Over the last 10 years, WorldWinds has worked to improve our weather readiness by working in partnership with university and government researchers with the goal of improving economic resilience and public safety. The company has been accomplishing these goals by converting advanced satellite data and complex weather models into scientifically sound yet intuitive and actionable public graphics that promote weather readiness, better decisions and improved personal safety. In developing effective weather graphics for public consumption, WorldWinds has formed a unique bridge between the broadcast media industry, research universities, and federal agencies including NASA, NOAA, and DOD. Through the SBIR program, WorldWinds has been able to leverage our country’s enormous weather science and engineering investments and merge these advanced observational and forecasting technologies with the behavioral sciences required to develop rapid comprehension, effective planning, and appropriate public action. The Eastern Pacific expects increased tropical activity this season due to the development of an El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear in the eastern Pacific tropical region, which contributes to more favorable conditions for storm development. In fact, two of the three storms in the Pacific so far this year have developed into major hurricanes. Because of the expected increase in activity in the Pacific Ocean this season, WorldWinds’ products will be very useful in assisting with accurate forecasts.
The Satellite-Derived Radar Reflectivity is sometimes called “space radar” since the data is retrieved from orbiting satellites. It is particularly useful for showing “radar” in areas not covered by land-based radar beams. During the Atlantic Hurricane season, storms in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or Atlantic Ocean can be shown to viewers in a manner that is familiar to them. In this picture Satellite-Derived Reflectivity at 5:00am CDT showed a powerful Pacific Category 4 hurricane, Cristina, with a distinct eye feature, an impressive central dense overcast, and banding features spiraling around the eye.
Sea Surface Temperatures
One of the ocean products produced by WorldWinds includes composite Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) analysis using MODIS Aqua and Terra satellite imagery. A factor in Hurricane Cristina’s rapid intensification was warm sea surface temperatures, which add to the overall ocean heat content. Surface water temps along the path of the hurricane were in the low to mid-80’s on Wednesday, June 11th.