APR 03, 2015 1:24 PM PDT

NASA Captures Tropical Cyclone's Birth in 3-D

WRITTEN BY: Judy O'Rourke
Tropical Cyclone 05W was born in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on April 3, west of the island of Pohnpei, when the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite passed over it and analyzed its rainfall rates.

Pohnpei, along with Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae-four groups of remote and breathtaking island states-comprise the 607-island nation that is the Federated States of Micronesia.
The 3-D view of tropical depression 05W on April 3 shows that some thunderstorms within were more than 9.1 miles high.
The rainfall data was used to make the 3-D image at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, which showed some high thunderstorms northwest of its center. Some of these storms were found to be reaching heights of more than 14.7 km (9.1 miles).

GPM is co-managed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA.

NASA-JAXA's GPM core observatory passed over tropical depression five at 1031 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (6:31 am EDT). A microwave imager found that rain was dropping at a rate of 22.4 mm (0.9 inches) per hour in bands of convective storms located northwest of the center of circulation.

At 1500 UTC (11 am EDT), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that the cyclone was centered near 8.5 north latitude and 154.4 east longitude, about 175 nautical miles east-northeast of Chuuk. Maximum sustained winds were near 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph), and the cyclone was moving to the west-northwest at 11 knots (*12.6 mph/20.3 kph) through Micronesia.

This video, courtesy of NASA, is titled "NASA | A Week in the Life of Rain."

The forecast calls for Tropical Cyclone 05W to become a tropical storm and intensify to 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph). When it does reach tropical storm status it will be renamed Haishen. The system is then expected to turn to the northeast when it gets near Fananu, a village and municipality in the state of Chuuk, on April 6.

[Source: NASA]
About the Author
  • Judy O'Rourke worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming chief editor of Clinical Lab Products magazine. As a freelance writer today, she is interested in finding the story behind the latest developments in medicine and science, and in learning what lies ahead.
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