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Hurricane Katrina Hot Towers

NASA's TRMM spacecraft allows us to look under Hurricane Katrina's clouds to see the rain structure on August 28, 2005 at 0324Z. Spikes in the rain structure known as 'hot towers' indicate storm intensity. 'Hot Towers' refers to tall cumulonimbus clouds and has been seen as one of the mechanisms by which the intensity of a tropical cyclone is maintained. Because of the size (1-20 km) and short duration (30 minute to 2 hours) of these hot towers, studies of these events have been limited to descriptive studies from aircraft observations, although a few have attempted to use the presence of hot towers in a predictive capacity. Before TRMM, no data set existed that could show globally and definitively the presence of these hot towers in cyclone systems. Aircraft radar studies of individual storms lack global coverage. Global microwave or Infrared sensor observations do not provide the needed spatial resolution. With a ground resolution of 5 km, the TRMM Precipitation Radar provided the needed data set for examining the predictive value of hot towers in cyclone intensification.
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Energy-releasing deep convective clouds (to 16 km) in the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina on August 28 occurred while the storm was intensifying to a category 5 classification.    Energy-releasing deep convective clouds (to 16 km) in the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina on August 28 occurred while the storm was intensifying to a category 5 classification.
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TRMM is the only satellite that can provide rain structure information over open oceans.  Most tropical cyclones breed and intensify in these locations.    TRMM is the only satellite that can provide rain structure information over open oceans. Most tropical cyclones breed and intensify in these locations.

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Two deep towers are observed by the TRMM spacecraft.  The tower in the center is located in the hurricane's eye wall.    Two deep towers are observed by the TRMM spacecraft. The tower in the center is located in the hurricane's eye wall.

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This image is the same as the above image with the clouds completely removed    This image is the same as the above image with the clouds completely removed

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Hurricane Katrina's vertical rain structure in kilometers.   The high towers are shown in red.
   Hurricane Katrina's vertical rain structure in kilometers. The high towers are shown in red.

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Hot towers emerging from Katrina on August 28, 2005 as observed by TRMM.    Hot towers emerging from Katrina on August 28, 2005 as observed by TRMM.

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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3253
Animation Number:3253
Completed:2005-09-14
Animators:Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC) (Lead)
 Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Scientist:Jeff Halverson (JCET UMBC)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:TRMM/VIRS (2005/08/28)
 TRMM/TMI (2005/08/28)
 TRMM/PR (2005/08/28)
Series:Hurricanes
 TRMM 3D Hurricanes
 Hurricane Katrina
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientific Visualization Studio
 
Keywords:
DLESE >> Atmospheric science
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Hurricane
DLESE >> Natural hazards
SVS >> Hurricane Frances
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Presentation
Science paper:http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0112towerclouds.html
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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