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 World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered
18.01.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
11.01.2018 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>