Unusual Double Eyewall structure in Himawari-8 Infrared Imagery of Typhoon Nangka

July 13th, 2015
Himawari-8 10.35 µm infrared imagery, 0540-1540 UTC on 13 July 2015 (Click to animate)

Himawari-8 10.35 µm infrared imagery, 0540-1540 UTC on 13 July 2015 (click to animate)

Himawari-8 10.35 µm infrared imagery showed an unusual (for infrared imagery) double-eyewall structure in Typhoon Nangka over the western Pacific Ocean on 13 July 2015. For such a feature to appear in infrared imagery, the secondary circulations of both the inner and outer eyewall need to be intense enough to support the downdraft/cloud-clearing necessary to create the “moats” between them. Microwave imagery of the storm, below, viewed via MIMIC (from this site), also showed the double eyewall structure quite well. This double-eyewall signature typically indicates that a tropical cyclone is experiencing an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC), which signals that a (temporary) decrease in intensity is soon to follow.

MIMIC imagery of Typhoon Nangka, 0000 - 1200 UTC on 13 July 2015 (Click to enlarge)

MIMIC imagery of Typhoon Nangka, 0000 – 1200 UTC on 13 July 2015 (click to enlarge)

Several hours later, a DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image at 1756 UTC, below, indicated that the ERC was essentially complete. Subsequently, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center slightly downgraded the intensity of Typhoon Nangka for their 21 UTC advisory. While not as well-defined as in the Himawari-8 imagery, the double-eyewall signature was still evident in the lower-resolution (4-km, vs  2-km) MTSAT-2 IR imagery (animation).

DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image and MTSAT-2 10.8 µm Infrared image (click to enlarge)

DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image and MTSAT-2 10.8 µm Infrared image (click to enlarge)

The Himawari-8 Target Sector was centered over Typhoon Nangka during this time; an IR image animation with a 2.5-minute timestep, below (courtesy of William Straka, SSEC), showed the evolution of the double eyewall signature, along with 2 pulses of storm-top gravity waves which propagated radially outward away from the center in the northern semicircle of the typhoon.

Himawari-8 10.4 µm IR channel images (click to animate large 115-Megabyte file)

Himawari-8 10.4 µm IR channel images (click to animate large 115-Megabyte file)

Typhoon Dolphin approaches Guam

May 14th, 2015
Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

The animation above (available here as an mp4, and here on YouTube) shows 11.22 µm infrared imagery at 2.5-minute time steps (bottom) and 10-minute time steps (top) from Himawari-8 on 14 May 2015. Category 2 intensity Typhoon Dolphin is approaching Guam, seen at the left edge of both panels in the frame. The 2.5-minute imagery gives a much better indication of the quick rise and decay of overshooting tops (IR brightness temperatures of the storm tops approach -95º C!). A 10-minute time step cannot fully resolve the evolution of these features. The 2.5-minute time step also better captures the divergent flow (and outward-propagating gravity waves) at the top of the central dense overcast. No eye was yet apparent in the infrared imagery, or on DMSP SSMI 85 GHz microwave imagery.

A similar animation from the previous day, 13 May, is shown here: gif, mp4, YouTube. The better organization of the storm on 14 May is readily apparent.

How high are the clouds in the Central Dense Overcast (CDO)? Cloud Heights are available from CLAVR-x (Clouds from AVHRR Extended). Data from Geostationary Satellites are processed and are available to download here. Values from COMS-1 and from MTSAT-2 (displayed with McIDAS-V) suggest maximum cloud heights near 55,500 feet.

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product, below, showed that Typhoon Dolphin was able to tap rich moisture from the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) during the 13-14 May period; TPW values within the tropical cyclone circulation were often in the 60-65 mm or 2.5-2.6 inch range (darker red color enhancement).

MIMIC Total Preciptable Water product (click to play animation)

MIMIC Total Preciptable Water product (click to play animation)

Visible Imagery from Himawari-8, just after sunrise on 15 May, show continuous development of short-lived overshooting tops to the east of Guam. More information on the storm is available at the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site, the JMA Tropical Cyclone site and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Himawari-8 0.6363 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 0.6363 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 imagery of Tropical Depression 24S / Cyclone Quang northwest of Australia

April 28th, 2015
Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared imagery, 0000 - 1830 UTC on 28 April 2015 (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared imagery, 0000 – 1830 UTC on 28 April 2015 (click to play animation)

The 10-minute full-disk imagery that is available from Himawari-8 captures the evolution of Tropical Depression 24S northwest of Australia. Convection is evolving on time-scales of 10 minutes or less, so the high temporal resolution is vital to describing the storm evolution. Of particular note are the development (and decay) of central dense overcast features near the storm center, which have a timescale of less than 30 minutes. Note also the well-developed outflow channel curving anticyclonically to the south and east of the storm.

Sea surface temperature fields (from this site) show very warm ocean waters (SSTs exceed 30º C). Wind shear over the system is small; strengthening is expected.

29 April Update: As anticipated, Tropical Depression 24S continued to intensify, becoming Tropical Storm Quang. A comparison of an MTSAT-2 visible image at 0132 UTC with an overlay of 0135 UTC ASCAT scatterometer winds, below, shows surface winds in the 40.0-45.9 knot range (yellow) in both the western and eastern hemispheres of the storm. A large convective burst (with overshooting tops) was apparent on the visible image, just south of the center of Quang.

MTSAT-2 visible image with ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

MTSAT-2 visible image with ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

Himawari-8 Infrared imagery on 29 April show eye development between 1600 and 1800 UTC. Quang was upgraded to a Cyclone at 1800 UTC. (Link)

Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared imagery, 0000 - 1830 UTC on 29 April 2015 (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 11.22 µm infrared imagery, 0000 – 1830 UTC on 29 April 2015 (click to play animation)

The scanning strategy of the current operational MTSAT satellites is such that the Southern Hemisphere only receives 1 image per hour. The Himawari-8 satellite performs a Full Disk scan every 10 minutes — and as an MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR vs Himawari-8 10.4 µm IR image comparison demonstrates (below; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file), the improved Himawari-8 spatial resolution (2 km vs 4 km) and more frequent scans allowed the formation of the eye of Quang to be more accurately followed as it rapidly intensified from a Tropical Storm to a Category 4 Severe Cyclone. A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band and Infrared images on 29 April/1820 UTC (30 April/02:20 AM local time) can be seen here.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm (top) and Himawari-8 10.4 µm (bottom) IR images  [click to play animation]

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm (top) and Himawari-8 10.4 µm (bottom) IR images [click to play animation]

Typhoon Maysak in the West Pacific Ocean

March 30th, 2015
Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

McIDAS-V images of Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation; images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the evolution of Category 2 Typhoon Maysak over the West Pacific Ocean on 30 March 2015. A number of large convective bursts can be seen surrounding the eye, along with more subtle features such as transverse banding.

An 11:01 UTC MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with an overlay of 11:11 UTC Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) revealed the wind field in the eastern semicircle of the tropical cyclone.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

Several hours later, a comparison of a 19:01 UTC MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with a 19:00 UTC DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image (below) showed that the microwave instrument was able to “see” through the clouds surrounding the eye to depict the larger size of the eyewall structure.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image + DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image + DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image

During the later hours of 30 March, Typhoon Maysak underwent a period of rapid intensification from a Category 2 to a Category 4 storm, as depicted on a plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate (below). Rapid intensification occurred as the tropical cyclone was moving over an area of relatively high ocean heat content.

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate plot for Typhoon Maysak

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate plot for Typhoon Maysak

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images during this period of rapid intensification are shown below (click image to play animation).

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR images (click to play animation)

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR images (click to play animation)

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product (below; click image to play animation) depicted TPW values in excess of 60 mm or 2.36 inches (darker red color enhancement) associated with Maysak as the tropical cyclone moved between the islands of Guam (PGUM) and Yap (PTYA). Yap recorded over 4 inches of rainfall.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (click to play animation)

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (click to play animation)

31 March 2015 Update: Maysak intensified to a Category 5 Super Typhoon (ADT plot). Full-resolution visible imagery from Himawari-8 AHI is shown below; a faster animation is available here. A number of mesovortices could be seen within the eye of Maysak; these mesovortices were also evident in photos of the eye of the typhoon taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, as posted on Twitter here and here.

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Images from all 16 channels from the Himawari-8 AHI can be combined into one animation, showing the different information provided by each of the spectral bands — such an animation is shown below, using data from 0600 UTC on 31 March 2015. The Infrared data is shown at full (2-km) resolution; Visible/near Infrared imagery is scaled down by a factor of 2 (0.46 µm, 0.51 µm, 0.85 µm) or by a factor of 4 (0.64 µm). A similar animation, but without annotation or color enhancement, is available here.

Himawari-8 AHI images for all 16 channels at 0600 UTC (click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 AHI images for all 16 channels at 0600 UTC (click to enlarge)

Maysak had remained in an environment of relatively low deep-layer wind shear (below; click image to play animation), which was favorable for its trend of continued intensification.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images, with deep-layer wind shear (click to play animation)

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images, with deep-layer wind shear (click to play animation)

However, in a comparison of MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave images around 14 UTC (below), it can be seen that the microwave image indicated that an eyewall replacement cycle might be underway (which would suggest a subsequent decrease in the typhoon’s intensity within the coming hours). This was supported by the ADT intensity estimate plot, which dropped the intensity of Maysak just below 140 knots after 18 UTC on 31 March.

MTSAT-2 10.7 µm IR image and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave image

MTSAT-2 10.7 µm IR image and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave image

01 April Update: A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR images at 16:58 UTC on 01 April (below; images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the eye of Typhoon Maysak after it had weakened to a Category 4 storm.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images