NASA and NOAA Make a Fast-Forward Movie of Hurricane Season 2009

Picture yourself sitting in space watching 2009's Atlantic Ocean hurricane season in fast-forward. That's what the latest animation from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows viewers. The movie is being made available on-line as both agencies prepare for the 2010 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, which begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.

NASA technology and satellite data coupled with data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operated satellites, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) were combined to create a six minute animation of all of 2009's Atlantic tropical cyclones.

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 cloud top 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," said Dr. Dennis Chesters, GOES Project Scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheres at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The movie, which can be found on NASA's Hurricane Web page (, 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.

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season consisted of eleven tropical depressions, and nine of them developed into named tropical storms. Three of those strengthened into hurricanes, and of those three, two were major hurricanes (Category three or greater). In this movie, you can see all of those storms and their movements from birth to death.

One of the most significant storms was Hurricane Bill. Bill was the season's strongest hurricane and an unusually large storm with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph. Hurricane Bill caused moderate coastal damage across the eastern United States before brushing Nova Scotia and making landfall in Newfoundland.

Two systems, Claudette and Ida, brought tropical storm force winds to the U.S. mainland. For the first time in three years, no hurricanes hit the U.S. The season ended with Tropical Storm Ida. Residents in coastal areas from North Carolina all the way up to New England were hit hard from Ida when it dumped extreme amounts of rainfall on its track up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. during the first and second weeks in November.

The movie depicts four months of the 2009 hurricane season based on GOES imagery at 30 minute intervals from August 1 to November 14, 2009. 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.

Related Links:

Listing of all movie formats including the entire 2009 hurricane season

NASA's Hurricane web page

NOAA's National Hurricane Center and hurricane forecasts

NASA's GOES project web site

Goddard Release: 10-47

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

John Leslie
301-713-2087 x174