6 June 2011

Pictures From Space-Tornadoes and Their Aftermath

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I’m just back from 9 days in Europe touring the World War One Battlefields of Flanders. I will share some of that soon, but in case you have not seen it yet-the before and after of the deadliest tornado on record since 1950. These were in the Hartford Courant Newspaper.

Joplin Before:

Click for hires view-from Google Earth.


From Geo Eye showing the same area after the tornado.

The tornado that hit near Springfield Mass. (while I was in Europe) has also produced some interesting imagery from researchers at the Univ. of Wisconsin. The Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (Called CIMMS by we weather geeks for obvious reasons!) has developed several algorithms that add tremendous forecast value to satellite imagery.

From CIMMS. The tornado was near Westfield Mass. (KBAF)

This image from the CIMMS folks is an overshooting top on the super-cell about 20 mins. before the tornado.

An overshooting top is only produced when an intense updraft punches into the stratosphere and is almost always associated with severe weather.  Seeing one via satellite is very important for severe weather now-casting, and CIMMS has developed an algorithm that alerts forecasters when one is detected.

Remote sensing from space has revolutionized weather forecasting and continues to do so. It would not be an exaggeration to say that remote sensing from space has done the same for all of science!