Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A ’hot tower’ above the eye can make hurricanes stronger

12.01.2004


They are called hurricanes in the Atlantic, typhoons in the West Pacific, and tropical cyclones worldwide; but wherever these storms roam, the forces that determine their severity now are a little less mysterious. NASA scientists, using data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, have found "hot tower" clouds are associated with tropical cyclone intensification.


AN UNUSUALLY DEEP CONVECTIVE TOWER IN HURRICANE BONNIE AS BONNIE INTENSIFIED

This TRMM Precipitation Radar overflight of Hurricane Bonnie shows an 11 mile high "tower" cloud perched on the eyewall of the storm. Bonnie was observed on August 22, 1998, a few days before it struck North Carolina. The 3D volume represents the raining region inside the clouds of the hurricane. This 3D volume contains all of the locations where the rain rate was at least 0.08 inches per hour. The eye and eyewall are labeled on the image of surface rain rate. Cyclone intensification may be associated with the presence a tower cloud in the cyclone’s eyewall. CREDIT: NASA / JAXA



Owen Kelley and John Stout of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and George Mason University will present their findings at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Seattle on Monday, January 12.

Kelley and Stout define a "hot tower" as 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.


A particularly tall hot tower rose above Hurricane Bonnie in August 1998, as the storm intensified a few days before striking North Carolina. Bonnie caused more than $1 billion damage and three deaths, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center.

Kelley said, "The motivation for this new research is that it is not enough to predict the birth of a tropical cyclone. We also want to improve our ability to predict the intensity of the storm and the damage it would cause if it struck the coast." The pioneering work of Joanne Simpson, Jeffrey Halverson and others has already shown hot towers increase the chance a new tropical cyclone will form. Future work may use this association to improve forecasts of a cyclone’s destructive potential.

To achieve their goal, Kelley and Stout needed to compile a special kind of global statistics on the occurrence of hot towers inside tropical cyclones. The only possible data source was TRMM satellite, a joint effort of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. "Many satellites can see the top of a hot tower, but what’s special about this satellite’s Precipitation Radar is that it gives you ’X-ray vision’ so you can see inside a hot tower," Kelley said. To compile global statistics, the radar needs to be orbiting the Earth.

After compiling the statistics, Kelley and Stout found 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. The "eyewall" is the ring of clouds around a cyclone’s central eye. Kelley and Stout considered many alternative definitions for hot towers before concluding the nine-mile height threshold was statistically significant.

Funding for the research was provided by NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. The Enterprise strives to advance Earth System Science and to improve the prediction of climate, weather and natural hazards from the unique vantage point of space.

Rob Gutro | GSFC
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/0112towerclouds.html

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 >>>