Examples of typical scene types

One question that we receive from time to time was recently asked on our talk page. Zeddidiah asked

I need many good examples of storms with proper classifications to view so I might tune my eyes to this task. Is there a catalog of classified storms available? I found the tutorial to be very incomplete

The following is our best effort to produce these helpful images.

A note about the images

The images are almost 400 scenes from various storms. The imagery are zoomed in in order to show the center of the storm (for example, the storm’s eye). We will likely produce another set of imagery zoomed out a bit which will help with the post-tropical and shear systems.

Click on the images to view a full resolution version (note: these are very large).

No storms

These systems have very disorganized cloud structure. Usually, there are small clouds but few are cold. People also classify very few clouds near the center of the image as ‘no storm’ as well.


Montage of images classified as ‘no storm’

Curved band

Generally have a mix of cold clouds (orange to red to blue) that aren’t too circular.


Montage of images classified as ‘curved band’

Embedded center

Classified generally as a circular, very cold (blues and sometimes white) large cloud with no warm spot in the center.


Montage of images classified as ’embedded centers’


Generally cold cloud with a warm spot in the center.


Montage of images classified as ‘eye’


Generally cold clouds, but not circular. The cold cloud appears to be flattened on one side.


Montage of images classified as ‘shear’


Clouds that aren’t so cold but are far from the center. Usually accompanied by more gray and pink-ish hues near the center.


Montage of images classified as ‘post-tropical’


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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