Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a map of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on September 26 as Hurricane Ian moved through the Gulf of Mexico. The sea surface temperatures were measured by NASA scientists using a combination of satellite and ocean instruments.
“Though tropical cyclones are atmospheric phenomena, much of their fearsome power comes from the ocean. The seas are abundant sources of moisture to feed growing storm clouds. Just as critically, they are vast repositories of thermal energy that can move from the sea to the sky,” says NASA.
“As Hurricane Ian lashed western Cuba and headed for the west coast of Florida on September 27, 2022, it moved over an abundant fuel source in the Gulf of Mexico. While sea surface temperatures are just one of the factors influencing hurricanes, they are a fair predictor of the readiness of the ocean to sustain them.”
“Meteorologists generally agree that SSTs should be above 27.8° Celsius (82.04° Fahrenheit) to sustain and intensify hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. Surface waters above that threshold are represented in red on the map.”
Ian is expected to make landfall in western Florida today as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 155 mph. As of 10 a.m., the center of Ian was located about 60 miles west of Naples and 65 miles southwest of Punta Gorda and 180 miles south-southwest of Orlando, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory