Tropical Storm Kirk would normally be a good candidate this time of year to intensify into a hurricane and threaten the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. However, this morning’s Infrared satellite loop shows a storm on the verge of dying:
Here, the colors indicate cold clouds (convection) and the light gray colors indicate warm, low-level clouds. Notice the rotating feature of low clouds near the middle of the image emerging from the convection and moving toward the west-northwest – that’s the low-level center of Kirk.
This is what is called a “sheared” tropical cyclone. The upper level winds in this area are blowing from a different direction and at a much higher velocity than the winds near the surface. This situation has effectively chopped the storm up vertically. This is bad for tropical cyclones because the energy that they need to survive is released in the giant convective clouds (thunderstorms). If this energy is displaced away from the circulation center, the storm will weaken. Kirk is about to become an ordinary open wave.
Sheared tropical cyclones are not always easy to see on satellite imagery. Here are a couple of other pages you can look through to see other examples and learn how to classify them on Cyclone Center:
– Chris Hennon is part of the Cyclone Center Science Team and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Asheville
One question that we receive from time to time was recently asked on our talk page. Zeddidiah asked
I need many good examples of storms with proper classifications to view so I might tune my eyes to this task. Is there a catalog of classified storms available? I found the tutorial to be very incomplete
The following is our best effort to produce these helpful images. Read More…
Maybe you are here from a Zooniverse email, or maybe you found us some other way. Thanks for stopping by and helping us do science! Here’s some quick tips and advice to help you get comfortable classifying cyclones.
- Do the tutorial and use the field guide. Our project can be a little more overwhelming than some others because it is sometimes hard to know what to choose. Each question has “help” close by – just scroll down to find it!
- Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Early on you might be worried that you will choose the wrong picture and screw up the science. It’s fine! You are one of many people looking at an image and we’ll account for choices that might not be the best. It’s how crowd sourcing works.
- Ask questions in “Talk”. Use the forum to communicate with us and ask us questions about storms that you are classifying. We’ll get back to you usually very quickly but always within a day or two. We like to hear from our classifiers!
- Know that every classification you do is helping us. EVERY click is important! As you complete more images your responses will become even more valuable as you gain experience. We have a lot to do and we appreciate your contributions.
That will get you started and hopefully keep you going. Again, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or advice on particular images and patterns. Thanks for participating!
It’s June 1 again, which means two things. First, it’s the beginning of what is called “meteorological summer” in the Northern Hemisphere. And second, it is the official beginning of the tropical cyclone season in the North Atlantic Ocean. So it’s one of the featured days on weather geeks calendars, and for hurricane fanatics, it’s time to prepare for what’s coming at us this season.
Today also marks a special day for the organization that hosts our Cyclone Center project – Zooniverse. They announced the launch of their 100th citizen science project, a space-based endeavor called “Galaxy Nurseries”. You may not know that Cyclone Center was Read More…
Much like North Carolina-style barbecue , our project is slow-roasted and prepared for greatness. Read More…
A paper just released online in the journal Nature Geoscience (Mei and Xie 2016) shows that typhoons in the northwestern Pacific Ocean have intensified by 12-15% over the last 37 years, including a dramatic increase in the proportion of category 4 and 5 storms. Previous studies on trends in typhoon intensity for the same region have been contradictory because of differences in the operational tropical cyclone wind speed datasets used. How can Cyclone Center help reconcile these differences?