Feature

NASA Debuts the Entire 2008 Hurricane Season in New On-line Video
06.29.09
 
Title still for movie of the 2008 hurricanes> View movie (WMV format 3 Mb)
> View movie (MP4 format 22 Mb)
Credit: NASA GOES Project
Imagine watching all of the tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes of 2008 as they formed in the Atlantic Ocean Basin and either faded at sea or made landfall. Thanks to NASA technology and satellite data coupled with data from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operated satellite, you can see the tracks of storms from Arthur to Paloma from birth to death.

There were 17 tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Sixteen of the storms were strong enough to be named, and only one stayed a tropical depression.

The movie displays the infrared cloud imagery from the geosynchronous weather satellites, principally NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12. The original cloud imagery was remapped and enhanced to display cloudtop texture. The GOES cloud images were overlaid on a true-color background map previously created from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.

The movie, which can be found on NASA's Hurricane Web page (www.nasa.gov/hurricane), or on the NASA GOES web page, is television production-quality. "These are large, high-resolution, colorful animations, made for use or editing by professional documentary producers or for anyone interested in hurricanes," said Dr. Dennis Chesters, GOES Project Scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheres at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The movie depicts the entire 2008 hurricane season based on six months of GOES imagery at 30 minute intervals from May 1 to November 18, 2008. Each "frame" has a date and time stamp with the times in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). There are 2 versions of the movie available: a 720p and 1080p HD-TV digital animation.

Tracking chart for hurricanes in 2008> View larger image
NOAA's official map of tropical cyclone tracks during the Atlantic Ocean season 2008. Credit: NOAA NHC
There's also a "highlights" movie that features the middle of the hurricane season from July 2 to September 14. The shortened "Highlights" movie from Bertha to Ike, July 2-Sept. 14 can be found here -- > Highlights

"Most versions are overlaid with hurricane names and storm tracks, with the tracks represented by dots whose size and color represent NOAA's hurricane Category 1 to 5 (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale)," Dr. Chesters said. "Some movies have captions summarizing each storm in a sidebar. Movies without named tracks are useful for forecasters and researchers who want to see the regional meteorology without visual distractions."

All of the movies in various formats labeled or unlabeled, large or small, are also on-line and downloadable at the GOES page for "Hurricane Alley 2008"
> Hurricane Alley

The NASA GOES Project office plans to make a movie of the 2009 season.

Related Links:

> Entire 2008 Hurricane Season, High Resolution
> Entire 2008 Hurricane Season, Low Resolution
> 2008 GOES Captioned Hurricane Season animation from NOAA IMSG
 
 
Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center