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A Tropical Cyclone Nursery

The next four storms on CycloneCenter are new ones from the Western Pacific basin. They represent four storms that each start in a small region of the Pacific Ocean, but follow very different paths.

Ever wondered what happened to the baby that was shared time with you in the hospital nursery when you were born? Born in the same hospital on the same day, you have likely taken very different paths (unless you’re a twin).


Chalk it up to chaos (remember this wacky definition of it?) or something else, but it is interesting that — like babies in a hospital — tropical cyclones with similar origins take different paths as well. These storms — Kulap, Roke, Sonca and Nesat — formed in roughly the same location of the western Pacific Ocean in 2005 however they took very different paths.

Help us better understand their lifetime by classifying the Four Storms.

Also thanks for your help on the fours storms from 2004. They were a great success and the initial results look very good.

What Does “Detailed Classification” Mean, and Why Should I Try It?

‘Detailed classification’ allows you to delve deeper into the imagery.  That helps us better understand the storm’s characteristics and more precisely determine its intensity.

By performing the basic classification, you have provided us with what we refer to as the “Pattern” strength.  It’s an initial estimate of the storm’s strength based on the how the clouds are organized (the pattern they make).

The detailed classification takes you further, asking more precise questions about the cloud structure itself.  To opt in for the detailed classification, just click the checkbox below the image.  You’ll be asked 3-5 questions that depend on the storm type you have chosen.   For example, if you have chosen a curved band, we’ll be asking you what color the band is.  If you’ve chosen an eye storm, you’ll be measuring the size of the eye and answering some questions about the clouds that surround it.  The answers to these more detailed questions help us to really pin down the storm’s strength.

An example of a detailed classification step for eye storms. In this question, we are asking you to tell us the location and size of the storm’s eye.

Each question that you are asked will have an accompanying “?” bubble to explain how that step is performed.   It takes a little longer than the basic classification, but allows you to really get into the heart of the technique that we use. Plus it’s a lot of fun!  It likely won’t take you more than a couple of minutes to go through the whole classification, and you’ll probably get quicker over time.

The more of these detailed classifications we can acquire, the more information we’ll be able to gather about the cyclones themselves.  As with the basic version, there are no “right” answers, so give it your best shot!  If you decide it’s not for you, you can always opt-out at any time by simply unchecking the box.

Happy classifying!


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