The Southern Indian Ocean cyclone season is off and running and NASA's Aqua satellite saw the birth of Tropical Cyclone 01S.
Tropical Cyclone 01S (TC01S) formed today December 5, 2011. TC01S has maximum sustained winds near 55 knots (63 mph/102 kmh) and is rapidly consolidating and organizing, so strengthening is forecast. At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on Dec. 5, TC01S was located about 545 nautical miles west of the Cocos Islands near 12.2 South and 87.0 East. It was moving to the west at 7 knots 8 mph/13 kmh).
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of Tropical Cyclone 01S on Dec. 5 at 08:18 UTC (3:18 a.m. EST) in the Southern Indian Ocean. Strong thunderstorms are visible around the center as they cast shadows on the lower surrounding clouds.
Microwave satellite instruments showed an eye developing in TC01S. There is also tightly curved banding of thunderstorms around the low-level center. T01S has intensified rapidly over the first 12 hours of its existence. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasters expect TC01S to strengthen to hurricane-force over the next two days and track to the southeast, staying at sea.
Explore further: ESA image: Hungarian mosaic