Transcript for NASA Connect - Ahead Above The Clouds

[RJ:] Hello everybody, welcome
to Rockfeller Center you are

in the heart of mid town Manhattan,

our today's show studio
the window on the world.


[inaudible] each morning I try
to tell people what to expect

for the rest of their day.

Every week day I forecast the
weather outside our NBC studios.

In the elements this way not
only do I get to meet the weather

but the fans of the
today's show as well.

Although people say I'm a little
unpredictable luckily meteorologist

have the tools they need
to make the forecast

as predictable as they are.

When I forecast the weather?

I analyze data, predict weather
patterns and let people know

if their day is going to be hot
and dry or wet windy and cold.

Like I always say in the morning

on the today's show
here is what's happening

in your neck of the worlds.

On today's program, you
learn how meteorologist

and NASA researchers use
measurement and data analysis

to predict severe
weather like hurricanes.

You will meet a special
group of men and women

who measures hurricanes

by actually flying an
airplane into them.

In your classroom play
the imperfect storm again

that allows you to track
a hurricane and predict

where we will make a land for.

You'll also use computer

which study the behavior of
hurricanes and predict their path.

Plus one about the
gift NASA is developing

for future meteorologists.

So hold on tight as NASA Connect
takes you ahead above the clouds.

[RJ:] Hey wait there are no clouds.

Oh, Man!

[Jennifer:] Hi!

Welcome to NASA Connect, the show
that connects you to the world

of math, science,
technology and NASA.

I'm Jennifer Pulley
and this is Norbert.

Now before we start the show,

teachers make sure you have the
lesson guide for today's program.

It can be downloaded from
our NASA Connect website.

You wanted to keep
your eyes on Norbert

because every time he appears
with questions like this,

Have your Q cards from the
lesson guide and your brain ready

to answer the questions
he gives you and teachers

when you see Norbert with
a remote that's your key

to pause the video tape and
discuss the key part of questions.

Today NASA Connect is at

[inaudible] Airforce base in

[inaudible] Mississippi.

Wow. This is the home of
the hurricanes hunters,

the only military unit in
the world to fly directly

into a hurricane and collect
data on a routine basis.

We will meet one of these
hunters a little later

but first let's hear
more about hurricane.

A hurricane is a violet
tropical storm

with deluging winds
and torrential rain.

Hurricanes can form
in the Atlantic,

Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Hurricanes are given other
names in different countries

such as a typhoon in South-East
Asia, a Baggio in the Philippines,

and tropical cyclones in Australia.

[RJ:] How does the hurricane form?

[RJ:] A hurricane gets its energy

from the warm moist air
at the ocean surface.

As this air ascends to form
clouds, more air is drawn

to the hurricane winds
spiral inward and we begin

to see the familiar
shape of the hurricane.

At the centre of the hurricane,

the air descends forming a
very quite eye with a ring

of clouds surrounding.

The weather in the
eye is much different

from the weather surrounding.

The winds grow calm and the sky may
clear, surrounding the eye or bands

of heavy rains and very high winds.

When the hurricane comes to
shore it brings high waves,

severe flooding and wind damage.

Hurricanes uproot trees, smash
buildings and destroy power-lines.

Hurricane Andrew was the
third strongest hurricane

to strike the United
States coastline on record.

Andrew swept through
Southern Florida and Louisiana

in 1992 causing over twenty
five billion dollars in damage.

Amazingly, few people were killed
despite the widespread destruction.

We want to know if a hurricane
is going to affect us.

We turn to meteorologists.

Meteorologists are
scientists who study the causes

of weather like hurricane
and try to predict

where they will go after they form.

More accurate forecasts will help
prepare people well in advance

of an approaching hurricane.

And in turn how to save lives.

[RJ:] For more on how
meteorologists predict hurricane,

we came to weather channel
here at land in Georgia.

[RJ:] Oh! Jennifer in
order to meteorologist like

to me predict hurricanes we need

[inaudible] at least four
variables, temperature, moisture,

air pressure and the
most important wind.

Wind directly or indirectly causes
all the damage from the hurricane.

For example winds produce
waves which cause flooding,

anyway the winds in and around
of hurricane that push it along

and produces motion are
called Steering winds.

Steering winds control three
things, the speed of which

at hurricane will
move, where it move

and whether they will
strengthen or weaken.

[RJ:] All dotted lines that seems
to me than if you know information

on the winds than you can easily
predict for the hurricane will do.

[RJ:] Winds are important, but
remember I also have to look

at temperature, moisture
and air pressure.

[RJ:] Okay, or it so - - where
you get all that information.

[RJ:] We here the weather channels,
receive data from weather stations

on the ground from chips and

[inaudible] at sea,
from aircraft that fly

into the hurricane like
the hurricane hunters

and from satellites in space.

Because our atmosphere is made

out of many layers ideally data
should be collected to the all

of the different heights
throughout the fuse

in the atmosphere.

Therefore we rely mostly on air
blow and observations in satellites

to measure these variables
and different altitudes.

[Jennifer:] So once you receive
the data on temperature, moisture,

air pressure and wind
what you do with it?

[RJ:] I analyze it.

Along with the data we receive I
look at previous data and how do

if changing with time.

I use my experience with past
hurricanes predict the hurricane

strengthen their intensity
and it's projected path.

Computers at the national
weather service

in Washington D.C.
receive these data

and input the data into American

[inaudible] which
generate forecast.

I receive these forecasts at
the weather channel of Land

of Georgia along with forecast made

by the national hurricane
centre at Miamian Florida.

My final forecast is a blend

of hurricane's current
track and intensity.

My forecast computer forecast

and the forecast international
hurricane center.

Finally I go on television and
make a prediction about the path

of the hurricane and how
it might affect people

on the coast and inland.

[RJ:] Thanks Dr. Lawrence.

Hey, how would you like to
use computer simulations

to study the behavior of hurricanes

and then predict their path
just like Dr. Lawrence?

So we can


[RJ:] Welcome to my little piece of
the world here at NASA headquarters

in Washington D.C. From
this location and the

with a help us technology
I'm able to network

across the country to NASA

[inaudible] Centers and to other
organizations that are interested

in using NASA research
data and software tools

to produce technology products
for using in the classroom, like


Norbert has land up since June in

[inaudible] who will share with you
two dynamic web site on hurricanes.

Web sites that use visualization,
remote sensing and simulation tools

to immerge you in past and
recent hurricane advance.

And then present you
with a challenge.

So get ready to use the tools
that will help you think

and act like a mirage as
you explore the web site,

earth pole centre, create by
liberty interactive learning

and exploring the
environment developed

by the NASA classroom
of the future.

[RJ:] There are a lot of
going activities here,

such as performing arts,
national owner societies to meet

[inaudible] basket ball.

This a great place to go school.

In the NASA Connect website go

to Norbert's lab then
click on the activity band.

That will take you to the earth
pole centre, go to the controlling

and select hurricanes.

Here you'll find

[inaudible] activity as forecasting
analyses and hazard mitigation.

Click on the forecasting
desk first.

The hurricane data
archive provides access

to Atlantic Basin
hurricane stimulations

from the past fifty years.

Search for hurricane
by either name or year.

And then run a stimulation
of this term

as a music host the Atlantic Basin.

Compare and contrast task
from the different years

to identify common patterns

of behavior among
Atlantic Basin hurricanes.

Try your own prediction

of the current storms
feature movement and behavior.

Come back to few days later

to compare your forecast against
the hurricanes actual path.

If there is not currently
in active storm

than you can use a past hurricane
to practice your forecasting skill.

At the analysis desk you
will compare the line graphs

as several storms
have been histories

to identify common
pattern of behavior.

You can also examine the inverse
relationship between wind speed

and pressure in a hurricane.

Using process satellite imagery

from the National Hurricane Centre
you will be able to track data

to tell in more complete
story of a Hurricane's life.

At the Hazard navigation desk you
will be able to look in new stories

that were published during some
past storms to give an idea

of the warnings that were issued
as a hurricanes developed.

Take a break

[inaudible] shift down
to hurricanes territory

from the safety of your own
computers screen with the


By positioning the

[inaudible]camp on a map
somewhere along the path

of an impinging hurricane
you might get a

[inaudible] to the


Asian warning to hurricane
current areas is a tricky task.

At the running stimulator you get
to set guidelines preventive siren

and warning sirens for a
particular coastal community.

Our second featured website
is called the exploring

the environment.

This website provides the tools
you will need to complete the task

of revealing the actions
in 1992 hurricane Andrew

and the preparation
for tracking, analyzing

and predicating the
course of a new hurricane

that meet North America
in the future.

Using remarks something images

from the newer weather
satellites we will talk

that hurricane progress on HR
and make predications about its


[Children: ] Thanks for
watching NASA Connect.


[RJ:] Bringing to
you with the power

of digital learning I am sure we
can write to NASA Connect online.

[RJ:] This web activity is great.

I feel just like a meteorologist.

You know speaking to meteorologist
Dr. Lawrence told us earlier

that to predict hurricanes
he needs data,

collected from the
hurricane hunters.

Let's head back to Keeslar Air
force base in Biloxi Mississippi

and meet one of the meteorologists
in the hurricane hunters.

[RJ:] Describe the instruments
that hurricane how to use

to collect data on a hurricane?

[RJ:] Which signal is used to
describe the flight better?

[RJ:] Which are the four
variables shown in the graph

that constantly increasing?

[RJ:] The hurricane hunters
are group of men and women

in the United States Air Force
reserve, who fly these airplanes

into hurricanes to
measure the storms.

The data we collect are given

to the National Hurricane
Centre in Miami Florida.

We need to know exactly where
the hurricane is right now,

how strong it is and
what the winds are like.

[RJ:] But I mean why do
have to fly into the storm?

Aren't satellite images enough?

[RJ:] The National Hurricane
Centre can get very good estimates

of hurricanes from satellite,

but sometimes the hurricanes
don't follow the book.

Sometimes it may be difficult
to find the eye or centre

on satellite picture or they
may be stronger or weaker

than they appearance satellite.

That's where we are come in.

The more meteorologists know what
the hurricane is doing right now,

the better they will be able

to forecast what it
will do in the future.

In fact, the measurements collected

by the hurricane hunters
makes forecast

about twenty-five
percent more accurate

than just using satellite
estimates alone.

This makes a huge difference
especially when you are trying

to evacuate people on
a coast and save lives.

[Jennifer:] Okay though so how
do you measure a hurricane?

[RJ:] Well Jennifer we have weather
senses mounted around the nose

of our WC130 aircraft and
two other stations inside,

let me show you.

[Jennifer:] Great!

[RJ:] We collect data
from different altitude

or height along our flight path.

In addition to these weather
centers we also drop another

weather instrument with the
parachute that collects data

from other altitude as it
falls to the atmosphere.

All of these instruments
continuously measure temperature,

moisture, air pressure and winds.

The data we collect
are immediately sent

to the national hurricane center.

[Jennifer:] I get it.

But how do you know where
to fly into a hurricane?

[RJ:] Good question.

First the National
Hurricanes Center calls us

and gives us hurricanes forecast
of latitude and longitude.

The navigator plots for
hurricanes positions on a chart

than plots our flight path from
Biloxi to the storm the navigator

and pilot then discuss the
pattern to fly in the storm.

You see to make accurate
measurement we fly a pattern

that looks like a next.

We start in one corner of the
hurricane then fly to the center

of axe which is the eye or center
of hurricane then we fly out of

at least one hundred and
five miles on each leg

of the axe each time
coming back to the eye.

As we fly this pattern we collect
data on temperature, moisture,

air pressure and winds
and see how they change.

Two the most important elements we
measure our air pressure and winds.

Let's look at this graph
of air pressure and wind

that we collected in a hurricane


[Jennifer:] Okay let me see

if I can interpret it the
horizontal access begins

at the centre of the eye

of hurricane then we have
the eye wall here and way

out here we had the other end.

This is vertical access indicates
an increase in the intensity.

[RJ:] You are right,
now what you know

about the air pressure when you

[inaudible]eye of hurricane?

[Jennifer:] Let see.

The intensity of the air pressure
and wind is low at the centre

of the eye the hurricane,
but it begins to increase

as you get close to the eye


[RJ:] That's right.

And the lower the air pressure
the stronger the hurricane that's

important information you know.

Now let's look at the
air pressure and wind

at the eye wall what do you notice?

[Jennifer:] Wow!

The wind really increasing
intensity at the eye wall

and the air pressure it to.

[RJ:] You are right and the air
pressure continues to increase

as you get to the outer
adjutant in hurricane.

But if you notice the wind
that is storms at the eye wall.

[Jennifer:] But this is just
graph of air pressure and wind.

You also said that you collect
data on temperature and moisture,

what will happen if we add
that data to this graph.

[RJ:] Let's take a look.

[Jennifer:] Checked
it out, the intensity

of temperature is really high
in the eye of the hurricane

and the moisture well
it at its lowest.

We are sure there is
lot of information


[RJ:] It is and you know what a
long time ago weather do not have

this line of information.

[RJ:] And we simply look

at hurricane use their
memory and say, 'Hm!

This reminds me of hurricane
breaker twenty six years ago they

were then base there forecast
for the current hurricane

and what hurricane
breaker did way back in.

Today the national hurricane
center uses the data we collect

from our flight to feed their
computer generated models

or stimulation of hurricane.

This computer generated models,
forecast how conditions change

in hurricane over time.

Knowing what the storm is doing
right now helps the National

Hurricanes Center to
predict the future path

and intensity of the storm.

[RJ:] For this information
hurricane watches

and warnings are set out
to people along the coast.

When people are back
away the safer areas

[inaudible] and pending
hurricane then the mission

of the hurricane hunters

to the save there life's.

[RJ:] My thanks to all
of the hurricane hunters.

You know earlier you used computer
stimulation to help you predict

and analyzed hurricane tracks.

Now how would like to calculate
were hurricane will make a ramp off

and then issues watches and
warnings for people on coast.

NASA connect travel North
to Boston Massachusetts

for today's classroom activity.


[inaudible] to Boston

[RJ:] NASA Connect that just us
to show you the classroom activity

for the today's show
it's a game called.

[RJ:] Imperfect storm.

[Child:] Teacher's, make sure
you child load the lesson guy

for this activity from
the NASA connect website,

any you will find materials,
directions and students worksheets.

To begin your teacher would divide
you into teams and meteorologists.

It is your job to track the storm
brings out the coast of Africa.

Predict the possibility of landfall

and issue hurricane
watches and warning.

A hurricane watch means the
hurricane conditions are possible

within the next thirty-six hours.

A hurricane warning means the
hurricane conditions are expected

within the next twenty-four hours.

The team with the most accurate
predictions will be the winners

of the game.

First, construct your game
board following the directions

on your student direction sheet.


[inaudible] scale tells you
the classification of a storm

by its wind speed and this game
does represent tropical storms

and hurricane categories
one to five.

[RJ:] Right of coast of
Africa, there is tropical waves

that is forming low
pressure system.

Winds are thirty miles
per hour, the

[inaudible] are sixteen degrees
north and thirty-five degrees west

as of zero six zulu time.

[Child:] A cordless information
on your data sheet, and use a

[inaudible] scale to
classify the storm.

Plot the coordinate will position
of the storm on your game board

with the appropriate
color from the key.

Your teacher will give you the
next two data points as the

[inaudible] the core classify
and plot the storms position.

[RJ:] Now, let's determine
the speed the storm traveled.

[RJ:] If you know distance and
time, you can calculate speed.

Use a compass and
the knowledge 17:32

[inaudible] a game board

to determine the distance
the storm traveled.

Then use formula one to calculate
the speed the storm traveled.

[RJ:] Before issuing
watches and warnings,

you must calculate the
distance the storm will travel.

[RJ:] Use formula two
on your game board

to calculate the distance
the storm will travel

in thirty-six hours.

They place the appropriate
storm disc over the third point

on your game board and
secure it like this.

Use a compass to calculations and
the knowledge scale to join earth

from the outer edge of the disc.

The area between the disc

and a earth will receive
tropical storm force winds

in thirty-six hours
and hours will have

to identify land areas at risk.

Record your estimated
watch, now use formula three

to calculate the distance

in twenty-four hours
and issue a warning.

[RJ:] Teams we have a conflict,
a crew ship is steaming ahead

at fifteen miles per hour from
the Bahamas towards Miami.

It's your job as meteorologists
to find the location

of the ship beside what
action if any should be taken

and record your decision.

[RJ:] Your teacher will review
your data sheet and award points

for accurate calculations
and predictions.

The game continues as you receive
more coordinates whether data

and conflicts from your teacher.

When the winds increase to
hurricane force you will need

to use two discs instead of one.

This is because the tropical
storm force winds extend further

out in the hurricane force winds.

From this point line you will
only issue hurricane watches

and warnings, so make sure
you place your compass point

on the outer edge of the hurricane
disc, not the tropical storm disc.

When the hurricane
changes categories,

you are need to change disc.

As the hurricane approaches
land, use your expertise

to predict where will make

[inaudible] landfall.

Points are awarded to the team
with the most accurate predictions

and solutions to the conflicts,
so plot measure calculate

and use your atlas carefully.

The team with the most point
at the end wins the game.

[RJ:] Special thanks to AIWHI
chapter at Boston University,

for there help with this activity.

[RJ:] Super

[inaudible] show.

We have learnt how data collected

by the hurricane hunters
helps meteorologists

at the weather channel
predicts hurricane.

[RJ:] But what about NASA?

[RJ:] What is NASA had
to do with hurricanes?

[Jennifer:] I thought
you would never ask.

Without NASA or the
National Aeronautics

and Space Administration,
we wouldn't be able

to see earth from space.

NASA's bird's eye view

of our planet has a
revolution eyes observations

of the earths atmosphere,
continents and oceans.

A few years back, NASA launched
GL stationery satellites

that monitored the
weather above the earth.

GL stationery means that
satellite orbits spear

at about the same speed
the earth rotates.

The sunlight collects
weather data as it hovers

over the same point on the earth.

The data is been sent
back to earth for our use.

Thanks to NASA, today
there is world wide network

of satellite above our earth.

Collecting weather data
over the whole world

and transferring this data
back to us on the ground

but NASA is always looking towards
the future, towards developing new

and better technologies
for observing

and predicting severe
weather like hurricane

[inaudible]_needs us.

We are here at the NASA
Langley Research Center enhanced

in Virginia to meet a
scientist is developing a gift

for future meteorologist.

[RJ:] I will get some
better more complete picture

of the earth's atmosphere.

How does

[inaudible] work.

What is the information collected

about the water vapors
tell us about the storm?

[RJ:] NASA Langley Research Center
is developing a new technology

through allow meteorologist

to better predict how strong
the hurricane will be

[inaudible] will cover.

Scientist like

[inaudible] working with
professors and students

at university was
council and that you talk

[inaudible] University and the
GL stationary imaging four year

transform spectrometer all because

[inaudible] say we
caught the gifts.

GIFTS is actually an instrument
that will be flow aboard

of GL stationary satellite

about twenty two thousand
miles above the earth.

We believed our new technology
will be a gift to mankind

and that will enable people to
avoid the loss of their property

and even possibly their
lives by warning them

of approaching hazardous weather
such as tornados and hurricane

[Jennifer:] Okay, but how would
GIFTS improve weather predictions?

[RJ:] Well GIFTS will
provide meteorologist

with the complete picture
of earth's atmosphere.

Currently after rare observation
likes temperature, water vapor

and wind our team by
launching weather balloons.

Everyday, twice a day these
balloons rise in the atmosphere

and collect weather
data of the land areas.

However, the balloons are spaced
very far apart and give us only

[inaudible] data.

GIFTS will collect the same data
from space every ten seconds

over land as well as over the
sea where hurricane come from.

[Jennifer:] Wow, very ten seconds,
Dr. Smith, how would you do that?

[Dr. Smith:] Using new infrared
digital camera technology just

to have several thousand
times more sensors

in current satellite the
major atmospheric temperature,

water vapor and wind.

Let's take water vapor
for instance.

Water vapor is actually water in
the gaseous state so it's visible

to the human eye, when water vapor
molecules become liquid water

or ice crystals a cloud forms.

Current satellite measure
water in the form of clouds

but don't measure very well the
water vapor that causes the clouds

to form, being able to sense the
water vapor before cloud form will

allow us to predict how, when
and where storm to a form,

and where they will go.

[Jennifer:] That's great.

Sounds like GIFTS will provide
meteorologist with information

on hurricane even before they form.

This can only help save more lives

because more forecaster know
the quicker they can warn people

on the coast.

But you keep saying that
GIFTS will sense water vapor,

what do you mean by sense?

[RJ:] Oh, good question,
GIFTS measures elements

of the atmosphere like
temperature and water vapor

without touching them, this
is called Remote Sensing

and our eyes do it everyday.

Your eyes can sense or
measure how a person is feeling

without touching them.

All you need to do is look
at them and you will be able

to tell how they are feeling?

[RJ:] Oh, okay I understand
how people sense things

but GIFTS is an instrument,
how does it sense water vapor?

[RJ:] By using an Infrared Camera.

Let me show you this picture
of man in glasses was taken

with an infrared camera
seeing through the ear

and sensing only hard solid
objects like the wall,

his face and his glasses.

Here we see the brightness
of the man's face

and the darkness of his glasses.

This means his face
is giving all heat

and is relatively warm
whereas his glasses

and the wall are not
giving off as much heat

and are therefore relatively cold.

This picture is a good example

of what current satellites
can see from space.

The second picture was taken

with an infrared camera
seeing air molecules

as well as hard solid object.

Here you can see his breath
exhaled from his mouth.

This is because the infrared
camera senses that as breath

which contains water
vapor is warm relative

to the cold water behind him.

The second picture is good example

of how GIFTS technology will
improve weather detection.

[RJ:] Hey!

You said that the water vapor
in his breath is warm so I guess

that means to gives up heat.

[Dr. Smith] Yes, but water vapor
in clouds give off or radiate heat.

GIFTS can feel the heat but being
an infrared camera you can sense

the amount of heat the
water vapor radiates.

And analogy is when you close
your eyes on a partly cloudy day,

when the sun comes out from
behind the cloud you don't have

to open your eyes to
know the sun is there.

You can sense or feel the heat of
the sun radiating on your face.

Speaking of heat, remember
the graph Valerie showed you?

Heat or specifically temperature
is an important variable

when describing what is
going on in a hurricane.

GIFTS will measure the heat

from water vapor even
before clouds form.

This will allow us to predict
the formation and intensity

of up coming storms like,
how much rain will fall

or how severe the winds will be?

[Jennifer:] Cool, hurricanes
are known for there winds.

Will GIFTS sensor winds too.

[Dr. Smith] Absolutely Dr.
Lawrence told us earlier

that steering winds determine
where a hurricane is going?

There are very few
clouds away from the storm

where the steering winds are.

GIFTS measures the movement of
the water vapor at all altitudes.

These motions are steering
winds which determine the speed

and the direction of the hurricane.

[Jennifer:] Well, Dr. Smith GIFTS
really is a gift for forecasters

and for people who are affected
by severe storms like hurricanes.

[Dr. Smith] That's right.

In fact NASA got its
space flight center in

[inaudible] Maryland
is working with us

to integrate GIFTS technology
on future weather satellite.

Visit this website to learn
more about GIFTS technology

and NASA's dedication to help
science better understand

our planet?

[Jennifer:] Thanks Dr. Smith.

You know teaching NASA technology
like GIFTS will provide us

with more accurate
satellite measurements

by combining GIFTS
technology with the data

from the hurricane hunter's,

meteorologist like Dr.
Lawrence will be better able

to predict hurricanes
and help save lives.

Well, that's about all
we have time for today.

We like to thank everyone how
have made this NASA Connect

program possible.

I'm waiting to hear from you.

So send your comments, questions
or suggestions to NASA connect.

NASA Langley Research Centers
mail start 400, Hampton, Virginia,

23681 or e-mail me at

Teachers if you would like
a video tape of this program

and the accompanying lesson guide
check out the NASA connect website

from our site you can link to
CORE the NASA Central Operation

of Resources for Educators or link

with the NASA Educator
Resource Centers Network.

Until next time stay connected to
math, science, technology and NASA.

See you then.

[RJ:] A hurricane gets it


[RJ:] You can easily
predict a hurricane.

[RJ:] Well.

[RJ:] Well, the imperfect
storm again that allows you

to track a hurricane and predict
where we'll make land fall.

You'll have to decide who is George


[RJ:] We have weather centers not
allowing those of our airplane

and two weather stations inside.

[RJ:] Things to do have

[inaudible] is okay I
got we like to thank

who all make this
NASA connect program.

[RJ:] When liquid
water rise crystal

[RJ:] My name is

[inaudible] and

[RJ:] The impact is storm.

[RJ:] The consents, the amount
of the water vapor radiators.

[RJ:] Those are combination
of water and moisture.


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