Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Space lightning

Mother nature never stops surprising us, and so it seems she's done it again with lightning. We've known about space lightning for a few years now, but to actually see it captured on film during the recent nasty storms over Texas, was just a great treat.

A photographer in Texas snapped the picture Wednesday night as that line of severe weather was striking the region. An  incredible display of "Sprites" was seen dangling over a strong t-storm near Dallas.

These so called "Sprites" are a rare form of lightning that shoot out from the top of thunderstorms straight into outer space.  The picture also captured a meteor flying by. A two for one treat!

As storm season kicks up in the Plains, so does "Sprite" season.

You can check out more info on "Sprites" here:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hurricane names you will never see again

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), released a list of hurricane names to be retired. They are:
  • Erika
  • Joaquin
  • Patricia 

All these storms happened last year, with Erika and Joaquin spinning up in the Atlantic and Patricia in the Northern Pacific.

Why will they be retired?
Anytime a system turns deadly or causes enormous damage, the name is taken out of rotation. That's why there will never be another Andrew, Katrina, or Wilma again... at least in name.

How bad were they?
According to WMO:
Erika was a tropical storm whose torrential rains inflicted significant casualties and damage on the Caribbean island of Dominica. More than a foot of rain fell there and the storm was directly responsible for 30 deaths. In Haiti, one person died due to a mud slide after Erika had dissipated as a tropical cyclone.

Joaquin was a category 4 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale), whose strong winds and storm surge devastated Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador in the central and southeastern Bahamas in October 2015. Joaquin took the lives of 34 people—all at sea—including the 33 crew members of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during the storm northeast of Crooked Island. Joaquin is the strongest October hurricane known to have affected the Bahamas since 1866.  

Patricia was a late-season major hurricane that intensified at a rate rarely observed in a tropical cyclone. It became a category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) over unusually warm waters to the south of Mexico, and is now the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic basins. The hurricane turned north-northeastward and weakened substantially before making landfall in October 2015 along a sparsely populated part of the coast of southwestern Mexico as a category 4 hurricane.

How are tropical systems named?
The WMO has 6 lists of names that include both male and female names and should represent the languages spoken throughout the Caribbean/Eastern Mexico/and Eastern Central America. That's why you may get English names, Spanish, French and even Dutch. These lists are repeated every 6 years BUT, if a system turns deadly, then out of respect for those who suffered the most, they are stricken from the list.

Click here for everything you want to know regarding names.

What are the new names replacing the three retired?
The WMO will replace Erika with “Elsa”, Joaquin with “Julian” and Patricia with “Pamela” when last years list comes up again in 2021.

Here are the 2016 season names:


Thanks :
Dennis Feltgen               
Public Affairs Officer / Meteorologist
NOAA Communications & External Affairs
National Hurricane Center
Miami, Fla.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Earth hit by a Geomagnetic storm

A Geomagnetic storm is a blast of solar wind ejected from the sun. They are also known as "coronal mass ejections" or CME's for short.  This current blast of plasma left our star on April 10th and we are now passing through the solar wind stream. Scientists are calling this CME a G1-class. This is the weakest of all geomagnetic storms. says:

The incoming solar wind stream is pouring out of a hole in the sun's atmosphere--a "coronal hole"--shown in the image below from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

These "Coronal holes" rip open the sun's surface, permitting solar winds to blast into space. The image above also shows the flow of the solar wind. also says, "All solar wind streams carry some of the sun's magnetic field into space. The stream now heading for Earth appears to be filled with "negative polarity" magnetic fields. Such fields can easily link to Earth's magnetic field, opening a crack in our planet's defenses against solar wind. As a result, this solar wind stream could be effective at sparking auroras". 

What does all this mean?
CME's can be harmful, but the earth has its own protective shield in the form of a magnetic field. This field deflects those solar winds around the planet but not the whole blast. Some, is directed to our poles and get turned into Auroras, or polar lights. Astronomers say the northern latitudes may get that light show tonight and possibly stick around through Wednesday as well.

Outside of some Northern Lights, this CME, will be harmless.