Featured Images

Hurricane Season 2010: Typhoon Conson (Northwestern Pacific Ocean)
07.19.10
 
July 19, 2010

Aqua captured this impressive visual image of Conson at 06:10 UTC on July 17 as it was approaching Vietnam. > View larger image
NASA's MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this impressive visual image of Tropical Storm Conson at 06:10 UTC on July 17 as it was approaching Vietnam
Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA Catches Tropical Storm Conson Before its Landfall in Vietnam

Typhoon Conson weakened to a tropical storm before it made landfall in northern Vietnam late Saturday, July 17, where it caused flash flooding and landslides that caused fatalities. NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Conson before it made landfall in northern Vietnam showing a large and impressive storm.

At 0610 UTC (2:10 a.m. EDT/ 1:10 p.m. local Asia/Ho Chi Minh time) on Friday, July 17, NASA's Aqua satellite flew over then Typhoon Conson and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies on Aqua captured a visible image of the storm. At that time its center took up the area between China's Hainan Island to the east and Vietnam to the west. It made landfall in Vietnam's northern province of Thanh Hoa on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 53 miles per hour. Eleven people were reported missing in Thanh Hoa after Conson made landfall.

The Philippines were hit hardest as Tropical Storm Conson (known locally there as "Basyang") is reported to have taken 68 lives, while 84 others remain missing. There was flooding, power outages, and more than 3,000 homes were destroyed in the Philippines. In addition, over 20,000 homes, schools, and crops were reported damaged from Conson's winds and rains.

Clean up and recovery efforts continue in the Philippines, Hainan Island, China, and northern Vietnam this week.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 16, 2010

TRMM captured the image of Conson's rainfall on July 15 at 8:28 p.m. EDT bringing rain to Hainan Island, China. > View larger image
TRMM captured the image of Conson's rainfall on July 16 at 0028 UTC (July 15 at 8:28 p.m. EDT) bringing rain to Hainan Island, China. The red area in the center of the storm shows heavy rainfall of over 50 millimeters (~2 inches) per hour. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. The white symbols show storm path, past and forecast.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Saw Typhoon Conson Raining on Hainan Island

Typhoon Conson intensified in the South China Sea after causing destruction and numerous deaths when it passed through the Philippines. When the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over Conson from space late on July 15 it captured the rainfall rates within the typhoon.

Rain rates are created from different instruments aboard TRMM. The rain rates in the center of TRMM images are derived from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), the only space borne radar of its kind, while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager. The rain rates are then overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner to create the entire image. The images are created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.

The TRMM PR and TMI rainfall analysis showed that Conson was accompanied by a large area of moderate to heavy rain. The data was captured before Conson started hammering the southern tip of the island of Hainan, China.

At 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT) on July 16, Typhoon Conson had maximum sustained winds near 70 knots (80 mph). Conson was 40 nautical miles south of Hainan, near 18.1 North and 109.5 East and moving northwest at 7 knots (8 mph).

Typhoon Conson is expected to weaken to tropical storm strength on July 17 and further weaken to a tropical depression because of vertical wind shear. It will make a final landfall in northern Vietnam on July 17. The current forecast track indicates that Conson's center will pass very near Hanoi over the weekend.

Text credit: Hal Pierce, NASA/SSAI and Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 15, 2010

NASA's Aqua satellite look at Conson and found 2 large areas of strong convection and icy cold cloud tops that were colder than -63 Fahrenheit > View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared look at Tropical Storm Conson's thunderstorm cloud-top temperatures on July 14 at 1747 UTC (1:47 p.m. EDT) and found 2 large areas of strong convection and icy cold (high, strong thunderstorms) cloud tops that were colder than -63 Fahrenheit (purple).
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
High Pressure Forcing Tropical Storm Conson Farther South to Hainan Island

NASA satellites are keeping an eye on the changing track of Tropical Storm Conson and the conditions within the storm as it changes in strength on its track through the South China Sea. NASA's Infrared imagery revealed some strong convection in the storm as it takes a more westerly route toward another landfall.

Just before making landfall in the northern Philippines, Tropical Storm Conson was forecast to track more to the northwest for a landfall in China in the next couple of days. Now the forecast track has changed to bring Conson further south over the weekend and toward a landfall in northern Vietnam. That's because there is a low-to-mid-level subtropical ridge (an area of high pressure) that is sitting over China, and Conson is following along the southern edge of it. The high pressure ridge acts as a barrier and Tropical cyclone like Conson are forced to go around them. Think of a basketball sitting outside in the rain, and the raindrops drip down the surface to the ground - it’s the same principle.

When NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Tropical Storm Conson on July 14 at 1747 UTC (1:47 p.m. EDT), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured a look at the storm's cloud-top temperatures. Cloud top temperatures tell scientists how high thunderstorms are and that translates into strength because the higher and colder the cloud tops, the stronger the thunderstorms, and typically more rain falls from them.

AIRS infrared measurements of Tropical Storm Conson's thunderstorm cloud-top temperatures revealed 2 large areas of strong convection and icy cold (high, strong thunderstorms) cloud tops that were colder than -63 Fahrenheit. That means there was a lot of energy in Tropical Storm Conson yesterday when the Aqua satellite passed overhead. Animated infrared satellite imagery today, July 15, showed tightly wrapped convective banding around the storm's center indicating its maintaining intensity.

On July 15 at 0600 UTC (4 a.m. EDT), Tropical Storm Conson's maximum sustained winds were near 50 knots (57 mph). Conson was located about 290 nautical miles east-southeast of Hainan Island near 16.6 North and 113.3 East. It was moving west near 12 knots (13 mph).

Tropical Storm Conson is in an area of strong northeasterly vertical wind shear, blowing at a speed greater than 30 knots (34 mph). Despite the strong wind shear, the storm is maintaining intensity. However, that wind shear is pushing the strongest convection southwest of Conson's center.

Meteorologists at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center are forecasting Conson to keep tracking westward and cross Hainan Island in the next 24-36 hours (mid-day Eastern Time on Friday, July 16). Thereafter, Conson is expected to make landfall in northern Vietnam and dissipate over the weekend.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 14, 2010

Conson is being battered by strong vertical wind shear evident since Conson no longer has the signature rounded shape. > View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Conson in the South China Sea on July 13 at 1:40 a.m. EDT. Conson is being battered by strong vertical wind shear which is evident here because Conson no longer has the tropical cyclone signature rounded shape.
Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA's Aqua Satellite Sees Tropical Storm Conson Now in South China Sea

NASA satellite imagery confirmed that Tropical Storm Conson is departing the Philippines and is almost entirely in the South China Sea.

At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EDT/10 p.m. local Asia/Manila time) on July 14, Tropical Storm Conson was located about 225 nautical miles west-northwest of Manila, the Philippines. That places Conson's center near 16.3 North and 116.9 East. Conson had maximum sustained winds near 50 knots (57 mph) and was moving west-northwest near 12 knots (14 mph). Conson is generating maximum wave heights of 15 feet in the South China Sea.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Conson in the South China Sea on July 13 at 540 UTC (1:40 a.m. EDT/1:40 p.m. local Asia/Manila time). Conson is being battered by strong vertical wind shear at about 30 knots (34 mph) and the visible imagery shows that Conson no longer has the tropical cyclone signature rounded shape. For a time, Conson's center was fully exposed to winds but it has re-developed. Most of the strongest convection (rapidly rising air that forms thunderstorms) remained south of the partially exposed low-level center.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts that Conson "should make landfall near Zhanjiang, China near 16/18z (July 16 at 1800 Zulu Time, or 2 p.m. EDT). Conson is expected to maintain intensity over the next day and then begin weakening before it makes landfall.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 13, 2010

MODIS captured a visible image of Typhoon Conson on July 13 during its landfall in the northern Philippines. > View larger image
The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Typhoon Conson at 04:55 UTC (12:55 a.m. EDT/12:55 p.m. local Asia/Manila Time) on July 13 during its landfall in the northern Philippines.
Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
This infrared image from the AIRS satellite at 4:53 UTC shows strong convection and high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops. > View larger image
This infrared image from the AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite at 4:53 UTC (12:53 a.m. EDT) shows strong convection and high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops (purple). Note that the northern Philippines are covered by the eastern half of the storm, as its center is already moving into the South China Sea.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Tropical Storm Conson Sweeping Through the Northern Philippines

Tropical Storm Conson became a typhoon overnight with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of the storm as it was making landfall in Luzon, the Philippines. Conson is already moving into the South China Sea and headed for a landfall in south China.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Typhoon Conson at 04:55 UTC (12:55 a.m. EDT/12:55 p.m. local Asia/Manila Time) on July 13, when it was moving over land in the northern Philippines. The interaction with land had an effect on Conson's winds, dropping them below typhoon-force. In the Philippines, Conson has been given the local name of "Basyang."

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT/11 p.m. local Asia/Manila time), Conson's winds had decreased to 60 knots (69 mph) after making landfall. Tropical-storm force winds extend as far as 65 miles from the center. Conson's center was about 70 miles east of Manila, near 14.5 North and 122.2. East and it was moving west at 14 knots (16 mph).

The following regional warnings are in effect in the Philippines: Public storm signal #3 is in effect for the following provinces of the Philippines: Aurora, Northern Quezon, Polilio Island and Camarines Norte. Public storm signal #2 is in effect for these provinces: Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Southern Quezon, Marinduque, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes. Public storm signal #1 is in effect for: Cagayan, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Ifugao, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Albay and Metro Manila.

For updated, detailed forecasts from Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Tropical Storm Conson (Baysang), go to: http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/wb/tc_up.html.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Conson at 4:53 UTC (12:53 a.m. EDT) as it passed overhead from its orbit in space. The image showed strong convection and high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops. The image also showed that the northern Philippines were covered by the eastern half of the storm at that time, and its center was already moving into the South China Sea.

Tropical Storm Conson is forecast to continue weakening because of increased wind shear and interaction with the land surface of the northern Philippines. It will continue moving into the South China Sea and make a landfall in southern China.

Conson is the first tropical cyclone to reach hurricane strength in the northwest Pacific Ocean 2010 typhoon/hurricane season.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



This image was constructed from TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) data and shows CONSON's 3-D vertical structure. > View larger image
This image was constructed from TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) data and shows CONSON's 3-D vertical structure. Red areas indicate areas of heavy rainfall (exceeding 2 inches per hour).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
This 3-D flyby movie was created from data from TRMM's Precipitation Radar instrument. > View video
This 3-D flyby movie was created from data from TRMM's Precipitation Radar instrument. The developing eye is shown reaching to heights above 15 km (~9 miles). Red areas indicate areas of heavy rainfall (exceeding 2 inches per hour).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's 3-D Animation of Typhoon Conson's Heavy Rainfall and Strong Thunderstorms

Imagine seeing a typhoon from space, and seeing it in three dimensions. That's what the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can do with any typhoon, and just did with Typhoon Conson. TRMM's 3-D look at tropical cyclones provide scientists with information on the height of towering thunderstorms and the rate of rainfall in them, and Conson has high thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.

The TRMM satellite got a good view of tropical storm Conson (known as "Basyang" in the Philippines) in the west Pacific Ocean as it passed directly overhead on July 12 at 1550 UTC (1:50 p.m. EDT/1:50 a.m. local time on July 13). TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) data from the orbit were used when creating the rainfall analysis. That rainfall analysis showed intensifying tropical storm Conson was already very well organized. TRMM data clearly showed that an eye was forming with heavy thunderstorms located northeast of the storm's center of circulation. Those thunderstorms were dropping rainfall at a rate of almost 2 inches per hour.

Hal Pierce of NASA's TRMM Team, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created the 3-D animation of Typhoon Conson using data from July 12. In the animation, Pierce said that "The developing eye is shown reaching to heights above 15 kilometers (~9 miles)."

There were also hot towers around Conson's eye. A hot tower is a tropical cumulonimbus cloud that punches through the tropopause and reaches into the stratosphere. They are called "hot towers" because they rise high due to the large amount of latent heat released as water vapor condenses into liquid and freezes into ice. Hot towers may appear when the hurricane is about to intensify, which is exactly what Conson did after the hot towers were seen by the TRMM satellite.

The TRMM Precipitation Radar 3-D image showed that Conson was already a typhoon at 1550 UTC (1:50 p.m. EDT/1:50 a.m. local Asia/Manila time), which allowed forecasters to reclassify Conson from a tropical storm to a typhoon. TRMM Precipitation Radar revealed that the eye was already well formed indicating that Conson had reached typhoon status at that time.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 12, 2010

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Conson on July 12 showing a well-developed circulation. > View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Conson on July 12 at 12:14 p.m. (local Asia/Manila time) and showed a well-developed circulation.
Credit: NASA/JTWC/NRL
NASA's 3-D Animation of Typhoon Conson's Heavy Rainfall and Strong Thunderstorms

Tropical Storm Conson formed in the northwestern Pacific Ocean over the weekend, and is now poised to bring rainfall and gusty winds to the northern Philippines. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Conson on July 12 at 12:14 p.m. (local Asia/Manila time) and showed a well-developed circulation.

Conson, known locally in the Philippines as "Tropical Storm Basyang," was about 400 nautical miles east of Manila, Philippines, near 14.4 North and 127.1 East at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT). Conson has maximum sustained winds near 60 knots (69 mph) with higher gusts. Although Tropical Storm Conson is moving west near 14 knots (16 mph) it is forecast to track north-northwest over the next couple of days, and is expected to make landfall on July 13 after 1200 Zulu Time (8 a.m. EDT or 8 p.m. local Asia/Manila time).

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration known as PAGASA posts forecasts and watches and warnings for residents of the Philippines.

Signal Warnings have been posted by PAGASA for various areas in Luzon, the Philippines. Signal No. 2 has been posted in Luzon for the following areas: Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Polillo Island, Aurora, Quirino and Isabela. Signal 2 means winds are expected between 60-100 kph (37-62 mph).

A Signal No. 1 alert indicates expected winds between 30-60 kph (18-37 mph). A Signal 1 is in effect in Luzon for the areas of: Camarines Sur, Albay, Quezon, Rizal, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Benguet, Mt. Province, Kalinga, and Cagayan. Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under signals # 1 and 2 are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. For updated watches and warnings, visit: http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/wb/tc_up.html.

PAGASA indicated that by Tuesday evening (local Asia/Manila time) the center of Conson (or Basyang) should be located about 90 km (55 miles) east of Casiguran, Aurora and is expected to make landfall before midnight (local time). By Wednesday evening, July 14, Conson's (Basyang) center is expected to be about 120 km (74 miles) west-Southwest of Laoag City.

Microwave satellite imagery on July 12 (today) indicated a low-level eye feature, a sign that Tropical Storm Conson may be strengthening into a Cyclone. Even though today's visible image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite) did not show an eye, it was likely because the upper levels of Conson's center were obscured by high clouds.

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center indicate that Conson will continue to strengthen because it is in an area with low vertical wind shear (winds that can tear a storm apart if strong enough) and warm sea surface temperatures (that power cyclones).

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center