Figure: NASA/NOAA GOES Project (19, OCT 2015)
This past week, satellite imagery were used for Hurricane tracking, and proving its importance within meteorology. Hurricane Olaf is located in the East Pacific and has strengthened to a major hurricane.
On October 19th, Hurricane Olaf was situated approximately 1345 miles east-south East of Hawaii, with a trajectory heading straight towards its coast. The NASA/NOAA GOES project utilised imagery from its GOES/WEST satellite to track the progression of this hurricane, and to understand and predict its future path and intensity. The imagery has indicated that maximum wind speeds have reached as high as 115 mph, speeds which could devastate Hawaiian communities. However, despite wind speeds increasing, the imagery also shows that its trajectory is changing, so that it will remain offshore and pass north of Hawaii instead. This means that, instead of direct hurricane impact, Hawaii is set for some large swell hitting its coasts.
Satellite imagery used for Hurricane tracking is vital to prepare communities prior to impact, to minimise its impact on their property and lives. Satellite imagery has helped to predict the current trajectory, helping Hawaiian coast guards understand which beaches to close, to avoid surfer safety being compromised by these hurricane waves.