Cold cloud tops associated with Tropical Storm Surigae in the West Pacific

April 15th, 2021 |

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]

2.5-minute interval rapid scan JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) revealed intermittent cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of -100ºC and colder (red pixels embedded within yellow-to-black inner cores) — with the coldest being -101.7ºC at 1342 UTC — within the Central Cold Cover (CCC) pattern of Tropical Storm Surigae on 15 April 2021.

A zoom-in of NOAA-20 VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) imagery at 1644 UTC as viewed using RealEarth (below) also showed 2 clusters of red -100ºC and colder pixels, with a minimum of -103.6ºC (incidentally, the coldest pixels on the 1644 UTC Himawari-8 Infrared image were -96ºC). About an hour and 15 minutes after this NOAA-20 image, Surigae was upgraded to a Category 1 typhoon (the first typhoon of the 2021 season in the West Pacific basin).

NOAA-20 VIIRSI Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image at 1644 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image at 1644 UTC [click to enlarge]

A plot of 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Yap Island showed that the coldest air temperature was -84.7ºC at 100 hPa (16.7 km) — so an overshooting top of -100ºC or colder indicated a significant vertical ascent above the tropopause.

Plot of 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Yap Island [click to enlarge]

Plot of 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Yap Island [click to enlarge]