Senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel. Proud to be a weather-obsessed weather geek. Would be a DJ if not a meteorologist.
By: Stu Ostro , 8:18 PM GMT on January 04, 2013
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
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.