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(NASA) June 01: Began the ‘Atlantic Hurricane Season’ and they aredeveloping new technology and missions to study storm formation and impacts, including ways to understand Earth as a system #AceNewsDesk report

NASA & Hurricanes: Five Fast Facts: The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season starts today, June 1. Our colleagues at NOAA are predicting another active season, with an above average number of named storms. At NASA, we’re developing new technology and missions to study storm formation and impacts, including ways to understand Earth as a system.

Natural color image of Hurricane Iota in the Gulf of Mexico.
False color view of a swirling hurricane from space, showing the blue clouds in 3-D against a yellow ocean.

1. NASA can see storms from space.

From space, NASA can see so much more than what’s visible to the naked eye. Among NASA’s missions, NASA and NOAA have joint satellite missions monitoring storms in natural color — what our eyes see — as well as in other wavelengths of light, which can help identify features our eyes can’t on their own. For instance, images taken in infrared can show the temperatures of clouds, as well as allow us to track the movement of storms at night.

Two images side by side of a Hurricane Laura approaching New Orleans over the Gulf of Mexico, the left view in infrared and the right in natural color.

2. Satellites can see inside hurricanes in 3D.

If you’ve ever had a CT scan or X-ray done, you know how important 3D imagery can be to understanding what’s happening on the inside. The same concept applies to hurricanes. NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission’s radar and microwave instruments can see through storm clouds to see the precipitation structure of the storm and measure how much total rain is falling as a result of the storm. This information helps scientists understand how the storm may change over time and understand the risk of severe flooding.

For the first time in 360-degrees, this data visualization takes you inside hurricane Maria.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

3. We’re looking at how climate change affects hurricane behavior.

Climate change is likely causing storms to behave differently. One change is in how storms intensify: More storms are increasing in strength quickly, a process called rapid intensification, where hurricane wind speeds increase by 35 mph (or more) in just 24 hours. 

In 2020, a record-tying nine storms rapidly intensified. These quick changes in storm strength can leave communities in their path without time to properly prepare.

Researchers at NASA JPL developed a machine learning model that could more accurately detect rapidly intensifying storms.

A natural color image of the powerful Category 4 Hurricane Laura in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s not just about how quickly hurricanes gain strength. Scientists at NASA are also looking at how climate change may be causing storms to move more slowly, which makes them more destructive. These “stalled” storms can slow to just a few miles an hour, dumping rain and damaging winds on one location at a time. Hurricane Dorian, for example, stalled over Grand Bahama and left catastrophic damage in its wake. Hurricanes Harvey and Florence experienced stalling as well, both causing major flooding.

View from the International Space Station showing the white spiral clouds of Hurricane Dorian dominating the ocean.

4. We can monitor damage done by hurricanes. 

Hurricane Maria reshaped Puerto Rico’s forests. The storm destroyed so many large trees that the overall height of the island’s forests was shortened by one-third. Measurements from the ground, the air, and space gave researchers insights into which trees were more susceptible to wind damage.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Months after Hurricane Maria, parts of Puerto Rico still didn’t have power. Using satellite data, NASA researchers mapped which neighborhoods were still dark and analyzed demographics and physical attributes of the areas with the longest wait for power.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

5. We help communities prepare for storms and respond to their aftermath.

The data NASA collects is available for free to the public. NASA also partners with other federal agencies, like FEMA, and regional and local governments to help prepare for and understand the impacts of disasters like hurricanes. 

In 2020, NASA’s Disasters Program provided data to groups in Alabama, Louisiana, and Central America to identify regions significantly affected by hurricanes. This helps identify vulnerable communities and make informed decisions about where to send resources.

Satellite image at night showing cities lights in the southern U.S. at the top of the image and beneath over the Gulf of Mexico three hurricanes in a row: from left to right Katia, Irma, and Jose.

Working together with partners at NOAA, FEMA and elsewhere, NASA is ready to help communities weather another year of storms.

By Katy Mersmann

NASA’s Earth Science News Team

Media Contact: Peter Jacobs, Goddard Space Flight Center

Last Updated: Jun 1, 2021

Editor: Ellen Gray

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.05: 2021:

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