Beauty in the beast is one way to look at a major hurricane. Early today Hurricane Joaquin jumped up to category 4 intensity with 130 mph winds as it continued to crawl through the Bahamas. On the ground it would look like death and destruction. From space however, a storm this powerful can be a magnificent thing of beauty. This post is a nod to our local NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. MD where they host the GOES Project. They manage the GOES East satellite, where they compiled a three day video animation between Sep 29 and Oct 1 2015 combining visible and infrared (at night) satellite images.
Circulation to watch on this video
Here you can see the enhanced circulation grow, and notice the outflow. Low pressure in the northern hemisphere rotates counter clockwise. A well developed hurricane will have High pressure over the center, which helps to clear out the eye and maintain the heat engine. The outflow are high based cirrus clouds, extend far away from the center, and rotate clockwise. So if you look closely you will see the tight circulation and the outflow rotate in opposite directions.
SUOMI NPP VIIRS Image
This image below is another personal nod. This is from the SUOMI NPP Satellite that I got to watch launch into space with my father and oldest son in 2011. One of the instruments with the most impressive imagery was flexing its muscle today. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard captured an infrared image that showed cloud top temperatures colder than -63F/-53C, indicative of powerful storms within the hurricane. NASA research has shown that storms with cloud tops that high (and that stretch that high into the troposphere) have the capability to generate heavy rain.
Keep checking back for more storm updates.
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