Tropical Storm Gonzalo strengthened into a hurricane on Oct. 14 when it was near Puerto Rico and provided a natural laboratory for the next phase of NASA's HS3 or Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission.
The WB-57 aircraft flew over Hurricane Gonzalo on Oct. 15 carrying two HS3 mission instruments called HIWRAP and HIRAD in addition to a new Office of Naval Research sponsored dropsonde system.
This image of Gonzalo is from NOAA's GOES-East satellite on Oct. 15 at 17:30 UTC (1:30 p.m. EDT).
Image Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crew members are positioned at separate tandem stations in the forward section of the fuselage. The WB-57 will fly for approximately 6 hours, has a range of approximately 2,500 miles, and can carry up to 8,800 pounds of payload.
The HIWRAP is the High-altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler, a "conically scanning" Doppler radar, meaning it scans in a cone-shaped manner. Wind measurements are crucial for understanding and forecasting tropical storms since they are closely tied to the overall dynamics of the storm. The HIWRAP instrument is able to measure line-of-sight (along the radar beam) winds and rain and because it scans in a cone beneath the aircraft, it gets two looks at most parts of the storm, allowing calculations of the 3-D wind and rain fields. In the absence of rain, it can also measure ocean surface winds.
The Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD) is a passive microwave radiometer that was developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama. HIRAD’s purpose is to map out where the strongest winds are in a hurricane. HIRAD provides unique observations of sea surface wind speed, temperature and rain. The data HIRAD gathers will advance understanding and predictability of hurricane intensity. HIRAD's data will also help better determine maximum wind speed and structure of the vortex (spinning center). The region of strongest winds are also much better observed with HIRAD than current capabilities.
The WB-57 aircraft is also testing a new dropsonde system developed by Yankee Environmental Systems. The WB-57's focus is on the upper-level outflow from storms and its connection to the inner-core region.
When the WB-57 investigated Gonzalo it was a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. According to the National Hurricane Center, Gonzalo is the first category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Ophelia in 2011.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured a visible image of Gonzalo on Oct. 15 at 15:15 UTC (11:15 a.m. EDT) that showed the eye of the storm obscured by high clouds.
An image from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSMI) aboard the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-15 satellite taken on Oct. 13 at 07:13 UTC (3:13 a.m. EDT) showed very tiny inner eyewall and a new secondary eyewall, concentric about the center.
At 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 15, Gonzalo's maximum sustained winds increased to near 130 mph (215 kph) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that fluctuations in intensity were expected over the next couple of days. Gonzalo's cloud-covered eye was located near latitude 23.5 north and longitude 68.0 west, about 640 miles (1,025 km) south-southwest of Bermuda. Gonzalo was moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 kph). The minimum central pressure was reported by an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft was 949 millibars.
The WB-57 has been conducting science missions for the Office of Naval Research in September and will continue through October 2014.
The HS3 mission is funded by NASA Headquarters and overseen by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. It is one of five large airborne campaigns operating under the Earth Venture program.
The HS3 mission also involves collaborations with partners including the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Laboratory, NOAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Program, Hurricane Research Division and Earth System Research Laboratory, Northrop Grumman Space Technology, National Center for Atmospheric Research, State University of New York at Albany, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, University of Wisconsin, and University of Utah. The HS3 mission is managed by the Earth Science Project Office at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. The WB-57 is housed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, home of the NASA WB-57 High Altitude Research Program.
For more information about the HIWRAP, visit:
For more information about the HIRAD, visit:
For more information about the WB-57, visit:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
Rob Gutro | Eurek Alert!
NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
New research unlocks forests' potential in climate change mitigation
21.04.2017 | Clemson University
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy