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Hurricane Season 2011: Kulap (Pacific Ocean)
09.09.11
 
Tropical Depression Kulap Showing No Strong Convection

NASA infrared satellite imagery is not showing any strong convection in Tropical Depression Kulap, and that means there's little energy left in the storm.

Infrared imagery from NASA is used to take the temperature of cloud tops, and cold cloud top temperatures suggest the strength of rising air that forms the thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone. Data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Instrument that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite didn't see any strong areas of convection, or very cold cloud tops today, so the status of the storm was dropped to a depression.

Kulap weakened because it's battling strong wind shear of 20 to 30 knots (23-34 mph /37-55 kmh). Tropical Depression Kulap had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots (28 mph/46 kmh). It was about 190 nautical miles south of Sasebo, Japan near 30.0 North and 129.0 East. It was moving to the northwest near 12 knots (14 mph/22kmh).

Microwave satellite imagery shows that the low level circulation is weakening, too, suggesting that the storm may become a remnant low pressure area over the weekend.

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


September 8, 2011

AIRS image of Kulap on September 8, 2011› View larger image
NASA's AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite took this infrared image of Tropical Storm Kulap on Sept. 8 at 1:17 a.m. EDT. The infrared data shows the coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) and strongest thunderstorms with the heaviest rainfall were seen south of the center. There is also a band of thunderstorms southwest of the center (blue). Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Infrared Data Shows Kulap Maintaining Tropical Storm Status

Despite facing wind shear and dry air, infrared satellite imagery from NASA shows there are still some powerful thunderstorms and strong convection occurring in Tropical Storm Kulap as it moves through the Western North Pacific Ocean.

NASA's AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite took an infrared image of Tropical Storm Kulap on Sept. 8 at 1:17 a.m. EDT. The infrared data showed the coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) and strongest thunderstorms with the heaviest rainfall were seen south of the center indicating that there is strong wind shear from the north battering the storm. There is also a band of thunderstorms southwest of the center. AIRS showed that the low-level center of circulation is exposed to outside winds. A microwave satellite image revealed today that dry air is also wrapping into the western edge of the storm, and dry air absorbs the moisture that fuels a tropical cyclone.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8, Tropical Storm Kulap had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/64 kmh). It was located about 250 miles (402 km) east of Kadena Air Base, Japan near 26.5 North and 132.4 East. It was moving to the northwest near 15 knots (17 mph/27 kmh).

Kulap is moving northwest and is expected to continue in that direction while weakening because of winds in the upper atmosphere. Forecasters currently expect a landfall in South Korea later next week.

There are two other disturbances in the western North Pacific that forecasters are watching. System 91W is about 410 miles northeast of Anderson Air Base near 18.8 North and 148.7 East. It has a medium chance for development, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The other area, System 92W has a low chance for development right now and is about 320 miles west of Wake Island near 19.7 North and 161.0 East.

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


September 7, 2011

TRMM saw moderate rainfall in Tropical Storm Kulap › View larger image
TRMM saw moderate rainfall in Tropical Storm Kulap on Sept. 7, 2011 at 0157 UTC. Yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. TRMM also found some towering thunderstorms as high as 16 km (10 miles) high, suggesting the storm will strengthen. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Moderate Rainfall in Newborn Tropical Storm Kulap

System 90W intensified into Tropical Storm Kulap today, Sept. 7 out in the western North Pacific Ocean. When the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over Kulap late on Sept. 6, it revealed moderate rainfall and some powerful thunderstorms.

On Sept. 7 at 5 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Kulap had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/65 kmh). It was located about 510 miles east-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Japan near 21.8 North and 135.7 East. It was moving slowly north at 5 knots (6 mph/9 kmh).

TRMM passed over the northeastern side of Tropical Storm Kulap and saw moderate rainfall on Sept. 7, 2011 at 0157 UTC (Sept. 6 at 9:57 p.m. EDT). Rainfall rates were between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. TRMM also found some towering thunderstorms known as "hot towers," as high as 16 km (10 miles) high, suggesting the storm will strengthen. Those towering clouds are called "hot" because they emit a lot of latent heat. NASA research has shown that whenever hot towers are sighted in a tropical cyclone, it tends to strengthen within 6 hours.

The current forecast track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center takes Kulap right over Kadena Air Base this weekend, moving north of Taiwan and making a final landfall south of Shanghai, China next week.

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