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Hurricane Season Heats Up

by Terri Gregory, SSEC Public Information Specialist
September 1999

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In the News With three Atlantic hurricanes heading for the Americas in August, and more in the Pacific Ocean, it was time to report on the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones group’s research. Led by Chris Velden, the group works in hurricane-free Madison, WI, developing techniques and satellite imagery products to assist hurricane weather forecasters. Brian Mattmiller of UW–Madison’s News and Public Affairs showcased the group’s new products and long-term efforts in a story that sparked the interest of media across the country.

This story ran in the online version of Wisconsin Week, the campus newspaper, beginning August 27, and in Wisconsin Week Wire September 1. Madison’s Capital Times covered the research on August 28 and published a cross-page image with descriptive caption on August 31. Anthony Jewell of Wisconsin’s Associated Press bureau based in Madison wrote a long story and sidebar based in part on Brian’s release. The AP piece ran in St.Paul, MN’s Pioneer Press and the Wisconsin State Journal (with an image of Atlantic Ocean storms) on August 31. WMTV (Madison, WI, Ch.15) produced pieces for 5 and 6 p.m. evening news programs on August 30. The 5 o’clock version covered the research at some length, and included Wavetrak, a new satellite imagery product showing a whole ocean’s storms, and its chief developer, Jason Dunion. Milwaukee’s ABC television affiliate covered the research. Wisconsin Public Radio News featured the research, stressing the global nature of the satellite images, in the hourly news on September 1. On line, UniSci and NewsWise, services covering U.S. university research, featured the research. CNN linked to the Tropical Cyclones Web site. Print items will be posted on SSEC’s third floor.

For more information, follow the links below.

Hurricane Bret
Click on Hurricane Bret for a page of 3-color composite hurricane images, produced on SSEC’s McIDAS.

NetAgra editor-in-chief Sevie Kenyon cites the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site as one of his “‘Magnificent Seven’ of Internet hurricane information sites.” Interestingly, all but two of the other six sites refer to or use products from the Tropical Cyclones site. Sevie publishes an emailed newsletter (mostly) for people in agriculture.

For more information, follow this link.

In hurricane discussion groups, the National Hurricane Center notes the usefulness of CIMSS’ Objective Dvorak Technique. They adjusted forecast intensities starting with Hurricane Dora using the technique which is based on pattern recognition and a computer-based algorithm developed by the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones group and a NOAA group in Fort Collins, CO.

For more information, follow this link.

With hurricanes Eugene and Dora threatening Hawaii, NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division used the Tropical Cyclones group’s satellite low-level wind products in the “first (ever!) real-time surface wind products for a hurricane” for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. CPHC director James Weyman said “this was extremely useful in designating wind radii information.” He concluded that, “This was a very big step forward for us.”

For more information, follow this link.

Scott Stripling, a NOAA forecaster in San Juan, PR really likes the new Wavetrak images of both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Wavetrak mosaics are made using images from several geostationary satellites to cover the entire ocean.

For more information, follow this link.

On a large map in the Weather Room of the Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach, VA, Rebecca Bloom tracks tropical weather that affects the East Coast. She told Tim Olander (CIMSS Tropical Cyclones group), “I’ve spent a lot of time on the Internet searching for up-to-date, easy-to-understand data and,more important to our visitors, vivid and colorful images. Out of all the sites I’ve explored your's is by far the best. Keep up the great work!!!!”

For more information, follow this link.

The CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site is listed in StudyWeb under Science: Weather: Storm Information & Tracking. The CIMSS site is rated 4 apples, the most apples you can get! StudyWeb is an educational resource which lists Web sites of use to educators or anyone doing research in many easily searchable categories. While you’re at StudyWeb, check out the Study Buddy, a nifty window that provides mouse-click access to a number of often-used resources, like a dictionary, calculator and measurement converter.

For more information, follow this link.

On the Net

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Unidata Quarterly

Unidata’s online Quarterly for summer 1999 reports on the training efforts of two New England colleges that use McIDAS. Lyndon State College in Lyndon, VT and Plymouth State College in Plymouth, NH both forecast the weather for the Mt. Washington Icing Sensor Project (MWISP) each April, giving detailed forecasts of cloud depth, base and height, as well as the heights of temperature layers at 0, -10, and -20C (32, 14, and -4F), all at six-hour increments. Both schools were among planners and early users of Unidata which provides McIDAS, other software, and real-time satellite products to atmospheric educational programs. Teachers at both schools say they could not provide this level of experience to their students without Unidata.

WEAU-TV *web-archived version*

On their weather Web site, television station WEAU in Eau Claire, WI links to satellite images from SSEC’s real-time data page. WEAU links to the GOES-East image that SSEC provides of the United States; on their site it is called Wisconsin Visible Satellite Picture.

Over the Air

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WPR

Weather Guys Steve Ackerman (director, CIMSS) and Jonathan Martin (professor, AOS) appeared once again on Larry Meiller’s WHA Radio call-in show on August 30. They answered many questions based on personal weather experiences, and talked about hurricanes and tornadoes. This Monday show starts a sort of miniseries for the Guys; they will also appear on September 27 and October 25 at 11:45 a.m. on WHA 970 AM (in Madison) and other Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network affiliates throughout the state. CIMSS visiting scientist Bob Rabin reported listening to the show in Norman, OK using streaming audio.

Will, from Madison, called National Public Radio program “Science Friday” on August 6 to warn meteorological experts and the whole listening audience of imminent water loss. “Save your water!” he urged. Will cited Verner Suomi as a reference. This particular show covered the current drought in the U.S. northeast.

In Print

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New CIMSS Director

In its Summer News Review, the first Wisconsin Week issue of the fall semester noted that Steven Ackerman was named director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. Steve is a scientist in UW-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center and a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

In the Wings

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Tropical Cyclones

Watch for:

More hurricane news. Discovery Online, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Business Week, San Francisco television, and other outlets have all expressed interest and interviewed members of the Tropical Cyclones group.

Antarctic Projects

A3RI

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on UW–Madison’s Antarctic projects. Reporter Ernie Mastriani visits September 7 to interview members of several teams, including the Antarctic Meteorology Research Center, the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Project and AMANDA. AMANDA is part of A3RI, a brand-new research center within SSEC.

Direct comments, questions, and information about other SSEC media appearances to SSEC's Public Information Officer. For information about past media appearances, visit the SSEC In the News page.

9-2-99 tg