Credit: NASA/GSFC/SVS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animation of the internal structure of a hurricane. The animation begins with the orbits of Earth Observation satellites, before zooming in on a hurricane in the western Atlantic ocean. This fades to show the precipitation level, mapped as colour-coded bulges of cloud, from grey (lightest precipitation) to blue (heaviest). Precipitation occurs in cloud bands around a central clear eye. The heaviest rain (and the fastest winds) occur on the northern side of a westward-moving storm, under what is known as a "hot tower", a huge thunderstorm that rises above the tropopause. The hot tower is formed by warm, moist air (grey arrows) being drawn up from the surface, releasing latent heat (red arrows) as the water condenses, and ejecting cool, dry air (grey) into the upper troposphere. The Earth's rotation imparts spin to the system, an effect called the Coriolis effect. Successive warm updrafts cause a band of thunderstorms to develop around the rotating system. The cool air (blue ring) at the top of the troposphere descends due to its higher density, leaving a central region free of clouds, known as the eye. The eye is usually calm, while the strongest winds are found in the eyewall.

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Internal structure of a hurricane

K002/9830 Rights Managed

Downloadable master

Duration: 00:02:30

Frame size: 1280x720

Frame rate: 30

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 2.0G

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Capture format: QuickTime Animation

Codec: Photo - JPEG

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