Meteorological Faces of 2012

By: Stu Ostro , 8:18 PM GMT on January 04, 2013

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As a companion blog to my recent "Meteorological Images of the Year," here is another series of them.

After having always avoided caffeine and disliked coffee, I've acquired a taste and my intake increased significantly in 2012. So maybe I'm just consuming too much of it, but I saw a lot of faces in the clouds last year!

And, seriously, as the late great TWC hurricane expert John Hope used to say about a tropical cyclone being an "it" not a "he" or "she," and not having a "mind of its own" as has been oft-stated, I don't mean to humanize these weather systems, or make light of those which brought tragedy. Rather, these images represent yet another way that I'm awed by the weather and what can be seen in the atmosphere and with modern technology.



In January, in this high-resolution "false color" (red shades) satellite image from the northwest Great Lakes region, the cloud pattern formed an eerie face, with the mouth being a "mesoscale vortex" (small spinning feature) over Lake Superior. Above (to the north of) that are a nose, eyes, and even cat-like ears and whiskers!


Image credit for this and the next two: NASA/GSFC MODIS Rapid Response




Over and near Lake Ontario are eyes, in between which is a lake-effect snow streamer, and walrus-like whiskers which are the Finger Lakes of New York state!






In this, one eye is at the head of the large comma (with the tail swinging around to the southwest and forming the chin beneath the nose and smiling mouth), associated with a fierce storm which hit northwest Europe, and the other eye is with another swirly disturbance just to the west.






And in one more from last winter, I originally did not see a face, but when I posted it on Facebook, comments in response suggested it could be the Cookie Monster. This water vapor image represented a convoluted pattern across Europe and northern Africa. The eastern of the two “eyes” was a cutoff low pressure system (cut off from the jet stream) which brought extreme snowfall to Romania and other countries.


Image credit: The Weather Channel




In March, two cutoff lows form eyes over Oklahoma and Virginia, a nose extends south over the Gulf of Mexico, and there’s a mouth over Central America and the northwest Caribbean.


Image credit: UW-Madison SSEC




Two red eye dots, a blue nose dot, and a red mouth line can be seen in the eyewall of Typhoon Sanba in September in this “microwave” satellite image. Switch the red and blue colors for the eyes and nose, and it'd look like Mr. Bill.


Image credit: Naval Research Laboratory




As a tornado outbreak and blizzard got underway in the United States on Christmas Day, a tropical storm with the Philippines name Quinta (known by other weather agencies as Wukong) was hitting that country, unfortunately resulting in additional fatalities after the Super Typhoon Bopha catastrophe there. Here, a sinister-looking face glares at the islands ...


Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS

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10. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:07 AM GMT on January 18, 2013
stuostro has created a new entry.
9. Civicane49
2:23 AM GMT on January 10, 2013
Quoting Astrometeor:
I saw this first over at Dr. Masters' blog earlier. Not a face but still, an interesting picture nonetheless.

"Narelle is having some inner core difficulties, it can't really get a full eyewall together"

Thanks goes to MAweatherboy1 for posting this earlier.

Anyone see the question mark in Cyclone Narelle?


At first, I didn't saw that, lol.

Here's another image that looks like a question mark. This is Tropical Storm Debby from last year. At one time, it looked like a question mark, and the models had a great uncertainty of Debby's forecast track.



Thanks for the interesting blog, Stu.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
8. Astrometeor
1:53 AM GMT on January 10, 2013
I saw this first over at Dr. Masters' blog earlier. Not a face but still, an interesting picture nonetheless.

"Narelle is having some inner core difficulties, it can't really get a full eyewall together"

Thanks goes to MAweatherboy1 for posting this earlier.

Anyone see the question mark in Cyclone Narelle?

Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10344
7. Xandra
10:23 PM GMT on January 06, 2013
Here’s one of my my favourites. The human bird. ;)

Europe - WV image from EUMeTrain, July 3, 2010, 00 UTC.

Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
6. Astrometeor
9:38 PM GMT on January 06, 2013
Normal people just see things in regular cumulus clouds.

Geeks of our nature look elsewhere for faces.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10344
5. DocNDswamp
9:30 PM GMT on January 06, 2013
Hmmmmm... Coffee, huh?
Yeah, right...
Appears I'll have to keep a close eye on you, Mr. Stu...
;)

Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
4. VR46L
2:45 PM GMT on January 05, 2013
Saw this today I see a swan in the lower part of the shot thought it was cool..



DMSP - North Atlantic - infrared
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
3. beell
11:30 PM GMT on January 04, 2013
You're awesome, Stu.
Thanks!
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16732
2. VR46L
10:38 PM GMT on January 04, 2013
Thanks an enjoyable fun blog !!

Kind of an imagery junkie myself Must say I really like the face Image.
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
1. whitewabit (Mod)
10:37 PM GMT on January 04, 2013
I am now glad to know other people see faces in satellite, and radar images !! I have done it for years and find it to be sort of a hobby looking for them ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31581

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About stuostro

Senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel. Proud to be a weather-obsessed weather geek. Would be a DJ if not a meteorologist.

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