Hurricane Nicholas Before and After Landfall
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) captured views of Hurricane Nicholas before and after it made landfall about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.
One image showed Nicholas approaching the Texas coast as a tropical storm in the early afternoon on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. The storm strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday night and made landfall Tuesday morning around 12:30 a.m. CDT. The second AIRS image (Figure 1) captured Hurricane Nicholas shortly after landfall around 2:53 a.m. CDT.
In the infrared AIRS images, the large purple areas indicate very cold clouds carried high into the atmosphere by lofty thunderstorms that are also associated with heavy rainfall. Warmer areas with shallower rain clouds are shown in blue and green. The orange and red areas represent mostly cloud-free air.
AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at the planet's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations down to Earth's surface. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002 aboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft, the AIRS and AMSU instruments are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of Caltech.
More information about AIRS can be found at https://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.