Rapid intensification of Super Typhoon Surigae

April 16th, 2021 |

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation]

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation]

2.5-minute interval rapid scan JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) showed Typhoon Surigae undergoing rapid intensification (ADT | SATCON) to become a Category 4 storm as of 18 UTC on 16 April 2021.

A DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) displayed a well-defined eye, with distinct spiral bands feeding into the eyewall.

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 1944 UTC [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 1944 UTC [click to enlarge]

After sunrise, Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) showed the relatively compact eye, with hints of low-level mesovortices within the eye.

JMA Himawari-8 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

JMA Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

===== 17 April Update =====

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

The prolonged period of rapid intensification continued overnight, and as of 12 UTC on 17 April Surigae had become a Category 5 Super Typhoon — 2.5-minute interval rapid scan Himawari-8 Infrared images (above) showed the well-defined eye as the storm tracked northwestward across the Philippine Sea (just east of the Philippines). A faster animation (GIF | MP4) helped to highlight the trochoidal motion (wobble) of the eye — a behavior often seen with intense tropical cyclones. The 21 UTC advisory from JTWC listed sustained winds of 165 knots (and objective intensity estimates from ADT and SATCON were around 170 knots), making Surigae the only tropical cyclone on record to reach that intensity during the month of April.



An animation of Himawari-8 Infrared images with an overlay of deep-layer wind shear (below) indicated that Surigae was moving through a region of low to moderate wind shear; the storm was also moving across very warm water (SST + OHC).

Himawari-8 Infrared images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Infrared images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

Around the time that Surigae was reaching its peak intensity, a Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image several hours before sunrise (below) revealed concentric mesospheric airglow waves (reference) propagating away from the energetic Category 5 tropical cyclone.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image [click to enlarge]

In closer view of time-matched Himawari-8 Infrared and Suomi NPP Day/Night Band images (below), a cluster of bright DNB pixels highlighted the presence of lightning activity along the inner edge of the northern eyewall.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Interpreting SAR data over the Bering Sea

April 8th, 2021 |

GOES-17 ABI Band 2 (0.64 µm) and Band 5 (1.61 µm) at 1740 UTC on 8 April 2021 (Click to enlarge)

The toggle above shows GOES-17 ABI Band 2 (“Red Visible” at 0.64 µm) and Band 5 (“Snow/Ice” at 1.61 µm) imagery at 1740 UTC on 8 April 2021. 60ºN and 170ºW lat/lon lines are included in yellow, as well as Nunivak Island.  There is evidence of sea ice extending from south of Nunivak northwestward;  visible 0.64 µm imagery  shows much greater reflectance compared to 1.61 µm snow/ice imagery.  It’s much harder to view the ice edge in the snow/ice channel because reflectances in that channel for ice and water are similar.

Compare the toggle above to the Sentinel-1A Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image at 1735 UTC on 8 April 2021, shown below.   The stark wind difference (red vs. blue) in the SAR wind image below is in reality a change in ocean state, with ice over the red region and open water over the blue.  (Here is the Sea Ice analysis for 8 April from the Alaska Sea Ice Program (ASIP)).  Interpretation of SAR winds requires a knowledge of the presence of ice.

Sentinel 1-A analysis at 1735 UTC on 8 April 2021 (Click to enlarge)

Cyclone Habana in the South Indian Ocean

March 10th, 2021 |

US Space Force EWS-G1 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

US Space Force EWS-G1 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

US Space Force EWS-G1 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) displayed the well-defined eye and eyewall structure of Cyclone Habana in the South Indian Ocean on 10 March 2021. This was the second period of Category 4 intensity (ADT | SATCON) during the life cycle of Habana.

Meteosat-8 Infrared images with contours of deep-layer wind shear from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed that Habana was moving through an environment of relatively low shear.

Meteosat-8 Infrared images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared images with an overlay of 1505 UTC Metop ASCAT winds (below) depicted a fairly uniform distribution of winds within the eyewall region, as Habana developed an annular structure.

Meteosat-8 Infrared images, with a plot of Metop ASCAT winds [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared images, with a plot of Metop ASCAT winds [click to enlarge]

SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images from DMSP-16 at 1139 UTC and DMSP-18 at 2327 UTC are shown below.

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 1139 UTC [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 1139 UTC [click to enlarge]

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2327 UTC [click to enlarge]

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2327 UTC [click to enlarge]

 

Re-suspended ash from the Katmai volcano in Alaska

February 28th, 2021 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the hazy signature of a plume of re-suspended ash from the 1912 Katmai volcanic eruption. Strong surface winds gusting to 50-55 knots — caused by a strong pressure gradient along the western periphery of a Storm Force low in the Gulf of Alaska (surface analyses) — lofted some of the thick layer of ash that has remained on the ground in the vicinity of the volcano. The most dense portion of the aerosol plume was  moving across the Barren Islands (between Kodiak Island to the south and the Kenai Peninsula to the north); near the northern edge of the aerosol plume, surface visibility was reduced to 5 miles at Homer and 7 miles at Seldovia.

A sequence of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) showed that the plume had formed before sunrise — ample illumination from a Full Moon provided vivid “visible mages at night” (at 1131 UTC and 1311 UTC).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

ASCAT winds from Metop-C at 0743 UTC and 2124 UTC (source) are shown below — they indicated a dramatic increase in surface wind speeds  of 50 knots or greater emerging from the Barren Islands into the Gulf of Alaska later in the day.

ASCAT winds from Metop-C, at 0743 UTC and 2124 UTC [click to enlarge]

ASCAT winds from Metop-C, at 0743 UTC and 2124 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (below) provided a clearer view of the re-suspended ash plume. North of the plume, note the tidal ebb and flow of ice within Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm leading into the Anchorage area.

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]