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Eye of Hurricane Ileana
Eye of Hurricane Ileana

These two images are from two different satellites, giving a top-down and sideways view of Hurricane Ileana as she spins in the eastern Pacific on Aug. 23, 2006. The top image is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) to give an idea of how the storm looked from the top. This data was processed by NASA's GOES Project at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The bottom images are from CloudSat.

Looking at the Storm Like a Cake

The black line that dissects the GOES satellite image (top) shows the part of the storm that the CloudSat satellite looked through in a sideways "slice." If you think of the GOES image as a cake, you're looking at the cake from the top. After you cut the cake in half and look at it sideways, that's just like how CloudSat sees the storm.

In the CloudSat image, you can see that CloudSat looked right over Ileana's open eye, as it appears empty (dark). The red and purple areas indicate large amounts of cloud water. The blue areas along the top of the clouds indicates cloud ice, while the wavy blue lines on the bottom center of the image indicate intense rainfall. Notice that the solid line along the bottom of the panel, which is the ground, disappears in these areas of intense precipitation. It is likely that in the area the precipitation rate exceeds 30mm/hr (1.18 inches/hour) based on previous studies.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University/NOAA

Page Last Updated: August 6th, 2013
Page Editor: Martin Perez