A new look at Hurricane Isaac

Posted at 7:51 AM, Aug 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-30 08:23:37-04

On August 29, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi-NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of Hurricane Isaac near the Gulf Coast of the United States. The image was acquired at 1:57 a.m. (local time) by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses light intensification to enable the detection of dim signals. In this case, the clouds of Isaac were lit by moonlight.

On Tuesday August 28 the TRMM Radar captured these images of Isaac. The Precipitation Radar was the first spaceborne instrument designed to provide three-dimensional maps of storm structure. They show information on the intensity and distribution of the rain, rain type, and storm depth. The estimates of the heat released into the atmosphere at different heights based on these measurements can be used to improve models of the global atmospheric circulation.

One of its most important features is its ability to provide vertical profiles of the rain and snow from the surface up to a height of about 12 miles. The Precipitation Radar was built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as part of its contribution to the joint US/Japan Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM).