October 31, 2012

A-train view of Hurricane Sandy

Today's MODIS Terra RGB image (top left image) shows the remains of Hurricane Sandy over the northeastern United States. Sandy was one of the strongest storms to strike the Northeastern U.S. in decades. As it made landfall just south of Atlantic City N.J., its central pressure measured 946 mb, (top right image, courtesy of NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center) making it the second-lowest pressure of any storm to make landfall north of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The bottom left image is the MODIS RGB image from NASA's Aqua satellite overpass for October 29th. The red line on this image denotes CloudSat, a cloud profiling radar in the A-TRAIN constellation of satellites, overpass. CloudSat provides detailed observations of clouds structure and precipitation starting at the surface to 30 km in the atmosphere sampling every 250 m in height for 125 bins of vertical measurements. On October 29th, CloudSat overpassed a wide area of moderate precipitation stretching across New York to coastal North Carolina. The maximum cloud top heights from the CloudSat overpass were estimated at 12-13 km in height. The brighter colors (orange, red and light pinks) represent greater intensity of the radar signal called the return echo value. These brighter colors correlate to larger rain drops, heavier precipitation and ice or hail depending on the vertical level. The shades of blues and greens in the CloudSat return echo values represent smaller water and ice particles that correspond to thinner clouds type (cirrus and anvil tops). A nearly continuous area of light and moderate precipitation stretches across the mid-Atlantic region. Near the surface of these areas of light to moderate precipitation the CloudSat cloud profiling radar attenuates due to larger sized water droplets and moderate areas of precipitation associated with wind.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at October 31, 2012 9:54 PM

Haha, you get the same sort of trash comments I do although mine, I have to say, is a little classier - Louis Vuitton luggage, not plastic packaging...

Anyway, here's a question that occurred to me. People say we should plant trees because they absorb air pollution. Does that mean that as all the trees are dying off at a rapidly accelerating pace from absorbing said ozone, the background level remaining in the atmosphere will increase by whatever amount the forests have been absorbing? Does anyone have a calculation as to how much is absorbed by vegetation and how that would affect AQ levels that we are left to breathe? (Leaving aside the CO2 loss).


Pictures of trees that fell over in Sandy here:


They were all rotted on the inside.

Posted by: Gail Zawacki at November 1, 2012 5:32 PM

Well, the luggage comment is gone. We vigorously remove comments that are just there for the trackback.

Regarding your question, trees take up CO2 which is a positive aspect of planting vegetation. I don't recall seeing a relationship between trees and reducing ozone. In fact, volatile organic compounds from trees actually are involved in the ozone production cycle and this may be the reason we have a background of 20-40 ppb of natural ozone at the surface.

I will pass your question on to a colleague who does know about the ozone production cycle and vegetation and they can get back to you.

Posted by: Ray Hoff at November 1, 2012 10:16 PM
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