Flooding On The Somerset Levels – From Space…

There has been nothing but thick cloud, torrential rain and hurricane force winds here for the last few weeks and reception has been, to put it mildly, patchy.
On reveiwing the data gathered from nightime Infrared scans however, I noticed a clear night on the night of the 13th February and the extensive flooding on the Somerset Levels can clearly be seen, along with some serious widening of many of the other rivers in Southern England. (Compare with shot of 29th December 2014 in a previous blog entry below) Click to Enlarge.
2014-02-13_2110_Somerset Levels Flooding

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Vegetation

As well as camera images, Polar-orbiting weather satellites carry a range of instruments constantly coughing out data and most of this deluge of data comes pouring into my PC in one form or another. The rather smart HRPT Reader software from David Taylor can then produce not just pretty pictures but also Sea Surface Temperature analysis, fire data, water vapour and, as in the image below, vegetation data.

Below we can see the fertile tract along the course of the Nile and the Nile Delta (showing in red)
2014-01-17_0725_Red_Sea_Vegetation

Storm Force

Well, the last week here has been a jolly mix of gale-force winds and torrential rain.

As a result, reception of satellite data has been first patchy and then nil after the thrashing winds first disrupted download (by waving the dish about) and then cut it off altogether by somehow turning the heavily bolted dish slightly away from the satellite. Bah!

Slightly calmer today and it’s up on the roof and shouting through the window.
The dish is once more aligned and signal strength better than ever.
Hoorah!

More images to follow..

In the meantime here is an image of the Himalayas with the Ganges Delta to the south from 29th December.
2013-12-29 Himalayas

Back In Business

After a long hiatus this year (my software trials ran out and I could not afford to renew them) following a generous Christmas donation I have the excellent Metop Manager up and running and am pulling down GBs of images every day once more!

Below, an image of the UK from this morning. After the (very!) cold night, the population centres stand out clearly in this combined Vis/IR False colour image.

As usual, click on image to enlarge.

Image

Below – Clear skies over Antarctica show the Pine Island Glacier and
“Iceberg B31” which calved from the glacier inĀ  November of this year.2013-12-29_1434 PineIslandGlacier-IcebergB31

Below, Tropical Cyclone Christine approaches
the coast of Western Australia.
2013-12-29_0046_ Australia Cyclone

Mount Sakurajima Eruption

I think I may have caught my first volcanic eruption.

Mount Sakurajima off the island of Kyushu, Japan is currently erupting, supposedly putting out quite a serious column of ash. The image below shows a grab from the southbound pass of satellite METOP-A at 00:52 this morning, Tuesday September 25th 2012 and would seem to show the ashcloud streaming Southwest from the volcano. (Click for a larger image)Mt Sakurajima Ashcloud

The image was grabbed using David Taylor’s excellent Metop Manager and processed using his also indispensable HRPT Reader. The right-hand grayscale image uses Channels 4 & 5 of the satellite’s sensor to bring out ash in the atmosphere.

The World At My Fingertips

I have been using the weather satellite station now for about 4 weeks and the temporary licenses on the software is about to run out. The time is now here to decide which of the packages I should invest my cash in first. I would like to dive in and buy the lot but lack of funds makes this impossible at present.

For weather prediction I have to say that MSG Data Manager is a must have as it processes the images for the geostationary satellites and gives a live, constantly updated (every 15 mins) view of Europe and the rest of the world.

That said, the high-resolution images to be grabbed using AVHRR Manager are extremely interesting for land imaging and you can get excellent piccies of icebergs around Greenland, the shrinking of the Aral Sea, dust-storms in North Africa and piles of other fascinating stuff. The only problem I had was the limited range of the high-res images available – really just the North Atlantic, Europe, North Africa and the North Pole. Why can’t we have access to the rest of the world data which must be floating around out there?

Then I looked at David Taylor’s Metop Manager which processes images from the Metop-A Polar Orbiting satellite and realised that not only is it possible to get worldwide high-res images, but I had been gathering the data for the last month but didn’t realise it.
Doh!

I have started a 30-Day trial of Metop Manager and can now pull in high res daylight pictures of the whole world, including the Antarctic! This, despite being less useful for forecasting purposes, is definitely a must have.

The only downside I can see is that you could spend your whole life from now on sifting through the hundreds of Gigabytes of HRPT images which are flooding in every week.

Image below of New Zealand in the sunshine from 21st September 2012.

More than just pretty pictures.

Weather satellites take some stunning pictures I can’t deny but, there is so much more to them than that. Most carry sensors which record not just the visible but a spread of wavelength across the radiation spectrum.

The images below demonstrate this. The first image is a false-colour image combining the visible channels and infrared data. Land, sea and cloud patterns easily visible.

The second image below is the same scene but using a combination of two of the IR channels which cut through the big cloud masses but clearly show the aircraft con-trails criss-crossing the south of Britain and France. Amazing!