On these flights, your friend gathers data from all parts of
the hurricane, from the surface to the tops of the highest clouds. The
data are used to analyze the strength of the hurricane and predict where
it is going next. Yesterday, while flying through a hurricane, your friend
noticed something interesting. For the third day in a row, the temperature
gage showed a much lower cloud-top temperature than it did the day before.
Over the same three-day period, the wind increased day-by-day and the
hurricane moved over open water.
To analyze hurricane data, looking for evidence
of a relationship between wind speed and other factors.
- Satellite images of a hurricane
- Graph paper or spreadsheet
You have a friend who is a hurricane specialist
with an exciting job. She flies through hurricanes. Her busiest
months are August, September, and October. That's when most
provided by Andrew Negri and Hal Pierce, NASA/Goddard Space
Since your specialty is analyzing satellite data, your
friend has come to you for help. Her question: Is there a relationship
between the temperature at the top of the hurricane clouds and the wind
speed at the surface? And if not, what about wind speed and the surface
over which the hurricane is passing? (More
Do you see a relationship? Determine whether or not there is
any connection between cloud-top temperature and maximum wind speed,
and/or surface type and wind speed.
You have seven days of hurricane data. The
infrared satellite images you will use show different colors to
represent temperature. Wind speed is given in a table below each
image. You will also want to note whether the hurricane is mostly
over land, partly over land and partly over water, or mostly over
Go to the Infrared
Hurricane Data and find the coldest temperature of the hurricane
cloud tops on each image, and the kind of surface beneath the
hurricane. Design a way to organize these numbers for easy
comparison with the wind speed for each image.
Prepare a fax to send to your friend. (If you're not
sure what a fax looks like, ask your teacher to show you one or two
samples.) In your fax, tell your friend what you found out about the
relationship between wind speed and cloud-top temperature, and between
wind speed and surface type. Be sure to show her why you reached your
© 1999-2007 Event-Based Science Project