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8/24/2010
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NASA Features Hurricane Katrina Data, Satellite Images

A video retrospective marking the fifth anniversary of the most costly storm in U.S. history includes information from various space-agency technologies.




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NASA is featuring satellite imagery and data in a video retrospective of Hurricane Katrina the agency has released in time for the five-year anniversary of the most costly storm in U.S. history.

The video, produced by the space agency's Goddard Space Flight Center, showcases data and images generated by NASA satellites during the storm, which devastated the Gulf Coast Region of the U.S. and the effects of which are still being felt.

The opening of the video highlights Atlantic Ocean sea-surface temperatures taken from a NASA satellite called the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -- Earth Observing System (AMSR-E). The data shows how the warm ocean waters helped the storm build.

The video also features images of how clouds grew as the storm progressed, taken by NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on its Terra satellite; as well as data from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite that show how what are called "hot towers" -- or thunderstorms hidden within the hurricane -- intensified it.

The TRMM also captured data on how much rain fell during the hurricane, information also featured in the video.

More familiar images from the video are Landsat satellite images of New Orleans before and during the flooding, which even more than the storm itself wreaked havoc on the city and its residents. More recent Landsat images show a city that is still rebuilding, even five years after the storm.

Even as the Gulf region recovers after Katrina, it is still dealing with another disaster -- the Deepwater Horizon oil spill -- one for which NASA satellites also to help track the trajectory of the spill.

Other hurricane technology used to observe hurricanes like Katrina has been relevant to the spill efforts. Specifically, academic researchers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association teamed up to adapt a 3D model called the Advanced Circulation Model -- used mainly for hurricane research -- to track the trajectory of the spill.

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