Earth  ID: 3207

Global 300 hPa Geopotential Height during Hurricane Frances (WMS)

The Earth's atmosphere exerts pressure based on the weight of the air above, so the pressure reduces with rising altitude. This rate of pressure reduction with altitude is based on the temperature of the air, with the pressure of colder air reducing faster with altitude than warmer air. Therefore, a surface of constant pressure has a lower altitude at the poles than the equator. This animation shows the altitude above sea level (the geopotential height) of the 300 hectopascal (hPa) pressure surface for the whole globe from September 1, 2004, through September 5, 2004, during the period of Hurricane Frances in the western Atlantic Ocean and Typhoon Songda in the western Pacific Ocean. This pressure is about one-third of the normal pressure at sea level. The largest downward slope of this surface occurs in the mid-latitudes and is shown in yellow in the animation. At this region, air is trying to flow from the equator towards the poles to reduce the slope, but the rotation of the Earth forces the flow to divert to the east, forming the strong west-to-east jet stream flows in these regions. Frances and Songda can be seen as sharp yellow dots of reduced height in their respective locations.

Visualization Credits

Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
William Putman (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
fvGCM/PRECL (Large-scale precipitation rate (Inst) [mm/day])
Model - NASA - 2005-09-01T03:00 -- 2005-09-05T24:00
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.

This item is part of these series:

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
DLESE >> Natural hazards
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Altitude >> Geopotential Height
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Phenomena >> Hurricanes
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Phenomena >> Typhoons
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Natural Hazards >> Meteorological Hazards
GCMD >> Location >> Global
SVS >> Hurricane Frances
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD 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