NASA's TRMM satellite examines Atlantic's Tropical Storm Jerry

Sep 30, 2013 by Rob Gutro
NASA's TRMM satellite flew over Tropical Depression 11 on Sept. 30 at 5:28 a.m. EDT and saw a "hot tower"near the center (red) that indicated the storm was strengthening into Tropical Storm Jerry. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Tropical Depression 11 formed in the central Atlantic Ocean and NASA's TRMM satellite passed overhead and gathered information and identified a "hot tower" that indicated it would strengthen. The depression became Tropical Storm Jerry on Sept. 30 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

The eleventh Atlantic formed around 11 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 28, about 960 miles/1,540 km east-northeast of the Leeward Islands and was moving north at 9 mph.

When NASA's TRMM or Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite flew over Tropical Depression 11 on Sept. 30 at 09:28 UTC/5:28 a.m. EDT. TRMM observed a "hot tower" or towering thunderstorm near the center of circulation, where the cloud top exceeded 16 km/9.9 miles high. Rainfall in that storm was also falling at a rate of over 2 inches/50 mm per hour.

A "hot tower" is a tall cumulonimbus cloud that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It extends approximately nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. The hot towers in Tropical Depression 11 were reaching heights of 16 km/9.9 miles high around the depression's center. These towers are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA research shows that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower in its eye wall was twice as likely to intensify within six or more hours, than a cyclone that lacked a hot tower. Those hot towers also drop heavy rainfall.

By 10:30 a.m. EDT just 5 hours after NASA's TRMM satellite spotted the "hot tower" in Tropical Depression 11, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Jerry. Jerry had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph/65 kph. It was moving to the east at 7 mph/11 kph and is expected to move slowly and erratically over the next several days. Jerry was centered about 1,200 miles/1,935 km east-southeast of Bermuda. It had a minimum central pressure of 1008 millibars.

Explore further: NASA sees 'hot towers' in newborn Tropical Depression 12e hinting at intensification

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA data showed Tropical Storm Erin forming

Aug 15, 2013

Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed strong thunderstorms had developed in the eastern Atlantic low pressure system that grew into Tropical Storm Erin. NASA's TRMM satellite noticed a "hot tower" ...

Recommended for you

New signs of eruption at Iceland volcano

15 hours ago

Teams monitoring Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano have found evidence of a possible underground eruption as powerful earthquakes continue to shake the area, Icelandic authorities said Thursday.

NASA sees a weaker Tropical Storm Marie

15 hours ago

When NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of what is now Tropical Storm Marie, weakened from hurricane status on August 28, the strongest thunderstorms were located in the southern quadrant of the ...

TRMM analyzes Hurricane Cristobal

15 hours ago

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM Satellite provided a look under the hood of Hurricane Cristobal as it continues moving north and paralleling the U.S. East Coast. NASA's HS3 hurricane mission ...

User comments : 0