Terra MISR Used to Visualize Cloud-top Heights From Tropical Storm Laura in 3D

On Aug. 25, several days
before Hurricane Laura made landfall as a destructive Category 4 storm in Louisiana,
NASA’s Terra satellite flew over Laura in the Gulf of Mexico. Using its
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR)
instrument, the satellite collected data on wind speeds and cloud-top heights
as the storm intensified and moved northwest towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The NASA Earth Applied
Sciences Disasters Program Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team worked
closely with representatives from the Esri
3D team to produce the first-ever
interactive 3D visualization of MISR cloud-top height data and publish it to
the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal. Cloud-top height data can be used to examine the structure
of tropical storms and identify features that may indicate future strengthening
or weakening of the storm system. In this visualization, some higher clouds
seen near the center of the storm may indicate a building eyewall. In other
storms, features such as “hot towers” can be identified – clouds of
warm, moist air within the eyewall that extend high into the atmosphere and
indicate potential rapid intensification for hurricanes. MISR also captures
data on the direction and velocity of wind at the cloud tops, which aids
researchers in better understanding a storms structure and potential

The MISR instrument carries nine fixed cameras, each of
which views the scene from different angles over a period of about seven
minutes. The motion of the clouds between different views is then used to
derive their height and velocity. MISR was built and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Terra spacecraft is managed by
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA
Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. JPL is a division of
the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Data Sources:


News Media Contact

Ian J. O’Neill / Jane J. Lee

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-354-2649 / 818-354-0307

ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov / jane.j.lee@jpl.nasa.gov

Jake Richmond

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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