Hurricane News and Coolest Pictures EVAH!

As predicted, Gaston has emerged from from the ITCZ as a named tropical storm in the eastern Atlantic. Unlike Fiona, Gaston will reach hurricane status, and in fact, there is a pretty good chance that Gaston will be a major hurricane. What matters, of course, is where it goes. In any event, formation of a hurricane and nearing land will not happen until Labor Day or later.

Meanwhile, Earl, which during the night Thursday and early morning Friday will be turning with 100 knot winds off the coast of the Carolinas, is getting some special attention from NASA. Here’s a picture NASA published just a few minutes ago:

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AIRS infrared image of Hurricane Earl on Sept. 1, 2010, shows the temperature of Earl’s cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions. The coldest cloud-top temperatures appear in purple, indicating towering cold clouds and heavy precipitation. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In case you wanted to see wind speed and vector data from within the hurricane, we have that for you as well:
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MISR image of Hurricane Earl captured on Aug. 30, 2010. The left panel of the image extends about 1,110 kilometers (690 miles) in the north-south direction and 380 kilometers (236 miles) in the east-west direction. Earl’s wind speeds are shown in the right panel. The lengths of the arrows indicate the wind speeds, and their orientation shows wind direction. The altitude of a given wind vector is shown in color. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

And here is yet another image of Earl:

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AIRS visible-light image of Hurricane Earl on Sept. 1, 2010. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

And, the coolest thing of all is this animation:

Animation depicts a vertical cross-section of Hurricane Earl as seen by NASA’s CloudSat satellite on Aug. 31, 2010. CloudSat captured Earl’s intense cumulonimbus clouds and eye, along with cloud-free regions. The storm’s most intense convection and precipitation are shown in shades of orange and red. Image credit: NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University/NOAA

More information on the NASA products here.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    September 1, 2010

    I wonder which AIRS bands are being used to produce the brightness temperature image. The 210K effective temperatures have me a bit confused though; that implies an emitter like water vapor at very high altitudes or else a very strong reflection of radiation (or lack thereof) from space – or a poor analysis resulting in unreliable temperature retrievals (though I’d be surprised if someone at CalTech would get such a simple thing wrong). The large tracts at ~295-300K suggest that in those areas you can pretty much see right down to the ground.

  2. #2 MadScientist
    September 1, 2010

    D’oh! Stoopid me. I’m going blind and had trouble spotting that “12 micron” caption in the image. I still have to wonder if a single pixel was used or if several were used to improve the signal.

    I’m accustomed to staring out to space though, and from the ground and using a broad band the sky is typically ~230K on a dry cloudless day (or night). Using the high resolution radiometer which I built a decade ago I can see regions in the atmosphere which are typically much colder though – as cold as ~180K. I’ll have to ask a meteorologist if/why they get those extremely low temperatures in a hurricane.

  3. #3 Gerry L
    September 1, 2010

    I’d appreciate it if anyone with good photoshopping or html skills — or whatever it takes — would edit any images of Gaston that have it headed toward Florida and divert it somewhere else. I’ll be flying into central FL on the 10th, and I really, really don’t want to be messing around with a hurricane.

    BTW, the place I’m going was walloped by 3 out of 4 massive hurricanes that hit the state about 5 or 6 years ago.

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