Nav: Home

Scientists study atmospheric waves radiating out of hurricanes

May 15, 2017

MIAMI--Researchers believe they have found a new way to monitor the intensity and location of hurricanes from hundreds of miles away by detecting atmospheric waves radiating from the centers of these powerful storms.

In a new study, scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented direct observations of the waves, obtained by NOAA aircraft flying in hurricanes and by a research buoy located in the Pacific Ocean. The waves, known as atmospheric gravity waves, are produced by strong thunderstorms near the eye and radiate outward in expanding spirals.

"These very subtle waves can sometimes be seen in satellite images," said David Nolan, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and lead author of the study. "We were able to measure them in aircraft data and surface instruments."

In addition, says Nolan, computer simulations performed at the UM Center for Computational Science can reproduce the waves, showing that the wave strengths can be related to the maximum wind speed in the core of the storm. These findings suggest that hurricanes and typhoons could be monitored from hundreds of miles away with relatively inexpensive instruments, such as barometers and anemometers, much like earthquakes from around the world are monitored by seismometers.

The researchers analyzed data obtained from 25 different penetrations by NOAA P3 aircraft into five hurricanes in 2003 and 2004, as well as data from the Extreme Air-Sea Interaction (EASI) buoy deployed in the Pacific Ocean by UM Rosenstiel School scientists in 2010.

"The waves cause very weak upward and downward motions, which are recorded by the NOAA P3 as it flies through the storm," said Jun Zhang of the Hurricane Research Division, a veteran of many hurricane flights. "But we were surprised at how clearly the waves could be detected at the surface."

"Of course, hurricanes are very well observed by satellites. But these waves can reveal processes occurring in the eyewall of a hurricane that are obscured from the view of satellites by thick clouds," said Nolan. "Any additional measurements, even if they provide similar information as satellites, can lead to better forecasts."
-end-
The study, titled "Spiral Gravity Waves Radiating from Tropical Cyclones," was published April 30, 2017 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The National Science Foundation (grant #AGS1132646) and NOAA Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (grant #NA14NWS4680028) provided funding for the study.

Typhoon Meranti GW Animation VIDEO: https://youtu.be/VaNK5dckRcQ

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu.

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Related Hurricane Articles:

2017 hurricane season follows year of extremes
2016 hurricane season started in January and ended 318 days later in late-November.
Study Offers New Insight on Hurricane Intensification
In a new study, researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science showed the first direct observations of hurricane winds warming the ocean surface beneath them due to the interactions with currents from an underlying warm-water whirlpool.
NASA provides a 3-D look at Hurricane Seymour
Hurricane Seymour became a major hurricane on Oct. 25 as the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite analyzed the storm's very heavy rainfall and provided a 3-D image of the storm's structure.
NASA sees Hurricane Seymour becoming a major hurricane
Hurricane Seymour was strengthening into a major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean when the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite passed over it from space.
NASA animation shows Seymour becomes a hurricane
Tropical Depression 20 formed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Sunday and by Monday at 11 a.m. it exploded into a hurricane named Seymour.
Hermine becomes a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
Tropical Storm Hermine officially reached hurricane status on Thursday, Sept.
NASA spies major Hurricane Georgette
Hurricane Georgette is a major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
NASA peers into major Hurricane Blas
As NASA satellites gather data on the first major hurricane of the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season, Blas continues to hold onto its Category 3 status on the Saffir Simpson Wind Scale.
NASA gets an eyeful of Hurricane Blas
Satellites eyeing powerful Hurricane Blas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean revealed a large eye as the powerful storm continued to move over open waters.
Early use of 'hurricane hunter' data improves hurricane intensity predictions
Data collected via airplane when a hurricane is developing can improve hurricane intensity predictions by up to 15 percent, according to Penn State researchers who have been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center to put the new technique into practice.

Related Hurricane Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...