From: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Published September 26, 2017 05:30 PM

NASA Satellite Temperatures Reveal a Stronger Hurricane Lee

NASA's Aqua satellite peered into Hurricane Lee with infrared light to determine if the storm was intensifying. Infrared data showed cloud top temperatures were getting colder, indicating stronger storms.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Lee on Sept.25 at 12:35 p.m. EDT (1635 UTC) and analyzed the storm in infrared light. Infrared light provides scientists with temperature data and that's important when trying to understand how strong storms can be. The higher the cloud tops, the colder and the stronger they are. So infrared light as that gathered by the AIRS instrument can identify the strongest sides of a tropical cyclone.

At the time Aqua passed overhead, the eye was clear in infrared imagery, and the northwestern side of the storm had a larger area of thunderstorms than the eastern quadrant, suggestive of southeasterly wind shear.  Cloud top temperatures in thunderstorms around the eyewall as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius).  Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.  

Read more at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Image: NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared picture of Hurricane Lee's cloud top temperatures from Sept. 25 at 12:35 p.m. EDT (1635 UTC). Credits: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

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