Jan 092014
 

Much of the central, northern and eastern US and Canada is in the grip of a deep freeze, experiencing the coldest temperatures in decades, due to a deep polar upper low.  WeatherTheatre SceneOne gives a 3D perspective of the evolution and progression of this winter storm, also called a ‘polar vortex’.

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Top Down View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Top Down View. An upper shortwave trough, indicated by the sharp u-shaped curvature in the jetstream along the tropopause surface in the right half of the image, shows the first wave of cold air to affect the central-eastern US. At this time, the cold air was peaking over the northeast US. Red shadings indicate the strongest winds on the tropopause while blue shadings the lightest. The 300K Theta surface partially obscures the tropopause near the top of the image, where its height is greater. The blue shading is indicative of the cold polar air mass in this region.

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 6-1-2014-00z, North America, Top Down View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 6-1-2014-00z, North America, Top Down View. The large u-shaped valley in the tropopause represents the second wave of cold air to affect the US, longer in wavelength than the initial cold snap, and responsible for the coldest temperatures in decades. The red shadings indicate the strongest winds, associated with the jetstream. The dark blue shadings near the top indicate cold temperatures of the 300K Theta surface, which is overlapping and obscuring the tropopause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The icy storm complex began shortly after New Year, 2014, with a shortwave upper trough sweeping over central-eastern states. This was then followed by a longer-wave trough associated with the ‘polar vortex’, bringing frigid conditions across much of the US. The only areas to escape were along the west coast and the far south.

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Westerly Vertical View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Westerly Vertical View of the first cold wave, showing a deep tropopause (upper surface) fold along the wave front, shaded red due to the intense winds associated with the jetstream in this region.

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Northeasterly Vertical View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 3-1-2014-12z, North America, Northeasterly Vertical View, looking along the axis of the shortwave trough responsible for the first frigid weather across central-eastern states. Red shadings correlate with the strongest winds (upper surface) and warmest temperatures (lower surface). Conversely, blue shadings correlate with the weakest winds (upper surface) and coldest temperatures (lower surface).

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 7-1-2014-00z, North America, Top Down View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 7-1-2014-00z, North America, Top Down View. The second and longer wavelength upper trough responsible for the coldest temperatures in decades is seen in the u-shaped tropopause valley. The red shadings indicate intense jetstream winds. The blue shaded 300K Theta surface obscures the tropopause in the valley region.

Dec 042013
 

Plummeting temperatures, heavy snowfalls and freezing winds are blasting the NW USA as a strong winter front progresses east.

A deep, tropopause fold envelopes and intersects with a steep, mountainous, Theta surface, revealing a vigorous Arctic cold front, slicing through most of the troposphere, in the WeatherTheatre SceneOne 4-12-2013-0z Northeasterly View.

The typical upward slope of the Theta surface from tropics to polar regions is apparent at zonal points in the WeatherTheatre Orbital Sweep, culminating in a steep ascent in the frontal region.

The front is inducing surface cyclogenesis with most forecast models indicating a low over Colorado will drift northeast and rapidly deepen in the next 48 hours.

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 4-12-2013-0z Orbital Sweep

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 4-12-2013-0z North America Orbital Sweep.  A strong front ‘hangs’ over the NW USA, showing up as a curtain fold of the tropopause (upper surface).  Typical meridional upward slope of the Theta (lower) surface from tropics to polar regions is apparent at zonal points of the sweep, with a notable steep ascent near the front.  The frontal fold intersects with the Theta surface and this is apparent from northerly points (looking south) in the sweep where bits of the tropopause can be seen beneath the Theta surface.  Red shadings correlate with the strongest winds (upper surface) and warmest temperatures (lower surface). Conversely, blue shadings correlate with the weakest winds (upper surface) and coldest temperatures (lower surface).

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 4-12-2013-0z Northeasterly View

WeatherTheatre SceneOne 4-12-2013-0z Northeasterly View. A strong Arctic front is vividly revealed by a deep tropopause fold (upper surface), partially obscuring a mountainous theta surface which is indicative of a polar atmosphere. Red shadings correlate with the strongest winds (upper surface) and warmest temperatures (lower surface). Conversely, blue shadings correlate with the weakest winds (upper surface) and coldest temperatures (lower surface).