Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hurricane Monitoring from Space

Hurricane Earl Scoots along the U.S. coast.

In the picture above, hurricane Earl has left the coast of North Carolina and is about to graze past Cape Cod and New England. The photo was taken by the GOES-13 weather satellite, operated by NOAA with help from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. To the southeast of Earl, you can make out tropical storm Fiona which is disorganized and having trouble reaching hurricane strength.

Looking at the picture I'm amazed at the progress we have made in just 50 years of satellite and computer technology. Just 50 years ago we were barely able to take pictures of weather systems, which was revolutionizing the art of weather forecasting and storm prediction. Before then, we had to rely on eye-witness reports from planes and ships at sea. Now, we get up-to-the-minute alerts of storms forming off the coast of Africa before they even form a tropical depression!

No comments: