NASA sees 'hot towers' in newborn Tropical Depression 12e hinting at intensification

Sep 05, 2013 by Rob Gutro
On Thursday, Sept. 5 at 4:20 a.m. EDT, NASA's TRMM satellite saw moderate rainfall in newborn Tropical Depression 12E off the southwestern coast of Mexico. Some thunderstorms around the center top 15 km/9.3 miles high, indicating strengthening was likely. Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

Tropical Depression 12E formed off the southwestern coast of Mexico at 5 a.m. EDT on Sept. 5. Just 40 minutes before, NASA's TRMM satellite passed overhead and saw some "hot towers" around the center, indicating that the low pressure area that was previously known as System 99E would strengthen.

A "hot tower" is a tall that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It extends approximately nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. The hot towers in Tropical Depression 12E were reaching heights of 15 km/9.3 miles high around the depression's center. These towers are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA research shows that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower in its eye wall was twice as likely to intensify within six or more hours, than a cyclone that lacked a hot tower. Those hot towers also drop heavy rainfall.

On Thursday, Sept. 5 (today) at 4:20 a.m. EDT, NASA's TRMM satellite saw moderate rainfall in newborn Tropical Depression 12E off the southwestern coast of Mexico. Some of that rainfall extended over coastal areas. The National Hurricane Center expects locally heavy rainfall along the southwestern coast of Mexico today.

At 5 a.m. EDT/0900 UTC, Tropical Depression 12E had near 35 mph/55 kph. The National Hurricane Center expects the depression to strengthen further into a tropical storm later on Sept. 5. The center of 12E was located near latitude 17.6 north and longitude 106.1 west, about 155 miles/245 km southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. The depression is moving toward the northwest near 6 mph/9 kph is expected to continue in that direction over the next couple of days.

Explore further: NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA data showed Tropical Storm Erin forming

Aug 15, 2013

Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed strong thunderstorms had developed in the eastern Atlantic low pressure system that grew into Tropical Storm Erin. NASA's TRMM satellite noticed a "hot tower" ...

NASA sees hot towers as Tropical Storm Fabio's trigger

Jul 12, 2012

NASA research has indicated whenever "Hot Towering" thunderstorms are spotted within a tropical cyclone, it is more likely to strengthen. NASA's TRMM satellite saw hot towers within newborn Tropical Depression ...

Recommended for you

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

7 hours ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Tropical Storm Rachel dwarfed by developing system 90E

12 hours ago

Tropical Storm Rachel is spinning down west of Mexico's Baja California, and another tropical low pressure area developing off the coast of southwestern Mexico dwarfs the tropical storm. NOAA's GOES-West ...

NASA ocean data shows 'climate dance' of plankton

15 hours ago

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants ...

Glaciers in the grand canyon of Mars?

16 hours ago

For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, ...

NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

16 hours ago

Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help ...

User comments : 0