These compelling images are from Hurricane Bonnie showing a cumulonimbus storm cloud, towering like a sky scraper, 59,000 feet (18 kilometres) into the sky from the eyewall. Thes images were obtained on Saturday, 22 August 1998, by the worlds first spaceboarne rain RADAR aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint U.S.-Japanese mission. Launched November 27, 1997, the TRMM spacecraft contines to provide exciting new insight into cloud systems over tropical oceans. By comparison, the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, is 29,000 feet (9 kilometres) and the average commercial jet flies at barely one-half the height of Bonnies cloud tops. Scientists believe that towering cloud structures like this are probably precursors to hurricane intensification. This was the situation with Bonnie whose central pressure dropped from 977 millibars to 957 millibars in the subsequent 24 hours. TRMM is a joint NASA and NASDA mission that was launched November 27, 1997 from the Japanese Space Center, Tanegashima, Japan.


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