Satellite Imagery Shows Typhoon Vamco Has a Huge 45-mile Wide Eye

From NASA’s hurricane/tropical cyclone page

Aqua satellite captured Typhoon Vamco on August 24.
NASA's MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured Typhoon Vamco on August 24 at 0255 UTC (August 23 at 10:55 p.m. EDT). Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Typhoon Vamco is being as stubborn in its quest to live in the Pacific Ocean as Bill is in the Atlantic Ocean this past week, and NASA satellite data confirmed that the large storm has a huge eye, about 45 miles in diameter!

NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over Typhoon Vamco early today, Monday, August 24, and infrared imagery from Aqua’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument clearly showed Vamco’s 45-mile in diameter eye. Around the huge eye, AIRS showed Vamco’s cold high thunderstorm cloud temperatures were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit. That’s an indication that the storm is still strong, and it is still a category one typhoon.

Also on NASA’s Aqua satellite, the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a stunning look at Typhoon Vamco’s clouds at 0255 UTC (August 23 at 10:55 p.m. EDT).

On August 24, Vamco was 990 miles northwest of Wake Island, near 32.1 north and 155.0 east. It was moving north near 12 mph and had sustained winds near 85 knots (97 mph) creating 25 foot-high waves in the open ocean. Typhoon Vamco is maintaining strength and will start to weaken later as upper-level winds start to batter the storm.

Vamco is currently in the Northern West Pacific Ocean and will begin changing to an extra-tropical storm tomorrow while moving into the North Central Pacific Ocean. The extreme west Aleutian Islands will see Vamco as a non-tropical low by Wednesday (today).

The Aleutian Islands are a chain of 300 small volcanic islands in the Northern Pacific Ocean that extend about 1,200 miles west from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula. They are the westernmost part of the United States.

Vamco's huge eye 45 miles in diameter, and cloud temperatures colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit.

> View larger image

Aqua’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Vamco’s frigid cloud temperatures at the same time. The image revealed Vamco’s huge eye 45 miles in diameter, and indicated Vamco’s high thunderstorm cloud temperatures were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit.

Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

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kim
August 26, 2009 4:19 am

Pacific typhoon
On the Hikawa Maru;
Joseph Conrad pales.
=============

Richard111
August 26, 2009 5:04 am

So how is this type of weather event modeled ? Is it a positive or negative forcing ?
Seems to me it is taking a lot of heat out of the ocean surface and chucking it out at the very top of the troposphere.

3x2
August 26, 2009 5:08 am

Just off the tiny Pacific island of Japan
(just can’t get over that label, TYPHOON VAMCO –>)

3x2
August 26, 2009 5:23 am

Do such things leave an measurable SST trail in their wake?

Douglas DC
August 26, 2009 5:54 am

What is interesting is the this is simular to the way the Columbus Day storm of 1962
hit the Pac.NW-it was a typhoon remnant,too that held together…
Glad I’m inland now…

savethesharks
August 26, 2009 5:56 am

3×2 (05:23:53) :Do such things leave an measurable SST trail in their wake?
Many times you can see the very “path” of “cooled” SSTs they have beaten through a region of higher SSTs just by the significant upwelling they cause via angry, roiling seas.
One of Nature’s overturn and mixing mechanisms…at work.
CHRIS
Norfolk, VA, USA

August 26, 2009 6:18 am

I know it is possibly mad, but being in the eye of a large cyclone/hurricane is something I would like to experience.

Patrick Davis
August 26, 2009 7:00 am

WOW! A 45 mile wide hole, pretty sure there is a politician, somewhere, that one who invented the interenet, who can better that.

Kum Dollison
August 26, 2009 7:32 am

Just look at that big blue trail that “Bill” left.

michael parker
August 26, 2009 7:35 am

That’s pretty big, but hurricane Ike that hit Houston last year was 60mi across before it hit land. Only a Cat 2 at landfall but it was dragging an awfully large bucket of water with it…

Scott B
August 26, 2009 7:35 am

@ Geckko (06:18:27): Probably a bit crazy, but I agree with you. I’d love to be in one once.
BTW, TS Danny is likely to be named at 11 AM. Possible threat to the east coast this weekend.

michael parker
August 26, 2009 7:38 am

Sorry I was unclear, the eye of Ike was 60mi across. The hurricane itself was roughly 240mi across, tropical storm winds were roughly 550 mi across.

August 26, 2009 7:48 am

To 3×2
On http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/50km_night/2009/sstnight.8.24.2009.gif you can see its trace on SST, near 160 E and 20 N. The trace of Hurrican Bill is also visible, south of Bermuda, there is a lengthy greenish spot.
To savethesharks
The enormous winds evaporate water (and cool the remainder). The latent heat of the water vapor drives the typhoon or hurricane and causes up thermals up to the tropopause. So, the tropical storms are part of earth’s cooling system. They are offsprings of the intertropical convergence zone which contributes most to earth’s cooling.

August 26, 2009 8:42 am

thank’s

Ben There
August 26, 2009 9:02 am

Geckko and Scott B…
Been there, done that. Take my word for it – you do NOT want to be there. Super Typhoon off the coast of the Philippines in Sept 1968… there by accident and looking back I can say it was certainly a major “event”… of the “Oh My God We’re Gonna Die!” type. Can I say I am glad I experienced it – yes. Would I ever want to do it again – NO!
Great natural events/disasters can be very exciting but I suspect I am a jinx. I have been 2/3 of the way up a very active volcano (Mayon), in San Francisco for the ’89 quake, in the eye of a hurricane (on land) and the eye of a major typhoon at sea (see above), dodged tornadoes and can say that with the exception of Mount Mayon I did not go looking for any of these. If these should just happen to you then you can look back and say WOW, what a ride but make sure you carry spare underwear on the way in. These things are enjoyed in retrospect only.

Editor
August 26, 2009 9:07 am

I think Bill had a 60 mile eye for a while, though the thing to worry about is when the low pressure pulls in the eyewall and really spins up the winds.
This is just a cat 1 storm making a transition to extratropical. It’s not even worth evacuating for unless you get flooded frequently.
“At 2 a.m. EDT on August 25, Vamco was still enroute to the Alaskan islands headed north-northeast at 38 mph” Subtract that 38 mph from the “QuikScat found Vamco still had sustained winds near 65 knots (74 mph), so he was still at a category one hurricane strength at that time.” and you don’t have much of a storm.

Gary
August 26, 2009 10:08 am

Geckko and Scott B –
I was in the eye of a Category 1 hurricane as it came ashore in southern New England almost 20 years ago. It was less than 10 miles wide and for a few minutes the wind stopped and the sun even shone through the scattered clouds. Then the winds returned as fierce as before for another hour or two. The strangest part is the suddenness of the calm and then the quick resumption of the windiness.

George E. Smith
August 26, 2009 10:34 am

“”” savethesharks (05:56:30) :
3×2 (05:23:53) :Do such things leave an measurable SST trail in their wake?
Many times you can see the very “path” of “cooled” SSTs they have beaten through a region of higher SSTs just by the significant upwelling they cause via angry, roiling seas.
One of Nature’s overturn and mixing mechanisms…at work.
CHRIS
Norfolk, VA, USA “””
So how do you know it is mixing at work ? A hurricane (look at the picture) transport millions of tons of water into the atmosphere; much of it in the form of water vapor, as well as the water droplets that form the clouds b(or eventually ice crystals.
That is an astronomical amount of latent heat (about 545 Cal/gm) that is ripped out of the ocean and transported into the troposphere.
Evaporating one gram of water from the ocean could drop the temperature 10 deg C for another 54.5 grams of ocean water, or 5 deg C for 109 grams of ocean water; and those are much greater temperature changes than the mixing of the surface waters could dredge up.
I think you will find that the cold trail of a hurricane is latent “heat” lost from the surface waters, and any mixing effect is rather minor.
George

Nogw
August 26, 2009 1:36 pm

Trivia:
If CO2 is warming the earth’s atmosphere with just 385 ppmv., what if you send a plane across that typhoon and spray it with CO2 (dry ice). If GW is true then, would it make it bigger…or dissolve it?.

George E. Smith
August 26, 2009 2:12 pm

“”” Nogw (13:36:03) :
Trivia:
If CO2 is warming the earth’s atmosphere with just 385 ppmv., what if you send a plane across that typhoon and spray it with CO2 (dry ice). If GW is true then, would it make it bigger…or dissolve it?. “””
Probably would; now to get down to brass tacks; the energy sucked up out of the oceans in a modest (cat 3) hurricane is about like setting off every nuke on earth once an hour.
The entire dry ice manufacturing capacity on earth isn’t nearly enough to keep loading up your plane to contend with that kind of energy.
Other than that, it is a wonderful idea.

Editor
August 26, 2009 2:51 pm

George E. Smith (10:34:03) :

“”” savethesharks (05:56:30) :
3×2 (05:23:53) :Do such things leave an measurable SST trail in their wake?
Many times you can see the very “path” of “cooled” SSTs they have beaten through a region of higher SSTs just by the significant upwelling they cause via angry, roiling seas.
One of Nature’s overturn and mixing mechanisms…at work.
CHRIS
Norfolk, VA, USA “””
So how do you know it is mixing at work ? A hurricane (look at the picture) transport millions of tons of water into the atmosphere; much of it in the form of water vapor, as well as the water droplets that form the clouds b(or eventually ice crystals.

I think you will find that the cold trail of a hurricane is latent “heat” lost from the surface waters, and any mixing effect is rather minor.

This isn’t the best result I wanted, and it’s from a questionable source (Kerry Emanuel), but I think he’s decribing others’ research here.
I hope this link works – http://books.google.com/books?id=IHALBxIYBGMC&lpg=PA76&ots=W96grxtEgv&pg=PA76#v=onepage&q=&f=false – it should display SSTs after Edouard passed by. The text goes into details of the ocean currents induced by the wind and how it affects the base of the mixed layer on the oceans surface and brings in cold water from below.
He claims that evaporation alone would cool the surface (mixed layer?) by only 0.1C.

jorgekafkazar
August 26, 2009 3:07 pm

3×2 (05:08:59) : “(just can’t get over that label, TYPHOON VAMCO –>)”
Coming up next, Typhoon Westinghouse. (Did you miss that announcement about corporate sponsorship for typhoons and hurricanes? )

August 26, 2009 5:27 pm

That’s funny. Selling the rights of storm names. LOL

August 26, 2009 6:59 pm

Eyes as big as Vamco’s and Ike’s are apparently, or at least in the Atlantic and the eastern part of the Pacific. The NHC says, referring to Hurricane Trudy of 1990: “Satellite images suggested that Trudy had an unusually large eye of near 50 nautical miles in diameter during its reintensified stage”. 50 nm is 60 statute miles (rounded from 57 to account for sig figs). That’s the same rare ballpark as Ike.

savethesharks
August 26, 2009 7:53 pm

George E. Smith (10:34:03) : “I think you will find that the cold trail of a hurricane is latent “heat” lost from the surface waters, and any mixing effect is rather minor.”
I think it is BOTH. [Not necessarily equal]
Please do not read into what I was saying. Was never saying that the mixing was the only…or even majority…mechanism at work here.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

savethesharks
August 26, 2009 7:59 pm

The Great 1938 “Long Island Express” hurricane had an eye 50 miles across.
These monsters never cease to amaze me.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

ed bell
August 26, 2009 8:32 pm

Slightly OT:
Seems like the lack of a strong Bermuda High is pushing tropical systems away from the SE coast. We’ve had an easy summer here in Upstate SC. Connected?

auum
August 27, 2009 2:05 am

wow. .
that’s great article. .
I LOVE NASA. .
Waitin’ me in NASA. .
I Have to works there. .

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