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TRMM captures Hot Towers Igniting Hurricane Wilma's Heat Engine

On October 17, 2005 at 0302 Zulu (11:02 EDT on October 16, 2005), Wilma was classified as a Tropical Storm with sustained wind speeds of only 30 knots (34 mph) and pressure reading of 1001 mb. Forty-Eight hours later the storm had increased its intensity to category five status with sustained winds of 150 knots (172 mph). The tall towers (in red) near the center of the circulation often indicate further strengthening. 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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TRMM captured 2 very deep Hot Towers in the eyewall of Tropical Storm Wilma.  These towers measured 15-16 km high.    TRMM captured 2 very deep Hot Towers in the eyewall of Tropical Storm Wilma. These towers measured 15-16 km high.
Duration: 14.2 seconds
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Tropical Storm Wilma begins to strengthen in the Caribbean Sea.    Tropical Storm Wilma begins to strengthen in the Caribbean Sea.

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

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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3289
Animation Number:3289
Completed:2005-09-14
Animator:Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC) (Lead)
Scientist:Jeff Halverson (JCET UMBC)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:TRMM/VIRS (2005/10/19)
 TRMM/TMI (2005/10/19)
 TRMM/PR (2005/10/19)
Series:Hurricanes
 TRMM 3D Hurricanes
 Hurricane Wilma
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientific Visualization Studio
 
Keywords:
DLESE >> Atmospheric science
SVS >> Hurricane
DLESE >> Natural hazards
SVS >> Hurricane Frances
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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