Hurricane Season 2012: Tropical Storm Gilma (Eastern Pacific Ocean)
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NOAA's GOES-15 satellite captured an image of Tropical Storm Gilma (left) in the eastern Pacific Ocean, with the remnant low pressure area, formerly Tropical Storm Ernesto (right), about to move into the Pacific. Credit: NASA GOES Project
NASA Sees Two Tropical Cyclones in Eastern Pacific
The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season is in full swing and the Eastern Pacific seems like it's trying to catch up. On August 10, NOAA's GOES-15 satellite captured Tropical Storm Gilma and a low pressure area that was once the Atlantic Basin's Tropical storm Ernesto, now moving off the western Mexican coast.
NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. has been busy creating images and animations of Tropical Storm Gilma and the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto as it crosses Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico and has begun its entrance into the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
NASA's GOES Project uses data from NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES), and the GOES-15 satellite covers the Eastern Pacific Ocean basin and the eastern U.S. from a fixed orbit. GOES-15 provides continuous data that NASA makes into images and animations. An image captured on August 10, 2012 at 1500 UTC (11:00 a.m. EDT) shows Ernesto's clouds lingering over the western coast of Mexico and Gilma out over open waters.
At 11 a.m. EDT on August 10, Tropical Storm Gilma's maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph (100 kmh). The National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Gilma to weaken over the next two days because of an increase in vertical wind shear and movement into cooler waters. The National Hurricane Center expects Gilma to become a tropical depression sometime on August 11. Gilma was centered about 670 miles (1,080 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California near latitude 18.8 north and longitude 119.3 west. Gilma is moving toward the north-northwest near 5 mph (7 kmh) and is motion is expected to continue over the next day or so.
Behind Gilma, and located along the southern coast of Mexico is a large area of showers and thunderstorms associated with the broad circulation of weakening tropical depression Ernesto. Because environmental conditions are favorable, the low, formerly known as Ernesto, has a 60 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression is it moves westward and into the open waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Once it becomes a tropical depression and if it strengthens to a tropical storm, it would get a new name.
Satellite Sees Tropical Storm Gilma in Eastern Pacific
An animation of satellite observations shows the progression of Tropical Storm Gilma from August 7-10, 2012 along the coast of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA's GOES-15 satellite. TRT 0:35 Super(s): Courtesy: NASA/NOAA GOES Project Center Contact: Rob Gutro (443) 858-1779 HQ Contact: Steve Cole (202) 358-0918 For more information: www.nasa.gov/hurricane
Aug. 9, 2012
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NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Gilma on August 9 at 5:53 a.m. EDT. The AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of the cloud temperatures that showed the strongest storms (purple) and heaviest rainfall was wrapped around the storm's center. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
The Cold Power of Hurricane Gilma Revealed by NASA Satellite
High, cold cloud tops with bitter cold temperatures are indicators that there's a lot of strength in the uplift of air within a tropical cyclone. NASA's Aqua satellite passed by Hurricane Gilma and saw a concentrated area of very cold cloud tops.
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Gilma on August 9 at 5:53 a.m. EDT. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of the cloud temperatures that showed the strongest storms and heaviest rainfall were wrapped around the storm's center. Cloud top temperatures in that area were as cold as -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius), indicating very strong thunderstorms (a tropical cyclone is made up of hundreds of thunderstorms), with potentially heavy rainfall. The higher a cloud top extends into the atmosphere, the colder it is, and that data is picked up by the AIRS instrument onboard the Aqua satellite.
On August 9, 2012 at 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) Gilma's maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph (120 kmh), down from 80 mph (130 kmh) which makes Gilma a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale. Gilma was far from land and its center was about 715 miles (1,155 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, near latitude 16.2 north and longitude 118.6 west. Gilma is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph (11 kmh). Forecasters expect Gilma to turn to the northwest because a ridge of high pressure that has been guiding it is now weakening.
The National Hurricane Center expects Gilma to start weakening over the next day as it moves into an area of cooler waters. AIRS also provides temperature data on sea surface temperatures, and has observed declining temperatures north of Gilma's current location in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Waters of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 Celsius) are needed to maintain a tropical cyclone, and Gilma is headed for waters cooler than that over the next couple of days.
Watching Two Other Areas
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are now watching two additional areas of low pressure to the east of Gilma. The first area is several hundred miles south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. The NHC gives this low a meager 10 percent chance of development in the next two days because it appeared more disorganized today on satellite imagery. The second area is a trough (elongated area) of low pressure along Mexico's west coast. That low may interact with Tropical Storm Ernesto which is poised to cross from the Gulf of Mexico into the Pacific. However, because of upper level winds, this low pressure area also has a 10 percent chance of development in the next two days.
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NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Gilma on August 7 at 4:53 p.m. EDT Credit: NASA JPL: Ed Olsen
Infrared NASA Data Shows Strengthening in Pacific's Tropical Storm Gilma
Tropical Storm Gilma was a strong tropical storm at 5 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 8, and very near hurricane strength. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Gilma the day before and saw strong convection occurring which is a sign that it will likely become a hurricane.
NASA's Aqua satellite investigated Tropical Storm Gilma in infrared light using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies onboard NASA's Aqua satellite. AIRS data showed some strong thunderstorms within, that had cloud top temperatures near or exceeding -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius). Thunderstorms punch up near the top of the troposphere when there's a lot of uplift in the air and that's what the AIRS data showed was happening within Tropical Storm Gilma.
At 2 a.m. PDT (5 a.m. EDT), Tropical Storm Gilma's maximum sustained winds were near 70 mph (110 kmh). Gilma is a relatively small tropical storm, as tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center.
Gilma was located about 645 miles (1040 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, near latitude 15.6 north and longitude 116.1 west. Gilma is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kmh) and is expected to continue in that direction, but will slow down, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Gilma is expected to remain at sea and travel to the north-northwest. The National Hurricane Center expects Gilma to strengthen to hurricane status and then weaken to depression status over the coming weekend.
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This visible image of Tropical Storm Gilma was captured from NOAA's GOES-15 satellite on August 7, 2012 at 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT) moving through the eastern Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA GOES Project
Satellite Sees Tropical Depression 7E Become Tropical Storm Gilma
Satellite imagery on August 7 revealed that Tropical Depression 7E had become more organized and has developed into Tropical Storm Gilma.
NOAA's GOES-15 satellite on August 7, 2012 at 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT) moving through the eastern Pacific Ocean. The image showed a good circulation and rounded shape to Gilma. The image was created by NASA's GOES Project, located at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
At 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) Tropical Storm Gilma's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph (65 kmh) and the National Hurricane Center expects Gilma to strengthen over the next two days. That's because Gilma is in an environment of light wind shear and sea surface temperatures as warm as 29 Celsius. Tropical cyclones need sea surface temperatures as warm as 26.6 Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) to be maintained. Warmer temperatures help tropical cyclones strengthen, while cooler sea surface temperatures can inhibit intensification.
Gilma's center was about 620 miles (1,000 km) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico near latitude 14.8 north and longitude 112.6 west. Gilma is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph (19 kmh) and this motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days because of a weather system it is moving around. Tropical Storm Gilma is being steered by a huge elongated area of high pressure that extends from the southwestern U.S. all the way west to Hawaii.
Gilma is expected to remain at sea and is not a threat to any land areas.