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Satellites Provide 3-D Views and More of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy as viewed by the TRMM Precipitation Radar at 2:20 EDT on Oct. 28, 2012. Credit: NASA

Satellite imagery and data has been invaluable in predicting the path and intensity of storms like Hurricane Sandy. Satellites like NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) can measure rainfall rates and cloud heights in tropical cyclones, and was used to create a 3-D image, above, to allow forecasters to look inside the hurricane, and predict fairly spot-on what locations would be affected the worst. There’s even a 3-D video view from the CloudSat satellite, and much more, including a stunning wind map, and this round-up from JPL of various satellite views of the storm. You can also see a slideshow of NASA satellite images and videos on the NASA Goddard Flickr site.

This exemplifies just one reason why space exploration is important, and why people are maybe now starting to realize how our failure to plan ahead and invest in weather satellites may become a problem. Without those eyes in the sky we are blind to the minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour development of storms and weather, not to mention overall study of the climate.

Below is a stunning high-speed satellite view from the GOES-14 satellite:

Focusing just on the area of the storm, the GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan Operation (SRSO) captures infrared and visible data every minute and relays that information to forecasters on the ground. This animation shows the GOES-14 SRSO for October 29, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy approached the U.S. coastline.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • SJStar October 30, 2012, 9:23 AM

    I’m almost laughing my tail off reading this story. Useful ammunition presented to me on an open platter! (Giggle!)

    But importantly to say by me, this is not for those who are suffering under it wicked tempest of Sandy, nor of the saddening damage to properties and lives. I only heartily wish them safety and best wishes of support during this time.

    Wow!. What wanton short-sightess by NOAA and NASA that the author of this article is usually greatly and eagerly promoting.

    I also read this recent New York Times article on 27th October 2012 “U.S. Satellite Plans Falter, Imperiling Data on Storms.” It seems the this Universe Today story, and a few others on the weather in the last few days here (UT), is to wanting to promote and to impress the reader into the technological superiority of the US. (One can only question the real motivates here. Is this science reporting or plain propaganda?)

    To quote the NYT article, they ACTUALLY say UPFRONT;

    The United States is facing a year or more without crucial satellites that provide invaluable data for predicting storm tracks, a result of years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements, according to several recent official reviews.

    It also says that

    Experts have grown increasingly alarmed in the past two years because the existing polar satellites are nearing or beyond their life expectancies, and the launch of the next replacement, known as J.P.S.S.-1, has slipped to 2017, probably too late to avoid a coverage gap of at least a year.

    So instead of my berating the US-folk reading this, I instead suggest you read the 350-odd comments with the story.

    As the experienced aerospace promoter Mr. A. Thomas Young, refers to NASA and NOAA as “dysfunctional.” It is hard not to disagree — being seemingly the continuing dire and endemic weakness of the US economy, so desperately hidden away, strikes-up yet another clarion call of impending calamity.

    To this story, in is interesting that 84% of the data to gathered by NOAA satellites, and that in just over a year there may be NO data at all!

    Pray dearly not only for those suffering under Sandy’s wrath, but also for the future safety of US citizens and those relying on their global satellite data. You may soon have the rug pulled from under you — all thanks of American dysfunctional economics and planning — words notably not mine by those who are on the front lines of space and weather research!

    My (and their) Report Card reads : F+

    • Aqua4U October 30, 2012, 1:10 PM

      You are obviously a very lonely person. I’ll wager that IF you are recognized in public, everyone moves away from you as soon as they can… right?

      • SJStar October 30, 2012, 1:32 PM

        Robert Greene’s Praemonitus praemunitus — Forewarned is to be forearmed…

        You might learn something by that…

        • massmurdoch October 31, 2012, 7:48 AM

          (Giggle!)

      • newSteveZodiac October 30, 2012, 1:33 PM

        don’t feed the trolls

        • SJStar October 30, 2012, 1:59 PM

          Don’t listen to the mindless nitwits with nothing useful to say. Nah!

        • SJStar October 30, 2012, 2:52 PM

          Thinking about it…

          Definition : “A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off- topic messages in an online community.”

          How does my submission here constitute being a troll?

          It clearly doesn’t.

          All this is some kind of self deluded ego trip because you have absolutely nothing to say for themselves.

          Frankly I am sick to death of those, especially like some Americans seem to often want do, who will espouse and defend the right of free speech in the loudest voice, yet are so fracken’ cowardly, that they not only say nothing about the topic on hand. Even worst that they instead, try to do the exact opposite, and will either suppress or intimidate others from reading others words or ideas. It is the highest order of hypocrisy possible.

          The other central belief, also held by Americans especially, is the notions of truth and justice. They all scream till they are blue in the face that this is the central basis of their social political system, yet if you tell the actual truth to ‘em, they will blame everyone else but themselves!

          It is about time people stand up to these on-line bullies and throw it back in their faces.

          Bottom line. The story is a classic example of grossly letting the side down, not only hurting all your countrymen and women, and many beyond its borders.

          I do think and worry of the third-world countries who haven’t the knowledge, finances or the capabilities of surviving disasters like Sandy here; and rely on the kind gratitude of the US to warn them in advance to prepare for the imminent danger.

          Praemonitus praemunitus ain’t just two clever words, it is a serious means of reducing loss of life and property. The story here is being in a country that says it gives a damn and of the failures of government department who are plainly forgetting who they serve and who they are protecting. You’re failing them too!!!!!!

          Idiots like you are more worried about trolls than they are about protecting people for disasters… Is that the message you are trying to say here?

          I’ll tell you… call me a troll again, and I will be far less kind.

          • Aqua4U October 30, 2012, 3:13 PM

            For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. – Psalm 36:2

          • SJStar October 30, 2012, 3:36 PM

            Brilliant. Iniquity. Describes the problem of this issue in a tight nutshell.

            Flattery is one thing, being able to sustaining arguments and tell the real truth without fear or favour is another more important one.

            Having no real argument here, means no interest in what you are saying. Anything constructive? No? Or are you just going to keep taking pot-shots at me and ignore the story? I guess not.

          • newSteveZodiac October 30, 2012, 4:10 PM

            troll

          • SJStar October 30, 2012, 8:13 PM

            Get stuffed!! Stop acting as a two-year-old.

          • newSteveZodiac October 31, 2012, 11:01 AM

            fol de rol

          • SJStar October 31, 2012, 11:37 AM

            Foolishness. Eh? You’re the one here who is attacking me and yet still has nothing to say!! How frankly foolish is that, I wonder?

          • newSteveZodiac October 31, 2012, 2:17 PM

            Tor kommer med sin åska

    • spell7 October 31, 2012, 5:45 PM

      UT just can’t get credit for anything, can they? They point out an area of concern and you ridicule them for giving you “ammo” and accuse them of a vast propaganda conspiracy. Report on a successful mission/program/study and you accuse them of ignoring or covering up something bigger.

      The point of this article is to call attention to the value of weather satellites and the need to continue investing in these technologies. There’s no propaganda – you are misled by your hatred of all things American.

      • SJStar November 1, 2012, 1:28 AM

        Dipstick. I do not hate America, and to say otherwise shows how out of touch you are. Half of what you say here plain lies and half-truths. I’ve never said anything about cover ups, because the story is plainly in the open.

        Gee too. Everything I said above is supported by available evidence, not hearsay. Next you will be calling the New York Times as being anti-American too!

        From your personal attacks here shows you are another one of those ugly bigoted American who has been brainwashed into believing the garbage feed being to you. One thing is for sure, I dislike you more than your fellow Americans.

        • spell7 November 1, 2012, 2:41 PM

          My apologies – I stand corrected and recognize that you do not hate America. It is clear you have a significant dislike for many current characteristics of America but this does not equate to hatred.

          I don’t see how this article is garbage or brainwashing or propaganda. Please elaborate. I disagree with your original comment that this article is an attempt to overstate our technological superiority .

          As for the half truths and lies, a sampling of quotes:
          “(One can only question the real motivates here. Is this science reporting or plain propaganda?)”

          “Cultural America is mostly a stinking vacuous self-absorbed backwater, whose once great empire is now on its last knees – ”

          “Yet again we see only the hyped positive-slanted pro-US / pro-NASA articles without any of the controversial problems or issues that are facing Curiosity’s mission.”

          “Are we ever going to see that article on the IAU 2012 General Assembly in China. [One can only wonder if this wasn’t mention because of it location?]”

          I also recall accusations regarding the perceived lack of reporting/NASA cover up of the contaminated drill on Curiosity and the ‘attempt to rewrite history’ by using the name “Mt. Sharp”.

          • SJStar November 1, 2012, 4:37 PM

            Let’s see I say;

            “From your personal attacks here shows you [dipstick] are another one of those ugly bigoted American who has been brainwashed into believing the garbage being feed to you. “

            Then you say;

            I don’t see how this article is garbage or brainwashing or propaganda.

            Failed general comprehension at school, eh?

          • spell7 November 1, 2012, 7:00 PM

            I never was much for reading…thanks for correcting me. I shouldn’t have assumed this particular article would be considered some of the garbage and brainwashing being fed to me.

            Bottom line is your comments on topics such as stellar evolution and the like are informative and enjoyable. Please keep those coming.

            Repeatedly lecturing us about America’s shortcomings and ridiculing the average citizen gets tiresome very quickly. Your point has been made! I would guess that the average person that takes an interest in the topics found on UT is painfully aware of the situation we are in. You are, in some ways, preaching to the choir.

            It pleases me to no end to read the stories about scientific progress being made despite the idiotic decisions made by our (or any other) government agencies, corporations or public at large. So I implore you to keep the discussion centered on the science as much as possible.

          • SJStar November 2, 2012, 4:52 AM

            This assumes Americans are interested in science. UT seems far more interested in gossipy articles and promotion of mostly North America space interests. (Perhaps it should be renamed America’s View of Space Today)?) This unfettered bias is mostly what cheese me off.

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