People may need 3-D glasses to see life-like images, but rainfall and cloud data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite gives scientists a three-dimensional look at tropical cyclones without the glasses.
TRMM passed over tropical cyclone Magda on January 21 at 1927 UTC (2:27 p.m. ET) when it was off Western Australia's northern coast and soon to make landfall TRMM captured a look at its rainfall and cloud heights. That data was used to create a 3-D image of how high Magda's clouds were, and how heavily the rain was falling within the storm.
The TRMM rainfall analysis is derived from TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM Microwave Imager instruments (TMI). It revealed that Magda had developed an eye before coming ashore with hurricane force winds. TRMM also showed that there were powerful thunderstorms were dropping rainfall at a rate greater than 50mm per hour (~2 inches per hour) in an area west of the eye.
TRMM's 3-D perspective of Magda showed that some of the intense thunderstorms near its eye reached to heights above 16 kilometers (~52,493 feet). Magda has since moved inland and is forecast to dissipate in Western Australia's Great Sandy Desert. TRMM is managed by NASA and JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency.
Explore further: Satellite witnesses developing US nor'easter