DISCUSSION: During a given Winter season, many people around the world find themselves either yearning for or despising the occurrence of major winter storms. Moreover, many people will find themselves wondering where and how far away such winter storms begin in the first place and how they sometimes evolve into the more notorious regionally travel-disrupting winter blasts which airports, highways, and even people living in snowstorm-prone regions around the world have come to loathe at times. Quite often, the answer is surprisingly much more simplistic than one may think.
One of the most fundamental principles in atmospheric sciences is the reality that the Earth’s atmosphere world is effectively an interconnected fluid. Moreover, that all the energy and water vapor contained within Earth’s atmosphere is exchanged between the surface and the uppermost parts of the atmosphere on a routine basis. Hence, it is not a far-fetched concept to accept the fact that energy from extra-tropical low-pressure systems on one side of the Earth influence the development of extra-tropical cyclone events on the other side of the Earth. In taking that concept just a little bit further, an extra-tropical cyclone over the Central or Eastern Pacific Ocean can often provide the primary and/or the initial source of energy for a future or projected winter storm over any part of North America. More often than you may think, this is precisely what happens in some way, shape or form.
Therefore, based on that logic, it is not a very far stretch of the imagination to understand why it becomes so critically important to monitor and keep track of low-pressure system development and evolution across the entire span of the Pacific Ocean. With the advent of advanced high-resolution satellite imagers such as the GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites, this has become an even more practical endeavor for atmospheric forecasters and research scientists from around the world. This is because these newer, state-of-the-art satellite imaging platforms have now given the realm of atmospheric science the unique ability to study larger scale low-pressure system development (and details thereof) on a finer scale than ever before in recorded history.
A great example of such research angles is captured in the Tweet attached above concerning a current low-pressure system which is impacting the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (courtesy of the National Weather Service office in Seattle, Washington). Such great scientific advancements in Earth-bound remote sensing capabilities are a revolutionary step forward in the current and future abilities of atmospheric science to better monitor and project the development of atmospheric phenomena (including but not limited to) winter storm development. This, it goes without saying that atmospheric science is certainly taking several major current and future steps in advancing the evolving abilities of current and future atmospheric as well as climate research.
To learn more about other interesting weather and weather-related topics from across the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz