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Watching Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia From Above Earth (nytimes.com)
140 points by jashkenas 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

It's nice to see that folks are enjoying this — it was a group effort to wrestle the 22.3 gigs of imagery frames over FTP and get them cropped, processed, overlaid and sorted in time.

For anyone who wants to dig deeper, the RAMMB branch of NOAA in Colorado maintains a page of GOES16 loops of the day: http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_of_the_d...

... and also runs a fancy imagery viewer where you can play around with different micrometer wavelength bands: http://rammb-slider.cira.colostate.edu/?sat=goes-16&sec=full...

It would be really awesome to have this as wallpaper on a 4K monitor and have it update every 15 minutes. Is there a fixed URL to the most recent image?

There isn't one that I'm aware of ... yet.

That said, the raw data is available through an S3-compatible service, here: https://osdc.rcc.uchicago.edu/noaa-goes16

With documentation about how to navigate and use the files here: http://edc.occ-data.org/goes16/getdata/

So it would be possible to script together something that cooks out a nice high-rez full disc image every 15 minutes.

For fun, here's one of the full disc frames we cropped in from:


Note that even though its 2712x2712 pixels, that's still way smaller than GOES16's potential resolution. The highest rez versions of this image that I've encountered go over 10,000 by 10,000...

What would be the latency of the images?

Depends the way you look at it. The final data is generally available within a couple minutes, but the data itself is not collected instantaneously. At least for the full-disk scenes, the collection takes 11 minutes so the top of the image is captured 11 minutes before the bottom.

I think that's the second link?

New York Times' ability to display data, information and stories visually on the internet is truly a wonderful standard to see.

I really enjoyed the layout of this page, where the world sits, how the colors in the background don't take away from the effect from the day/night transitions. It is just wonderful.

NYT is just generally excellent when it comes to online news media, the one other paper I can think of that comes close is The Guardian but NYT's visualisations are a class of their own.

These images are amazing. In particular the zoom in view on the Caribbean showing the direct hit to St Martin.

> In a NOAA reconnaissance mission, a plane flew through the eye wall to gather data on the storm, recording winds of 139 miles per hour at sea level.

I don't know who the pilot is for this but he's got bigger balls than me.

https://youtu.be/u7UWWjkpd7o - Flying through Irma's eye wall

https://youtu.be/a-SnxC-BkPo - Short documentary segment on the NOAA team

http://www.hurricanehunters.com/ -- The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, from the Air Force Reserve.

Any idea what the guy in the middle's job is? Looks like he watches an instrument and pulls a lever based on what he observes. Seems like something that could be automated!

First guess was dropping a dropsonde[0], but watching the video and cross-checking a P-3 cockpit[1], looks like he's controlling the throttle.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropsonde

[1] https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f5/79/e9/f579e91f79ac79d91dc0...

Wow, just wow. I didn't realize there finally are more cameras that can provide this image quality in space, beyond the one that is (was?) on the ISS. Also kudos to NYT for the way they put it together. I'm mesmerized by the globe video.

GOES-16 was just launched in November last year. https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/01/witness-the-firepowe... There are 3 more of them scheduled for the next 20 years.

Amazing comparison of Hurricane Irma from the new GOES-16 vs the old GOES-13:


The performance jump in capture time and resolution blew me away. Really exciting to see it coming on-line.

The "one on the ISS" is usually an astronaut looking out the window ;)

Are there any equivalent satellites over Australia?

Himawari-8 covers Australia. You can view today's imagery at https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/

This is incredible. You can actually see the moment Irma's eye wall starts to disintegrate.

I was armchair-wondering what would have happened if North Korea would have tested their H-bomb in the eye of a hurricane instead, but I found this old broken HN post: [1]. It turns out not to be a good idea. Who would have thought? :)

On the other hand, I'm still curious if a "directed" explosion (i.e., not radial but say with only an x-component) could accomplish something.

PS: It is a pity that the early formation of the hurricanes is not visible in the video.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=698754

If you scroll down and look at South America, it's pretty remarkable how the clouds clearly carve out the Andes mountain range. All the swirling moisture from the southern Pacific smashes into the wall of the mountains and breaks apart, save for squirts that get through some of the valleys to the other side. I lost 10 minutes staring at all the details... really cool viz.

> In a NOAA reconnaissance mission, a plane flew through the eye wall to gather data on the storm, recording winds of 139 miles per hour at sea level.

What kind of planes can safely fly through a storm like this? Or is the eye a lot safer to go through?

NOAA Hurricane hunters fly WP-3 Orions. https://www.omao.noaa.gov/learn/aircraft-operations/aircraft... USAF 53rd Weather Reconniassance Squadron fly WC-130s. http://www.militaryaircrafthistorian.com/53rd_wrs.html

Inside the eye can be calm, but the highest winds, wind shear, tornadoes, rainfall, and hail, are in the eye wall.

I tried to read a bit about it, but couldn't really find much in terms of--what makes these planes a lot more durable than your standard 737/747?

I wondered specifically why both planes were prop driven (seems like a jet engine would have more thrust and you wouldn't have to worry about wind forces on the props) and I found this, hopefully it helps with your question as well.


This is awesome. Thanks!

Is there a tendency for Hurricane eyes to 'open' at night and close again in the morning, or was it coincidence?

My hunch is that it's just an artifact from the shift in imaging technologies from visible wavelengths to infrared (or somesuch).

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