Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 hurricanes and aerosols simulation

Amazing to see how the sand and the smoke are disseminated
on several thousands of kilometers by the hurricanes.

From NASA by Yvette Smith

How can you see the atmosphere?
By tracking what is carried on the wind.

The answer is blowing in the wind. Tiny particles, known as aerosols, are carried by winds around the globe.
This visualization uses data from NASA satellites combined with our knowledge of physics and meteorology to track three aerosols: dust, smoke, and sea salt.
Sea salt, shown here in blue, is picked up by winds passing over the ocean.
As tropical storms and hurricanes form, the salt particles are concentrated into the spiraling shape we all recognize.
With their movements, we can follow the formation of Hurricane Irma and see the dust from the Sahara, shown in tan, get washed out of the storm center by the rain.

This visualization uses data from NASA satellites, combined with mathematical models in a computer simulation allow scientists to study the physical processes in our atmosphere.
Advances in computing speed allow scientists to include more details of these physical processes in their simulations of how the aerosols interact with the storm systems.
The increased resolution of the computer simulation is apparent in fine details like the hurricane bands spiraling counter-clockwise.
Computer simulations let us see how different processes fit together and evolve as a system.
By using mathematical models to represent nature we can separate the system into component parts and better understand the underlying physics of each.
Today's research improves next year's weather forecasting ability.

Hurricane Ophelia was very unusual.
It headed northeast, pulling in Saharan dust and smoke from wildfires in Portugal, carrying both to Ireland and the UK.
This aerosol interaction was very different from other storms of the season.
As computing speed continues to increase, scientists will be able to bring more scientific details into the simulations, giving us a deeper understanding of our home planet.

Tiny aerosol particles such as smoke, dust, and sea salt are transported across the globe, making visible weather patterns and other normally invisible physical processes.

By following the sea salt that is evaporated from the ocean, you can see the storms of the 2017 hurricane season.
During the same time, large fires in the Pacific Northwest released smoke into the atmosphere.
Large weather patterns can transport these particles long distances: in early September, you can see a line of smoke from Oregon and Washington, down the Great Plains, through the South, and across the Atlantic to England.
Dust from the Sahara is also caught in storms sytems and moved from Africa to the Americas.
Unlike the sea salt, however, the dust is removed from the center of the storm.
The dust particles are absorbed by cloud droplets and then washed out as it rains.
Advances in computing speed allow scientists to include more details of these physical processes in their simulations of how the aerosols interact with the storm systems.

Since the fall of 1997, NASA satellites have continuously observed all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean.
This view of life from space is furthering knowledge of our home planet, and how it's changing.
In the Northern Hemisphere, ecosystems wake in the spring, taking in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen as they sprout leaves – and a fleet of Earth-observing satellites track the spread of vegetation.
Meanwhile, in the ocean, microscopic plants drift through sunlit surface waters blooming into billions of carbon-dioxide-absorbing, oxygen-producing organisms – and satellites map the swirls of their color.
It's the one thing that, so far, makes Earth unique among the thousands of other planets we’ve discovered.

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