NASA is helping us visualize how winds affect hurricane paths by assimilating satellite data with observations from ships and buoys.
1. In this view of the Atlantic Ocean, the reds and yellows indicate warm ocean water.
2. In September 2011, Hurricane Ophelia was pushed by ocean winds right up the alley between a high and a low.
3. Just three days later, the winds changed and Hurricane Philippe was steered towards the U.S. Would Philippe threaten the East Coast?
4. No. Strong winds from the north, a cold front, caused Hurricane Philippe to take a 180-degree turn and move safely away from the U.S.
Combing satellite data with ship and buoy observations and models will help forecasters make better predictions of hurricane tracks.