Satellite analysis of Super Typhoon Soudelor moving toward Taiwan

From NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Heavy rain, towering thunderstorms, and a large area are things that NASA satellites observed as Typhoon Soudelor moves toward Taiwan on August 5, 2015. A 3D video analysis follows.

typhoon-soudelor2
On Aug. 5, the GPM satellite data was used to make a 3-D vertical structure of rainfall within Soudelor. Some storms examined with GPM’s radar reached heights of over 12.9 km (about 8 miles) and were dropping rain at a rate of over 87 mm (3.4 inches). Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Soudelor on August 5, 2015 at 01:45 UTC and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image of the large storm in the Philippine Sea. The eye appeared to be cloud-filled as bands of thunderstorms spiraled into the center of the storm.

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core observatory, a satellite managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, took a look at rainfall and cloud heights.

Typhoon Soudelor’s sustained winds were 105 knots (about 121 mph) when the GPM core observatory satellite flew above on August 5, 2015 at 1051 UTC. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a rainfall analysis was made from data collected from GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments. The analysis showed that Soudelor was very large and had a well-defined eye. Intense feeder bands are shown spiraling into the center.

Three dimensional radar reflectivity data from GPM’s DPR (ku Band) were used to construct a simulated cross section through Typhoon Soudelor’s center. A view from the south showed the 3-D vertical structure of rainfall within Soudelor. Some storms examined with GPM’s radar reached heights of over 12.9 km (about 8 miles) and were dropping rain at a rate of over 87 mm (3.4 inches).

On August 5, 2015 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Soudelor was centered near 20.0 North latitude and 132.7 East longitude, about 474 nautical miles (545.5 miles/ 877.8 km) southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. It was moving to the west at 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph). Maximum sustained winds were near 100 knots (115 mph/185 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) predicts that typhoon Soudelor will continue to be a powerful typhoon and winds are predicted to increase to 120 knots (138 mph) before impacting Taiwan in a couple days. Taiwan’s rugged terrain is expected to take its toll on Soudelor but the typhoon is still expected to have wind speeds of 90 knots (103.5 mph) while approaching China.

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scarletmacaw
August 6, 2015 10:01 am

3.4 inches per ????

Steve R
Reply to  scarletmacaw
August 6, 2015 6:03 pm

Hour

A C Osborn
August 6, 2015 10:04 am

Not quite a “Super” Typhoon is it?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  A C Osborn
August 6, 2015 1:07 pm

It was a day or two ago. Winds over 155 mph. It is just very hard for a storm to stay at that intensity for very long. Luckily it was still out away from land at that time.

george e. smith
August 6, 2015 10:07 am

Well I thought I was going to see a movie of a megahurricane.
Instead I saw a moving picture of a snapshot. My wife does that; goes to show me something, but just waves it around in front of me, so I can’t look at it.
Evidently this thing has unprecedented rainfall and thunderstorms; creepy !

August 6, 2015 10:53 am

Whenever quality high altitude pictures show the eye clogged with clouds, I get suspicious about any ‘super’ storm status.

“…The eye appeared to be cloud-filled as bands of thunderstorms spiraled into the center of the storm…”

Then there is this rather blunt statement that the eye is blocked by more than clouds. It is tough to have super storm with a disorganized eye.
Time to pay attention to actual ground speed readings instead of ‘modeled’ estimates.

August 6, 2015 12:05 pm

It’s a cat 2 storm at present…

Mumbles McGuirck
August 6, 2015 12:13 pm

BTW, the Taiwanese are flying their DOTSTAR jet around Soudelor releasing dropsondes in hope of improving the track forecast.
http://typhoon.as.ntu.edu.tw/DOTSTAR/en/flight.php?id=72

george e. smith
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
August 6, 2015 12:46 pm

No need to predict where it is at. Need to predict where it will be at.
So drop dropsondes where you expect it to be, and they’ll tell you when it arrives.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  george e. smith
August 7, 2015 4:59 am

The point of dropping sondes around the storm is to define the steering currents that are pushing the typhoon. This will help narrow down both where the cyclone is heading and when it will get there.

August 6, 2015 4:27 pm

Typhoon Soudelor Looks like it is having difficulty staying organized on it’s Northern sector. Typhoon Soudelor’s Western outflow is not breathing freely. The storm’s hitting Taiwan will not help those who want to hype up super storms.

August 6, 2015 7:57 pm

When will the heat make a super duper typhoon and how will we know the difference?

August 7, 2015 3:13 am

Is there a detectable trend in the size/diameter of tropical storms — as opposed to strength or frequency?

Reply to  opluso
August 7, 2015 7:40 am

I’m not sure exactly what you are asking opluso. Could you define/specify the question a little better?

David A
Reply to  opluso
August 8, 2015 4:15 am

Look up the term ACE.

ren
August 7, 2015 8:18 am

He goes straight to China, south of Shanghai.

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