Sep 28, 1998

NASA takes two more glimpses of hurricane George

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NASA gives Georges two last looks


ER-2 makes an extra flight for CAMEX


Sept. 28, 1998: (this is the 20th in a series of stories covering the ongoing CAMEX mission to hunt new hurricane data at altitudes not flown since the 50s. Other stories are linked in below.)

NASA's hurricane research team got two last, extra looks at Hurricane Georges on Sunday as the ER-2 flew over the hurricane Friday and Sunday as it approached and then battered the American Gulf Coast. This last look came a few days after the official end of the third Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3), which collected an impressive amount of hurricane and tropical storm data.

Right: This colorized GOES-8 image shows Hurricane Georges early Monday morning as it moved inland. This image was produced by Goddard Space Flight Center's Visualization of Remote Sensing Data Project. Links to


Both ER-2 flights were staged from Warner Robbins Air Force Base, Ga., where the CAMEX-3 team had moved after Georges came too close to Patrick AFB, Fla., where the team had been operating.

In Friday's mission, the ER-2 launched at 8:30 am EDT to sample Hurricane Georges as it was moving through Key West and along the western coastline of Florida. Dee Porter, the ER-2 pilot, flew east/west legs through the hurricane eye as the storm headed north. He then headed to Melbourne, Fla., to fly under the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and over the TRMM rain gauge network and the S-POL radar.


Porter noticed the hurricane eye would appear and disappear between eye crossings. He also experienced considerable turbulence at 19.2 km (63,000 ft). He reported that the turbulence smoothed out once he increased his altitude to 19.8 km (65,000 ft). He described the clouds surrounding the eye as a "bubbling cauldron." As comical sidelight, he also found that two pairs of Florida love bugs accompanied him in the cockpit during the trip.


Left: After the mission, the DC-8 crew left behind some last images of Georges as seen from the flight deck. These images were taken by pilot Ed Lewis of NASA. Links to a


The final CAMEX-3 mission for the ER-2 started Sunday at 10:30 am EDT to sample the rain bands of Hurricane Georges north of the eye. Jim Barrilleaux, the ER-2 pilot, flew a triangular pattern from approximately Fort Walton Beach, Fla. due west to Slidell, La.

"All parties are leaving feeling tired but very happy" said Robbie Hood, the CAMEX-3 project scientist. "My thanks go to Dr. Ramesh Kakar, the Earth Science Program Manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington for his support of our activities this weekend and to the pilots, crew, scientists, engineers, NASA Ames Project Office, and the Warner Robbins staff who worked tirelessly to help execute our missions here in Georgia."

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

Explanations of sprites and additional images are available from the Global Hydrology and Climate Center and the University of Alaska.


CAMEX Series Headlines

August 12: Overview CAMEX story , describes the program in detail.
August 13: CAMEX maiden flight , for calibration of TRMM satellite instruments
August 14: CAMEX test flights , CAMEX flies over tropical storm weather in successful calibration run
August 18: CAMEX aircraft make second flight with TRMM , second calibration run for TRMM
August 20: CAMEX may get first chance at a tropical storm , later this week 
August 21: Here comes Bonnie! , CAMEX scheduled to fly over T.S. Bonnie 
August 22: West by Northwest , CAMEX team may have to evacuate to Georgia 
August 24: Eye-to-eye, and Bonnie winks, CAMEX team makes first flight through eye 
August 25: Snow in August, Bonnie surprises the hurricane team 
August 26: Camera of many colors Hurricane hunters using advanced scanner to peer into storms  
August 28: Preparing for Danielle NASA team takes break as Bonnie fades away
August 31: Quite a Windfall Hurricane team completes first half of unique science campaign. Includes listing of August flights and aircraft and spacecraft used in CAMEX-3.
September 2: Bonnie Cuts a Towering Figure Satellite radar shows mountainous cloud chimney
September 4: Hurricane team studies Earl Four aircraft probe storm
September 10: NASA team awaits next hurricane
September 16: Hurricane season passing its prime
Thunderstorm studies continue as a new hurricane candidate wends its way from Africa.
September 18: Two new storms brewing for hurricane research team Scientists fly 4 out of 5 days, clear air sampled over the Bahamas, oceanic convection data collected east of Cape Canaveral
September 21:The last hurricane - CAMEX team wrapping up campaign with flights into Georges
September 23: Hurricane Georges puts on a light show - CAMEX team treated to purple sprites and weird lightning
September 28: NASA gives Georges two last looks (this story)

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.

Web Links 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.


More web links 
  • More Space Science Headlines - NASA research on the web 
  • NASA's jets and sprites page
  • The Marshall Newsroom - more information on this and other news from the Marshall Space Flight Center 
  • NASA's Earth Science Enterprise Information on Earth Science missions, etc. 
  • Global Hydrology and Climate Center GHCC studies the global water cycle and its effect on climate. 
  • National Hurricane Center carries the latest tracking information on tropical storms and hurricanes. It also has lots of historical data and images, including hi-resolution copies of the pictures above of damage by Hurricane Andrew. 
  • The Public Use of Remote Sensing Data at Goddard Space Flight Center has high-resolution images of Fran, Andrew, and other hurricanes and of other events seen from space.
  • Ocean Remote Sensing Group at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory

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    Authors: Robbie Hood, Bart Geerts, and Dave Dooling
    Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips
    Curator: Bryan Walls
    Responsible NASA official: Ron Koczor