Hurricane Alley 2009

hurricane alley 2009

This page offers several versions of a HD-TV (720p and 1080p) digital animation of the 2009 hurricane season. The movie displays NOAA's NCEP half-hourly compilation of infrared cloud imagery over hurricane alley from the geosynchronous weather satellites, principally from NOAA's GOES-12 at 75W. The original cloud imagery was remapped to a rectangular latitude-longitude grid at 4 km spatial resolution and enhanced to display cloudtop texture. The GOES cloud images were overlaid on a true-color "Blue Marble" digital background map previously derived from the MODIS imager on NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) of satellites. There are brief outages in the time-series, principally when the GOES satellite shuts down as it passes through the Earth's shadow for an hour each day around 0500 UTC in September-October, just before dawn on the US East Coast.

The table below lists movie clips with varying duration, speed, and annotation, leaving it to the user to supply audio. Each movie is a large file that can be downloaded using anonymous FTP in the form<file name>, where the <file name> is listed in the right-hand column.

hurricane alley frame For a low-resolution preview, try this browser-compatible miniature version (half-size, double speed, mid-season, highly-compressed, MP4 movie with a sound track - 31 MB) of the large, high-resolution HD-TV movies listed below.

"Season" movies are the most complete, consisting of frames at 30-minute intervals from 1 June to 30 November 2009, with a date-time UTC stamp in the bottom center of the frame. "Highlight" movies are smaller files, also cadenced at 30-minute intervals during the late hurricane season, from 1 August to 14 November. Most versions are overlaid with hurricane names and storm tracks, with the tracks represented by dots whose size and color represent NOAA's hurricane categories 1 to 5. The National Hurricane Center's Tropical Cyclone Reports contain comprehensive information on each tropical cyclone, including synoptic history, meteorological statistics, casualties and damages, and the post-analysis best track (six-hourly positions and intensities).

The digital movies are packaged in Apple's Quicktime file format, using the HD-TV H.264 codec (the "pro resolution" movies use Apple's PRORES codec, suitable for editing and custom compression to H.264). After downloading, the movies can be viewed using Apple's free Quicktime players for the Macintosh or Windows operating systems. The following table begins with the smallest low-resolution movies, proceeds to larger high-resolution versions, and finishes with a multi-layer master suitable for editing with Quicktime Pro or Apple's more sophisticated movie editors for use in documentary productions. The HD-TV movies are all silent, but royalty-free "caribbean music" is available. It takes good download speed, disk capacity, and video quality to play these large movie files.

Anonymous FTP URLs for large Quicktime movies of the 2009 hurricane season
Movie Characteristics<file name> below

Highlights, 720p, medium resolution, 216 MB
Highlights, 720p, best resolution, 1,530 MB
Season, 720p, high resolution, 2,690 MB
Season, 720p, pro resolution, 3,880 MB
Highlights, 720p, pro resolution, 2,560 MB
Season, 720p, pro resolution, multi-layered master, 10,260 MB
Highlights, 1080p, low resolution, 214 MB
Highlights, 1080p, high resolution, 3,380 MB
Highlights, 1080p, pro resolution, 5,130 MB
The FTP download service provided by browsers usually fails larger than a few GB. For large files, use command-line FTP, or a recent application on a computer capable of 64-bit addressing (32 bits limit file sizes to 4 GB).
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