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 New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>