Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA-JAXA's TRMM satellite sees rapid intensification of category-5 Marcia

23.02.2015

At 11 p.m. local time (1324 UTC) on Feb. 19, 2015, the Precipitation Radar on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed the eyewall of Tropical Cyclone Maria in the Coral Sea. At that time, Marcia was rapidly intensifying to category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, a little more than 12 hours before an expected landfall in Queensland, Australia.

The TRMM satellite is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The TRMM Precipitation Radar gives three-dimensional information about the tropical storm's eyewall.


TRMM data showed a hot tower up to 8.6 miles (14 km) high in the northwest quadrant of the eyewall (the purple pinnacle of the outer, blue volume).

Image Credit: NASA/JAXA, Owen Kelley

In this case, the heavy precipitation (the red volume of the image) near the ocean surface is the powerful base of a hot tower in the southwest quadrant of the eyewall.

A "hot tower" is a rain cloud that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It extends approximately nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. These towers are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat.

Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA research found that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower in its eyewall was twice as likely to intensify within the next six hours, than a cyclone that lacked a tower.

Since this tropical cyclone is in the southern hemisphere, the winds rotate clockwise (the opposite direction from North Atlantic hurricanes). The updraft in this tower is strong enough to lift precipitation, as it rotates clockwise, up to an 8.6 mile (14 km) altitude in the northwest quadrant of the eyewall (the purple pinnacle of the outer, blue volume).

With infrared satellite imagery, only the tall overshooting top can be seen, leaving one in the dark about what precipitation processes are on-going "under the lid" of the tropical cyclone. Forecasters are particularly interested in these processes when a tropical cyclone is rapidly intensifying near landfall, as is the case with Marcia at the time of this TRMM overflight.

While the TRMM satellite is near the end of its operational lifetime, a more advanced satellite was launched about a year ago that will be able to make 3-D observations of tropical cyclones with a dual-frequency radar and also carries a passive-microwave radiometer. This new satellite is called the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core satellite.

For more information about TRMM and GPM, visit: http://pmm.nasa.gov.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Turning the Climate Tide by 2020
29.06.2017 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
28.06.2017 | Frontiers

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

High conductive foils enabling large area lighting

29.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Designed proteins to treat muscular dystrophy

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Climate Fluctuations & Non-equilibrium Statistical Mechanics: An Interdisciplinary Dialog

29.06.2017 | Seminars Workshops

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>