You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

I intended to address this earlier, but Iceland’s volcanology stole the stage for a bit. NASA recently put a new satellite into orbit whose mission will be to monitor the sun, using new and more advanced technology then has been previously deployed: the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO). From the web page:

“Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. The spacecraft will provide images with clarity ten times better than high definition television and more comprehensive science data faster than any solar observing spacecraft in history.” and from the mission statement:

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be taking a closer look at the Sun, the source of all Space Weather. Space Weather affects not only our lives here on Earth, but the Earth itself, and everything outside its atmosphere (astronauts and satellites out in space and even the other planets)….SDO is the first satellite under the Living with a Star (LWS) program at NASA. The spacecraft is being designed to fly for five years. However, since satellites go through a lot of testing and retesting, they often keep working long past their initial mission life. SOHO for example, which was built to fly for five years, in 2005 celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2005!…

“First light” is astronomer-speak for the first time a new telescope is turned toward the heavens to capture the light of a remote star or space object. On April 2312, 2010, SDO (the Solar Dynamic Observatory) unveiled its first-light imagery for the first time, and the views are, and will be spectacular:

full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by SDO on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than 1 million Kelvin, or 1,799,540 F). Credit: NASA SDO/AIA

Click on the filament image below for a full screen mp4 video of this filament erupting:

A close-up view of the filament launch in the 304 band, which corresponds to a wavelength of about 304 Angstroms.

Additional motion views at different scales are available here.

The NASA home page for SDO is, and many of the images will available at the Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio (search “SDO” under Most Recent Imagery at the Studio pages).


The US National Weather Service seems to be having data feed issues for their feeds from the radar sites this morning. Base data seems to be erratic and currently is an hour behind actuality or they’re running on EST but reporting DST (EDT). EWR Scan A especially is being effected. However, their UTC clock appears to be off by an hour. Update: they appear to be catching up…

Level 3 data used for B Scans appears to be current and correct.

Update: Regional scans are back online, but may be erratic. Timestamps on all data products should be checked before relying on the presented information.

Southwestern Ontario and Niagara got just pasted yesterday and the day before. A steady stream of large and small cells out of Michigan, Illinois and Indiana out of that cold front. Eastern Ontario missed the brunt of it. EWR sent out at least dozen alerts.

Some radar scans below of Apr 6th and 7th – this sort of stuiff went on for nearly a full 36 hour period. As much as 65-80mm of rain got dumped in the triangle between London, Sarnia and Chatham.

On Tues, after a night of small, but fairly intense popup cells over the north shore of lake Erie, this MCS grew up on the lee shore of Lake Michigan and emigrated to Canada about 12:45 Tues afternoon. crossing the Wallaceburg area about 1 pm. The southermost cell flirted with being a full grown supercell all the way across its trip. Although it tripped off ETVS and TVS signatures, I don’t know if anything came to ground. Most of the signatures were elevated. Grand Rapids never issued tornado warniings for it, but
Indianapolis did.

Composite reflectivity scan

On Wednesday, Welland got pounded with this cell at about 1:42pm:

The base velocity profile for this storm (at 1:47pm) looked like this:

In 3-D, cell looked like this from the east (ie from Buffalo) ( looking at the 45-55dBZ return profile). The inflow jet stands out…

And the same view with all echo return layers, transparent, (the purple hail core is embedded and doesn’t show through the denser rain wrap) the weak echo region of the main updraft shows just above the inflow jet:

All returns, transparent, viewed from the south (out over Lake Erie). The strong upper winds are clear and evidence of how fast-moving these storms were. I was surprised at how skinny this was! It was dropping rain at the rate of 10-15 mm/hr around this time:

another view:

And finally, 10 minutes later, it appears to stretch out even more. The clipping of the radar at KBUF is evident in the flattopping. I’m not sure, since the cell is very close to the radar site, how much of the slope is an anomaly of the rotational scan time and how much is actual wind profile:

Preliminary tests indicate the SW Ontario alert system is a go, and will go live later today. The two alerts recently posted in EWR Wx Alert occurred in real time and represent a detailed alert, and the text message alert sent upon detection of the trip parameters. Both of these alerts also went out as tweets on Twitter, as well as by email to the test subscriptions. Normally, the text alert is not posted to EWR Wx Alert, nor sent to Twitter.

Some operational notes: As the SW Ontario alert system operates on a separate computer (software limitation), it will only be operational when weather conditions dictate. When the SW Ontario alert system is up and linked to the main radar page, the main radar page of Ephemerata Weather Radar will indicate monitoring in the title bars and a link will be evident under the Scan A image indicating it is online. Scan B will have the appropriate higher resolution derivative scans up as has been the usual practice. This approach to display of the two alert systems is intended to provide load balance to servers and is under review and may change in due course.

Under some circumstances the SW Ontario alert computer may be operating tranparently to the EWR radar computer, ie, it won’t be evident that its up and running, as the main page will not provide a SW Ontario Scan A link (if the alert system is active, the monitoring sub-title bar will indicated so). Scan generation and alert generation are two separate features of the software, and the SW alert cpu may operate in detection mode only (scan upload off). Any alert generated will have the appropriate scan image attached, however. In this circumstance, the scan A image may not be available from the EWR radar main page, but the Scan B set will show the detailed local activity, which is where you should head in any case.


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RSS Last Alert Issued:

  • GH-GTA Scan Zone Severe Weather Alert #ONStorm October 2, 2016
    SEVERE WEATHER ALERT — 01:35 PM EDT Oct 02 2016 This is an automated alert of potentially severe weather for the Golden Horseshoe/ Greater Toronto/Niagara Peninsula/South-Central Ontario Monitored Area, from Ephemerata Weather Radar. See attached scan image. The alert triggered at 01:35 PM EDT on Oct 02 2016, from radar data analyzed from NWS radar site KBUF […]

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