Press Release

Hurricane Carlotta Spins in Stereo

By SpaceRef Editor
July 7, 2000
Filed under

Contact: Rosemary Sullivant (818) 354-0474

IMAGE ADVISORY

With winds reaching 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), this
year’s Hurricane Carlotta became the second strongest eastern
Pacific June hurricane on record. New images from NASA’s Multi-
angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) show the hurricane on June
21, the day of its peak intensity. The images are available at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/misr

MISR, built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, Calif., is one of several Earth-observing
instruments aboard NASA’s Terra satellite, which was launched in
December 1999. This set of images has been oriented so that the
spacecraft’s flight path is from left to right; north is at the
left.

The top image is a color view from MISR’s vertical (nadir)
camera, showing Carlotta’s location in the eastern Pacific Ocean,
about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Puerto Vallarta,
Mexico.

The middle image is a stereoscopic anaglyph created using
MISR’s nadir camera plus one of its aftward-viewing cameras, and
shows a closer view of the area around the hurricane. Viewing
with red/blue glasses (red filter over the left eye) is required
to obtain a 3-D stereo effect.

Near the center of the storm, the eye is about 25 kilometers
(16 miles) in diameter and partially obscured by a thin cloud.
About 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the left of the eye, the sharp
drop-off from high-level to low-level cloud gives a sense of the
vertical extent of the hidden eye wall. The low-level cloud is
spiraling counterclockwise into the center of the cyclone. It
then rises in the vicinity of the eye wall and emerges with a
clockwise rotation at high altitude. Maximum surface winds are
found near the eye wall.

The bottom stereo image is a zoomed-in view of convective
clouds in the hurricane’s spiral arms. The arms are breeding
grounds for severe thunderstorms, with associated heavy rain and
flooding, frequent lightning, and tornadoes. Thunderstorms rise
in dramatic fashion to about the same altitude as the high cloud
near the hurricane’s center, and are made up of individual cells
that are typically less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) in
diameter. This image shows a number of these cells, some fairly
isolated, and others connected together. Their three-dimensional
structure is clearly apparent in this stereo view.

More information about MISR is available at:

http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov

MISR scientific data products are available through the
Atmospheric Sciences Data Center at NASA’s Langley Research
Center:

http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov

The Terra mission is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md. JPL is a division of the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

SpaceRef staff editor.