Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA satellites sample hurricane ’ingredients’ to help forecasters

11.09.2003


The Atlantic Ocean becomes a meteorological mixing bowl from June 1 to November 30, replete with all needed ingredients for a hurricane recipe. NASA turns to its cadre of satellites to serve up a feast of information to the forecasters who seek to monitor and understand these awesome storms.



Typically, during the peak of hurricane season, from late August to mid-September, tropical cyclones of interest to U.S. coastal regions form around the Cape Verde Islands off Africa. NASA satellites are critical for helping forecasters determine if all of the ingredients are coming together to create a hurricane. If a hurricane forms, it is critical to know how strong it may be, which coastal communities or sea lanes will be at risk.

NASA provides researchers and forecasters with space-based observations, data assimilation, and computer climate modeling. NASA sponsored measurements and modeling of global sea surface temperature, precipitation, winds and sea surface height have also improved understanding of El Nino and La Nina events, which respectively tend to suppress and enhance Atlantic and Gulf hurricane development.


Thirty years ago, meteorologists were unable to see the factors in hurricane formation and could only spot a hurricane with still pictures from the TIROS-N satellite. Over the past 10 years, visible and infrared satellite sensors were the workhorses for monitoring hurricanes. Today, multiple NASA satellites exploit everything from radar pulses to microwaves to enhance forecasts, providing data to researchers several times a day.

The first ingredient in the hurricane recipe is sea surface temperature of at least 82 F. Unlike traditional infrared satellite instruments, the Aqua satellite’s Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission’s (TRMM) Microwave Imager can detect sea surface temperatures through clouds. This valuable information can help determine if a tropical cyclone is likely to strengthen or weaken. The Jason-1 satellite altimeter provides data on sea surface height, a key measurement of ocean energy available to encourage and sustain hurricanes.

Another necessary ingredient is rotating winds over the ocean’s surface, precursors to tropical cyclone development. The NASA provided SeaWinds instruments aboard Japan’s Midori 2 and NASA’s QuikSCAT satellites can detect these winds before other instruments, providing even earlier notice of developing storms to forecasters and scientists.

Air temperature and humidity are also important factors. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) experiment suite aboard the Aqua satellite obtains measurements of global temperature and humidity throughout the atmosphere. This may lead to improve weather forecasts, improved determination of cyclone intensity, location and tracks, and the severe weather associated with storms, such as damaging winds.

Rainfall intensity is the final ingredient, and the Precipitation Radar provided by Japan for the TRMM satellite provides CAT scan-like views of rainfall in the massive thunderstorms of hurricanes. TRMM instruments probe young tropical systems for rainfall intensity and the likelihood of storm development. TRMM also sees "hot towers" or vertical columns of rapidly rising air that indicate very strong thunderstorms. These towers are like powerful pistons that convert energy from water vapor into a powerful wind and rain-producing engine. Once a storm develops, TRMM provides an inside view of how organized and tightly spiraled rain bands are, key indicators of storm intensity.

TRMM provides tropical cyclone intensity information from the safe distance of space allowing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center and the Department of Defense Joint Typhoon Warning Center to turn to TRMM, QuikSCAT and other NASA satellites for early assessment of storms in the open ocean. The hurricane monitoring capabilities enabled by these satellites are funded by NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise, which is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

Rob Gutro | GSFC
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0909hurricane.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior
23.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>