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Hurricane Satellite (HURSAT) Data

The HURSAT project provides Tropical Cyclone-centric satellite data in gridded netCDF format to create a database of small, portable, and easy to work with storm data. The project began with HURSAT-B1, but has expanded to include data from other satellite sources with different temporal and spatial resolution. 

HURSAT Basin 4 Storms

About

HURSAT-B1 data are derived from International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) B1 data. The HURSAT-B1 v06 data spans 1978-2015 and provides coverage of global tropical cyclones at 8-km and 3-hourly resolution.

More Information
Sample HURSAT-B1 Grids overlaid on 4 storms in the North Atlantic

HURSAT-B1 data are freely available via FTP and HTTPS. Please let us know when and how you use the data so that we can notify you of dataset updates and justify future revisions. Feel free contact us with questions, concerns, or comments about the dataset. 

Email: ncei.sat.info@noaa.gov

Current Version

HURSAT-B1 v06

HURSAT Version 6  includes:

  • Data through 2015 for B1 (geostationary)
  • ARCHER parameters (an objective algorithm to identify cyclone center and eye characteristics)

Data Access

Data is grouped by individual storm in the following formats: 

Data Revision Notification

Please notify us when you download HURSAT data so we can contact you when newer dataset versions become available.

Citation

When using this data for research, please reference Knapp and Kossin, 2007: 

Knapp, K. R. and J. P. Kossin, 2007: New global tropical cyclone data from ISCCP B1 geostationary satellite observations. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 1, 013505.
doi:10.1117/1.2712816

Access Methods 

The data are in netCDF format. Access methods include:

  • Libraries available for Fortran, C and other programming languages
  • Commercial software have netCDF libraries "built-in", such as MatLab and IDL
  • ArcGIS version 9.2 allows GIS users to analyze the data

Additional Access Methods

This dataset consists of raw satellite observations derived from the ISCCP B1 data centered on historical tropical cyclones (TC).

HURSAT Version 6 Details and Specifications
UpdatesUpdated annually. See revisions for more information.
Temporal coverage1978–2015
Temporal resolution3 hourly imagery
Spatial coverageGlobal coverage: all storms are visible from the geostationary constellation (except some early storms in the Indian Ocean)
Spatial resolution~8km
Data set grid0.07 deg lat/lon grid centered on the storm location at the time of image with 301x301 pixels (spans ~1100km from the storm center)
Spectral coverageVisible (~0.6um) and infrared window (~11um) and other channels when available: water vapor (~6.7 um), near IR (~3.9 um) and split window (~12 um)
Satellites
  • SMS-2
  • GOES-1 to 15
  • Meteosat-2 to 10
  • GMS-1 to 5
  • MTSAT-1R
  • MTS-2
  • FY2-C/E
Formats
  • netCDF
    • Each netCDF file is a snapshot of the storm from one of the satellites.
    • It's possible to have more than one netCDF file for the same timestamp when a storm is visible to multiple satellites at the same time.
  • KML
    • See available KML imagery.
Dataset generationIBTrACS were temporally interpolated to match the 3-hourly satellite resolution. The satellite data were then gridded to 8km, with grid centers fixed on the tropical cyclone center of circulation.
Dataset detailsKnapp and Kossin, 2007

Calibration

ISCCP data were tested to determine the long-term stability of infrared observations. This was performed by comparing geostationary-based observations with HIRS footprints. See Knapp (2008) for the details of the calibration.

Version 6 (Current Version)

Release Date

Jan 2018

Features

Generated with IBTrACS v03r09

Bugs

None reported

Version 5

Release Date

May 2011

Features
  • Generated with IBTrACS v03r02
  • Each storm file also has entire storm track and intensity data from IBTrACS
  • Consistent file naming with HURSAT AVHRR v05 and HURSAT MW v05.
Bugs

None reported

Version 4

Not publicly released (Dec 2009)

Version 3

Release Date

1 December 2007

Features
  • Version 2.0 bugs fixed.
  • New storm name format will not change as data are updated.
  • No storm tracks from JTWC East Pacific are used.
  • Better QC instituted to remove corrupt files.
  • More thorough merging of HURDAT and JTWC storm tracks. Changes to best track files were documented online.
  • Files were made smaller by replacing the VZA array with a scalar value of view zenith angle for each file.
Bugs
  • This doesn’t affect the data itself, only the filenames.

Version 2

Release Date

30 June 2007

Features
  • Version 1.0 bugs fixed.
  • Storm location, central pressure and maximum sustained wind provided as variables.
  • netCDF metadata provides traceability by providing original JTWC/HURDAT filenames for each netCDF file.
  • Filename changed from hursat-geo to hursat-b1
Bugs
  • Two storms had inverted temperature scales (1982WP027 and 1982WP028)
  • Some storms were inadvertently included (sometimes called invests)
  • Incorrect temporal interpolation when original best track data was not 6-hourly

Version 1

Bugs
  • Data not fully CF compliant
  • View zenith angle (VZA) grid calculated incorrectly - although the VZA value in the filename is correct.
  • Some positions were interpolated incorrectly from 6-hourly to 3-hourly (for instance, the last 8 interpolated positions for Ophelia in 2005)

Papers that use this data include:


Kossin, J. P., and M. Sitkowski, 2009: An Objective Model for Identifying Secondary Eyewall Formation in Hurricanes. Monthly Weather Review137, 876-892. doi:10.1175/2008MWR2701.1


Elsner, J. B., Kossin, J. P., Jagger, T. H., 2008: The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones. Nature455, 92-95. doi:10.1038/nature07234


Knaff, J. A., Cram, T. A., Schumacher, A. B., Kossin, J. P., DeMaria, M., 2008: Objective identification of annular hurricanes. Weather and Forecasting23, 17-28. doi:10.1175/2007WAF2007031.1


Kossin, J. P., D. J. Vimont, K. R. Knapp, and R. J. Murnane, 2006: A Reanalysis of Global Hurricane Trends, Geophy. Res. Lett.34, L04815. doi:10.1029/2006GL028836 | PDF from J. Kossin.

About

Passive microwave observations provide significant information content because most clouds are transparent at microwave wavelengths. The HURSAT-Microwave (MW) dataset is constructed using a very similar process to HURSAT-B1. Each time a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite passes over a tropical cyclone, Special Sensing Microwave Imager (SSMI) data are mapped to an equal angle grid (fixed latitude/longitude) centered on the temporally interpolated storm location. HURSAT-MW provides brightness temperatures for all seven SSMI channels. No product retrievals (e.g., rain rate, total column water vapor, etc.) are provided in the data but are possible (e.g., viewing the imagery derived from the data).

Sample of potential products from HURSAT Microwave

 

Current Version: HURSAT-MW v05

Other Satellites

Currently, HURSAT-MW data is limited to DMSP SSMI data. If you are interested in hurricane imagery from other microwave satellites, please contact us.

Data Access

Data Revision Notification

Please let us know when and how you use HURSAT data so that we can notify you of dataset updates and justify future revisions.

Citation

No official citation is available for HURSAT-MW. Its development closely follows Knapp and Kossin, 2007, so please cite that paper and note that you are using HURSAT-MW-v05 in any subsequent work.

Access Methods 

The data are provided in NetCDF format. Access methods include:

  • Libraries available for Fortran, C, and other programming languages
  • Commercial software have netCDF libraries "built-in," such as MatLab and IDL
  • ArcGIS version 9.2 allows GIS users to analyze the data

Additional Access Methods

HURSAT-MW consists of raw satellite observations derived from the SSMI Sensor Data Records (SDR) data centered on historical tropical cyclones (TC).

Current Version: HURSAT MV v05  and Specifications
UpdatesUpdated as needed. See revision plans for more information.
Number of storms2412 tropical cyclones
Number of storm observations58,284 netCDF files (Average of 24 observations per storm)
Temporal coverageJuly 10, 1987 to Dec. 14, 2009
Temporal resolutionDependent on number of operational SSMI
Spatial coverageGlobal coverage
BasinsAll tropical cyclone-prone basins in the world
Spatial resolutionsData are provided in two forms: gridded and swath.
  • Swath - Native satellite swaths (resolution varies from ~15km to 70km)
  • Gridded - Interpolated to 8km (to match HURSAT-B1 resolution)
Dataset gridData from within ~1100 km of the interpolated storm center are provided. The gridded data are provided at 0.07 deg lat/lon grid centered on the storm location at the time of image on a 301x301 grid.
Spectral coverage
  • 19 GHz (Vertical & Horizontally polarized)
  • 22 GHz (Vertically polarized)
  • 37 GHz (Vertical & Horizontally polarized)
  • 85 GHz (Vertical & Horizontally polarized)
SatellitesF8, F10, F11, F13, F14, F15
Format
  • netCDF
  • Each netCDF file is a snapshot of the storm from one of the satellites.
  • Multiple netCDF files are possible when a storm is visible by two satellites at the same time
Dataset generationIBTrACS v03r02 were used to locate potential SSMI overflights. When SSMI was nearby, the 6-hourly storm track was interpolated to a position coincident with the SSMI observation. The satellite data were then interpolated to 8km. NetCDF files also contain the swath data at the native satellite resolution.

Version 5 (Current Version)

Release Date

1 Jul 2012

Features

Files consistently named with other HURSAT v05 types (B1 and AVHRR).

Bugs

None known yet

Versions 2–4 (Skipped) 

These versions were never produced. Instead, the version numbering was skipped to be consistent with HURSAT-B1

Version 1

Released

Summer 2009

Beta

Released

1 Feb 2008

Features

SSMI data centered on tropical cyclones at native resolution as well as gridded (CF compliant).

Bugs

None known yet

About

HURSAT-AVHRR is derived from NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and balances the weaknesses of the HURSAT-B1 data. It has higher (4km) spatial resolution, and its observations originate from one instrument instead of a variety of instruments in the B1 record. However, the temporal resolution is limited to two to eight observations per day, depending on the satellite configuration.

Sample retrievals of cloud information from HURSAT-AVHRR data for Hurricane Katrina

 

HURSAT-AVHRR v05 (Current Version)

Data Access

Data Revision Notification

Please let us know when and how you use HURSAT data so that we can notify you of dataset updates and justify future revisions.

Citation

No official citation is available for HURSAT-AVHRR. Its development closely follows Knapp and Kossin, 2007, so please cite that paper and note that you are using HURSAT-AVHRR-v05 in any subsequent work.

Access Methods 

The data are provided in NetCDF format. Access methods include:

  • Libraries available for Fortran, C, and other programming languages
  • Commercial software have netCDF libraries "built-in,” such as MatLab and IDL
  • ArcGIS version 9.2 allows GIS users to analyze the data

HURSAT-AVHRR data consist of raw satellite observations derived from the AVHRR Level 1B Global Area Coverage (GAC) data centered on historical tropical cyclones (TC).

Current Dataset: Version 5
UpdatesTo be updated as needed. See revision plans for more information.
Number of storms3,350 tropical cyclones
Number of storm observations130,386 netCDF files (Average of 39 observations per storm)
Temporal coverageNov. 5, 1978 to Dec. 15, 2009
Temporal resolutionDependent on number of operational NOAA satellites
Spatial coverageGlobal coverage
BasinsAll tropical cyclone-prone basins in the world
Spatial resolutionsData are interpolated to a 4km fixed grid
Dataset gridData from within ~1,100 km of the interpolated storm center are provided. The gridded data are provided at 0.035 deg lat/lon grid centered on the storm location at the time of image on a 601x601 grid.
Spectral coverageAll AVHRR channels are provided in the HURSAT files
SatellitesNOAA-5 through 18 and METOP-2
FormatnetCDF
  • Each netCDF file is a snapshot of the storm from one of the satellites.
  • Multiple netCDF files are possible when a storm is visible by two satellites at the same time.
Dataset generationIBTrACS v03r02 were used to locate potential AVHRR overflights. When AVHRR was nearby, the 6-hourly storm track was interpolated to a position coincident with the AVHRR observation. The satellite data were then interpolated to 4km. NetCDF files also contain the swath data at the native satellite resolution.

Version 5

Released

1 Jul 2012

Features

Files consistently named with other HURSAT v05 types (B1 and MW).

Bugs

None known yet

Version 3 and 4 (Skipped)

These versions were never produced. Instead, the version numbering was skipped to be consistent with HURSAT-B1

Version 2

Released - 2010

Version 1

Released - 2008

Beta

Released - 2007

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