Two NASA satellites capture monster Super Typhoon Melor

October 5, 2009
The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of Super Typhoon Melor in the Western Pacific Ocean during the early morning hours of Oct. 5, 2009. Melor has intensified to Super Typhoon strength and is currently a category 5 typhoon (with maximum sustained winds near 161 mph) on the Saffir Simpson scale. Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites flew over Super Typhoon Melor early today, October 5 and captured some impressive images of the storm's clouds on a track toward Japan. The Western Pacific Ocean has the edge on super typhoons, and Melor's maximum sustained winds near 161 mph are more proof.

Typhoon Melor tracked through the channel between Saipan and Agrihan on Saturday night, and became a Super Typhoon on Sunday. Melor's winds dropped to 130 mph just before it passed near the island of Saipan this weekend and it was far enough away to not cause any major damage, according to local news reports. Downed trees and heavy rain were experienced Saturday afternoon and overnight into Sunday (local time), but no major flooding was reported.

On October 5 at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC), Super Typhoon Melor's winds were up to 161 mph, and it was located approximately 585 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa, near 19.6 North and 134.3 East. Melor is moving west-northwestward at 19 mph.

NASA's Terra satellite flew over Melor during the early morning hours on October 5. The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on Terra provided a dramatic image of Melor at Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds near 161 mph!

Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Melor's high thunderstorm cloud temperatures (in purple) that were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit. This image from Oct. 4 at 12:29 EDT clearly shows Melor's eye. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Super Typhoon Melor mid-day on October 4 and captured an of the monster typhoon. Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument and Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) analyzed temperatures in Melor's . AIRS revealed the cold high cloud temperatures were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit indicating a very strong tropical cyclone.

Forecasters at the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center have amended the forecast track for Melor, and take the super typhoon on a path resembling the letter "C" in the Western Pacific Ocean. The storm is forecast to swing just east of Kadena island Japan, then turn northeast (because westerly winds will push it northeast) and its center is now expected to brush Tokyo before it swings northeast back into the open Western Pacific.

There's good news about the storm's strength however. Melor will slowly weaken as a because of increased vertical shear (winds blowing sometimes at different directions, at different levels of the atmosphere that can tear a storm apart) and cooler waters. When Melor is south of Tokyo, it's expected to interact with a baroclinic boundary (i.e. a front) and become extratropical.

Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Explore further: Satellite imagery shows Typhoon Vamco has a huge 45-mile wide eye

Related Stories

Tropical Storm Koppu poised for China landfall

September 14, 2009

The latest tropical storm in the western Pacific formed on Sunday, and is poised to make landfall in mainland China on Tuesday, near typhoon strength (74 mph). Two NASA satellites captured different views of its clouds.

NASA's Aqua satellite catches 2 views of super Typhoon Choi-Wan

September 17, 2009

NASA's Aqua satellite again flew over Super Typhoon Choi-Wan late last night and captured visible and infrared imagery of the monster typhoon. Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument and Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer ...

Marianas on alert: Melor joins the typhoon group

October 1, 2009

Being a typhoon seems to be the "in thing" lately for tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific, and Melor is now one of the "in crowd." NASA's QuikScat and Aqua satellites helped the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center ...

Super Typhoon Melor crossing Guam this weekend

October 2, 2009

Melor has become a Super Typhoon with sustained winds near 130 mph, and is crossing Guam and its islands this weekend. Warnings and watches are already up for the region.

Recommended for you

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

October 1, 2015

Berkeley geologists have uncovered compelling evidence that an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes in India for hundreds of thousands of years, and that together these planet-wide ...

History shows more big wildfires likely as climate warms

October 5, 2015

The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to new study led by a University of ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Oct 05, 2009

It is gratifying to see that NASA is starting to pay attention to planet Earth.

To understand Earth's climate, I hope that the new NASA Administrator will also ask NASA to go back and re-examine NASA's past attitude toward experimental data that suggested Earth's heat source is not a ball of Hydrogen, but a plasma diffuser that selectively moves lightweight isotopes and elements to its surface.

Isotope data from the first analysis on lunar soils would be a good place to start [LSPET (The Lunar Sample Preliminary Examination Team): 1969, “Preliminary examination of lunar samples from Apollo 11”, Science 165, 1211-1227].

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.