Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Satellites spot ‘hot towers’ in Hurricane Katrina

Areas of heavy rainfall under Hurricane Katrina were
measured late on Sunday 28 August by the TRMM
satellite and the GOES spacecraft.
(Image: NewScientist/NASA/JAXA)

Kelly Young writes in NewScientist:

Satellite images of Hurricane Katrina indicate the storm experienced several "hot tower" clouds during its development, say NASA.

Thunderstorms surround the eye of hurricanes and hot towers are tall rain clouds that reach far above the rest of the hurricane near the wall of the eye. They stretch at least to the ceiling of the troposphere – the atmosphere's lowest layer. The heat in the "hot tower" is generated by water vapour condensing into liquid water.

The hot towers, also known as convective bursts, are significant because scientists think they could be a precursor to a hurricane intensifying, a process that is still not well understood.


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