NASA Sees the major Midwestern snowstorm in infrared light

December 21, 2012

NASA and NOAA satellites have been providing data on the powerful low pressure area that dropped more than a foot of snow in some Midwestern states and prompted many warnings and weather advisories. NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image, while NOAA's GOES-13 satellite data was compiled into an animation that showed the movement of the storm system.

On Dec. 21 at 0729 UTC (2:29 a.m. EST), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of the massive low pressure area that caused a major snowstorm in the Midwest and beyond.

The AIRS infrared image was false-color enhanced to show temperatures. In the false color image, the darkest blue and purple areas indicate the highest clouds and coldest cloud top temperatures, where precipitation is heaviest. Those coldest cloud top temperatures were near 220 kelvin (-63.6 Fahrenheit/-53.5 Celsius) and were over the New England states and southeastern Canada. Those were also areas where the heaviest precipitation was falling. The infrared image also showed that the low pressure center of circulation was located over northern Ohio. The southern extent of the storm brought wind damage to Alabama and spawned tornadoes in Arkansas. AIRS imagery is created at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

According to USA Today, the storm had taken at least eight lives, caused about 1,000 flight cancelations and power outages, caused closures of schools and government offices, multiple car accidents and road closures and dropped more than a foot of snow in parts of Wisconsin and Iowa. The National Weather Service noted that the storm system caused Blizzard Warnings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. The storm also triggered Winter Weather Advisories from Washington state to Maine and covered parts of 17 states.

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite monitors weather over the eastern half of the U.S. from a fixed orbit in space. Imagery from GOES-13 was compiled into an animation by NASA's GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. that showed the movement of the storm from Dec.19 through the morning of Dec. 21. Over that time, the animation shows a long line of clouds from a cold front that stretched from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast move west to east. The cold front is associated with a low pressure center that moves in from the west as the animation begins and reaches northern Ohio by the time the animation ends on Dec. 21 at 1445 UTC (9:45 a.m. EST).

On Dec. 21, the National Weather Service noted "Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect through Friday night (Dec. 21) or Saturday (Dec. 22) for the Great Lakes and central Appalachians, where heavy snow will combine with strong winds to produce dangerous travel conditions."
-end-


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Animation Articles from Brightsurf:

Animation reveals secrets of critical tumour protein
The latest animation technology has revealed the molecular detail of how our bodies are protected from cancer by a key 'tumour suppressor' protein called p53.

NASA animation tracks the end of Tropical Storm Delta  
NASA's Terra satellite obtained visible imagery as Tropical Storm Delta made landfall in Louisiana and moved northeastward soaking the U.S. southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

NASA-NOAA satellite night-time animation shows intensification of hurricane Elida
A new animation of night-time imagery from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite revealed how the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Elida transformed into a hurricane over a three-day period.

NASA animation tracks Tropical Storm Hanna's progression
NASA's Aqua satellite obtained visible imagery as Tropical Storm Hanna formed in the Gulf of Mexico and continued to organize.

NASA-NOAA satellite animation shows the end of Tropical Cyclone Boris
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite imagery provided a look at the end of the second named tropical cyclone of the Eastern Pacific Ocean's 2020 Hurricane Season.

Monkeys appreciate lifelike animation
Monkeys can overcome their aversion to animated monkeys through a more realistic avatar, according to research recently published in eNeuro.

NASA observes rainfall from tornado-spawning storms in the southern US
For two days in mid-April, severe storms raced through the southern U.S. and NASA created an animation using satellite data to show the movement and strength of those storms.

Water animation gets easier thanks to BYU professors
A team of computer science professors at BYU created a method to quickly resize animations of fluids without having to completely re-simulate the entire sequence.

Using drones to simplify film animation
Producing realistic animated film figures is a highly complex technical endeavour.

New tool streamlines the creation of moving pictures
It's often easy to imagine balloons soaring or butterflies fluttering across a still image, but realizing this vision through computer animation is easier said than done.

Read More: Animation News and Animation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.