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Towers in the Tempest

This visualization won Honorable Mention in the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge in September 2007. It was also shown during the SIGGRAPH 2008 Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles, CA. 'Towers in the Tempest' is a 4.5 minute narrated animation that explains recent scientific insights into how hurricanes intensify. This intensification can be caused by a phenomenon called a 'hot tower'. For the first time, research meteorologists have run complex simulations using a very fine temporal resolution of 3 minutes. Combining this simulation data with satellite observations enables detailed study of 'hot towers'. The science of 'hot towers' is described using: observed hurricane data from a satellite, descriptive illustrations, and volumetric visualizations of simulation data. The first section of the animation shows actual data from Hurricane Bonnie observed by NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft. Three dimensional precipitation radar data reveal a strong 'hot tower' in Hurricane Bonnie's internal structure. The second section uses illustrations to show the dynamics of a hurricane and the formation of 'hot towers'. 'Hot towers' are formed as air spirals inward towards the eye and is forced rapidly upwards, accelerating the movement of energy into high altitude clouds. The third section shows these processes using volumetric cloud, wind, and vorticity data from a supercomputer simulation of Hurricane Bonnie. Vertical wind speed data highlights a 'hot tower'. Arrows representing the wind field move rapidly up into the 'hot tower, boosting the energy and intensifying the hurricane. Combining satellite observations with super-computer simulations provides a powerful tool for studying Earth's complex systems. The complete script is available here . The storyboard is available here . There is also a movie of storyboard drawings with narration below.
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Towers in the Tempest - full narrated version    Towers in the Tempest - full narrated version
Duration: 4.3 minutes
Available formats:
  1280x720 (30 fps) MPEG-4   95 MB
  640x360 (30 fps) MPEG-4   49 MB
  960x540 (30 fps) MPEG-4   94 MB
  512x288 (30 fps) MPEG-1   73 MB
  720x480 (30 fps) MPEG-4   97 MB
  1280x720 (60 fps) MPEG-4   182 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) Frames
  1280x720   TIFF         550 KB
  Audio Track
  960x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   89 MB
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This animation combines the first two sections of the narrated piece above.  It begins with NASA's fleet of satellites, shows observed data from the TRMM satellite, and then displays NCAR meoscale model data of Hurricane Bonnie.    This animation combines the first two sections of the narrated piece above. It begins with NASA's fleet of satellites, shows observed data from the TRMM satellite, and then displays NCAR meoscale model data of Hurricane Bonnie.
Duration: 2.5 minutes
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  1280x720   Frames (Bridge section1 section3)
  640x480     Frames (PanNscan)
  320x180     MPEG-1   17 MB
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This is the section two of the full movie that explains the dynamics of wind and energy inside of a hurricane.  This movie contains audio.    This is the section two of the full movie that explains the dynamics of wind and energy inside of a hurricane. This movie contains audio.
Duration: 1.5 minutes
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  1280x720   MPEG-4   49 MB
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NASA's Earth observing fleet    NASA's Earth observing fleet

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TRMM observes Hurricane Bonnie using the Visible and Infrared Sensor (VIRS)    TRMM observes Hurricane Bonnie using the Visible and Infrared Sensor (VIRS)

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TRMM's precipitation radar (PR) data of Hurricane Bonnie    TRMM's precipitation radar (PR) data of Hurricane Bonnie

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A hurricane's eye is an intense low pressure system    A hurricane's eye is an intense low pressure system

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Air spirals inward towards the eye, rapidly upward, and outward    Air spirals inward towards the eye, rapidly upward, and outward

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Air picks up energy from the warm ocean through evaporation and releases it in the hurricane through condensation    Air picks up energy from the warm ocean through evaporation and releases it in the hurricane through condensation

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Hot towers act like 'express elevators', accelerating the movement of energy up into the hurricane    Hot towers act like 'express elevators', accelerating the movement of energy up into the hurricane

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Wind speed changes between the fierce eye wall and relatively calm winds in the eye can spin up intense vortices    Wind speed changes between the fierce eye wall and relatively calm winds in the eye can spin up intense vortices

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Near the surface, air spiraling inward collides with vortices, forcing the air upwards, creating an updraft    Near the surface, air spiraling inward collides with vortices, forcing the air upwards, creating an updraft

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A very strong updraft moves energy much higher than normal, creating a hot tower    A very strong updraft moves energy much higher than normal, creating a hot tower

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Step zero of the simulation shows the low level winds, represented as arrows,  rising quickly in the updraft (orange region).    Step zero of the simulation shows the low level winds, represented as arrows, rising quickly in the updraft (orange region).

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Fifteen minutes later, the updrafts (orange) have moved with the winds.
Notice the  red arrows which show the low level winds caught in the storm's updrafts.    Fifteen minutes later, the updrafts (orange) have moved with the winds. Notice the red arrows which show the low level winds caught in the storm's updrafts.

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The winds and updrafts continue to change.  The green circles are 50 km, 100 km,  150 km, and 200 km  from the center of the simulation.    The winds and updrafts continue to change. The green circles are 50 km, 100 km, 150 km, and 200 km from the center of the simulation.

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The favorable region for updraft formation and a  vortex/updraft pair.    The favorable region for updraft formation and a vortex/updraft pair.

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The eye of the storm is shown in blue and vorticity in red.    The eye of the storm is shown in blue and vorticity in red.

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Volumetric clouds of Hurricane Bonnie only.    Volumetric clouds of Hurricane Bonnie only.

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Composite still    Composite still

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This animation is the video from section two of the full movie which illustrates the dynamics of a hurricane and the formation of Hot Towers.    This animation is the video from section two of the full movie which illustrates the dynamics of a hurricane and the formation of Hot Towers.
Duration: 1.5 minutes
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Storyboard composite based on original hand-drawn sketches (displayed at SIGGRAPH 2008)    Storyboard composite based on original hand-drawn sketches (displayed at SIGGRAPH 2008)

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Storyboard version with hand-drawn still images    Storyboard version with hand-drawn still images
Duration: 4.3 minutes
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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3413
Animation Number:3413
Completed:2007-04-30
Animators:Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC) (Lead)
 Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC)
 Alex Kekesi (GST)
 James W. Williams (GST)
 Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
 Marte Newcombe (GST)
 Tom Bridgman (GST)
 Cindy Starr (GST)
 Helen-Nicole Kostis (UMBC)
Video Editor:Stuart A. Snodgrass (GST)
Narrator:Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
Scientist:Scott Braun (NASA/GSFC)
Project Support:Randall Jones (GST)
 Joycelyn Thomson Jones (NASA/GSFC)
 Kevin Mahoney (CSC)
 John Jacobi (GST)
Writers:Michael Starobin (HTSI)
 Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
 Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
 Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC)
 Scott Braun (NASA/GSFC)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:TRMM/VIRS (08/22/1998 15Z-21Z)
 TRMM/PR (08/22/1998 15Z-21Z)
 Mesoscale Model Version 5 (MM5)/MM5
Series:TRMM 3D Hurricanes
 Narrated Movies
 Goddard Shorts
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
 
Keywords:
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Hurricane
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Phenomena >> Hurricanes
SVS >> Model Data
SVS >> iPod
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> Copenhagen
DLESE >> Narrated
SVS >> Voice Over Talent
 
 


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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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