The Sciences

Putting the eye in Irene

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitAug 25, 2011 1:26 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Over the past few days, hurricane Irene has grown as it approaches the United States. The NASA/NOAA Earth-observing GOES 13 satellite has been keeping an eye on the storm, and images it has taken have been put together into this dramatic video showing Irene from August 23 at 10:40 UTC to 48 hours later... just a few hours ago as I write this: Pay attention about 20 seconds into the video (August 23 at about 20:00 according to the clock at the top of the video). You can see the eye wall region burst into existence, and a few seconds later the eye itself suddenly appears. Also, a surge of white clouds appears to the right of the eye and wraps around the hurricane. That's where warm air has risen strongly, overshooting the cloud tops, and producing intense rainfall (5 cm/hour according to TRMM!). Overshooting tops, as they're called, happen frequently in tropical storms as they intensify. For what it's worth, something like that happens in stars as well as hot plasma rises rapidly from under the surface, though astronomers tend to call it "convective overshoot". Irene is currently a strong Category 3 hurricane (with sustained winds at 200 kph (120 mph)), and is expected to start affecting the east coast today. If you live along the coast, take precautions, and please, stay safe. Video credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.