Three current storms captured by a NASA satellite show how unusual sea temperatures are creating a clear corridor in the Atlantic for more to come.
New SeaWinds scatterometer imagery taken by NASA's QuikScat satellite shows tropical storms Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico and Hilary in the Pacific, along with Hurricane Gert near Bermuda, as they spun over the ocean on September 20. The storms are being powered by abnormally warm Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and cold Pacific waters, said Dr. Timothy Liu, SeaWinds project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. The new animation is available at http://haifung.jpl.nasa.gov/interesting-phenomena/movies/990920pm-3in1-s.mov . "Temperatures in the Atlantic are about 2 to 4 degrees warmer than normal right now, while the Pacific Ocean is relatively cold," said Dr. Timothy Liu, SeaWinds project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "Those conditions have forced the jet stream much farther north and created a corridor for newly born hurricanes to move unimpeded toward the Atlantic coast."
With winds reported by the National Hurricane Center of up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour) on September 21, Hurricane Gert appears in orange and yellow. Tropical Storm Hilary, downgraded from a hurricane earlier this week, can be seen in yellow off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, and Tropical Storm Harvey, also in yellow, is situated in the Gulf of Mexico. Blues indicate low wind speeds in the animation, while magentas represent medium wind speeds. The motion of the arrows denotes wind direction.
The orbiting SeaWinds radar instrument is managed for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, DC, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which also built the SeaWinds radar instrument and is providing ground science processing systems. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, managed development of the QuikScat satellite, designed and built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO. NOAA has contributed support to ground systems processing and related activities. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
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