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NASA using satellites and 3D images to track tropics

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3D imaging and satellites will be used to track storms (WTVD)

Hurricane season starts in a week, and once again this year, NASA will play a huge role in forecasting.

Powerful satellites orbit space bringing back 3D images captured inside tropical cyclones. It's NASA's technology snapping the pictures and collecting invaluable data that helps forecasters on the ground predict the strength of storms.

"We can actually see where the heaviest amount of rainfall is in the storm, which helps forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warn for a particular area," Rob Gutro explains. Gutro is NASA's Hurricane specialist and the Deputy News Chief.

The Global Precipitation Measuring System or GPM is just one of the tools used to bring back data from space. "We can tell the cloud types of these storms and the higher the cloud type, typically the more intense the rainfall is and the stronger the storm would end," said Gutro.

Image from the GPM satellite covering Hurricane Alex in the Atlantic

The data collected by NASA is sent to meteorologists all over the world, including the Japanese Space Agency.

"It's important to know where these heavy areas are," said Gutro. "Because that actually helps emergency managers along the coast."

Their arsenal of tools allows them to detect the strength of the winds and the temperature of the ocean and clouds, which helps them determine the strength and category of the storm. This fall a new system known as the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will probe the inner core of these storms to bring us data about intensification, something NASA has been studying for years.

When we asked about the most important aspect of the partnership, Gutro had no hesitation.

"Keeping people safe," he said. "And NASA data has been proven to do that."

All of the NASA data is available to you. All you have to do is log onto their hurricane page.

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