Topic 2b (part 1) - Sea surface temperature and tropical storms
Tropical storms are a major threat in many countries. The ocean plays a major role in tropical storm generation, their frequency, duration and intensity against a backdrop of a warming world.
The addition of ocean observing satellites enables better forecasting of their trajectories and intensity.
Sentinel 3 and its cutting-edge sensors are opening new avenues for monitoring our oceans. It is important to have a good understanding of the accuracy and the uncertainty of these observations, so scientists compare in-situ data coming from drifting buoys and other satellite data.
Combining datasets of sea surface temperature measurements from different satellites over time gives a valuable insight into the temperature changes of the ocean. The intensity of a tropical storm is directly influenced by the rise in sea surface temperature. This means changes in the temperature of the ocean have direct effects on the intensity of tropical storms.
Optional mini task:
To view active storms download the Living Earth mobile app (only compatible with Apple devices) and use the storm symbol on the bottom tool bar to see where active storms are currently located. Alternatively view the US National Hurricane Center. Where are the current storms that you can see? How strong are they?
- Dr Anne O’Carroll
Optional further reading
National Hurricane Centre - Latest satellite imagery A database of the latest still and animated imagery from hurricane monitoring
EUMETSAT - A Year of Sea Surface Temperature The global sea surface temperature animation is compiled from the Operational Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Ice Analysis (OSTIA) as produced by the Met Office. The products are available from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS)
Explore the data
View featured satellites on the satellite tracking app
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View featured imagery, animations and external links below
Comparison between OSTIA (monthly climate) analysis and IASI (Numerical Weather prediction) for the Tropical Pacific