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Hurricane Season 2010: Tropical Cyclone Paul (Southern Pacific Ocean)
04.02.10
 
April 2, 2010

TRMM data was used to create a map of flooding left behind by Tropical Cyclone Paul in Australia's Northern Territory and Queensland. > View larger image
TRMM data was used to create a map of flooding left behind by Tropical Cyclone Paul in Australia's Northern Territory and Queensland. This image represents 7 days of rainfall ending April 2. Green and yellow indicates 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rainfall, orange and red colors indicate 225-300 mm (8-11.1 inches) of rainfall.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Maps Cyclone Paul's Extreme Rainfall Totals in Australia

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has been called a "flying rain gauge in space" because it measures rainfall from its orbit around the earth. This week, ex-tropical storm Paul gave TRMM a workout measuring heavy rainfall the storm left behind in areas of northern Australia and noticed some areas received up to 11 inches.

At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., TRMM data was used to create a map of flooding that was created as the now deceased Tropical Cyclone Paul rained on Australia's Northern Territory and Queensland. A TRMM rainfall map that was created on April 2 showed estimated rainfall totals from the previous seven days of rain. The data product showed that most of the impacted areas received between 100-200 millimeters (4-8 inches) of rainfall with some areas having received up to 300mm (11.1 inches).Those totals were confirmed on the ground by Australian weather reporting stations.

At 9 a.m. local time (Brisbane, Australia) on Friday, April 2, rainfall totaled 237mm (9.3 inches) at Burketown, 185mm (7.2 inches) at Escott Station, 121mm (4.7 inches) at Century Mine and 119mm(4.6 inches) at Gregory Downs.

That rainfall is still being carried in rivers and streams, and as a result, today, April 2, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) has issued a Flood Warning for the flood warning for the Nicholson River and adjacent catchments in Queensland. ABM's warning noted that heavy rain associated with former cyclone Paul has "led to fast rises in the Nicholson catchment overnight with minor to moderate flooding expected and further rises are likely over the weekend." ABS noted that "rainfall is expected to move into the Leichardt catchment during Friday where river rises are likely with possible minor to moderate flooding." Warnings and River Height Bulletins are available at http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld.

Other river flooding reported in Queensland includes the Upper Brisbane River at Devon Hills; Cooper Creek between Durham Downs and Nappa Merrie; the Diamantina River between Durrie and Birdsville; and the Eyre Creek between Bedourie and Glengyle.

For more information about TRMM and daily flood maps, visit: http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



April 1, 2010

MODIS captured a visible image of the remnants of Cyclone Paul over the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. > View larger image
The MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the remnants of Cyclone Paul over the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia at 04:45 UTC (12:45 a.m. EDT) today, April 1, 2010.
Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team
On April 1 Paul's strongest thunderstorms were still over land in the Northern Territory (purple). > View larger image
The AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a look at Paul's cold remnant thunderstorm cloud tops on April 1 at 0435 UTC (12:35 a.m. EDT). The strongest thunderstorms were still over land in the Northern Territory (purple). The image also showed very warm land to Paul's west and south (red).< /br> Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Warnings Dropped for Ex-Cyclone Paul as NASA Satellites See it Fizzle

NASA's Aqua satellite flew over the remnants of ex-tropical storm Paul early today, April 1 and noticed its circulation and form had weakened in the last 24 hours. All weather warnings for the mainland in the Northern Territory have been cancelled.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the remnants of Cyclone Paul over the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia at 04:45 UTC (12:45 a.m. EDT) today, April 1, 2010. The image showed that most of the clouds associated with the low were on the southern side of the circulation and over land.

Another instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite also got a good look at Paul's remnants as the satellite flew overhead. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of Paul's cold remnant thunderstorm cloud tops. The infrared image, which shows temperatures, indicated that the strongest thunderstorms were still over land in the Northern Territory. The image also showed very warm land to Paul's west and south.

The only warnings in effect are for the coastal waters, where there is a wind warning posted from Coastal Nhulunbuy to the Queensland border. The warning means that winds from the west-southwest will be gusting to 20-30 knots (23- 34 mph/ 37-55 kph), easing below 25 knots (28 mph/46 kph) during Friday morning (local Darwin time). Seas are expected to be as high as 3 meters (9 feet), but the conditions are expected to ease on Friday.

On April 1 at 11:15 p.m. CST Darwin time (8:45 a.m. EDT) Paul's remnants were located close to the Northern Territory/Queensland border in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast. The low is expected to track inland overnight and continue to weaken over the southern Top End during the next few days.

Paul is now not expected to redevelop into a tropical cyclone.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center






March 31, 2010

TRMM's rainfall rates on March 30; yellow and green areas indicate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. > View larger image
TRMM captured Paul's rainfall rates on March 30 at 1707 UTC (1:07 p.m. EDT). The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. The few red areas represent heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches per hour, and all of them are over the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
This is an infrared satellite image of Paul's cold thunderstorm tops from March 29 when he was making landfall. > View larger image
This is an infrared satellite image of Paul's cold thunderstorm tops (purple=coldest, highest) from March 29 at 16:35 UTC, when he was making landfall. Now, Paul has been downgraded to a low, and is almost in the same location, but exiting the mainland and headed back into the Gulf.< /br> Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
TRMM Satellite Sees Paul's Low Headed Back to Gulf of Carpentaria

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, better known as TRMM has been tracking Cyclone Paul's rainfall over the last week, and has watched is it made landfall in the Northern Territory and is now tracking Paul as it heads back toward the Gulf of Carpentaria for a return over water.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) continues to monitor the low pressure system that was tropical storm Paul. The ABM issued an update on Paul's low at 4:56 p.m. CST local time (3:26 UTC), Wednesday, March 31, which would be 11:26 p.m. on March 30 for U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (the U.S. East coast is 14 1/2 hours behind Darwin, Australia's time). Paul's center was still over land on March 31 but is forecast to move into the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria on April 1.

As a result, there is now a cyclone Watch in effect for coastal and island communities from Cape Shield to the Northern Territory/Queensland border, including Groote Eylandt. The Cyclone Watch from Nhulunbuy to Cape Shield was cancelled. However, there is a Severe Weather Warning for damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall in the Roper-McArthur and Arnhem Districts.

TRMM captured a satellite image of Paul's rainfall on March 30 at 1707 UTC (1:07 p.m. EDT). At that time, Paul's rainfall was mostly light to moderate (between 20 and 40 millimeters or .78 to 1.57 inches per hour) over land and the isolated areas of heavy rain (as much as 2 inches per hour) were confined over the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

TRMM images are pretty complicated to create. They're made at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. At Goddard, rain rates in the center of the swath (the satellite's orbit path over the storm) are created from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) instrument. The TRMM PR is the only space borne radar of its kind. The rain rates in the outer portion of the storm are created from a different instrument on the satellite, called the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are then overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). For more information about TRMM, visit: http://www.trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

At 3:30 p.m. CST (02:00 UTC) on March 31, Paul was over land, and about 12 miles (20 kilometers) west of Numbulwar and 65 miles (105 kilometers) west southwest of Alyangula, near 14.3 degrees South and 135.5 degrees East. Paul's center was moving southeast at 6 mph (10 km/hr) per hour. Wind gusts near the low's center have been reported at 52 mph (85 km/hr).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued their final warning on Cyclone Paul on March 30 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT). Meanwhile, the ABM forecast takes Paul's center back into the Gulf of Carpentaria as a low and toward Port McArthur by April 1.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



March 30, 2010

NASA's MODIS instrument captured this image of Tropical cyclone Paul near Australia's Northern Territory on March 30. > View larger image
NASA's MODIS instrument captured this image of Tropical cyclone Paul near Australia's Northern Territory on March 30 at 04:55 UTC (12:55 a.m. EDT).
Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response
Paul Downgraded to a Low Pressure Area

At 11:00 p.m. local time in Australia's Northern Territory today, March 30, Tropical Cyclone Paul weakened to a low pressure area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of the storm at 0455 UTC this morning, and it covered the western half of the Northern Territory's east coast.

Despite Paul's weakened nature, a Cyclone Watch remains in effect coastal and island communities Nhulunbuy to the Northern Territory/Queensland border including Groote Eylandt. Paul is forecast to move very slowly adding to rainfall totals along those areas. Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Severe Weather Warning for damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall in the Arnhem, Roper-McArthur and Darwin-Daly Districts.

At 9:30 p.m. CST local time, Paul (the low pressure area) was estimated to be near 13.2 degrees South and 134.9 degrees East. That's about 111 miles (180 kilometers) west northwest of Alyangula and 146 miles (235 kilometers) west southwest of Nhulunbuy.

Some forecast models bring Paul back into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Thursday where it may strengthen again into a tropical storm. Residents along the Gulf should closely monitor local forecasts.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



TRMM captured Paul's horizontal rains on March 28 when the center was right over the northeast coast of the Northern Territory. > View larger image
TRMM captured Paul's horizontal rains at 9:08 UTC on March 28 when the center was right over the northeast coast of the Northern Territory. The center is bordered by a band of moderate rain to the northwest (green arc along the coast) and surrounded by outer rainbands that spiral inwards to the south and east (blue and green arcs indicating light to moderate rain, respectively). Embedded within the rainbands are occasional areas of heavy rain (red areas).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
This 3-D perspective of Paul at 9:08 UTC on March 28 was created from TRMM's Precipitation Radar. > View larger image
This 3-D perspective of Paul at 9:08 UTC on March 28 was created from TRMM's Precipitation Radar. The most prominent feature is a deep convective tower (shown in red), which penetrates up to 9 miles (15 km) high. This corresponds with an area of intense rain in the northwestern eyewall.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
TRMM Measures Cyclone Paul's Rainfall from Space

Having been hit by two tropical cyclones so far this season, Queensland had been the center of tropical cyclone activity, but with the recent arrival of Tropical Cyclone Paul, it is now the Northern Territory's turn to experience heavy rains and gusty winds.

Paul originated from a low pressure circulation embedded within the monsoon trough over the Arufura Sea between the northern coast of Australia and New Guinea. As the circulation drifted southward towards northern Australia it intensified slowly and only became a Category 1 cyclone on the evening of March 28, 2010 (local time) when the center was right over the northeast coast of the Northern Territory where it brought wind gusts of up to 110 kph (~70 mph, equivalent to a tropical storm on the US Saffir-Simpson scale).

Since its launch back in 1997, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (better known as TRMM) has served as a valuable platform for monitoring tropical cyclones using its unique combination of active radar and passive microwave sensors. TRMM captured this first image of Paul at 9:08 UTC on March 28, 2010 (6:38 pm Australian CST) when the center was right over the northeast coast of the Northern Territory. The image shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity inside the storm. Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), the only spaceborne precipitation radar of its kind, while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS).

Although Paul does not have a visible eye in the IR data, the center of the storm's circulation is clearly evident in the rain pattern over the coast. Paul's center of circulation is bordered by a band of moderate intensity rain to the northwest and surrounded by outer rainbands that spiral inwards to the south and east that have light to moderate rain. Embedded within the rainbands are occasional areas of heavy rain.

TRMM data was used to create a 3-D perspective of the storm from data from TRMM's Precipitation Radar instrument. The most prominent feature is a deep convective tower, which penetrates up to 9 miles (15 km) high. This corresponds with an area of intense rain in the northwestern eyewall evident in the TRMM's image of horizontal rainfall. These tall towers are associated with convective bursts and can be a sign of future strengthening as they indicate areas where heat, known as latent heat, is being released into the storm. This heating is what drives the storm's circulation. Despite Paul's proximity to land, it was able to intensify into a Category 2 cyclone (equivalent to a minimal Category 1 hurricane) by the following morning with wind gusts of up to 140 kph (~85 mph). Paul is hovering over land along the coast and is expected to weaken slowly over the next day or so; however, it could eventually re-emerge over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria and re-intensify.

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

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



March 29, 2010

NASA's MODIS captured Tropical Cyclone Paul (22P) approaching the coast in the Northern Territory of Australia. > View larger image At 01:20 UTC March 29, the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured the center of Tropical Cyclone Paul (22P) approaching the coast in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team
This infrared image showed that Paul's circulation and clouds were extremely disorganized at that time. > View larger image
This infrared image from NASA's AIRS instrument from March 27 at 12:23 a.m. EDT showed that Paul's circulation and clouds (blue and purple) were extremely disorganized at that time. It would later become a tropical storm that day.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
This infrared image fromMarch 29 shows that Paul was a little more organized and appears more circular. > View larger image
This infrared image from NASA's AIRS instrument from March 29 at 12:11 a.m. EDT shows that Paul was a little more organized and appears more circular. Paul's high thunderstorms (and rain) are seen in blue and purple.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Warnings Up Tropical Storm Paul in Australia's Northern Territory

Tropical Storm Paul formed over the weekend and is already close to a landfall. It is currently in the Blue Mud Bay along the western coastline of the Gulf of Carpentaria. NASA's Aqua satellite watched the storm come together over the weekend in a series of infrared images that showed the storm's rotation intensifying.

Currently, a Cyclone Warning is in effect for coastal and island communities from Milingimbi to Numbulwar, including Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt. A Cyclone Watch remains in effect for coastal and island communities west to Maningrida and south to Port McArthur.

Tropical cyclone Paul is drifting southwest Blue Mud Bay along the coastline of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and is expected to make landfall within 24 hours.

NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Paul and captured several infrared images of the storm's cloud temperatures from the time it formed through today. The images were captured from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument (AIRS) that flies on the Aqua satellite. The image from March 27 showed that the storm was still disorganized in the early morning hours (Eastern Daylight Time/U.S.). This infrared image from NASA's AIRS instrument from March 29 at 12:11 a.m. EDT showed that Paul was a little more organized and appeared more circular.

Paul formed as "tropical cyclone 22P" late in the day (EDT) on March 27, about 340 miles east of Darwin, Australia, near 12.9 South and 136.6 East. By March 28, cyclone 22P had intensified and been renamed Tropical Storm Paul.

The small island of Groote Eylandt lies to the center of Tropical Storm Paul, and residents there have already been experiencing heavy rainfall, coastal flooding and strong winds.

According to the latest bulletin from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, at 9:30 p.m. CST (local time) Tropical Storm Paul had maximum sustained winds near 60 knot winds (69 mph/111 kilometers/hr). Gusty winds and heavy rainfall can be expected as Paul makes landfall.

Paul's center was crossing the coast just south of Cape Shield today near 13.4 degrees South and 136.0 degrees East. Paul's center is estimated to be 70 kilometers (43 miles) northwest of Alyangula and 160 kilometers (99 miles) south southwest of Nhulunbuy, moving west southwest at 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) per hour.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) noted that "A storm tide is expected between Cape Shield and Port Roper. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding tonight and Tuesday." For updates from the ABM, visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/cyclone/. Tomorrow, Paul is forecast to weaken over land.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center