/>
X

Images: Satellites keep eye on hurricanes

If there's a hurricane brewing, NASA knows about it--and has plenty to offer for weather watchers on Earth. The space agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can show hurricanes in color and three dimensions.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor
14668.jpg
1 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Towers of heat

If there's a hurricane brewing, NASA knows about it--and has plenty to offer for weather watchers on Earth.

The space agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can show hurricanes in color and three dimensions. In these two images, red indicates regions of the most significant rainfall. The spires, called "hot towers," suggest a powerful heat engine inside the storm, which signals its growth potential.

14669.jpg
2 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Water temperature

The key factor to hurricane season is the water temperature. Hurricanes cannot exist over water cooler than 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This map shows temperatures (in orange and yellow) from September 2004 in areas that proved to be a feeding ground for deadly storms including Frances and Ivan.

14670.jpg
3 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Hurricanes in 3D

3D volumetric representations of tropical storms can give an idea of wind and rain strength.

Here, Hurricane Frances is defined by a tightly wound ball of high winds over Florida; Ivan is still a tropical depression forming in the eastern Atlantic. The colors represent total precipitable water (blue is low, red is high).

14671.jpg
4 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Tracking intensity

This map shows the intensity of Hurricane Ivan throughout its meandering path. Purple is the weakest classification (tropical depression), and red is the fiercest (class five).

14672.jpg
5 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

TRMM Hurricane Ivan rainfall structure

Another look at Hurricane Ivan, from Sept. 16, 2004. Blue represents areas with at least a quarter-inch of rain per hour, green shows at least a half-inch of rain per hour, and yellow, at least one inch of rain per hour.

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes
Holiday lights in Central Park background

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes

21 Photos
Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting
Wooden lodge in pine forest with heavy snow reflection on Lake O'hara at Yoho national park

Related Galleries

Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting

21 Photos
Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes
3D Rendering Christmas interior

Related Galleries

Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes

21 Photos
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos