NASA team awaits next hurricane
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With no hurricanes on the horizon, a NASA team is studying thunderstorms and other weather effects around Florida - and getting ready for the next big storm.
Right: These four strip images depict a thunderstorm with a large ice core and a cirrus anvil cloud as seen in four radio frequencies by the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer aboard the ER-2. (Links to
"We've just been flying TEFLUN missions with the ER-2 and Citation," said Robbie Hood, the mission scientist for the Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3). Because hurricanes can't be scheduled, the CAMEX-3 campaign was integrated with the Texas and Florida Underflight (TEFLUN) campaign to measure weather conditions as the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite flies overhead.
"We still have other missions," Hood said, including water vapor around Andros Island, Bahamas, where NASA has a important weather station, and convection development and stratiform rain clouds over Florida and the Gulf of Mexico area.
The CAMEX-3 team - comprising scientists from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and universities - had a dynamic opening in August with flights over and through Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, and Earl.
Right: This cross-section of a thunderstorm was produced by the ER-2 Doppler radar (EDOP) on Tuesday. (Links to
The experiment continues through Sept. 23, and the team has enough flight time left for two or three flights, Hood said. How they will be used will be decided as the weather develops, but Hood would like to give priority to moisture inflow ahead of hurricanes.
Meanwhile, the scientists are rechecking their instruments to be ready for the next hurricane.
Note: More details are available in the NASA press release describing CAMEX-3. Check back as hurricane season progresses. We will post science updates as the campaign develops.
PIX: High resolution scans of 35mm camera photos from the CAMEX-3 campaign are available from Public Affairs Office at NASA headquarters. Please call the NASA Headquarters Photo Department at 202-358-1900, or contact Bill Ingalls at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAMEX Series Headlines
August 12: Overview CAMEX story , describes the program in detail.
NCAR has an extensive writeup on the GPS dropsondes used in CAMEX-3 and other atmospheric campaigns.
A new study - not related to CAMEX-3 - by the Arizona State University suggests a link between hurricanes in the northwest Atlantic and air pollution.
CAMEX-3 - the third Convection and Moisture Experiment - is an interagency project to measure hurricane dynamics at high altitude, a method never employed before over Atlantic storms. From this, scientists hope to understand better how hurricanes are powered and to improve the tools they use to predict hurricane intensity.
An overview story (Aug. 12, 1998) describes the program in detail. The study is part of NASA's Earth Science enterprise to better understand the total Earth system and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment. A midterm story (Aug. 31, 1998) reviews the first month of operations and the windfall of data.
Measuring distance and speed
Because meteorology and aeronautics first used modified nautical charts, their data bases are in nautical miles and knots (nautical miles per hour). In these stories, we use Standard International ("metric") units first, and give more familiar measurements in English units and the original measurements in nautical units. Because of rounding and because the wind speeds originally are expressed in knots, km/h speeds to knots may be slightly different from the numbers in the story.
- km - kilometer (1 km = 0.62 smi = 0.54 nmi)
- km/h - kilometers per hour
- mi, or smi - miles (statute miles; 1 smi = 0.87 nmi = 1.61 km)
mph - (statute) miles per hour
- nmi - nautical miles (1 nmi = 1.15 smi= 1.85 km)
- kts - knots (nautical miles per hour)
- Standard International Units:
- English (or US) units:
- Nautical units:
|CAMEX-3 home page contains links to daily flight operations and instrument descriptions.
Lightning Imaging Sensor aboard the TRMM satellite observes lightning from above the clouds - and my lead to better warnings on the ground.
MACAWS uses the Doppler effect (red and blue shifts) to measure wind velocity.
SPARCLE is a Space Shuttle experiment set for 2001 to demonstrate laser wind measurement from space.