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Hurricane Season 2012: Tropical Depression Funso (Southern Indian Ocean)
02.03.12
 
New NPP VIIRS instrument view of Cyclone Funso on Jan 23rd 2012 › View larger image
Suomi NPP's "Blue Marble" image of Earth showing Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 23rd 2012.
Credit: NASA/NOAA, Norman Kuring
New NPP Instrument Captures View of Cyclone Funso

Tropical Cyclone Funso was captured and became famous again, in one of the first images from the VIIRS instrument aboard a new NASA/NOAA satellite.

Funso lingered in the Mozambique Channel from January 19 until January 30, 2012, when it finally exited south and moved into the Southern Indian Ocean where it quickly dissipated.

This image is a composite of six separate orbits taken on January 23, 2012 by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. This new 'Blue Marble' image was taken by a new instrument flying aboard Suomi NPP, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).

Compiled by NASA Goddard scientist Norman Kuring, this image has the perspective of a viewer looking down from 7,918 miles (about 12,742 kilometers) above the Earth's surface from a viewpoint of 10 degrees South by 45 degrees East. The four vertical lines of 'haze' visible in this image shows the reflection of sunlight off the ocean, or 'glint,' that VIIRS captured as it orbited the globe. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA/NOAA



Jan. 30, 2012

AIRS captured infrared images and cloud temperatures of Funso on Jan. 27 (left) and Jan. 28 (right). › View larger image
AIRS instrument captured infrared images and cloud temperatures of Tropical Cyclone Funso on Jan. 27 at 2247 UTC (left) and Jan. 28 at 1047 UTC (right). The earlier image still showed a robust tropical storm, while the later image should a fizzling storm that had quickly fallen apart.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees Cyclone Funso Fade Fast

Infrared imagery from the AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite showed that Cyclone Funso did a fast fade once it got outside of the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel this past weekend.

AIRS data from Jan. 27 and 28 showed cloud top temperatures warmed quickly, which means that cloud heights dropped. Dropping cloud heights indicate weaker uplift (strength) in the storm.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured infrared images and cloud temperatures of Tropical Cyclone Funso on Jan. 27 at 2247 UTC (5:47 p.m. EST) and Jan. 28 at 1047 UTC (5:47 a.m. EST). The earlier image still showed a robust tropical storm, while the later image should a fizzling storm with weak circulation that had quickly fallen apart. The two factors that lead to Funso's demise were cooler waters and stronger wind shear.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued their final advisory on Funso on January 28, after it had moved out of the Mozambique Channel and into the Southern Indian Ocean. At that time it was about 640 miles east-southeast of Maputo, Mozambique, near 31.0 South and 43.3 East. It was still a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (~40 mph/~65 kph) but quickly weakening. Funso was moving at 17 knots (~20 mph/~32 kph) in a southeasterly direction and was becoming extra-tropical as it moved into the Southern Indian Ocean.

Funso continued to weaken and became a remnant low pressure system by Jan. 30.

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



Jan. 27, 2012

MODIS captured Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 27 at 0730 UTC (2:30 a.m. EST). › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 27 at 0730 UTC (2:30 a.m. EST). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a true color image of the storm that showed Funso's eye has now filled with clouds. Funso was moving south past the southern end of Madagascar (right) to the east.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
TRMM showed that Funso had moderate to heavy rainfall around the center and in bands of thunderstorms north of the center of circulation. › View larger image
The TRMM satellite had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso on January 26, 2012 at 1341 UTC (8:41 a.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso had moderate to heavy rainfall around the center and in bands of thunderstorms north of the center of circulation. Heavy rainfall appears in red, falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour. Light to moderate rainfall is depicted in blue and green (falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
TRMM PR data show the tallest storm towers reaching to about 12km (~7.5 miles) › View larger image
The TRMM satellite saw directly into the eye of tropical Cyclone Funso on January 26, 2012 at 2013 UTC. TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) rainfall shows that frequent moderate to heavy rainfall (red) was located in bands around Funso. TRMM PR data show that the tallest storm towers , reaching to about 12km (~7.5 miles), were located in a feeder band southwest of the eye.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA Sees a Weakening Cyclone Funso's "Closed Eye"

Powerful Cyclone Funso's eye has been clear in NASA satellite imagery over the last several days until NASA's Aqua satellite noticed it had "closed" and become filled with high clouds on January 27.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 27 at 0730 UTC (2:30 a.m. EST). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a true color image of the storm that showed Funso's eye has now filled with clouds and appears ragged. Despite being filled with high clouds, the eye appears on multi-spectral satellite imagery to be 30 miles (48.3 km) in diameter. The MODIS image showed that Funso was moving south past the southern end of Madagascar to the east.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso on January 26, 2012 at 1341 UTC (8:41 a.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso had moderate to heavy rainfall around the center and in bands of thunderstorms north of the center of circulation. The heavy rain was falling at a rate of 2 inches (50 mm) per hour.

On January 27 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Funso's maximum sustained winds were near 105 knots (120.8 mph/194.5 kph). The storm was over 440 miles (708 km) in diameter as it moved south-southeast at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph) through the southern end of the Mozambique Channel. Funso's center was located about 385 nautical (443 miles/713 km) miles east of Maputo, Mozambique, near 25.9 South and 39.7 East.

Funso is weakening more as it moves to the south-southeast and will encounter stronger wind shear and cooler waters, both of which will sap the energy from the cyclone more quickly. Funso is expected to become extra-tropical over the weekend of January 28 and 29, 2012 in the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

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





































Jan. 26, 2012

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 26 at 1110 UTC (6:10 a.m. EST). › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 26 at 1110 UTC (6:10 a.m. EST). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, better known as the MODIS instrument captured a true color image of the storm that showed a 25 nautical-mile-wide eye, and clouds swirling down into it. The outer extent of Funso's clouds skirted Madagascar to the east, and Mozambique to the west.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA Satellites See Cyclone Funso Exiting Mozambique Channel

Powerful Cyclone Funso is now beginning to exit the Mozambique Channel, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured a stunning image of the storm that shows the depth and extent of it.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 26 at 1110 UTC (6:10 a.m. EST). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, better known as the MODIS instrument captured a true color image of the storm that showed a 25 nautical-mile-wide (29 miles/~46 km) eye, and clouds swirling down into it. The outer extent of Funso's clouds skirted Madagascar to the east, and Mozambique to the west.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on January 26, Funso's maximum sustained winds were down to 100 knots (115 mph/185 kph). It was located about 277 nautical miles (319 miles/513 km) east-northeast of Maputo, Mozambique. Its center was pinpointed near 24.0 South latitude and 39.2 East longitude. It was moving to the south-southeast near 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph). The storm is over 400 nautical miles (460 miles/~741 km) in diameter, which is the extent of tropical-storm-force winds.

Funso is expected to maintain cyclone strength over the next couple of days as it moves out of the Mozambique Channel and into the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean, where it will begin to weaken.

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



Jan. 25, 2012

Tropical Cyclone Funso was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Jan. 25 at 7:40 UTC › View larger image
This visible image of Tropical Cyclone Funso was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Jan. 25 at 7:40 UTC (2:40 a.m. EST). Tropical Cyclone Funso is still over the Mozambique Channel and its 11 mile-wide eye is clearly visible.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Cyclone Funso on January 24 at 11:17 UTC (6:17 a.m. EST) › View larger image
When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Cyclone Funso on January 24 at 11:17 UTC (6:17 a.m. EST) the AIRS instrument measured the cloud top temperatures. Thunderstorm cloud tops around the entire center of circulation colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52.7 Celsius) indicating strong storms, dropping heavy rainfall.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
TRMM had a good view Funso battering the Mozambique  coast when it flew over on January 24, 2012 › View larger image
The TRMM satellite had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso battering the Mozambique coast when it flew over on January 24, 2012 at 2204 UTC (5:04 p.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in bands covering the Mozambique Channel from eastern Mozambique to western Madagascar. Light to moderate rainfall is depicted in blue and green (falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour). Heavy rainfall appears in red, falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
Major Tropical Cyclone Funso Analyzed by Two NASA Satellites

Tropical Cyclone Funso is now a dangerous Category 4 cyclone in the Mozambique Channel, moving southward between Mozambique on the African mainland and the island nation of Madagascar. As Funso became a major cyclone two NASA satellites were providing forecasters with valuable storm information.

Two instruments aboard NASA's Aqua satellite and instruments aboard NASA and JAXA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite provided cloud extent, cloud temperature, rainfall rates, and a look at the eye of the storm.

On Jan. 25 at 7:40 UTC (2:40 a.m. EST), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Funso. The image revealed the cloud cover extends from Mozambique on the African mainland, east to the coast of the island nation of Madagascar. MODIS imagery also revealed a clear 11 mile-wide eye.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Cyclone Funso the day before, January 24 at 11:17 UTC (6:17 a.m. EST) the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument measured the cloud top temperatures. Thunderstorm cloud tops around the entire center of circulation colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52.7 Celsius) indicating strong storms, dropping heavy rainfall.

The TRMM satellite also had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso battering the Mozambique coast when it flew over on January 24, 2012 at 2204 UTC (5:04 p.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in bands covering the Mozambique Channel from eastern Mozambique to western Madagascar.

On January 25, 2012 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Major Tropical Cyclone Funso had maximum sustained winds of 120 knots (138 mph/222 kph). Hurricane-force winds extend out 40 miles (64 km) from the center. It was located near 22.7 South and 38.7 East, about 400 nautical miles (460 miles/741 kmh) northeast of Maputo, Mozambique. It was moving to the south-southwest at 4 knots (~4.6 mph/7.4 kph). Funso is generating maximum significant waves 32 feet (9.7 meters) high.

Cyclone Funso continues to track the over open waters of the southern Mozambique Channel and forecasts take it out into the Southern Indian Ocean over the next three days without any danger of a direct landfall.

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
























Jan. 24, 2012

Tropical Cyclone Funso was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Jan. 24 at 11:20 UTC › View larger image
This visible image of Tropical Cyclone Funso was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Jan. 24 at 11:20 UTC (6:20 a.m. EST). Tropical Cyclone Funso is still over the Mozambique Channel and now has an 11 mile-wide eye.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
TRMM's Precipitation Radar data from January 23, 2012 was used to make a 3-D image of Funso › View larger image
TRMM's Precipitation Radar data from January 23, 2012 was used to make a 3-D image of Funso. The 3-D image showed that storms within Funso and in other areas of the Mozambique Channel had tops reaching to heights above 15km (~9.3 miles).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
The TRMM had a good view of Funso battering the Mozambique coast when it flew over on January 23, 2012 › View larger image
The TRMM satellite had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso battering the Mozambique coast when it flew over on January 23, 2012 at 1451 UTC (9:51 a.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in bands covering the Mozambique Channel from eastern Mozambique to western Madagascar. Light to moderate rainfall is depicted in blue and green (falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour). Heavy rainfall appears in red, falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA Sees Powerful Cyclone Funso Strengthen in Mozambique Channel

Tropical Cyclone Funso has been lingering in the Mozambique Channel since Jan. 19, and five days later is more powerful than ever, while still in that body of water. Two NASA satellites gathered rainfall, cloud height and visible cloud data that confirmed Funso has strengthened since Jan. 23.

On January 24, 2012, Tropical Cyclone Funso's maximum sustained winds were up to 115 knots (132 mph/213 kph). The storm has continued to strengthen over the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel and is generating 38 foot-high seas, causing very rough surf and coastal erosion to Mozambique. At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) Funso was centered 500 nautical miles (575 miles/926 km) northeast of Maputo, Mozambique, near 20.7 South and 39.4 East. It was moving to the south-southeast near 7 knots (8 mph/13 kph) and is expected to turn to the south-southwest.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Cyclone Funso on Jan. 24 at 11:20 UTC (6:20 a.m. EST). The image showed a well-developed storm with a clear 11 mile (17.7 km)-wide eye.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite had a good view of powerful tropical cyclone Funso battering the Mozambique coast when it flew over on January 23, 2012 at 1451 UTC (9:51 a.m. EST). TRMM data showed that Funso was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in bands covering the Mozambique Channel from eastern Mozambique to western Madagascar.

According to CNN, storms and floods from Funso have killed at least 18 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes in Mozambique. Part of Mozambique's main national highway was destroyed from flooding and communications have been adversely affected. Funso's rainfall is also causing flooding in the Incomati River in the central portion of the country.

Tropical cyclone Funso formed in the Mozambique Channel off the coast of Mozambique on January 19, 2012. TRMM saw Funso on January 21, 2012 when it had intensified to a powerful category 3 tropical cyclone. TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) captured data showing that very intense rainfall was occurring in the eastern side of Funso's eye. TRMM also showed very heavy rainfall was located northeast of Funso off the northwestern coast of Madagascar.

At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Hal Pierce of the TRMM science team used TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) data to make a 3-D image of Funso. The 3-D image showed that storms within Funso and in other areas of the Mozambique Channel had tops reaching to heights above 15km (~9.3 miles). TRMM's PR found the most powerful storms within Funso's eye wall.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issues forecasts for tropical cyclones in the Southern Indian Ocean and noted that the "entire Mozambique Channel is filled with deep moisture, and the 29 [Celsius] (84.2 F) degree sea surface temperatures and high ocean heat content values are supportive of further development." The vertical wind shear is another factor that can be the life or death of a tropical cyclone. The wind shear on Jan. 24 is low, which will allow the cyclone to further intensify.

Funso is now being pushed to the south by a well-developed mid-to-upper level anticyclone (high pressure) located over Madagascar. The JTWC noted that Funso is "trapped between the two ridges (elongated areas of high pressure) with the only avenue for movement being southward.

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





Jan. 23, 2012

NASA's TRMM Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 21 at 0009 UTC (7:09 p.m. EST on Jan. 20) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 21 at 0009 UTC (7:09 p.m. EST on Jan. 20) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. Funso's center was located on the coast of central Mozambique. TRMM saw light to moderate rainfall (blue and green) falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Heavy rainfall, occurring at 2 inches/50 mm per hour (red) was only occurring over the waters of the Mozambique Channel.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso, January 22 at 1130 UTC (6:30 a.m. EST) as it was pulling away from the Mozambique coast, and noticed clouds were becoming more organized. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso, January 22 at 1130 UTC (6:30 a.m. EST) as it was pulling away from the Mozambique coast, and noticed clouds were becoming more organized.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA Satellites See Tropical Storm Funso Still in Mozambique Channel

Two NASA satellites saw that Tropical Cyclone Funso was still meandering in the Mozambique Channel over the past weekend and will continue to live there as it heads south this week. NASA's Aqua satellite provided a look at cloud cover, while the TRMM satellite noticed rainfall rates becoming heavier as the storm strengthened.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds of Tropical Cyclone Funso January 22 at 1130 UTC (6:30 a.m. EST) and noticed clouds were more circular in nature now that it is pulling away from the coast. There's also a hint of an eye in the visible imagery.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 21 at 0009 UTC (7:09 p.m. EST on Jan. 20) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. Funso's center was located on the coast of central Mozambique. TRMM saw light to moderate rainfall (blue and green) falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Heavy rainfall, occurring at 2 inches/50 mm per hour (red) was only occurring over the waters of the Mozambique Channel.

On Sunday, January 21, 2012 at 2100 UTC (4 p.m. EST) Funso's maximum sustained winds were near 90 knots (103 mph/166 kmh). It was still right off the central Mozambique coast, near 17.8 South latitude and 39.1 East longitude. It was also 610 nautical miles northeast of Maputo, Mozambique, moving slowly eastward and away from the coast at 3 knots (4 mph/5 kmh).

Infrared satellite imagery on Sunday, Jan. 21 showed Funso strengthening and consolidating as it moved away from the coast. Satellite imagery also revealed a small eye with tight bands of thunderstorms spiraling into it.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Funso to turn southward along the western edge of a mid-level subtropical ridge (elongated) of high pressure over the next three days. Warm waters in the channel are expected to continue strengthening the storm.

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








Jan. 20, 2012

NASA's TRMM Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 19 at 1654 UTC (11:54 a.m. EST) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 19 at 1654 UTC (11:54 a.m. EST) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. Funso was centered in the Mozambique Channel, which separates Mozambique (left) on the African mainland, from the island of Madagascar (right). TRMM saw light to moderate rainfall as depicted in blue and green. It was falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA Sees Cyclone Funso Meandering and Raining on the Mozambique Channel

Cyclone Funso continues meandering around the Mozambique Channel because of a lack of steering mechanisms in the atmosphere, and NASA's TRMM satellite noticed a developing eye yesterday hinting it would intensify. Today, January, 20, Funco did intensify from a tropical storm into a Cyclone and it is bringing moderate rainfall to the region.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) passed over Funso on January 19, and detected areas of moderate rainfall around the center, and north and east of the center of circulation, most over open water. Rainfall in those areas was occurring at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Some moderate to heavy rainfall was also occurring on January 19 over coastal Mozambique from Funso's outer thunderstorm bands and continued on January 20. The TRMM image also hinted at the development of an eye.

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center using animated multispectral satellite imagery on January 20, noted the "period of rapid intensification has eased and the developing eye feature has filled for the time being. Tightly-wrapped deep convective banding persists in all quadrants of the system, with especially vigorous convection showing along the coast of Mozambique."

On January 20 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) Funso was about 655 nautical miles northeast of Maputo, Mozambique near 18.5 South latitude and 28.4 East longitude. Funso's center was sitting in the Mozambique Channel, which separates Mozambique on the African mainland, from the island of Madagascar. Funso's maximum sustained winds have reached hurricane force and are near 75 knots (86 mph/139 kmh). Funso has moved toward the west at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kmh) during the morning hours on January 20.

Forecasters expect Funso to go through another period of intensification because it is near a large area of moisture, trapped over the Mozambique Channel. In addition, sea surface temperatures are very warm, adding more fuel. Funco sits in a weak steering environment, so forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect it to meander southward through the Mozambique Channel over the weekend while strengthening.

Funso will likely bring showers and gusty winds to coastal Mozambique as it moves southerly through the Mozambique Channel over the weekend.

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



Jan. 19, 2012

NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso, the eighth depression in the Southern Indian Ocean this season, on January 19, 2012 at 11:03 UTC (6:03 a.m. EST) and noticed that it had developed a signature comma shape of a strengthening tropical storm.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared look at the temperatures of the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 UTC (5:59 a.m. EST). › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared look at the temperatures of the clouds in Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 UTC (5:59 a.m. EST). The coldest cloud top temperatures and strongest thunderstorms appear in purple, and were mostly over the open waters of the Mozambique Channel.
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone Funso Develop, Threaten Mozambique

Residents of Mozambique are still recovering from the flooding caused by Tropical Depression Dando earlier this week and now newly formed Tropical Cyclone Funso threatens to bring more rainfall to the country. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Funso on January 19 and provided forecasters with two different views of the intensifying storm.

At 0600 UTC on January 19, Tropical Storm Funso was located in the Mozambique Channel and about 685 miles (1,102 km) northeast of Maputo, the capital and largest city of Mozambique. Maputo is located in the extreme southeast of Mozambique. Funso's center was near 17.3 South latitude and 40.7 East longitude. It was moving to the northwest near 5 knots (6 mph/9 kmh). Maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots (40 mph/65 kmh) making it a minimal tropical storm.

Five hours later, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Funso and captured visible and infrared data for forecasters.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible look at the clouds of Tropical Cyclone Funso (the eight depression in the Southern Indian Ocean this season) on January 19, 2012 at 11:03 UTC (6:03 a.m. EST).

The MODIS image showed Funso was developing a signature "comma shape" in its clouds - a sign of a strengthening tropical storm. In the image, Funso's highest, strongest thunderstorms were visible around the center of circulation. Those high clouds (powerful, towering thunderstorms) were casting shadows on the lower surrounding clouds.

At the same time, another instrument on Aqua gave forecasters important information about the cloud temperatures of Cyclone Funso. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument saw that the coldest cloud top temperatures and strongest thunderstorms were mostly over the open waters of the Mozambique Channel at 11:00 UTC. Funso is stretched across the Mozambique Channel from east to west, and the western-most edge of Funso was bringing some moderate rainfall over central coastal Mozambique and the eastern-most extent was raining on western Madagascar.

The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Funso to move west then loop around and strengthen just off the central Mozambique coastline. Forecasters and residents of Mozambique are watching Funso's movements closely while still cleaning up from Tropical Depression Dando.

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