Storms are generally classified as a meteorological hazard, caused by short-lived, micro- to meso-scale extreme weather and atmospheric conditions that last from minutes to days (EM-DAT).
Facts and figures
There are several different types of storms distinguished by the strength and characteristics of atmospheric disturbances:
Convective/local storm: A type of meteorological hazard generated by the heating of air and the availability of moist and unstable air masses. Convective storms range from localized thunderstorms (with heavy rain and/or hail, lightning, high winds, tornadoes) to meso-scale, multi-day events.
Sandstorm, dust storm: Strong winds carry particles of sand aloft, but generally confined to less than 50 feet (15 metres), especially common in arid and semi-arid environments. A dust storm is also characterised by strong winds but carries smaller particles of dust rather than sand over an extensive area.
Tornado: A violently rotating column of air that reaches the ground or open water (waterspout).
Lightning: A high-voltage, visible electrical discharge produced by a thunderstorm and followed by the sound of thunder.
Winter storm, blizzard: A low pressure system in winter months with significant accumulations of snow, freezing rain, sleet or ice. A blizzard is a severe snow storm with winds exceeding 35 mph (56 km/h) for three or more hours, producing reduced visibility (less than .25 mile (400 m).
Orographic storm (strong wind): Differences in air pressure resulting in the horizontal motion of air. The greater the difference in pressure, the stronger the wind. Wind moves from high pressure toward low pressure.
Extratropical storm: A type of low-pressure cyclonic system in the middle and high latitudes (also called mid-latitude cyclone) that primarily gets its energy from the horizontal temperature contrasts (fronts) in the atmosphere.
Tropical storms: A tropical cyclone originates over tropical or subtropical waters. It is characterised by a warm-core, non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone with a low pressure centre, spiral rainbands and strong winds. Depending on their location, tropical cyclones are referred to as hurricanes (Atlantic, Northeast Pacific), typhoons (Northwest Pacific), or cyclones (South Pacific and Indian Ocean) (UNDRR, Sendai Framework).
Landsat 9 was successfully launched on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Landsat 9 data is publicly available from USGS.
Landsat 9—a partnership between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey— continues the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the land resources needed to sustain human life.
Today’s increased rates of global land cover and land use change have profound consequences for weather and climate change, ecosystem function and services, carbon cycling and sequestration, resource management, the national and global economy, human health, and society.
Landsat is the only U.S. satellite system designed and operated to repeatedly observe the global land surface at a moderate scale that shows both natural and human-induced change.
Since reducing the risk of a Landsat data gap is a high priority of the U.S. Sustainable Land Imaging Program, Landsat 9 has a design very similar…
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched into orbit on November 21, 2020. The launch was a culminated European-American effort that involved organisations from both sides of the atlantic. The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meterological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centre for Space Studes (CNES) all collaborated together to make the launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich a reality. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is the first of the Sentinel-6 satellites. An identical satellite, Sentinel-6B will follow in 2025. At an altitude of 1336 km the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will use instruments on board to provide highly accurate measurements of the sea level in an effort to combat…
MetOp-C is the third and last satellite of the MetOp series that forms the space segment of the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS). MetOp (Meteorological Operational) is Europe's first polar-orbiting operational meteorological satellite. It is the European contribution to the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS), a co-operative agreement between Eumetsat and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide data for climate and environmental monitoring and improved weather forecasting. MetOp-A (launched on 19 October 2006), MetOp-B (launched on 17 September 2012) and MetOp-C (launched 7 November 2018) are in a lower polar orbit, at an altitude of 817 kilometres, to provide more detailed observations of the global atmosphere, oceans and continents. The three satellites will operate in unison for as long as Metop-A's available capacities bring benefits to users. NOAA still continues to operate its mid-afternoon orbit satellite service as part of the…
Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3 will measure systematically Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. It will provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting. The mission is based on two identical satellites orbiting in constellation for optimum global coverage and data delivery. For example, with a swath width of 1270 km, the ocean and land colour instrument will provide global coverage every two days. Sentinel-3B was launched on 25 April 2018. With a focus towards our oceans, Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements will be used, for example, to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity. Over land, this innovative mission will provide a bigger picture by monitoring wildfires, mapping the way land is used, provide indices of…
GOES-17 (formerly GOES-S) is the second of the current generation of weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The four satellites of the series (GOES-16, -17, -T, and -U) will extend the availability of the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system) until 2036 for weather forecast and meteorology research. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin, was based on the A2100A platform, and will have an expected useful life of 15 years (10 years operational after five years of standby as an on-orbit replacement).The satellite was launched on 1 March 2018 and reached geostationary orbit on 12 March 2018. In May 2018, during the satellite's testing phase after launch, a problem was discovered with its primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager. GOES-17 became operational as GOES-West on 12 February 2019. GOES-17 is currently operating alongside GOES-15 but will…
NOAA-20, designated JPSS-1 prior to launch, is the first of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous, environmental satellites called the Joint Polar Satellite System. NOAA-20 was launched on 18 November 2017 and joined the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite in the same orbit. NOAA-20 operates about 50 minutes ahead of Suomi NPP, allowing important overlap in observational coverage. Circling the Earth from pole-to-pole, it crosses the equator about 14 times daily, providing full global coverage twice a day. This will give meteorologists information on "atmospheric temperature and moisture, clouds, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash, and fire detection" so as to enhance weather forecasting including hurricane tracking, post-hurricane recovery by detailing storm damage and mapping of power outages.
The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites designed specifically to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus programme. Sentinel-2 carries an innovative wide swath high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of our land and vegetation. The combination of high resolution, novel spectral capabilities, a swath width of 290 km and frequent revisit times provides unprecedented views of Earth. The mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites in the same orbit, 180° apart for optimal coverage and data delivery. Together they cover all Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waters every five days at the equator. Sentinel-2B was launched on 7 March 2017. As well as monitoring plant growth, Sentinel-2 can be used to map changes in land cover and to monitor the world’s forests. It also provides information on pollution in lakes and…
GOES-16 currently serves as the operational geostationary weather satellite over the U.S. East coast. Later this year, GOES-17 will become operational as the GOES West satellite.
Both belong to the GOES-R series focuses on the detection and observation of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety. The satellites provide advanced imaging with increased spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather.
The GOES-R Series is a four-satellite program (GOES-R/S/T/U) that will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite system through 2036.
Instruments: ABI (Advanced Baseline Imager) GLM (Geostationary Lightning Mapper) EXIS (Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors) SUVI (Solar Ultraviolet Imager) MAG (Magnetometer) SEISS (Space Environment In-Situ Suite)
Sentinel-1 is a two satellite constellation with the prime objectives of land and ocean monitoring. The goal of the mission is to provide C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data continuity following the retirement of ERS-2 and the end of the Envisat mission. To accomplish this the satellites carry a C-SAR sensor, which offers medium and high resolution imaging in all weather conditiions. The C-SAR is capable of obtaining night imagery and detecting small movement on the ground, which makes it useful for land and sea monitoring. Sentinel-1 will work in a pre-programmed operation mode to avoid conflicts and to produce a consistent long-term data archive built for applications based on long time series. The mission benefits numerous services. For example, services that relate to the monitoring of Arctic sea-ice extent, routine sea-ice mapping, surveillance of the marine environment, including oil-spill monitoring and ship detection for maritime security,…