last updated 27 April 2016
Table of Contents
- Where is the ITCZ? (1.3 MB JPG) 26 April 2016.
The equatorial Pacific is normally blanketed by a band of convective clouds called the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
Today, something happened to quash the belt across the eastern Pacific.
- Mount Pavlof Erupts (7.8 MB MOV) 28-29 March 2016.
The very active Pavlof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands spews ash high in the atmosphere, right in the path of international air traffic between the western USA and the Orient.
- Glint around the Galapagos (1.6 MB MOV) 1-8 March 2016.
At 1500 GMT every day, GOES-WEST looks back to the eastern Pacific into sun glint around the Galapagos Islands, which are dark volcanic rock surrounded by mostly calm sea.
- More Pacific Storms (14 MB MP4) 30 January - 1 February 2016.
Another "Pineapple Express" blows into Southern California, straight from the northern Hawaiian Islands, and headed for the Great Lakes.
- Pacific Storms (33 MB MOV) 5-7 January 2016.
A series of moisture-laden storms hit southern California, causing flooding and mudslides.
- ENSO across the Pacific (1.3 MB JPG) at 0000 UTC on 18 December 2015.
ONE effect of a strong El Nino episode is the establishment of two winter jetstreams in the northern hemisphere.
The northern branch sequesters arctic air in upper Canada.
The southern branch carries moisture from mid-Pacific to mid-Atlantic.
- Pacific Storms (5 MB MP4) 28 November - 8 December 2015.
A powerful jet stream across the northern Pacific brings a series of cold, wet rains from mid-ocean onto the pacific northwest, flooding coastal Washington and Oregon.
- Hurricane Sandra (0.5 MB JPG) at 1500 UTC on 25 November 2015.
On the day before Thanksgiving, the Pacific side of North America enjoys its third major blizzard plus a Category 2 hurricane.
- Hurricane Patricia (12 MB MOV) on 23 October 2015.
Developed off Mexico's west coast, Hurricane Patricia became the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere this morning, as its maximum sustained winds reached an unprecedented 200 mph (320 kph).
Hurricane Patricia also now holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record, with a minimum central pressure of 880 millibars (25.99 inches of mercury).
- Hurricane Olaf (1.2 MB JPG) at 1200 UTC on 20 October 2015.
Another category 4 storm churns up waves southeast of Hawaii.
This year, several of the storms in this area turn north and then northeast, eventually bringing warm rain to the Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon.
- El Nino's Jets (1.3 MB JPG) at 0000 UTC on 30 September 2015.
GOES-WEST captures a view enormous upper-air winds blowing simultaneously from the sub-tropics to the mid-latitudes in both hemispheres, bracketing the abnormally warm pool of tropical ocean in the eastern Pacific known as El Nino.
- Hurricane Linda (0.3 MB JPG) at 1445 UTC on 8 September 2015.
The storm unexpectedly intensified from category 1 to category 3 in 24 hours, lofting a surge of moisture over the desert southwest, leading to a forecast of thunderstorms and flash flooding there.
- Midwest Dawn (0.3 MB JPG) at 1300 UTC on 1 September 2015.
Strong forward scattering of sunlight by the morning haze in the Midwest makes the simultaneous views from the GOES-EAST and GOES-WEST satellites appear very different.
- Hurricanes Ignacio and Jimena (13 MB MP4) 29-31 August 2015.
A 3-day review illustrates the usual weakening of the leading storm as it enters the cooler waters that protect Hawaii from full-power hurricanes.
- Three Pacific Hurricanes (1.2 MB JPG) at 2100 UTC on 29 August 2015.
Category-4 storms Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena occupy hurricane alley in the eastern Pacific.
- 10 Days of Dolores (50 MB MP4) 14-24 July 2015.
A broad view of hurricane alley on the west side of Mexico presents a typical mid-summer series of tropical storms over 10 days in July, highlighted by Hurricane Dolores.
- Dolores Floods Southern California (17 MB MOV) 18-20 July 2015.
The remnants of Hurricane Dolores deposit record-breaking July rainfall (by desert Southwest standards), flooding parts of San Diego and Los Angeles.
- Hurricane Dolores (0.6 MB JPG) 16 July 2015 at 1345 UTC.
Dawn reveals a Category 3 hurricane (>111 mph winds) southeast of the Baja Peninsula, churning up waves that will travel north to crash as surf on the beaches of southern California.
- Andres and Blanca (0.2 MB JPG) at 1500 UTC on 1 June 2015.
Hurricane Andres, the first Pacific hurricane of the season, achieved category 4 status harmlessly far from land, while tropical storm Blanca threatens Baja.
- San Francisco Flood (12 MB MOV) 9-12 December 2014.
A wide-field movie by GOES-WEST of the North Pacific reveals the violent rain storms pouring moisture on the "Pineapple Express" jet stream into drought-plagued California in mid-December, with record rainfall, landslides and flash flooding in the San Francisco area.
- Hurricane Odile Does Baja (21 MB MOV) 13-16 September 2014.
The peninsula of Baja gets a yearfull of rain from one storm that is determined to soak the desert southwest.
- Hurricane Marie Week (28 MB MP4) 23-29 August 2014.
The storm, lingering south of California's beaches, produced high surf not seen there in the last 25 years.
- Pacific Swirls (3.7 MB MOV) 24 August 2014.
Three storms lurk in the east Pacific: the remnants of Hurricane Lowell (middle center), Hurricane Marie (lower right), and Tropical Depression Karina (lower left).
In the course of the day, Karina bifurcates into an unusual double-swirl, with upper-level winds carrying the top of the storm one way, and the lower-level winds another way.
It is a clear case of death-by-wind-shear..
- Hurricane Lowell (0.9 MB JPG) 1715 UTC on 21 August 2014.
The storm is positioned directly south of the southern Californian beaches, generating swells that will make excellent surf a few days later.
- Iselle at Hawaii (21 MB MOV) 8 August 2014.
The storm fell apart as it reached the Big Island in the middle of the night, dropping more than a foot of rain in places.
- Hurricanes Iselle and Julio (36 MB MOV) 2-7 August 2014.
Hurricanes Iselle and Julio survive the usual dissipation over the cool waters of the California Current, and move towards the Hawaiian Islands.
- Pacific Panorama (0.5 MB JPG) at 1500 UTC on 5 August 2014.
During the hurricane/typhoon season, the Pacific subtropics are anything but "pacific".
Captured by this global scan, Hurricane Iselle sports 125 mph winds and a large eye, drifting westward between Baja and the Hawaiian Islands, trailed by Tropical Storm Julio, both of them preceded and trailed by several other tropical storms.
Tropical Storm Bertha can be seen in the Atlantic at the east limb.
- Pacific Cloud Stripes (1.4 MB JPG) at 0000UTC on 26 July 2014.
The strip of clouds along the equator known as the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is well filled-in, and it is joined by an extended South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), which is unusually extended from the subtropics into the "roaring 40's" off the coast of central Chile.
- Canadian Smoke (0.1 MB JPG) at 1200 UTC on 9 July 2014.
Forest fires in Canada's northwestern Territories create a haze that drifted all the way into South Dakota.
- "March" of the Spring Storms (0.1 MB JPG) at 1200 UTC on 31 March 2014.
The month is not "leaving like a lamb".
This side-by-side view by GOES-WEST and GOES-EAST of the northern half of the western hemisphere displays a train of six well-organized storm fronts: 1) the western limb near Japan, 2) the central Pacific near the dateline, 3) the west coast of America, 4) midwest America, 5) the east coast of America, and 6) the eastern limb near Europe.
- DoubleGlint (0.2 MB JPG) 17 March 2014.
Near the equinox, the sun reflects off the smooth equatorial waters of the Pacific, as recorded by both GOES satellites.
- Stormy South Pacific (0.3 MB JPG) at 0900 UTC on 17 March 2014.
A single storm front stretches a quarter of the way around the globe, crossing the South Pacific diagonally from Micronesia to Pategonia.
The great southern oceanic storms are normally cyclones.
- In Like a Lion (0.4 MB JPG) at 1500 UTC on 28 February 2014.
The annual waves of springtime storms begin with a Pacific storm spun up west of California right on time to blast across the United States during the first days of March.
This well-organized extratropical cyclone is forecast to begin with downpours that produce landslides in the dried-out, fire-scarred hills of southern California.
- Another Fine Polar Vortex (0.2 MB JPG) at 1200 UTC on 27 February 2014.
GOES-WEST's pre-dawn view of North America reveals yet another icy-grey dome of clear arctic air extending from Alaska to the Gulf Coast.
- Pineapple Express HDTV Movie (20 MB MOV) 7-9 February 2014.
A "Pineapple Express" is low-level jet of moist air flowing from Hawaii to California, delivering a generous supply of precipitation.
In this case, much-needed rain falls in central California, which was suffering from a severe drought.
- Polar Vortex HDTV Movie (19 MB MOV) 1-9 January 2014.
The full-disk images every 3 hours from GOES-WEST capture the sweep of a polar vortex that emerged from the arctic at the beginning of the new year, pushing a blizzard into the northeastern USA on January 3, followed by extensive bitter cold (-20 F, windchill -50 F) around the Great Lakes, and single digit temperatures as far south as Atlanta, Georgia.
- Polar Vortex from Alaska (0.3 MB JPG) at 0000 GMT on 6 January 2014.
This western viewpoint displays the persistent flow of arctic air from northern Alaska and Yukon into North America.
- Pacific Ship Tracks (11.0 MB MOV) 21-22 December 2013.
Ships plying the route between the western USA and Asia have their exhaust particles seed the marine stratus clouds in the North Pacific.
- Colorado Monsoon (106 MB MOV) 10-14 September 2013.
A 4-day, large-format (1920x1080) HDTV movie of the clouds observed by GOES-WEST reveals a persistent flow of moisture from the south into the inter-mountain area of the western United States, maintained by counter-clockwise flow around a sprawling low-pressure system.
The background map is a true-color "blue marble" view from space for September 2004.
In particular, a foot of rainfall over the eastern Rockies produced significant flooding in canyons, cities and farms along the Colorado foothills, such as Boulder, where normal monthly rainfall in September is only an inch or so.
The flooding affected a 4,500-square-mile area, almost the size of Connecticut.
- Flossie Fizzles (14 MB MOV) 27-30 July 2013.
Tropical storm Flossie escaped from hurricane alley in the east Pacific to threaten Hawaii, but it fell apart as it came to the Big Island.
Coincidentally, a similar storm also named Flossie just missed the Big Island in 2007.
Tropical cyclone names are recycled every 6 years, except for those destructive enough to be retired, such as Iniki in 1992.
- Actinoform Clouds (0.2 MB JPG) at 1600 UTC on 10 June 2013.
Actinoform clouds are a break in the marine stratocumulus (aka "June Gloom") of southern California. Actinoform clouds and marine stratus in general are only marginally stable. Sometimes, the cloud deck spontaneously dissolves along a line by drizzling out the moisture. This particular seam is an unusually long curve that outlines a dry, upper-level low pressure vortex that was not noticed by weather balloons or numerical forecast models.
- Sunglint on Hudson's Bay (0.1 MB JPG) at 0945 UTC on 4 June 2013.
At dawn in eastern Canada, GOES-WEST sees sunglint off the northern waters during boreal summer.
- Hurricane Barbara over Southern Mexico (0.2 MB JPG) at 2100 UTC on 29 May 2013.
The Pacific hurricane season starts a month earlier than in the Atlantic, but this view from GOES-WEST captures the Atlantic storms brewing across the Greater Antilles.
- Day of Full Disks (5.3 MB 768x768 MOV at 16 km resolution) 22 May 2013.
Day of Full Disks (21 MB 1536x1536 MOV at 8 km resolution) 22 May 2013.
Day of Full Disks (69 MB 3072x3072 MOV at 4 km Resolution) 22 May 2013.
When GOES-13 suddenly went down at GOES-EAST (75W), GOES-15 at GOES-WEST (135W) was commanded to take full disk scans every 30 minutes.
It scanned like that for a day, while GOES-14 at GOES-MIDDLE (105W) was taken out of on-orbit storage to generate Atlantic coverage.
This day-long time-series of full disk images from GOES-WEST provides a glimpse of the kind of surveillance promised by GOES-R, which will deliver full disk images every 5 minutes at twice the spatial resolution of the largest movie listed above.
- Springs Fire near LA (8.3 MB MOV) 6 May 2013.
Smoke from large wildfires north and west of Los Angeles appear midday in the clear coastal air slot between continental and oceanic cloud banks.
- Springs Fire near LA (1.8 MB MOV) 3 May 2013.
Smoke from large wildfires west of Los Angeles and north of Malibu can be seen drifting out to sea.
- Bi-ocular Vision (45 kB JPG) at 1300 UTC on 3 April 2013.
The morning view of clouds over the lower midwest are significantly different from the viewpoints of GOES-EAST and GOES-WEST.
- Pacific Clouds (0.4 MB JPG) at 1800 UTC on 15 January 2013.
The jet stream is a great loop from Hawaii up over Alaska and down to Colorado, encircling a large pool of marine stratus that is streaked with ship tracks.
- 1212121200 (0.1 MB JPG) 12 December 2012 at 1200 UTC.
A full disk image with a highly repetitive string of date-time digits.
There won't be another episode this repetitive for another 89 years.
- Cloud-free Equator (0.1 MB JPG) at 0000 UTC on 7 December 2012.
An unusual swath of almost cloudless sky covers the mid-Pacific Ocean.
Pearl Harbor (December 7!) was partly cloudy.
- Solar Eclipse (0.3 MB JPG) at 2100 UTC on 13 November 2012.
The moon's shadow appears near New Zealand during a full disk scan while it is noontime at the GOES-WEST sub-satellite point.
- Pacific Storm Pair (1.6 MB JPG) at 1415 UTC on 16 July 2012.
Westbound Hurricane Fabio is aligned with an eastbound storm over the pacific northwest, with both swirls highlighted by the dawn.
- Pacific Hurricane Alley (0.1 MB JPG) 13 July 2012.
Storms Daniel, Emilia, and Fabio drift sequentially across the Pacific in the western half of North America's hurricane alley.
Waves generated by the storms arrive as surf on the southern coasts of California and Hawaii.
- Guadalupe Clouds (1.0 MB MOV) 9 July 2012.
This isolated volcanic island frequently triggers a regular pattern of loops in the downwind clouds.
- Smokey dawn (0.4 MB JPG) at 1245 UTC on 28 June 2012.
The dawn's early light reveals smoke and haze throughout the Midwest, arising from forest fires throughout the Rockies.
While the most publicized fires occur along the populous eastern range in Colorado, the great smoke plumes on this morning come from Wyoming.
These 2012 fires in the Rockies were similar to an outbreak in 1910, called the "Big Burn", after which the U.S. Forest Service was empowered to prevent and fight wildfires.
- Question: What's the USA smoking?
- Answer: The Rocky Mountains
- 12-01-01@0000 (0.1 MB JPG) 1 January 2012 @ 0000 UTC.
Happy New Year from GOES-WEST to all the calendar-digit buffs.
- Blizzard in New Mexico (3 MB MOV) 15-20 December 2011.
GOES-15's first major job as GOES-WEST was to monitor the development of an early winter storm in the American Southwest, which developed as a large low pressure system over the ocean south of Los Angeles and then turned into a multi-state blizzard in northern New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles.
- GOES-15 moves WEST (5 MB MOV) 6-15 December 2011.
Operational weather satellites must keep supplying data, even while being replaced. In this case, GOES-15 takes pictures of the western USA as it is moved westward to the operational GOES-WEST observing station at 135W during the week of 6-15 December 2011. During that week, the images do not register with the expected background color map for the GOES-WEST viewpoint. Initially, the cloud images appear 5 degrees west of the anticipated map, but they gradually move eastward into registration. The digital images are numerically navigated in once-a-day steps. In the movie, the coast of California/Baja appears to jump eastward each day. The movie is taken from the GOES-15 hourly images, except for the first image, which is the last one ever from GOES-11 at 135W.
First full-disk infrared images from GOES-15, at 1730 UTC on 26 April 2010.
The composites are made by using the 3.9 micron infrared channel to colorize high clouds as blue, low clouds as yellow, and cool surface waters as blue.
First full-disk visible image from GOES-15, at 1730-1800 UTC on 6 April 2010.
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