Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Six Days Of Sandy

Much has been or will be written about Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy.  The impacts are still being assessed and it may be weeks before we have the full picture.  It was an historic and unprecedented storm.  NASA has put together a wonderful video of Sandy from its development as a tropical depression to its transformation to a superstorm and finally a weaker system.  The time period covered here is from October 23 to 31.

However, an even better video covering the period October 25 to 31 was produced by NOAA NESDIS.  These rapid scan images were produced into a time-lapse movie as an experiment using the GOES-14 image.  The images are using visible light with a one kilometer resolution.

Movie credit: NOAA/CIMSS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sandy is too large a storm to be viewed entirely at this resolution.  The view is centered on the central core and extends out a few hundred miles.  It begins in the central Bahamas as a hurricane and transforms north of the Bahamas as a hybrid storm.  Finally, Sandy makes a transition to extratropical just before making landfall on October 29th.

This is a fascinating view of the storm.  I hope you will appreciate the power being generated by Sandy.  You can see the tops of thunderstorms bubbling up through the cirrus overcast.  Sandy generated a tropical storm force wind field that was up to 1000 miles across at times.  The central pressure was so low that if it had been a pure hurricane it would have been a category 4 storm.  However, the transition to a hybrid spread the winds over a much larger area preventing Sandy from concentrating the winds near the center.