Thursday, November 17, 2011

The plane, boss, the plane

The NOAA P3 airplane arrived here just recently and did a science flight a couple days ago, on the 16th. Early in the flight they flew to the location of the US NOAA ship that is involved in DYNAMO, the Revelle. The plane and the ship got close enough to take photos of each other:

The P3 then flew through a region of active convection near Diego Garcia. This was quite a large convective complex. Here it is on the IR satellite image, look around the letters "JDG" in the southern hemisphere:
Similar large features have been present for a while now since we have been in the suppressed phase, and we have been calling them the "ITCZ" (intertropical convergence zone). In this case, the region in question had been quiet for a day or so before this blowup happened, and after spending a day or so looking at various maps and graphs I have come to think that this event was triggered by an upper-level disturbance of extratropical origin. Interestingly I think the same is true - in the opposite hemisphere - of the smaller region of convection north of Sri Lanka in the same image.

I don't want to spend any more time writing about this though, because we are in the middle of an exciting burst of activity here at Gan this morning. We've had several hours of rain already (starting even before the first call to prayer) and the radars are all lit up. Here's an image showing the latest reflectivity maps (superimposed on infrared satellite in the b/w) from SMART-R and S-POLKA. That big line to the south of Gan is heading right for us.

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