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Steven D. Miller, William C. Straka III, Jia Yue, Curtis J. Seaman, Shuang Xu, Christopher D. Elvidge, Lars Hoffmann, and Irfan Azeem


Hurricane Matthew (28 September–9 October 2016) was perhaps the most infamous storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, claiming over 600 lives and causing over $15 billion (U.S. dollars) in damages across the central Caribbean and southeastern U.S. seaboard. Research surrounding Matthew and its many noteworthy meteorological characteristics (e.g., rapid intensification into the southernmost category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin on record, strong lightning and sprite production, and unusual cloud morphology) is ongoing. Satellite remote sensing typically plays an important role in the forecasting and study of hurricanes, providing a top-down perspective on storms developing over the remote and inherently data-sparse tropical oceans. In this regard, a relative newcomer among the suite of satellite observations useful for tropical cyclone monitoring and research is the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) day/night band (DNB), a sensor flying on board the NOAA–NASA Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. Unlike conventional instruments, the DNB’s sensitivity to extremely low levels of visible and near-infrared light offers new insight into storm properties and impacts. Here, we chronicle Matthew’s path of destruction and peer through the DNB’s looking glass of low-light visible observations, including lightning connected to sprite formation, modulation of the atmospheric nightglow by storm-generated gravity waves, and widespread power outages. Collected without moonlight, these examples showcase the wealth of unique information present in DNB nocturnal low-light observations without moonlight, and their potential to complement traditional satellite measurements of tropical storms worldwide.

Open access
David M. Tratt, John A. Hackwell, Bonnie L. Valant-Spaight, Richard L. Walterscheid, Lynette J. Gelinas, James H. Hecht, Charles M. Swenson, Caleb P. Lampen, M. Joan Alexander, Lars Hoffmann, David S. Nolan, Steven D. Miller, Jeffrey L. Hall, Robert Atlas, Frank D. Marks Jr., and Philip T. Partain


The prediction of tropical cyclone rapid intensification is one of the most pressing unsolved problems in hurricane forecasting. The signatures of gravity waves launched by strong convective updrafts are often clearly seen in airglow and carbon dioxide thermal emission spectra under favorable atmospheric conditions. By continuously monitoring the Atlantic hurricane belt from the main development region to the vulnerable sections of the continental United States at high cadence, it will be possible to investigate the utility of storm-induced gravity wave observations for the diagnosis of impending storm intensification. Such a capability would also enable significant improvements in our ability to characterize the 3D transient behavior of upper-atmospheric gravity waves and point the way to future observing strategies that could mitigate the risk to human life caused by severe storms. This paper describes a new mission concept involving a midinfrared imager hosted aboard a geostationary satellite positioned at approximately 80°W longitude. The sensor’s 3-km pixel size ensures that the gravity wave horizontal structure is adequately resolved, while a 30-s refresh rate enables improved definition of the dynamic intensification process. In this way the transient development of gravity wave perturbations caused by both convective and cyclonic storms may be discerned in near–real time.

Open access
Filippo Giorgi, Erika Coppola, Daniela Jacob, Claas Teichmann, Sabina Abba Omar, Moetasim Ashfaq, Nikolina Ban, Katharina Bülow, Melissa Bukovsky, Lars Buntemeyer, Tereza Cavazos, James Ciarlo`, Rosmeri Porfirio da Rocha, Sushant Das, Fabio di Sante, Jason P. Evans, Xuejie Gao, Graziano Giuliani, Russell H. Glazer, Peter Hoffmann, Eun-Soon Im, Gaby Langendijk, Ludwig Lierhammer, Marta Llopart, Sebastial Mueller, Rosa Luna-Nino, Rita Nogherotto, Emanuela Pichelli, Francesca Raffaele, Michelle Reboita, Diana Rechid, Armelle Remedio, Thomas Remke, Windmanagda Sawadogo, Kevin Sieck, José Abraham Torres-Alavez, and Torsten Weber


We describe the first effort within the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment–Coordinated Output for Regional Evaluation, or CORDEX-CORE EXP-I. It consists of a set of twenty-first-century projections with two regional climate models (RCMs) downscaling three global climate model (GCM) simulations from the CMIP5 program, for two greenhouse gas concentration pathways (RCP8.5 and RCP2.6), over nine CORDEX domains at ∼25-km grid spacing. Illustrative examples from the initial analysis of this ensemble are presented, covering a wide range of topics, such as added value of RCM nesting, extreme indices, tropical and extratropical storms, monsoons, ENSO, severe storm environments, emergence of change signals, and energy production. They show that the CORDEX-CORE EXP-I ensemble can provide downscaled information of unprecedented comprehensiveness to increase understanding of processes relevant for regional climate change and impacts, and to assess the added value of RCMs. The CORDEX-CORE EXP-I dataset, which will be incrementally augmented with new simulations, is intended to be a public resource available to the scientific and end-user communities for application to process studies, impacts on different socioeconomic sectors, and climate service activities. The future of the CORDEX-CORE initiative is also discussed.

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