Hurricane Satellite (HURSAT) data

The satellite imagery in CycloneCenter were created from HURSAT data. These data are snapshots focused on tropical cyclones from around the world. The location of the snapshot moves with the storm, generally keeping the storm centered. Of course knowing where cyclones have occurred requires a separate data source (IBTrACS).

While both images from visible and infrared (and other channels) are available from HURSAT, the Cyclone Center uses the infrared data because its observations are available both day and night (since visible images are only available during the sunlit hours).

The image shows how storm data is remapped and gridded over each individual storm. A large enough region is included in each grid to allow studies of the cyclone’s environment. Sometimes this means that some grids will have another cyclone on its outer edge when cyclones form or traverse near enough.

The satellite data that make up HURSAT are from international geostationary satellites from the past 30+ years. The data – collected at NCDC – have been processed in a manner to minimize inter-satellite differences in an effort to create a seamless climate record of hurricane observations.

HURSAT data website


About K Knapp

I am a meteorologist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. My research interests include using satellite data to observe hurricanes, clouds, and other climate variables. *******Disclaimer******* The opinions expressed in these blogs are mine only. They do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of NOAA, Department of Commerce, or the US Government.

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