Year of Weather 2017

On Monday 19 February we published our annual Year of Weather animation, showing all of the major weather events across the globe in 2017 as seen from space.

Here you can watch the full video, with commentary from Dr Mark Higgins (Training Manager at EUMETSAT):

Mark provides some useful information as you watch, describing the major storms that formed over the course of the year and pointing out the different weather patterns, as well as discussing the satellite-system features.

While the video gives an interesting overview of how the weather looks from space, it also provides an alarming insight into the frequency and strength of the different storms, some of which caused severe damage and resulted in lives being lost.

Some of the storms visible in the video in more detail are:

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country. The total damage from the hurricane is estimated at $125 billion, making it among one of the costliest natural disasters ever in the United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.

Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico. At its peak, the hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean. Maria wrought catastrophic damage to the entirety of Dominica, which suffered an island-wide communication blackout. Much of the housing stock and infrastructure were left beyond repair, while the island’s lush vegetation had been practically eradicated.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde-type hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic in terms of maximum sustained winds since Wilma, and the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region. Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys. It was also the most intense hurricane to strike the continental United States since Katrina in 2005, the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in the same year, and the first Category 4 hurricane to strike the state since Charley in 2004.

Typhoon Noru

Typhoon Noru was the second-longest lasting tropical cyclone of the Northwest Pacific Ocean on record—ranked only behind 1986’s Wayne and tied with 1972’s Rita—and the second most intense tropical cyclone of the basin in 2017, tied with Talim. In Japan, hundreds of flights were cancelled ahead of the storm, and thousands of people were moved to evacuation zones.

Tropical Cyclone Cook

Cyclone Cook brought destructive winds up to 155 kilometers an hour to places such as New Caledonia, parts of Vanuatu and flooding to these areas as well as New Zealand. After drifting down the western side of the south Pacific basin, the cyclone remnants continued down to Antarctica where it was eventually completely dissipated. 

This video was put together by our data visualisation team who use imagery from the geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites of EUMETSAT, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Merging their data with ours, we’re able to get incredible views of the whole Earth. We were also assisted by Météo-France’s Centre de Météorologie Spatiale and used NASA’s ‘Blue Marble Next Generation’ ground maps.

*Information on each storm was gathered from its respective Wikipedia article.


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Natalie Lunt

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