83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003
Monitoring a Piteraq Storm System Using DMSP Imagery and QuikSCAT Wind Data
Boniface J. Mills, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. R. Anderson
Poster PDF (473.0 kB)
Occasionally, the channeling of katabatic flow along the East Greenland coast helps produce a region of convergence and cyclonic vorticity. The result is strong gale to hurricane force wind storms called Piteraqs. These storms can evolve quickly and are unpredictable. More so, they can cause extensive damage to coastal ports and loss of life. Piteraqs resemble very intense, mesoscale polar lows that commonly form over maritime environments. On February 21st and 22nd, 2002, Piteraqs formed between southeastern Greenland and western Iceland. Weather observations are usually limited in the vicinity of Piteraqs. However, satellite imagery and satellite wind measurements were available to monitor the mesoscale systems for this period.

Satellite imagery from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) recorded the development and movement of the event. Wind data from the NASA QuikSCAT scatterometer was also obtained. DMSP images and QuikSCAT wind data were fused together to analyze the complex circulation pattern of the mesoscale storms. The QuikSCAT scatterometer measured winds over 25 m/s near the Piteraqs. This is in good agreement with surface observations over coastal Iceland and nearby ship reports. In addition, NOGAPS model output were used to analyze the mesoscale storms. The model information was also merged with the DMSP imagery to better understand the dynamics of the storms. The analysis revealed an upper level disturbance over the region when the Piteraqs occurred. Overall the combined satellite data help show where the intense winds exist proving useful for storm warnings and watches.

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