Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ERS-2 has ringside view of Hurricane Wilma’s violent winds

25.10.2005


As Hurricane Wilma barrels towards the Florida coast, a last-minute acquisition by a unique instrument aboard ERS-2 is helping strengthen weather forecasters’ final predictions of its future course and strength.



The ERS-2 radar scatterometer data shown here was acquired by the satellite on 04:30 UTC this morning (06:30 CEST), then relayed via the ground station of the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS) at the University of Miami to be speedily processed by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), being made available to forecasters to analyse within the hour.

"ERS scatterometer data are very useful to correct position and strength of tropical cyclones in numerical weather analyses and prediction," said Ad Stoffelen of the KNMI. "For its application one must note that each scatterometer wind is measured in a wind cell of about 50 by 50 km.


"For this case the maximum mean wind measured over such extended area is about 100km/hour. Given a tropical cyclone model, meteorologists know that local sustained winds are typically 50% larger, and gusts may reach speeds even three times larger."

Dr Hans C. Grabar of CSTARS added that as Wilma has yet to make landfall, the scatterometer data would be swiftly passed to the US National Hurricane Center "which will aid in their advisories setting marine conditions and predicting the strength of winds at landfall".

The payload of ERS-2 – ESA’s veteran Earth Observation satellite launched back in 1995 - includes the only radar scatterometer currently flying capable of peering through the thick clouds and rain swirling around Wilma to chart the underlying wind fields powering the storm.

This instrument works by firing a trio of high-frequency radar beams down to the ocean, then analysing the pattern of backscatter reflected up again. Wind-driven ripples on the ocean surface modify the radar backscatter, and as the energy in these ripples increases with wind velocity, so backscatter increases as well. Scatterometer results enable measurements of not only wind speed but also direction across the water surface.

What makes ERS-2’s scatterometer especially valuable is that its C-band radar frequency is almost unaffected by heavy rain, so it can return useful wind data even from the heart of the fiercest storms – and is the sole scatterometer of this type currently in orbit.

As well as being processed by KMNI, scatterometer data are also routinely assimilated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) into their advanced numerical models used for meteorological predictions.

Wilma struck the Mexican coast on Friday, but dampened down from a Category Four storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale down to a Category Two. Back over the open sea, the storm strengthened and sped up to a Category Three.

ESA’s scatterometer future

To maintain future continuity of scatterometer coverage, a new more advanced scatterometer instrument called ASCAT is part of the payload for ESA’s MetOp mission, currently due to launch in 2006.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMBWW3J2FE_planet_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht How much biomass grows in the savannah?
16.02.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties

23.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>