASA Goddard Campus
    NASA/Goddard Campus
    NASA

     
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