GPM Examines Hurricane Irma

  • Released Sunday, September 10, 2017
  • Updated Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 2:51PM
  • ID: 4584

The GPM core observatory satellite had an exceptional view of hurricane Irma's eye when it flew above it on September 5, 2017 at 12:52 PM AST (1652 UTC). This visualization shows a rainfall analysis that was derived from GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) data. Irma was approaching the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of about 178 mph (155 kts). This made Irma a dangerous category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Intense rainfall is shown within Irma's nearly circular eye.

This 3-D cross-section through Irma's eye was constructed using GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) data. GPM's radar revealed that the heavy precipitation rotating around the eye was reaching altitudes greater than 7.75 miles (12.5 km). The tallest thunderstorms were found by GPM's radar in a feeder band that was located to the southwest of Irma's eye. These extreme storms were reaching heights of over 10.0 miles (16.2 km). Intense downpours in the eye wall were found to be returning radar reflectivity values of over 80dBZ to the GPM satellite.

Irma rapidly intensified on September 4-5 as it moved over very warm waters and into an environment will weak vertical wind shear (the change of winds with height). Irma maintained maximum winds of 185 mph for a day and a half, making it one of the longest-lived storms at this intensity. That intensity made it the strongest observed storm over the Atlantic Ocean (excluding the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean). Irma’s rapid intensification was very similar to Hurricane Harvey's in the Gulf about 10 days earlier.

GPM scans Hurricane Irma on September 5th and again on September 7th as the storm approaches Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti as a category 5 hurricane. This version has no dates.

Dates-only version corresponding the the visualization above.

Dates-only version corresponding the the visualization above.

Color bar for liquid precipitation rates (ie, rain rates). Shades of green represent low amounts of liquid precipitation, whereas shades of red represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for liquid precipitation rates (ie, rain rates). Shades of green represent low amounts of liquid precipitation, whereas shades of red represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for frozen precipitation rates (ie, snow rates). Shades of cyan represent low amounts of frozen precipitation, whereas shades of purple represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for frozen precipitation rates (ie, snow rates). Shades of cyan represent low amounts of frozen precipitation, whereas shades of purple represent high amounts of precipitation.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma approaching Puerto Rico on September 5th, 2017

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma approaching Puerto Rico on September 5th, 2017

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma approaching Puerto Rico on September 5th, 2017. <p>A cutting plane slices through 3D precipitation data to expose the eye of storm.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma approaching Puerto Rico on September 5th, 2017.

A cutting plane slices through 3D precipitation data to expose the eye of storm.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma off the coast of Haiti on September 7th, 2017.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma off the coast of Haiti on September 7th, 2017.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma off the coast of Haiti on September 7th, 2017.

Print resolution still image of Hurricane Irma off the coast of Haiti on September 7th, 2017.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Missions

This visualization is related to the following missions:

Series

This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

GOES (Collected with the IR4 sensor)
GPM Volumetric Precipitation data (A.K.A. Ku) (Collected with the DPR sensor)
Observed Data | JAXA

Credit: Data provided by the joint NASA/JAXA GPM mission.

See more visualizations using this data set
GPM Rain Rates (A.K.A. Surface Precipitation) (Collected with the GMI sensor)

Credit: Data provided by the joint NASA/JAXA GPM mission.

See more visualizations using this data set

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.



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