NASA infrared satellite data gives System 96S a fair shot at becoming a tropical cyclone

Feb 10, 2011
A NASA AIRS instrument infrared image captured on Feb. 9 at 17:47 UTC (12:47 p.m. EST) showed some strong convection and strong thunderstorms (purple) with very cold cloud-top temperatures, around the center of System 96S. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

A low pressure area located a couple of hundred miles northwest of Western Australia appears in a better position for development into a tropical cyclone according to infrared NASA satellite imagery. Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite shows some strong convection in the low, named System 96S.

When Aqua passed over System 96S on Feb. 9 at 17:47 UTC (12:47 p.m. EST), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument showed some strong convection and strong thunderstorms with very cold cloud-top temperatures around the center of circulation. Those cloud top temperatures were as cold as or colder than -63 Fahrenheit/-52 Celsius indicating strong convection, strong thunderstorms, and heavy rainfall. The imagery suggests that the convection is consolidating and increasing around the low's center.

Convection is limited on the eastern half of System 96S because of moderate vertical wind shear (winds that can weaken a storm) blowing near 30 knots (34 mph/55 kmh)! That wind shear, however, is expected to weaken and enable the low to strengthen. Another factor that will help System 96S strengthen is the warm that it's located in. Sea surface temperatures are estimated near 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). Tropical Cyclones need sea surface temperatures of at least 26.6 Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) to maintain strength or intensify.

At 2300 UTC on Feb. 9, (6 p.m. EST) System 96S had maximum sustained surface winds near 20 to 25 knots (23 mph/ 37 kmh to 29 mph/46 kmh). It was located about 260 miles (418 km) northwest of Barrow Island, Australia near 17.7 South and 112.2 East. Residents of Western Australia are keeping a close eye on this system for development.

Explore further: Antarctic ice shelves rapidly thinning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA eyes low in eastern Pacific for tropical development

May 27, 2010

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of a low pressure area called "90E" in the Eastern Pacific that forecasters are watching for tropical development. ...

Recommended for you

Antarctic ice shelves rapidly thinning

13 hours ago

A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers has revealed that the thickness of Antarctica's floating ice shelves has recently decreased by as much as 18 percent in certain ...

More big storms increase tropical rainfall totals

Mar 25, 2015

Increasing rainfall in certain parts of the tropics, colloquially described as the wet get wetter and warm get wetter, has long been a projection of climate change. Now observations have shown that an increase ...

Preparing Boston for the "big one"

Mar 25, 2015

In 1755, a major earthquake shook the Boston area, toppling chimneys and inspiring sermons and poems about the wrath of God, such as "Earthquakes the Works of God and Tokens of his Just Displeasure" and "The ...

User comments : 0

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.