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Nuri (Western Pacific Ocean)
November 19, 2014

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Inside the Bering Sea Superstorm

In early November 2014, a superstorm charged across the Bering Sea with record-low pressure, bringing high winds and waves to the region. It even triggered events leading to an extreme cold snap in the central United States. While scientists have a good handle on the processes that cause extratropical cyclones like this one to form, the details of cloud features embedded in these storms are not yet fully understood.

"Extratropical cyclones represent some of the largest and most powerful storm systems on Earth, and produce the majority of fresh water received at middle and high latitudes" said Derek Posselt of the University of Michigan. "Scientists are currently examining how clouds are not only caused by winter storms, but also feed back on the storm strength and life cycle."

One way that scientists study the cloud-storm relationship is by looking down from above with radar. Pulses of energy from radars are reflected from objects in the path of the radar beam. For example, the radar on NASA's CloudSat is designed specifically to detect the reflections from cloud droplets and ice particles. The more energy that the cloud reflects back to the radar, the more water and ice is contained in the cloud.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this view of the Bering Sea event (top) at 0120 Universal Time on November 8, the day that it peaked in intensity as an extratropical storm. Note that the image has been rotated so that North is toward the left.

Seven minutes prior to acquisition of the VIIRS image, CloudSat flew over the storm and acquired a vertical profile. The satellite track is shown as a red line across the middle of the image. The lower image is a cross-section that shows what the storm would look like if it had been sliced near the middle and viewed from the side. Lighter blue colors correspond to smaller amounts of reflected energy: in this case, thin ice clouds. Deeper blues represent regions of thick clouds and precipitation.

According to Posselt, the profile captures the part of a winter storm that often contains the heaviest snowfall. Intense snow bands—elongated structures associated with areas of snowfall—show up on the left side of the profile as streaks of dark blue in the lower to middle portion of the cloud. These snow bands wrap around the storm, and also show up in the radar reflectivity on the right side of the profile.

In addition to the snow bands, small convective snow showers are visible in the profile under the higher clouds at left, and also in the center of the image between the two main regions of snowfall. These snow showers are very shallow, with cloud tops that stay below an altitude of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). Still, they can produce intense short-lived bursts of snow.

"In contrast to every other spaceborne radar, CloudSat enables us to see the details of the middle and upper portions of winter storm clouds, as well as the intense snow bands reaching the surface," Posselt said. "The development of intense small-scale snow bands within a much larger storm system is still a process that is not well understood."

Posselt and others are hopeful, however, that probing the details of these fine-scale features with CloudSat will help uncover new information about the Earth's hydrologic cycle.

References and Further Reading

Christopher C. Burt via Weather Underground News & Blogs (2014, November 8) Bering Sea Superstorm Bottoms out at 924 mb. Accessed November 18, 2014.
NASA Earth Observatory (2014, November 7) Storm Aimed for Aleutian Islands. Accessed November 18, 2014.
NASA Earth Observatory (2014, November 4) Super Typhoon Nuri. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Posselt, D. et al., (2008, May) CLOUDSAT: Adding a New Dimension to a Classical View of Extratropical Cyclones. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 89 (5), 599-609.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using CloudSat FirstLook data provided courtesy of the CloudSat team at Colorado State University, and VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Kathryn Hansen with image interpretation by Derek Posselt.

Instrument(s):   CloudSat - CPR


[image-168][image-186] Nov. 07, 2014 - NASA Eyes Post-Tropical Storm Nuri's Winds, Now to Affect Alaska

NASA's newest Earth observing mission, the International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat provided a look at the winds within post-tropical cyclone Nuri on Nov. 5 and 6 as it moved parallel to Japan. Nuri has moved across the Pacific and is expected to bring hurricane-force wind gusts to Alaska's Aleutian Islands today, Nov. 7.

"RapidScat passed over Nuri, near Japan, three times within a 24 hour period," said Doug Tyler of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "The progression [in three images] showed Nuri’s path."

RapidScat measured Nuri's wind speeds twice on Nov. 5 and saw strongest winds, as fast as 30 meters per second (108 kph/67.1 mph), appeared in the northwestern and southeastern quadrants. On Nov. 6, RapidScat showed sustained wind speeds around the center of circulation had decreased to near 20 meters per second (72 kph/44.7 mph).

The International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat was launched Sept. 21, 2014 to the International Space Station. From the unique vantage point of the space station, this space-based scatterometer instrument will use radar pulses reflected from the ocean's surface from different angles to calculate ocean surface wind speeds and directions.

On Friday, Nov. 7, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Anchorage, Alaska issued a High Wind Warning for the Western Aleutian Islands including the cities of Shemya and Amchitka. The warning was posted at 4:23 a.m. AKST on Nov 7 and remains in effect through 9 a.m. AKST on Saturday, Nov. 8.

The warning states that southwest winds 20 to 35 mph (32.1 to 56.3 kph) early on Nov. 7 will rapidly increase to south 60 to 75 mph (96.5 to 120.7 kph) with gusts of 80 to 90 mph (128.7 to 144.8 kph) by late morning. During the afternoon and evening winds will shift to the southwest and continue through Saturday morning before slowly diminishing. Any travel may be difficult. Loose debris can be moved and damage property.

Marine interests have a hurricane force wind warning through tonight, Nov. 7, as during the day, sustained winds will increase from 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph) to 70 knots (80.5 mph/129.6 kph). On the Bering side seas will be as high as 20 feet building to 28 feet in the afternoon. On the Pacific side of the islands, seas will be 24 feet (7.3 meters) building to 35 feet (10.6 meters) in the afternoon with rain. At night on Nov. 7, southwesterly winds will increase to 70 knots (80.5 mph/129.6 kph) and seas are expected to reach 45 feet (13.7 meters) in rain showers. By Saturday, Nov. 8, sustained southwesterly winds are forecast near 55 knots (63.9 mph/101.9 kph) with 39-foot (11.8 meter)-high seas on the Bering Sea side and 41-foot (12.5 meter) high seas on the Pacific side.

The marine forecast calls for strong winds to continue through Tuesday. On Sunday, Nov. 9, sustained winds are expected near 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph), Nov. 10, sustained winds forecast near 40 knots (46.0 mph/74.0 kph), and 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph) by Nov. 11. For updated forecasts, visit:   http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/ and  http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=51.96416557300046&lon=177.4...

ISS-RapidScat is a partnership between JPL and the International Space Station Program Office at JSC, with support from the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Other mission partners include the Kennedy Space Center, Florida; NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama; the European Space Agency; and SpaceX.

For more information on ISS-RapidScat, visit:  http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/  or http://www.nasa.gov/rapidscat 

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-150]NASA Sees Tropical Storm Nuri Resemble a Frontal System

NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Storm Nuri on Nov. at captured an infrared picture of the storm. The storm looked more like a frontal system as it stretched from northeast to southwest.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite flew over Nuri on Nov. 6 at 1240 UTC (7:40 a.m. EST). The MODIS image showed some strong thunderstorms remaining in a small area around Nuri's center, but the storm appeared stretched out from northeast to southwest. Wind shear was affecting the storm, stretching it out.

The last bulletin on the storm was issued on Nov. 6 at 0300 UTC (Nov. 5 at 10 p.m. EST). At that time, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that Nuri still had maximum sustained winds near 55 knots (63.2 mph/102 kph). It was located about 130 nautical miles (149 miles/240 km) west-northwest of Chichi-jima, near 29.2 north latitude and 141.0 east longitude. Nuri was moving to the northeast and over open waters of the western North Pacific.

In its final bulletin, JWTC noted that Nuri will become an extra-tropical storm before the end of the day on Nov. 6. Computer models indicate the system will be a strong extra-tropical low pressure area as it continues to move over open waters.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-132]Nov. 05, 2014 - NASA Sees Typhoon Nuri Pass Iwo To, Japan

Typhoon Nuri continued moving in a northeasterly direction passing the island of Iwo To, Japan when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible picture of Typhoon Nuri on Nov. 5 at 4:10 UTC (11:10 p.m. EST, Nov. 4).

At 1002 UTC (5:02 a.m. EST) a microwave image captured from NASA/JAXA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite showed that the low-level center of circulation was beginning to weaken. The strongest thunderstorms had become isolated in the northern quadrant of the storm. Regardless, a weak eye still appeared on the microwave imagery.

By 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on Nov. 5, Nuri's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 80 knots (92 mph/148.2 kph) as a result of increased wind shear. Nuri was centered near 27.2 north latitude and 139.2 east longitude. That's about 174 nautical miles (200 miles/322 km) northwest of Iwo To. Nuri was moving to the northeast at 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph).

Nuri is expected to continue weakening as it moves in a northeasterly direction, while remaining over open waters in the western North Pacific. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center also expect Nuri to begin transitioning into an extra-tropical storm over the next day or two.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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Nov. 04, 2014 -  NASA's Terra Satellite Sees Typhoon Nuri in Eyewall Replacement

High clouds had moved over Super Typhoon Nuri's eye early on Nov. 4 when NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead as the storm was undergoing eyewall replacement.

Eyewall replacement occurs when the thunderstorms that circle the eye of a powerful typhoons or hurricanes are replaced by other thunderstorms. Basically, a new eye begins to develop around the old eye. Many intense hurricanes undergo at least one of these eyewall replacements during their existence. 

On Nov. 4 at 01:55 UTC (8:55 p.m. EST) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nuri as clouds moved into its eye. The MODIS image showed a large, thick band of thunderstorms spiraling into the eye that stretched to the south of the center. The extent of the clouds in the northern quadrant appeared to be just east of Japan.

A microwave image from NASA/JAXA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission showed that Nuri is undergoing eyewall replacement, although the previously observed eye feature has become cloud filled and less defined.

By 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST), Nuri's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 120 knots (138.1 mph/222.2 kph). Nuri was centered near 23.5 north latitude and 136.6 east longitude, about 293 nautical miles (337.2 miles/542.6 km)  west-southwest of Iwo To and has tracked northeastward at 12 knots (13.8 mph/22.2 kph).

NOAA's National Weather Service office on Iwo To (also known as Iwojima) current conditions at 10 a.m. EST on Nov. 4 reported winds from the southeast were sustained at 22 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy and the air temperature was 78F (26C). Heavy rain showers were reported on Nov. 3.

Nuri is passing to the west of Iwo To and is expected to move to the northeast and parallel the big island of Japan over the next couple of days while weakening. Within two days the storm is expected to weaken just below hurricane-force.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-77][image-96]Nov. 03, 2014 - NASA Sees Super Typhoon Nuri's Eye Open in 2 Days

Over the course of two days, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, NASA's Aqua satellite watched from space as Tropical cyclone Nuri strengthened into a Super Typhoon and "opened" or developed an eye.

On Nov. 1, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nuri at 04:30 UTC (12:30 a.m. EDT) and it had not yet developed an eye. On Nov. 3 at 04:20 UTC (12:20 a.m. EDT) MODIS on Aqua passed over Super Typhoon Nuri again after it developed an eye. By Nov. 3 the bands of thunderstorms spiraling into the center of the low-level circulation had become more tightly wrapped. The image also showed that the widest band of thunderstorms were over the northern and eastern quadrants of the storm.

At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on Nov. 3, Nuri's maximum sustained winds had reached 155 knots (178.4 mph/ 287.1 kph), making it a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Some minor intensification is expected before the storm begins to weaken on Nov. 4.

Nuri was centered near 20.2 north latitude and 133.9 east longitude, about 514 nautical miles (591.5 miles/ 951.9 km) southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. It was moving to the northeast at 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph). Nuri is expected to pass west of Iwo To on Nov. 5 as it continues moving in a northeasterly direction. For current weather conditions in Iwo To (also known as Iwojima), visit: http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/RJAW.html.

Nuri is expected to intensify further before weakening. Adverse conditions will cause the storm to go on a weakening trend and the storm is expected to become extra-tropical after three or four days.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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Oct. 31, 2014 - Tropical Depression Nuri Now Haunting the Western Pacific Ocean

Tropical Depression Nuri formed on Halloween morning, October 31, and is haunting the waters of the western North Pacific Ocean. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a ghostly-white image of the storm.

When Suomi NPP flew over Tropical Depression Nuri on Oct. 31 at 3:36 UTC, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite or VIIRS instrument aboard captured an infrared image of the storm. The infrared data shows temperature, an indicated that there were very high thunderstorms with very cold cloud top temperatures surrounding the center of the low level circulation and in south of the center.

VIIRS is a scanning radiometer that collects visible and infrared imagery and "radiometric" measurements. Basically it means that VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and Earth's albedo (reflected light).

On Oct. 31 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Nuri had maximum sustained winds near 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph). It was centered near 12.7 north latitude and 136.0 east longitude. That puts Nuri's center about 211 nautical miles (242.8 miles/390.8 km) north-northwest of Yap. Nuri has tracked westward at 8 knots (9.2 mph/14.8 kph).

Nuri is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm and reach typhoon strength by Nov. 1. The storm is expected to curve toward the northwest, then turn northeast over the next couple of days, while remaining over the open waters of the western North Pacific Ocean.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Tropical Depression Nuri
When NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP captured this ghostly white image of Tropical Depression Nuri haunting the western North Pacific Ocean on Oct. 31 at 3:36 UTC.
Image Credit: 
NRL/NASA/NOAA
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On Nov. 3 at 04:20 UTC (12:20 a.m. EDT) NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri after it developed an eye.
On Nov. 3 at 04:20 UTC (12:20 a.m. EDT) NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri after it developed an eye.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri as clouds moved into its eye.
On Nov. 4 at 01:55 UTC (8:55 p.m. ET) NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri as clouds moved into its eye.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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VIIRS image of Nuri
Image Credit: 
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen
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On Nov. 1, when NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri at 04:30 UTC (12:30 a.m. EDT) it had not yet developed an eye.
On Nov. 1, when NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nuri at 04:30 UTC (12:30 a.m. EDT) it had not yet developed an eye.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible picture of Typhoon Nuri
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible picture of Typhoon Nuri on Nov. 5 at 4:10 UTC (11:10 p.m. EST, Nov. 4).
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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MODIS image of Nuri
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Storm Nuri on Nov. at captured an infrared picture of the storm. Nuri looked more like a frontal system stretching from northeast to southwest.
Image Credit: 
NASA/NRL
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On Nov. 6, Rapidscat showed Nuri's sustained wind speeds around the center of circulation were near 20 meters per second/72 km/44.7 mph (yellow).
On Nov. 6, Rapidscat showed Nuri's sustained wind speeds around the center of circulation were near 20 meters per second/72 km/44.7 mph (yellow).
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL
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These two images of Nuri's sustained winds were taken by Rapidscat on Nov. 5. Strongest winds (red) as fast as 30 meters per second (108 kph/67.1 mph) appeared in the northwestern and southeastern quadrants.
These two images of Nuri's sustained winds were taken by Rapidscat on Nov. 5. Strongest winds (red) as fast as 30 meters per second (108 kph/67.1 mph) appeared in the northwestern and southeastern quadrants.
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL
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Page Last Updated: November 19th, 2014
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner