Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


NASA satellites see Tropical Storm Irina getting loopy

Two NASA satellites have been measuring rainfall and cloud top temperatures in Tropical Storm as it has been "going loopy" in the Mozambique Channel over the last couple of days.

Irina is making a cyclonic loop, something that a tropical cyclone does on occasion whenever there are a couple of weather systems that push it in different directions.

This image from NASA's TRMM satellite shows rainfall in the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Irina on March 5 at 2:23 a.m. local time/South Africa. Numerous intense storms in the southern and eastern quadrant were dropping rainfall at a rate of over 50mm per hr / ~2 inches (red). Light to moderate rainfall is depicted in blue and green was falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Credit: Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

On March 5, 2012, Irina's maximum sustained winds had increased to near 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph), , up from 40 knots (46 mph/74 kph) over the last several days. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Irina to strengthen more at sea over the next day, and then begin to weaken.


Irina is still centered at sea, and parallel to the middle of South Africa on March 5. Irina's center is about 315 nautical miles south-southeast of Maputo, Mozambique, and it was moving to the southeast, but is expected to start curving to the northeast and then northwest as it continues making a loop that will take it back toward a landfall in extreme northeastern South Africa.

What's making it loop? Weather systems in the area are pushing past Irina, acting as guides for the storm to follow. The last weather system that will turn it back to the north is a ridge (elongated area) of high pressure that's strengthening over South Africa will turn Irina to the northwest.


Infrared data from Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite showed on March 5, that most of the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest rainfall are occurring in the southern half of the storm. The strongest thunderstorms usually have the highest, and coldest cloud top temperatures, which is what AIRS infrared data reads. When cloud tops exceed the AIRS threshold of -63 Fahrenheit (-52.7 Celsius), the cloud tops are considered strong thunderstorms, and usually they have heavy rainfall. On the northern side of the storm, it's a different story, however, as sinking air on the northern side is preventing thunderstorm development.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over Irina on March 5, 2012 at 0023 UTC (2:23 a.m. local time/South Africa / 7:23 p.m. EST on March 4, EST). A rainfall analysis from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments showed areas of heavy rainfall in several areas, mostly south of the center of circulation. Areas with heavy rain were spotted by the TRMM satellite in the southwestern and eastern quadrants of the storm, and rain was falling at a rate of over 50mm/hr (~2 inches).


Cyclone Irina is now expected to make landfall in extreme northeastern South Africa, south of the Mozambique border late on March 9, but the forecast could again change as Irina has been slowed by various weather factors. There are several parks located near where landfall is currently forecast. Tembe Elephant Park and the Ndumo Game Reserve are located near the Mozambique border and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park is located to the south. These areas are likely to feel the strongest winds from Irina when it makes landfall.

As Irina nears landfall by the end of the week, cold waters stirred up from below the surface are causing sea surface temperatures near the coast to cool, which will reduce any energy going into Irina as it nears the coast for landfall. Once Irina makes landfall, the forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning center expect Irina to dissipate quickly. Meanwhile residents of eastern South Africa, Swaziland and southeastern Mozambique can expect more clouds, showers, gusty winds and rough surf in coastal areas as Irina loops back toward land.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>