Tropical Storm Emily continues its march toward Hispaniola, which it is expected to reach later on Aug. 3. NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft captured this infrared image of Emily at 1:53 p.m. EDT (17:53 UTC) on Aug. 3, with the storm located about 125 miles (201 kilometers) south of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Emily is moving west at 14 miles per hour (12 knots). Its maximum winds are currently at approximately 50 miles per hour (45 knots). The storm is expected to weaken as it passes over Hispaniola. After crossing the island, the storm is expected to resume a slow strengthening trend on its passage through the Bahamas and off the U.S. east coast.
Emily is expected to bring torrential rains to Hispaniola-6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters), with up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) possible in places. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides are possible in mountainous terrain. A storm surge of 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) above normal tidal levels will occur in the tropical storm warning area, with large and dangerous waves near the coast.
The AIRS data create an accurate 3-D map of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and clouds, data that are useful to forecasters. The image shows the temperature of Emily's cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions. The coldest cloud-top temperatures appear in purple, indicating towering cold clouds and heavy precipitation. The infrared signal of AIRS does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds, AIRS reads the infrared signal from the surface of the ocean waters, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, 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 Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations all the way down to Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. 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, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about AIRS can be found at http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.